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Police trace lorry after cyclist killed in hit-and-run crash at London’s Battersea Bridge

Fatal crash comes 18 months after local residents called for “immediate” action to make bridge and its approaches safer for vulnerable road users

Police in London have traced a lorry that was involved in a hit-and-run crash on London’s Battersea Bridge this morning in which a woman riding her bike was killed. The fatal collision comes 18 months after groups representing local residents demanded “immediate” action to make the bridge safer for vulnerable road users after a number of serious crashes there resulting in deaths or serious injuries.

(Update: Police have subsequently said in a statement released on 11 August 2023 that they have spoken to the driver of the lorry, adding: “He has not been arrested and inquiries continue”).

The fatal crash happened shortly before 8am today, with the victim reportedly riding her bike northbound over the bridge, which does not have cycle lanes.

Transport for London (TfL), which held a consultation running from last November to January this year on proposed safety measures at either end of the bridge, said in a report published in June that “Unfortunately, due to the physical constraints of this listed structure, it is not possible to provide cycle lanes on Battersea Bridge.

“The priority is to ensure cyclists can safely navigate the junctions as this is where collisions are most likely to occur,” the report added.

One witness to this morning’s crash, Richard Ollington, told the London Evening Standard: “A lady had fallen off her bike, she was on the floor.

“The bike had been ruined, the front wheel was bent and … it was clear that the situation wasn’t good.”

According to the newspaper, two men who had been travelling in a white van stopped at the scene to try and give assistance to the woman, prior to the arrival of the emergency services.

In February last year, five residents’ groups representing people living close to Battersea Bridge called for “immediate” action to make it safe for cyclists and pedestrians, warning that if nothing was done, more people would be killed or seriously injured there.

> “Immediate” action required to make Battersea bridge safe, amid fears that a lack of action will cause more deaths and injuries

The appeal came after a cyclist aged in her 30s sustained life-changing injuries following a crash involving a lorry, a year to the day after 29-year-old Jack Ryan was killed when he was struck by a driver as he was jogging near the northern end of the bridge.

The residents’ groups commissioned research which showed that in the five years to December 2020, 72 people, 31 of whom were cyclists, had been killed or injured in road traffic collisions in the area around the bridge.

“Local residents are therefore deeply concerned that fatalities and serious injuries will continue to occur at the Junction in the absence of adequate interventions,” they said.

“The junction performs extremely poorly with an average of over 12 injury collisions recorded each year of which on average two are killed or seriously injured (KSI) collisions.”

London Cycling Campaign (LCC) described this morning’s fatality as “devastating news” and called for “greater urgency” to be taken in making “known collision hotspots like this” safer for vulnerable road users.

After fare revenues plummeted following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, TfL had to rely on short-term bailouts from central government to be able to continue to provide its core services and as a result was forced to suspend its ongoing efforts to make London’s junctions safer.

In August 2021, LCC launched a petition urging TfL and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to take action on dangerous junctions across the city, including at Battersea Bridge.

> London Cycling Campaign launches petition demanding action on capital’s lethal junctions

The petition was launched days after the death of Dr Marta Krawiec at Holborn Gyratory, one of a number of cyclists have lost their lives there in recent years in crashes involving lorries.

Referring to Dr Krawiec’s death, LCC said: “This time, as so many times across London, it was a woman cycling, hit by a large, turning lorry.

“Work on the most dangerous junctions in London had stalled even before the pandemic,” LCC said.

“During the pandemic we did have a glimpse of what a lower car London can look like; we did see rapid expansion of the cycle network; and we did get increasing awareness in government that active travel has a vital role to play in averting the climate crisis. But we have not seen substantive action on our most dangerous and lethal junctions.

“Junctions are where most serious and fatal collisions with those walking and cycling happen. They are the single biggest risk to lives, and the single biggest barrier to more people cycling and walking – particularly to those most put off by hostile road design such as children and parents.

“After yet another fatality at Holborn, yet another fatality at Battersea Bridge, multiple fatalities in less than a month in Havering on one road, we do not believe London can delay any more.

“We are calling on our leaders to reinstate the rapid rollout of safety improvements at every London junction where those walking and cycling lose their lives, with the most dangerous prioritised first.

“What TfL and DfT call ‘critical issues’ at junctions must be addressed to ensure that every arm of each junction is safe to cycle or walk through.

“That way these junctions will help realise the Mayor’s ‘Vision Zero’ plan for no fatal road collisions or serious injuries in London by 2041, rather than trash it,” LCC added.

In a statement issued following this morning’s fatal crash, the Metropolitan Police Service said: “Officers were called at 07:55hrs on Thursday, 10 August to Battersea Bridge, SW11.

“A collision was reported between a lorry and a cyclist.

“The cyclist, a woman, was found to be dead at the scene. Officers are working to inform her next of kin.

“Road closures are in place while emergency services deal.

“The lorry did not stop at the scene, but was subsequently located by officers in Fulham,” the statement added, although there was no mention of the driver.

Police have said that their enquiries are continuing, and have appealed for witnesses, or anyone else with information, to come forward, Officers can be contacted on 020 8543 5157 or via Twitter @MetCC, quoting CAD 1553/10Aug.

Alternatively, information can be given, anonymously, to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Two fire engines from Battersea and Chelsea fire stations, as well as a fire rescue unit, also rushed to the scene.

A spokesperson for London Fire Brigade said: “Firefighters were called to a road traffic collision on Battersea Bridge this morning.

“A lorry was in collision with a cyclist. Sadly, a woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The Brigade was called at 7.58am and the incident was over for firefighters by 8.15am,” the spokesperson added.

Simon joined road.cc 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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17 comments

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 9 months ago
7 likes

Here is local MP and the Tory party Chairman Greg Hands' response to the tragedy, and below that his detailed and strenuous objections to proposals to make the junction safer for pedestrians and cyclists last year.

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago
3 likes

Sadly familiar.  "Of course these deaths are tragic, and obviously I welcome all measures to protect people from motor traffic.  Except those that affect the speed or volume of that traffic in any way".

Needs a new version of Goldie Lookin Chain's hit - "Cars don't kill people, red lights do.  Delays or congestion?  Well they might kill you..."

Avatar
Simon E replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago
7 likes

"Thoughts and prayers" but no controls on so-called freedom (which kills). Typical of the deep, enduring hypocrisy we see all the time from the pro-motorist, pro-pollution, anti-people party.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Simon E | 9 months ago
4 likes
Simon E wrote:

"Thoughts and prayers" but no controls on so-called freedom (which kills). Typical of the deep, enduring hypocrisy we see all the time from the pro-motorist, pro-pollution, anti-people party.

They don't want people's safety to get in the way of profits do they?

I guess soon we'll be leaving the European Convention of Human Rights so that we can stuff lots of refugees onto an old barge that is a risk to human life. Seems like at the end of the day, cruelty is the reason that Tories wanted to leave the EU.

Avatar
mitsky | 9 months ago
2 likes

Headline
"Police trace lorry after cyclist killed in hit-and-run crash at London’s Battersea Bridge"

should it be
"Police trace lorry DRIVER after cyclist killed in hit-and-run crash at London’s Battersea Bridge"
?

"Police in London have traced a lorry that was involved in a hit-and-run crash..."
Should this not be
"Police in London have traced a lorry DRIVER that was involved in a hit-and-run crash..."

Please amend accordingly (even if it means they haven't yet traced the driver) to NOT make it look like it was a self-driving lorry.
http://rc-rg.com

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3331869633536303/
("wow, that car did that all by itself")

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to mitsky | 9 months ago
3 likes
mitsky wrote:

Headline
"Police trace lorry after cyclist killed in hit-and-run crash at London’s Battersea Bridge"

should it be
"Police trace lorry DRIVER after cyclist killed in hit-and-run crash at London’s Battersea Bridge"
?

May be mistaken but the absence of any information regarding questioning or arresting the driver led me to believe that the lorry had been found abandoned and they are still looking for the driver.

Avatar
Simon_MacMichael replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago
12 likes

We do adhere to the guidelines - it was a former colleague who helped compile them, after all - but have to work within the information that has been made available.

The original Met statement said that police had found the lorry, hence the headline; and in the article, we made it clear that the police statement made no mention of the driver (a subsequent statement, released this morning, says that they have spoken to him). 

So, as of when this story was published yesterday, we couldn't say that they'd traced the driver, and we couldn't say that the lorry had been found abandoned.

Besides that, "Police trace lorry" is separate from the crash itself; it certainly does not assign agency to the vehicle for the collision, it describes something that happened subsequently.

One thing worth mentioning, and this goes back to the point that in the absence of eyewitness accounts of the actual incident, we have to rely on official statements, is that in very rare cases, a cyclist may be killed or seriously injured in a collision with a vehicle where there was no driver involved (as happened during a time trial a few years back when a participant rode into the back of a parked vehicle). 

From memory, the police statement at the time was vague and referred to a collision involving the vehicle - it would have been an incorrect assumption on our part to make the leap to saying that a driver had killed a cyclist in that case.

 

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Simon_MacMichael | 9 months ago
0 likes

I know, Simon - my comment was defending your language and pointing out why you would have used it!

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mitsky replied to Simon_MacMichael | 9 months ago
2 likes

Thanks for clarifying Simon, much appreciated.

Avatar
open_roads | 9 months ago
7 likes

The comment by TfL is absoltue bullsh** but ultimately tells us they just don't see making London's roads safer for cyclists as part of their job.

“Unfortunately, due to the physical constraints of this listed structure, it is not possible to provide cycle lanes on Battersea Bridge."

Even without a degree in transport planning it's easy to see there are a number of options that would allow for a bi-directional cycle lane to be installed e.g.

- close the bridge to motor traffic

- remove 1 x  carriageway so motor traffic takes it in turns to cross the bridge

- reducing the total carriage way width by 1m / restrict use to small vehicles only and then convert 1 x extended pavement into a bi-directional cycle lane

Perhaps if the Mayor of London wasn't wasting so much money on pointless jobs e.g. roles to determine whether a theatre advert featuring a cake should be banned or the 3 fold increase in the number of "communications officers" there would be more money for the real priorities.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sadiq-khan-wedding-cake-advert-tf...

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to open_roads | 9 months ago
3 likes

You really don't understand how budgets work do you? 

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mattw | 9 months ago
5 likes

Hmmm.

Is it possible to work at network level?

If a cantilever cycle track cannot be done (don't understand if a new deck can be put on Hammersmith Bridge), give the motors the A road on Battersea Bridge, and make Albert Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists?

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Rendel Harris replied to mattw | 9 months ago
4 likes
mattw wrote:

If a cantilever cycle track cannot be done (don't understand if a new deck can be put on Hammersmith Bridge), give the motors the A road on Battersea Bridge, and make Albert Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists?

Sounds good, Albert is already heavily restricted for width and weight so the usual "cutting off the lifeblood of commerce" nonsense wouldn't wash.

Hammersmith is listed Grade II the same as Battersea, the deck plan is only a proposal to keep it open whilst repairs are undertaken; if the plan does go ahead it'll be on the understanding that ultimately the bridge is returned to its original condition, so the chances of allowing any permanent changes to Battersea are pretty slim, one would imagine. 

 

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mattw replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago
1 like

I see that LCC mention that.

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momove replied to mattw | 9 months ago
5 likes

Or they could just close it to motorised traffic. There are other ways of moving around a city. It, as well as Chelsea, Albert and Wandsworth Bridges, have awful junctions. They're dangerous both as a pedestrian and on a bike and I do my best to avoid them.

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 9 months ago
8 likes

RIP. Filthy junction heading north, I avoid as much as possible unless time's really pressing. Not helped by the red route lines that have been repainted without burning off so many times that they are inches proud of the roadway and a serious hazard in the wet.

Quote:

“Unfortunately, due to the physical constraints of this listed structure, it is not possible to provide cycle lanes on Battersea Bridge."

They forgot to add "without inconveniencing motorists." If they wanted to make truly radical changes they could make Battersea Bridge northbound only and Albert Bridge (about 200m downriver) southbound only, there'd be plenty of space for cycle lanes then...

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momove replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago
4 likes

Agreed about changing them to one way, one lane for motor traffic. And fixing the junctions of all the bridges from Chelsea to Wandsworth bridges needs to happen. There's not even pedestrian lights to cross.

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