An HGV driver who ran down a cyclist without realising - and had to be chased down by other motorists to tell him the cyclist was under his wheels - has apologised for what he called a ‘very tragic accident’.
Andre Jones, 21, was killed by Andrew Hillinshead, 46, in City Road, Fenton, in May this year.
He was cycling home from his work as a joiner when he was hit by the left-turning driver, who had 25 years’ experience.
According to the Stoke Sentinel, he told the inquest into Mr Jones’s death: “I did not see any cyclist. I didn’t even know I had come into contact with him. I never heard a bang. I was mortified. Shocked isn’t the word. It was a very tragic accident. I wish it had never happened. I can only apologise."
Another driver, Roy Pass said: I was behind the HGV travelling towards the A500. He pulled towards the centre of the road to manoeuvred left into a feeder road. I saw the front end of the cab start to move to the left and at that point I saw the cyclist and the two just collided. Before the incident I had not seen him.
“I had enough time to say, ‘no, no’ twice and then it happened.
“The pedal cyclist struck the exposed wheel on the near side. He was pulled under the tyre then pushed down the service road by the front tyre with him still on the bike for at least two wagon lengths.
“I was expecting the driver to stop. I just put my hand on the horn and followed him round the corner to get him to stop. He got out and came to me – he still didn’t realise he had someone trapped.”
Taxi driver Banaras Hussain, of Longton, who also witnessed the accident, said: “The cyclist went past me. He was half way across the slip road. I don’t think he expected the lorry to turn.”
A police investigator said it was possible that from his position in the cab, Mr Hollinshead had not been able to see the cyclist.
The coroner Ian Smith recorded a conclusion of death as a result of a road traffic collision, and said: “It was a really horrible, unfortunate, accident.”
Earlier this year we reported how the coroner sitting on the inquest of Dr Katherine Giles, who was killed while riding her bike by a left-turning tipper truck in Victoria last April, said that cyclists have to be aware of the danger of riding up the inside of lorries.
Dr Shirley Radcliffe’s comments came at the end of an inquest in which Westminster Coroner’s Court had been shown CCTV footage described as giving a “very clear view” of the events leading to the death of the 35-year-old polar scientist.
Recording a verdict of “traumatic road death,” Dr Radcliffe said: “I don’t wish to place any fault or blame on the victim on this occasion.
“But I can highlight once again the danger of coming up on the near-side of lorries. It’s been recognised as causing many deaths in London.”
Recently we reported that Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh said that Labour will make safety equipment on lorries mandatory should it win next year’s general election to encourage more people to cycle. She also criticised the current government for scrapping road safety targets and letting HGVs travel faster on single-carriageway roads.
Earlier in 2013, Labour had said it would adopt the bulk of the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group if it came back into power.