Lorry kills young woman cyclist at Bow roundabout in East London

2nd death at roundabout in 3 weeks just days after Mayor urged to do something about London's killer junctions

by Tony Farrelly   November 11, 2011  

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

Bow roundabout in East London this evening claimed the life of a second cyclist in less than three week with the news that a young woman was killed there this evening in an incident with a tipper lorry, she becomes the 15th cyclist to die in London this year,  the 14th 58-year-old Brian Dorling also died at the same junction in an incident involving a similar type of lorry.

As yet no details have been released of the exact details of what happened, but the BBC reports that the woman was pronounced dead at the scene at 4.45pm, the police later confirmed that they arrested the lorry driver on suspicion of causing death by careless driving. The incident occurred on the westbound carriageway at the Bow Road roundabout.

The Metropolitan Police have issued a witness appeal and would like to speak to anyone who saw the incident or the movements of both vehicles leading up to it. The Witness Line can be contacted on 020 8597 4874.

Bow roundabout is a notoriously busy junction bissected by a major north/south routes - the A102 approach to the Blackwall Tunnel and east/west route the A12 in to the City. Up until recently it was a spot avoided by many cyclists if possible but earlier this year it became part of the latest Barclays Cycle Superhighway route CS2 – it has also been designated as part of the official cycle route to the nearby Olympic Park.

Last month Brian Dorling became the first person to die on one of the Cycle Superhighways when he was killed on his way to the Olympic site where he worked by a left turning tipper truck. Today's victim is likely to be the second.

Earlier this week London's Mayor, Boris Johnson was quizzed about the safety of cyclists on London's road, (you can see a video of that below) by members of the London Assembly. The Mayor and Transport for London were accused by a number of assembly members of putting the free flow of motorised traffic ahead of the safety of cyclists despite that fact cyclists make up a growing proportion of London's peak time traffic and despite the fact that the Mayor and TfL are at the forefront in encouraging new cyclists on to the roads.

At the meeting the Mayor was specifically urged by Labour member John Biggs to force TfL to do something to make the Bow roundabout safer for pedestrians and cyclist – something the organisation has previously said it was reluctant to do because extra safety measures would inevitably lead to delays for motorists.

Following today's tragedy, one that many campaigners feared was inevitable, the Bow roundabout is rapidly becoming a microcosm of the Mayor and TfL's current transport policy and all its inherent contradictions. One congested space contains the intersection of two major traffic arteries, a flagship cycling route and Olympic access route, while beneath it lies a much lauded and potentially award winning piece of engineering in the shape of a £2.4m floating towpath boosting walking and cycling along the River Lea, like so much cycling insfrastructure in Britain it addresses the smaller problem while the larger one of safe east/west access has so far been ignored. It has now also been the site of two cycling fatalites involving lorries - a microcosm indeed.

It now seems likely that one of the Mayor's flagship Cycle Superhighways will be shown in the starkest way possible to be lethally dangerous. The dilemma for the Mayor and TfL is that to make the route safe, which must now surely be a priority with the likely increase in traffic levels along CS2 in the run up to the Olympics, will require the sort of drastic redesign and investment in infrastructure that creative use of blue paint alone cannot achieve. It will also require the will to put cyclist's and pedestrian's safety ahead of motoring convenience something both the Mayor and TfL have so far seemed reluctant to do.

Tomorrow (Saturday) more than a hundred cyclists will take part in a ride around London's 10 most dangerous junctions for cyclists - such has been its rapide rise up the league table of lethality that Bow roundabout was not on their list of junctions to visit, if there is a future ride it surely will be.

14 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

It's actually part of CS2 not CS7.
Another terrible and un-necessary death, TFL and Boris Johnson have a lot to answer for with these shite excuses for cycle facilities.

posted by bassjunkieuk [32 posts]
12th November 2011 - 0:45


yes sorry about that bassjunkie, although I'm from that part of London I left long before there were such things as Cycle Superhighways, corrected now.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
12th November 2011 - 0:59


Is it not about time Barclays Bank made their voice heard on this issue?
Their name is all over the Highway and Hire schemes, but they remain curiously silent. They have invested enough to make Boris and TfL take action, surely?

posted by kowalski [10 posts]
12th November 2011 - 8:31


What a terrible co-incidence that the LCC "Tour du Danger" flashride is taking place this morning. It will add extra impact and poignancy to the event but not in a manner that any of the particpants could possibly have wished for.

posted by Paul M [343 posts]
12th November 2011 - 11:02


I was there and feel shocked and saddened at what I witnessed. As a part time cyclist, a motorist and a pedestrian I am appalled at how a blue line on a road has been described as a cyclist super highway. Safe, segregated space needs to be made for cyclists here along it's entire length.

posted by vickym400 [1 posts]
12th November 2011 - 11:16


Hi vickym400 that must have been a very traumatic thing to witness - it upset me just having to write about it.

We're just updating this story with news of a police witness appeal - I don't know if you spoke to any of the officers at the scene but just in case you didn't you can get in touch with them on 020 8597 4874, they will be keen to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident or it's immediate aftermath or indeed the movements of either the lorry or cyclist just before it happened.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
12th November 2011 - 13:00


Appalling news.

Who ever at TFL designed this section needs to be strung up.


posted by gazzaputt [196 posts]
12th November 2011 - 13:10


Why have they arrested the driver?

He'll be questioned, charged, bailed, get his day in court and go home scott free.
We all know how this works, you have to negligently kill at least three cyclists before you get even a chance of jail.

Further shame and disgrace on this crappy little country of ours.

posted by matthewuniverse [17 posts]
12th November 2011 - 14:56


I am Brian Dorling's wife. He was killed on the CS2 almost 3 weeks ago. My life and that of our 3 children has been devastated. He was my best friend and soulmate I am utterly distraught. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the young woman killed on the same roundabout yesterday, we know exactly what they are going through. Whoever designed the superhighway on that roundabout is completely negligent.

posted by Brians Wife [3 posts]
12th November 2011 - 14:59


Brian's Wife
I don't think anyone will mind if I speak for everyone here in saying that you are in all of our hearts right now. Nobody should have to go through what you are going through, and purely due to lack of political will and nous of those in control.

I think your lack of (expressed) anger is a great credit to you.

My heart goes out to you and your family in this difficult time.


posted by matthewuniverse [17 posts]
12th November 2011 - 15:26

1 Like

Brian's wife - I think everyone on this site would like to offer their condolences. Many of us have families too.

I've not ridden that Cycle Superhighway but I have ridden the A3 one from Clapham-Kennington numerous times, as well as driven my car and my motorbike along the route and I know there are areas that are extremely poorly designed and which expose cyclists to danger needlessly. A pot of blue paint is not an adequate method for improving the safety of cyclists.


posted by OldRidgeback [2577 posts]
12th November 2011 - 17:13


Mrs Dorling,

Last night, when I was writing this news piece I thought of how you would feel hearing that another person had died in much the same spot and in seemingly similar circumstances so soon after your husband was killed there. As the two posters before me said more eloquently than me you and your family are in our thoughts as are the family of yesterday's victim, and the family of Olin Poulson.

You are undoubtedly right that somebody at TfL has some serious questions to answer here, as does the Mayor. The last three weeks have sadly proved that blue paint and hope are no substitutes for properly thought out cycling infrastructure.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
12th November 2011 - 18:10


This is terrible. I warned my wife - who cycles to Stratford regularly - a few weeks ago that I thought this cycle superhighway was exceptionally dangerous. In fact I think they are all dangerous to a greater or lesser degree. It is very sad to be proved right twice within a few weeks. Perhaps renaming them 'cycle superdeathways 'would make the point better?


posted by Watdabni [8 posts]
12th November 2011 - 19:35


kowalski wrote:
Is it not about time Barclays Bank made their voice heard on this issue?
Their name is all over the Highway and Hire schemes, but they remain curiously silent. They have invested enough to make Boris and TfL take action, surely?

This is a very interesting point and one that I've not heard before. I can imagine that more of these tragic and un-necessary incidents might well make Barclays re-think their investment.

Having your name linked to death on the roads, even loosely, could be seen as extremely bad for business. Perhaps Barclays might actually become an ally in improving the situation?

posted by don_don [149 posts]
14th November 2011 - 14:40