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Dead cyclist's widow wins compensation
5.04.09 by Buffalo Bill

2 years ago, MT posted a report that [on] April 5th in morning a local east dulwich man Stephen [Ferguson] was killed by a lorry while cycling to work on dog kennel hill. And that was all the details that I had at the time.

Thanks to this report in the Standard, we know now that the lorry was owned by a company which supplies the building trade, Hendricks Lovell; that, like the lorry that killed Lisa Pontecorvo, the lorry was missing a mirror which might have allowed the driver to see the cyclist on his left; that the driver had, similar to the driver that killed Emma Foa, a newspaper open on the seat next to him. The claim by Mr Ferguson’s widow for compensation has been settled for what the Standard calls a ‘six figure sum’, thus establishing that the driver was responsible, wholly or in major part, for his death.

Appended to the report are the usual distasteful comments from members of the public which imply that because some cyclists are guilty of anti-social behaviour (cycling on the pavement etc), that Steve Ferguson somehow contributed to his own death, by willfully throwing himself under the wheels of the lorry, or deserved to die because he had almost certainly ridden through a red-light at some point in his life.

These comments are based on very little evidence, and seem to fly in the face of the reported facts, which are that the lorry and bicycle pulled away from traffic lights together, which would generally indicate that they were either both running the light, or had been waiting for the light to turn green. As in the Emma Foa case, the report does not say whether the lorry arrived at the junction before or after the cyclist, which is a pretty crucial piece of information, if one was interested in assessing to what extent the cyclist had contributed his own demise. Personally, even leaving aside the question of whether or not the driver was reading a newspaper whilst in control of a HGV, I find it extraordinary that the driver was not prosecuted for not having a mirror.

Thanks again to the Standard for covering the story, although I do find their trumpeting of their own campaign for ‘safer cycling’ a little annoying. Their plan almost exactly mirrors the London Cycling Campaign’s manifesto, and people like Emily Thornberry MP have been highlighting the ‘blind-spot’ mirror thing for quite some time. I guess I can’t shake my inherent dislike of the Standard, coming, as it does, from the same stable as the Daily Mail.

I also noticed, when skimming the comments posted to the article, that one of them seemed a little familiar:

Boris recently described the Low Emission Zone, a scheme which aims to clean up the exhaust of goods vehicles has described the scheme as ‘the most punitive, draconian fining regime in the whole of Europe’. Although the LEZ is not primarily aimed at improving the safety of London cyclists, I am willing to bet that taking the dirtiest lorries off the road will make some impact in the figures for killed and seriously injured by lorries.

I don’t suppose that Boris actually likes sharing the road with lorries, but I haven’t seen a single statement from him indicating that he is aware of the HGV/LGV/lorry cyclist problem. Ken, despite being a non-cyclist , has actually done a lot to improve the lot of cyclists in London.

I read it again, and realised that it must have been copied and pasted from this article. There was a fellow on the cycle-chat forum who did the same thing, only much more prolifically. Somewhat unnerving to read one’s own words with someone else’s name attached to them.

Pink Express rider hit & 'critically' injured by lorry this morning
Guardian piece on Sheppard's death and trial by media
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
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. I saw my dad today – ex-racing cyclist/trackie/tester, but long converted to the behaviours and aspirations of a universe where Top Gear is creed.

    He noticed someone wobbling across a red with carrier bags dangling from each handlebar grip, someone who did alter their line and pace to avoid interaction with crossing pedestrians, and who possibly did so because they were following the RLJing actions of a car just ahead of them.

    “Doesn’t it really annoy you, as a cyclist, that so many bikes go through red lights?”

    “Not as much as larger vehicles doing it annoys me. If you look at raw numbers from the recent RAC light jumping survey, there’s clearly more cars going through reds than anything else.”

    “Is that raw numbers or a percentage?”

    “Raw numbers.”

    “Well that’s not really fair.”

    “It’s not fair on more vulnerable road users (peds included), no.”

    “Well you never see cars going the wrong way down one-way streets.”

    “Yes you do [mumbled] you treacherous fuckwit [/mumbled]”

    Sigh.

    And without wishing to detract from the seriousness of the issue in hand, I would add that it’s somewhat unnerving to read one’s own words with someone else’s name attached to them.


    — BringMeMyFix    5 April 2009, 19:42    #
  2. Hi

    Yes, it was me who copied the text on lorries in London. The Standard carry some Godawful comments from cyclist-haters and I tried, in a post inspired by, ie nicked from here, to redress the balance. Apologies for any annoyance caused.


    — London cyclist    11 April 2009, 13:51    #
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