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Mayor of London calls for tougher driving test to make drivers more aware of cyclists

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has written to Transport Secretary Lord Adonis to urge the government to alter driving tests to ensure that drivers are compelled to take more notice of cyclists.

According to the Evening Standard, Mr Johnson wrote his letter after a 31-year-old woman on Monday became the seventh cyclist to be killed on London’s roads this year.

The victim, Zoe Sheldrake, from Borehamwood, was killed after being struck by a black Audi on the A41 Edgware Way, near junction 4 of the M1, at 7.30am on Monday morning.

The newspaper reported that the car’s driver, a 49-year-old male, had been arrested and taken to a police station in North London, where he was bailed to return on 28 June while the police make further enquiries.

In his letter, Mr Johnson told Lord Adonis: “We feel that there is merit in examining whether the standard driving test for car drivers should be tightened further to ensure the needs of vulnerable road users are fully understood by new drivers.”

Ms Sheldrake, who worked as a massage therapist, had been training to be a personal fitness instructor, and her father told the Evening Standard that he and his wife were “falling apart.”

Mr Sheldrake said: “We are absolutely devastated. I just can't believe that she's gone. My son Robert is finding it really difficult. My wife is crying all the time.

“When I was told Zoe had been in a fatal accident the first thing I did was pick up the phone and try to call her. She did so much and had so much to look forward to in her life.”

He continued: “She was only on that road because she was trying to get fit so she could become a fitness instructor. She was doing a lot of cycling.

“Just a few weeks ago we had an argument about her not wearing a helmet so I bought her one. Since then she had been so safety conscious. She was so careful.”

Mr Sheldrake added: “I can't fathom how it happened. How could someone travelling in a car not see Zoe on a bike? People tried to help her at the scene. The air ambulance was there, and there were two doctors working on her, trying to bring her back.”

During 2009, 13 cyclists were killed on London’s roads. A spokesman for Transport for London told the newspaper: “Every cycle death is a tragedy and we are doing everything we can to increase cyclists' safety.”

He added: “The number killed or seriously injured on London's roads has fallen by around a fifth in the last decade, despite the fact that cycle journeys have more than doubled.”

Police are seeking witnesses to Monday’s accident, and anyone with relevant information is asked to call 020 8998 5319.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.