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Dame Sarah Storey slams drivers who turn “a blind eye to yet another death”, asks for progress after three HGV crashes with cyclists in a day — two of them fatal

The British Paralympian and Greater Manchester’s active travel commissioner said that she felt “sick” after a cyclist died on road she frequently uses, and that “deterrents to dangerous and anti-social behaviour in a vehicle are clearly not severe enough”

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.”

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.”

> Dame Sarah Storey calls out "entitlement" of speeding drivers — "too many 'my driving offences won't cause harm' attitudes"

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.

> Dame Sarah Storey joins South Yorkshire Police on close pass operation – and almost one in five drivers get pulled over

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. 

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”.

> Suella Braverman criticised by cycling campaign group for “avoiding public scrutiny” over speeding offence

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.

> Cycling UK criticises imminent Department for Transport plan for "longer and more hazardous lorries" on Britain's roads

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 in 2023 after finishing his masters in Journalism from Cardiff University, with a dissertation focusing on active travel. He's currently living in Cardiff and for the most part moans about the abruptly ending cycle lanes, if he's not cursing the headwind. Adwitiya also covers local and national politics for Voice Wales, and sometimes dabbles in topics related to science, tech and the environment. Cycling became a part of his life just a couple of years ago, and now he can't think of a single reason why anyone would drive if they could cycle. He usually uses his bike for commuting, but he also loves excursions on the Taff trail, however never underestimate his ability to find an excuse to watch something on GCN instead.

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