Boris Bike fatality: Young woman killed in lorry collision on London Cycle Superhighway

20-year-old is first to be killed riding a Barclays Cycle Hire bike

by Sarah Barth   July 6, 2013  

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

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.”

 

 

21 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Tragic to hear about such a terrible death. Would like to see the so called professional driver stripped of his license permanently and given a custodial sentence. As a former HGV driver I know how difficult it can be and also how bad the attitude of some drivers are towards all road users. Hope the improvements are seen sooner rather than later and justice is swift and exacting.

Mattrb78

posted by Mattrb78 [22 posts]
6th July 2013 - 10:50

12 Likes

The lorry driver was driving in an environment WE gave him, OUR elected representatives approved, WE paid for, and WE pay so-called experts to manage via TfL. So just exactly what should WE do about it?

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [667 posts]
6th July 2013 - 11:25

10 Likes

Sad story. Hopefully the Boris Bike expansion doesn't stop as we have had so many people on bikes, hundreds of thousands of miles travelled, and all of it quite safe. Capital Cycles

posted by TeamCC [146 posts]
6th July 2013 - 12:10

9 Likes

I only started cycling again recently after 10+ years, and I'm already sick of all the senseless cycling related deaths I'm seeing.
I remember one ride recently of about 25 miles I had 3 near misses, in 3 different places. I really had to take a step back that day as to whether it was really worth my life, but seems I'm as addicted now as I ever was when I was younger.

The capital of Great Britain - London. Is it really so great though? A nightmare to drive or cycle in a lot of the time. I remember working in East Central for a while. It was 30 minutes drive and £6 per day to park or 10 minutes on the bike to get to work due to the traffic.

Is it time to create a cycling lobby group? The way I see it, cycling has many benefits and perhaps one of the only real solutions to the obesity epidemic that is heading our way.

Lobby groups are usually selfish entities only looking out for their own interests. A cycling lobby that put cycling/pedestrians at the heart of government road policy would be a benefit to the entire country.

We have two cars in our household, and I pay a lot of tax and don't take much at all from the system. I also don't vote. I would vote for a party with concrete plans to the seemingly unsolvable road/car problem though.

I have a dream...
that one day I can ride my bike on the road without having to put my life on the line...

For now, I just go cycling as early as possible. That's not an option for everyone though.

Rant Over.

posted by ronin [178 posts]
6th July 2013 - 14:41

12 Likes

17 and just entering a teenagers best years, so so sad, thoughts with the family.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1039 posts]
6th July 2013 - 15:19

10 Likes

If you cycle in London i would advise anyone to avoid those heavy ungainly lumps of trash Bozo introduced
You just cannot respond quickly enough on them in the relentless congestion in London,each time i visit i take my own road bike which i have ridden for months and have a confidence gained through many miles of riding through all conditions
Very very sorry to hear about this poor young girl,i hope her family and friends have all the support and comfort they need

posted by ScotchPoth [49 posts]
6th July 2013 - 15:38

9 Likes

Aside from the personal tragedy,the general situation around cycle safety stinks.

posted by paulfg42 [381 posts]
6th July 2013 - 16:24

11 Likes

Quote:
Is it time to create a cycling lobby group? The way I see it, cycling has many benefits and perhaps one of the only real solutions to the obesity epidemic that is heading our way.

Possible problem is that there are too many lobby groups!
London Cycling Campaign, British Cycling, CTC and a whole host of other smaller factions all with their own ideas on how best to proceed.

The usual trolls and victim blamers are out in force on the BBC comments page. I've not dared to go to the Daily Wail website... Usual ill-informed shite about "road tax" and helmets and red-light-jumping. Sad

Poor girl - another pointless and tragic waste of a life.

Quote:
If you cycle in London i would advise anyone to avoid those heavy ungainly lumps of trash Bozo introduced

Disagree, I think they're brilliant. Use them all the time when I'm in London. No worries about locking my own bike, just jump on one and go. And because they're so heavy, they actually encourage safe riding. You can't sprint for lights or carve corners so you actually ride in a completely different style. Proper Dutch style, calm and relaxed. Best thing that ever happened to London.

posted by crazy-legs [587 posts]
6th July 2013 - 16:24

12 Likes

Sad

Sad to hear this.

CS2 blue paint is utterly pointless, and the way the lanes change width and share the bike lane is outright dangerous. There doesn't seem to be a continuous lane opposite Aldgate Tube station though.

posted by kie7077 [575 posts]
6th July 2013 - 17:07

10 Likes

Disagree, I think they're brilliant. Use them all the time when I'm in London. No worries about locking my own bike, just jump on one and go. And because they're so heavy, they actually encourage safe riding. You can't sprint for lights or carve corners so you actually ride in a completely different style. Proper Dutch style, calm and relaxed. Best thing that ever happened to London.

You have just proved my point,you cant outsprint the traffic or carve corners which on a heavy unwieldy piece of trash puts you at a distinct disadvantage
Maybe in more civilised Holland this style of riding is appropriate but we are talking about London where it is completely inappropriate and dangerous
Best to be on a bike you have ridden for a while than jump on one of those pieces of crap in London

posted by ScotchPoth [49 posts]
6th July 2013 - 17:26

9 Likes

Poor girl - what a waste of life.
Cue the inevitable tedious calls for compulsory helmets despite the blindingly obvious fact that when going up against a lorry the cyclist stands little chance helmet or not.

posted by Some Fella [844 posts]
6th July 2013 - 17:49

10 Likes

It's blood slaughter out there WHEN WILL THE GOVERMENT STOP JUST TALKING AND ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING?

Start with life time driving bans for dangerous motorists, a driving licence should be a privelige not a right.
Angry

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [279 posts]
6th July 2013 - 18:43

15 Likes

RIP

An all too familiar tale. Anyone who cycles in London or any city in this country is waiting with baited breath for changes that have been too far too long coming and still seem a long way off.

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [177 posts]
6th July 2013 - 19:02

12 Likes

what actually amazes me is that needs to be any laws about dangerous driving that are subjective.

Everyone who learns to drive is expected to know the highway code, if you think about almost every death the driver didn't behave as the HWC requires. Behave like that in the test, you fail....

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1466 posts]
6th July 2013 - 19:26

12 Likes

What is truly amazing is that TfL have the temerity to describe something that cars, buses and HGVs are allowed to encroach upon as a "Cycle Superhighway"

It'd be laughable if it wasn't so serious.

posted by dp24 [196 posts]
6th July 2013 - 21:07

8 Likes

All these blue lanes, special road signs and traffic lights give a sense of security and priority to cyclists that eventually is way too dangerous.

I live outside UK, in a place with high population density (4.5 million souls), without cycling lanes in 99% of the metropolitan area, having to use massively destroyed roads and dangerous / careless drivers and I know one thing. As a cyclist, if I want to reach my destination safely, I NEVER EVER have priority on the road.

Some of the precautions I take are the following:

- I use the same routes constantly in order to learn their dangerous spots (potholes, blind crossroads, narrow lanes).
- I reduce speed in every crossroad, even if I don't have a STOP sign in front of me (NO PRIORITY EVER).
- On narrow roads I sometimes stop my bike completely and allow other drivers to pass me (especially if they drive aggressively).
- I avoid like hell high speed roads because it is far more difficult for the drivers to brake in time.

posted by vasgko2 [23 posts]
7th July 2013 - 8:28

10 Likes

A 17, year old taken in tragic circumstances again. When will this end? cycling should be safe for everyone!

So saddened to hear of this terrible accident.

My thoughts are with the family of the young lady.

posted by Mostyn [407 posts]
7th July 2013 - 15:41

10 Likes

so sad, my heart goes out to the young lady's family.

posted by billyman [130 posts]
7th July 2013 - 18:37

13 Likes

Just want to say that while out this weekend an articulated lorry driver slowed down to let my girlfriend cross an 'A' road which I thought was a real thoughtful act.

The comment that the young lady was forcing her way to the front of traffic is an all to common occurrence in London. While the bike box is a useful safety device I think that it causes cyclists to push through traffic under dangerous circumstances. It's especially dangerous if you get trying to get to the front and the lights change. Sometimes there is not room to get to this space. But instead of having the confidence to take up road position until the lights change inexperienced riders push on through. I believe a combination of this and a failure to understand HGV blind spots causes significant issues.

This sounds like a sad case. What is saddest is that it seems almost accepted that a death on a Boris bike would occur at some point or other, but I guess that is the truth of the matter. In fact I'm surprised, given the ad hoc nature of the road user, that it has not happened sooner.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1237 posts]
8th July 2013 - 8:59

8 Likes

Personally, I'm surprised it has taken this long to get the first fatality on a Boris Bike. I know this is a cycling site so slightly biased - but the standard of cycling I see on my daily commute through London, especially on Boris Bikes is shocking - and I'm sorry to say it but young women are some of the worst, especially around heavy traffic. I nearly hit three at the weekend on Boris Bikes coming the wrong way on my side of the road on a blind bend. We can blame car and lorry drivers all we like - and I've had my fair share of bumps and near misses from stupid drivers, but until the standard of cycling in London gets better and people take a bit more responsibility and think a bit more about their own safety this sort of thing will only continue.

posted by Jonathan Knight [16 posts]
8th July 2013 - 10:44

14 Likes

When are truck drivers going top stop being so abusive/aggressive/inconsiderate to other road users. IF THEY HAVE A BLIND SPOT RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE VEHICLE WHY DO THEY DRIVE SO DAMN CLOSE TO THE VEHICLE IN FRONT?!!!!!!!!!

tired old fart

posted by tired old fart [82 posts]
24th March 2014 - 11:09

2 Likes