Cyclist killed using mayor's hire bike and Superhighway schemes


A cyclist riding a "Boris bike" has died

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Appalling news, again.

Last night (Friday) another cyclist was killed at a junction in collision with a HGV.

Again the cyclist was a female and for the first time, the cyclist was riding a hire bike (also known as a"Boris bike"). It also appears the cyclist was on the blue-painted Cycle Superhighway 2.

This time the collision was at the junction of Commercial Road and Whitechapel Road in east London, a junction well-known to cyclists for not feeling safe.

We don't know the exact circumstances of what happened.

Whether the experience of the cyclist riding the hire bike is a factor we don't know. We also don't know yet if the painted blue lane of the Cycle Superhighway lulled the cyclist into a false sense of security.

Busiest routes

But this is bound to lead to more questions (again) about the safety of cycling in London.

London is embarking on safer segregated infrastructure particularly at junctions but this will again raise concerns about progress and speed of delivery.

There will also be many questions about where we are putting these Cycle Superhighways and how they encourage cyclists on to certain roads.

They are on the busiest routes to decrease cycling commuter times.

In 2012 Jenny Jones from the Green Party on the London Assembly raised concerns about this route, saying: "Traffic on red routes [is] too high for drivers to tolerate cyclists."

The bike hire and cycling superhighways are both Mayoral flagship transport projects and now someone has died while using them.

This death will undoubtedly raise the temperature in the safety debate.

It will also mean the Mayor will have to answer serious questions about the safety of his cycling schemes.

This is not the first cyclist to die at a junction on a cycling superhighway. Brian Dorling, a very experienced cyclist, died on a superhighway at Bow roundabout.

The overwhelming feeling it leaves me with, is that for all the education programmes on blind-spots and millions being invested in safety, and for all the well-meaning exchange programmes for cyclists and HGV drivers - I'm afraid it doesn't seem to be working yet.

Tom Edwards Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    In a country where national health is a major concern riding a bike can is akin to service to the nation. Right now there is a scandalous amount of bikers being killed in London yearly and clearly not enough is being done to eliminate the problem.

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    Comment number 26.

    The report by TE beggars belief. I expect better from anyone employed by the BBC. "Whether the experience of the cyclist riding the hire bike is a factor [...] if the painted blue lane lulled the cyclist into a false sense of security" We no nothing either about the driver. This poor girl has been killed for goodness sake and here is TE insinuating that fault, without any justification whatsoever.

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    Comment number 25.

    A bit of blue paint doesn't make a cycle lane.

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    Comment number 24.

    This is really sad, but I'm sure many people had been wondering this would happen for quite some time. As one of the biggest cities in the world, London already has the most narrow roads for cars, encouraging people cycling in central London is not a good thing AT ALL. fighting for more space is not doing any favour to either party, only making London traffic a chaos.

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    Comment number 23.

    Dear Tom Edwards - if you don't know the circumstances of this accident, don't draw conclusions from it, and don't use it as an excuse to air more of your theories and opinions. This is more "man sounding off in the pub" than it is responsible journalism and if it's all you're capable, please stick to sounding off in the pub.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    I am sorry to hear about the death of the cyclist. Having been a bike commuter for more than 10 years, I can tell you that there are a lot of things that can go wrong -- even when everyone is acting properly, obeying the rules and paying attention. Don't rush to judge either the cyclist or the driver. Both could have been behaving properly and this tragedy might still have happened.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    11. philmus
    Last time I was in London I saw a boris biker weaving through traffic. No helmet, no high visibility clothing and worst of all an ipod on at full volume.
    So even without hi-viz they were still visible ? So why did they need it ?

    And how did you know their ipod was at full volume ? Or did you just make that bit up ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    How can you blame Boris ?

    That's like crashing your Ford and blaming Ford for selling it to you in the first place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    You beat me to it Ron....we know nothing of who was at fault here, but as per usual the bigots come out the woodwork to rant about cyclists riding on pavements etc. What we do know is that a poor young girl was killed while riding in the cycle lane, nothing to do with pavements, red traffic lights or canal paths. So give it a rest and have some respect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    @pdfbt40 Boris bikes have number plates, and the operators take your details when you sign up or hire one. So yes, they're traceable.

    @Peter Fuller you're right.. unfortunately being forced to mix with lethal heavy trucks tends to put people in a survival mindset, which translates all too easily in to aggression. You don't see aggressive cycling in Amsterdam.

    RIP. Such a waste of a young life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    10. pdfbt40
    How about pointing out ... that a large number of road users find the antisocial behaviour of cyclists in failing to observe basic Highway Code unacceptable.

    Probably because only a very small number of cyclists are like that, and as a percentage of the total it's miniscule. Other road users think most cyclists are like that because they're the only ones they notice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Another reason, if any were needed, to ban HGVs from London like more enlightened cities such as Dublin and Paris have done.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    According to the BBC news report the victim is a 17 year old girl. A young life lost and a tragedy. Some parents have lost a daughter. I feel for them.

    I agree with jackofficer. Can we leave the victim blaming and bigotry aside?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    @11. "Weaving through traffic" - what are they expected to do, sit in it like all the clown car drivers? Last time I checked, wearing a helmet and hi-viz wasn't a legal requirement. Neither is there any requirement not to use earphones. However driving a motor vehicle with "due care and attention" is I believe is a pretty important legal responsibility. Same goes for speeding.

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    Comment number 13.

    This is not about lorries, cyclists, cars, pedestrians, vans, taxis et al being better or worse than any other group... is about dodgy road uses, regardless of their mode of transport...

    ...the selfish are selfish, wherever in life you meet them... are the stupid always stupid - you can spot them when they claim all of this, that or other group are bad road users...

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Irritating yet predictable to see the usual victim blaming of the cyclist without even knowing the facts. If the cyclist was in the blue lane then the lorry entering that lane would put the lorry driver clearly at fault. Lorries are the cause of a huge number of fatal accidents, whether they be colliding with cars or cyclists. The heavy freight industry seriously needs more regulation..

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I don't think you can compare Boris Bikers with the regular cycling community. Last time I was in London I saw a boris biker weaving through traffic. No helmet, no high visibility clothing and worst of all an ipod on at full volume. they seemed oblivious to any potential dangers and couldn't hear approaching traffic.

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    Comment number 10.

    How about pointing out, as comments do, that a large number of road users find the antisocial behaviour of cyclists in failing to observe basic Highway Code unacceptable. That cyclists have rarely have attended any (even basis) training. Cycles are not licensed (traceable) or insured.

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    Comment number 9.

    I work in the area where this accident took place and I can personally vouch for how aggressive commuter cyclists are becoming. Many ignore the basic rules of the road and treat pedestrians with contempt. This is a tragic story but maybe it's symptomatic of how we don't care enough and treat all road users with respect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    I rode past this accident on my way home.

    This junction is blinded by hoarding for a new high rise, encroaching on the road. Drivers and riders have no visibility or space. The superhighway is a paper thin blue marking on an incredibly dangerous junction.

    The fact that this is deemed an acceptable cycle route is shameful. It is becoming pretty clear that no-one gives a damn about actual safety.


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