Fatal accident coincides with relationship between cyclists and pedestrians coming under spotlight

An 81-year-old man who founded a popular Spanish restaurant in Richmond upon Thames has died following a collision with a cyclist. The news comes at a time when the relationship between pedestrians and cyclists is under close scrutiny following the recent introduction of a private members’ bill in Parliament that seeks to create a new offence of dangerous or reckless cycling.

Fernando Izquierdo died on Easter Sunday following injuries sustained three days earlier in the incident, which took place close to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Factory on Petersham Road just before noon on Thursday 21 April, reports the Richmond and Twickenham Times. It is not clear whether the fatal accident happened on the road or pavement.

Mr Izquierdo had moved to Britain with his brother, Pepe, in the 1950s and the pair opened the Don Fernando tapas restaurant close to Richmond station in 1990. He had subsequently retired to Spain, although he regularly returned to the restaurant, which is now run by younger generations of the family, and had come back to Britain last month for the funeral of his brother, who had died of cancer.

Police and ambulance crews were quickly on the scene of the accident and Mr Izquierda, who reportedly suffered head injuries in the collision, was airlifted to the Royal London Hospital, but doctors there were unable to save his life.

The Richmond and Twickenham Times reports that the cyclist, aged 41 years, was treated for minor injuries at St George’s Hospital in Tooting and that no arrest had been made.

Police are asking anyone who witnessed the incident to contact Hampton Traffic Garage on 020 8941 9011.

Detective Sergeant John Hartfree told the newspaper: “I am appealing for anyone who witnessed the collision, or the events leading up to the collision, to speak to our team.

“Petersham Road would have been very busy at this time of day and I am sure there would have been many people in the area who would have seen this incident.”

In March, the Dangerous and Reckless Cycling (Offences) Bill, introduced by Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire, received its first reading in the House of Commons.

That bill was partly drafted in response to the death in 2008 of teenager Rhiannon Bennett, who died from injuries received after being struck by cyclist Jason Howard, who was later convicted of dangerous cycling and fined £2,200.

Despite the attention Ms Leadsom’s bill has received from some elements of the mainstream press, particularly those that regularly feature stories regarding the perceived menace of so-called “lycra louts,” instances of pedestrians being killed following a collision with a cyclist are thankfully extremely rare.

In the decade to 2009, the last year for which records are available, just three such incidents were recorded according to Department for Transport road casualty statistics.

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.