Dame Sarah Storey, Britain’s most-decorated Paralympian who’s now the active travel commissioner for Greater Manchester, has denounced drivers who dismissed a 19-year-old cyclist’s death after a collision with an HGV driver in Manchester, on a day which saw two more collisions between cyclists and lorry drivers — leaving one cyclist dead in London and another in Manchester “fighting for his life”.
Responding to the news of a crash which cost the cyclist his life in Great Bridgewater Street, off Deansgate around Wednesday midday, Storey said: “This news has knocked me sick. A road I use a lot and a regular route for many others cycling. The circumstances of the collision have not been released yet but when they are it’s vital the city region make progress to prevent it happening again.”
However, the crash for which a 55-year-old has now been arrested on the suspicion of careless driving, when reported by Manchester Evening News, invited toxic comments downplaying the tragic death and claiming that “cyclists shouldn’t be on this road”. The website has since last night closed off its comments section on the report to fend off such conversation.
Dame Sarah Storey, responding to those comments said: “Yes and those people making those comments are also likely to drive which makes the roads even more frightening. Deterrents to dangerous and anti-social behaviour in a vehicle are clearly not severe enough. Vehicles are potentially weapons, just like a knife or a gun.”
Yes & those people making those comments are also likely to drive which makes the roads even more frightening. Deterrents to dangerous & anti-social behaviour in a vehicle are clearly not severe enough. Vehicles are potentially weapons, just like a knife or a gun.
— Dame Sarah Storey (@DameSarahStorey) May 24, 2023
However, one person replied under Storey’s original tweet claiming that it was not a major cycle route and that an “accident like this will always see a driver arrested”.
In another reply, the person added: “You really do need to shut up. Great Bridgwater St IS NOT a major cycle route at all. There is a huge construction site at Viadux that has restricted road space & necessitated temporary lights.”
However, Storey, who before taking over Chris Boardman’s role in May 2022 had also served as the active travel commissioner for Sheffield for three years, said that the road doesn’t need to be a major route for people to care that a fatal crash doesn’t happen there again”.
She added: “This gentleman can’t seem to fathom that a road not being a major cycling route (in his opinion) somehow warrants a ‘turn a blind eye to yet another road death’ approach. Sorry to disappoint but I won’t keep quiet, people’s lives depend on it.”
The former cycling and swimming athlete with 17 gold medals in the Paralympic Games has been staunchly advocating for safer cycling and raising awareness about the dangers caused by reckless and inappropriate driving behaviours.
Earlier this week, we reported her calling out the “entitlement” of speeding drivers, as social media replies downplayed its subsequent risks after Met Police’s national lead of fatal collisions DCS Andy Cox noted that speeding was the leading cause of fatal crashes.
“Some of the responses and quote tweets on this statement, from a leading police expert, demonstrates perfectly the level of entitlement and subsequent risk posed by some drivers,” Storey wrote.
Some of the responses & quote tweets on this statement, from a leading police expert, demonstrates perfectly the level of entitlement & subsequent risk posed by some drivers. Too many “my speeding/driving offences won’t cause harm” attitudes
— Dame Sarah Storey (@DameSarahStorey) May 22, 2023
Cox had made these comments after the UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman got tangled up in a speeding controversy where she allegedly tried to arrange a private driver awareness course after she was caught speeding in order to avoid public scrutiny.
London Cycling Campaign criticised the former Attorney Genral from the Conservative Party for not only being caught speeding, but “attempting to dismiss that as an issue and often getting away with no real consequences”.
Just yesterday early morning, a cyclist was killed in a collision with a lorry being driven in central London. Commenting on the “devastating news”, the London Cycling Campaign said “yet again a tipper truck involved in a fatal collision with someone cycling”.
“It's too early yet for any clarity on why this collision happened — but incidents like this should be designed out of London. Our hearts go out to family and friends of the victim,” said the LCC.
The news of this crash came hours before Transport for London published its official road safety data for 2022, which showed that although cycling fatalities were down in the capital, the number of those seriously injured in collisions had risen.
And in more terrible news from Manchester, a man in his 30s suffered life-threatening injuries and was left “fighting for his life” after a collision with a lorry near Manchester Piccadilly yesterday afternoon, reported MEN.
Constable Oliver Batty from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “We are appealing to members of public and other motorists who may have been travelling along Fairfield Street at the time of this collision.
“It is an extremely busy area of Manchester and any information, no matter how small, may assist the investigation. I appeal directly to anyone who may have witnessed this or to anyone who has dash-cam or CCTV footage relating to this incident.”
Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.