A London cyclist who died after crashing into the rear of a lorry on Pentonville Road in Islington told a police officer who came to his aid after the collision, “I put my head down and went for it.”
City trader Jerome Roussel was still conscious after the crash on 2 May this year in which he sustained spinal injuries but died in hospital seven weeks later due to complications, reports the London Evening Standard.
An inquest at Poplar Coroner’s Court yesterday heard that Mr Roussel, a French national, had been cycling at a speed of approximately 20 miles an hour before the collision.
In a statement, Police Constable Liam Hughes said that Mr Roussel, aged 51, had told him: “I put my head down and went for it, I didn’t see the lorry.”
Two other police officers said that Mr Roussel said he was at fault for the collision.
Lorry driver Steven Swanson, who was delivering bricks,had his hazard lights on and was stopped as he prepared to make a tight left turn.
He told the inquest: “I got out of the cab after checking my mirrors. Then there was a loud bang.
“People were jumping off a bus and pointing — I thought it might have been a bomb. I went to the back to look and there was a cyclist in the road.
“I couldn’t see any obvious sign of injury, I thought he was going to be OK. When I was told the cyclist had died I was in shock.”
Recording a finding of accidental death, Coroner Mary Hassell said of Mr Roussel: “He was fairly fast, he was a fit man, he had his head down and just did not see the lorry.
“The moment’s inattention resulted in him crashing.”
Yesterday evening, the campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists held a vigil and die-in outside Islington Town Hall on Upper Street to commemorate Mr Roussel and call for safer streets for cyclists in the borough.
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.