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Cyclist who lost leg in collision calls for action after another horror crash

A woman is fighting for her life after Wednesday's crash - a stone's throw away from where Victoria Lebrec was injured four years ago

21 September, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Victoria Lebrec speaking at a cyclists ‘die-in’ last year

A CYCLIST who lost her leg in a collision four years ago has called for more segregated lanes after a woman was left fighting for her life following another horror crash this week.

Victoria Lebrec was lucky to survive after she was crushed by a left-turning lorry at the junction of St John Street and Clerkenwell Road, a stone’s throw from the spot where a female cyclist was injured on Wednesday.

The unnamed cyclist remained in a “critical” condition yesterday (Thursday).

Witnesses described seeing paramedics treat her for almost an hour before taking her to an east London hospital.

Ms Lebrec, 27, said working with Islington Council to improve cycle safety had proved “slow”.

She told the Tribune: “It’s frustrating because these collisions keep happening. The main thing they need to do is build segregated cycle lanes because, at the moment, a lot of cycling is stop and start, with people in cars parking or stopping in the road.

“Junctions cause a particular problem and they need to be made safer.”

Back in 2015, Ms Lebrec, who now helps crash victims through the charity Road Peace, met senior figures from Islington Council, Transport for London (TfL) and the London Mayor’s office to work on improvements to roads from Old Street to Clerkenwell.

She said: “They were going to make it safer, but nothing has happened. There’s been so much back and forth with all sides blaming each other over what’s happening.”

But she is “pleased” the Town Hall worked with TfL on the extension of Cycle Superhighway 6, launched yesterday (Thursday).

The new segregated cycle lane connecting Farringdon to King’s Cross was delivered in partnership with Islington and Camden councils.

Police and ambulance crews were called to a stretch of St John Street at the junction of Clerkenwell Road following reports of Wednesday’s collision.

“She looked pretty bad,” said a restaurant worker, who witnessed paramedics attempting to “resuscitate” the cyclist. “They took a long time to stabilise her before taking her away.”

Simon Munk, from London Cycling Campaign, said the lack of segregated cycle lanes in St John Street, coupled with the “knackered” road surface, made it a “horrible” route for cyclists.

The road has only an advisory cycle lane, with cars able to park on one side of the road.

Mr Munk said: “The facilities there for cyclists are non-existent. The overall pattern in Islington is that there hasn’t been much movement on cycling schemes.

“I would like to see Islington Council undertake more consultations to build more cycle lanes, not just talk about consultations.”

There has been a series of collisions involving cyclists in recent months. Last month, Sarah Doone, was struck by a cement truck at Old Street roundabout.

The scene in Old Street this summer

Soren Aarlev died after a collision in nearby Goswell Road in July.

Islington environment chief Councillor Claudia Webbe said she was “deeply concerned” about the collision in her Bunhill ward.

“It is important that adequate space is created to reduce critical incidents and deaths to zero,” she said. “We are working on a joined-up cycle safety route along Old Street to Clerkenwell Road.

“It is my belief that a substantial reduction in through traffic along this route is necessary. This would necessitate significant changes in neighbouring streets, including in St John Street between Smithfield and Clerkenwell Road, where this latest incident occurred.

“This very important project is in development. I will be urging for this work to be sped up.”

She had raised the latest accident with Mr Khan and his transport deputy Heidi Alexander, adding: “They have committed to work closely with Islington.”

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