8 London bicycle couriers known to have been killed whilst working
21.06.08 by Buffalo Bill
As careful readers of this site will know, there is a page which dedicates Moving Target to the memory of London bicycle messengers known to have died whilst working. If you have read the page, then you will know that it listed 7 names. I say listed, past tense, because I received the following email last night.
I emailed you about a school mate of mine Judy Mihlenstedt who had died working as a bicycle courier in London. I’ve talked to her friends and she was killed after being hit by an HGV on the Commercial Rd in 1989 aged 21. I went to nursery and primary school with Judy in Blackheath,and we grew up on the same Span housing estate, The Hall.
My mum went to her funeral and told me Judy’s friends were distraught.
How is it that we have only found out now about this? I imagine that is the question that many of the younger readers of this blog are asking. Well, back in the day, most London couriers didn’t talk to each other. Sure, there were crews that used to plot up together. For instance, I always used to plot in the Square, or in the Court. As did the Metropole riders (of which my old friend Tam was one), CDS and some of the Vanguard and Booker boys. But there wasn’t a scene. We didn’t hang out, race or party together. The closeness of the London messenger is not something that has always been. It is something that happened because people got together and tried make us (now you) all Roll As One.
So what seems unthinkable now, that a courier could get killed without almost every messenger in London finding about it within hours, was perfectly possible back then. So next time you hear some grizzled old vet going on about how much better things were in the 80s, ask him/her if s/he knows who Judy was.
My belated condolences to her family and friends.