TWO CYCLISTS and a pedestrian were killed in three accidents within a few hours, prompting renewed calls to improve safety on the roads.
Karla Roman, a 32-year-old architect who had moved to Britain from Brazil, was knocked down by a coach as she made her way to work along a cycle highway in east London at 9am on February 6.
She was taken to the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel but died from her injuries.
Hours earlier another cyclist, Anita Szucs, 30, who was recently married and had saved up for a honeymoon in Japan, died when her bike was “sliced in two” by a car in Enfield, north London, as she returned from work at 1.45am. The driver fled the scene.
About 15 minutes after Ms Roman’s accident and in the same part of east London, an 80-year-old man died from head injuries when he was hit by a tipper lorry on Commercial Road.
Members of the campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists planned to gather for a “die-in” protest in memory of the two women outside the Treasury on Horseguards Parade on February 11. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has pledged to spend £770 million on cycling projects during his four-year term, but he is being urged to do more. His spokesman said: “He is determined to make walking and cycling safer and easier for all Londoners.”
Britain is making much slower progress than its continental neighbours in reducing the death toll, according to the European Transport Safety Council. Ashok Sinha, chief executive of London Cycling Campaign, said: “Too many people die in collisions with motor vehicles when cycling or walking on London’s streets. Urgently accelerating programmes to make cycling and walking safer are the only solution.”
Ms Roman, who spoke four languages, moved to London about five years ago and lived with her boyfriend. Last year she was joined by her sister, Rochele. She worked as an architectural assistant in London with a number of firms and had been with LOM architecture and design for the past two years.
Speaking from the family home in Bento Goncalves in southeastern Brazil, Ms Roman’s cousin, Sabrina, told the Evening Standard: “We have no words. We are so sad that we won’t see her beautiful smile again. We want her to be near us, we want her home.”
She added: “We are concerned about Rochele and want her back here too — they were so close. We know that she had made many friends in London.”
The driver of the coach stopped at the scene of the crash and has not been arrested, police said.
Ms Szucs was killed as she was cycling home from a late shift at a warehouse in Edmonton. She moved to London from Hungary several years ago and married Tamas Mezo, a porter at an exclusive hotel in Knightsbridge, in March last year.
Two men, aged 19 and 22, have been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident. They were bailed until next month.
This article first appeared in The Times