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Friend of Camden Road bike death victim makes plea to Boris Johnson

14:02 13 April 2011

Paula Jurek

Paula Jurek

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A FRIEND of a student from London Met who was crushed to death by a lorry has written to Boris Johnson to urge him to take action to prevent more tragedies involving cyclists in London.

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Paul Dean made the impassioned plea in an emotive letter to the Mayor of London after his former classmate Paula Jurek died at the junction of Camden Road and St Pancras Way on Tuesday.

Paula, a 20-year-old from Poland who was a tourism student at London Metropolitan University in Holloway, died when her bike collided with an articulated lorry.

In the heartfelt letter, Mr Dean said: “I wish it were happier circumstances that had me writing to the Mayor of my city, but unfortunately a tragedy brings me to compose this letter while still too shocked and restless to sleep. My friend Paula, a bright and enormously kind girl, was struck so severely that she had no chance of recovery and died at the scene.

During my time at London Metropolitan University, it is my understanding that Paula was not the only student there killed cycling on our roads and this kind of accident typically happens once a month in London. Until this is addressed, there can only be further tragedies, particularly as more students, keen to save money on travel, take to two wheels.”

In 2008, 19-year-old Marie Vesco, a politics student at London Met, died after she was involved in a collision as she cycled to Brighton for a protest.

Mr Dean wants the London Mayor to do everything he can to make the streets of the capital safe.

“As an avid and regular cyclist in London, I know you (Boris Johnson) will be as aware as anybody of the realities of cycling in our capital including how Holloway Road itself is busy and sometimes dangerous for cyclists,” he wrote.

“I have always appreciated your attempts to promote cycling in London.

“However more could be done to promote the rights and the protection of cyclists in our capital.

“At the end of last year, you declared that 24 miles of cycle lanes had been constructed and improved, and some 200 junctions made safer. But this is but a tiny fraction of the length of London’s streets.”

Mr Dean 31, also paid tribute to his friend, who he met when they both began a French evening class at London Met in December.

He said: “She was an extremely kind and friendly person. What struck me the most was she had a lot of time for others and listened to people without ever being quick to get angry or be judgemental. We became good friends because of this – we need more people like Paula in this world.

“Paula only got this bike recently. The real shocking thing was she was so excited about having this bike and then to be involved in an accident so suddenly. She was far from naïve and understood how busy London could be.”

A spokeswoman for London Metropolitan University said: “We were very sorry to hear that our student Paula Jurek sadly died in a cycling accident last week. She was a great student and will be missed. Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this difficult time.”

Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor’s transport advisor, said: “I was extremely saddened to hear about Paula’s tragic accident and my thoughts are with her family and friends at this time. The police are currently investigating the circumstances around Paula’s accident and we will work closely with them to help in any way we can. I have asked Transport for London (TfL) to look in detail at the concerns which have been raised in this particular case to see if there are any improvements which could be made.”

A post examination was due to be opened and adjourned at St Pancras Coroners Court on Tuesday. (April 12).

The road death investigation unit at Alperton Traffic Garage asked anyone with information on the incident to contact them on 020 8998 9319.

* A 65-year-old man, who was driving the lorry, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous or careless driving and bailed until June pending further enquiries *

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