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Boyfriend of latest London cycling truck victim calls for safety improvements

“I will never ride my bike again,” says bereaved 22-year-old

The latest cyclist to be killed by a tipper truck in London has been named as 21-year-old nursing assistant Maria Karsa.

Maria was on her way to work at the Royal London Hospital on the morning of Sunday September 15 when she was hit by a truck on the Aldgate gyratory. She was taken to Royal London Hospital and kept on life support until the evening of Sunday September 22 when the support was turned off.

Her boyfriend, 22-year-old Tony Young told the Evening Standard: “The last week has probably been the worst experience of my life.

“It was really hard when we got the call to go to the hospital and they said what they had to do. It’s like someone just stabbed you in the chest.

“Her mum is distraught. Maria was a big part of her life.”

Tony criticised London’s authorities for promoting cycling without taking steps to protect bike riders from the dangers of motor vehicles.

“I will never ride my bike again,” he said. “They have been parading all these ways of putting people on bikes but at the same time they are not doing enough to keep us safe.

“With all the mandatory things they could have put in place, you just wonder whether it could have been different.”

Tony added that drivers of large vehicles should have to take cycle awareness courses.

Maria lived in Newington Green, North London with her mother and sister. She had been planning to begin a university degree in nursing next year.

Details of the collision have not yet emerged, but the location, the Aldgate area near the start of Cycle Superhighway 2, is one of London’s most dangerous cycling black spots.

Cycling activists have been campaigning for years for changes to make it safer for cyclists. After the death of French student Philippine de Gerin-Ricard in July, Andrew Gilligan, Mayor’s cycling commissioner, announced that it would be rebuilt.

Maria Karsa was the eighth cyclist to die on London's roads so far this year. Six fatalities have involved HGVs and four of those were construction tipper trucks.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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