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Instructs Boris Johnson to respond in 56 days

Aspects of the design of London’s cycle superhighways are confusing and may have contributed to the 2011 death of Brian Dorling at Bow roundabout, the coroner in the inquests into the deaths of Mr Dorling and Philippine de Gerin-Ricard has said.

Writing in the inquest’s Prevention of Future Deaths report, coroner Mary Hassall instructed the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and roads authority Transport for London (TfL) to respond within 56 days explaining what action would be taken to make the cycle superhighways safer.

TfL says it is considering the report and will respond in due course.

One key problem the report identifies is that some sections of cycle superhighway 2 are not designated cycle lanes. During the inquest, accident investigator PC Alex Hewitt described the road markings at the point where Mr Dorling was killed as “just a piece of blue paint.”

In her report, Ms Hassell writes: “The unbordered blue strips that have been painted on some roads are confusing.

“I heard evidence that many cyclists and motorists simply do not appreciate that such a blue strip without a white line border (whether unbroken or broken) is not a cycle lane.”

“The confusion has the following potential consequences.

“Cyclists wrongly assume (as Mr Dorling may have done) that they have priority, and are lulled into a false sense of security.

“Cyclists believe that they have to ride on the blue strips, which may not be the correct position for them to assume in particular circumstances, most particularly when going round a roundabout.”

Ms Hassall also pointed out that the strips give drivers the false impression that they should only expect to encounter cyclists on the strips, and that where the blue section is in a lane too narrow for a bike and a motor vehicle to share it, drivers may either straddle the lane markings instead of safely overtaking, or simply drive along the blue section.

She added that drivers might then “get into the habit of driving over coloured strips, and not notice when these are actually bordered by white lines and so are cycle lanes. Thus, cyclists riding in cycle lanes elsewhere in London and the rest of the country, are put in greater danger.”

The coroner recommended a mixture of education and infrastructure improvements to help prevent future deaths.

She writes: “Despite the efforts already made, more work could usefully be undertaken to educate cyclists (and motorists) about safer riding techniques.”

Turning to the death of Philippine de Gerin-Ricard, who was crushed by a tipper truck while riding a Boris bike past Aldgate tube station, Ms Hassall writes:

“The junction of Whitechapel High Street and Commercial Street in London E1 (where Ms de Gerin-Ricard sustained her fatal injuries) remains difficult to negotiate.

“As I am sure you are aware, innovative solutions need to be considered, whether this be in terms of infrastructure or other.”

Tom Edwards of the BBC reports that transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy said: "The primary cause of the terrible accident of Mr Dorling was that he and the lorry went through a red light.

"We need to make sure that road layouts are safe.

"We've altered it once and no doubt we'll alter it again. If you cycle or drive through a red light you are likely to have an accident. It's really important that all road users look out for themselves and others and conform with the law."

Brian Dorling’s family and solicitor Tom Jones called for meaningful action not words to improve cyclists’ safety. The family called painting section of busy roads blue “a typical PR gimmick but innocent cyclists are dying.” Mr Jones said it was time for “no more Boris flannel but clear answers and real action.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

12 comments

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Argos74 [447 posts] 3 years ago
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The coroner, Mary Hassell, is reported to have a track record of using S43 orders - "official reports to people or organisations asking for changes to prevent future deaths, known as Rule 43s, of the Coroners’ Rules 1984."

Plucky lady. She's gonna have her work cut out with TFL on the loose. Send cake.

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crazy-legs [912 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

...transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy said: "The primary cause of the terrible accident of Mr Dorling was that he and the lorry went through a red light.

Nope, that's got nothing to do with it. If they'd both have gone through on green, the same thing would have happened - the fact that they were both there together is the issue and they were both there together because the CS2 sent him to that point with zero segregation.

I guess we'll never know but maybe Brian thought that he could edge forward to give himself a clearer run or to make sure that the driver saw him. Unfortunately, the driver seems to have done the classic thing that so many drivers do which is not actually STOP but to constantly edge forward while the light is red. Harmless if it's a cyclist doing it, potentially lethal if it's 5 tons of truck doing it.

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northstar [1107 posts] 3 years ago
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crazy-legs wrote:
Quote:

...transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy said: "The primary cause of the terrible accident of Mr Dorling was that he and the lorry went through a red light.

Nope, that's got nothing to do with it. If they'd both have gone through on green, the same thing would have happened - the fact that they were both there together is the issue and they were both there together because the CS2 sent him to that point with zero segregation.

I guess we'll never know but maybe Brian thought that he could edge forward to give himself a clearer run or to make sure that the driver saw him. Unfortunately, the driver seems to have done the classic thing that so many drivers do which is not actually STOP but to constantly edge forward while the light is red. Harmless if it's a cyclist doing it, potentially lethal if it's 5 tons of truck doing it.

+1 Same old rubbish from totally failing london.

I assume he has proof of this rljing, if not, why is he making such unrespectful comments?

Until they stop with their pro motorist policy of "smoothing the traffic flow" nothing will change.

I'm amazed they have been able to get away with such "designs" for so long...

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Mr Agreeable [181 posts] 3 years ago
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It's astonishing how in every other form of transport the designers of the infrastructure are responsible for the safety of the people using it, and have to take steps to make sure its users are safe. Think of rail, or air travel. Yet the roads are still a free-for-all. Hopefully this is a turning point.

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zanf [960 posts] 3 years ago
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northstar wrote:

Until they stop with their pro motorist policy of "smoothing the traffic flow" nothing will change.

I'm amazed they have been able to get away with such "designs" for so long...

Because this happens.....

http://road.cc/content/news/97058-tfl-wont-face-corporate-manslaughter-c...

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Rouboy [93 posts] 3 years ago
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I am liking this coroner if she regularly does issue S43 orders - "official reports to people or organisations asking for changes to prevent future deaths, known as Rule 43s, of the Coroners’ Rules 1984."
It sounds like we should encourage her to take on all incidents where cyclists are not so lucky.

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kie7077 [924 posts] 3 years ago
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What's needed is chevrons next to the cycle Lane, rumble strips on the chevrons.

Or a separate cycle path, the road is plenty wide enough, priority for cyclists at side roads made very clear.

I had two bus drivers try to tell me 1 foot is lots of room, I have to ride over a drain to avoid being hit by one of those buses - CS2 today.

Roadsafe needs to be upgraded and the police need to stop saying that a witness with video evidence is not enough to bring a prosecution, that excuse is not okay for rape and it's not ok for people endangering others lives.

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sm [405 posts] 3 years ago
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kie7077 wrote:

What's needed is chevrons next to the cycle Lane, rumble strips on the chevrons.

Let's just start with a solid white lane distinguishing these bits of blue paint as a cycle lane. Oh dear what am I saying, like drivers will obey a solid white line - most of 'em have no idea the difference between a solid white line and a dashed white line and even fewer of them care!

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 3 years ago
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Road design has not altered to take into account the needs of cyclist what so ever in the UK. We build shared paths with pedestrian thinking its a good idea. I hate riding on these as they are usually littered with sign posts, bins, dog walkers with ten foot leads, joggers wearing headphones 3 a breast, and mums in push chairs.
Until we have a dedicated roadside lane alongside traffic where we can go 25mph where we can then folks on bikes will always get knocked over.
It's like providing sports facilities, build a pool you'll get world class divers (Plymouth/Tom Daley) build a velodrome (Manchester?/Laura Trott). Build cycle lanes get more cyclists. EASY.

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A V Lowe [614 posts] 3 years ago
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@Crazy-legs : Correction "Obviously lethal if 32Tons of Truck is doing it - you can drive up to 7.5T GVW (3T tare) on class C1 (ordinary driving licence)

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A V Lowe [614 posts] 3 years ago
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Suggest that TfL gets an unbiased and independent crash inquiry report specialist to deliver a reports on Aldgate and BOTH Bow Roundabout crashes and follow the neutral (ie no-blame style) used by all RAIB reports. A good idea might be to contract RAIB to do this as if these were crashes involving railway trains and cyclists.

The 'red light' issue for example would be reported as a causal factor, as would the failure of the road painting to enforce any priorities or protocols that would prevent conflicting interaction between (motorised) traffic turning left and cycle traffic moving straight ahead.

Plus the real HUGE elephant in the room. If as TfL/Jacobs statements appear to suggest, initial site surveying revealed that in the absence of any official 'safety' interventions 60% (my observations suggest it is nearer 70%) of cyclists travelling along route CS2 rode (and continue to ride) over the flyover, why was the delivery of a scheme that avoided riding on the roundabout not considered?

I feel it was unfortunate that this question did not appear to be directly asked at the inquest, with the follow through question to those traffic 'experts' who have delivered a second scheme potentially worse than the original one through its added complexity of traffic signal timings and road markings.

"If a cyclist was riding through this junction over the flyover, how, in comparison with the current official CS2 route might the level of risk of being run over by a left turning truck or other motor vehicle be changed?" Clue here - turning left in a truck when travelling over a flyover is generally not a manouevre that drivers have been seen to attempt.

Basically risk of this on current CS2 'high' risk on route over flyover perhaps 0.01% . Specification of road safety measures - 1) Reduce risk - ideally by removing hazard.....

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valdestana [17 posts] 3 years ago
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Apart from buses and lorries always watch out for any Audi, BMW or Mercedes drivers too-seem to all have an issue with (i.e. ignoring) any cyclist on the road
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