Case Study

Young woman dies after collision with lorry on Barclays Cycle Superhighway

Incident date: 
Fri, 5 Jul 2013

Philippine de Gerin-Ricard, aged 20, was struck as she rode along Barclays Cycle Superhighway 2 in east London yesterday evening. Emergency services were called to the scene outside Aldgate East station at around 6.30pm on Friday 5th July.

The victim was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The death is the first fatality since the ‘Boris bike’ scheme was launched by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson 2010, Transport for London confirmed.

The driver of the lorry stopped at the scene and no arrests have been made.

TFL spokesman Leon Daniels said: “Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of the female cyclist who tragically died following a collision with a heavy goods vehicle on Whitechapel High Street.

“We understand she was riding a Barclays Cycle Hire bike.

“Transport for London has a range of measures already underway to further reduce the number of collisions involving cyclists across London and we will be assisting the Metropolitan Police with their investigation into this tragic incident.”

The Barclays cycle routes run from outer London to the centre and are designed to provide “safer, faster and more direct journeys into the city”, according to TfL.

  • UPDATE (17/10/13)

The inquest into Philippine’s death was held on October 16th.

The Times reported that Philippine’s mother made a plea for ‘proper lanes for cyclists’ at the inquest. She reacted angrily when it was suggested that the absence of high-visibility clothing and a helmet played a part in the crash, though the court heard it was “unlikely” that a helmet would have made any difference in a crash with an HGV.

Ms du Mochet said: “I have heard the clothing cyclists wear, and what Philippine was wearing, discussed here. In fact, what needs to be tackled is the provision of proper lanes for cyclists, so that cyclists are protected.”

Poplar Coroner’s Court heard that Ms de Gerin-Ricard had briefly cycled on the pavement before coming back on to the road and that the driver of the lorry, Richard James, would have had less than four seconds to spot her in the edge of his wing-mirror. He was not charged in connection with the crash. The Coroner, Mary Hassell, also made clear that Ms de Gerin-Ricard had not been cycling recklessly.

PC Simon Wickenden, from the Metropolitan Police, said that he had told TfL in 2007 that the proposed redesign of Whitechapel High Street left “insufficient space for cyclists to move about safely” among HGVs and buses in the narrow lanes.

Nevertheless, Cycle Superhighway 2 was opened on that stretch of road in 2011 with “no designated cycle lane” and only “minor” changes to make the road safer for cyclists.

Nigel Hardy, from TfL, said the design had passed all the body’s safety checks and said new measures were being trialled to improve safety.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death, but said that she would be writing a Prevention of Future Death Report to TfL, demanding an “innovative” solution and calling for more “separate cycle lanes”.

At a separate inquest this week into the death of Brian Dorling in 2011, Ms Hassell described another stretch of Cycle Superhighway 2, in Bow, as “an accident waiting to happen” and warned the strips of blue paint could give a “false sense of security” to cyclists.

Ms Hassell said she would also use her report to recommend a publicity campaign to encourage cyclists to ride more centrally in traffic lanes to avoid risk of drivers overtaking too closely.

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