News / 27 January, 2015

Vigil and ‘die in’ held to mark the death of cyclist Stephanie Turner

Hundreds turn up to vigil organised by Stop Killing Cyclists after 29-year-old was killed in Stamford Hill last week

Demonstrators lie in the road for two minutes at vigil for cyclist Stephanie Turner. Photograph: Ella Jessel

Moving: Cyclists lie in the road at vigil for Stephanie Turner. Photograph: Ella Jessel

The family of a cyclist killed in a lorry crash in Stamford Hill have paid tribute to her “infectious spirit”, as hundreds of cyclists marked her death with a ‘die in’ demonstration in Stamford Hill.

Stephanie Turner was crushed by an HGV truck as she turned left on a notoriously dangerous junction where Seven Sisters Road meets Amhurst Park. She died from her injuries.

The 29-year-old physiotherapist, who had recently become engaged, lived two miles away in Tottenham Hale and was cycling to work when she was struck.


29-year-old Stephanie Turner. Photograph: Met Police

Paying tribute to Stephanie, her “devastated” family released a statement describing her as the “life and soul of every party” who “lit up every room she entered”.

“She ran marathons and climbed mountains. She was the life and soul of every party and lit up every room she entered. She was hugely admired by so many people for so many different reasons.

“To Steph, cycling was much more than a means of commuting. It brought her real excitement and satisfaction and allowed her to feel truly connected to London, the city she had come to love and live for. ”

“Stephanie was mercurial. She was one in a million. She was, as a close friend said, a pea from her very own pod. A huge hole has been left in our lives.”

Cyclists gather at the crash spot on Amhurst Park

Cyclists gather at the crash spot on Amhurst Park

Campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists held a ‘die in’ at the crash spot, a form of direct action protest which originated in Holland in the 1970s where demonstrators lie on the ground with their bikes and play dead.

Police cordoned off the road as the cyclists wheeled their bikes onto the street and lay on the tarmac for two minutes of silence.


Playing dead: Cyclists lie in the road.

Sophie Gale, 24, from Walthamstow who was at her first ‘die-in’ said she found participating in the protest “very moving”.

Ms Gale said she had recently moved from Bristol where the difference in drivers’ attitudes towards cyclists was “striking”.

“The biggest things I’ve noticed are impatience, pushiness, and drivers taking a lot more risks. I’ve had really unfair confrontations. There needs to be a change in culture amongst drivers.”

Nicholas Fripp, 58, of Waltham Forest, who led a feeder ride to Hackney from Walthamstow said: “Anything that raises awareness is good. The deaths can’t go on.”


Nicholas Fripp, Sophie Gale and Joe Hemming at the demonstration

Addressing the large crowd, the Stop Killing Cyclists campaigners called on the Mayor Boris Johnson, TfL and the government to “do something” about the number of cycling deaths in the UK.

One organiser said: “We’re here tonight to hold a vigil to mark the death of a fellow cyclist Stephanie Turner at this place last week. Another one of us trapped in London by a lorry, another family that has to endure this tremendous loss of traffic violence.

“Crashes are still seen as unfortunate accidents rather than preventable collisions. We don’t have to let large trucks with blind spots on our roads, they are banned in other European cities. We can have segregated bike lanes that would have kept Stephanie safe.”

Co-founder of Hackney People on Bikes (HPOB) Natalie Gould said: “As a daily commuting cyclist, I wanted to pay my respects to the person who was tragically killed whilst simply going about their daily routine.

“Hackney People on Bikes believe that our main roads and junctions need to be made safer for all road users, and want to see a segregated network of cycle routes, which everyone in the borough feels safe using.”

Stephanie Turner was the thirteenth cyclist to die in the UK since the beginning of the year, and the first in London.

The 47-year-old driver of the lorry, who stopped at the scene, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He was bailed until April.

/ 27 January, 2015
  • Mark

    My deepest sympathy goes out to all the family and friends of Stephanie, another needless loss of life on our roads,
    I know a lot is being said about HGV vehicle being driven in London, most of the collisions involving bikes, and lorries, seem to happen when the lorry is turning, now this is a major problem, and has been for many years now, what I can’t understand for the life of me is, why don’t cyclist hang back at junctions, when a lorry is there waiting to turn, it’s common knowledge lorries have blind spots, but cyclists more often than not, seem to put themselves in that blind spot. It’s goes without saying, a cyclist can see the whole of a HGV truck, however the same can’t be said for the HGV driver easily seeing the cyclist, cyclist, don’t put yourself beside HGV vehicles especially when stationary, like at light or junctions,

  • Dave H

    Reading the account from a passenger in the vehicle following indicates that Stephanie was riding alongside the 32T recycling skip lorry, both travelling at low speed when the driver turned left. It is not clear from the reports whether she was also turning left, or travelling straight ahead. As in the majority of left hook crashes this does not involve the wrong assumption that the cyclist blindly rides up the inside of the truck – more likely the truck driver partially overtakes the cyclist, slows down and turns, failing to allow for the fact that the cyclist keeps moving when the truck slows down, or even assuming that the threat of their truck on a collision course can be used to force through priority against other road users who actually have the priority to travel straight ahead – if this is intentional it is effectively dangerous driving, forcing other road users to urgently alter course or speed to avoid a collision.

    This left turn requires the driver of a large vehicle to rapidly apply full steering lock to make a 300-330 degree turn – almost turning back to the direction they were travelling in. The focus would generally be to just miss the traffic island, with the cycle lane cut through it for cyclists travelling straight on along Seven Sisters Road. with the road at this junction widened out to allow the rear wheels to cut over as the front wheels just miss the traffic island. A really diligent driver will be checking the offside (traffic island) the road in front, and the rapidly changing views from the nearside mirrors as the rear wheels cut across the corner.

    There is a massive hazard delivered when drivers of large vehicles turn left at junctions with geometry like this, given that it takes around 6 seconds to scan round all the mirrors to check what is at risk of being hit by the turning truck. A cyclist in a critical position might only be visible in the nearside mirror for 1-2 seconds, and self preservation can often depend on making sure you have been seen in that brief window, or taking avoiding action as soon as it becomes apparent that the driver is making a turn and has not seen you.

    One solution is to ban left turns for large vehicles (especially if relatively few make left turns here) and make large vehicles do a U turn via the central reservation and come back to make a (safer) right turn, or a left turn earlier or later wher the junction geometry is safer. Note here that the 279 bus makes a U turn across the 6-lane dual carriageway for every trip when the bus terminates just short of Manor House – personally I’m astounded at this taking place on such a busy road, so frequently, although the bus is not carrying passengers when it does this.

    To date TfL has only banned left turns for large vehicles at ONE junction where a cyclist was killed and poor junction geometry was a key causal factor. Another junction has seen 2 near identical fatal crashes in 5 years, with the solution of banning left turns (and making 3 right turns instead) easy to apply immediately. How many more such crashes will it take to get a review of junctions like this London-wide and action taken to either highlight the risk or provide a safer alternative with a ban on left turns at the high risk junction(s).


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