Father of cyclist killed in London pleads with Mayor Boris Johnson to improve riders' safety

Police seeking "significant witness" to fatal incident in Croydon last Tuesday morning...

The father of a cyclist killed last week in Croydon as he rode to work has issued a plea to Mayor of London Boris Johnson to make the capital’s streets safer for bike riders. Neil Turner, aged 31, regularly cycled from his home in Sevenoaks, Kent to his work with London Underground which took him to various tube stations.

Mr Turner, who planned to marry his fiancée next year with whom he has a five-month-old baby, was killed last Tuesday after he was struck by a car in Mitcham Road, Croydon at 5.10am, reports the London Evening Standard. His death is the ninth cycling fatality in London this year.

His family revealed that the driver of the vehicle involved had remained at the scene while emergency services personnel tried in vain to save Mr Turner’s life, with the cause of death given as serious head injury.

The Metropolitan Police have issued an appeal for what is described as a “significant witness” to contact them on on 020 8941 9011.

“The driver had just come back from holiday and had three children in the back of the car," said Mr Turner’s father, Roy. “None of us bear him any malice, it looks like it’s just one of those dreadful things,” he added.

But with more commuters switching to two wheels to avoid traffic congestion and overcrowded trains, he urged Mr Johnson to do more to ensure their safety.

“Neil used to cycle all over the South-East with all his Underground friends, he knew the roads better than anyone,” Mr Turner explained. “He knew how to keep safe.

“When Boris goes out on his bike he’s surrounded by police escorts,” he claimed, “but he needs to make life a bit easier for ordinary cyclists.”

Speaking of his son’s recent fatherhood, Mr Turner continued: “He was so happy. He adored Archie, it was like Loctite when they were together. The baby knows something’s wrong, he’s been upset and starts crying when you cuddle him.”

Mr Turner is just the latest of a number of bereaved relatives who have implored Mr Johnson to make cycle safety a priority. Last November, Debbie Dorling, whose husband Brian was killed by a lorry at Bow Roundabout as he rode to death at the Olympic Park, met with the mayor to express her concerns.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson refuted Mr Turner’s claim that the mayor has a police escort and went on to say: “The loss of any cyclist or road user is a bitter tragedy and the Mayor is determined to do everything possible to make the capital’s roads safer.

“Since the start of his first term, cycling has been a top priority for the Mayor and Transport for London is now spending more than ever before on the cycling programme.”

Following pressure from cycle campaigners and opposition politicians especially in the run-up to May’s mayoral elections which resulted in Mr Johnson being returned for a second term, he has backed the London Cycling Campaign’s Love London Go Dutch campaign.

However, the LCC and others have in the past expressed concerns that the funds pumped into flagship projects such as the Barclays Cycle Superhighways and the Barclays Cycle Hire Schemes have diverted money away from initiatives such as the London orbital route that could make cycling in the capital safer, particularly affecting outlying boroughs such as Croydon.

Simon has been news editor at 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.

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