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Coach driver on trial for killing cyclist was told of crash by passenger, court hears

Court also hears that driver told police he regularly ignored advance stop lines - and did so on day Karla Roman was killed

A coach driver who is on trial accused of causing the death by careless driving of a London cyclist when he turned left across her path only learnt he had run her over when a passenger told him what had happened, a court has heard.

The London Evening Standard reports that Woolwich Crown Court was also told that Barry Northcott, aged 40 and from Bromley, informed police after the death of 32-year-old Karla Roman in east London last year that he regularly moved into advanced stop lines – also known as ‘bike boxes’ and designed to protect riders at junctions – to "stop himself being swamped by cyclists."

Ms Roman, originally from Brazil and an architect by profession, was riding to work along a Cycle Superhighway in Whitechapel on the morning of 6 February 2017 when she sustained “catastrophic injuries” after she was run over by Northcott’s coach, a commuter service operated by Kent-based Clarks Coaches, as he turned left.

The incident happened at the junction of Whitechapel High Street and White Church Lane, where Northcott had positioned the front of his vehicle in the right-hand side of the bike box as he prepared to turn left, said Harpreet Sandhu, prosecuting.

He said: "The defendant began a left-hand turn and into the path that Karla Roman was on, he did not see her in the mirrors as he turned because he was not paying attention.

"He did not see her in the mirrors as he continued to turn as he was not paying attention, and when he made that left-hand turn into her path, his coach collided with her and ended up dragging her with her bike under the wheels of the coach."

He told the court that Ms Roman and another cyclist had been riding ahead and to the left of the coach ahead of the collision and would have been visible for 16 seconds, and that there was “no reason” for Northcott not to have seen her.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of the incident and speaking of the coach driver’s “deliberate decision” to enter the bike box, Mr Sandhu said: "The defendant should have stopped at the first while line and he did not.

“He did not even stop at the second white line, he went over that second and he did that to make his own journey easier.”

Northcott denies the charge against him. The trial continues.

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Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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