The wife and daughter of a cyclist killed on Mile End Road in 2013 have today (19.06.15) called for greater accountability from heavy goods companies operating in London after charges against the driver responsible were dropped.
Six Londoners have been killed while cycling in the capital in 2015 alone – with each involving a collision with an HGV.
62 year old Brian Holt was killed while cycling home from work on the 5 November 2013. He was hit by a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) owned by GF Gordon Plant Hire on Mile End Road, London.
His widow Diane was present at the Wood Green Crown Court as the criminal prosecution against the driver of the vehicle for causing death by dangerous driving reached its final stage.
After a three day hearing, the court found the driver of the HGV involved in the collision ‘not guilty’.
“Brian was a responsible cyclist, not a risk taker. He always wore a helmet and hi-vis clothing, planned his routes carefully and ensured his bike was kept in good working order. He cycled that same short distance to his job as a porter at Mile End Hospital every day, and had done so for years,” said Diane Holt, his widow.
“None of that counts when you’re faced with a large vehicle, being driven at speed and so poorly maintained that its mirrors weren’t visible through the grime on the windows.”
Diane and her 14 year old daughter Leanne are calling for urgent action to be taken to reduce the number of lives lost to heavy goods vehicles on the streets of the capital.
“We’re told by witnesses that the lorry driver didn’t even realise he’d hit Brian and was dragging him and his bike along. Another motorist, a man on a motorcycle, had to frantically signal the driver of the lorry to make him stop,” explains Diane.
“Both the state of the lorry which killed Brian and the standard of driving of the man behind the wheel point to a very sorry state of affairs at GF Gordon Planet Hire. We are aware of their involvement in at least one other cycling death since Brian’s – despite claiming that their drivers have completed a ‘Sharing the road’ training course with Cycle Training UK and are disappointed at the way they have approached this case – with no apologies for the pain and loss they have inflicted upon us.
“I see the picture GF Gordon Plant Hire is trying to paint to the world – with wagons driving around with ‘Sharing the road’ logos splashed on their side – but their actual safety record paints a very different picture.”
“More needs to be done to hold these companies to account and to protect cyclists in London so no other family endures what we have.”
Ann-Marie Christie of Thompsons Solicitors is representing the Holt family in a civil case for damages against GF Gordon Plant Hire.
She said: “We have extensive experience of supporting the families of people who have been injured, or worse killed, on the roads. Sadly, fatal cycling collisions are on the rise in London and we are incredibly disturbed by the growing trend.
“As the criminal case comes to a conclusion we will continue to support Diane in her case to secure damages against the company responsible for the death of her husband.”