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Second female cyclist in 24 hours killed in collision with HGV in London

Deaths spark more questions about disproportionate female casualty rate

Two female cyclists have lost their lives within the space of 24 hours on London’s roads after being involved in collisions with HGVs.

The deaths highlight the shocking statistic that women are four times more likely to be the victim of an HGV collision than men.

A woman in her thirties died at the scene of the first incident on the Elephant and Castle roundabout, at around 3pm yesterday. And the Metropolitan Police confirmed to a second woman died today after being involved in a collision with a cement mixing truck at the junction of Old Street and Goswell Road, EC1, at around 9.20am.

The victim of today’s incident, also in her thirties, was later pronounced dead at the Royal London Hospital. A 34-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and police are appealing for witnesses (see details at the end).

While details of the causes of the two incidents have yet to be fully revealed, it’s a startling truth that, between 1999 and 2004, 85 per cent of female cyclist fatalities in London involved heavy goods vehicles.

To put this in perspective, the number of cyclists killed in the capital has been fairly constant for several years, at around 20 per annum, according to The Guardian.  

The newspaper quotes an unpublished report from the London Road Safety Unit, which confirms the finding of an earlier 1990s survey published in the British Medical Journal: while HGVs are a major threat to men, male cyclists are more likely to die in a car-related incident; yet women are more than four times more likely to be the victim of an HGV collision.

Without more research, the reasons women are more at risk can only be speculated upon but include theories that men are more aggressive in their riding style and therefore less likely to get trapped on the blind side of an HGV in slow-moving traffic.

Transport for London says it is committed to improving road safety for cyclists in the Capital and has been working with the haulage industry to reduce the number of HGV/cyclist collisions for some time.

A spokesperson told “Over the past year we have distributed over 10,000 fresnal lenses to haulage operators in London to give lorry drivers greater visibility of cyclists around them.

“We also continue to work closely with the Metropolitan Police and London Cycling Campaign on Cycle Safety Awareness days.” These are where cyclists and lorry drivers are given the opportunity to swap places, thereby understanding the visibility issues that exist from both points of view.

TfL also funds cycle training for children and adults through London’s borough councils, provides cyclist awareness training for bus drivers and has distributed signage for the backs of goods vehicles warning cyclists not to get close to or cycle down the left side of large vehicles.

Anyone with information about today’s incident should call the Metropolitan Police’s Collision Investigation Unit on 0207 3219960.

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