Esther Hartsilver, 32, was killed in a crash, involving a Co-Op lorry, whilst cycling in Camberwell*, London on the morning of Thursday, 28 May 2015.
There was a Vigil, Protest and Die-In on: MONDAY 8 June 2015 at 6pm.
She was the 41st person killed whilst cycling in the UK in 2015 - and 1 of 3 females killed that same day.
She was the 6th person killed in London whilst cycling - all in crashes involving an HGV. All but one of the victims were women.
Our deepest condolences go to Esther’s family and friends.
*The crash occurred at Denmark Hill at Orpheus Street, Southwark, London just before 8am.
Media Coverage - After the Vigil
London Evening Standard:
Media Coverage - Before the Vigil
London Evening Standard:
South London Press:
RAI TV (Italian)
Video Reports and Interviews
YouTube: DrMorocho - Vigil & Die in for Esther Hartsilver #StopKillingCyclists
- Cynthia Barlow, RoadPeace Chair
- Nicola Branch, Stop Killing Cyclists
- Ted Brown, StopKilling Cyclists
- Tom Kearney, Safer Oxford Street campaigner
- Donnachadh McCarthy, Stop Killing Cyclists
Cynthia Barlow, RoadPeace Chair…
‘I would like to offer my sincere condolences to all of Esther’s family, and in particular, her mother.
This event is particularly resonant for me, because yesterday was the anniversary of my daughter’s death when she was killed by a lorry on the 7th of June 2000.
My daughter was 26, she had a good job in the City, a boyfriend and many friends; she clearly had a life and a future. Then all that was taken away from her, and from me, by a collision with a concrete mixer lorry.
In Esther’s case, she too had a life, a worthwhile job, a promising career, and a future, and it is heartbreaking to know that we have lost another precious life in similar circumstances. Her photographs in the Evening Standard showed a beautiful, positive, generous, smiling person, the kind of person our society needs.
I have done a lot of work with the freight industry over the past few years on the changes that need to happen to make their use of the road safer for all other road users. A lot has been achieved, but today underlines the fact that there is still much to do.
Over the past few years I have met so many other similar cases, and all of us at RoadPeace have done our best for the bereaved families. We know that what is most important for the family is to know the truth about what happened, and to try and make sense of the senseless. Then families need to know that a thorough investigation has taken place and that justice has been done.
We must ensure that all this happens; a loss in these circumstances is enough to deal with, families should not then have to fight the system as well to get what they need. These are preventable crashes and we should aim for a target of zero deaths on the roads.
So we will continue to campaign on behalf of all families bereaved by a road crash, and particularly Esther’s family today.’
This Vigil and Die-in, organised by Stop Killing Cyclists, is in tribute to Esther Hartsilver, aged 32. A physiotherapist, Esther was riding her bike on her way to her work at Kings Hospital along Denmark Hill when she was killed by a lorry at the corner of Orpheus Street.
Esther is the sixth cyclist killed by lorries in London in the six months since the start of this year, other victims being Stephanie Turner on 20th January, Akis Kolaris on 2nd February, Frederica Baldassa on 6th February, Clair Hitier-Abadie on 19th February and Moira Gemmill on 9th April.
Stop Killing Cyclists, a totally volunteer run grass-roots group, was launched back in November 2013, when six cyclists were killed in London, within one month. Stop Killing Cyclists has held a Vigil and Die-in for each of these people, both in tribute to them and as a protest against these needless killings, which are due to the authorities refusing to apply principles which would make the roads safer.
For example, demands have been made to the Department of Transport, Transport for London and every one of the 33 London Borough that Heavy Goods Vehicles be compelled to carry adequate mirrors, be fitted with wide view windows and sensors so their drivers are made aware of pedestrians and cyclists nearby.
Also that the movement of HGVs be restricted during rush hours of heavy traffic, especially times when children are travelling between home and school. To date, none of the authorities have made any of these safety measures compulsory. They also overlook the need to improve road layouts and infrastructure. There is no protection provided for cyclist where Esther was killed as she was riding straight along Denmark Hill when she was struck by a left-turning lorry. Had she or any other cyclists needed to turn right into Coldharbour Lane towards Brixton, they cannot do so directly, but are forced to take a left turn and then two right turns along a one-way route, with lorries, buses and cars hurtling past them along narrow roads.
Southwark staunchly under-values cyclists lives, and is resolute in refusing to install adequate safety precautions in the borough. Adjoining borough Lambeth is little better. Two years ago, during the renovation of the Clapham Old Town district, Lambeth categorically promised “to become the most cycling friendly borough in London, out doing both Hackney and Camden” Lambeth’s work in the Old Town contradicts that claim. They widened most of the pavements - to provide parking spaces for cars. For cyclists they installed two short cycle paths.
One (on a pavement in the road actually named The Pavement) starts and ends abruptly, and is about the length of 12 to 15 cars. The other, equally short, is on the road named Old Town.That path is on the tarmac, a contraflow in the opposite direction to the flow of busy traffic on this one-way route.
The rare cyclists who ride on it are sometimes honked and shouted at by motorists unaccustomed to cyclists forced to ride towards them. Such shoddy arrangements are, unfortunately, typical of London’s 33 boroughs.
And let’s remember that for each report of a cyclist being killed, there are three to four pedestrian deaths that never make the headlines. This is because, in the 100 years since the burgeoning of the motor vehicle, our culture has become accustomed, almost indifferent, to the death toll on our roads.
The current situation is not satisfactory. Stop Killing Cyclists is one of a growing group of people demanding we take our cue from the Dutch and make our roads as safe as possible so that young, old, male and female, can travel safely. We will not stop until those demands are met.
- Why? Words Spoken at #StopKillingCyclists Vigil & Die-In for Fallen Cyclist Esther Hartsilver 8 June 2015
Maybe that’s the last question that surged through their brains as their lives drained out…
and inevitable darkness descended.
I know it was with me.
Behind their strong defences piled high with their eternal spin and our mortal bodies…
Our Lords of Transport look down upon us with utter contempt.
I know they did with me.
“Road Safety is a Priorty” bleats the Latest Talking Head from TfL
“I do give a damn” squeals the Traffic Commissioner
“One Death is Too Many” chants the Local Councillor
“It’s a Traffic Accident. Very Sad and All, but let’s get the Traffic Moving Again” chortles our Mayor, the MP from Uxbridge
But our silent - angry - presence here today:
lays bare the untruths they are shamelessly telling us
casts a bright light on all the road safety lies Our Lords of Transport are relentlessly selling us
dignifies the life of another human being that they have wittingly sacrificed to their Greedy and Indifferent Power…
that we endow them with.
- Click to see Lynda’s pictures on Demotix
- Click to see Luke’s pictures on PhotoShelter