31 March 2016
Family's devastation as lorry driver is cleared over cyclist's death
The widower of a young cyclist knocked down and killed by a lorry at a notorious junction collapsed in tears as the driver walked free from court.
Vincent Doyle, 45, failed to spot German postgraduate student Janina Gehlau, 26, in the cycle lane as he manoeuvred his massive Foden truck to turn left at busy Ludgate Circus in central London, the Old Bailey heard.
Jurors were told that he should have been aware she was catching up as he waited for 23 seconds at the red light, having overtaken her just 200 metres before the junction.
It was alleged that he should have seen her in his mirrors for three to five seconds before his wheels clipped hers, sending her underneath the vehicle, the court heard.
But Doyle denied the charge of causing Mrs Gehlau's death by careless driving on the morning of October 17 2014, and the jury deliberated for less than an hour before clearing him.
Speaking after the verdict, Mrs Gehlau's devastated family called for real action to be taken to improve safety for vulnerable road users in the city.
Her mother, Andrea Tasic, said: "Janina had a great future ahead of her and it was erased in a moment.
"I told her I thought the roads were too dangerous when I visited her, but she was an experienced cyclist and told me not to worry.
"Too many families are losing loved ones in these circumstances and action needs to be taken to improve safety before there are any more tragedies."
Judge Gerald Gordon stressed that the verdict did not imply 'any form of criticism of Mrs Gehlau.'
And a lawyer at Slater and Gordon who is representing the family in a civil action, echoed the family's call for action following the tragedy which was one of a number of cycling fatalities in the capital that year.
Their Lawyer added: "When cyclists and heavy goods vehicles have to share the roads in such close proximity, all too often there are tragic consequences.
“This terrible incident again highlights the need for action to be taken to reduce the risks faced by vulnerable road users on our city’s streets.”
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