Detectives appeal for witnesses to come forward after woman cyclist dies at danger junction

Campaigners call for 'rapid and bold' changes after another cyclist dies in Holborn

Tuesday, 1st March — By Tom Foot

Holborn cycle death SIMON LAMROCK

A police car at the cordon in High Holborn [Simon Lamrock]

POLICE are appealing for witnesses to help them after a woman cyclist died at a danger junction.

The woman, in her late 30s, was killed in a collision with an HGV close to Holborn station around 10am yesterday (Tuesday).

She is the eighth cyclist to be killed in the notorious mesh of roads also known as the Holborn “gyratory” and campaigners are demanding “rapid and bold” cycle safety changes to be introduced.

Detective Rebecca Collens, from the serious collision investigations unit, is trying to identify the cyclist’s next of kin.

She said: “This is an incredibly tragic incident and we are working hard to establish exactly what happened.

“We are especially keen to speak to a woman who handed in the victim’s mobile phone after it fell to the floor during the collision. We also think she may have witnessed the collision itself. If this is you, please come forward and speak to us, you aren’t in any trouble but your information could be key to our investigation.

“Likewise, if you were driving in the area please check your dashcam for any recordings that may have captured this collision.”

The HGV driver stopped at the scene and there was no arrests.

Campaigners have once again called a vigil demanding radical changes to a network of dangerous roads around Holborn.

A cordon and a forensic tent was in place on Tuesday just a few metres from the spot cyclist Alan Neve died in a lorry collision in 2013.

Campaigners last August had slammed transport chiefs for “endless delays and excuses” in failing to make safe the roads around Holborn after paediatric doctor Marta Krawiec was killed riding her bike at the Southampton Row and Theobald’s Road junction.

The council and Transport for London came together to make changes to the road layouts including more cycle boxes and allowing cyclists to go straight ahead instead of turning left.

But Simon Munk from the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), and several others, have repeatedly said these safety improvements have not gone far enough.

He told the New Journal today: “Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the woman killed. Yet again, the Holborn system of one ways and junctions has resulted in a fatal collision – the eighth since 2008. Rapid and bold change at this and all junctions at Holborn must happen now.

“More, we challenge all London boroughs and the Mayor to not just wait for the next fatality at a junction known to be lethally dangerous for decades. Change must not come at this continuing cost.”

In October, Mr Munk said: “The temporary measures go nowhere near fixing the junction completely, nor is there any timetable for a more complete scheme, let alone fixing all the other lethal junctions in the Holborn’s one-way system where seven cyclists have been killed since 2008.”

Camden Council in January launched work to make its road layout changes at the junction of Southampton Row and Theobalds Road permanent.

It had in the past said it planned to rip out the gyratory system around Holborn. But it is now saying cash crisis at TfL, exacerbated by a revenue collapse during Covid, was making long term planning  impossible

Cllr Adam Harrison, the council’s transport chief, said: “We have worked together with the local community, ward councillors, cycling groups, TfL, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, and the mayor Sadiq Khan to agree changes that will transform how cyclists use the junction and ensure that their safety is prioritised.”

He had also warned that “money played a role” in delays to works to make Holborn junction safe and that a new “rapid pace approach” was required.

“Uncertainty over what TfL can fund next means we may not be able to fix what we need to, and in discussions about other parts of the borough of Camden where I have concerns it is clear that the current situation means we are unable to plan properly for other, much-needed safety changes,” he had added.

Today, a Camden Council spokesperson said: “We would like to send our condolences to the family and friends of the person who has tragically lost their life in Holborn. We are working with the Police and Transport for London as they review the circumstances that led to this fatality.”

Will Norman, the Mayor’s cycling champion, said: “I’m devastated to hear about the tragic death of the person cycling in Holborn this morning after a collision with an HGV. Making London’s roads safer is our top priority.

“We’re working closely with Camden to make safety improvements to the junction further north on Holborn gyratory, where Dr Krawiec was killed. We’ve got a permanent plan for improvements to the whole area, but uncertainty around TfL’s funding due to COVID forced us to pause.

“We’ll work with Camden to investigate what short-term measures can be brought forward in the wake of this awful incident. However, without proper long-term for transport in London, it is very hard to plan and deliver major overhauls at complex junctions like this.”

The London Ambulance Service said: “We sent a paramedic in a fast response car and an incident response officer to the scene. We also dispatched London’s Air Ambulance. The first of our medics arrived in under five minutes. Sadly, a person died at the scene.”

High Holborn in the westbound direction is closed due to the fatal crash.

The Met Police confirmed “an HGV was reported to be in collision with a cyclist”, adding: “The cyclist (no further details) was pronounced dead at the scene.”

The LCC vigil is on Friday from 6pm.

 

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