Met criticises cycle superhighways at cyclist inquest

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Media captionDebbie Dorling said it was only after her husband's death that the junction was changed.

The Mayor of London's flagship cycle superhighways have been criticised by the police at an inquest into the death of a cyclist.

Brian Dorling, 58, died in October 2011 at Bow roundabout in east London on one of the painted blue cycle lanes introduced in the last few years.

PC Simon Wickenden told Poplar Coroner's Court the Met had warned the lanes gave a "false sense of security".

Boris Johnson said all criticisms were "taken to heart".

'Lead to confusion'

Mr Dorling, from Hounslow, west London, died after proceeding straight over the roundabout in Bow on a cycle superhighway, as lorry driver David Cox, 49, turned left.

He was using the Bow to Aldgate route to cycle to work in the Olympic Park. The inquest heard he and the lorry went through a red traffic light.

In July, the lorry driver received a suspended six-month sentence. He had admitted causing death by careless driving.

Three weeks after Mr Dorling's death, a 34-year-old woman was killed at the same junction.

Image caption Brian Dorling had been cycling to work at the Olympic park when he was killed

Giving evidence at the inquest into Mr Dorling's death, PC Wickenden from the Met's traffic management unit said the Met had warned Transport for London (TfL), which manages the cycle network, about the risks.

He said the cycle lanes were "ambiguous", "lead to confusion" and gave cyclists a "false sense of security".

A network of cycle superhighways was announced in 2008 with the aim of creating continuous routes from outer to central London by 2012.

They were intended to make commuter cycling easier, safer, faster and more attractive.

Twelve more are planned by 2015.

'Already huge changes'

A statement from Mr Dorling's family said: "This was supposed to be a dedicated cycle route offering people a safer way to use their bikes on the capital's congested roads.

"It's only after Brian's death that TfL has seen fit to act to change the junction's layout so that vulnerable road users such as cyclists are given priority over larger vehicles which would otherwise pose them a greater risk."

Responding in China to the Met officer's criticism, Mr Johnson said: "I don't think it's fair to attack the entire system of providing more superhighways and more cycle lanes in the way that we've tried to do.

"We have already done huge changes to Bow roundabout as part of a package of about £1bn of investment in junctions and roundabouts across London.

"At the moment, although we are seeing a huge increase in cycling, we are able to keep casualties down as low as we possibly can.

"One death is too many but believe me we take all these criticisms very much to heart."

Coroner Mary Hassell recorded a narrative verdict. She added it was possible Mr Dorling had had a "false sense of security".

TfL said it awaited the coroner's full report.

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