CANCELLED: Planned vigil in London tomorrow for Dr Katharine Giles, killed as she rode to work on Monday
Tribute to scientist whose life was ended by left-turning lorry cancelled in line with family's wishes
A vigil that was planned to be held in Victoria Street, central London, tomorrow to commemorate Dr Katharine Giles, the cyclist killed when she was hit by a left-turning lorry as she rode to work at University College London (UCL) on Monday morning, has been cancelled in line with her family's wishes.
Dr Giles, aged 35, was a postdoctoral research fellow at UCL’s Centre for Polar Observation & Modelling and was involved in research on the effect of climate change on arctic regions. The vigil, organised by the charity RoadPeace, had been due to take place opposite the junction with Palace Street.
As well as RoadPeace, other organisations that were due to attend included British Cycling and London Cycling Campaign, whose chief executive, Ashok Sinha, said it was intended to "help us send a message to our politicians and the construction industry that too many people have died needlessly on our city streets.
"It's time for radical measures to reduce the risk lorries pose to vulnerable people: banning lorries during morning rush hour or redesigning vehicles in line with our Safer Urban Lorry.
"We're also calling on all haulage companies to adopt the measures in our Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling campaign: cyclist-awareness training for drivers and better-equipped lorries."
Following Dr Giles’s death, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and his recently appointed Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, have both outlined plans to place restrictions on lorries in London.
Mr Johnson told ITV London News: "What we're going to be doing in the future is stipulating that no HGV can enter London unless it is properly compliant with cycle safety equipment, and some of the things that you can do include the skirting between the wheels of the trucks.
"Sometimes in these cases, some of the worst cases, what happens is that the truck driver is literally unaware of the presence of the cyclist at all."
The death of Dr Giles comes three months after her colleague and former PhD supervisor, Professor Seymour Laxton, died at the age of 49 after a fall.
Professor Philip Meredith, head of UCL’s Department of Earth Sciences, quoted by The Mirror, said: “We are all left with a sense of the outrageous unfairness with which some of our best colleagues have been taken from us.
"Katharine had a bright future ahead of her. She graduated with a first class degree in earth and space sciences from UCL, studied under Seymour for her PhD, and went on to forge her own career as a research fellow and most recently as a university lecturer."