The Independent London Newspaper
17th October 2017

Father-of-three killed in bus collision was 'loved by everyone'

    Brent Francis died in the early hours of Saturday

    Published: 24 November, 2016
    By WILLIAM McLENNAN

    A DEDICATED father-of-three who was killed by a bus on his way home from a night out has been described by friends as a “lovely man” who was like “north London’s Del Boy”. 

    Brent Francis died at the scene of the collision with the 134 bus in Hampstead Road, Mornington Crescent, in the early hours of Saturday. 

    The 47-year-old’s death has rocked the community in Kiln Place, Gospel Oak, where he lived with his family, and in Somers Town, where he grew up. 

    Around two-dozen bouquets have been left at the scene along with moving tributes to a man who has “gone too soon”, alongside a scarf of his beloved Tottenham Hotspur. 

    Mr Francis was a regular at the Old Oak in Mansfield Road and until recently had run a fish stall outside the pub. His friend and business partner, Perry Delaney, said:“He was a well-liked fella, everyone loved him. He would do anything for anyone. He had such good people around him. It’s a tight-knit community here and everyone knew him. He got on with everyone.

    “He was north London’s Del Boy. He was such a dreamer. He had so many plans and business ideas. He wanted to do this, that and the other.”

    He said Mr Francis was ­dedicated to his partner, Louise, and their three sons, Alfie, George and Teddy. 

    Mr Delaney said his friend, who worked as a scaffolder, was “fit as an ox”, adding: “There wasn’t an ounce of fat on his body. He was always taking the dog to the Heath, or running or up the gym.” 

    Mr Francis was said to be at the Escape Bar in Lidlington Place earlier in the evening and was making his way home when the accident occurred. 

    Tony Porelli tweeted: “RIP Brent. You were without doubt one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Pleasure to have grown up with you. Somers Town will not be same.” One tribute left at the scene read: “A hardworking and loving family man. It’s a pleasure to have known you and called you our friend.”

    Police said they are “still unsure as to exactly how this collision happened” and asked for anyone who was on the bus, or waiting at the bus stop opposite Mornington Crescent tube station at around 1.30am on Saturday to come forward. 

    The driver of the bus stopped at the scene and has since been interviewed by police. He has not been arrested. 

    Detective Sergeant Chris Osborne said: “We know the bus had a large number of passengers on it at the time and there were also a number of people waiting at the northbound bus stop opposite the tube station.” 

    The tragic incident follows the death of Sheila Karsberg, who was killed by a cement mixer 350 metres away at the junction of Camden High Street and Pratt Street in September. Earlier in the same month a man was seriously injured in a collision with a bus outside Camden Town underground station. 

     

    Comments

    RIP. Much missed by

    RIP. Much missed by all
    Brendan

    Brent Francis

    Rip brent....Colin reading

    God bless

    Worked with Brent at angel job (alandale) one of the nicest blokes I've worked with. my heart goes out to his family at this tragic time .
    R.I.P mate God Bless
    Mark H

    RIP Brent you made me laugh

    RIP Brent you made me laugh so much when we were at school sad not to have known you ad an adult. Praying for comfort the family at this sad time. Kelly Hitchen. X

    Brett Francis

    Sending love & prayers to Louise & boys God bless Brett lovely family man

    Something clicked in my mind

    Something clicked in my mind when this fatal crash was being described - and the new layout (along with the traffic signal sequencing) plays, I think, a key part as a causal factor in this crash. The detail could be a classic hazard, well known to exist for the new arrangement of the traffic signals and pedestrian crossing at those signals. It should surely have been noticed in the safety audit for the new layout, and the risks evaluated. Perhaps CNJ can find the documentation?

    To see my point go and look at Google streetview pictures from current back to 2010. The central traffic island, which would have forced Mr Francis to notice that there was a Southbound flow of traffic which could be moving when the Northbound flow had stopped has vanished. Keen to get home, assuming that all traffic on Hampstead Road was stopped, this is a mistake all too easily made, and a detail which should have been seen in any safety audit.

    I suspect that Mr Francis would have been using this signal controlled crossing to cross Hampstead Road, or used the traffic signals seen when looking North to cross slightly to the South of the formal crossing. What he might not have taken into account, is that buses travel in the opposite direction and get a green light to swing round the corner, appearing 'out of the blue' - masked by Mornington Crescent Station. The radius of the corner is generous, so the bus driver does not need to slow down severely (and slow down the main traffic flow into Camden High Street)

    There are some key 'human factors' to determine here that need to be reviewed by the investigation and inquest. There are 2 dominant types of serious and fatal bus-pedestrian crashes.

    One, is seen in Oxford Street, on Kilburn Rise, Shepherd's Bush... where the road, with a 30mph speed limit, is effectively operating as a linear bus station. Many bus routes many bus stops, buses pulling out around the bus at the stop in front, pedestrians with free rein to slip between buses an attempt to cross the road, bus drivers checking the right rear view for the gap in traffic to pull into, but cannot do this and watch for a pedestrian movement at the front nearside. Proper bus stations are 'premises' and managed under Health and Safety legislation, normally with a 5-10mph speed limit, and clear routes for pedestrians which manage the hazards of pedestrian traffic crossing bus traffic in a random and risky way.

    There may be some aspects of this to consider, making the corner tighter so that bus drivers have to reduce their speed, and moving relative positions for the 'desire-line' for pedestrian traffic and the point at which the bus drivers no longer have the focus of their attention split between taking a long 90+ degree corner and looking directly ahead.

    This highlights the second key hazard - bus driver making full lock (generally right-hand) turns into bus stations, and at road junctions. The pedestrian is generally in the zone of invisibility at the nearside front corner where the nearside (not the offside - as incorrectly reported and presumably recorded by the inquest for Peter van de Bulk) plus the confused views through the doors, scratched security screen etc deflect the focus, along with the fact that the driver's attention may be on making the turn through a gap in oncoming traffic, and in the turn looking to the right to see the road space into which they are steering.

    Solutions here can be to move the pedestrian crossing point clear of the corner so that the drivers have finished that task, and focus on going straight ahead, and to have a right turn phase so a bus driver can focus on the entry they are driving into rather than the gap in oncoming traffic. The Hornsey Road wheelchair crash reflects this detail well. With the bare minimum distance between the zebra crossing and the junction, a bus driver will have to stop with half the bus blocking across the main road to let a pedestrian cross - a complex judgement when also trying to accelerate rapidly to get through a gap in that oncoming traffic. Potential for a fatal bus-pedestrian crash on that crossing - still high?

    R.I.P. Mate.

    Had fun and enjoyed working with you. THE GERMAN.

    Top man

    I knew you as a little boy and you were lovely then and you grew up to be a wonderful man always a pleasure a perfect gent xxxl lynn from Bridgeway st

    I'm tonyEvans Worked with

    I'm tonyEvans Worked with brent at Kingston me and my son little tony lovely man sadly missed r.i.p my friend God bless x

    RIP Brent

    Always in our hearts, never forgotten xx

    Top Man

    Great memories growing up in somers Town
    Always a Lovely Kid and then always a Lovely Man
    Proper gent
    God bless Brent
    Johnny Day.

    R.i.p Brent

    Such a caring, kind hearted guy, always was smiling making jokes will truly be missed

    Top Man ... God bless

    Top Man ...
    God bless Brent
    Johnny Day x

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