Bow roundabout in East London this evening claimed the life of a second cyclist in less than three week with the news that a young woman was killed there this evening in an incident with a tipper lorry, she becomes the 15th cyclist to die in London this year, the 14th 58-year-old Brian Dorling also died at the same junction in an incident involving a similar type of lorry.
As yet no details have been released of the exact details of what happened, but the BBC reports that the woman was pronounced dead at the scene at 4.45pm, the police later confirmed that they arrested the lorry driver on suspicion of causing death by careless driving. The incident occurred on the westbound carriageway at the Bow Road roundabout.
The Metropolitan Police have issued a witness appeal and would like to speak to anyone who saw the incident or the movements of both vehicles leading up to it. The Witness Line can be contacted on 020 8597 4874.
Bow roundabout is a notoriously busy junction bissected by a major north/south routes - the A102 approach to the Blackwall Tunnel and east/west route the A12 in to the City. Up until recently it was a spot avoided by many cyclists if possible but earlier this year it became part of the latest Barclays Cycle Superhighway route CS2 – it has also been designated as part of the official cycle route to the nearby Olympic Park.
Last month Brian Dorling became the first person to die on one of the Cycle Superhighways when he was killed on his way to the Olympic site where he worked by a left turning tipper truck. Today's victim is likely to be the second.
Earlier this week London's Mayor, Boris Johnson was quizzed about the safety of cyclists on London's road, (you can see a video of that below) by members of the London Assembly. The Mayor and Transport for London were accused by a number of assembly members of putting the free flow of motorised traffic ahead of the safety of cyclists despite that fact cyclists make up a growing proportion of London's peak time traffic and despite the fact that the Mayor and TfL are at the forefront in encouraging new cyclists on to the roads.
At the meeting the Mayor was specifically urged by Labour member John Biggs to force TfL to do something to make the Bow roundabout safer for pedestrians and cyclist – something the organisation has previously said it was reluctant to do because extra safety measures would inevitably lead to delays for motorists.
Following today's tragedy, one that many campaigners feared was inevitable, the Bow roundabout is rapidly becoming a microcosm of the Mayor and TfL's current transport policy and all its inherent contradictions. One congested space contains the intersection of two major traffic arteries, a flagship cycling route and Olympic access route, while beneath it lies a much lauded and potentially award winning piece of engineering in the shape of a £2.4m floating towpath boosting walking and cycling along the River Lea, like so much cycling insfrastructure in Britain it addresses the smaller problem while the larger one of safe east/west access has so far been ignored. It has now also been the site of two cycling fatalites involving lorries - a microcosm indeed.
It now seems likely that one of the Mayor's flagship Cycle Superhighways will be shown in the starkest way possible to be lethally dangerous. The dilemma for the Mayor and TfL is that to make the route safe, which must now surely be a priority with the likely increase in traffic levels along CS2 in the run up to the Olympics, will require the sort of drastic redesign and investment in infrastructure that creative use of blue paint alone cannot achieve. It will also require the will to put cyclist's and pedestrian's safety ahead of motoring convenience something both the Mayor and TfL have so far seemed reluctant to do.
Tomorrow (Saturday) more than a hundred cyclists will take part in a ride around London's 10 most dangerous junctions for cyclists - such has been its rapide rise up the league table of lethality that Bow roundabout was not on their list of junctions to visit, if there is a future ride it surely will be.
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Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.
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