Case Study

Female cyclist dies in collision on Bow roundabout

Incident date: 
Wed, 13 Nov 2013

A female cyclist was killed this morning at Bow roundabout, the third to die at this location in 2 years. She is the fourth cyclist to die in London in 8 days, the 12th this year.

The woman, who has not been named, was involved in a collision with a lorry at about 08:45 on the roundabout’s south-east exit, the London Evening Standard reported.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The collision occurred only yards from the spot where Svitlana Tereschenko, 34, was killed two years ago when she was dragged under the wheels of a tipper truck. It was diagonally opposite the location where another cyclist, Brian Dorling, died three weeks earlier in 2011.

Transport for London’s head of surface transport Leon Daniels today visited the scene. The roundabout was closed to traffic as police road death investigators began to gather evidence.

Last week Mayor Boris Johnson was only yards away when he opened an extension of his CS2 cycle superhighway between Bow roundabout and Stratford. Today’s crash is understood not to have been on a section of the superhighway.

  • UPDATE (14/11/13)

The cyclist has been named as 24 year-old Venera Minakhmetova, a Russian national living in the Bethnal Green area.

Venera was a tech entrepreneur who had graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations before completing an MSc in finance at Cass Business School in 2011.

  • UPDATE (09/04/14)

The coroner at Venera’s inquest concluded that Venera went through a red light. The court heard from a police investigator that Venera ‘most likely contravened a red traffic light’.

The coroner, Mary Hassell, told the court ‘cyclists need to understand what dangerous behaviour contravening a red traffic light is’.

However Ms Minakhmetova’s sister Dina, who attended court with her mother and aunt, told BBC London afterwards that she doubted she would have jumped the lights. “She was always suspicious about this roundabout… When Venera went there it wasn’t safe,” she said.

Collision investigator PC Michael Andrews told the inquest that Ms Minakhmetova was most likely to have ridden in the cycle lane, on the tipper lorry’s left, as she approached the roundabout westbound from Stratford.

He said: “Venera must have come down his side at some point to get in front of him. Therefore, and assuming Venera has used the cycle lane, I believe it’s most likely she has contravened the red traffic light.”

The HGV had been turning left towards the Blackwall tunnel after collecting rubble from a site in Stratford. It is thought Ms Minakhmetova was going straight on towards central London.

HGV driver Mark Stoker said he had not seen any cyclists in the bike lane, or in the advance stop area 17 metres ahead, as he waited at traffic lights.

GPS and tachograph data from his vehicle showed he was travelling at 13mph at the time of the collision. He told the inquest: “I was three-quarters of the way round and then I just heard a metal noise and stopped straight away and realised what had happened.”

The vehicle was fitted with sensors to detect cyclists alongside, had an audible warning telling road users when it is turning left, and was fitted with warning stickers telling cyclists to stay back, he said.

However PC Andrews said the warning may not have been audible to Ms Minakhmetova due to noise at the junction.

Coroner Hassell said she had “nothing useful” to say to Transport for London as the roundabout had since “been altered to such an extent that it’s very significantly safer for cyclists”.

TfL had remodelled the roundabout and installed separate traffic lights for cyclists to give them an “early start” ahead of other traffic following the death of Brian Dorling and Svitlana Tereschenko in 2011.

CTC's view: 

Venera may have gone through the red light in order to position herself ahead of the HGV, but possibly did not position herself far enough ahead, so was not visible to the driver. A safer HGV design, with a lower cab and transparent side panels, would have afforded the driver better visibility and may have saved Venera’s life.

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