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Lorry driver unaware of collision for six weeks

The death of a cyclist who was dragged for nearly 150m under the wheels of a lorry has been ruled accidental by a coroner, in the absence of either witnesses or CCTV footage.

Adrianna Skrzypiec, 31, died on the slip road of A102 at the junction with Woolwich Road in Greenwich in May 2009 reports the News Shopper. The driver of the lorry which was believed to have killed her, John Lashbrook of Sittingbourne in Kent, said he was unaware of Adrianna’s death until six weeks after the incident.

When asked by the coroner if he had been involved in a collision on the day of Adrianna’s death he said: “No. I don’t believe I did.”

Mr Lashbrook was initially charged with causing death by dangerous driving but the case was dismissed before it reached trial.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson told road.cc: “CPS London decided there was sufficient evidence and it was in the public interest to prosecute Mr Lashbrook for [causing] death by dangerous driving.

"Before the trial the defence team argued that Mr Lashbrook could not have seen the cyclist and was not aware of the accident until he was arrested. The trial judge accepted the defence submissions and ruled in their favour.”

A woman who gave evidence at the coroner’s inquest said she heard a loud bang at the traffic lights under the Woolwich flyover on the day of the incident. Kirsty Black, also a cyclist, told the inquest: “The lights there are exceptionally dangerous. The phasing of them is very badly managed and they’re badly positioned.”

She said a few weeks prior to the Ms Skrzypiec’s death a car had coming close to knocking her and her daughter over as they used the pedestrian crossing there.

Ms Black added: “I do think something needs to be done about it. Other accidents have already happened. There are going to be more.”

Police accident investigator PC Andrew Smith told the coroner it was possible that Miss Skrzypiec was positioned on the inside of the lorry and could not be seen from the cab.

A ghost bike was left at the scene of the incident by Greenwich Cyclists whose acting coordinator Anthony Austin said motorists largely ignored the junction’s advanced cycle stop and cycle lanes.

He said: “The safest thing to do as a cyclist is to stay behind the traffic and get in lane as if you were a car.”

He said that the removal railings, improved road markings enforcement of rules regarding cycling zones would help improve the situation for riders.

Road.cc contacted Greenwich Council to ask what, if any, measures are being taken to make this junction safer for vulnerable road users. The council issued us with the following statement:

"Greenwich Council would again like to send heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Ms Skrzypiec. The Council recognsises the importance of having safe routes for cyclists across the borough - an important part of the Council's policy to encourage cycling in Greenwich.

"The Council has been working on plans to devise a new scheme for cyclists at this junction which are being finalised before being put to councillors"