A lorry driver involved in the death of a cyclist fled an inquest in tears as details of the fatal collision were revealed.
Lee Norfolk temporarily left the hearing at Southwark coroner’s court last Friday as it considered how Richard Muzira, 61, (below), died in Camberwell on November 18, 2013 – the last of six cyclists killed in London in a fortnight.
Terence Dixon, who was driving a van immediately behind the lorry, told how he sounded his horn to try to alert Mr Muzira to the fact it was turning left.
“He was like he was in his own little world,” Mr Dixon said. “He was sat up straight and was enjoying his day. It looked like he enjoyed cycling.”
He said Mr Muzira “swerved” in an apparent attempt to undertake the lorry. “It looked like he was about to hit it [the lorry], and that was when the lorry caught the bike.”
Mr Muzira fell under the vehicle and suffered massive pelvic and chest injuries. He died at the scene.
Collision investigator PC Steven Gilbert told the inquest that Mr Norfolk, a HGV driver with 30′ years experience, would have been “unlikely” to have seen Mr Muzira on his inside as his tipper truck turned left from Camberwell Road into Albany Road.
Mr Gilbert said: “Mr Muzira would probably have [needed to have] been at least another 2m away from the side of the lorry before he would have been visible to the driver looking out through the side window.”
The lorry, belonging to Roll On Off Services, of Erith, had moved off from traffic lights and turned the corner at 9mph. Mr Muzira was travelling at a “slowish cycling pace” of about 5.5mph.
Jane Henderson, Mr Muzira’s ex-wife, told the court: “He wasn’t a risk-taker in his cycling. He was a very cautious cyclist.”
The lorry had moved into the right-hand lane to give it extra space to make the tight turn into Albany Road. Mr Norfolk, asked by coroner Andrew Harris if he had seen a cyclist, replied: “Not that I can recall, no.”
He said he had been aware of the spate of cyclist deaths at the time. “You are aware of it because it’s all over the media,” he said. “You hope you will never be involved in it.”
He said that the firm’s HGVs were now fitted with sensors that sound an alarm if anything was detected nearby. The lorry had CCTV cameras at the time of the collision.
Police told the court there were no grounds to consider a prosecution against the driver.
The coroner said it was clear from evidence that the lorry had been indicating left and the driver had checked his mirrors.
He recorded a narrative verdict that Mr Muzira’s death was caused by road traffic collision. He said: “The cyclist would appear not to have noticed the lorry turning left and failed to stop.”
He rejected a request from the family’s solicitor to issue a prevention of future deaths report, saying he understood that Southwark council was already taking action to improve safety at the junction.
After the inquest, Mr Norfolk was given a consoling hug by a friend of Ms Henderson’s.
* What has happened in relation to the other cyclist deaths?
A prosecution is ongoing in the case of the first of the cyclists to die, Brian Holt. Crossrail contractor Anthony Howsego will stand trial at Wood Green crown court on June 16, charged with causing death by careless driving. Background here: https://rosslydall.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/crossrail-driver-expresses-sorrow-for-death-of-cyclist-as-he-pleads-not-guilty/
Francis Golding inquest report: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/coroner-slams-slow-response-over-triple-cycle-death-junction-in-camden-9246280.html
Venera Minakhmetova inquest report: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/dont-jump-red-lights-coroner-warns-cyclists-at-bow-roundabout-lorry-death-inquest-9250220.html
Khalid Mohamed Wallyd al-Hashimi inquest report: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/cyclist-killed-in-spate-of-london-road-deaths-was-twice-the-drinkdrive-limit-9250699.html