You are here: Southwark \ CYCLIST'S DEATH AT ELEPHANT AND CASLE ROUNDABOUT AN ACCIDENT SAYS CORONER
20 November 2009
The death of a cyclist who collided with a lorry at the Elephant and Castle roundabout has been ruled an accident by Southwark Coroner's Court.
Meryem Ozekman, 37, was killed in April when she came together with a lorry turning left from London Road onto Newington Causeway.
Family and friends of the fitness instructor, who worked at a number of Fusion centres across the borough, packed the court in Tennis Street last Thursday.
Meryem's father Mehmet Kohman, and daughter Neslihan Ozekman, both gave statements to the court explaining Meryem was an experienced cyclist, and on the day was in good health and was in no rush to get anywhere.
Mr Kohman and his wife had flown in from Cyprus just days before the accident on April 8. He said: "We came back on April 5 and my wife spoke to her on the Sunday. We planned to see her, but the accident happened on April 8. We never saw her as it was such a short time in coming back from Cyprus. It is very distressing and I still feel the pain today."
Neslihan told the court her mother was a bubbly character who was very active, and knew the routes she was taking very well. When asked how healthy she thought her mother was she stated Meryem was in 'Tip Top' condition.
Mark Ellis, the driver of the lorry involved, also took to the stand and explained he had 24 years’ experience of driving HGVs. He confirmed his lorry has been fully checked in the week before the incident, and he had cleaned and checked his mirrors on the day itself.
The court heard the first Mr Ellis knew a cyclist was near his vehicle was when he spotted a flash of a high-resolution jacket in one of his six mirrors.
He immediately applied the brakes and stopped a few yards away, as he was travelling in heavy traffic at the time, and was going only a few miles an hour.
He added: "I stopped and I saw a bus driver with his hands over his mouth. Then I got out of the cab and went to the incident. I did not realise what was under my lorry. It was not until I made my way around the back that I saw what had happened."
Crucial evidence was given by the investigating officer, PC Victoria Benbow. She explained that marks made on the wheel arch of the lorry, and on the road itself, led her to believe the 37-year-old had lost control of the bike before she hit the lorry.
Barry Mason, Coordinator for Southwark Cyclists, said: "Southwark Cyclists ask yet again for these roads to be made much safer, for yet more awareness campaigns for all, and for all of us to ask why such huge motorway lorries are allowed into central London. The world is diminished by the loss of this bright and lovely woman, and our thoughts are very much with her family. The lorry driver has suffered too and our thoughts are also with him."
Assistant Deputy Coroner Andrew Harris described the incident as a 'tragedy' and indicated he was a cyclist himself. He recorded a verdict of accidental death.
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