The family of a cyclist killed when he was hit by an HGV in South London is considering civil action after an inquest returned a finding of accidental death.
On Monday, November 18, 2013, Richard Muzira, 61, was dragged under the wheels of a tipper truck which was turning left from Camberwell Road to Albany Road, London.
An air ambulance attempted to save the father-of-four but he died on the way to hospital. He was the six cyclist killed in London within a two week period.
No prosecution has been brought against the driver of the tipper truck. The inquest into Mr Muzira's death, held at Inner South London Coroner’s Court recorded the cause of death to be ‘Road Traffic Collision’.
His ex-wife Jane Henderson, 57, said in a statement: “Richard was a beloved father and a friend to many in the community through his voluntary work. He believed passionately that people should be able to contribute something to their community.
“The knowledge that people together could make the world a better place was enough for him. We are all devastated by his loss when he still had so much to give."
Originally from Zimbabwe, Richard Muzira had been imprisoned and tortured in his home country before fleeing to the UK. He was described as a “local hero” and a “wonderful man” who had won an award for his voluntary work.
His daughter Niadzi, a 24-year-old web-designer, said: “I’m so proud of my dad. He wrote books, plays and poetry, he was a bit of a maverick. He was always very active learning and teaching himself.”
Mr Muzira had volunteered for many years at mental health charity CoolTan Arts. The organisation’s chief executive Michelle Baharier, said: “You couldn’t ask for a more lovely person than Richard. He was a fantastic friend. He was really community-spirited and was a complete and utter intellectual. He was a very calm and really astute person."
Ms Henderson said that Mr Muzira was a safe cyclist, who did not ride at excessive speeds and always respected other road users and the dangers around him.
She said: “Despite this he has become another cyclist killed in an area of London that has a history of collisions and fatalities. And while TfL has invested in projects and countermeasure aimed at reducing lorry danger, more needs to be done, as seen by the continuing loss of life.
“Cyclists are terribly vulnerable on the roads and more needs to be done to protect them. This includes at the junction where Richard was killed where other cyclists have been injured.”
Mr Muzira’s family has now instructed law firm Slater and Gordon to investigate a potential civil action against the driver of the lorry.
Paul Kitson, specialist cycling injury lawyer at Slater and Gordon, representing the family, said: “Sadly we continue to be involved in a significant numbers of cases were cyclists have suffered serious injury or loss of life on the roads.
“One of the reoccurring themes we see is the high number of fatalities in which a heavy good vehicle is involved. It is clear we need to educate road users and build appropriate infrastructure to protect pedestrians, cyclists and motorists from further fatalities.”
So far this year five cyclists have died in collisions with motor vehicles in London. HGVs have been involved in all five, and four involved construction vehicles similar to the one that killed Richard Muzira.
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson 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 CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com 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 TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.