Mayor urged to prevent more cycle superhighway deaths

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Media captionTwo cyclists have died using the superhighways

London's mayor should take action to prevent further deaths on the cycle superhighways, a coroner has said.

Coroner Mary Hassell made the recommendation to Boris Johnson in her report into the death of two cyclists who died on the lanes.

The report said the painted blue lanes are confusing and lull riders into a false sense of security.

Transport for London (TfL) says it is considering the report and will respond formally in due course.

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

French student Philippine De Gerin-Ricard, 20, was killed on the route in Aldgate in July.

Flagship scheme

Both had been hit by lorries and in both cases a verdict of accidental death was recorded.

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

But the coroner's report raised three main areas of concern:

  • The un-bordered blue strips that have been painted on some roads are confusing, Ms Hassell said. Motorists and cyclists are confused about who has right of way and the lane lulls riders into a false sense of security.
  • More should be done to educate cyclists and motorists about safe riding techniques.
  • Innovative solutions are needed to improve the junction of Whitechapel High Street and Commercial Street which remains difficult to negotiate. This is where Miss De Gerin-Ricard was hit.

In her conclusion, Ms Hassell said: "In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe that you and TfL have the power to take such action."

'Real action'

The cycle superhighways were one of Mr Johnson's flagship schemes when he became mayor in 2008. There are currently four in operation and 12 more are planned by 2015.

Transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy said: "The primary cause of the terrible accident of Mr Dorling was that he and the lorry went through a red light.

"We need to make sure that road layouts are safe.

"We've altered it once and no doubt we'll alter it again. If you cycle or drive through a red light you are likely to have an accident. It's really important that all road users look out for themselves and others and conform with the law."

In a statement, Mr Dorling's family said: "Painting part of busy roads blue is a typical PR gimmick but innocent cyclists are dying."

Tom Jones, from Thompsons Solicitors, which represents Mr Dorling, said: "To avoid another tragedy and respect the memory of a father and a husband there needs to be no more Boris flannel but clear answers and real action."

Leon Daniels, from TfL, said work to improve the lanes had already begun.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr Dorling and Miss De Gerin-Ricard," he said.

"We provided our full assistance to the coroner to ensure both inquests were a thorough investigation into the circumstances of these tragic incidents.

"Every death on London's roads is one too many and we will continue to do everything we can to reduce the risk to all road users."

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