Sunday, 29 June 2008

Crushed to death in Hackney

Campaigners have declared a "crisis" on our streets after a woman became the fifth cyclist to die in collision with a lorry in just two years. Lucinda Ferrier, 32, was struck by the heavy goods vehicle in Stoke Newington at 6.40am on Monday. An air ambulance rushed Ms Ferrier to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. She died shortly afterwards.

"This is a crisis and I am stunned by the frequency of these collisions," said Trevor Parsons, a co-ordinator with the London Cycling Campaign in Hackney. "It's time for Hackney in particular to set up a task force to look at this issue because the rate of these collisions is absolutely shocking. "We would like to see measures to minimise the amount of HGV traffic on the road and better trained drivers and better paid drivers, so they are under less pressure and can spend more time and care on our streets."

According to one press report:

It appears she slipped on a poor patch of road surface, clipped the curb just outside Stoke Newington and was then struck by the heavy good vehicle. Police believe she was travelling south down Stoke Newington High Street alongside the vehicle when she was hit and then pulled underneath. According to a post on cycling website 'movingtargetzine' council workers were busy resurfacing the area outside the train station late Monday night.

More here.

I was cycling along Middleton Road in Hackney recently when at the junction with Kingsland Road I suddenly came upon the ghost cycle put up in memory of Antony Smith, who was crushed to death here on 21 April.

This is the first ghost cycle I’ve come across, and it struck me as being stunningly effective. It’s a great pity that there are no ghost cycles in Waltham Forest, not least for commuter cyclist Michael McLean who was killed by a high-speed hit and run driver on Forest Road E17 last year (the killer driver seems never to have been traced). At the site where Michael McLean died, drivers continue to break the speed limit with impunity, and the Council has re-designed the cycle lane on the opposite side to accommodate lazy car parkers, in the process making cycling more dangerous.

What strikes me about the site where Antony Smith died is just how poorly designed this junction is. This is a major cross town cycling commuter route but there is no dedicated cycle crossing with a green phase for cyclists only. The ASL is pathetically small and inadequate. The railings on the corner provide the classic trap for cyclists who find a large vehicle suddenly veering towards them. And while I was taking photographs a whole series of vehicles came along and stopped in the ASL, displaying the characteristically casual contempt of many drivers both for road traffic law and for dedicated cycling facilities.