Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Cyclist killed by HGV operator in King's Cross on Monday

Min Joo Lee, 24 year old fashion student at Central St Martins was killed in front of King's Cross Station on Monday morning. Her fashion design work was featured on the fashion website in March. The famous school where she studied at Central St Martins has just moved into the Granary Building behind the station.

 Work by Min Joo Lee from

Min Joo Lee was crushed and killed on her bicycle in a collision with a heavy goods vehicle at the road junction Euston Road / York Way / Gray's Inn Road / Pentonville Road, part of London's Inner Ring Road  A501 and an integral part of the infamous King's Cross 'gyratory'. In 2007 in Camley Street, also very nearby the new CSM campus, artist Emma Foa (56) was killed by a turning lorry, crushing her against railings. The driver who killed Foa had been looking for some paperwork in his truck, and was fined £300 for his "inadvertence", but allowed to keep his driving licence.

I was appalled in April 2010 when the 25 year old artist, photographer, graphic designer and music-video director Jane Helliwell was crushed to death by the driver of the 390 bus on Oxford Street. In April 2009, Meryem Ozekman, 37, a fitness instructor and experienced cyclist, was crushed by a lorry driving on the Elephant and Castle roundabout. I was horrified the following day, when 29-year-old architect Rebecca Goosen was crushed to death as the driver of a 32-tonne cement mixer turned left into Goswell Road from Old Street, in Clerkenwell. A pattern of cyclist deaths caused by heavy goods vehicle drivers is clearly continuing.

Rhiannon Williams reported in the Islington Gazette that a spokesman for Transport for London had said of Monday's event: “We are extremely sorry to hear of the death of the woman following a collision with a HGV in Euston Road. More needs to be done to prevent serious harm befalling London’s cyclists, and TfL is working with other organisations across London to tackle this serious safety issue.” The TfL spokesman said that it was the 13th cycle death in London in 2011 compared to 10 last year. There is an ongoing debate (and hopefully increasing awareness) about cycles and heavy goods vehicles sharing the road, and personally, I am increasingly wary of approaching anywhere near these vehicles especially when moving near junctions.

The road should be safer for women and men of all ages and driving abilities, whether experienced or not. However the managers of the street and everyone who uses streets, whichever form of movement they use, need to be responsible for this safety, and this doesn't seem to be currently adequate to reassure us of safety in King's Cross.

Charlie Lloyd's 2010 bike blog article "Lorry drivers have no more excuses when it comes to cycling blind spots" covers many of the campaigns and issues about HGV-cycle conflict, including the need for drivers of heavy vehicles and cyclists to take greater care. Personally I try to be noticed by all other road users on my bicycle, but if inadvertently I go unnoticed, in the case of a heavy goods driver (like one checking for papers) the results could be deadly. How can we make the inner city streets like this one safer? Who else could be involved in the process? Transport for London? Cyclist and Driver communities? Pedestrian Organisations? Universities like Central St Martins? Local King's Cross Communities? Who should care about people being killed on roads where we live and work?

An Urban 75 discussion thread, 'Cyclist Killed at King's Cross Lighthouse', with a hundred comments at the time of writing, suggests this road death in King's Cross on Monday will raise many more questions yet.

Camden New Journal published this story on 27 October: Cyclist deaths - ‘Ghost bike’ at the deadly junction that killed fashion student Deep Lee .

Cyclists killed in collisions with lorries include:
Min Joo Lee (in King's Cross)
Emma Foa (in King's Cross)
Madelyn Wright (in King's Cross)
Cath Ward (in Stratford Upon Avon)
Jayne Helliwell (in Oxford Street)
Rebecca Goossen (in Clerkenwell)
Meryam  Ozekman (in Elephant and Castle)
Daniel Cox (in Dalston)
Catriona Patel (in Oval)
Craig Newton (in Edinburgh)
Naoko (in Hammersmith)

Occupying Streets on fb


  1. Excellent article... the community in King's Cross has been campaigning for safer pedestrian and cyclist routes for some time. One issue we've focussed on is the need for a route from The Angel to Marylebone that avoids the A501 ring road which could be created by replacing the bridge at the immediate rear of KX Station that used to join Battlebridge Road with Wharfdale Road. We're still pushing for that, the more voices added to this issue the better.

  2. Thanks. As the CNJ pointed out, cycle fatalities seem to have much less impact on TfL than railway deaths or on any other mode.

  3. Paula Jurek

  4. BBC London