Mayor told to act on road safety at vigil to talented athlete killed cycling to work

Ardian Zagani, known as Sam, had an "exceptional ability to make people smile"

Monday, 4th September 2017 — By William McLennan


Demonstrators demanded action to end deaths of pedestrians and cyclists

RUSH-HOUR traffic was brought to a standstill tonight as dozens of people lay in the road at a vigil to an “exceptional” young man who was killed as he cycled to work.

The protest, referred to as a “die-in” by organisers, was called in tribute to Ardian Zagani, who lost his life in a collision with a van in Camden Road at around 6am on Tuesday.

Safety campaigners speaking at the vigil urged London Mayor to follow his encouraging words with actions, by introducing, among other steps, a network of segregated cycle lanes across the capital, not just in central London, so that people could safely navigate the city by bike.

One said: “This is a residential road, this is not a motorway.”

Among the dozens to lay in the road were close friends of Mr Zagani, who was known as Sam, a bouncer who worked for 15 years in Camden venues and a talented martial arts athlete.

A tribute from his loved ones, read to the crowd, said he was “a friend, an adored family member, role model and instructor”.

He was described as having an “exceptional ability to make people smile and laugh, an amazing zest for life and a very big heart”.

Mr Zagani was an “incredibly talented” athlete 

The tribute said: “He would always have a joke, a funny story or a valuable piece of advice to lift people’s spirits.

“He worked as a doorman in Camden for 15 years and brought energy and enthusiasm to every place that was lucky enough to have him.”

Mr Zagani was a skilled athlete, who was an “incredibly talented” practitioner of Muay Thai boxing who “shared his passion and skill with his brothers at the GMMA Academy where he trained”.

The tribute concluded: “Our beautiful Sam brightened all of our lives and someone like that never truly dies.”

The GMMA Academy have launched a fundraising drive in Mr Zagani’s honour.

Last week the New Journal revealed that Transport for London had drawn up plans for major safety changes to Camden Road three years ago, but the plans had been “kicked into the long grass”.

Caroline Russell, a Green member of the London assembly said: “This is a residential road, this is not a motorway. That is what Sadiq Khan has got to understand.

“It is not just about a few key, beautiful high-grade projects in the middle of London, it’s about making sure Londoners across our city are able to cross the road, to cycle to work, without failing to make it home in the evening.

“My thoughts now are with the family and friends of Ardian Zagani who tragically lost his life here.”

Police said a woman who was driving a Ford Transit van involved in the collision had stopped at the scene and was initially arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving but was “de-arrested at the scene and was interviewed under caution at a north London police station”.

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