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Crossrail lorry was involved in second London cyclist fatality last year

Vehicle involved in death of hospital porter Brian Holt was also working on major infrastructure project

The London Evening Standard says that a second cyclist in the capital who lost his life in 2013 died following a collision with a lorry working on the Crossrail project – which Transport for London (TfL) and Mayor Boris Johnson have hailed as introducing rigorous safety features to protect people on bikes.

Last week, the newspaper revealed that a lorry working on what is Europe’s largest current public transport infrastructure project was involved in the death last September at Aldgate of nursing assistant Maria Karsa, who was riding her bike to undertake a shift at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

Now, it reports that a vehicle belonging to a contractor on the Crossrail scheme was also involved in the death of 62-year-old Brian Holt, killed as he was riding to his work as a porter at the nearby Mile End Hospital.

In both cases, the tipper lorries involved were taking waste away from a Crossrail construction site at Liverpool Street Station in the City of London.

No charges

No charges have been laid against the driver involved in Ms Karsa’s death, while the Standard reports that police are continuing to investigate that of Mr Holt. An inquest originally scheduled for April has been postponed indefinitely while enquiries continue.

The newspaper says that it is thought that Mr Holt was attempting to cross Mile End Road from a side road when he was struck and killed by the lorry on 5 November last year.

Daniels: Holt riding against traffic

It added that the following day, at a board meeting of TfL, its director of surface transport Leon Daniels spoke about the fatality, who said that CCTV footage suggested the cyclist was “taking a short-cut” towards a pedestrian crossing when he was hit.

He went on: “Effectively he was cycling against the flow of traffic immediately before the collision.

“Death would have been instantaneous from the injuries. Skid marks from the HGV suggest the collision would have been at speed.

“So far there is no suggestion there is anything wrong with the vehicle or the behaviour of the driver of the HGV.”

Family calls for segregated bike lanes

Mr Holt’s family, however, say that the Barclays Cycle Superhighway infrastructure put in place by TfL is responsible for his death.

His brother, John, said: “TfL came up with a stupid idea of cycle lanes which they cannot even make safe because London’s roads are not wide enough. It’s no wonder HGVs cut into the lanes.

“The fact is that cycle lanes as we have them give a false sense of security to cyclists. It could be that my brother thought he was secure in the cycling route.”

He urged that fully segregated cycle lanes be put in place to prevent lorries and buses from encroaching on them.

Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade planned

TfL has already said that it plans to upgrade Barclays Cycle Superhighway 2, which runs past the location where Mr Holt lost his life.

While the Standard said last week that two of the three sensors on the Crossrail lorry involved in the incident that resulted in Ms Karsa’s death were not working, it says that according to a spokesman for the project, the vehicle that struck Mr Holt had been checked earlier that day, with no faults found.

The Crossrail spokesman said: “This was a tragic incident that deeply affected everyone working on the project and our thoughts remain with Mr Holt’s friends and family.

“We are awaiting the outcome of a police investigation into the incident and will take any appropriate action when we know the outcome.

“Crossrail has brought about far-reaching improvements to HGV safety in London. The package of measures that we have put in place, including the requirement for additional safety equipment, has been commended by cycle safety groups.

“Improving the safety of vulnerable road users is a top priority for us, which includes making the vehicles that we use as safe as possible.

“All TfL and Crossrail contracts require drivers to undergo extensive safety training and all vehicles are fitted with safety equipment including sidebars and additional mirrors.

“Trials will begin shortly of new detection software on buses, helping drivers be more aware of pedestrians and cyclists.”

Cycling commissioner says Vauxhall is junction he hates most

Meanwhile, London’s cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, says that the junction in Vauxhall where a 52-year-old male cyclist was killed in a collision with a lorry yesterday morning is “the one I hate most.”

He told BBC London 94.9 that the junction "is genuinely dangerous, and is unavoidable for thousands and thousands of cyclists."

TfL has already announced plans to redesign the junction to improve the safety of cyclists, and Mr Gilligan added: "There is no other way, if you're coming from a large swathe of south London, you have to pass through Vauxhall, so that's why we're doing it first."

London Cycling Campaign chief executive Ashok Sinha urged TfL to bring the works forward. He said:"Until Vauxhall junction is redesigned, then cyclists will continue to risk death and serious injury when cycling through this location, where they're forced to jockey for position with fast cars and heavy goods vehicles weaving across several lanes of traffic."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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A V Lowe | 9 years ago

Thanks kie7077, where is the detail about the approved haul route? With 2 trucks operating on essentially the same muck-shift, involved in fatal crashes then the route and mode of transport need to come under closer scrutiny.

Any idea on daily tonnage? Could easily be 100-200 truck movements per day to clear excavated material and keep machine working. Liverpool Street has substantial areas of former freight yards but with no TfL funding for a freight strategy to match their operation to move passengers. Retaining a siding costs a few £'000/year but replacing one that has been ripped out costs £2m+ and it can take years to plan and programme the work. The haul route on road could also be made much shorter, reducing the level of risk (of crashes) reducing the carbon, noise and dust footprint, and reducing road damage, by taking the material directly to the river, and loading barges (a day's excavations could be moved with 1-2 tugs and barges from the Pool of London (if there is access to the river which has not been blocked by development of housing or offices).

A short haul route to the river or railhead can even be specifically set out to keep the truck movements on a dedicated way which cycle traffic can be routed to cross or keep clear of, with enhanced visibility, and other safety measures. Effectively this eliminates the hazard as much as possible leaving a far smaller element requiring risk management. Short trips to a river or rail loading point can reduce the haulage costs and number of trucks required, substantially, so it has a cost incentive, if the rail or river facilities are available.

kie7077 replied to A V Lowe | 9 years ago

He was on the phone but it was hands free. The article says sensors were 'imposed' by the Mayor, I guess technically they are not required by law or bylaw. Article states the lorry diverted due to roadworks.

What can I say? Vehicle all round visibility should be legally mandatory, all phone use by drivers should be completely illegal.

kie7077 | 9 years ago

Holt's family is right CS2 is worse than useless, TFL are to blame.

CS2 upgrade? I think we should all get to see the those plans, TFL continues to build bad infrastructure and we have no reason to believe this won't be more of the same.

re Ms Karsa, Apparently the lorry was not supposed to be there, why not? Were construction vehicle drivers told not to use the route for safety reasons, if so then does not the driver become liable? And is the driver not responsible for ensuring his vehicle is safe? 3 sensors not working strikes me as being unsafe. f**king typical isn't it - no more than token effort by police pursuing these things.

And when are we going to ban all in-vehicle phones, hands-free or otherwise, it is not the holding of the phone that makes it dangerous, it is the distraction of talking to someone who is not aware of any dangers on the road. There are times as a passenger that I have stopped talking to the driver until traffic situations were passed - a person on the phone would not do this.

Airzound | 9 years ago

Leon Daniels of TfL:

“So far there is no suggestion there is anything wrong with the vehicle or the behaviour of the driver of the HGV."

But you are more than happy to state that,

“Effectively Mr Holt was cycling against the flow of traffic immediately before the collision."

Why doesn't Daniels keep his mouth shut until the coroner and police have concluded their investigations?

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