London Cycling Campaign drills down into facts about cyclist's death near Olympic Stadium

Evidence suggests Dan Harris was wrongly encouraged onto dangerous junction by poor road signage say LCC in response to Hendy comments

by Sarah Barth   September 15, 2012  

Dan Harris - pic courtesy of Metropolitan Police

The London Cycling Campaign has complained to Transport for London about comments made by commissioner Peter Hendy about the death of cyclist Daniel Harris near the Olympic Park in London last month.

Daniel died from multiple injuries after he was hit by a bus on the A12.

In comments made to the London Assembly Transport Committee, Peter Hendy said that Daniel should not have been on the stretch of road he was using.

In the letter, the LCC comments: "In the absence of signage or road markings any knowledgeable and responsible cyclist would have assumed cycling on the pavement was illegal at this point, and that the intention was that cyclists should share the nearside Games lane with other traffic."

On their website, the LCC adds that "additional signage to clarify the situation was only added after the fatal collision," and include the following photographs to make the point.

In the picture showing the road layout before the Olympics, it is clear to see a cycle path running counter to traffic, directed onto the pavement:

As the LCC says in its letter: "In practice the changes made to the road layout and markings in July failed to direct cyclists to the pavement; most notably the direction markings to guide cyclists onto the pavement route had been scrubbed out when the previous on-road cycle lane was removed."

During the Olympics, direction of traffic was altered and the cycle path removed. There are no signs to indicate that cyclists should use the pavement:

The LCC dispute that Daniel would have known any better than to cycle on the road, writing: "In the absence of signage or road markings, any knowledgeable, responsible cyclist would have assumed that cycling on the pavement was illegal at this point and that the intention was that cyclists should share the nearside games lane with other traffic.

"Sharing the road with games traffic on nearside games lanes was the default rule for most games lanes. One would have to drill down many levels of the 'getaheadofthegames' website to discover that this road was one of the two or three exceptions to that rule."

The LCC's comments come after Daniel's family made a public request to end the 'blame game' surrounding his death.

As we reported at the time, they said in a statement released via the Metropolitan police: "Our family do not want Daniel's name associated with any protests, or used for any political point-scoring whatsoever by pro-cycling lobbyists or similar factions."

9 user comments

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so cycling on the road is wrong when they don't tell you you can use the pavement. But if he had been using the pavement i guess some elderly mail reader would have stuck the end of his walking stick into his front wheel for riding on a pavement that no one had told the mail reader he was allowed to cycle on, so the cyclist would also be wrong??

And people wonder why some cyclists just don't bother with the rules as they clearly make no sense.

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posted by mrmo [1026 posts]
15th September 2012 - 18:11

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I know this is anecdotal but I want to mention it in any case. A friend of mine is a London bus driver and he read about what happened to Dan. He says that looking out for cyclists is part of his training, and, in his opinion, the driver is at fault in this case. The driver cannot simply say "I didn't see him", the usual excuse from car drivers. Bus drivers are trained to a higher standard of driving than ordinary motorists (I know that's probably not much I hear you say) but the driver has mirrors and he would have seen him earlier whilst he was cycling along the road. My friend says that if he passes cyclists along a road and then stops at a junction, he will look for cyclists along either side of the bus. If he can't see them, he will take extra care because he knows they may be around the bus.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
15th September 2012 - 21:30

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They've got the signage/roadmarkings completely wrong - the keep left sign is now directing traffic (that is all traffic, not just cyclists) into the hatched area.

Exercising my rights by taking them cycling

posted by pedalingparamedic [86 posts]
15th September 2012 - 21:34

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In the circumstances the "blame the victim" comments of Peter Hendy are squalid, and outrageous distraction from the poor road layouts and signage in a venue that should be a demonstration project for sensible design and signage.

Sudor

posted by Sudor [179 posts]
15th September 2012 - 21:46

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Am I the only one to see Hillsborough written all over Peter Hendy's response?

posted by ron611087 [17 posts]
16th September 2012 - 10:32

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Sudor wrote:
In the circumstances the "blame the victim" comments of Peter Hendy are squalid, and outrageous distraction from the poor road layouts and signage in a venue that should be a demonstration project for sensible design and signage.

The dead person cannot defend himself so this knob can say what he likes Sad

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posted by Simon E [1906 posts]
16th September 2012 - 15:03

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The changes in Eastway (ironically the site of East London's major cycling venue was here and was wiped out to build the Media centre area of the Olympic Park) are clearly radical. The Olympics introduced an eastbound lane for motor traffic - prior to the games the move that killed Dan was simply not possible as the roads engineers rightly saw a 180 degree left turn on full lock as an inappropriate way to join the A12 on-ramp.

Note that many of the buses and coaches being driven during the Olympics period had drivers from outside London (hence a number of horror stories about lost drivers and very unusual routes) Contractors with London Buses contracts for TfL, have to complete a vocational training module called Big Bus Little Bike, which is a reasonably good grounding in how to interact with cyclists. Drivers outside London have a 35 hour vocational training requirement over 5 years and the cycle awareness element is just one option. Stagecoach were the co-ordinating contractor for the Media/Games Family transport, but not all drivers used were Stagecoach employees.

I took the opportunity to ride around the park about a week before the main kick-off. Eastway was already very busy with staff coming & going and I had a hazardous incident approaching from the West (the cycle route Eastbound comes over the Canal on a blind crest bridge, and immediately hits the wide sweep of the media complex/car park exit. So I rode over and found a coach swinging out across my path.

I photographed that gloriously ambiguous Keep Left bollard - directing all traffic to a 12" wide slot between the traffic island and the kerbs. When I visited there was a major hazard from the narrowed lanes and motor vehicles pulling in to a lay-by outside the security cordon to collect passengers.

Further the Eastbound traffic on Eastway was lined up to go straight in to the opposing flow, just past that bollard, with only 2 small no entry roundels to deter drivers from heading square on into traffic coming off the A12.

In short a clear exercise in how no to deliver a safe road layout.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [470 posts]
16th September 2012 - 23:21

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I'm not sure I understand: alright, had the signage been better he might have been directed onto a pavement. However that seems pretty close to implying that it's only because the signage was poor that his presence on the road was excusable.

This is not the case: he had an absolute right to use the road regardless of other provisions for cyclists.

While I am glad to see the LCC defending the cyclist's actions and attacking poor road layout, to me they are engaging on the wrong grounds. We have enough problems with people in this country assuming cyclists shouldn't be on the road.

posted by HKCambridge [108 posts]
17th September 2012 - 16:19

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Could not agree more with the comments of HKCambridge, especially as yesterday I had an incident with a foul mouthed yobbo in (surprise surprise) a white van telling me inbetween swear words to cycle on the pavement (about the only thing he didn't say was he pays for the roads) Too many people seem to think that we do not have the right to be on the roads. Rant over my condolences to the friends and family of Daniel

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posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [570 posts]
18th September 2012 - 12:55

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