The danger posed to cyclists by lorries has been starkly illustrated by news of two fatalities this morning, both reportedly involving refuse trucks. The incidents took place within half an hour or so at opposite ends of the country, the first in the Scottish capital Edinburgh, the second in Hammersmith, West London.
According to STV, a 32-year-old cyclist was killed outside a school in Edinburgh’s Broughton Road after being hit by a refuse truck that appears to have been turning left.
A 13-year-old girl used her mobile phone to alert emergency services, but despite the arrival of three ambulances, the cyclist died at the scene.
Inspector Stephen Boyle of Lothian & Borders Police said: "There was a very serious collision between a vehicle and a cyclist.
"We received a number of phone calls alerting us. One was from a young female who is now in the care of her parents. There were young witnesses who may have been traumatised. Resources will be put in place.
“We are appealing to any road users who were in the area at the time who may be able to help us establish the movements of vehicles and the cyclist. The truck turned left, was the cyclist intending to as well?
"We are currently working to establish exactly what happened, so would appeal for anyone who was in the area at the time to come forward.
"It would have been busy at the time, with families dropping children off at school and people heading to work, so it’s vital anyone with any information comes forward.”
Witnesses are requested to call Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The second fatal accident, involving a female cyclist believed to be aged in her 20s, occurred on Queen Caroline Street in Hammersmith at 8.24am.
The Fulham Chronicle reports that the victim was already dead when police and ambulance crews arrived. Although the full cicrcumstances are not known, a police tent was erected at the scene and a refuse truck cordoned off.
A local resident told the newspaper: “"We were told it was a young woman who has hit.
"It is really sad because she is probably a local girl and just cycling to work and going about her business.
"This road can be dangerous at times because it can get very congested and our hearts just go out to her family and friends."
A police spokesman added: "We were called at 8.24am to a fatal collision between a cyclist and a lorry. Investigations into the cause of the accident are continuing."
News of the two fatal accidents comes at a time when the safety of cyclists sharing the road with large vehicles such as lorries is coming increasingly under the spotlight, with European Union transport ministers due to vote later this year on legisation governing safety features to be fitted to lorries.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.