Case Study

Cyclist killed on superhighway in Bow - tipper lorry driver sentenced

Incident date: 
Mon, 24 Oct 2011

A man has died after a collision with a tipper lorry on a cycle superhighway in east London.

The cyclist, aged in his 50s, was involved in the accident on the roundabout at the Bow flyover during the morning rush hour.

Transport for London (TfL) said he was the first person to be killed on the city’s cycling superhighway network.

The Metropolitan Police said a man had been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving in connection with the crash.

A TfL spokesperson said: “We are extremely sorry to learn of the tragic death of a male cyclist, following a collision with an HGV on the Bow Road roundabout.”

He said TfL had delivered several initiatives, such as new roadside safety mirrors and awareness campaigns about the dangers of undertaking lorries, over the past year.

An “on bike” training course for freight drivers in London, an online HGV cycle safety guide and “cycle safe” technology for all TFL highway contractor vehicles were also being introduced by the end of the year, he said.

There are four of the blue-painted priority lanes for cyclists in London, with eight others due to open by 2015.

  • UPDATE (23/07/13)

David Cox, 49, of Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, admitted causing Brian Dorling’s death by careless driving.

He has been sentenced to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and disqualified from driving for 2 years. He was also ordered to undertake 100 hours of community service.

Mr Dorling’s widow, Debbie, said: “Having seen Mr Cox to be honest we feel extremely sorry for him. You can see he’s remorseful and see that he’s haunted.

“He is a broken man. Putting him in prison is not going to achieve anything.”

Det Sgt Helen Lambert from the Metropolitan Police said: “This was a tragic incident involving two different road users and it highlights the vulnerability of cyclists who ride alongside large vehicles.”

  • UPDATE (26/07/13)

Mr Dorling’s widow has invited the lorry driver responsible for his death to join her in campaigning for better road safety with the See Me Save Me campaign, in particular the use of scanners warning HGV drivers of approaching cyclists.

Debbie Dorling said she felt for Mr Cox, who was clearly remorseful and deeply affected by what had happened.

While some cyclists took to Twitter to complain about what they saw as a soft sentence, she criticised this ‘mob culture’, saying Mr Cox was already serving a ‘life sentence’ and putting him in prison would not achieve anything.

“I would extend my hand to Mr Cox to help with the See Me Save Me campaign (to reduce the danger posed by lorries to cyclists),” she told the Chronicle.

“It would be a very brave thing for him to do but if that’s something he thinks might help him, because he needs help too, I would welcome his involvement.”

She also said there was too much anger on the roads and all road users had to learn to respect one another.

The devices, which detect cyclists in the driver’s blind spot, have already been fitted to all construction vehicles used by Mr Dorling’s former employer Mace.

CTC's view: 

The sentence handed down to David Cox is minimal compared to the maximum sentence that can be issued for the offence of causing death by careless driving (max. sentence = 5 years imprisonment and a £5000 fine). The offence also carries a minimum 1 year driving ban and a discretionary re-test. The Road Justice campaign seeks to encourage the courts to use the full breadth of sentences available to them in order to discourage poor driving but does not endorse custodial sentence where the bad driving was not intentional or reckless, in this case, the imposition of a long-term driving ban would have been more appropriate.

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