Cyclists attend ‘Funeral for the Unknown Victim’

Die-In at Marble Arch by Donny Monteiro

Die-In at Marble Arch by Donny Monteiro

Submitted by: Staff Writer

Waltham Forest cycling activists attended a national protest and die-in against ‘the deaths and lethal diseases caused by our motor transport system’ in central London in November.

Members of Waltham Forest Cycle Campaign (WFCC) joined with hundreds of other protesters for the day’s activities, organised by the traffic campaign group, Stop the Killing, which included ‘the first national Funeral for the Unknown Victim of Traffic Violence’.

Protesters, dressed as if going to a funeral, processed along Oxford Street to Marble Arch behind a horse drawn hearse containing the symbolic coffin of the unknown victim and a lone piper.

At Marble Arch, flowers and a wreath were laid on the coffin and the assembled crowd heard poetry, music and speeches from campaigners and from people whose lives had been directly affected by traffic incidents.

One of the speeches was from Dominique Vesco, the mother of Marie Vesco, a young woman killed whilst cycling on the A23 in Surrey in 2008. Participants listened to speeches warning of the effects of air pollution and ‘car culture’.

Following the speeches, a mass die-in was held while a lone trumpeter played the “Last Post” to mark the memory of the dead.

WFCC’s David Hamilton, described the event as: “A very moving and effective protest.”

He added: “I want to thank all the members of Stop the Killing and in particular local WFCC member, Fred Smith, who has been working very hard to ensure the event was a success.”

As well as protesting nationally, Waltham Forest Cycle Campaign is helping with the planning and implementation of the borough’s Mini Holland scheme to make the borough safer and friendlier for cyclists.

Whilst others in the community have raised objections to the scheme, many local cyclists see Mini Holland as way of tackling ongoing dangers they face – emphasised by four cycle accidents within a week along Lea Bridge Road and on Whipps Cross Roundabout at the end of November.

Following the recent incidents, cyclists discussed the urgent need for safer roads on Twitter with one, @Xpucmuna tweeting: “Another day, another cyclist hit in Walthamstow. Bring on #miniholland #wfminiholland before someone dies.”

Information about the ‘Funeral’, including the speeches can be found at http://stopthekilling.org.uk

Information about Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign can be found at http://wfcycling.wordpress.com/