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Safety plea from family of cyclist hit by lorry

Mayor of London urged to create ‘people-prioritised’ streets after Queen’s doctor was killed in collision

11 January, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Dr Peter Fisher’s death sparked this mass protest by cyclists in Holborn

MAYOR of London Sadiq Khan must “urgently” address cycle safety in the capital.

This is the message from the family of the Queen’s doctor, Peter Fisher, who died after being hit by a lorry while cycling in High Holborn. The details of his death were revealed at an inquest on Wednesday.

Dr Fisher, 67, had been the homeopath for the royals since 2002 and was a highly-respected international expert in his field.

After the accident in August last year, passers-by who ran to help the father-of-two tried to save his life before paramedics arrived, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

His sister, Susie Herne, said in a statement to the inquest: “This accident led to a tragic and unnecessary waste of life. In order to save further precious lives we urge the Mayor of London to urgently address the issue of cycle safety by looking at people-prioritised streets.”

Lorry design improvements should also be considered, she added.

The inquest at St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard how delivery lorry driver Samantha Southouse, who had 20 years’ experience, was in traffic stopped near the junction with Newton Street that morning.

Before pulling off she said she “looked all around”, using her mirrors, but did not see Dr Fisher.

“I moved and heard pedestrians shouting: ‘Stop the truck’ and I immediately did,” Ms Southouse told the inquest.

CCTV viewed at the inquest showed Dr Fisher, who was a regular cyclist and was wearing a helmet, cycling alongside the lorry, which was straddling two lanes, as traffic stopped.

Dr Peter Fisher

He manoeuvred his bike between the lorry and a van in front. Moments later, the lorry began to move, at less than 8mph, and he was run over.

Collision investigator Brian Gamble said he was not “overly surprised” that Ms Southouse had not seen Dr Fisher, who was in a “blindspot”.

Mr Gamble said: “There were only one to two seconds, when he moved between the vehicles, that he becomes a hazard.” He added: “I think it’s quite likely that when Ms Southouse carried out her mirror checks she would have carried them out before Dr Fisher moved into that position.”

Cyclists have long called for changes at roads around Holborn after three previous fatal cyclist crashes, with a mass protest in the street following Dr Fisher’s death.

The Extra revealed last year how plans to transform roads in Holborn were blocked by Transport for London in 2015.

Senior coroner Mary Hassell recorded the death as the result of a “road traffic collision”. She said: “It’s so easily done in a very busy congested road that he came out in the precise moment the traffic moved forward.”

Ms Hassell told the inquest: “Sometimes a junction layout can be changed to make it safer. I have thought about this a great deal, but I cannot think of anything useful I can say by way of a prevention of future death report. I want you to know I had really thought about that.”

A Transport for London spokesperson said: “No death or serious injury is acceptable or inevitable and our thoughts are with the friends and family of Dr Peter Fisher.

“We are committed to a vision-zero approach to eliminate death and serious injuries from London’s roads, including removing the most dangerous lorries, improving safety at intimidating junctions and lowering speed limits.

“We are working with Camden Council on proposals to reduce road danger in the Holborn area.”

A spokes­person for the Mayor of London said: “Every death or serious injury on our roads is a tragedy and Sadiq is doing more than any other mayor before to make our streets safer for cyclists.”


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