Ying Tao was killed under a left-turning HGV at Bank junction in central London. She had proceeded into a painted cycle area alongside the lorry as the lights were red. When the lights turned green, both Tao and the lorry driver, Lee Williams, moved off, with Tao slightly ahead. However, whilst Tao was heading straight ahead towards Lombard Street, the driver was turning left into Cornhill.
An inquest heard in July 2016 that the tipper truck’s warning system was broken: the speaker had failed and only one of its two side sensors was operational. Williams refused to answer questions about the warning system and was reported as having “made no attempt to express any regret for her death” in court.
Williams had indicated on approach to the junction but his indicator was off for the 74 seconds that he was stationary at the lights. He only reactivated them a little over a second before moving off, by which time Tao was already alongside, having arrived 10 seconds before moving off.
These timings imply that the lorry had been stationary with its indicators inactive for a little under a minute before Tao reached it. In this time, a cyclist travelling at 12mph would cover around 300m, making it seem highly unlikely that Tao would ever have seen an indicator signal.
The inquest heard that Tao would have been visible in two mirrors on her approach to the junction, and in a third while she was alongside the lorry.
Police collision investigator Pc Tim Harryman told the court that Williams’ failure to spot Tao was not “a careless act”, and accused Tao of being “in the wrong gear” and of being “too slow to move off” when the lights changed.
City of London Police said in a statement that “The police’s role is…not to apportion blame.”
Lawyers representing Tao’s widower have requested that City of London Police reopen their investigation.
Traffic is to be banned from Bank junction during weekdays, with the exception of buses and pedal cycles, from April 2017.