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Cyclist killed in Whitechapel in November had almost twice driving blood alcohol limit

Bus driver had no chance to avoid hitting Khalid al-Hashimi

One of the cyclists who died during last November’s spate of fatal collisions had almost twice the legal driving limit of blood alcohol when he rode in front of a bus, the inquest into his death heard yesterday.

Khalid al-Hashimi was riding back to St John’s Wood after celebrating his 21st birthday with friends in Whitechapel on November 13.

He was hit by a 205 double decker bus at about 11.30pm after riding the wrong way up Leman Street, a one-way street leading to Whitechapel High Street, reports the Evening Standard’s Ross Lydall.

CCTV video from the bus showed that Mr al-Hashimi appeared suddenly 10m in front of it, and driver David Brennan had no chance to avoid the cyclist.

Poplar coroner’s court heard that the post-mortem examination revealed Mr al-Hashimi to have 154 milligrams of ethanol per 100 millilitres of blood. The driving limit is 80 milligrams.

Collision investigator PC Andrew Smith said Mr al-Hashimi may have been confused by a wrongly-angled red light in the centre of Whitechapel High Street used by traffic turning right into Commercial Street.

Coroner Mary Hassall asked if it would have made any difference if Mr al-Hashimi had been wearing a helmet.

Pathologist Dr Chin Along said: “I don’t think so. Bicycle helmets, the way they are designed, are not for velocity injuries.”

Ms Hassell recorded that Mr al-Hashimi died as a result of road traffic collision. She said: “It may be that Mr al-Hashimi saw the cars stationary and saw the red light and thought the cars were being held at the red light, and thought it was safe to cross.

“But nevertheless this wasn’t a pedestrian crossing and he [the bus driver] didn’t stop, and that is why the collision occurred, I’m very sorry to say.”

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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