A teenage girl has been the first person killed riding a Boris bike after she was involved in a collision with a lorry while riding along a London Cycle Superhighway yesterday.
The girl, thought to be 20, was riding on CS2, the blue superhighway that runs from Aldgate to Bow, when she was involved in the fatal crash at around 6.30pm.
The driver of the lorry stopped at the scene. No arrests have been made. The girl was taken to hospital but did not survive.
The Metropolitan Police said that a post mortem examination would be taking place.
TFL's Leon Daniels told the BBC: "Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of the female cyclist who tragically died following a collision with a heavy goods vehicle on Whitechapel High Street. We understand she was riding a Barclays Cycle Hire bike.
"Transport for London has a range of measures already underway to further reduce the number of collisions involving cyclists across London and we will be assisting the Metropolitan Police with their investigation into this tragic incident."
The CS2 has been the scene of three cyclist deaths now.
Police investigating the death of Svitlana Tereschenko killed last year at Bow Roundabout while cycling home from work decided the driver of the tipper truck which killed her, Gurpreet Shergill, would face no charges over the matter despite his failure to indicate that he was turning left and talking on a handsfree mobile phone at the time of the incident.
She had pushed her bike to the head of a queue of stationary traffic as she tried to get to the start of the Barclays Cycle Superhighway heading at Bow Roundabout. As the traffic moved off she was struck and killed by the Olympic park tipper truck as it turned left across her heading for the Blackwall Tunnel.
Brian Dorling was also killed by a lorry at the same roundabout, which has since had some improvements made to its design.
Later this year the CS2 will be extended to Stratford. The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has welcomed much of the design for the extension, such as the inclusion of 2.4 kilometres of segregated cycle lane on Stratford High Street, which it points out are sufficiently wide so as to allow quicker cyclists to safely overtake those who are slower.
LCC has welcomed the way the lanes are routed past bus stops – the latter, in effect, become islands with the lane running between the stop and the pavement – as well as the fact that the space required to create the cycle lanes has been taken from the main carriageway, rather than the footway.
Despite those positives, LCC says it has a number of reservations about the plans, raising concerns about the safety of cyclists on Bow Roundabout due to the deployment of early start traffic lights which it says aren’t suitable for such a large junction, the dangers still posed by the Stratford one-way system, problems with accessing the northbound lane, as well as over two-stage right turns for cyclists.
Even Boris Johnson himself has added to the confusion about how blue Superhighways work, when he told Sky News: "As for my blue bike lanes, they are perfectly … there is no ban on allowing your wheels to stray into them, they are there purely, as you know they are there for indicative purposes."
Earlier this year we reported the startling fact that in one sizeable area of Central London, 14 women – but no men – have been killed while riding bikes over the past 12 years, all but one by a lorry or bus.
A blogger from I Cycle Liverpool was using mapping to look for patterns in data, which is collated by the Department for Transport, when the geographical coincidence leapt out at him.
The area concerned is a circle with a radius of 1.5km centred roughly on Lamb’s Conduit Street. That gives it an area of a little over 7 kilometres squared – more than twice the size of the City of London, the ‘Square Mile’ that has an area of 2.9 kilometres squared.
Lorries were involved in 11 of the 14 fatalities, buses in a further two. All but two of the incidents happened in daylight. In seven of the 13 deaths caused by large vehicles, the lorry or bus was turning left. But in some of these cases, where the cyclist was ahead of the large vehicle and not seen.
The Barclays Cycle Superhighways FAQ on the TfL website, in response to the question, “Can motor vehicles enter Barclays Cycle Superhighways?” states:
“On-road Barclays Cycle Superhighways comprise a mixture of mandatory cycle lanes, advisory cycle lanes, blue surfacing in bus lanes, and blue surfacing in general traffic lanes.
“Mandatory cycle lanes must not be entered by motor vehicles (including motorcycles). They are shown by a solid white line separating the lane from the general carriageway and by roadside signs, which also display the operating times of the lanes.
“Advisory cycle lanes are not designed to be used by motor vehicles, as stated in the Highway Code. However, motorists can enter the lanes if necessary. Advisory lanes are usually provided where there is not enough space for a sufficiently wide mandatory lane, and are designed to highlight to other road users that there will be high number of cyclists along the route, and to show where on the road to expect them.
“Blue surfacing in bus lanes is designed to remind users that the lane is shared by buses and cyclists (and also in some cases by motorcyclists and taxis). It reminds drivers that they are likely to encounter cyclists and provides cyclists with route continuity.
“Blue surfacing in general traffic lanes is designed to remind motorists that they are likely to encounter cyclists and to provide cyclists with route continuity.”
In all cases, the blue surfacing is designed to guide cyclists, and they are not obliged to ride on it.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.