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MP knocked off bike by driver making “illegal U-turn” across protected cycle lane in central London

Lilian Greenwood was left with “bumps and bruises” and a broken Brompton after incident yesterday evening

An MP has taken to Twitter to share photos of her ripped tights and crushed bike after she was knocked off it by a driver making what she described as “an illegal u-turn” across a protected cycle lane in central London yesterday evening.

Lilian Greenwood, the Labour MP for Nottingham South, was riding her Brompton from the Palace of Westminster to St Pancras International railway station to catch a train home to her constituency when the incident happened.

Posting to the social network, she said she felt “very lucky to have walked away with a sore knee, bumps, bruises and torn tights” following the collision, which left the rear wheel of her Brompton buckled.

“I’m a pretty careful cyclist,” she wrote at the start of her thread. “This evening I was cycling home, paying attention because it was busy on the roads with pedestrians, cyclists and cars. I was wearing hi-vis and my helmet. The traffic light was on green. Didn’t stop a driver making an illegal turn and hitting me.”

The driver stopped at the scene, and Greenwood said that she hoped her experience “isn’t going to stop me riding a bike but it has frightened me,” and asked for tips on getting riding again following her crash, which several Twitter users, including FT journalist Robert Wright, were happy to share.

The collision happened in Bloomsbury  at the corner of Gordon Square and Tavistock Place, the latter being a key cycling route through the area and benefiting from a protected cycle lane for a number of years now. 

Greenwood told that she was riding on that lane when she was struck, and that she was “pretty sure” that the driver “turned left into me even though it’s no left turn for vehicles.”

Among those who wished her well was London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman, and in her response to him, Greenwood highlighted that even when trying to follow what should be the safest cycling route from A to B, referencing Jon Stone’s excellent London Cycle Routes series on YouTube, the safety of people on bikes ultimately depends on the actions of motorists.

She also revealed that by pure coincidence, she is visiting a women’s cycling project today in her constituency, which she has represented since 2010.

Since entering Parliament, Greenwood has served as Shadow Transport Secretary under Jeremy Corbyn, as well as chairing the House of Commons Transport Select Committee from 2017-20. She is also an officer of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking.

She is not the first MP to have been struck by a driver while riding a bike.

In December 2014 Anne Milton, at the time the Conservative MP for Guildford, credited her “strong, sturdy bike” for protecting her when she was knocked off it by a van driver on her way to the Surrey town’s railway station.

> MP credits her "strong, solid bike" with protecting her in van collision

She said that the driver claimed not to have seen her as they both moved away from a junction, despite her being “lit up like Christmas.”

Her bike landed on top of her and protected her from injury when a wheel of the van then ran over it, with the incident leaving her “shaken” but uninjured.

Less fortunate was fellow Conservative MP Theresa Villiers, who in January 2012, when she was Transport Minister, broke her collarbone when she fell from her bike while commuting to Westminster. No other vehicles were involved in that crash, according to a statement at the time from the Department for Transport.

> Transport Minister Theresa Villiers breaks collarbone in fall from bike

More recently, in November 2021, Grant Shapps, who at the time was Secretary of State for Transport, was hospitalised after crashing his bike. Few details of the incident were released, but again no driver appears to have been involved.

> Transport Secretary Grant Shapps hospitalised after cycling crash

Simon joined 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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