Coroner rules cyclist Adrianna Skrzypiec's death on A102 in Greenwich was accidental

Cyclist died in mystery accident at "exceptionally dangerous" junction

Adrianna Skrzypiec

A ghost bike and tributes have been left at the scene

Greenwich Cyclists warn that lanes are often ignored

First published in News News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

MORE accidents will happen on an “exceptionally dangerous” junction where a cyclist was killed by a lorry unless safety improvements are made, it has been claimed.

Adrianna Skrzypiec, 31, was travelling from work to a birthday party when she was killed on the Kent-bound A102 slip road at the junction with Woolwich Road in Greenwich.

A Southwark Coroner’s Court inquest into her death beneath the Woolwich flyover heard she was dragged under the wheels of a lorry for 142 metres but, incredibly, no witnesses saw the accident and there was no CCTV footage.

Motorist Kirsty Black told the inquest she heard a loud bang as she waited at traffic lights.

Ms Black, also a cyclist, said: “The lights there are exceptionally dangerous. The phasing of them is very badly managed and they’re badly positioned.”

She said that just three weeks ago, she and her young daughter were nearly knocked down by a car as they used the road’s pedestrian crossing.

Ms Black said: “I do think something needs to be done about it.”

She added: “Other accidents have already happened. There are going to be more.” News Shopper: A ghost bike and tributes have been left at the scene

A supervisor for fashion website Net-a-Porter, Miss Skrzypiec was living with her boyfriend in Rotherhithe at the time of the May 2009 accident and told friends she was scared when cycling through the junction.

Accident investigator PC Andrew Smith said one possibility was that Miss Skryzypiec was on the left side of a lorry and could not be seen by the driver.

John Lashbrook, a lorry driver from Sittingbourne, was initially charged with causing death by dangerous driving but the case was dismissed before it ever reached trial.

When asked by the coroner if he had a collision on that day Mr Lashbrook replied: “No. I don’t believe I did.”

The driver said he only found out about the accident six weeks later and had not noticed anything at the time of the incident.

Coroner Shanta Deonarine recorded a verdict of accidental death and the cause of death was given as multiple injuries.

News Shopper: Greenwich Cyclists warn that lanes are often ignored CYCLIST WARNING

After the accident, community group Greenwich Cyclists left a ‘ghost bike’ at the scene as a reminder that Miss Skrzypiec had died there.

Acting coordinator Anthony Austin, who regularly cycles through the junction, said the intersection’s advanced cycle stop and cycle lanes were largely ignored by motorists.

He said: “The safest thing to do as a cyclist is to stay behind the traffic and get in lane as if you were a car.”

Removing railings, painting clearer lines and better enforcing of cycling zones were all options to improve the situation, he said.

He added: “As regrettable and tragic as these accidents are I don’t want them to detract from the increase in cycling.”

A spokesman for Greenwich Council said: "Greenwich Council would again like to send heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Ms Skrzypiec.

"The council recognsises the importance of having safe routes for cyclists across the borough - an important part of the council's policy to encourage cycling in Greenwich.

"The council has been working on plans to devise a new scheme for cyclists at this junction which are being finalised before being put to councillors"

Comments (8)

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10:10am Tue 15 Mar 11

Marty1979 says...

Very sound advice:-
“The safest thing to do as a cyclist is to stay behind the traffic and get in lane as if you were a car.”
Just wish more cyclists would do this
Very sound advice:- “The safest thing to do as a cyclist is to stay behind the traffic and get in lane as if you were a car.” Just wish more cyclists would do this Marty1979
  • Score: 0

10:18am Tue 15 Mar 11

jca111 says...

The safest thing to do is to get into the ASL. The point he was making was that if the ASL, or if the route to the ASL, is blocked, then in this situation, the safest thing to do is to stay in the middle of the lane (the primary position) and wait behind the traffic.
The safest thing to do is to get into the ASL. The point he was making was that if the ASL, or if the route to the ASL, is blocked, then in this situation, the safest thing to do is to stay in the middle of the lane (the primary position) and wait behind the traffic. jca111
  • Score: 0

1:28pm Tue 15 Mar 11

abstractnoise says...

This junction is a nightmare, whether navigated as a driver, a pedestrian or a cyclist. Phasing is poorly set so drivers get impatient. This leads to obstructive/agressiv
e/threatening driving, blocking the box junctions and preventing other traffic getting through.

I do not think that making lane markings clearer (Perhaps altering them at the same time) will make things any safer - they'll just be ignored as drivers continue their (sometimes understandable) impatience.

Altering the phasing of the traffic lights would make a certain amount of sense, but will be undone by impatient drivers or reckless cyclists.

What we need to do instead is to alter the layout and *remove* obstacles to East/West traffic flow, and separate cyclists/pedestrians from the rest of the traffic in a way that is both safe and convenient.

How's about blocking access to Peartree Way entirely from that junction? It would force more traffic onto Woolwich Road and Bugsby's Way, but would mean that the only traffic management required of the junction would be to allow transfer of traffic between A102 and Woolwich Road.
This junction is a nightmare, whether navigated as a driver, a pedestrian or a cyclist. Phasing is poorly set so drivers get impatient. This leads to obstructive/agressiv e/threatening driving, blocking the box junctions and preventing other traffic getting through. I do not think that making lane markings clearer (Perhaps altering them at the same time) will make things any safer - they'll just be ignored as drivers continue their (sometimes understandable) impatience. Altering the phasing of the traffic lights would make a certain amount of sense, but will be undone by impatient drivers or reckless cyclists. What we need to do instead is to alter the layout and *remove* obstacles to East/West traffic flow, and separate cyclists/pedestrians from the rest of the traffic in a way that is both safe and convenient. How's about blocking access to Peartree Way entirely from that junction? It would force more traffic onto Woolwich Road and Bugsby's Way, but would mean that the only traffic management required of the junction would be to allow transfer of traffic between A102 and Woolwich Road. abstractnoise
  • Score: 0

2:20pm Tue 15 Mar 11

Matthew Wright says...

Condolences to Ms Skryzypiec's friends and family.

"The safest thing to do is to get into the ASL."

Maybe, maybe not as I don't see an ASL as much different to waiting in primary in traffic.

However, encouraging people to cycle in an advisory cycle lane (dashed line) on the inside of vehicles (in the blind spot of lorries) to gain access to this 'safe haven' (in the blind spot of lorries, see image here... http://media.photobu
cket.com/image/asl%2
0lorry%20blind%20spo
t/edscoble/blindspot
.jpg?t=1286655902) is downright dangerous.

I would have to know the route, the phasing of the lights, that a lorry wasn't at the head of the queue etc. before I set off up the inside to reach the ASL.

I like the idea of ASL's, no need to be held up by congestion, ride to the front of the queue and be on my way at the next green light but in practice I think they leave a lot to be desired.
Condolences to Ms Skryzypiec's friends and family. "The safest thing to do is to get into the ASL." Maybe, maybe not as I don't see an ASL as much different to waiting in primary in traffic. However, encouraging people to cycle in an advisory cycle lane (dashed line) on the inside of vehicles (in the blind spot of lorries) to gain access to this 'safe haven' (in the blind spot of lorries, see image here... [url]http://media.photobu cket.com/image/asl%2 0lorry%20blind%20spo t/edscoble/blindspot .jpg?t=1286655902[/url]) is downright dangerous. I would have to know the route, the phasing of the lights, that a lorry wasn't at the head of the queue etc. before I set off up the inside to reach the ASL. I like the idea of ASL's, no need to be held up by congestion, ride to the front of the queue and be on my way at the next green light but in practice I think they leave a lot to be desired. Matthew Wright
  • Score: 0

10:15pm Tue 15 Mar 11

Oldchap says...

ASL ?
ASL ? Oldchap
  • Score: 0

1:16pm Wed 16 Mar 11

jca111 says...

Oldchap wrote:
ASL ?
Advanced Stop Line. The idea being is to get the cyclists ahead of the traffic, so that the traffic can see them more clearly, and not, contrary to popular belief, so that they can get through quicker.

Trouble is that they are often very badly designed, with the feeder lane encouraging cyclist to enter the ASL on the left, inside large trucks. This is the *WORST* thing to do on a bike. The truck probably cannot see you, you have no escape if the truck starts moving if there are barriers (as there often are at junctions).

Use an ASL if it is safe for you to enter and it is not illegally blocked by a car etc. Otherwise, stay in your lane, in the primary position (middle of lane) until through the junctions.

As for any car drivers that complain about cyclists being in the primary position; about 7/10 times when a car forces past me, I usually over take it further up the road. So its car drivers slowing you down, not usually cyclists.
[quote][p][bold]Oldchap[/bold] wrote: ASL ?[/p][/quote]Advanced Stop Line. The idea being is to get the cyclists ahead of the traffic, so that the traffic can see them more clearly, and not, contrary to popular belief, so that they can get through quicker. Trouble is that they are often very badly designed, with the feeder lane encouraging cyclist to enter the ASL on the left, inside large trucks. This is the *WORST* thing to do on a bike. The truck probably cannot see you, you have no escape if the truck starts moving if there are barriers (as there often are at junctions). Use an ASL if it is safe for you to enter and it is not illegally blocked by a car etc. Otherwise, stay in your lane, in the primary position (middle of lane) until through the junctions. As for any car drivers that complain about cyclists being in the primary position; about 7/10 times when a car forces past me, I usually over take it further up the road. So its car drivers slowing you down, not usually cyclists. jca111
  • Score: 0

12:41pm Thu 17 Mar 11

MB says...

The junction is clearly very poorly designed, but the troubles at this spot are also partly caused by poor designs around it, eg. the long slip road on coast bound A102 which attracts during rush hour drivers to exit the A102 and get back on it and carve up others half way up the hill to Blackheath, or the unsynchronised traffic lights every 50 yards on Peartree way that cause tailbacks to the junction.

What I don't understand is why the council and the Highways agency can't do anything about this.
The junction is clearly very poorly designed, but the troubles at this spot are also partly caused by poor designs around it, eg. the long slip road on coast bound A102 which attracts during rush hour drivers to exit the A102 and get back on it and carve up others half way up the hill to Blackheath, or the unsynchronised traffic lights every 50 yards on Peartree way that cause tailbacks to the junction. What I don't understand is why the council and the Highways agency can't do anything about this. MB
  • Score: 0

2:37pm Thu 17 Mar 11

InMHO says...

A rail strike saved me from serious injury on that roundabout. A lorry had lost a stack of leaflets. I didn't see because there were so many stationary cars and as I hit it my bike went. Luckily nothing was moving. That was in the 80's and I dreaded cycling there even then. Its all too easy not to be seen by large vehicles. I haven't cycled for some years and had some close calls but nonetheless I followed the rules of the road. Some don't and its annoying. This morning I swerved to avoid a cyclist who jumped the lights. I was coming out of a junction, there was no need to look to my left as the traffic was stationary on a red light which the cyclist went through long after the signal was red.
A rail strike saved me from serious injury on that roundabout. A lorry had lost a stack of leaflets. I didn't see because there were so many stationary cars and as I hit it my bike went. Luckily nothing was moving. That was in the 80's and I dreaded cycling there even then. Its all too easy not to be seen by large vehicles. I haven't cycled for some years and had some close calls but nonetheless I followed the rules of the road. Some don't and its annoying. This morning I swerved to avoid a cyclist who jumped the lights. I was coming out of a junction, there was no need to look to my left as the traffic was stationary on a red light which the cyclist went through long after the signal was red. InMHO
  • Score: 0

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