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7th London cyclist killed by lorry, 29th June
1.07.09 by Buffalo Bill

From the london paper:

Witnesses said [the female cyclist] became trapped between the lorry and railings at the height of morning rush hour, just after 8.30am yesterday. She was rushed to hospital but died a few hours later.

The london paper makes this the 5th (although it’s actually the 6th [see comment #1] ) female cyclist to have been killed so far in 2009 by a collision with lorry (out of a total of 7 cyclist/lorry deaths). Therefore the grisly list of female cyclists killed by lorries in London so far in 2009 is:

1. Eilidh Cairns, 5th February, Notting Hill Gate
2. Rebecca Goosen, 8th April, Old Street
3. Meryem Ozekman, 9th April, Elephant & Castle roundabout
4. Adrianna Skrzypiec, 15th May, Woolwich
5. Emma, 12th June, Charterhouse Street
6. Catriona Cockburn, 29th June, Oval

This is a truly horrible list, and the percentage of London cyclists killed by lorries that were female so far in 2009 is now 85%. Ironically, this is the figure that sparked a bit of kerfuffle in 20071, when it was misreported by the Times, and others, that 85% of all cyclists killed by lorries in London 1999 – 2003 were female. It’s also worth noting in most years since 1999, no more than 9 London cyclists have been killed by collisions with lorries2. The numbers involved are so small as to be statistically insignificant (although not if you are friend or family to one of the victims), so it’s almost impossible to project final numbers, but unless we are very, very, very careful, it seems clear that at least another 3 people will die under the wheels of a lorry/HGV/LGV before the end of 2009. This would make 2009 the worst year for a long time. However, numbers of cyclists killed by vehicles that are not HGV/LGV/lorries continues to fall. Back in 2003, lorry deaths made up nearly half the total. Now, they make up 3/4 of the total. What is going on?

It’s hard to say. We know that the numbers of cyclists in London is up. That may be a factor, although all the available evidence suggests that as the number of cyclists goes up, the key measurable indicator, which is collisions per distance ridden, falls dramatically3. I have no idea whether there are more or less miles driven by lorries in London than there were 6 years ago. This could perhaps be a factor.

However, it is clear that the actions taken by us, the cycling community, the police, Transport for London and the Department for Transport, have been completely ineffectual in reducing the numbers of cyclists killed by lorries in London. Perhaps more people might have been killed had all the awareness raising stuff not been around, but at the moment all I can see is more, not less, cyclists getting killed by lorries in London.

I am loath to speculate about the causes of individual collisions, beyond saying that lorry drivers either failing to see, or failing to look is almost always a factor, if not always the principal cause, but my own general advice on how one might try to avoid lorries is here.

(See comment below) I am told that TfL says that HGV movements in Inner London are down. Therefore we have to look somewhere else for causation. Perhaps it is, after all, the increase in the number of cyclists. Not a nice thought.

1 See this article on the spin, and this article.

2 See here for 2006-8 stats, more stats here, and the 1999 – 2003 figures are here.

3 See this article.

Pink Express rider hit & 'critically' injured by lorry this morning
Guardian story on lorry deaths makes serious error
Perceived danger of lorries - a survey for London cyclists
Two London cyclists killed in two days by lorries
Department of Transport study exonerates 'lycra louts'
8th female London cyclist killed by lorry?
Police appeal for witnesses to fatal collision, 11th London cyclist killed
Daily Mail attacks cyclists, Jenny Jones says write to your MLA
Cynthia Barlow of Roadpeace on cuts to 'lorry police'
Boris Johnson reduces London cyclists' safety; MPs protest

  1. It’s worse than that; they’ve omitted the girl killed by a hit and run lorry in Greenwich in May


    — adoubletap    1 July 2009, 09:52    #
  2. Horrible.
    I ride past here every day, and saw the visual barriers after the collision. There have been a lot of roadworks on that section of the A3, forcing traffic into the (normally pretty tranquil) bus lane. It certainly feels much more dangerous at this particular intersection- there is an advanced stop box here, but since the roadworks it is always occupied by cars/ lorries. There are also noticeably more lorries on this stretch of road.
    I think that the barriers here are useless: they only stop pedestrians from irritating cars, not save any lives.

    — andrew    1 July 2009, 10:52    #
  3. Thanks for highlighting this, it’s terribly sad and an awful toll so far this year.

    Regarding the trend in lorries driving through London, TfL’s report on Travel in London says (p. 126 on) that heavy goods vehicle traffic has decline in Inner London but that ‘light’ goods vehicle (i.e. less than 3.5 tons) traffic has increased 25% since 1999. So there doesn’t seem to have been a general increase in lorries driving about, which is not to say that those that are driving about are not more dangerous on average …

    — Jim    1 July 2009, 12:04    #
  4. Thanks doubletap. I will amend the article.

    — Bill    1 July 2009, 15:58    #
  5. Jesus Bill, haven’t you got anything else to report?

    — zero    1 July 2009, 20:18    #
  6. I’ve got quite a strong feeling that the proportion of women involved in such incidents may well be related to misogyny.

    prj45    16 September 2009, 18:39    #
  7. Further on safety and cycling:

    To Laura Warren, London Assembly [Transport]

    Dear Laura

    I used to use public transport. Then I was driven off it by the new policy of constant announcements – I need peace and quiet [so do most people, I just need it more than average].

    I became a cyclist. Then I had an operation and now I have to drive.

    So now I see cyclists from the car drivers’ point of view.

    Vauxhall is a busy multi-lane one-way system.

    It is made more tricky by cyclists who use all the lanes, weaving in and out of cars and lorries, when they could use the cycle network which serves the whole system.

    It’s particularly aggravating when one is heading for the South Lambeth Road, because all the traffic bound for Stockwell has to feed into one narrow lane, and there are usually a dozen cyclists taking up the space, whilst half a metre to their left is an empty dedicated cycle track.

    I have mentioned this to more than one cycling organisation in London – I will probably copy them this email too. So far no-one has replied.

    Is there a solution?

    Best Wishes

    John Davison
    London SW9

    — john davison    10 November 2010, 13:55    #
  8. “Is there a solution?”

    Get a life?

    You say you need peace and quiet yet you live in London.On another note,it is not compulsory for cyclists to use cycle lanes,personally I like to use the same space on the roads as motor vehicles.If this is aggravating to you then sorry but
    I’m doing nothing wrong!


    — overdrive    11 November 2010, 11:53    #
  9. John,

    I hardly think that the comments section of a courier blog post about the death of the cyclist is the right soap-box to climb on to make your petty, ill-considered & barely literate point. I am sure you will find kindred souls over at thisislondon.

    Put another way, f*** off.

    — Bill    12 November 2010, 16:33    #
  10. john the island of clarksons is a calling

    — curly    21 September 2011, 02:39    #
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