The independent London newspaper

Let’s not miss the point about fatalities of cyclists

17 January, 2019

Dr Peter Fisher

• I WAS both saddened and shocked to read the verdict of the inquest into the death of Dr Peter Fisher, (Family of cyclist killed in Holborn urge Sadiq Khan to make roads safer, January 10).

Once again, we hear that the motorist checked her mirrors but did not see the cyclist. Once again, we hear that the cyclist was in a “blind spot”. We hear also that, simply because of where Peter was on the road, where he was perfectly entitled to be, he is referred to as a “hazard”!

The coroner concludes that the death was “so easily done” and she is unable to “think of anything useful [she] could say by way of a prevention of future death report”. Bleak or what.

The investigator confirms that the mirror checks were undertaken before the cyclist moved into view. Does this mean that as long as I have a quick glance in my wing mirrors, it gives me carte blanche to move my vehicle irrespective of changing road conditions?

Transport for London say they are committed to lowering speed limits. But we are told that Peter was killed at only 8mph.

The fundamental problem we face in all the cycle (and pedestrian) related deaths, reported all too frequently in these pages, is one of attitude: Despite us driving machines capable of easily killing by propelling over two tonnes of metal forward with a featherlight touch of an accelerator, it seems perfectly acceptable to do so, providing we pay a vague sort of lip-service to more vulnerable road users.

Until we acknowledge the enormous destructive power of motor vehicles, and raise the bar of what is considered acceptable in the way we drive, we need to accept that such carnage will continue – no matter how many junctions we reconfigure or how many changes we make to lorry design.

Such “infrastructure” or technical solutions are of course one tool in our armoury to increase road safety. But with massive pressure on public resources likely to continue for the next decade or so, the reality is that, despite all the fine words from TfL and the mayor, sufficient change is not going to take place.

The only way change will occur is if current approaches are supplemented by changes in the law and/or the way liability is viewed in the event of a motor vehicle – cyclist/ pedestrian collision.

My sincere sympathy goes to the family of Peter Fisher. Let us prevent further deaths by not letting the wool be pulled over our eyes by people telling us that restructuring our streets and redesigning lorries alone will solve the problem.



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