Driver 'had no idea' cyclist was under lorry's wheels
By Tom Henry - Posted on 29 December 2009
A cyclist killed at a central London junction would still be alive if the lorry that hit her hadn’t broken the law, her boyfriend told an inquest.
Maria Fernandez, 24, died from head injuries sustained following the crash at Holborn Circus. A bin lorry had crept into the green ’bike box’ zone at the lights then turned left, dragging the student under its wheels.
Riccardo Rispoli, who was cycling with her at the time of the crash in June, said the law should be toughened-up to protect cyclists at busy junctions.
An inquest at St Pancras coroner’s court recorded a verdict of accidental death on the Argentinian-born cyclist, who lived in Stepney Green.
The lorry driver, Joseph Grant, was questioned by police but released without charge.
According to the Evening Standard, Mr Grant told the court that he saw only Mr Rispoli as he turned into Charterhouse Street, and had no idea that Miss Fernandez was being dragged under his front wheels until he was alerted by other drivers 130 metres further on.
Deputy coroner Gail Elliman said: “The lorry wasn’t stopped in the right place. If Miss Fernandez was five metres ahead in the cycling box Mr Grant would have seen her. But the [lorry’s] indicator could have been seen by Miss Fernandez. Caution might have been exercised if she believed it was going to turn left.”
Speaking after the verdict, Mr Rispoli, a yacht designer, said: “I think the law needs to get tougher so this doesn’t happen again. I think Maria’s death could have been prevented.
“The driver was in the cycle box so we couldn’t get in front. Also with better mirrors and if lorries were not so loud these kind of deaths could be stopped.
“I do not blame the driver but there are many kinds of people on the road and everything needs to be made stupid-proof so even a kid can understand how to use it.”