A driver who had been accused of causing the death of a cyclist in London after opening the door of his van, with the rider swerving into the path of a taxi, has died two days before he was due to go on trial.
Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz, aged 55 and a doctor at Great Ormond Street Hospital, was fatally injured on 19 September last year when she was struck by a taxi as she took evasive action.
The van driver, who has not been named, had been due to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court last week, reports the London Evening Standard.
However, the case was closed after the court learnt that he had died two days previously, reportedly suddenly while sleeping.
The 43-year-old had been charged with opening a car door, or causing or permitting it to be opened, so as to cause injury, an offence punishable with a maximum fine of £1,000.
According to the Standard, the 62-year-old driver of the taxi was interviewed by police in October on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and a file passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, but that case has now been dropped.
Professor Bitner-Glindzicz’s family is bringing a civil action in connection with her death and the lawyer working for them, Dushal Mehta from the firm Fieldfisher, said: “People whose loved ones are killed on the roads need to know they are fully supported by the law.
“I’m not convinced at the moment that is true.”
The charity Cycling UK has led calls for stricter penalties, including the option of imprisonment, and for a new offence of causing death or serious injury through opening a vehicle’s door.
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.