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Notes from Thursday's inquest

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  • Barry Mason
    This is long but is an accurate, formal and complete note of what was said in Court last Thursday. I hope it helps a bit to make a difference out there. Barry
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 14, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      This is long but is an accurate, formal and complete note of what was
      said in Court last Thursday.

      I hope it helps a bit to make a difference out there.

      Barry
      07905 889 005



      **********************************************************************
      (The police omitted to tell me the date of the inquest despite
      promising. So, it was only when I read that morning's Southwark News
      that I discovered it was starting at 10am today...so I got there late...I
      missed the identification and character evidence of her father, Mehmet
      Kohman. I was told that he'd said that his daughter was 37 years old,
      had cycled since she was 5, was fully fit, had a daughter, was
      divorced).


      Thursday 12 November 2009
      10.00am

      Southwark Coroner's Court
      1 Tennis Street
      London
      SE1 1YD


      The full inquest touching the death of Meryem Ozekman



      Coroner: Dr Andrew Hearns
      Counsel Mary Newman for family.
      Counsel Miss Reed for driver.


      10.23am

      Coroner: So you saw the cyclist riding normally?

      Taxi Driver Mark Jennings: Yes, I saw her moments before, about a third
      of the way along the lorry.

      Coroner: How far away were you?

      MJ: I was stationary, about 150 yards away in my cab.

      Coroner: Tell me what you saw.

      MJ: I saw her handlebars wobble and then she just went under the lorry.

      Coroner: You saw her hit the lorry?

      MJ: They just came together.

      Coroner: She wobbled and went under?

      MJ: Yes.

      (Sobs from family members there).

      Coroner: This is disturbing to the family here today but it is important
      to know whether she collided with the lorry or the lorry with her. Did
      she fall?

      MJ: It was like a coming together.

      Coroner: A coming together?

      MJ: Yes.

      Coroner: What happened then?

      MJ: Maybe a second after, the driver stopped the lorry. He seemed
      unaware of what had happened. Loads of people rang towards the lorry. I
      stayed where I was. Then I drove off and when I heard later someone had
      died I phoned the police to say I'd seen it.

      Coroner: What did you see?

      MJ: I saw the bike under the lorry.

      30 second pause while both witness and family compose themselves.

      Coroner hands over to Counsel for the family.

      Counsel: Where were you on the road?

      MJ: On Newington Causeway heading towards the roundabout.

      (Handed map by Clerk).

      MJ: I was here as shown by the cross on the map.

      Counsel: So your view was to your right and down the nearside of the lorry?

      MJ: Yes, I could see all the way. Right down that side of the lorry but
      as it came round the cab blocked my view. When they came together my
      sight was of the whole lorry. When it was turning then stopped, my view
      was blocked by the lorry cab. It all then happened so fast I can't be
      100% sure what happened. It all happened so quick.

      Counsel: How big was the gap between the lorry and the kerb?

      MJ: There was a considerable gap.

      Counsel: looking at the drawing, was the lorry further than a metre from
      the kerb?

      MJ: Yes, a bit more than a metre. Yes.

      Counsel: Was there any contact between the cycle and the lorry as far as
      you could tell?

      MJ: I saw what I said earlier. They just came together.

      Counsel: We've read your written statement and we've heard you today.
      Let us get this clear: was there contact or not?

      MJ: I'm not sure.

      Counsel: You've described the bike's wobbling motion?

      MJ: Yes.

      (Counsel consults family).

      Counsel: Thank you.

      10.35am

      Coroner: I now call witness Hubbert Jones.

      (Clerk whispers to Coroner).

      Coroner: I here from our office that Mr Jones has been called but is not
      present. We do not have a phone number for him. We'll carry on and hope
      he arrives. I'll now read the written evidence from those witnesses
      Counsel and I have agreed need not be here in person.

      Coroner: this is from Richard Webb-Stevens and is dated 4 May 2009. A
      paramedic at the scene. I must warn all present that the following
      evidence is distressing and detailed. I will spare you some of the
      detail, it's Counsel's job to correct me if I cut relevant detail. I
      invite family members to step outside if you wish.

      Coroner reading:

      I am Richard Webb-Stevens, a motor-bike paramedic in the London
      Ambulance Service. I've been with them 10 years and on a motor-bike
      since January 2008. On 8 April 2009 at 14.51 I was in Parliament Square
      when I was called to the scene by LAS radio. I arrived at the scene at
      14.55. My colleague Andy Strathan had just arrived on his motor-bike.
      The casualty was trapped under the rear near-side wheels of the lorry.
      Her rucksack was trapped too and was impeding her breathing. I counted 3
      breathes per minute. I could find no pulse. She had obvious leg
      fractures and head injuries. We needed to move the lorry to help her. I
      asked the driver if he felt well enough and able to move the lorry. He
      did. So I asked the driver to move the lorry back 3 feet, which he did
      precisely. We put the casualty onto her back. We were working under the
      lorry but there was plenty of room. The casualty though went into
      cardiac arrest. We canulated her, set up a saline drip, and defibulated
      her. We ventilated her with 100% oxygen. Her eyes were now fixed and
      dilated. An ambulance and our helicopter arrived with a doctor. We
      continued to ventilate her. Police and fireman arrived too and set up
      scenes to protect her dignity. But after discussion with the doctor we
      all agreed to stop the resuscitation efforts. And death was declared.

      Coroner: I now read the written evidence from Dr Anne Weaver dated 28
      August 2009.

      Coroner reading: I am DR Anne Weaver a Consultant Doctor at the London
      Hospital. After a 999 call received at 14.50 on 8 April 2009, our
      helicopter lifted off at 14.53 and we arrived at Elephant and Castle at
      15.03. Ambulance and police staff were already at the scene and had it
      under control. The casualty was being given oxygen and the normal
      interventions had been made to assist breathing. But there was no pulse
      and she was not breathing. She had been tubed via incisions into each
      chest wall. She had fractures to her pelvis, legs, head and of several
      ribs, that had punctured both lungs. She could not be resuscitated.

      10.45am

      Coroner: I quite understand why several family members have just had to
      leave. We'll have a short adjournment.

      (All rise as he leaves).

      10.55am.

      (Coroner returns. All stand).

      Coroner: I'm very sorry that these matters are so upsetting to the
      family but I have spoken to them and we all understand why it is
      necessary to detail these matters. Witness Mr Hubbert has now phoned to
      tell us he has the flu and cannot be here today. We've asked to see his
      doctor's certificate as is usual.

      Coroner to both Counsel: A key witness will then not be here today. We
      could then adjourn today's inquest. We have the witness's written
      statement and could rely on that provided we all agree for now. We will
      return to the point later in these proceedings.

      (All nodded agreement to proceed)..

      Coroner: I'm now going to read evidence from the Post Mortem
      examination. I will keep the detail to the minimum necessary for today's
      purposes which are solely about determining the cause of death and not
      any blame. As before, family members may wish to wait outside while I
      read this.

      Coroner: I now read the evidence dated 14 April 2009 of Dr Peter Dureet,
      the pathologist carrying out the Post Mortem.

      Coroner reading: The casualty had a fractured left forearm, a fractured
      jawbone, severe lacerations to her face, severe lacerations to her trunk
      and to her broken left leg. Various other injuries had caused bleeding
      and excessive pressure to the brain, and broken ribs had punctured her
      lung. There were pelvic fractures too. I judge that the cause of death
      were from various causes all consistent with a road accident. Urine and
      blood samples from the casualty found traces of alcohol, but not enough
      to make any difference to normal behaviour. There were no traces of any
      drugs.

      Coroner: Counsel: do you have any questions at this stage?

      Counsel for the family: I'm wondering if we need Mr Jones here.

      Coroner: Yes. I do see there is a case for adjourning in his absence as
      a key witness but what questions do we need to explore? It may just be
      that the police evidence to come will shed light on all this.

      Counsel for the family: Yes. There are various issues from Mr Jones
      written statement. We don't know how far he was away from the scene, he
      doesn't say how close the two vehicles were to each other, he doesn't
      say how far the lorry was from the kerb, he doesn't think there was
      contact between lorry and cyclist beforehand -- and that is crucial. His
      view of the scene was not from a clear angle, and he thinks the cyclist
      panicked. But does not say why he thinks that. Why?

      Coroner: some of these questions may be answered later today. Let us ask
      the police investigator witness Victoria Benbow. There seems to several
      options for us: we can adjourn so that we can hear Mr Jones in person.
      But this court is overloaded and I'm told we could not re-adjourn until
      July 2010, and that to me would put a dreadful burden on the family. We
      could accept Mr Jones statement into evidence and do without his verbal
      evidence under oath. We could decide not to admit his written evidence
      and so disregard it. We can decide that his evidence adds nothing and
      accept that it is not necessary. I recommend we carry on without him here.

      (Counsel agreed).

      Coroner: I now call the lorry driver Mark Ellis.

      (The Clerk swears him in).

      Coroner: Thank you for being here. This is all very distressing to all
      present today. I need to stress that we're not here today to apportion
      blame, simply to establish the facts that lead to the death of Meryem
      Ozekman. So, you were the driver of the Volvo articulated lorry involved
      in the accident. How long have you been driving lorries?

      ME: since I was 21, I'm 45 now.

      Coroner: Over 20 years then. Do you have any record of previous accidents?

      ME: None.

      Coroner: What condition was that lorry in?

      ME: It's 2 years old and I'm the only driver of it. It has thorough 6
      week checks and had one the week before.

      Coroner; on the day in question you'd just left a delivery to
      Westminster Bridge Road at 14.27. You'd started work early that day?

      ME: Yes.

      Coroner: What time did you get up?

      ME: I was up at 5am.

      Coroner: What is a normal day?

      ME: It depends. You finish when you finish. It was my last run that day.
      I was heading back to Barking from Westminster Bridge Road.

      Coroner: What time had you got to bed the night before?

      ME: 10pm.

      Coroner: Had you been to a party? Had any alcohol?

      ME: I don't drink.

      Coroner: Are you on any medication?

      ME: No.

      Coroner: You have a radio in your lorry?

      ME: Yes. I listen to talk radio. Not music. On in the background. Not
      loud.

      Coroner: You had a mobile phone in your lorry?

      ME: Two. One's the firm's, one's mine.

      Coroner: You were on a phone call at the time?

      ME: No. I made my last call when I was parked at Westminster Bridge Road.

      Coroner: Were you at all distracted at the time?

      ME: No.

      Coroner: Please say what happened just before the accident.

      ME: There were two buses right in front of me. One had his hazard lights
      flashing on the approach in the bus lane. London Road. I had to stay
      behind the other bus as it pulled out. There was a van stopped on my
      right. There was nothing else in the bus lane. As the lights changed,
      the bus was in front and headed towards Old Kent Road. I started turning
      left into Newington Causeway. The traffic was heavy and I was nearly at
      a standstill. As I looked to go in my mirrors I glimpsed a high-viz
      yellow jacket behind me so I stopped.

      Coroner: Is that what happened?

      ME: Yes. I hadn't seen the high-viz before.

      Coroner: I refer to your written statement...did you see the high-viz
      jacket before or after the shuddering started?

      ME: The shuddering is the noise of the safety rail round the flatbed of
      my lorry. It was empty so the chains always rattle. You get the noise on
      bumpy roads and manholes covers and that sort of thing. It's noisier
      when not carrying the scaffolding.

      Coroner: Was the shuddering and noise at the same time as you saw the
      high-viz jacket?

      ME: The empty trailer rattles, the noise is always there.

      Coroner: You've said you looked in your mirror and then did an emergency
      stop, but not because of the shudder?

      ME: The noise and shudder was already there, I saw the high-viz jacket
      because of my constant mirror checks, not the constant noise.

      Coroner: So, after you saw the jacket....?

      ME: I applied the brakes. Put the handbrake on.

      Coroner: You'd seen a bus-driver in the opposite lane react?

      ME: Yes. I saw he'd put his hand to his mouth and looked shocked. I got
      out and looked under the lorry. There was a person there.

      Coroner: Under the third axle?

      ME: Yes.

      Coroner: How fast had you been going?

      ME: I'd been moving off in heavy traffic. Really slowly.

      Coroner: You reported regular mirror checks. How did you not see the
      cyclist?

      ME: I'm an experienced driver. I'm always checking my mirrors but you
      can't see all of them all the time. There will be split-second gaps.

      Coroner: Are there any blind spots?

      ME: On my off-side I can't see the trailer. The near side is fine.

      Coroner: The bike was on your near side, by the kerb?

      ME: Yes.

      Coroner: And you have split-second blind spots all round?

      ME: Yes.

      Coroner: You have good vision?

      ME: Yes, with driving glasses.

      Coroner: Do you have anything to add?

      Pause.

      ME: I'm just so sorry it happened. I know you the family don't want to
      see me here today...but I'm just so very very sorry.....

      Coroner: Thanks. Now Counsel...

      Counsel for the family: You drive a heavy articulate lorry?

      ME: Yes, with a 45 foot trailer.

      Counsel: You were starting a gradual turn. The photos show that. There
      are two lanes leaving the roundabout.

      ME: Yes, into Newington Causeway...a bus lane and an ordinary one.

      Counsel: What was your gap to the kerb?

      ME: 2-3 feet.

      Counsel: Then you saw the cyclist?

      ME: I didn't know it was a cyclists, I just saw the high-viz jacket.

      Counsel: The jacket was visible in your mirror?

      ME: Yes, it's a wide-angle mirror and I can see the whole near side.

      Coroner: What did you see?

      ME: I saw a flash of yellow. I braked. I saw the bus driver opposite
      with his hand over his mouth. I jumped out. I saw the bike.

      Coroner: Why did you stop?

      ME: I saw the flash of yellow.

      Counsel: How long before you braked?

      ME: A split-second.

      Counsel: Did you think there'd been a collision with the cyclist?

      ME: No. The weight of the truck means that you can't feel anything like
      a cone or whatever that you run over.

      Counsel: What causes the rattling noise?

      ME: Any dip or bump. The safety rails and chains are to hold the
      scaffolding safely, but I was empty so they always rattle.

      Counsel: How many sets of mirrors are there to check?

      ME: Six.

      Counsel: Were they set up properly?

      ME: I check them everyday. No one else drives that lorry except me.

      Counsel: You talked about blind spots. One on the off side but what
      about the near side?

      ME: There's the wide-angled mirror on the near side so I can see all
      that side.

      Counsel: That's a lot of mirrors. When do you check them?

      ME: All the time. It's automatic.

      Counsel: You hadn't seen the cyclist before but there's lots to watch
      there visually all around.

      ME: Yes.

      Counsel: You were indicating left?

      ME: Yes.

      Counsel (checks with family): Thank you.

      Coroner: Please let's now hear PC Benbow.

      (Clerk swears her in).

      Coroner: PC349T Victoria Benbow. What is you role here?

      VB: It was my job to collect the evidence.

      Coroner: Independently?

      VB: Yes.

      Coroner: Let's consider the scene. Please look at Photo 5. That shows
      the back of the lorry turning into Newington Causeway?

      VB: Yes.

      Coroner: The road is narrowing?

      VB: Yes. Into two lanes.

      Coroner: Your written report the day was dry with a clear sky and that
      the road here was in good condition. Yes?

      VB: Yes.

      Coroner: What condition were the two vehicles in?

      VB: There were no defects at all to the lorry. The cycle was very badly
      damaged but there seemed to be nothing wrong with it beforehand.

      Coroner: You have reconstructed the exact circumstances of the accident?

      VB: Yes. The photos on section 7 of my report.

      Coroner: We understand that the lorry was held up in traffic but it had
      overtaken the cycle. The evidence for that is in Mr Jones statement.
      Marks on the lorry show contact to the wheel arch. There is no damage to
      the lorry. You feel that those marks were caused as the cyclist fell
      onto the lorry?

      VB: Yes.

      Coroner: Taking all the evidence into account, your report concludes
      that there was not a collision?

      VB: I would say that the cyclist fell under the fuel tank, there was no
      previous collision. She was off her bike before the bike made contact
      with the lorry.

      Coroner: There was contact after the fall?

      VB: Yes.

      Coroner: You refer to grooves in the road?

      VB: Yes. Photo 7. That's the contact between the cycle and the floor.
      Pressure on the road. From the weight of the lorry on the bike.

      Coroner: There's the CCTV evidence too?

      VB: The actual incident was not caught. The cyclist is seen from a bus
      CCTV on London road travelling towards Elephant and Castle but then
      she's out of camera as she goes by Princes Street.

      Coroner: How was she seen to be cycling?

      VB: Quite normally and diagonally across London Road between a bendy bus
      and a coach.

      Coroner: Was there closer CCTV?

      VB: No. These images were from a bus camera parked at the kerb.

      Coroner: Look at images 6.26-6.28 of the sequence. Wasn't the cyclist in
      the lorry's view?

      VB: I can't tell. The view from the lorry cab changes all the time and
      we can't see how far out she was from the kerb. It's not conclusive.

      Coroner: Are you able to assess the lorry driver's frequency of mirror
      checking?

      VB: I drive cars and am a motor-cyclist. To be sure, lorry drivers need
      to check their mirrors constantly.

      Coroner: This lorry has 6 mirrors?

      VB: Yes. It's simply not possible to keep an eye on all of them as well
      as the road ahead.

      Coroner: Please look at 7.12 on the reconstruction. Please tell the
      Court what happened next.

      VB: The lorry was stopped and was asked to be moved back by the
      para-medics. The balance of probability is that the cyclist fell of her
      bike without any collision. Both cyclist and bike went separately under
      the petrol tank and the first axle hit her.

      Counsel: Thank you.

      Counsel for the driver, Miss Newman: We need to know how far missing
      witness Mr Jones was from the scene. And how close was the lorry to the
      cyclist? There is not enough evidence on that distance. The gouge on the
      road was caused by the lorry going over the bike.

      Coroner: We need to move to conclusions. Mr Ellis was moving his lorry
      from London Road to Newington Causeway. There is no evidence of a
      collision. He had not seen a cyclist nearby. It is not at all clear how
      Meryem came to be under the lorry unless she lost control. Is there any
      other material? The CCTV footage from the bus isn't helpful. Surely
      there are other cameras around the Elephant and Castle?

      VB: There are Transport for London cameras but they do not record. There
      are Congestion Charge cameras but they only note number plates.

      Coroner: Well let's go back to those bus CCTV pictures. 71 pages of
      them. But there are gaps. Normally there's a one second gap between each
      image it seems but the sequence after we see the bike restarts with the
      white van on page 65 at 14.57.46 and 14.58.07 with the lorry stopped at
      the corner.

      VB: I've edited the sequence to omit frames not useful. What's here is
      the best we have.

      Coroner: Back to the lorry itself then. The marks on the lorry you
      described were caused by a person?

      VB: Probably but not necessarily.

      Coroner: Might turbulence caused by the lorry have been a factor?

      VB: No. It was travelling far too slowly to cause any.

      Coroner: Mr Jennings said that the cyclist was about a third of the way
      down the near side of the lorry when he saw her. She was still upright.
      Would she have been visible by the lorry driver?

      VB: That's likely. Yes.

      (12 noon).

      Coroner: The marks on the lorry seem consistent with contact with a person?

      VB: Yes. At slow impact too. There is a layer of grime on the lorry and
      the contact made a clean patch.

      Coroner: Where is the petrol tank on the lorry?

      VB: On Photo 13. On the nearside where the cab joins the trailer.

      Coroner: The cycle was under the tank?

      VB: Yes.

      Coroner: The driver saw the high-viz jacket and braked as it was about a
      third of the way back?

      VB: Yes.

      Coroner: There's nothing to indicate that the lorry hit the cyclist
      before a fall?

      VB: No.

      Coroner: Thank you.

      Pause.

      Coroner: We've now heard all the evidence available today but we need to
      consider the absent Mr Jones -- a witness. Nothing we have heard today
      contradicts Mr Jones's evidence. We've heard though that we're not sure
      of his exact sightlines and other matters. Nothing in his statement
      contradicts other witnesses.

      Counsel for the driver: I think he should be heard. To disallow him
      would not be just or fair.

      Counsel for the family: His evidence adds nothing to what we have heard.
      On the balance of risks I'd ask that we leave him out. He says the
      cyclist was wearing a green jacket. She was not. If you allow his
      written statement in his absence we should omit the penultimate
      paragraph -- it is opinion not fact. "I don't think there was any contact
      between cyclist and lorry".

      Coroner: It's good not to be asked to adjourn. The issue is as to how
      much weight we should give to Mr Jones written statement. So I will omit
      the opinion and admit the rest. Is that agreed?

      (Nods from Counsel).

      Coroner: Agreed then.

      Coroner reading: I'm Hubbert Jones a train driver. I was taking my break
      in the third floor of Southern House overlooking Newington Causeway and
      the Elephant and Castle roundabout. I was looking out of the window, I
      saw the lorry with trailer. It was turning from Elephant and Castle onto
      Newington Causeway and there was a cyclist on the nearside going faster.
      I lost sight of the cyclist but the lorry suddenly stopped. The driver
      got out and headed towards the back. The bike must have gone under the
      lorry so I called Control to get help. The weather was sunny, the lorry
      wasn't speeding.

      Coroner: Will that evidence from Mr Jones suffice?

      (Both Counsel agree).

      Coroner: That's all the evidence then. I'll now adjourn the Court for a
      short while but will stay here while I consider my verdict.

      12.25pm

      12.50pm

      Coroner: We first heard from Meryem's father. I pay tribute to his
      calmness. He described his daughter as a cyclist for many years. We then
      heard from her daughter. There was nothing untoward at home that
      morning. Her mother was an active bubbly person. The report from her GP
      describes her very good health. Mr Jennings the cab driver saw her
      upright a third of the way down the side of the lorry. He was150 yards
      away but saw her wobble. She fell. He describes a coming together, not a
      collision. In his documentary evidence Mr Hubbert Jones expressed
      opinion to which we give less weight. He didn't see the fall. The
      paramedic says that no resuscitation was possible. The post-mortem
      describes death from multiple injuries caused by the road accident. We
      also heard that the lorry driver is very experienced, there were no
      distractions, he does not drink and was not under medication or other
      substances. The regularly checked lorry was in good condition. It was
      his last trip of the day. He'd checked and cleaned his mirrors earlier
      that day. He was travelling towards Elephant and Castle very slowly with
      constant mirror checks. The lorry shudders and rattles over potholes
      etc, especially when empty as it was. He saw a glimpse of a high-viz
      jacket on his near side.
      He stopped. Got out. Saw the deceased. He had not seen her beforehand.
      He would not have felt any contact.

      Coroner: Here is my verdict from the bench: There were no defects to
      the bicycle or lorry. The road was fine. It's clear that the bike fell
      to the ground and under the tank. The wheel arch was marked by contact
      with the cyclist. On the balance of probabilities, the bicycle fell and
      the rider fell for reasons unknown. There is no evidence of a collision.
      It is not clear whether the
      cyclist was available to be seen. It is simply not possible to check all
      the mirrors all the time. It seems that the cyclist fell off her
      bicycle, and under the lorry.

      It is clear then that no one understands what happened to this fit young
      experienced cyclist. Many of us are cycling now and this is a sad
      reminder of the risks involved.

      An accident is the consequence of an unintended act.

      In my duty as Coroner for this Inquest into the death of Meryem Ozekman
      at 2.50pm on 8 April 2009 at the Elephant and Castle roundabout by
      Newington Causeway, I, Dr. Andrew Hearns, do find the cause of death:
      Accident.

      By reason that Meryem Ozekman fell off her cycle and was trapped under
      the wheel of a lorry.

      Verdict: Accident.

      May I give my condolences to the family, many of whom are here today.

      I hope that today helps you to begin to rebalance your lives.

      (Rises. All rise).

      End.

      12.50pm

      BAM
      14 November 2009
    • Vivian McClew
      Thanks for this, Barry. It is so important for all of us cyclists, to have the facts independently from the media. What a terrible tragedy. I wonder why those
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 15, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Thanks for this, Barry. It is so important for all of us cyclists, to
        have the facts independently from the media.

        What a terrible tragedy. I wonder why those handlebars wobbled, but I
        guess we will never know. Could it have been a pot hole?

        And speaking of lorries, last week, at Canary Wharf, the Met Police
        where showing us cyclists the view form a lorry cabin. I got up there,
        and oh my God, how big is that thing? I would recommend ALL CYCLISTS to
        sit one of these lorry cabins. Having said that, this particular lorry
        was brand new and had all the mirrors it can possibly have. Two things:
        do not stop next to the front wheel on the left. You do that, you're
        toast!

        Also, the police officer who was in the cab with me told me that worst
        lorries are not those big Scannias but the small tip lorries (or
        whatever they are called). Most accidents with cyclists involve them and
        they don't follow regulations at all and it's not that easy to enforce
        them, only with MOT, but that leaves a gap of months until the next MOT.

        So, be careful out there! When I was a kid and my mum was teaching me to
        cross the road when I was old enough to walk to school, she would say
        something that stayed with me always: "it's better to loose a minute in
        your life than your life in a minute". Stay away from lorries, it's not
        worth it.

        Vivian
        ---
        "We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in
        school". No Surrender


        -----Original Message-----
        From: southwarkcyclists@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:southwarkcyclists@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Barry Mason
        Sent: 14 November 2009 19:54
        To: Southwark Cyclists
        Subject: [Southwark Cyclists] Notes from Thursday's inquest


        This is long but is an accurate, formal and complete note of what was
        said in Court last Thursday.

        I hope it helps a bit to make a difference out there.

        Barry
        07905 889 005



        **********************************************************************
        (The police omitted to tell me the date of the inquest despite
        promising. So, it was only when I read that morning's Southwark News
        that I discovered it was starting at 10am today...so I got there
        late...I
        missed the identification and character evidence of her father, Mehmet
        Kohman. I was told that he'd said that his daughter was 37 years old,
        had cycled since she was 5, was fully fit, had a daughter, was
        divorced).


        [snipped]
      • ann warren
        Thanks, Vivian. Staying away from lorries is very much a life-style choice for me. I think most Londoners would agree that keeping away from lorries when
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 16, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          Thanks, Vivian.  Staying away from lorries is very much a life-style choice for me.  I think most Londoners would agree that keeping away from lorries when you're on a bicycle is a no-brainer, which largely explains why so few Londoners use bicycles.  This is why I get upset that the Share-the-Road faction is so dominant in cycle policy thinking.
           
          It also explains why I hate the LCN so much. At only 1.5 metres wide it forces cyclists much closer to lorries than is the case when lorries make their own judgements about how much room a cyclist needs.  Any cycle route on a main road should be 2.5m, and is worse than useless if it's less than 2 metres wide.  I was rather hoping that adequate width would be the USP of the proposed Cycle Superhighways, but I understand it's not the case.
           
          Ann

          To: southwarkcyclists@yahoogroups.com
          From: vmcclew@...
          Date: Sun, 15 Nov 2009 10:36:42 +0000
          Subject: RE: [Southwark Cyclists] Notes from Thursday's inquest

           
          Thanks for this, Barry. It is so important for all of us cyclists, to
          have the facts independently from the media.

          What a terrible tragedy. I wonder why those handlebars wobbled, but I
          guess we will never know. Could it have been a pot hole?

          And speaking of lorries, last week, at Canary Wharf, the Met Police
          where showing us cyclists the view form a lorry cabin. I got up there,
          and oh my God, how big is that thing? I would recommend ALL CYCLISTS to
          sit one of these lorry cabins. Having said that, this particular lorry
          was brand new and had all the mirrors it can possibly have. Two things:
          do not stop next to the front wheel on the left. You do that, you're
          toast!

          Also, the police officer who was in the cab with me told me that worst
          lorries are not those big Scannias but the small tip lorries (or
          whatever they are called). Most accidents with cyclists involve them and
          they don't follow regulations at all and it's not that easy to enforce
          them, only with MOT, but that leaves a gap of months until the next MOT.

          So, be careful out there! When I was a kid and my mum was teaching me to
          cross the road when I was old enough to walk to school, she would say
          something that stayed with me always: "it's better to loose a minute in
          your life than your life in a minute". Stay away from lorries, it's not
          worth it.

          Vivian
          ---
          "We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in
          school". No Surrender

          -----Original Message-----
          From: southwarkcyclists@ yahoogroups. com
          [mailto:southwarkcyclists@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Barry Mason
          Sent: 14 November 2009 19:54
          To: Southwark Cyclists
          Subject: [Southwark Cyclists] Notes from Thursday's inquest

          This is long but is an accurate, formal and complete note of what was
          said in Court last Thursday.

          I hope it helps a bit to make a difference out there.

          Barry
          07905 889 005

          ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* ****
          (The police omitted to tell me the date of the inquest despite
          promising. So, it was only when I read that morning's Southwark News
          that I discovered it was starting at 10am today...so I got there
          late...I
          missed the identification and character evidence of her father, Mehmet
          Kohman. I was told that he'd said that his daughter was 37 years old,
          had cycled since she was 5, was fully fit, had a daughter, was
          divorced).

          [snipped]




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