The coach firm involved in the death of a London cyclist following a collision on CS2 in Whitechapel on Monday has been the subject of a number of complaints in recent years. Clarkes Coaches’ managing director has previously suggested that cyclists “must be accountable for their actions and take some form of responsibility” regarding collisions, but campaigners have asked whether there is a pattern of poor driver behaviour at the firm.
Karla Roman was knocked down by a coach at 9am on Monday. She was taken to nearby Royal London hospital but passed away yesterday. The incident took place less than eight hours after another cyclist, Anita Szucs, was killed in a suspected hit and run near her home in Enfield.
Linking to a Storify page gathering together complaints about Clarkes Coaches’ drivers, cycling campaigner Bez tweeted: “Will be interesting to see if this stuff is the tip of an iceberg that could justify corporate manslaughter charges.”
The complaints – many of which are documented in videos such as the one at the top of the page – range from mobile phone use to red light jumping and close passes.
Twitter user cyclistsinthecity also linked to a May 2016 Route One article in which Clarkes of London’s Managing Director Debbie Newman outlined the firm’s attitude to London’s cycle superhighways and cyclists in general.
“We are sympathetic to the cyclists’ plight, but it seems that at the moment the cyclists have won the battle and it is to the detriment of all other road users.
“Cyclists are often responsible for accidents, for instance when they jump red lights. We have CCTV on all of our vehicles – it’s a necessity. We have footage of cyclists hanging on to our vehicles and letting the coach pull them along.
“But when an accident occurs, they have no insurance, just as they have no MoT or vehicle tax. They are not even obliged to register their contact details, or to wear helmets or hi-vis.
“In these days of health and safety, surely they must be accountable for their actions and take some form of responsibility.
“Bus and coach operators, taxis and the general car-driving public are paying the price for the Cycle Superhighway, and once it is implemented there is nothing to compel cyclists to use it. Where’s the sense in that?”