the documentary for the BBC finally out:
Two years ago, a group of London activists
cycled to a "Smash
Edo" demonstration against the arms trade in Brighton. With them
Vesco, who was part of the Food not Bombs group
which regularly handed
out food outside Brixton McDonalds. On the way, she was killed by a
careless driver on the road. For June 3rd, her friends and family
called for a remembrance ride from Brixton to Brighton [1 | 2].
See the Cyclists
Remembered blog listing the names of cyclists who have died on the
roads due to incidents involving motorised vehicles.
Marie Vesco’s death lead to discussions on the socio-political
implications of the predominance of cars over cyclists on several forums. "Ride of Silence", which
promotes sharing the road and rises awareness of bicycling safety, lists
her name with many others.
Commemoration and politics were deeply entangled from the beginning.
The 2008 Smash Edo demonstration held a minute’s
silence in Marie’s honour.
A blog was set up
to remember her. The Rampart, one of the social centers she was
involved in, published a note in its newsletter
its 4th anniversary event to her, and the June 2008 Critical
Mass went to Brixton as a tribute.
A year later, friends and family placed a white ghost
bike by the side of the A23, where she was killed.
On June 3rd, another remembrance ride to
Brighton took place, starting from Brixton.
text taken from:
This poem has been written in memory of Marie Vesco – cyclist and activist, who was killed on the A23 in June 2008.
She rode in search of an ideal,
Changing the world for better,
A fragile moth rising to light.
She died by the road side like a cat,
Sacrificed to the unchallenged power
Of our motorised world.
A white bike rose from the grass
To float as a ghost beside the road’s
A wreath of wire and flowers,
Each spoke fired an arrow
From the hearts of mourning parents.
No–one could find time or money
To provide signs for idealists,
But workmen removed the bike.
I noticed a Ghost Bike
on Notting Hill Gate for the first time last night, at a spot which I
pass every time I ride into central London. It’s a memorial to Eilidh
Cairns, a thirty year old who was crushed by a truck here in February
2:00pm Wednesday 10th June 2009
Cyclists are being warned not to take a dangerous route home after an annual bike ride.
Sussex Police has put up a handwritten sign telling cyclists not to
use the M23 to get back to the capital after the London to Brighton
bike ride on June 21.
The sign has been fixed at junction 11 where the A23 becomes the
M23 to remind the 27,000 cyclists expected to take part in the annual
event that they are not allowed to ride on the motorway.
A Sussex Police spokeswoman said although it was normally the job
of the Highways Agency to put official signs on the roads, officers had
erected the temporary signs ahead of the ride.
Southern and First Capital Connect have banned bikes on their
return train services in the Sussex coast area on the day of the ride,
meaning that competitors will have to find other means of transport to
return to the capital.
Police are concerned that some cyclists could decide their only option is to try to cycle home along the busy motorway.
Last year Marie Vesco was killed in an accident on the A23 as she
and a group of friends made their way to a smash EDO protest in
The London to Brighton bike ride stretches more than 54 miles and
has been taking place since 1980 to raise money for the British Heart
10:00am Thursday 11th June 2009
A roadside tribute to a student killed while cycling has been removed – less than a week after it was put up.
French student Marie Vesco was hit by a car and run over by a second as she rode along the A23 to Brighton last June.
As a memorial, her family and friends chained a painted white bike,
known as a “ghost bike”, to a lamp post at the scene on Thursday – a
year to the day of the incident.
But on Tuesday, the Highways Agency took it away, claiming it was a
health and safety hazard as it would potentially distract drivers along
the busy road.
Ghost bikes are commonly left as tributes to cyclists who lose their lives on the roads.
One appeared at the junction of Devil’s Dyke Road and Saddlescombe
Road north of Hove to mark the spot where 23-year-old James
Danson-Hatcher was hit by a car in April last year.
A spokesman for the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership said roadside
tributes were normally permitted to be left for 12 weeks after a fatal
accident after which are removed and stored.
If they are then not claimed by friends or family of the victim they will then be disposed of.
He said the decision to remove this particular tribute was taken by
the Highways Agency as the A23 is its responsibility but added that
such a memorial on any road would be deemed a distraction and quickly
Since Marie’s tragic death, her parents Jacques and Dominique Vesco
and her boyfriend Seb Achaibou have campaigned for cycle lane signage
along the busy road to be improved.
Speaking yesterday, Seb told The Argus he understood why the bike
had been removed but said he found the 12-week limit for tributes
He said: “Most families would want to leave a tribute at the anniversary of an accident.
“It is hard for people to be organised enough to get one put up right away.”
A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: “We sympathise with Marie’s family. It is a terrible thing to have to deal with.
“The bike was a touching memorial but roads are dangerous places and we have to make sure that they are safer.”
9:00am Monday 8th June 2009
The family of a French cyclist who died as she rode along the A23 have
expressed their anger that their daughter “died for nothing”.
Marie Vesco was involved in an accident as she and a group of
friends made their way to a Smash EDO protest in Brighton last June.
But a year after her death, Marie’s boyfriend Seb Achaibou, her
father Jacques and her mother Dominique have seen their campaign for
better signage to improve the safety of cyclists come to nothing.
In a statement they said: “One year has passed and Marie has died
for nothing, like an animal squashed on the road, with not a single
sanction for any of the responsible parties.
“Today we are very angry as we realise that in this affair, our daughter is the only victim.
“We are seeking justice for Marie – what about her human rights?
“We ask ourselves who will be next. We are angry that nobody cares and nothing has been done to protect us.”
They wanted clearer signage put up along the road to inform cyclists of cycle paths that were available for them to use.
Now, one year later, Marie’s family and friends have placed a white “ghost bike” to mark the spot where Marie was killed.
Speaking to The Argus, they criticised the authorities for not reacting more swiftly to prevent other accidents in the future.
Her parents said: “We are abandoned to grieve the loss of our
beautiful child in the life-long knowledge that her death was treated
as of no more value than a cat.”
At the inquest into her death, held in February, West Sussex
Coroner Penelope Schofield called for an urgent assessment of the
signage along the road through a Rule 43 recommendation.
That gives the coroner the power to make a report where they believe action needs to be taken to prevent future deaths.
But despite the coroner highlighting the issue of signage in February, nothing has changed.
Marie was just a week away from her 20th birthday when she died.
Speaking shortly after her death, her family paid tribute to her as “a brilliant pupil”.
They said: “Her intellectual ability did not prevent her from dreaming and hoping for a better world.
“She was an idealist who wanted to change the world, by raising
awareness about and fighting against injustices such as conflicts,
poverty and wasting resources.”
A Highways Agency spokesman said its plans to improve the cycle
path network across Sussex had started two years ago and were ongoing.
He said: “The Highways Agency takes safety of all road users very
seriously and since 2007 we have been working with our stakeholders on
plans to improve cycle routes across Sussex, including national cycle
“We have co-operated fully with the police during their
investigation and the ensuing coroners inquest following this tragic
The family of a 19-year-old woman killed on her
bicycle in Sussex has returned to the scene a year on to call for
improved safety for cyclists.
Friends and relatives of French student Marie Vesco want to prevent any more deaths on the A23 at Hickstead.
An an inquest, the coroner recommended installing signs to direct cyclists to a quieter route.
The Highways Agency said it had identified improvements to A23 signage to be made before March 2010.
Ms Vesco died in a collision involving two other cars last June as she was cycling from London to Brighton with friends.
One year on, our daughter died for nothing, like an animal by the side of the road
The family placed a white bike sculpture at the scene to remind cyclists and motorists to think about road safety.
Dominique Vesco, Marie’s mother, said: "The authorities must take responsibility in order to avoid further deaths of this kind.
"One year on, our daughter died for nothing, like an animal by the side of the road."
And Jay Calascione, from Roadpeace, added: "The death of Marie was totally unnecessary.
"It is up to these authorities to realise the danger to vulnerable road users and take urgent action."
statement issued by the Highways Agency on Monday said: "The Highways
Agency takes the safety of all road users very seriously.
"We co-operated fully with the police during their investigation and the coroner’s inquest following the death of Marie Vesco.
2007, we began a study into all cycle routes in Sussex and have
identified a number of improvements to signage on the cycle route
alongside the A23 to be made as a priority before March 2010.
are working closely with West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough
Council as some of the potential improvements identified in the study
are on local authority routes.
"The Highways Agency is also
working closely with national cycle charity Sustrans, which promotes
improvements to the national cycleway network."
A cyclist killed in a hit-and-run crash with a lorry was about to buy a house and start a family, friends said today.
Adrianna Skrzypiec, 31, died in Greenwich, south east London, as she
was cycling home from work to one of her best friend’s birthday at a
She was hit by a lorry at the junction of Woolwich Road and the
Kent-bound A102 and died at the scene. The driver of the truck did not
stop and is yet to be found by police.
Friends said today that Ms Skrzypiec had only been cycling for six
months and had often complained about the stretch of road where she
died in Friday’s accident.
Ms Skrzypiec, who worked as a supervisor for fashion website Net-A-Porter, moved to Greenwich from Szczecin in the north of Poland six years ago.
Known as Adusia to her friends, she lived in Rotherhithe with her 37-year-old boyfriend, Tomek Koziolek.
Friends said today that Ms Skrzypiec and her boyfriend, who were keen supporters of West Ham United, enjoyed travelling and had also just booked tickets for a holiday to Brazil.
Weronika Olszewska, 32, who came to London with Ms Skrzypiec, described
her today as an “incredibly lively and open person who loved life”.
She said: “Adusia was incredibly popular and had lots of friends. She
only started cycling six months ago but she took her bike to work every
day. She always told us she was scared when she was cycling on Woolwich
Road, especially on the junction where she died.
“She was an incredibly careful cyclist. She always wore her helmet and
she never went through red lights. We were all so shocked to hear about
Ms Olszewska said Ms Skrzypiec’s boyfriend was struggling to cope with her death.
“Tomek is devastated but thankfully he has a lot of Adrianna’a friends
around him. The two of them loved travelling and had just booked a trip
“Tomek wasn’t even allowed to go and identify her body because the
injuries she suffered were so bad. Now we just want the driver of the
truck to come forward. We can’t understand how no CCTV cameras picked
up what happened.”
She called for more cycle paths to be built in the area to prevent more deaths on the busy stretch of road.
“The roads just are not safe enough for cyclists. People on bikes
shouldn’t even be on dangerous roundabouts. There should be cycle paths
around them so something like this does not happen again,” she said.
Friends said that Ms Skrzypiec’s mother was too distressed by the news
to travel to London and that the funeral will take place in Poland.
Police said today that they are still investigating the accident and
are examining CCTV footage from local shops. They said the lorry that
hit Ms Skrzypiec had a blue plastic or canvas covering on its side and
appealed for any witnesses to come forward.
Anyone who witnessed the collision or has information that may assist
police should call the Collision Investigation Unit at Catford Traffic
Garage on 020 8285 1574.
|17th May 2009, 21:48||
Join Date: Mar 2008
Well the ‘good news’ is that there are at least 10 traffic congestion
cameras along the next 5 miles of that road, they know the time so
there can not be that many lorries fitting that description that have
to be traced.
One just hopes they acted fast enough, as it’s also the main route down
One can only feel for the family, who, so far as we know, are totally
Amy Cable |