Polish woman named as Belfast cycling fatality

Police appeal for witnesses to rush hour incident

by Mark Appleton   August 5, 2011  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight, www.flickr.com)

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has released the name of the woman cyclist who died in a collision with a lorry in Belfast on Wednesday.

Iwona Zakierska, 31, who lived in the Belfast area is believed by the PSNI to have been a Polish national.

She died in an incident on the Upper Newtownards Road in East Belfast during the morning rush hour. Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

An Ulster Unionist Party councillor, Jim Rodgers, who was at the scene told the Belfast Telegraph: “I have never seen an accident like it in my life. My thoughts are with the victim’s family and with the lorry driver.

“A lot of people stopped at the scene to help — nurses and consultants on their way to work at the Ulster and doctors from a local surgery.

“It leaves a lasting effect. I know police officers at the scene were physically moved by the accident,” he added.

South Belfast Member of the Legislative Assembly, Conal McDevitt, a keen cyclist also spoke to the  Belfast Telegraph: “This is the second tragic death this summer of a cyclist on our roads in Belfast and it highlights the need to make our roads safer for all road users and highlights the need for the Executive to give better provision for cyclists," he said.

“It remains a fact that the previous Minister for Regional Development cut the cycling budget by 98 per cent to a derisory £5,000. It’s now time the executive signalled its support for all road users.

“We need all road users to be aware of each other and create a culture where people respect each person on the road.”

Ms Zakierska’s death is the third of a young, female Polish cyclist that we have reported this year.

Paula Jurek, 20, died when struck by a left-turning lorry on London's Camden Road in April and Milena Gott, 22, died in hospital in Glasgow in January, following an operation to amputate both her legs when complications set in, 18 months after she had been crushed by tanker lorry on a busy roundabout in Aberdeen.