The Crown Prosecution Service has declined to take action after a cyclist was killed by a lorry driver who didn't see him. 80-year-old Frank Curley was hit when Nick Markillie failed to give way. The driver – whose licence had expired – explained that he had been taught not to stop at a junction if he thought the road was clear.
Essex Live reports that Curley was riding along London Road in Romford on the afternoon of December 19, 2017 when Markillie emerged from a side road and hit him.
A witness told Walthamstow Coroners' Court: "The lorry wasn't going fast. I saw the lorry hit the cyclist.
"I saw the lorry shaking and then realised it was rolling over the cyclist. As soon as it happened the lorry stopped and the cyclist was lying on the floor."
Data from the lorry showed Markillie had been doing 7.5mph and didn’t slow when he pulled onto London Road.
Markillie’s colleague, who had been in the passenger seat, called the emergency services. An air ambulance attended, but Curley died at the scene.
Markillie said he was sure he looked both ways several times as he approached the junction.
"I heard a sort of metallic sounding scratching noise on the side of my lorry so I looked in my mirror. I stopped immediately, jumped out and realised the seriousness of what had happened."
Markillie told the court that he did not stop at the give way line because he believed the road was clear.
He said he had been taught to avoid stopping and starting and to 'progress where possible'.
Coroner Nadia Persaud said: "For a large goods vehicle not to stop and make proper checks before going on the road just seems to me unsafe.
"I'm concerned about that training. It seems so unsafe to me that a large goods vehicle can pull straight out onto a main road, straight onto a cycle lane without stopping and carrying out proper checks to make sure it's safe to proceed."
While road users must stop behind the line at junctions with a ‘Stop’ sign and a solid white line across the road, the Highway Code states only that vehicles approaching a ‘Give Way’ sign must give way to traffic on the main road.
Met Police forensic collision investigator Charlie Dunn, who completed similar training to Markillie, said he too had been taught to 'progress where possible'.
Markillie said that blind spots in his vehicle, including the wing mirror and A-frame may have obscured his view of the road.
Vision tests were carried out on the lorry to identify the blind spots. PC Dunn explained that they were dependent on the seating position of the driver.
"It is clear that Mr Markillie was unaware of Frank," he said. "I cannot say whether or not he looked or didn't look. All I can say is that if he did look and saw Frank, he should have given way.
"I think the way we must look at this is if he didn't think there was anything to give way to, then he had no reason to give way at the junction."
Markillie’s licence expired several months before the collision.
"I didn't have the correct entitlement due to conditions for a medical," he said. "At the time it was due be renewed I was moving house. I have no memory of ever receiving a reminder, otherwise I would have completed it."
When he realised his licence was out of date, he arranged for his medical test and passed, and was issued with a new licence.
DC Iain Lister told the coroner that the Crown Prosecution Service had made the decision to take no further action against Mr Markillie for the crash or for not having a valid licence.
He said: "Either he didn't look properly or there was an obstruction. He did not see Frank and he collided with him. No charges were brought against him."
The coroner said that she would be contacting the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) about the teaching of drivers to 'progress where possible'.
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