Yesterday I reacquainted myself with just what an awful place Regents Street on London’s West End is. Made my way down the obstacle course that is the overcrowded footway to check on the protest making its way up from the other end of the street.
It almost didn’t make it: just a small number of motorists and taxi drivers were doing an excellent job of shutting off the street, blocking in the thousands of bus passengers, occupying the crossings where hundreds of pedestrians queued, and generally getting in the way of the folk trying to get home on their bicycles.
I don’t know what that motorist blockade was protesting about, but some of those people on bicycles were heading to a sort of protest of their own…
…or more of a vigil, for Michael Mason, who was killed here a year ago.
Speakers from campaigning organisations and borough councillors, the bereaved and the people just wanting to get home safely, condemning the Metropolitan Police, Westminster City Council and Transport for London for their unwillingness to respond to and learn from Mason’s death.
And then the trademark of this particular group’s events, the “Die In”. This is far from the first of its kind, but I’ve only been along to and shot one of this group’s events before. I’ve never really been able to decide quite how I feel about them. The group’s name, “Stop Killing Cyclists”, and style is obviously the product of well-founded anger, and their demands utterly reasonable, really quite mainstream, and increasingly implemented. Yet the look and tone frequently fall just a little wide for me.
But I’m sure they’re a good thing, and they do make an impactful photo.