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Friends fury over accident verdict on cyclist crushed by lorry

The London Evening Standard: Friends’ fury over accident verdict on cyclist crushed by lorry

Benedict Moore-Bridger
29.10.09

Friends of a cyclist who was killed in a collision with a 32-tonne lorry hit out today after a coroner ruled her death was an accident.

Trainee architect Rebecca Goosen, 29, was riding to work in April when she was crushed by a cement mixer turning left at a junction in Islington.

She was caught on the inside of the lorry at the junction of Old Street and Goswell Road.

St Pancras coroner’s court heard yesterday that driver Vladas Urbanas checked his mirror before beginning to turn but Ms Goosen was caught in a blind spot.

Mr Urbanas said: “My mirror was clear. When I started turning I didn’t hear anything then I felt my truck jump and I felt in my heart something had happened.”

Coroner Dr Andrew Reid recorded an accidental death verdict after investigator Mark Crouch told the inquest it was “entirely possible” that the cyclist was either partly or completely obscured to the driver, despite the vehicle being fitted with “all the appropriate safety measures”.

Dr Reid said: “It is not possible to exclude the possibility that she was in one of the few blind spots that remain despite these measures.”

But Ms Goosen’s flatmate, Cristina Schoenborn, joined calls for companies operating heavy vehicles to be forced to install further safety devices.

The 30-year-old translator backed the Standard’s Safer Cycling campaign and called for all lorries to be fitted with proximity sensors.

She said: “London is not safe for cyclists. I used to ride my bike, but not any more.

“People may argue that fitting sensors would cost too much but it is a price worth paying. How much does a death cost, in terms of ambulances, medical costs and coroners’ courts?

And Cynthia Barlow of Camden, a cycling campaigner, said she was “extremely disappointed” by the ruling.

She added: “It shows a too-ready acceptance of the existence of blind spots as something that cannot be avoided.

“There is no such thing as a blind spot. There are difficult-to-see spots, but there are measures that can be taken to make drivers aware of vehicles on their inside. Such measures would have saved this young girl’s life.”

Ms Goosen’s death is the third to involve a cyclist and a cement-mixer in north London since 2006.