EXCLUSIVE: Boris Johnson has a narrow escape

By John Hill on May 22, 2009 3:00 PM |


Boris Johnson was involved in a near miss in Limehouse this morning when a truck nearly dragged a car into the path of his bike.

The London mayor was among a group cycling along Narrow Street when the vehicle's doors swung open, catching on a car and dragging it along the road.

The parked vehicle was pulled several yards before the lorry managed to stop. Desipite its proximity to the entrance of the busy Ropemakers Field and the group of bikers, no one was hurt in the morning crash.

The entire incident was captured on a private security camera monitoring the Dunbar Wharf development on Narrow Street at 11.10am. The footage clearly shows the cyclists rounding the bend near Booty's bar with the truck on the outside. Its back doors then fly open and hook onto a parked car, lurching it from its spot and pulling it across the road.

After the vehicle comes to a stop, Mr Johnson can be seen crossing the road to survey the wreckage, dressed in a suit and tie.

One local resident who saw the footage said: "This great big truck just grabbed the car, spun it around and dragged it along the road. I've never seen anything like it. It could have been a catastrophe, but absolutely no one got hurt."

The Mayor's office revealed Boris was cycling in the area during one of his regular scouting expeditions around London for a possible "Cycle Super Highway". It confirmed that he escaped injury in the incident.

Mayor Boris Johnson said: "I am relieved that no-one was hurt, but this incident reinforces the need for us to make London's roads safer for cyclists, which I am determined to do and to make London the best city for cyclists in Europe.

"Cycle Super Highways, which are part of our record investment in cycling, will play a central role in this, providing clearly demarcated routes for cyclists that lorry drivers and others will be aware of."





Nic Price said:

I was on my bicycle at the back of the group.

It really was a very close shave.

I've posted a couple of photos (http://www.flickr.com/photos/beatnic/3553171857/).

Anonymous said:

Looks a lot like the truck driver was travelling at a negligent speed - the doors clearly came unhooked as a result of his passing over the speedhump at a considerable pace.

Michael said:

Why does the bl**dy lorry has to go through Narrow Street anyway?

Dan said:

Thank God Boris was wearing trouser clips or there might have been a chemical spill to boot...

Angelo said:

News was taken by Italian newspaper
but no quote of your picture ownership, Nic Price.
Anyway, lucky escape.
Now I am sorry for the carĀ“s owner...

cgb said:


Just across the river at the roundabout on Trafalgar Road under the Blackwall Tunnel approach road a truck hit and killed a cyclist a few weeks back. The woman died at the scene, the truck drove off and was never found.

Steve Collins Tower Hamlets Wheelers said:

I saw the footage on BBC News, there wasn't enough room for the lorry to safely pass. its crazy that drivers are allowed to get away with this kind of recklessness on a daily basis. its bigger fines and longer Jail terms are needed, as well as cycle lanes.
Just curious why the Mayor was reviewing routes in Limehouse and didn't invite Tower Hamlets Wheelers the local campaign group along, we could have shown some of the major problems in that area.

Commercial vehicles are a problem everywhere. The drivers have very tight schedule, and pass many hours at the driving wheel, so that they might easily become reckless.

In my view the only way to prevent thi type of accidents is starting to install speed limiters GPS governed... In the city area they cut speed at 30 km/h (20 mph?, on the highways at 90/100 km/h.

WE have technology and a huge industry ready to deliver it... Why we don't exploit it for gaining a safety benefit?

Kali Moss said:

Don't think the truck was speeding but perhaps going a bit fast for the type of road. But most truck drivers are under pressure with timings anyway. The main issues was his doors becoming unsecure and that is very bad news.

The footage alone should be enough to prosecute the driver for DWDCA

Tom said:

Colorado just signed a law requiring all vehicles to give 3 ft of clearance in order to pass a cyclist.