Call to speed up cycle safety after professor’s death becomes ninth in the capital this year

Isobel Frodsham
Genetics pioneer: Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz died after an accident in a notorious area: PA

Campaigners today called for greater urgency to make London’s roads safer after a leading doctor became the ninth cyclist to be killed in the capital this year.

Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz, 55, a genetics expert at Great Ormond Street hospital and the UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH), died in hospital last Thursday, a day after being hit while cycling in St John Street, Clerkenwell.

London Cycling Campaign today called for councils to “act faster” to speed up infrastructure improvements to make roads safer.

The area between Old Street, Clerkenwell Road and St John Street is notorious for danger to cyclists and pedestrians but there has been little progress on creating a “Clerkenwell boulevard” safe corridor to and from the West End.

The crash, involving a black cab and another stationary vehicle, happened less than half a mile from where cyclist Soren Aarlev, 38, died in a collision with a car in July. Simon Munk, infrastructure campaigner at LCC, said: “We are seeing forward movement from the Mayor and Transport for London on cycle infrastructure, but it’s too slow and we need much more of it.”

Professor Bitner-Glindzicz pioneered research in treating the genetic causes of deafness in children and adults.

Professor Rosalind Smyth, director of the ICH, said: “Professor Bitner was an outstanding clinical geneticist who dedicated her career to helping others and was carrying out important research. Her death is an enormous loss.” Great Ormond Street hospital said: “Maria was a true leader in her field, internationally recognised and a very valued colleague.”

Ben Plowden, TfL’s Director of Strategy and Network Development said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz who sadly died after a collision while cycling in Clerkenwell last week. We’re committed to a Vision Zero approach to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London roads and are working with the local boroughs in the area on proposals to reduce danger, including the opening of the extension to Cycle Superhighway 6 and starting work later this year on Old Street roundabout.”