6 November 2007
Penny Knight recently attended the inquest of Emma Foa with Emma's husband to hear the verdict of the coroner at Saint Pancras Coroner's Court.
Emma died in December 2006 whilst cycling to her husband's offices in Clerkenwell, London. She was hit by a concrete lorry turning left whose driver failed to check his mirror before making the manoeuvre. Emma was run over by the Foden concrete mixer and died at the scene of the accident.
CCTV footage of the scene show Emma, wearing a yellow reflective jacket and helmet, on the vehicle's left hand side as it waited to turn left at the junction of Goods Way and Camley Street in NW1. The film also shows movement in the driver's cab which was explained by the driver's confirmation that he was sorting out paperwork at the wheel whilst waiting at the lights.
The driver said that he hadn't seen Emma and that he had a blind spot in his mirror although the police concluded that this was not the case, and that if he had looked he would have seen her if he had checked his mirror before starting his left-hand turn.
It emerged during the inquest that the driver had not had any training in the use of his mirrors since passing his HGV test at least 10 years earlier and that he had never checked that he had full vision through his mirrors. His insistence that there was a blind spot in his mirror via a test he carried out with his insurance company was dismissed by the police.
Having pleaded guiltly to driving without due care and attention the driver was given five points and fined £300.
The coroner Dr Andrew Reid will write to Transport for London to report this and other cases involving cyclist collisions with HGVs which will refer to his earlier letter to the Secretary of State for Transport which requested to be told what publications exist to inform drivers and cyclists of what was required of them at junctions.
Penny Knight said:
"It was of some comfort to Emma's family that the Coroner gave a narrative verdict that the incident was contributed to by the driver of an HGV not looking into his mirrors at the appropriate time and failing to see Ms Foa in time. However, it remains a great concern that HGV drivers can have proper mirrors fitted but still not use them properly, or have the mistaken belief that there is a blind spot. New regulations will come into force in 2009 requiring lorries registered from 2000 onwards to have 3 mirrors fitted on the nearside - proximity, rear view and reverse angle - which Mr Thorn's HGV had; but this will be of little value if drivers are not aware of how to use these mirrors properly. More attention should be placed on training to avoid this type of incident, which was completely avoidable, occurring again."
For more information please contact Penny Knight
in the cycling and sports injuries team on 202 7650 1200.
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