The driver of a Crossrail construction lorry has become the only motorist to be charged in connection with last year’s spate of six cyclists killed in London in a fortnight, I can reveal.
Anthony Howsego, 57, of Romford, will appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday [Nov 14] for a pre-trial hearing after allegedly causing the death by careless driving of hospital porter Brian Holt.
It comes as the Stop Killing Cyclists campaign group prepares to hold a “die-in” protest in Oxford Street on Saturday [Nov 15] to mark the anniversary. A total of 14 cyclists died in London last year, sparking the first “die in” outside TfL’s Palestra building. Ten cyclists have died in road collisions this year.
Mr Holt, 62, from Stepney, died at the scene of the collision in Mile End Road on November 5, 2013. He had taken up cycling to and from work at Mile End Hospital in order to get fit.
Howsego was charged in July but the decision to prosecute only came to light during a Standard investigation to mark the anniversary of the six deaths.
His four-axle tipper truck was heading east after collecting waste from a construction site at Crossrail’s new Liverpool Street station. Transport for London’s board was told at the time that Mr Holt was thought to have been attempting to cycle across the road, which is part of the Mayor’s CS2 cycle superhighway.
The incident was the second cyclist death in succession to involve a Crossrail contractor’s HGV. Maria Karsa, a nursing assistant at the Royal London hospital, died a week after a collision at Aldgate in September last year.
Four of the six deaths last November – those of Francis Golding, 69. Venera Minakhmetova, 24, Khalid al-Hashimi, 21, and Roger de Klerk, 43 – concluded with coroner’s inquests, with no charges brought against the drivers involved.
Police also decided there was no case to answer for the lorry driver involved in the death of Richard Muzira in Camberwell. An inquest date has yet to be set. His family are understood to have accepted the decision not to prosecute.
At the time, Boris Johnson faced an outcry from cyclists to speed-up plans to make London safer for cyclists. But the Mayor, speaking after the fifth death, warned “there’s no amount of traffic engineering that we invest in that is going to save people’s lives” unless cyclists obeyed the rules of the road.
It subsequently transpired that Mr al-Hashimi was almost twice over the legal limit for drink-driving when he rode off the pavement into the path of an oncoming 205 bus in Whitechapel, after cycling the wrong way up a one-way street.
Coroner Mary Hassell ruled that Mr Golding’s death was the result of a “moment’s inattention” on his part. He died three days after colliding with a left-turning coach in Bloomsbury.
The same coroner ruled the “fundamental cause” of Russian computer consultant Ms Minakhmetova’s death was her cycling through a red light at Bow roundabout into the path of a HGV.
Roger de Klerk, an IT consultant from Forest Hill, died in collision with a 410 bus near East Croydon station. An inquest last month found he fell in front of the bus when his bike wheels slipped on, or became trapped in, tram lines.
Ms Karsa and Mr Holt were both employees of Barts Health, the UK’s biggest NHS Trust. Since their deaths, Barts has been at the forefront of a campaign to improve cycle safety.