The controversial London bike lane, Cycle Superhighway 2, was called an accident waiting to happen by a coroner investigating the death of an experienced commuter cyclist yesterday.
At the first day of the three-day inquest into the death of Brian Dorling, who was killed at Bow roundabout on 24 October 2011 when he was hit by a left-turning tipper truck, coroner Mary Hassell said: “It just seems to me that it’s an accident waiting to happen if cyclists are guided into the space where blue paint is on the left and they’re in the very place where the lorry is going to hit them.”
The London Evening Standard reported that accident investigator PC Alex Hewitt was asked by the coroner what legal protection cyclists had inside the characteristic blue cycle lane. “Legally nothing,” said Hewitt. “It’s just a piece of blue paint.”
Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2) is one of the most high profile cycle lanes in London. The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) say they raised the alarm about its dangers as early as 2010 and that the western section between Bow roundabout heading to the city at Aldgate needs to be redeveloped.
Mike Cavenett, spokesman for the LCC, told BikeRadar: “The quote that it’s an accident waiting to happen is something LCC’s been saying for years – before the Superhighway route was put through a very dangerous roundabout and what [remained a] very dangerous roundabout after it was installed.”
However, he said the case of Dorling and that of other fatalities on CS2, including 34-year-old Svitlana Tereschenko, who hit near the Bow roundabout three weeks after Dorling, and French student Philippine de Gerin-Ricard, who was killed at Aldgate at the western end this summer, has resonated hard with transport planners.
“There’s a feeling among campaigners that Bow roundabout may well be a game changer in the sense that it sent some shockwaves through planning authorities in London and they realised they made mistakes. These things change slowly but we think they’ll find it difficult to ignore this warning in the future,” he said.
The truck driver who hilled Dorling, David Cox, 49, from Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, pleaded guilty to death by careless driving at a previous court hearing in July.
Today, Transport for London officials will be called to give evidence at the case, held at the Poplar Coroners Court in Hackney.