Doubts cast on Cycle Highway safety after woman, 20, dies at busy Aldgate junction

Floral tribute in Whitechapel to Philippine Degerin-Ricard

Floral tribute in Whitechapel to Philippine Degerin-Ricard - Credit: Archant

Doubt is being cast over the safety of the London ‘Cycle Highway’ network after a young woman was killed on a ‘Boris’ bike at east London’s notoriously-busy Gardiner’s Corner junction where the A11, A13 and Ring Road converge.

Floral tribute in Whitechapel to Philippine Degerin-Ricard

Floral tribute in Whitechapel to Philippine Degerin-Ricard - Credit: Archant

The London Assembly’s John Biggs, who represents east London at City Hall, has been campaigning to improve cycle safety along the A11 between Whitechapel and Bow.

“We must avoid any knee jerk reaction,” he warned. “But clearly the reputation of the Barclays’ bike scheme and the cycle highways could be damaged.

“The bikes are seen as solid and ‘safe’. But we need to understand if there are any design problems.

“More urgently, we need to look at the cycle highways themselves.”

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He has complained several times about the new A11 cycle lane between Aldgate and the notorious Bow Flyover, it has emerged. The bike lane widths at many spots mean cyclists sharing space with motorists, he has found.

“On a busy road this can be confusing,” he added. “This cycle highway needs serious redrawing.”

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The accident in which the 20-year-old was killed was the first of two serious collisions involving cyclists in east London within 24 hours.

The woman was cycling across the junction heading east where Whitechapel High Street converges with Commercial Street and Commercial Road when she was in collision with a lorry at 6.20pm on Friday on her way home to Bow.

Ambulance paramedics at the scene fought desperately to save her—but she died on her way to the Royal London Hospital nearby.

Her parents were flying to London from the Continent today to formally identify her.

The lorry driver stopped after the accident, Scotland yard has confirmed. He was not arrested.

It was the first fatality involving a ‘Boris Bike’ since they were introduced in 2010, according to Transport for London.

Police investigators looking into the cause are also investigating a second cycling accident the following day at Clapton Common, at the junction with Stamford Hill.

A man riding a bike involved in a collision with a bus at 5.20pm on Saturday was taken to the Royal London in a critical condition.

The Met’s Investigation Unit at Chadwell Heath is appealing for witnesses to both accidents at Whitechapel on Friday evening and Clapton Common on Saturday evening to call 020-8597 4874.

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