Driver prosecuted after Marble Arch lorry collision
Veronika Pete, a 30 year-old marketing director from central London was left seriously injured after she was run over by a lorry turning left at the Marble Arch gyratory. Yesterday, the courts found the driver guilty of careless driving.
Deputy District Judge Bennett said at the end of his judgement
"As part of his promise the Mayor, Boris Johnson, pledged to improve road safety for cyclists. I don't know if this area is in his radar but I am going to write personally requesting an urgent consideration of this particular road layout and the tragic consequences. This accident took place in 2010 and it is inevitable that further accidents of a similar kind will undoubtedly occur unless changes are made. I hope that I will get a proper response."
In December 2010, Veronika was cycling along her regular route to work. She was travelling around the Marble Arch gyratory, heading towards Oxford Street near the exit to Edgware Road. In evidence the driver of the heavy bullion vehicle stated that he had seen the cyclist but then lost sight of her. He assumed that she had turned left, taking the exit to Edgware Road. In fact Veronika was at the front of the bullion vehicle. The driver's vehicle was not fitted with the mirrors now recommended for all new HGVs. The driver turned left, dragging Veronika under the lorry's wheels.
She was rushed to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington where she received emergency life saving treatment. Her leg had to be amputated above the knee and her other leg was severely damaged amongst many other soft tissue and orthopaedic injuries. She was transferred to Charing Cross Hospital where she spent several months suffering multiple operations and recovering from the accident's impact.
Veronika now uses a wheelchair and is learning to walk using a prosthetic limb. She is receiving intensive rehabilitation and requires help from her partner, James, carers, family and friends. This will be a long process.
Her partner, James Middleton, was prompted to write to the Mayor of London protesting about the dangers of cycling around this gyratory as well as the fatalities of two cyclists in the month of November at Bow roundabout.
Veronika Pete said:
"I used to cycle to work every day and was an experienced cyclist. Since my accident I have realised there are so many areas across London that are extremely dangerous for cyclists, including the Marble Arch junction where I was injured. Unfortunately it seems calls to improve cycle safety have been met with resistance and bureaucracy from the local authorities involved. It was only after months of concerted pressure by the London Cycling Campaign that Mayor Boris Johnson was convinced that Bow roundabout, where two cyclists were tragically killed last year, must be redesigned, despite LCC’s own proposal for the roundabout being rejected by TFL. I hope that accidents like mine will lead the authorities to take steps to ensure that London's roads are made safer for cyclists.”
Jill Greenfield, partner in the Personal Injury Group at law firm Fieldfisher is representing Veronika in a civil claim against the driver's company, Brinks Security Ltd.
Jill Greenfield said:
"I was pleased to see that through determined police efforts and the criminal prosecution that Veronika has been able to see justice being done. But how terribly sad that she has had to go through the criminal process at all and is now left with lifelong injuries. Boris Johnson's team really must act to make Marble Arch a safer place for vulnerable road users."
For further press information please contact:
Louise Eckersley, PR Manager, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP on 020 7861 4120
Jill Greenfield, Partner, Field Fisher Waterhouse on 0207 861 4557