Death at the flyover – five weeks on
It’s been over five weeks since cyclist Adrianna Skrzypiec died in a collision with a lorry underneath the Woolwich Road flyover in Greenwich. The ghost bike memorial, placed there by members of Greenwich Cyclists, remains.
The yellow police board went long ago, and by Tuesday morning nobody had yet been arrested in connection with Adrianna’s death. However, Scotland Yard says the investigation is progressing, and is still very much active.
I revisted the scene on Monday because I’d noticed something else had appeared since the last time I’d looked closely at the scene – a clutch of brand new warning signs for drivers; a couple hastily attached to lamp-posts, another on a long-disused sign pole. It looks like these appeared as a response to the tragedy; one of those sops that bureaucrats come up with to make it look like they’re doing something, anything to look like they’ve taken notice of this appalling event.
The ghost bike is a more striking reminder of drivers’ responsibilities to watch where they’re going – but what will happen when the bike is gone? I’ve a feeling these hastily put-up signs may not be enough – maybe something slightly more distinctive and unique to the junction would grab drivers’ attention; for these partly look as if they’ve been switched around the wrong way by pranksters. Even just a yellow background with some lettering below, something to make them stand out a little amid what’s already a forest of signs. I’m not sure whether this is Greenwich Council or Transport for London’s job – but I hope they’re working on it.
Especially when you don’t know, or have never met someone, it feels awful to hope that “some good” can some from someone’s untimely passing. But the Woolwich Road flyover has never been a good one for cyclists. It’s not even a pleasant one for pedestrians, either. When I was taking those photos at the start of Monday’s evening rush hour, I was struck by the number of cyclists using the footpaths rather than risking the road.
It’s an awkwardly-shaped junction – not originally intended to be a roundabout either (until about 1980 it was a complicated, traffic light-controlled affair) so it’s packed into a small space, a legacy of a time when the car was king, when the A102 was part of a grand plan to build motorways across London. There’s little room for big changes.
Adrianna Skrzypiec’s death touched many in and around Greenwich who never knew her, but were horrified by what happened. But if something can be done to make cyclists’ lives easier here, to give them a bit of space or to make drivers more aware of them; it would at least reduce the chances of this tragedy being repeated. Hopefully, the agencies in charge of this flyover are up to the challenge.
Anyone with any information on the incident is asked to contact Catford Traffic Garage on 020 8285 1574.