MP calls for 20mph speed limit following island death

By Rob Virtue on November 23, 2010 2:19 PM |


Tributes have been paid to a popular teenage motorcyclist who died in an accident on Westferry Road on Saturday afternoon.

The death of 19-year-old Tom Spiteri, which happened in mid-afternoon after an incident involving a car, has led to calls for a 20 mph speed limit to be introduced on the Isle of Dogs.

Following the accident, the crash scene was covered in flowers, while by Tuesday hundreds of grieving friends and relatives had posted condolences on a Facebook page.

A spokeswoman for London Ambulance said an ambulance crew, cycle and motorcycle response and a doctor were sent to the scene off Napier Avenue just before 4.30pm on Saturday.

Tom, the motorcyclist, was pronounced dead at the scene while the driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was taken to Royal London hospital as a precaution. Police made no arrests.


An inquest was opened and adjourned at Poplar Coroners on Tuesday.

Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick wrote to Tower Hamlets Council following Tom's death calling for a 20mph limit on the island's roads.

He also called on Transport Minister Philip Hammond to put the limit on all urban roads.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: "I recognise the devastating effect that road deaths have on the families involved and on the winder community.

"It's a problem that can, and must, be tackled through individuals making a commitment to slowing down in the community."

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call the Road Death Investigation Unit at Chadwell Heath on 020 8597 4874.


Pete said:

God, I HATE the way that people knee-jerk SPEED as being the issue.

This accident happened 10 feet from a SPEED CAMERA - which, no doubt, acted as part of the issue as they are known as a distraction and DO NOT lower death-rates.

Mr Fitzpatrick should keep his thoughts to himself until a FULL investigation has been completed.

James said:

Speed is not an issue on Westferry Road due to the presence of speed cameras - it is an issue on Manchester Road, where the Police in their infinite wisdom have not installed speed control despite the presence of big wide roads fronting houses and schools. As a result it's one big raceway. I am genuinely surprised how anyone could die on Westferry since it's usually gridlock. Perhaps he was yet another of the irritating IoD teenage scooter riders who buzz around without a care as to traffic or pedestrians.

charlotte said:

how dare you say that about him when he has died.. you should be ashamed of yourself..tom was a better person url ever be!!

Anon said:

Firstly May God Bless you Tom will be sadly missed x My thoughts and sympathy go out to Tom’s family at this difficult time x

Pete I totally agree with what you are saying.

Also if you live on the IOD you know where the cameras are and guess what James this may come as a surprise to you but people slow down briefly pass them and accelerate away? It isn’t rocket science to map out all 4 speed cameras on the IOD!!

Actually James there is a time and a place to make comments of the kind you have. A young boy has died I hope his family do not read your comments as it could cause them unnecessary upset. Have a look at the facts and you will see how someone can be killed on Westferry Road.

Personally I find the mindless lost car drivers that are obviously looking for an address on Manchester Rd / Wferry Rd slaming on their brakes because they think they may have missed their turning and then driving 10 miles an hour whilst looking down side roads more of a problem than the youngsters speeding on their scooters. Which brings me to my next point.

20 MPH speed limit!!!! Is that a joke Mr Fitzpatrick???
Look at the statistics of accidents on the IOD compared to other areas. I think you will find they speak for their self. There are a very small minority that speed and maybe if there were more police patrol cars patrolling the IOD pulling up the culprits maybe after a few steep fines and points they might stop. A 20MPH speed limit will not affect these people it will affect the law abiding drivers.

James said:

What comments? I simply posed a question.

I've not encountered the drivers you refer to, but I have encountered plenty of speeding motorcyclists and Subaru/BMW drivers. Even when they're not causing accidents (and looking at how many accidents there have been on Manchester Road it is inexplicable to me why nothing has been done) they're making life miserable for everyone who lives in the area.

Anon said:

Forgive me but I didn't see any question in what you wrote?? But I did notice that you are contradicting in your writing James??? If it is usually grid locked how do they buzz around???
I have lived on the IOD all my life and the youth around here on their bikes don't bother me. I'm sure if there were more youth projects there wouldn't be so many on the roads. If your life is being made so miserable you could move out to the country where the youth have plenty of open space to use use their bikes. Or better still why not invest some time in maybe helping the local area to accommodate these teenagers?? Just an idea?
Also could you please tell me where you are getting your information from inregards to accidents on the IOD because I think you are being completely mislead.

Anon said:

A 20 mile Speed restriction is a ridiculous idea Mr Fitzpatrick. Lets wait to see the cause of the accident before we make rash statement's about what we (think) the cause was.

I feel saddened about loss of this obviously well loved young man and as an islander myself my thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time.

Although I don't agree with the way in which James made his statement, about the kids on the scooters. I do honestly believe this to be a real problem on the island and we would all be naive if we pretend it isn't.
Myself and my dog have nearly been mowed down before and this wasn't on a road, this was on the river path.

In no way shape or form am I implying that this young man was of this type of scooter driver.

I think what the island could really do with is a regular police presence, get them back on the beat! That would calm down all sorts of anti social behaviour. For god's sake there is a big police station (Manchester Road) That no one's ever in because it's never bloody open.

harvey spit said:

how dare you say that about my cousin you mug

Anon said:

Harvey, who are you referring too? I take it James's comments. Because if it's my comment. I don't think you read it through properly.
As I said before, my thoughts and prayers are with your family.

James said:

What comments? I made the same point as you Anon - that there are issues on the IoD with scooter and motorcyclists zooming around in a reckless manner. I did not say the man who died was one of them, merely asked the question and so far nobody has contradicted me.

Don't get me wrong I think it's sad he died, I was only seeking to raise the point that there are genuine problems with traffic on the IoD.

george spit said:

thats my brother that died and you james better shut your mouth because its making me very anoyed and angry , your saying how reckless teens are on bikes nowadays but do you know what caused the accident ??? i didnt think so !! RIP TOM SPIT GBNF MUCH LOVE !! XX

James said:

I didn't say I did, did I?

charlie parker said:

R.I.P tom spit

harvey spit said:

i respect what ur sayin anon but not what james has said showing no respect

Peter said:

SO, the inquest has been published, and yes, Mr Spiteri was acting like a fool, speeding at 75mph and doing wheelies.

It's lucky he did not hit a cyclist or a pedestrian and kill them.

If he had been caught he would have faced an immediate ban, and a court summons, and a probable unlimited fine.

It is unfortunate that he was killed, but lucky he did not take anyone else with him.

Steve said:

Today's news underlines how the unfortunate Mr Spiteri was indeed an indefensible "reckless teen" and "...another of the irritating IoD teenage scooter riders who buzz around without a care as to traffic or pedestrians".
As mentioned by a previous poster it was lucky he did not kill anyone else with his stupidity.
It's sad when *anyone* dies - but to put other people's lives at risk not big and not clever.
I think apologies should be made to "James".

Terri spiteri said:

None of you have any idea what you are talking about & I find your comments hurtful & disrespectful , not only to me Toms aunt but to his whole family & close friends Who have come out in there hundreds to show how much Tom was loved & respected & how dare u all comment on paper speculation , which is NOT based on facts just , hearsay! & headlines which make interesting reading no matter who gets hurt along the way. And I suggest if u don't have anything decent or know exactly what happened on this tragic day , then I suggest you keep your two penith worth opinions to yourselfs & let my nephew rest in peace!

harvey spit said:

steve i think u should shut up

Elle Lee said:

Annon I totally get what your saying.. But to the others May i add a man did an ILEGAL 3 point turn on a busy main road! Or is that excused? He also gave a no comment interview and refused to turn up for the first inquest! Who are all you to say your opinions! I find it very SICK that you could still talk about someone in this way when they are dead. You's are quick to be here reading papers judging when you know nothing about the situation. Aint you got jobs?? Maybe you wouldn’t be saying all this if Tom was here to defend himself. You sad sad people. Your sitting here arguing about who should be saying sorry to 'James' who on earth gives a **** about JAMES! If anyone should be made apologies I think it should be Tom’s family not 'James'. Don’t you think Tom’s family have been through enough? They have lost there 19 year old son who hadn’t even lived half of he’s life. Do you think they want to read this? You’re all selfish and busy people with no lives. None of you were at the Inquest so why don’t you all show some respect and keep your opinions to yourself, you didn’t know tom. And I really wish he was alive to prove all of you morons wrong! RIP Tom your be a better person than they will ever be! Love you boy! Sleep Tight

Anonymous said:

Apologies should be made to 'James'? Oh im sorry it must be so terrible for poor James his life must be a living hell my heart goes out to him NOT!. I think it is absolutely disgusting that you have the time to sit here stating an opinion on something you know NOTHING about. Unless James, Steve or Paul was present at the inquest which i do not think is possible i suggest you keep your opinions to yourself. In the inquest it was proven that Tom was NOT doing wheelies which was FALSELY printed. I find it AMAZING that nothing has mentioned about the driver of the car doing a 3 point turn on a busy road in darkness? He too could have killed a pedestrian instead he pulled out on to the path of my 19 year old brother. He then gave a no comment interview (which correct me if im wrong is usually a guilty approach)I cannot believe that any of you would be so shallow to come onto the web to leave comments on such a tragic situation when you are such outsiders. Now can you please stop the disrespectfulness and allow my brother to rest in perfect peace and allow us to grieve and try to re-build our lives without having to constantly read these disgusting comments over the internet its shameful! Lets hope you never have to be in our position because im sure your your opinions would soon change! I think we know who deserves the apology here? or havent you thought of how your comments may have effected family?

Denis said:


I'm an American who moved to Burrells Wharf in April 2011, right across from Tom's memorial. I have walked by it so many times I can't count them. Today I stopped and really read all the tributes. There are candles burning there today! almost a year later and people are still putting flowers and candles...

I don't know who Tom was and I don't care who's right or wrong here... all I know is that this young guy was taken too soon. I lost my best friend at the age of 20 and 30 years late still often think about what he could have done, and what he missed out on.

My heart goes out to Tom's friends and family. I guess all I can say is that when I pass, I hope I get 1/10th the outpouring and concern from others. He must have been a great guy. And don't waste your time reading the mean-spirited emails posted by a very few.

Boris said:

It would be considerate if those remembering this young man did not graffiti continually on the walks of The Forge building, and leave empty bottles of alcohol as some kind of tribute. It's very sad that he lost his life, but there has to be more appropriate way if remembering him, than vandalising other people's property.

Boris said:

It would be considerate if those remembering this young man did not graffiti continually on the walls of The Forge building, and leave empty bottles of alcohol as some kind of tribute. It's very sad that he lost his life, but there has to be more appropriate way of remembering him, than vandalising other people's homes.