Battersea cyclist killed squeezing down side of lorry

A cyclist who died in Battersea this year was hit by a lorry after trying to squeeze down the side of it, an inquest has found.

Paul Hendrich, 36, was cycling near the curb in Battersea Park Road on January 16 when his handlebar clipped the vehicle.

PC Peter Traylor, investigating, told the court the impact knocked Mr Hendrich into the adjacent railings and then back into the lorry.

Deputy Coroner Dr Robert Prescott said: “We are looking at a very good cyclist and a very experienced driver. Both were experienced road users.

“But in this environment we had a poor road surface. There wasn’t really a suitable space between the lorry and the curb to make a safe manoeuvre.”

The accident happened at the junction with Prince of Wales Drive where the lorry driver stopped and became distracted by a silver car turning around in front.

Shane Isaacs, who has been a driver for ten years, told how he did not see the cyclist when he checked his side mirrors and started to move off.

He did not check his close proximity mirrors because he was very near the curb and assumed no-one was there.

He said: “I heard a metallic noise which I assumed was a problem with my load at the back.

“I thought I’d get past the junction and then stop.”

Witness Cary Cole was on her way to work at Battersea Dogs Home at around midday when she saw the cyclist collide with the lorry.

She said: “He went to the left and I believe that he would have hit the railings and that’s how he bounced back to hit the lorry.”

Ambulance officers tried to save him but he was pronounced dead at 12.20pm having sustained multiple injuries including rib and pelvic factures and haemorrhages.

Mr Hendrich, of Eversleigh Road, was studying for a doctorate in anthropology at Goldsmith’s College in New Cross and left behind his wife Sasha Smith, 35, and 19-month-old daughter, Agatha Rose.

Friends said he rode his bike everywhere, loved music and was passionate about youth work and fighting racism.

Since the accident Mr Isaacs gave up driving at Rapid Link Transport and is retraining as a heating engineer.

Dr Prescott recorded a verdict of death resulting from a road traffic accident at Westminster Coroner’s Court on Friday.

He said: “I am sorry I had to put everyone through this inquiry. I hope it will bring about closure. I offer my condolences to his friends and family.”

Comments (3)

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11:50pm Mon 10 Nov 08

Fred1 says...

Cyclists - and motorcyclists for that matter - honestly, you really *shouldn't* be trying to squeeze past a lorry that's waiting at traffic lights, unless it's clear that the lorry is at least three or four vehicles back from the front of the queue, *and* there's plenty of space at the side for you to be able to pass (preferably another whole lane).

If the lorry isn't that far back from the front of the queue, then you have absolutely no way of knowing when the lights are going to go green and the lorry is going to start moving. Do *not* be deluded into thinking that "Advanced Stop Lines" actually make junctions safer; they don't. You're safe enough once you've made it to the advance stop line, but the hazards lie in passing queueing traffic to try to get to the advance stop line in the first place.

The only truly safe way to handle junctions is to be patient, and to wait in line with the rest of the queueing traffic. If you try to jump to the very front of the queue, then you *will* get squashed.

It's true that cyclists have got every bit as much right to use the road as other road users. But your rights count for diddly squat if you put yourself in a position where you can't be seen. Most people learn from their mistakes, but there are some types of mistake which you can't learn from. And this is one of them.

Cyclists - and motorcyclists for that matter - honestly, you really *shouldn't* be trying to squeeze past a lorry that's waiting at traffic lights, unless it's clear that the lorry is at least three or four vehicles back from the front of the queue, *and* there's plenty of space at the side for you to be able to pass (preferably another whole lane). If the lorry isn't that far back from the front of the queue, then you have absolutely no way of knowing when the lights are going to go green and the lorry is going to start moving. Do *not* be deluded into thinking that "Advanced Stop Lines" actually make junctions safer; they don't. You're safe enough once you've made it to the advance stop line, but the hazards lie in passing queueing traffic to try to get to the advance stop line in the first place. The only truly safe way to handle junctions is to be patient, and to wait in line with the rest of the queueing traffic. If you try to jump to the very front of the queue, then you *will* get squashed. It's true that cyclists have got every bit as much right to use the road as other road users. But your rights count for diddly squat if you put yourself in a position where you can't be seen. Most people learn from their mistakes, but there are some types of mistake which you can't learn from. And this is one of them. Fred1

10:29am Tue 11 Nov 08

ric says...

where the accident happened you can see the lights and when they change. do you know the junction fred? im intrested to know why you say there is absolutely no way you can see them. when they are perfectly visable.

this isnt about that though. it was a rider error which lead to the guy hitting the railings.

its a tragic mistake to make.

its no different from a driver error in a car that can lead to death.

the whole point of riding bikes in the city is so you dont have to sit in traffic like every other lemming. it *can* be done safely which is why its perefectly *legal*
where the accident happened you can see the lights and when they change. do you know the junction fred? im intrested to know why you say there is absolutely no way you can see them. when they are perfectly visable. this isnt about that though. it was a rider error which lead to the guy hitting the railings. its a tragic mistake to make. its no different from a driver error in a car that can lead to death. the whole point of riding bikes in the city is so you dont have to sit in traffic like every other lemming. it *can* be done safely which is why its perefectly *legal* ric

2:34pm Tue 11 Nov 08

Angela M says...

I think that - whether on your bike or in a car - if you see a giant lorry then stay well clear of it.

Lorry drivers are extremely skilled, but they can only do so much. Such huge vehicles have unavoidable blind spots, and I have seen a few impatient motorists have there cars clipped because they don't leave enough room for the nearby lorry.
I think that - whether on your bike or in a car - if you see a giant lorry then stay well clear of it. Lorry drivers are extremely skilled, but they can only do so much. Such huge vehicles have unavoidable blind spots, and I have seen a few impatient motorists have there cars clipped because they don't leave enough room for the nearby lorry. Angela M
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