The Independent London Newspaper

Father of cyclist Sam Harding, pleads for safer roads

Sam Harding (left) and Father Keith Harding
Friends and cyclists at Wednesday’s tribute

Published: 12 August 2011
by PETER GRUNER

A HEARTBROKEN father has called for improved safety on Islington roads after the death of the third cyclist this year.

Retired teacher Keith Harding said he did not blame anyone for the death of his son, Sam, 25, in a collision with a bus in Holloway Road on Saturday afternoon.
 
But he added that as a society we are encouraging more people to cycle while not providing sufficient safety.
 
“Something needs to be done for cycling,” he said. “It may be reducing the speed limit to 20mph or dedicated cycle lanes. But some of our roads are not designed for cyclists.” 
 
Mr Harding joined up to 100 friends and cyclists on Wednesday evening at the spot where Sam was killed opposite the junction with Jackson Road.
 
Flowers were laid and prayers said at a tribute organised by Islington Cycling Action Group.
 
Sam, who worked for Angel-based online tourist firm, Voyage Privé, died under a single-decker 153 bus at about 1pm outside McDonald’s.
He is thought to have been trying to avoid a parked car with an open door immediately before the accident happened.
 
A 31-year-old motorist was arrested at the scene and has been bailed to return to a police station in December.
 
The former Highgate Wood pupil lived with his father in Crouch End and was on his way to move in with his girlfriend, Rachael Bonfiglioli, in Blackheath when the accident happened. Rachael works for the BBC languages department.
 
Sam’s mother Jenny died from breast cancer 12 years ago when he was 14. He will be buried beside her at Highgate Cemetery.
 
Mr Harding, a Blue Badge London Tour Guide, said his son was an experienced cyclist. 
 
“I understand that the bus driver went to hospital with shock,” he said. “I don’t blame anyone for what happened. I’ve been a cyclist and I’ve been a driver. It is the sort of accident that can happen. 
“But I do feel there is an issue about safety for cyclists on the road.
 
“Sam was a wonderful son with a great sense of humour. We’re obviously going to miss him.”
 
Sam wrote online travel articles for Voyage Privé and did web design. John Bevan, the firm’s managing director, issued a statement on behalf of colleagues Tenielle, Kelly, Marion, David and Chris.
 
It read: “After only knowing Sam since April, it has certainly felt much longer. He was truly a fantastic and easy-going guy filled with random remarks which had us in stitches constantly.
 
“He worked hard and was proud of his work. It was a pleasure having him part of our lives. He will be sorely missed by us all.”
 
In the other two cycling fatalities this year Dr Colin Hawkes, 64, a leading child protection expert, died in Carleton Road, Holloway, in January, and painter and decorator Gavin Taylor, 40, was killed in Wolsey Road, Newington Green, in April. 
 
Holloway Road also claimed the life of cyclist Lisa Pontecorvo in 2008.
 
Chris Ashby, of Islington Cyclists Action Group, called for a 20mph speed limit to be extended from the borough’s smaller roads to all main roads. He added: “It’s desperately sad. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family.
 
“We don’t know who is to blame, but we always advise cyclists to stay well away from parked vehicles. Drivers just so often open their doors and it’s the most frequent cause of a collision.”
 
An inquest was opened and adjourned into Sam’s death on Monday. Detectives are appealing for witnesses to contact them on 020 8998 5319.
 
Sam’s funeral is being held at 1pm on Wednesday at the United Reform­ed Church, Pond Square, Highgate. Burial is at 2pm at Highgate Cemetery, in Swains Lane.
 
A celebration of Sam’s life will be held from 2.30pm onwards at The Pavilion, North Middlesex Cricket Club, in Park Road, Crouch End.
 
• Should car drivers be banned from opening their doors into the road? Let's hear from you.
 

Comments

Use the mirrors on the side of the car

to avoid opening the door into oncoming traffic. Check carefully for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists

How about just look in the

How about just look in the mirror before opening the door?

none

How right you are look in your mirror before you open the door makes more sense but im afraid people don't they just fling the door open without looking.

Car doors

Sorry, have I got this right.. do you want the driver to climb over the passenger seat to get out of the car if his door is not parked on the pavement side?..

cyclists

To the anonymous person posting about red lights and cyclists:

Your post has nothing to do with this article. You have no right to make generalisations about all cyclists, especially after an article about someone who has died because of a totally separate issue.

Have some respect for his friends and family an make your comments somewhere wlse in a more appropriate way.

Cyclists

Can we ask that cyclists stop at red lights to prevent accidents or death to pedestrians... stand at the junction of Caledonian Road / Copenhagen Street any time to witness. They have absolutely no thought for anyone.

Your Harsh Comment

I suggest that you read and understand the content of the post before unleashing your inconsiderate post which the Harding family will probably have by now read.

You have a point, but it's not for an article telling us about the death of a cyclist. Not the death of a pedestrian.

how many pedestrian deaths

how many pedestrian deaths can be attributed to cycles 'jumping' red lights.....
none!
stop being a t**t and accept that if the government want more of us on bikes then they should make it safer. it isnt about cyclists versus motorists, it's about people not being killed needlessly.
grow up!

There hasn't been one proven

There hasn't been one proven case of a cyclist jumping a red light causing a serious accident or death. Car drivers are encased in solid metal and cyclists are not which is a fundamental difference you seem to be missing. This difference means that a cyclist being thoughtless will not lead to someone's death but a motorist's thoughtlessness would. Also, most cyclists, including myself, stop at red lights so please do not generalise like that.

Of course it should be

Of course it should be illegal to open your door into a busy road. It should also be illegal to park in cycle lanes.

Just for your information,

Just for your information, the driver was parked in a legal parking space and was not parked in a cycle lane. I think it is important that people get the facts of a case right before they make comments.

I am very sorry for the family and friends who lost a loved one at such a young age.

It is very sad that someone has died in such an unfortunate way but should the bus driver in this incident not to be blamed at all? The person parking his car obviously does need to get out of the car.

This is an issue which the government needs to tackle with reform but I don't think the driver who opened his door is at fault, I think the bus driver is to be blamed.

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