Saturday 29 October 2011


Following on from the death of another cyclist involved in a collision with a tipper lorry, Private Eye, of all places, ran a story concerning the death of Nora Gutmann in June.

It would appear that the driver of a tipper lorryJoao Lopes, who was involved in the collision which killed a cyclist, Eilidh Cairns, in 2009 was also involved in the collision that killed Nora.

I normally have the utmost regard for the police. But the investigation of the death of Eilidh Cairns, and the prosecution of Lopes appears to take bungling to an art form. The police officers first at the scene failed to collect witness details, instead asking them to get back in their cars and leave the area in order to get traffic flowing again. Then they failed to check Lopes' eyesight, even though he said he hadn't seen the cyclist. When a few months later his eyesight was checked it so defective that he legally couldn't drive a lorry. However, by this time, this fact couldn't be used in his prosecution for killing Eilidh Cairns.

He was found guilty of driving with uncorrected vision and got 3 points and £200 fine.

Now it would appear that he has been involved in the death of an elderly pedestrian, also in London.

One worries about the release of this information before prosecution for this latest offence - but now the information is out in the public domain, I can only hope that a Jury direction to disregard previous events is considered adequate to continue with any prosecution.

London wasn't designed for large vehicles. They add risk to the road. They also are, in most cases, essential. But there is much that can be done to mitigate this risk, from better driver training, to technology such as sensors and cameras. Even shutting down companies that employ drivers who are drunk and using a mobile phone might be a good start.

Most of the technology and safety equipment isn't particularly expensive. We are talking about adding side-bars or mirrors in most cases. Even fitting out cameras and sensors isn't exactly prohibitive.

I would like to see all government building contracts - including huge construction projects like the Olympics - mandate that transport used by contractors are fitted with the latest safety equipment, and that the drivers are trained to the highest standard. This would send a clear message.

I would also like to see that those driving to a standard significantly lower than expected - for instance by driving drunk or using a phone or whilst they have uncorrected vision are subjected to lengthy jail terms and the firms for which they work are given very heavy fines and stringent checks before they can operate again. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on this one, a petition to demand such, needs to be started. Lorry, bus, and taxi drivers are by far the worst, when it comes to driving with care near cyclists. They all need to become more professional, and licensing should be affected by the wrong doing of such drivers. All drivers need to have tougher testing, and retesting throughout their lives to maintain proper/correct driving skills. Anyone driving under the influence of drink or drugs should be banned for life. The whole raft of legislation wrt driving should be toughened up and enforced, otherwise all road deaths just become statistics.