Cyclists appalled at latest fatality on Cycle Superhighway at Bow roundabout

A 58-year-old cyclist, travelling to work at the Olympic site, was killed in a crash with a tipper lorry at the Bow roundabout on Cycle Superhighway 2, reported the BBC.

We and all London cyclists are distressed to hear of this tragedy, and our sympathies go out to the friends and family of the man who died on the morning of Monday 24 October 2011.

This was the seventh cyclist death resulting from a crash with a lorry in 2011, and yet again it involved a large tipper lorry.

In our consultations with Transport for London over Superhighway 2, we expressed grave concerns about the low level of protection for cyclists on the Bow roundabout.

We also expressed concerns about the failure to continue the Superhighway to the nearby Olympic site, where the victim worked.

Specifically, we warned that the Superhighway design "does not offer a satisfactory reduction in road danger at this key barrier".

We were particularly worried by the movement of lorries turning left from the roundabout on to the motorway-grade A12 road.

The local London Assembly member John Biggs has also raised concerns about the safety of pedestrians at this junction.

In May this year the Mayor told him: "TfL have been unable so far to find an immediate solution for providing controlled pedestrian crossings at Bow Roundabout that does not push the junction over capacity and introduce significant delays to traffic."

For many years we have been campaigning to reduce the danger from lethal lorries in Greater London.

In partnership with RoadPeace, Living Streets, CTC and victims' families we have successfully campaigned to improve the mirror systems on lorries.

However, much more needs to be done, and many of the tipper lorries running on our streets use very high cab designs, which are unfit for purpose in urban areas.

We have made our views on lorry design known to the Mayor and Transport for London.   

As yet we don't know all the details of this crash, yet we believe that all drivers and transport companies have a duty to do everything practical to reduce the risk their vehicles create for other road users.

We welcome the recent approval of cycle awareness training for lorry drivers including 'on-bike experience' and urge every transport operator to ensure that all their drivers choose this option as part of their Certificate of Professional Competence.

A friend of the victim this week wrote to Mayor Boris Johnson asking that "alternative routes are provided" at the locations where the fatal crash took place.


LCC 'distressed'? What the fuck? 

LCC should be very, very angry. TFL ignored your clear warnings (and those of John Biggs and many others). 

Sure, all drivers and transport companies should do their best to be safe. However, no driver is perfect.

Overwhelmiingly, it's TFL who have an obligation to design roads that are safe,  to listen to objections to their designs, and to prioritise safety, rather than trying to push more motor traffic through junctions than there's space for. 

TFL's failure to make their roads safe where there have been clear prior warnings has cause the death of three cyclists (at Camden Rd, Kings Cross, and Bow) just this year. 

They have blood on their hands, and LCC should be saying this loud and clear. 

  • By bigpete at 5:40pm 25 October 2011

Saddened and very angry describe my feelings better than "distressed".

I'm sure you're trying to remain engaged with the powers that be, but surely the time has come to say enough is enough and demand some action not more words.

The 2500 people who protested at Blackfriars Bridge two weeks ago showed the true mood of London's cyclists.

  • By Austen at 8:04pm 25 October 2011

According to RoadCC, William Perrin, a King’s Cross-based blogger, is urging the Crown Prosecution Service to bring corporate manslaughter charges against Transport for London (TfL) in connection with the death earlier this month of cyclist Min Joo Lee at the junction of York Way and Pentonville Road.

One potential hurdle in this specific case, however, is that it might be tricky to use the 2008 TfL report (revealed through a Freedom of Information request) to support a corporate manslaughter charge because it is concerned with the safety of pedestrians, not cyclists; at no point is the safety of those riding bicycles specifically addressed. In fact, one of the report’s recommendations could be viewed as increasing the risk.

If the above barrier is accurate, it might not apply in the case of the Bow roundabout.

Do we have any legal eagles capable of looking at this and, if viable, taking it forward?

This post was edited by London Cycling Campaign at 6:33am 26 October 2011.

  • By twiglet at 10:22am 26 October 2011

Firstly this is terrible news.


Second, again this involved a 10m long tipper. To me the concentration of campaigning over the new maximum length HGV by LCC and CTC is missing the point. Most HGV / Cyclist collisions would seem involve the far shorter 10m tippers rather that 16.5/18m Artics.

Is there a breakdown available of the exact nature of HGVs (i.e type and length) involved in these collisions recorded?

This is very sad news.

I cycle this route every day from Westminster to Stratford St at night - This part of the route is extremely fast and it's hard to make safe passage.  For me, I would never use the roundabout - I only ever use the flyover (and even then, I'm concerned about all the cars speeding over the flyover between 35-50 mph). It requires defensive cycling to the max and I take control of a whole lane on this stretch.

CS2 is not really a cycle route, it's a bit of blue paint dotted down a major road. For the 1st mile from Aldgate, the route is blocked by parked cars, people trying to come out and buses stopping. The next 2 miles improves the situation until we get to the end of the route where we terminate the route at the roundabout + flyover. The roundabout is basically dangerous for bikes. The flyover is not much better (worse?). For cyclists, there is no real alternatives if you want to get to Stratford station...

This post was edited by cschocca at 11:56am 27 October 2011.

Our distress is for this poor man's family and friends, who are now experiencing their worst nightmare, and it will go on and on.

It is clear that Transport for London has the wrong priorities and their proposed Network Operating Strategy is a real nightmare which disregards providing adequate roadspace for cyclists and pedestrians.  Bow roundabout and the Kings X area are some of the worst examples of their failure to provide safe infrastructure. CS2 gave them an opportunity to do something good there, especially as al the back street alternatives have been closed by the Olympic works.

Personally I am not sure that a corporate manslaughter case is the best way to reform TfL.  It could result in all their engineers returning to the bunker mentality, putting up 'no cycling' and 'dismount' signs everywhere.  We need to convince them, the politicians and voters that building streets attractive to cyclists and pedestrians creates a far more liveable and enjoyable city.

Twiglet is right, 10m tipper lorries are the most hazardous vehicles for cyclists in London. The government has now opened the door for extra long artics without parliamentary scrutiny. When these monsters do make it to London it is at places like Bow roundabout where they will try to access the central area. The trailer out-swing could be four times wider than for existing artics.

Charlie - I think, honestly, TFL's responses on Blackfriars reveal engineers about as deep in the bunker as they can go. We're not going to make any difference there. The only opening is with the politicians and voters - and in the current climate, the only way to make a difference there is to say loudly how unnecessarily dangerous the current conditions are. Boris has no intereste in attractive streets (see his comments about a chewing-gum-strewn plaza, as he cancelled the  Parliament Square reworking). He does, however, react to bad press...

(That's not to say that positive campaigning, and in particular showing people how streets can be re-imagined, as LCC have done brilliantly at Blackfriars - articulating the solution as well as the problem - isn't vital as well. Just offering a solution, without stating the problem clearly, though,  gives no urgency, or incentives..)

This post was edited by baron samedi at 7:22am 27 October 2011.

  • By aglet at 8:04am 27 October 2011
I'm sad to hear about this. Like cschocca I commute along this route, and similarly use the flyover rather than the roundabout. Despite the occasional presence of a Gatso near the Abbey Lane junction speeding is rife, but I still rate it as safer than that horrible roundabout. Given the enormous pavement on each side, and the width of the carriageway I have no idea why the recent revamp of the area didn't include segregated cycle paths. I'm thinking of the bit of CS3 between Canning Town and East India Dock. Lastly, it gets even worse once you cross the flyover into Stratford.

I too share the anger at this unnecessary death.

How about a public challenge to Boris and the TfL road planners to join LCC in the am rush along the route, with BBC invited to film it?  If they say no to the challenge, LCC has an instant "Boris too frightened to ride his own bike route" pressrelease ready to go to all London papers. 


It's increasingly difficult to avoid the conclusion that TfL as an organisation are no longer fit for purpose, if indeed they ever were. We can rely on Boris for entertaining and colourful verbiage about increasing cycling, but when it comes to walking the walk, as opposed to talking the talk, he seems unwilling, or incabable, of challenging the knee-jerk assumption of TfL that nothing can be done that, in their opinion, reduces junction or road capacity.  And we all know what sort of capacity that means.

I know this junction well, as I go into Central London and back at least once a week via the Mile End Road and the Bow Flyover. Without the full facts, it's difficult to say exactly what went so horribly wrong in this case, but yet again a cyclist has been killed by a tipper lorry, and after TfL were warned about the level of risk at this junction. Nothing can undo the loss suffered by the family and friends of the cyclist, and they have my sincere and heartfelt sympathy, but doing nothing is not an option. There was a reason this fatal collision occurred. The full facts need to be established, and appropriate action taken.

Tower Hamlets Wheelers would like to run a feeder from Bow roundabout to the Dangerous Junctions Ride on Saturday 12th November.  We need to be at The Oval by 10.30, which means an early start from Bow (meet at 9.00?).  Are there contributors to this discussion who can commit to this?  Reply please to


  • By cyberkev at 12:23pm 3 November 2011

Firstly my condolences to the family.

Along with many others I currently use the unclosed/diverted Greenway for commuting as the quietest route from Stratford High Street to Wick Lane crossing the A12 bridge into Old Ford Road and avoiding this junction.

The View Tube website ( ) seems to indicate that the Greenway will be closed from May until November 2012 !!!! Does anybody have any more information on this ?

There does not seem to be a good alternative route around this blackspot other than using this very major Dual Carriageways and junctions of the A12/A11 !

The closure of the Greenway next year will put even more cyclists lives at risk unless something is done to keep the Greenway open.

I have cycled in many countries around the world but feel that the whole of the Mile End road and particularly the section from Bow flyover to Stratford station is completely unsafe to cycle along given the speed of the traffic.  I will only use the pavement.  I discussed this with a police officer who was busy speed-gunning the other day who said "I don't blame you".   Though, I also realise that cycling on the pavement and crossing the side roads is also rather dangerous.

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  • By dezzie at 7:32am 17 July 2012

22 July we are arranging a cycle ride from the Locog blocked towpath on the river Lea by the A12 to the olympic park, along the Locog suggested diversion. Meet at 11:30, leave at noon. The route goes past the Bow Roundabout

  • By Tomm at 7:56pm 17 March 2015

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