Call for TfL to face ‘Corporate manslaughter’ charge over delayed safety work at junction

Thursday, 20th October 2011

Published: 20 October 2011
by TOM FOOT

A CORONER has been asked to investigate whether Transport for London could be charged for “corporate manslaughter” over the death of a cyclist at a busy King’s Cross junction.

Central St Martins fashion student Min Joo Lee, 24, died under the wheels of a heavy goods vehicle as she cycled across Euston Road at the junction with Gray’s Inn Road and York Way on October 3.

The New Journal has revealed how TfL had not started planned safety works or implemented recommendations made in a report it commissioned in 2008.

King’s Cross activist Will Perrin has written to police and St Pancras coroner Dr Andrew Reid claiming that TfL has been “grossly negligent in their duty of care” and should be charged under the Corporate Man­slaughter Act 2007.

He said: “TfL took a decision not to act on the report’s recommendations promptly. Now a woman is dead.”

When the legislation was debated in 2007, TfL argued that the law should not aim “to catch companies or others making proper efforts to operate in a safe or responsible fashion” or where “appropriate standards are not quite met”.

Meanwhile, detailed analysis of traffic trends reveals a huge rise in cyclists around King’s Cross. Department of Transport statistics show how almost 4,000 cyclists cross Euston Road in Camden each day – compared to about 750 in 1999.

The figures reveal how cyclists at the junction make up 6 per cent of the total traffic flow – compared to 1 per cent in 1999.

The New Journal reported earlier this month how crucial cycle safety changes at the junction had been considered but not implemented.

Lib Dem councillor Paul Braithwaite, Camden’s cycling champion, said: “It’s time to press the nuclear button and try to overturn the rot at the top of TfL – they are dominated by bus considerations and seemingly indifferent to cyclist and pedestrian safety.”

A HGV – the kind of lorry involved in accidents that killed 11 cyclists in Camden and Islington in the past five years – is expected to be wheeled into a cycling safety event at the School of Oriental and African Studies in Bloomsbury on Friday.

Lorry drivers will swap places with cyclists to understand more about each other’s habits. The free event, in Torrington Place, includes safety checks, information on cycle routes and details of free cycle skills courses offered by Camden Council.

l The sister of a Kentish Town woman cyclist, Eilidh Cairns, who was killed by a lorry is fighting a legal battle for a fresh inquest to investigate “the huge problem” of cycling deaths.

On Tuesday, Kate Cairns, 38, asked a High Court judge to order a fresh inquest, accusing the Westminster coroner of being “reluctant”.

 

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