10 June 2015
Latest London Cyclist Death Prompts Mass Die-In Protest
Protestors staged a mass “die-in” in Camberwell, South London, earlier this week, following the death of yet another London cyclist.
Hundreds of cyclists stopped traffic and lay down in the road with their bikes around Camberwell Green Junction on Monday night, in memory of Esther Hartsilver who died on the morning of Thursday 28 May, 2015 after she was struck by a lorry whilst cycling to work.
Afterwards, short speeches were made, candles were lit and flowers and condolence messages were laid around a ghost bike.
Ms Hartsilver was killed following a collision with a lorry at the nearby junction of Denmark Hill and Orpheus Street, only minutes from Kings College Hospital, where she worked as a senior physiotherapist.
The 32-year-old was the 41st person to be killed while cycling in the UK in 2015 and one of three women killed that same day. She was also the sixth London cyclist to die on the capital’s roads so far this year. All six London cycling deaths have involved heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). All but one of the victims were women.
Monday’s protest was the sixth time this year the Stop Killing Cyclists pressure group has held a ”die-in” vigil to commemorate a London cyclist killed by a lorry.
The group’s co-organiser, Nicola Branch, said the protest was a means of remembering Ms Hartsilver while appealing for improved cycling infrastructure. "Tonight's emotional die-in, which included the cyclist's family and friends, sends a loud message to Southwark Council that it must urgently install protected cycle lanes and protected left hand turns at junctions across the borough."
Peter John, the leader of Southwark Council, offered his sympathies to Ms Hartsilver’s family and friends, and announced plans to invest millions of pounds in cycling over the next five years and proposals for a London-wide ban on HGVs during rush-hour to protect cyclists.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have previously blogged about how too many vehicle fleet operators are failing to take advantage of new technology specifically designed to protect cyclists.
New ‘direct vision’ cabs, which provide lorry drivers with a direct view of cyclists and pedestrians in close proximity to their vehicles, are now available. Together with HGV access restrictions, the widespread adoption of such technologies is essential to create a safer and more inviting space for cycling and reduce the number of fatal cycling accidents on our roads each year.
According to Department for Transport figures, there have been 22,988 accidents and 80 deaths involving cyclists in London over the last five years.
It is totally unacceptable that so many drivers of the largest and most dangerous vehicles are operating on London’s tightly congested streets with severely restricted vision owing to the flawed designs of their vehicles.
No cyclist should be threatened with the risk of death or serious, potentially life-changing injuries from unsafe lorries, but yet again, a cyclist has died following a collision with an HGV.
One of the placards at the Camberwell protest aptly read: “6 people killed riding bikes. All 6 killed by lorries. All 6 killed during rush hour. Pattern?” Put simply, enough is enough.
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