Young cyclist killed in lorry crash in heart of London

A cyclist has been killed in a collision with a lorry in central London.

The collision happened around 7.30am on Wednesday at the northern end of Charlotte Street, at the junction with Howland Street - not on Fitzroy Street, Fitzrovia, near the junction with Maple Street, as first reported.

The rider, a man thought to be in his 20s, died at the scene. Onlookers reported a tipper truck had been turning left when the crash happened.

It is believed to be the second death of a cyclist on London roads in 2023.

The truck had been at the Network Building construction site on Tottenham Court Road. Construction logistics firm Keltbray confirmed the vehicle belonged to one of its sub-contractors.

A Met Police statement said: “Police were called by the London Ambulance Service at 7.53am on Wednesday to reports of a lorry in collision with a cyclist on Fitzroy Street, W1.

“Officers and London’s Air Ambulance attended and provided first aid. Despite their efforts, the cyclist - who is believed to be aged in his 20s - died at the scene.

“His next of kin have been informed. There have been no arrests at this time. Road closures remain in place.”

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 7.41am to reports of a road traffic collision on Fitzroy Street.

“We sent two ambulance crews, a medic in a fast response car and an incident response officer to the scene. We also dispatched London’s Air Ambulance.

“Sadly, despite the best efforts of our crews, a person was pronounced dead at the scene.”

One witness, David Arumugam Rathnasingjham, from YMCA India on Fitzrovia Street, said he saw the bike trapped under the truck. “It’s very sad,” he said.

A nearby worker and cyclist, who did not wish to be identified, told the Standard it was an “emotional” morning.

He said Fitzrovia Street is popular for cyclists and delivery drivers wanting to cut between Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, meaning cyclists often have to travel next to large vehicles.

When asked if the cycle lane is enough protection, he said: “Get rid of it. I believe there needs to be a traffic light system.

“We have a zebra crossing there which is not helpful to anyone,” he said.

“There should be traffic lights because there’s a four-way split, so you’ve got traffic coming from every direction apart from where the cyclist came from.”

He said without traffic lights, pedestrians walk out and “cyclists go when they want to go”.

When asked if the death concerns him, he said: “Of course it does. Doesn’t stop me from cycling though.”

Protected cycle routes, like this one in Chiswick, are being introduced to improve road safety (TfL)
Protected cycle routes, like this one in Chiswick, are being introduced to improve road safety (TfL)

Keltbray said in a statement: “Keltbray is aware that during Wednesday 24th May, a road traffic accident occurred on the public highway near Keltbray’s Network Building project site in central London, involving one of its sub-contractor’s lorries and a cyclist, in which the cyclist tragically sustained fatal injuries.

“The thoughts of the Keltbray leadership team and the entire workforce at Keltbray’s built environment division are with the family and friends of all those involved at this very difficult time.

“Keltbray is supporting the police, emergency services and our subcontractor in their investigations as required. While investigations are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

It came as official figures were released showing the number of road deaths in London had increased by more than a third to 101 in 2022.

Data published by Transport for London on Wednesday showed there were 101 fatalities across the capital – up from 75 in 2021, a 35 per cent increase.

The sharp rise was primarily blamed on the increasing volume of traffic as travel patterns returned to pre-pandemic norms.

TfL said it was the lowest number of road deaths on record, excluding years affected by pandemic lockdowns.

But there was particular concern at the number of cyclists being killed or seriously injured. This rose year on year from 999 to 1,027, an increase of three per cent.

Seven people were killed cycling in London in 2022, down from 10 in 2021.

But the total number of cyclists being killed or seriously injured is 39 per cent higher than the 2005-9 baseline used to measure TfL’s efforts to make the roads safer.

Excluding fatalities, the number of cyclists being seriously injured is up 42 per cent over the long term.

However, since 2005-9 there has been an 88 per cent increase in the amount of cycling.

TfL says this “suggests that cycling trips have become safer overall” but admits that “clearly there is a need to continue to roll out safe cycle infrastructure”, lower speeds and initiatives such as the direct vision scheme for HGVs.

The first cyclist to die in London in 2023 is believed to have collided with a lamp-post on Lewisham Road, near the junction with Connington Road. The cyclist later died in hospital.

The TfL figures, which are based on police records, show that last year the number of car occupants (drivers or passengers) killed in London increased year-on-year from 10 to 25.

The number of motorcycle fatalities increased from 14 to 21. Pedestrian fatalities increased from 36 to 41.

Three people were killed riding a privately-owned e-scooter – the same number as in 2021.

Seven people were killed by a London bus. One bus passenger died after falling inside a bus.

There were 23,903 reported collisions across London, resulting in 101 people being killed, 3,873 being seriously injured and 23,287 being slightly injured.

The number of people killed or seriously injured increased by 11 per cent year-on-year, rising from 3,580 to 3,974.

TfL said that speed “remains the biggest risk to road users”, with around half of the fatal collisions last year (48 out of 99) reporting speed as a contributory factor.

Walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman said: “Every death or serious injury on our streets is devastating, bringing heartache and tragedy to all those involved.

“This data shows that while significant progress is being made, further action is needed to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London’s streets.”

Across Great Britain, there were 1,695 road deaths in 2022. A total of 29,795 people were killed or seriously injured.

Nationwide, the fatalities included 781 car drivers or occupants, 376 pedestrians, 354 motorcyclists and 85 cyclists.