Vigil and ‘die in’ to be held outside City Hall to mark death of cyclist

A previous 'die in' by cyclists. Photograph: Stop Killing Cyclists
A previous ‘die in’ by cyclists. Photograph: Stop Killing Cyclists

Campaigners are to mark the death of another cyclist on London’s roads with a ‘die in’ and vigil tonight outside City Hall.

Activists from the group Stop Killing Cyclists hope the protest will heap pressure on London’s mayor Sadiq Khan to bring forward his ban on the most dangerous heavy goods vehicles.

The ban, scheduled to take effect in four years time, will result in tens of thousands of lorries without safe visibility being banished from the city’s roads.

The specifics of the HGV involved in last week’s collision, in which Italian student Filippo Corsini, 21, died whilst cycling, are not known.

But campaigners are demanding the start of a new safety ratings system, scheduled to begin in 2020, be brought forward – and some say they want to see all HGVs banned from driving into London.

Vigil co-organiser Nicola Branch told the London Citizen: “Vehicles of this size should not be on our streets.”

She suggested instituting a system whereby HGVs would carry goods headed to London to drop-off points outside of the M25 and then smaller vehicles could carry them further into the metropolis.

She compared this to the way container ships drop their cargo off at the London Gateway port rather than further up the Thames.

Green Assembly Member Caroline Russell will speak at the vigil tonight, which will start at 6pm.

She said: “I am standing with campaigners tonight to highlight the unnecessary heartbreak of deaths caused by heavy goods vehicles.

“I urge the Mayor to bring forward his star rating for HGVs before the proposed date of 2020.”

Last month another cyclist Lucia Ciccioli, also an Italian, died in a collision in London.

In a message to supporters, the organisers of tonight’s event wrote: “This is the eighth person to be killed whilst cycling on London’s streets [this year] and the third this year by an HGV driver.

“In addition, in 2016 alone, 13 people have been killed while walking or crossing the road in London by HGVs. We are calling upon Mayor Sadiq Khan to respond to these deaths and to make changes so that such deaths do not continue.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “Sadiq has been clear that he will be the most pro-cycling Mayor yet. He’s already given his support to progressing with major cycling schemes, including Cycle Superhighway 11 and the new North-South Cycle Superhighway, and announced world-first proposals to completely ban the most dangerous HGVs from London’s roads by 2020.

“Our ground-breaking direct vision standard is a much bolder proposal than anything previously planned, and we are working closely with developers and councils to encourage faster adoption. By setting out our plans now we expect many lorries will be upgraded well before the ban is introduced to remove the remaining minority.

“We will also soon be publishing a business plan that will set out the Mayor’s commitment to increase spending on cycling and will appoint a Walking and Cycling Commissioner to play an integral role in ensuring cycling is made easier and safer for all Londoners.”

Under Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s plans, any “off road” HGVs judged to be the least safe will be completely banned from London’s roads within four years.

There are around 35,000 such “zero star-rated” vehicles of this type currently operating on the city’s roads. Many are tipper trucks and cement mixers.

These vehicles are disproportionately involved in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.

However, the Mayor of London’s office is yet to make clear the precise criteria for the different safety ‘star’ ratings.

After last week’s incident, which happened in Knightsbridge at around 12.40pm last Monday, the 42-year-old lorry driver stopped at the scene and was arrested on suspicion of death by careless driving.

He has been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in early December.

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