London's couriers mark the street
15.03.09 by Buffalo Bill
Overdrive and a few of the guys have been painting the roads. Some people might see spraying the names of dead people on, or near the spot, where they died as morbid. One might even say that these memorials act to discourage the public from taking up cycling, because they highlight the potential dangers of riding a bike in London. Similar things have been said about ghost bikes.
Personally, I think that it is entirely appropriate, both on the personal level and in a wider context, that the deaths of cyclists should be marked near the spot where they were killed. Whether it’s a ghost bike, a spray-painted message or some other form is not important.
The reason why London messengers spray the roads instead of putting up a ghost bike is that we were doing it before the ghost bike thing started. Not that we necessarily think that the ghost bike thing is without merit, simply that this is what we have done before, so why not continue to do it? We first started spraying the names of dead London messengers on the road in 2003, when London hosted the European Cycle Messenger Championships. We did that as part of a memorial ride.
London’s couriers had previously ridden as a group to mark the passing of a comrade in 1990, for Chris Shaw, and in 1992 for Edward Newstead. In 1994, on the occasion of the visit of the 2nd Cycle Messenger World Championships, we commissioned a sculpture called the ‘Messenger Memorial’, and there was a ride from that into central London. (More on that here). So the idea of riding together to mark the passing of a fellow messenger is firmly established within the collective mind. You might even call it a tradition.
As always, you can find the names of London bicycle couriers known to have died whilst working on the memorial page. There is also an international list, which includes all dead couriers, not just those killed whilst working, here5 years since Seb was killed
For those that missed it...
8 London bicycle couriers known to have been killed whilst working
San Francisco bicycle courier killed, Ephraim back on a bike
The Markus Cook Memorial Award for Services to the International Messenger Community
City Police back-pedal on Seb's bike
Moving Target is dedicated to the memory of: