The sister of a woman killed by a tipper truck in London has said that cyclists should be made to pass a test before they can ride on the roads - for their own safety.
Nursing assistant Maria Karsa, 21, was cycling to St Bartholomew’s 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 sister, Athena Karsa, 19, a student at Manchester University, told the Evening Standard that her sister, who had only recently begun cycling to work, was unprepared for the traffic in the capital.
She said: “You have to pass tests and do courses to drive a car or motorbike, but as soon as you take the engine out anyone can do it.
“Cyclists themselves have to know basic road safety. People don’t even have to wear helmets.
“You can’t just say because it is a bike and does not have an engine you don’t need to do something. You should have something to say you know how to protect yourself. It is London. It is so busy all the time.”
No-one has been arrested in connection with the collision, and police have appealed for any witnesses to come forward.
Athena added: “I keep thinking she is at work or out with her friends. You don’t expect something like this to happen to your family.
“No one deserves it, especially not aged 21.
“She was not a shy person and a little bit mad at times — she would do anything if you dared her. She was very funny and very carefree and kind. It has been very hard.”
Last month her boyfriend spoke of his devastation, and called for mandatory cycle awareness courses for drivers of large vehicles.
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.”
The location of the collision, 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.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.