Cyclist killed in bus crash in Whitechapel

Fifth London fatality in nine days

by John Stevenson   November 14, 2013  

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

A male cyclist has died after being hit by a double-decker bus at the junction of Whitechapel Road and Commercial Road in east London. The as-yet-unnamed man is the fifth bike rider to die on London's roads in nine days in a collision that came just hours after a protest vigil for the rider killed at Bow roundabout yesterday morning.

London Ambulance Service and police were called to the scene at 11:30pm on Wednesday, November 13 after a passing paramedic raised the alarm. Two ambulance crews and an air ambulance doctor attended the man, who was treated for serious head injuries at the scene. He was taken to Royal London Trauma Centre but was pronounced dead at approximately 4am on Thursday, November 14.

Cycle Superhighway 2 passes though the junction of Commercial Road and Whitechapel Road, which is just a few yards from where French student Philippine De Gerin-Ricard was killed in July.

Scotland Yard said that the male bus driver was treated at the scene for shock. Enquiries are underway to locate the cyclist’s next of kin. There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.

A workman at the scene, who did not want to be named, told the Evening Standard: “I heard a bang and a screech of brakes, turned around and saw the cyclist on the ground.

“There were lots of people milling around at the time but it was a taxi driver who was the first one to get out and help. Then another guy came up with a first aid kit but the police and ambulances got there within minutes.”

Eyewitness Anthony Hill, a writer from Bethnal Green, said: “I was on the 25 bus home after an evening out in the West End when I noticed blue lights and an ambulance in the road.

“Police had blocked off the westbound side of Whitechapel Road at the junction where Aldgate East station is. I saw a damaged pushbike lying on a traffic island, and a black cab with one of its front  wheels half mounted on the kerb.

“There was also some debris in the road. It’s not the first cyclist incident I’ve seen the aftermath of at this junction.

“I was also passing by on the evening a foreign student was killed there a few months back. My girlfriend, who was sitting with me on the bus, and I both said ‘let’s just hope this one’s okay’. It shocks me anyone is still brave enough to cycle round here.”

The Mayor of London's cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, told the BBC: "The danger in the current atmosphere of understandable alarm and concern is that we rush into some panic measure which actually makes things worse."

He said that there were three deaths in the first six and a half months of the year in similar road conditions to now.

Mr Gilligan admitted that the death toll after nine days was "extraordinary" and said: "From the beginning, Superhighway 2 has been little more than blue paint and I've been pressing to change it."

He said plans to upgrade all the superhighway routes will go out to consultation in four months and that it would take 11 months for changes to happen.

He added that there were 69 pedestrian deaths last year but that pedestrians do not have as strong a voice in the media.

Anyone with any information or witnesses to the collision are asked to call the police non-emergency line on 101.

27 user comments

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Whatever the reasons for this accident its another sad day for cyclists, my condolences go out to the family.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2664 posts]
14th November 2013 - 10:20

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Another tragic tale.

Stay safe out there people.

posted by bikewithnoname [26 posts]
14th November 2013 - 10:36

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posted by kie7077 [423 posts]
14th November 2013 - 10:38

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Intresting point he makes about pedestrains though, theres no pavement.com group making a noise.

Perhaps including them when describing the problem would add weight to arguments and help properly identify the cause.

RIP this soul and all the others.

posted by IanW1968 [134 posts]
14th November 2013 - 10:43

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stumps wrote:
Whatever the reasons for this accident its another sad day for cyclists, my condolences go out to the family.

Yup. RIP Sad

posted by AyBee [58 posts]
14th November 2013 - 10:53

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Terrible, terrible news.

I also am shocked by the statistics on pedestrian deaths - but I suppose dreadful as it is, since basically everyone is a pedestrian, proportionately the number of deaths isn't so huge?

Taking Gilligan's point about pedestrian's voice in the media, I can't see that many people would classify themselves as "a pedestrian" - at least to the extent that they would establish / join a pressure group that would be represented in the media. That said, advertising on road safety seems to me to be heavily focused at teenagers crossing the road - it may be my perception, but I don't remember seeing a lot of posters/tv adverts promoting safe cycling?

posted by Megacountax [15 posts]
14th November 2013 - 12:11

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RIP to all those who have suffered over the past couple of weeks. I really don't know whats going on... So sad.

Just came across this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24930598 it is a refreshing article to read from both points of view.

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posted by fancynancy [54 posts]
14th November 2013 - 12:12

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Not again, my sympathies to yet another bereaved family.
Considering the pedestrian fatalities as well, we tolerate far too many deaths at the hands of (often badly driven) vehicles.
Attitudes have to change and the media has a massive role to play in this.

posted by arfa [445 posts]
14th November 2013 - 12:20

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Automobiles have killed more people in the hundred or so years they have been around, than all the people killed by all wars in human history. I heard Jeremy Clarksson say this , but I imagine, he was trying to shoot the fox. If he said it its out of the way.

In a few years most cars will be driven by computers, and they will be much safer. Until then we are in a dark and mad age of road carnage.

One thing though, the 3000 pedestrians or so killed by cars a year. Bet the majority are children. Something not brought to our attention by the news services.
The car lobby, like the tobacco lobby in the 1960's, has massive influence over our politicians and media, it would seem.

posted by r48 [4 posts]
14th November 2013 - 12:58

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IanW1968 wrote:
Intresting point he makes about pedestrains though, theres no pavement.com group making a noise.

Not entirely. I think it is a distracting comment. As a pedestrian I do not feel in danger walking on the pavement. The only point at which I am in danger is crossing the road, and you can either freestyle it or use a zebra or pelican crossing. If you freestyle it you are obviously taking a risk yourself, and the comeuppance you receive is your own reward. Pedestrians who are hit using the other means are naturally in the all clear and it is the car driver who is in the wrong.

Also, with the numbers of pedestrians (given the population of London it is 7 million or so) the numbers of deaths is still proportionately low.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1079 posts]
14th November 2013 - 13:21

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It's a fcking terrifying road, frankly. Boris has blood on his hands encouraging people to cycle there.

posted by Bikebikebike [70 posts]
14th November 2013 - 13:32

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"As a pedestrian I do not feel in danger walking on the pavement."

Around 40 pedestrians are killed by vehicles on UK footways each year.

posted by AlexM [8 posts]
14th November 2013 - 13:38

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An analysis of pedestrian deaths in London can be found here:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/corporate/pedestrian-fatalities-i...

posted by racyrich [113 posts]
14th November 2013 - 14:00

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Automobiles have killed more people in the hundred or so years they have been around, than all the people killed by all wars in human history

Whilst compelling, I'm not sure that this statement is true...see:

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1672161/infographic-how-people-died-in-the-2...

RIP in this and all other cases

posted by Hasis [34 posts]
14th November 2013 - 14:01

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What London bus drivers think of us:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24937699

although I am sure the BBC would admit, this is hardly a representative sample.

Depressing nonetheless.

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
14th November 2013 - 14:12

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Who are these one-legged cyclists causing all the aggro to that driver?

Hopefully the reporter got some more reasonable responses that were left out for not being antagonistic enough.

At least the driver quoted on the comparison piece (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24930598) comes across as more balanced.

posted by unsliced [15 posts]
14th November 2013 - 14:29

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I try to avoid getting wound up by stuff I read after these incidents, but I've just seen some quotes attributed to Boris Johnson that absolutely disgust me.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/14/fifth-london-bike-death-b...

To paraphrase, "You can't attribute blame without all the facts, but cyclists go through red lights".

Dedicated cycling price comparison | http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [178 posts]
14th November 2013 - 14:53

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Just watched the ITV lunchtime news.
TFL reps were saying that the cyclist exited from a one-way street the wrong way. This was followed by Mayor BJ saying we should respect the rules and not take so many risks.
I don't think ITV should have given such prominence to such a biased view before there is a full inquiry.
This could be the prelude to a court case. Is Sub-judice (spelling ?) still around, or was that taken away from us by Europe as well ?

Enjoy

posted by cisgil23 [45 posts]
14th November 2013 - 15:06

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cisgil23 wrote:

This could be the prelude to a court case. Is Sub-judice (spelling ?) still around, or was that taken away from us by Europe as well ?

Very much still with us, if you look at the madeline macain (sp?) case the portuguese police do not say anything because of teh way there legal system works. The uk system claims innocent until guilty, the reality is trial by media.

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posted by mrmo [1023 posts]
14th November 2013 - 15:13

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I delayed work this morning to write a bit about the current state of affairs - it's just wrong by every standard you can apply!

http://themartincox.co.uk/2013/11/roads/

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [319 posts]
14th November 2013 - 15:49

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
If you freestyle it you are obviously taking a risk yourself, and the comeuppance you receive is your own reward.

What?

Where do you get this stuff from? Are you just making up your own moral code as you go along?

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [628 posts]
14th November 2013 - 23:34

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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
If you freestyle it you are obviously taking a risk yourself, and the comeuppance you receive is your own reward.

What?

Where do you get this stuff from? Are you just making up your own moral code as you go along?

I'm not borrowing yours then?!

I just mean that when you take to cross the road it is an exercise of judgement. If you get it wrong then you do rather risk a lot. Unless a driver makes an unexpected acceleration you enter that risk yourself and voluntarily. I'm not saying that cars won't try to avoid you, but you are entering in to a place where as a pedestrian you do not have right of way.

If you like though I can create a whole new moral code. Rule no.5 will definitely be 'toughen the f**k up' though.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1079 posts]
15th November 2013 - 1:22

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I just mean that when you take to cross the road it is an exercise of judgement. If you get it wrong then you do rather risk a lot. Unless a driver makes an unexpected acceleration you enter that risk yourself and voluntarily. I'm not saying that cars won't try to avoid you, but you are entering in to a place where as a pedestrian you do not have right of way.

If you like though I can create a whole new moral code. Rule no.5 will definitely be 'toughen the f**k up' though.

Well, as pointed out further up, pedestrians get killed on the footway.

Pedestrians also get killed on zebra crossings and on designated crossings on their green.

And actually pedestrians do have priority when a car is turning into a road they are crossing https://www.gov.uk/using-the-road-159-to-203/road-junctions-170-to-183

So there are really rather a lot of situations where pedestrians are behaving within the law and within their rights, and can still be killed and injured by drivers breaking the law or driving carelessly.

posted by HKCambridge [108 posts]
15th November 2013 - 15:15

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I just mean that when you take to cross the road it is an exercise of judgement. If you get it wrong then you do rather risk a lot. Unless a driver makes an unexpected acceleration you enter that risk yourself and voluntarily. I'm not saying that cars won't try to avoid you, but you are entering in to a place where as a pedestrian you do not have right of way.

If you like though I can create a whole new moral code. Rule no.5 will definitely be 'toughen the f**k up' though.

Wrong. In a great many cases a pedestrian does have right of way. And in any case that's not what you said. You said that if you cross anywhere other than a zebra or pelican crossing then any accident is your own fault. That's flat-out not true, both legally and morally. If a motorist hits you while you are crossing it can certainly be legally the motorist's fault (for example, if you look, cross when the road is clear, and then a car comes whizzing out, possibly over the speed limit, of a side-road without giving way and into the road you are already part-way across). In still more cases it would be morally the motorist's fault (the law is mostly an arse in any case).

Maybe you in fact know this but you just didn't express yourself very clearly to begin with?

I mean, you clearly said that if you cross anywhere other than a zebra or pelican and you are hurt that would be your "comuppance" ergo something you _deserved_ for doing something 'wrong'. That's just morally and factually mistaken. There is no obligation to cross at a zebra, and motorists have obligations towards crossing pedestrians wherever they cross. Which obviously is not to say its a motorist's fault if someone jumps out from behind a parked vehicle right in front of them.

No idea what your last comment is supposed to mean.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [628 posts]
16th November 2013 - 19:44

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+1 with fluffy. I've been in situations when crossing a side street when motorists have deliberately accelerated at me or swung in regardless of my having read the road and given plenty of time to cross.

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posted by giff77 [1036 posts]
16th November 2013 - 21:06

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giff77 wrote:
+1 with fluffy. I've been in situations when crossing a side street when motorists have deliberately accelerated at me or swung in regardless of my having read the road and given plenty of time to cross.

That seems to be every single time... drivers act as if they have right of way.

posted by jacknorell [266 posts]
16th November 2013 - 21:38

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An update on today's inquest.
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/cyclist-killed-in-spate-of-london-...
Regardless of the causes, there's an interesting quotation about helmets, from the pathologist.
RIP.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
10th April 2014 - 13:20

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