Re: Blackfriars Bridge Fatality

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Thursday 20 May 2004 6.14am
In reply to Unladylike Ms. Jo and giving priority to buses, the Highway Code actually states: "Give priority to these vehicles when you can do so safely, especially when they signal to pull away from stops....." As a cyclist in London, I can safely say that the are some bus drivers who do not know what their 'blind spot' is and this is what causes the accident. They look in their mirrors, see nothing coming and pull out.... Not thinking that there is a vehicle already alongside, and perish the thought, a cyclist being there... I have started to wear a bright yellow high visibility jacket, and still get almost side swiped by buses whose drivers simply don't bother to make one last check before they pull out. I confronted a bus driver about his driver and the fact that he nearly knocked me off of my bike, and his reply was he was indicating to pull out and he had right of way... Wrong.... Further to this, The Highway Code also states that "if you need to change lane, first use your mirrors and check your blind spots (the areas you are unable to see in your mirror) to make sure you will not force another driver or rider to swerve or slow down. When it is safe to do so, signal to indicate your intentions to other road users AND WHEN CLEAR MOVE OVER..." I rest my case.......
Thursday 20 May 2004 7.12am
"As a cyclist in London, I can safely say that the are some bus drivers who do not know what their 'blind spot' is "


Many bus drivers are being rushed into the job with not enough training.

The majority of cycle fatalities in London involve left turning vehicles and the majority also involve lorries: in central London the majority of cyclist fatalities caused by left-turning lorries while in the rest of London this collision type is 'only' about a quarter of cyclist fatalities.

In 2000 a cement lorry on London Wall overtook a 20 year female cycling westwards then turned left immediately afterwards, crushing her to death.

After the driver claimed in court not to have seen her and was only fined 250, the girl's mother decided to take action into her own hands after finding out how many similar so-called accidents there had been.

She bought shares in the cement company, heckled the directors at their AGM and forced them to fit extra safety mirrors to their lorries.

Unfortunately before the mirrors were fitted the same lorry (but a different driver) killed a 19 year old cyclist while turning left into Primrose Street from Bishopsgate in 2001.

Sadly these inexpensive mirrors which remove the blind spot are still not compulsory.

Correction from Cynthia Barlow, the mother in question:

"Incidentally, I read further down your website and the mention of my daughter is not strictly correct - reality is rather worse than that I'm afraid.

The driver of the lorry in my daughter's case was acquitted, not fined, so nothing happened to him at all.

The same lorry, with a different driver, was in the following year involved in another incident in which the cyclist, Sue Coll, was not in fact killed but suffered catastrophic injuries.

The same driver as was involved in this second case was also involved in a third case in which another cyclist received disabling injuries.
The prosecution of the driver in the second case involving Sue Coll was an exact repetition of my case - same barrister, same expert witness, same tactics, same everything, and same outcome, the driver was again acquitted.

So I have carried on campaigning, not just with RMC, but also on the subject of failings in the criminal justice system."

I spoke to Sue Coll after her trial and was absolutely sickened by the similarities, same lies, same strategy of arrogant defence barrister attacking and humiliating the main prosecution witness (a van driver), etc.

The driver's defence even cited one of the initiatives that had come about as a result of my involvement with RMC as evidence that he was a conscientious driver, knowing that the truth would not come out because the prosecution had already agreed not to mention either the previous incident involving the same lorry, or the other previous incident involving the same driver, so as not to prejudice the driver's chance of a fair trial.

A fair trial for the victim would be nice. On the final day of the trial, it was obvious that the driver was going to be acquitted so Sue's family came to court to support her.

When the driver arrived, the police ushered him into a private back room “so that he wouldn't be upset at seeing her family”.

Thursday 20 May 2004 9.37am
is it just me, or does every bus have a big sign on the back saying something along the lines of "please let busses pull out first"
I know this doesn't meant that bus drivers shouldn't look in blind spots, but it does mean that other road users should be aware that a bus stopped at a bus stop is likely to pull away from that bus stop fairly soon.

If I was cycling along, and saw a stopped bus in front of me, I'd expect that it'd pull out, and I'd slow down, and let it pull, thus not have to overtake it and get side swiped. but then again, as I clearly don't understand the rules of the road, and am ignorant of overtaking procedure, then maybe what I 'm doing is wrong?
Thursday 20 May 2004 10.31pm
Thank-you London Cyclist, for that much more comprehensive and accurate rendition of the relevant bits of Highway Code. My more simplistic comments were not at all aimed at cyclists but at any drivers who get annoyed with busses pulling out without realising that they are meant to be letting them do so.
Sunday 23 May 2004 5.20am
Article on this incident in today's Observer

Sunday 23 May 2004 4.04pm
Central London Critical Mass will be closing the bridge this Friday in remembrance of all cyclists killed on London's roads.

This is the second London CM this year dedicated to a cyclist killed on London's bridges.

Due to the unpredictable nature of CM a time can not be given but we will be there sometime after 7pm.

Critical Mass is a celebration of human powered transport and meets for a ride around London on the last Friday of each month just after 6pm under the South side of Waterloo bridge.

Details of CMLondon

Post edited (23 May 04 17:05)
Sunday 23 May 2004 5.33pm

This Friday's Critical Mass will be stopping traffic on Blackfriars Bridge - where cyclist Vicki McCreery died earlier this month - in remembrance of all cyclists killed on London's roads.

I thought most cyclists rode on the footpath. What about a pedestrian march to protest about these people.
Monday 24 May 2004 8.18am
I never ride on the pavement, it's slow and just as dangerous for the cyclist as the pedestrians.

However I will be riding on the pavement and encouraging as many people as I can to ride on the pavement when crossing London's bridges after this latest death.
Monday 24 May 2004 8.31am
I don't want to get back into this spiralling (generally pointless) argument, but I would like to share an observation.

I was reading the papers yesterday, with friends (yes, they were there to help me with the long words) and was interested to see that someone was reading the article in the Observer (linked above).

After a lot of sympathetic comments about the loss of life, we had the following remark:

"If the poor woman "knew" someone would get killed by the dangerous bus lane, then why didn't she walk her bike over the bridge? We are all responsible for our own safety"

...there's plenty more c**** in the cup.
Monday 24 May 2004 8.36am
"However I will be riding on the pavement and encouraging as many people as I can to ride on the pavement when crossing London's bridges after this latest death."

Way to go, Amigiac!
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