Lorry drivers continue to kill cyclists in London

As Barry Meyer admits killing Alan Neve in 2013 whilst driving carelessly and without a license or insurance, another cyclist is killed in London.

Yet another lorry driver killed yet another Londoner on a bike this morning – this time on the roundabout to the west of Lambeth Bridge. Tragically, that’s now barely newsworthy. HGVs are killing people on such a regular basis in the capital that the subsequent vigils organised by the Stop Killing Cyclists group will eventually start causing a sizeable percentage of regular congestion.

It’s certainly galling that one of the reasons the roundabout is still quite so lethal is that Westminster City Council persuaded Transport for London not to press ahead with some planned minor improvements for cyclist safety in October 2012.

Whatever sanitised logic was given for this (there’s some suggestion it was rejected for not being safe enough), nothing was done in the thirty months that followed, and so this morning a 55-year-old woman spent her last living moments crushed beneath a metre-tall tyre.

I wonder if there will be any sense of guilt in the transport offices of Westminster tomorrow?

In other news, lorry driver Barry Meyer has admitted a range of driving offences today in his trial for killing Alan Neve in London on 15 July 2013. If you’ll bear with me for a moment, the confession covered:

  • Ignoring a red light because he was too busy trying to keep up with a truck in front.
  • Neither turning his head or using his mirrors, and so not seeing Alan cycling through the junction.
  • Failing to immediately stop having dragged Alan beneath his lorry, despite “shrieks of pedestrians and other road users”. Alan was killed immediately.
  • Not being licenced to drive the lorry.
  • Not having any insurance.

But wait. There’s more:

  • Sept 2008. Stopped whilst driving a lorry whilst banned. Gave a false name. Banned for 14 more months.
  • July 2007. Stopped whilst driving a van whilst banned. Banned for 12 more months.
  • May 2007. Convicted of drink-driving and banned for 36 months.
  • Dec 2004. Convicted of driving a lorry with a dangerous load.
  • July 1998. Convicted of driving whilst banned.
  • Dec 1997. Convicted of drink-driving and banned for 18 months.

You have to wonder at what point in there any rational person would stop and think “gee, it’s almost as if this guy isn’t taking disqualifications very seriously; maybe we should try something else?”

That didn’t happen. Barry continued in his devil-may-care approach to the safety of other road users, and eventually—inevitably—someone else paid the price.

You’ll be heartened to know that even after killing someone after driving through a red light, the prosecution service decided not to bother with the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving (rather than careless), so the maximum sentence available to Judge Worsley is only five years. No doubt Barry will be out in a little over two, and obviously back behind the wheel shortly after.

There’s one more twist to this sorry tale. The only reason Alan had to use the particularly hostile junction in question is because police had taken it upon themselves to enforce a ban on cyclists using a much safer alternative bus lane.

What would you choose? A £30 fine every commute and relative safety, or having to merge across four lanes of rush-hour traffic on a bike?

Take care out there.


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