An inquest has revealed how a chef was killed in a collision with a lorry as he cycled around the Elephant and Castle roundabout last year.
Abdelkhalak Lahyani, of Portland Street, Walworth, was cycling to work at around 4pm on May 13 when he was struck by an HGV turning left onto Newington Butts.
The inquest, led by Assistant Coroner Briony Ballard, concluded that the 47-year-old was in a cycle lane between two rows of traffic when he was struck and pulled under the nearside wheels of the lorry.
The driver, named as Edwin Humphries, was visibly shaken as he gave his testimony at Southwark Coroner’s Court on Thursday morning last week. When asked by Ms Ballard if he remembered accurately the events of that day, he replied: “It lives with me every day.” The inquest heard how Mr Humphries, of Telford, was not familiar with the junction and believed he was in the correct lane for turning left as he stopped and indicated to do so.
The road markings in fact advised the traffic in that lane to proceed straight on over the roundabout, which is the route Mr Lahyani is suspected of trying to take in the neighbouring cycle lane.
It was concluded that it was likely as they both set off, Mr Humphries turned left as Mr Lahyani was trying to go straight on and was killed instantly.
Paramedics and the police tried to rescusitate Mr Lahyani but when the air ambulance arrived the doctor pronounced him dead at the scene.
Ms Ballard gave the cause of death as “multiple traumatic injuries and road traffic incident” before giving her “warmest condolences” to both Mr Lahyani’s widow, Fatimah Manah, 44, who sat through the painful hearing, and Mr Humphries.
PC Andrew Smith who investigated the incident, told the News he had never seen a road layout like the one at the Elephant and Castle roundabout where cycle paths are located between lanes of traffic. “It’s a very complex junction,” he told Miss Ballard in his testimony.
After Mr Lahyani’s death, Southwark’s council leader, Peter John backed the family’s calls for a rush hour ban on HGVs in central London and this week he has confirmed to the News that he was still pushing for this to happen.
“I hope the inquest has given Mr Lahyani’s family some sort of closure and my thoughts remain with them,” said Cllr John. “Although a lot of work has been done, or is being done, to try to make our roads safer for cyclists, I still maintain that we must look at introducing some sort of ban on HGVs, particularly during the rush hour, to protect commuters and I will continue have conversations with TfL and the GLA to see how this can be taken forward.”
A Transport for London spokesperson said: “We are spending almost £1bn to create segregated and safer cycle lanes to protect cyclists from other vehicles, including around the Elephant & Castle area. The Safer Lorry Scheme, which came into operation in September, mandates sideguards and blindspot mirrors, helping to make London a safer and more cycle-friendly city.”
Coffins to be laid outside TfL HQ
To mark Mr Lahyani’s death along with twenty other cyclists who were killed on London roads since November 2013, 21 coffins are going to be laid outside Transport for London’s headquarters tomorrow.
The third annual Stop Killing Cyclists ‘die in’ will demand all the London mayoral candidates call of ten percent of TfL’s budget be invested in cycling infrastructure.
Stop Killing Cyclists co-founder Donnachadh McCarthy said: “The current 1.4 percent of the budget being spent on cycling safety is an insult to those dying form collisions, pollution and inactivity diseases and the tens of thousands of Londoners living every day with terrible health impacts.”
The die-in will run from 5pm till .30pm outside Palestra Building in Blackfriars Road.