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Cyclist death coroner slams Camden council over killer junction

Report will give 56 days to detail plans to improve junction where Francis Golding was fatally injured

The coroner conducting the inquest into the death of cyclist Francis Golding said yesterday that she was “disappointed” by Camden Council’s “lack of urgency” in making safe the junction where Mr Golding was hit last November.

Mr Golding died after a collision with a coach at the junction of Southampton Row and Theobalds Road on November 7, 2013.

The inquest heard that Mr Golding hit a coach that had indicated and was slowly turning left.

The BBC’s Tom Edwards reports that a cyclist who was behind Mr Golding as the collision happened said: “I wanted to shout.. Words didn’t come out.. Mr Golding wasn’t aware of the coach at all.”

The cyclist also said: “I don’t think he was paying enough attention for two seconds of his journey and he really paid the consequence.”

In her summing up, Coroner Mary Hassell said: “He just didn’t see it.”

A spokesman for the Metropolitan police told the inquest there had been 77 collisions at the junction in the last 10 years. Of those, 29 involved cyclists, three of whom were killed.

The driver of the coach gave evidence regarding the moment he started to indicate and why he had to be in the third and then the second lane to make the turn.

Police said the driver had two seconds to see Mr Golding in his mirrors, but did not see him.

The Met said: “Redesign ought to be reconsidered.”

The coroner agreed. Responding to Camden council officers’ statement that the council would be reviewing the junction in the next few months, Me Hassell said: “What you have said to me is that ‘we haven’t really got to first base’.”

Ms Hassell also said: “I’m disappointed Camden Council... and whoever else needs to be considered here... have not made greater progress since Mr Golding’s death.

“I appreciate it is not a quick fix but progress has been slow. What I’ve been told is we’ve done a bit but not very much since November.

“I shall make a prevention of death report about the junction layout... Doesn’t help Mr Golding but it might help others.”

Its not the first time Ms Hassell has criticised a highways authority for its failure to provide safe paths through junctions for cyclists.

After conducting an inquest last year into the 2012 death of Brian Dorling at Bow Rundabout, Ms Hassall issued a Prevention of Future Deaths report, ordering the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) to respond within 56 days explaining what action would be taken to make the cycle superhighways safer.

As Tom Edwards says in his BBC report: “The overwhelming feeling when you leave these inquests though is the stakes remain too high for one small error to lead to a death.

“And ideally you wouldn’t want a coroner to be telling transport authorities to speed up work to improve cycling safety.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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