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Lorry kills woman cyclist on road too narrow for it to pass

The London Evening Standard: Lorry kills woman cyclist on road too narrow for it to pass

22.01.10

A cyclist was crushed to death by a tipper lorry at an accident blackspot where the road was too narrow for the vehicle, an inquest heard today.

TV producer Eilidh Cairns, 30, died from multiple injuries after the rush-hour collision at a pedestrian crossing near Pembridge Road, Notting Hill. The road narrowed to two metres at that point and the truck, driven by Joao Lopes, was 2.5 metres wide, Westminster coroner’s court heard.

As Ms Cairns lay trapped under the wheels at 9am on 5 February last year, she pleaded with a woman to stay with her until the ambulance arrived. Eyewitnesses Melinda Ross told the inquest in a statement: “I heard a loud bang and a scream. I saw a woman trapped under the second wheel of the lorry.

“Her body from the waist down was under the tyre itself. She asked me to help her and not to leave. She found it hard to breathe and was in pain.

“She kept asking where the ambulance was and I stayed with her and tried to keep her calm.” Ms Cairns, of Kentish Town, died in hospital at 10.48.

Anna Morris, for Ms Cairns’s family, said: “The collision investigation report specifically makes observations on the narrowing of the carriageway at this key point.

“It notes that at one point it is two metres wide, while the vehicle in question is 2.5 metres wide.

“It is obvious now from the material obtained there have been other incidents at this crossing. There have been allegations of incidents resulting in serious injury that have been noted by the council.”

Deputy coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe rejected an appeal by the family to adjourn the inquest so Kensington and Chelsea council could see the report.

Ms Cairns’s sister Kate said: “Eilidh always strove to be fit and active and loved to cycle to work. Her daily commute alone was 20 miles a day.”
Mr Lopes faces criminal proceedings in connection with the death. He attended the inquest with a Portuguese interpreter.

The inquest continues.