Toby Smith

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On the 3rd of February 2015, shortly after 4pm, Akis Kollaros was cycling along Homerton High Street in London and collided with a tipper truck making a left turn. Paramedics were on the scene within seconds but were unable to revive him before Akis was pronounced dead at the scene.

On the 20th January 2015, during morning rush hour in Hackney Stephanie Turner was cycling through the junction of Amhurst and Seven Sisters road and was also hit my a tipper truck making a left turn. She suffered critical injuries and died shortly afterwards.

My wife and I live equi-distant between these 2 locations and know these roads well. Like Akis and Stephanie we rely on our bikes both to commute and get around London. We are only too aware of the perils of sharing a road with heavy goods vehicles and are almost exactly the same age as Akis and Stephanie. We feel saddened and frustrated that such young lives, similar to our own, could end in such preventable and similar circumstances.

I read the tributes and flowers laid for Stephanie at the scene of the accident with feelings of grief and frustration. My sympathies extend to the families and friends of Stephanie and Akis but also to the truck drivers who, regardless of fault, must be suffering great anguish.

As a cyclist. driver and someone who contributes to the construction industry I appreciate the complexity of the debate on ‘how to improve cycle safety’. However, reviewing the statistics and scores of ‘ghost-bikes’ I have spotted around London I cannot help be angered at our lack of action to ‘prevent the unnecessary loss of life’ in our own city.

As a photographer I feel strangely compelled to add to this debate and somehow reflect on the issue with my work. I spent some hours filming video at both locations which itself was very meditative. The footage here depicts the junction where Akis was killed and was filmed a day later at exactly the same time. I hope by removing the traffic and pedestrians the viewer can feel a sense of loss, peace and remembrance.