London

Cyclist killed in Victoria lorry crash

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Media captionCampaigners say construction site vehicles should be taken off London's roads, as Yvonne Hall reports

A cyclist has been killed in a collision with a tipper truck during rush hour in central London.

Witnesses said her bike - a Barclays Cycle Hire bike - was crushed under the wheels of the Gordon Plant Hire truck.

It happened at about 08:00 GMT in Victoria Street next to the Victoria Palace Theatre.

The woman, in her 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene. She is the fourth cyclist to have been killed in London this year, police said.

Each death involved a lorry.

Image copyright Edward Pyne
Image caption A man who works nearby said the construction site has made the route a 'death trap'

This week marked the start of a police highway safety operation prompted by the deaths of 29 people on London's roads since the start of the year - many of them pedestrians.

The lorry driver in the most recent incident stopped at the scene and no arrests have been made.

The truck was being driven along Bressenden Place, a one-way street, and had just turned left on to Victoria Street at a set of traffic lights when the cyclist was hit on the inside.

Image copyright Katharine Giles's website
Image caption Katharine Giles was killed near the same spot in April 2013

Carnel Jarca, a Big Issue seller who was standing opposite the accident scene, said he heard the "sound of crushed metal".

Des Dacosta, a maintenance engineer who approached the junction shortly after the accident, said: "I work around here a lot and it's a very busy junction, all day and all night, it is relentless.

"It's just tragic, another cyclist killed in London."

The crash happened close to where University College London scientist Katharine Giles was killed in April 2013.

Office worker Edward Pyne said he was "so upset to see a fellow cyclist killed right outside my work".

He said: "I've ridden down there a few times before and it's an absolute death trap - crammed in with 8ft fences either side and nowhere to go - and construction vehicles arriving and leaving all day, including rush hour."

Donnachadh McCarthy from the Stop Killing Cyclists campaign said: "We're now arranging our fourth vigil since the start of the year.

"We want this to be a huge one because we are fed up."

'Dinosaurs'

He said Westminster Council needed to do more for cyclists.

"They have spent nothing, not one penny, on putting in protective cycling for the last five years.

"Westminster Council is responsible for 95% of the roads in Westminster and they are dinosaurs.

"They are refusing to support 20mph zones in Westminster despite the fact that it is the busiest area in London for pedestrians and cyclists. What we need is people in our town halls to start spending money."

In response, councillor Heather Acton said: "The incident this morning has shocked us deeply, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the cyclist involved."

She added that making cycling safer was a key priority for the council and that it fully supported the mayor's plans for a cycling super-highway and quietways.

"We continue to keep the evidence for the impact of 20mph limits under review. That evidence from across London and elsewhere remains mixed."

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