For the sixth time this year, Stop Killing Cyclists have commemorated a person killed by a lorry with a ‘die-in’ vigil. On this occasion, the person being remembered was 32-year-old Esther Hartsilver, who was killed in a collision with a lorry in Camberwell in May.
Cyclists stopped traffic and lay down in the road opposite Camberwell Green on Monday night. Afterwards, short speeches were given, candles were lit and flowers laid around a ghost bike.
Nicola Branch, co-organiser of the Stop Killing Cyclists pressure group, told the London Evening Standard that the protest was a means of remembering Hartsilver while appealing for improved cycling infrastructure. "Tonight's emotional die-in, which included the cyclist's family and friends, sends a loud message to Southwark Council that it must urgently install protected cycle lanes and protected left hand turns at junctions across the borough."
Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, said:
"Our sincerest sympathies are with the family and friends of Miss Hartsilver. We want to make cycling safer for everyone in Southwark, which is one of the reasons why we plan to invest millions of pounds in cycling over the next five years.
"It is too early to speculate on the events surrounding the tragic death of Ms Hartsilver but the council is speaking with TfL about a number of changes to the Camberwell network and we will be working with TfL, who we need to agree any decisions.
"In addition to this, last year I proposed a London-wide ban on HGVs during rush hour to protect cyclists, and following the tragic death of Esther Hartsilver the case for such a ban remains strong. I will be writing to the Mayor of London this week asking him to look at this with us urgently.”
Hartsilver was on her way to Kings College Hospital where she worked as a senior physiotherapist when she was involved in the collision at the junction of Denmark Hill and Orpheus Street on May 28. The driver of the Co-op food lorry involved remained at the scene and there were no arrests.