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.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.