A cycling accident in central London has led to the death of a young University College London (UCL) researcher. Doctor Katherine Giles worked for UCL’s Centre for Polar Observation and Monitoring was cycling to work at the university on the 8th April when she was crushed under a tipper truck in Victoria, London. She was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. The HGV driver who collided with her was stopped at the scene but was not arrested.
Her death is the second cycling accident fatality to occur this year and follows recent promotion of a ‘Safer Urban Lorry’ by the London Cycling Campaign. The lorry is aimed at construction vehicles such as the tipper truck which led to Katherine’s death, and is equipped with large windows and a camera to promote better observation and eliminate the truck’s blind spot and also has a smaller gap beneath the lorry to prevent cyclists from being pulled under its wheels should a collision occur. The accident involving Katherine occurred at the junction between Victoria Street and Palace Street. Junctions are a notorious danger for cyclists with a large proportion of accidents occurring due to lack of observation by cyclist’s fellow road users at junctions.
Katherine is to be sorely missed by her family and her colleagues both who released statements following the accident mentioning her academic talent and her high prospects. Her family have been grateful for the support and condolences they have received following Katherine’s death. They spoke of Katherine’s talent of a scientist as did individuals who had the pleasure to work alongside the young researcher. She was at the forefront of groundbreaking global warming research, looking at sea ice thickness and the effect of winds on the increasingly exposed Arctic Ocean.
Katherine graduated with a first class honours in Earth and Space Sciences and also studied for her PhD at UCL. She was thought to be the individual tipped to become the predecessor to Seymour Laxon – who also tragically passed away recently following a fall; Laxon was the head of the same research group at UCL. She had taken on a lot more responsibility in the group since his passing on New Year’s Day and the university has expressed its high hopes for her and her career’s “bright future” and their admiration for her in the commitments she took on in the passing of her mentor. They are devastated by both of the losses.