London mayor Sadiq Khan is under intense pressure from colleagues of a paediatrician killed by a HGV while cycling to work to introduce immediate road safety improvements, the Standard can reveal.
have been sent to the Mayor from the chairman and chief executive of
Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Trust, and from paediatricians at Evelina
London children’s hospital, where Dr Marta Krawiec worked as a food
On Thursday, it emerged she had been cycling to
work at St Thomas’s hospital at the time. She had started commuting by
bike at the start of the pandemic to ensure she could continue to see
her patients and to “selflessly” keep space on the Tube and buses free
for other NHS workers.
The letters note that Dr Krawiec, 41, was the eighth cyclist to be killed near Holborn station since 2008 – and the fourth at the same junction.
They say the lack of action, despite the award of almost £9.5m for safety improvements two years ago, is “unacceptable”.
They contrast the situation with the
erection of safety barriers on Westminster bridge and London bridge
“overnight” after terrorist attacks. Had similar measures been
introduced at Holborn, Dr Krawiec “may still be alive”, they said.
Helen Brough, head of the paediatric allergy department at Evelina, and
Professor Adam Fox, president of the British Society for Allergy &
Clinical Immunology, “implored” Mr Khan to introduce temporary safety
barriers around Holborn gyratory.
Noting the Mayor’s frequent
tweets boasting about more cycle lanes elsewhere in London, they said:
“The time now is for action rather than words. You must ensure that she
is the last to die here.”
The doctors wrote: “Too many people have died on this road in utterly preventable circumstances.”
Flowers left at the Holborn intersection where Marta Krawiec was killed
/ Nigel Howard
‘Loved by her patients and colleagues’
Krawiec was described as an “extremely compassionate, knowledgeable and
positive doctor loved by her patients and colleagues” who had a passion
for clinical research that was directly improving the lives of hundreds
of children with allergies.
The letter said: “Her preventable
death leaves a huge hole in the allergy team, the Evelina children’s
hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and the wider
allergy community both in the UK and Europe. Her death will have an
incalculable impact on the patients that she looked after.”
separate letter from trust chairman Sir Hugh Taylor and chief executive
Ian Abbs said: “Marta was killed on her morning commute, just one of the
countless members of NHS staff across London who cycle to work on any
given day, including many who will pass through this very busy area.
are aware that there have been proposals in place for a number of years
to make improvements to this area, none of which have yet transpired.
We would ask that these plans are revisited and acted on as a matter of
“To avoid any further unnecessary deaths, we would also
ask that immediate interim steps are taken to protect cyclists by
putting in place temporary safety measures to separate cyclists from the
“While we cannot change what happened to Marta, the
tragic circumstances of her death should act as an impetus to make an
urgent and positive impact on the lives of other cyclists, and ensure
that she did not die in vain.”
Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib-Dem
assembly member, is due to demand a “precise timetable” for action and
details of specific interim changes when she questions Mr Khan at City
Hall on Thursday.
She is expected to say: “Will you accept that
there was a long period – of at least 18 months - from your pledge to
the start of the pandemic when nothing actually happened at this
In a statement to the Standard, Will Norman,
London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “My thoughts remain
with the family, friends and colleagues of Dr Marta Krawiec after her
tragic death last month. I know both the Mayor and TfL are utterly
committed to doing everything possible to achieving our Vision Zero goal
of eliminating death and serious injuries from London’s streets by
“Following on from previous safety measures introduced in
this area, we had been working with TfL and Camden council on plans to
further improve safety– including new walking and cycling facilities to
reduce road danger and measures to reduce traffic dominance and
“Unfortunately, due to the pandemic’s severe impact on
TfL’s finances and the lack of a long-term funding agreement for TfL,
implementation of these plans has been delayed.
“We are now
urgently working to support Camden to deliver short-term measures to
reduce road danger in Holborn, as well as investigating longer term
proposals to improve cycling safety in the area.”