Case Study

A cyclist has died following a collision with a lorry on London cycle superhighway 2

Incident date: 
Tue, 5 Nov 2013

The victim, in his sixties, was hit by and dragged underneath the lorry in Mile End Road, east London, on the afternoon of Tuesday 5 November.

The crash occurred at the junction with Bancroft Road outside Queen Mary University’s engineering building.

The cyclist died at the scene.

He is the capital’s ninth cycling fatality this year and the seventh killed involving a lorry. He is also the fourth in two years to have died after being hit on the same stretch of road, the Evening Standard reports. He is the third cyclist to die on cycle superhighway 2 (CS2).

Svitlana Tereschenko, 34, was killed at the nearby Bow roundabout in November 2011 while trying to reach the start of a cycle superhighway and 20-year-old Philippine De Gerin-Ricard was also killed while on or near the same cycle superhighway 2, running between Bow and Aldgate, in July this year.

The fatality will once again raise questions over the Mayor’s insistence that blue superhighway cycle lanes are the way forward, as witnesses said the victim had been in the blue zone.

Witness Motiur Khan, 22, said: “The lorry was behind the cyclist and sort of went into the back of him and then I don’t really know if he lost control or something, but he hit the cyclist who went under the lorry which just ran over and crushed him.”

The driver stopped further down the road after the incident at about 4.40pm and will be questioned under caution by officers. He has not been arrested.

  • UPDATE (14/11/13)

The cyclist has been named as 62 year old Brian Holt.

  • UPDATE (14/11/14)

The driver of the tipper truck involved in Brian Holt’s death has been charged with causing death by careless driving.

Driver, Anthony Howsego, 57, from Romford, will appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on November 14th.

The lorry driver is the only motorist to have been charged in connection with those six deaths 12 months ago. Coroner’s inquests have already been concluded in four of the cases, with no charges brought.

While no date has yet been set for the inquest into the death of Richard Muzira, the Standard reports that the driver of the lorry involved in that incident will not be charged.

All of those fatalities involved large vehicles. Besides Mr Holt and Mr Muzira, a third victim, Venera Minakhmetova, was killed in a collision with a lorry.

Frances Goulding died when he was struck by a coach, while buses were involved in the crashes that claimed the lives of Khalid al-Hashimi and 21; and Roger de Klerk.

Mr Holt, aged 62, worked at Mile End Hospital and was travelling to work there when he was struck by the lorry, which was carrying waste from the Crossrail site at Liverpool Street Station.

The truck was being used on the Crossrail project. Crossrail is one of the biggest engineering projects in the capital’s history, and at its peak will see 50 truck movements a day to take waste away from just one of its 40 sites in London, at Charing Cross.

In February 2012, Crossrail said that lorries not fitted with safety features to protect cyclists such as sensors, Frexnel lenses and sideguards, would be banned from its sites in the city.

But two months prior to Mr Holt’s death,another lorry working on the project was involved in a crash that killed a cyclist in September 2013.

Nursing assistant Maria Karsa, aged 21, was killed at Aldgate as she headed to work a shift at the Royal London Hospital, part of Barts Health NHS Trust, Barts Health, which also runs the hospital Mr Holt worked at.

It emerged earlier this year that two of the three sensors on the lorry concerned – required for it to access the Crossrail site – were not working. However, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to bring charges.

  • UPDATE 19/06/15

The driver of the Crossrail lorry that hit Mr Holt, Anthony Howsego, 58, appeared at Wood Green Crown Courton 16 June charged with causing Mr Holt’s death by careless driving, the Evening Standard reports.

The court heard Howsego did not check his ‘Class VI’ mirror prior to moving off, which could have revealed that Holt was in front of his stationary vehicle.

Martyn Bowyer, prosecuting, told the court Howsego did not check the mirror as Mr Holt crossed the road in front of him on a pelican crossing near Queen Mary University. Mr Holt had been riding down Mile End Road before stopping at the Pelican crossing to use it. It is unclear as to whether he dismounted to cross.

Mr Bowyer told the court Howsego was stationary in his tipper lorry while partly on the crossing because the congested traffic was “stop-start”, but set off again as Mr Holt was crossing in front of him.

The lorry “catastrophically crushed” the hospital porter, killing him instantly and dragging him up to 78-metres down the road where Howsego stopped. He had not felt the impact and stopped after bystanders raised the alarm.

Mr Bowyer told the court: “The prosecution suggests that, given the mirrors that were fitted to the defendant’s lorry, if he had been paying attention, and paying due care and attention, he would have seen Mr Holt in front of his lorry.

“A tragic accident as it may be, the defendant holds some criminal responsibility, because his standard of driving fell below the standard expected.

“He failed to check that Class VI mirror. In fact, by being partially on the crossing he had breached the Highway Code.

“The last check he should have carried out would be to see what was in front him. But the reality is he didn’t check the Class VI mirror. He accepts that.”

Howsego had also failed to clean the mirror, which was “filthy, you could barely see anything in it”, the court heard.

Mr Bowyer said: “It is hard to escape the conclusion that had he cleaned his mirror that day, and checked it, he would have seen the unfortunate Mr Holt.”

However, he added the court will hear “a divergence of opinion” from experts as to whether checking the Class VI mirror was necessary and the final thing Howsego should have done, given the number of other mirrors to check the road. The court will also hear the Class VI may not even have revealed Mr Holt crossing.

Another lorry in front of Howsego was only one to 1.5 metres ahead of him, with Mr Holt crossing between them.

Mr Bowyer added: “He [Howsego] was so close to the lorry in front of him, that was only a couple of feet away, he did not consider it necessary to check if there was anything in front of him.”

The lights on the pelican crossing were green for Howsego when he proceeded and there is no suggestion he was travelling too fast.

The hearing continues.

  • UPDATE (19/06/15)

The lorry driver has been found not guilt of causing death by careless driving.

Brian Holt’s widow has said she is considering civil action for damages after the driver was found not guilty. She has also pleaded for safety improvements to prevent ‘another family being destroyed.’

Article tags

In collaboration with
  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Paul Tuohy
  • Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC): A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1147607 and in Scotland No SC042541
  • CTC Charitable Trust: A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.5125969. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1104324 and Scotland No SC038626