Mark Francis

London, d. 8.June.1999, killed on the job by truck driver

Mark Francis is the fifth London messenger whose death it has been Moving Target's responsibility to report. Mark was involved in a collision with an HGV on East Smithfield at approximately 9.45 am on Tuesday 8th June 1999. He died several days later of his injuries.

The actual circumstances of the accident are not clear. There are two or three facts that have emerged. First of all, the police have taken statements from two or more witnesses. The police are not saying what the contents of those statements are. Second, the scene of the accident is overlooked by 3 CCTV cameras, 2 of which were not recording, and the third of which was on time lapse, and thus may not be able to reveal anything conclusive. Third, the police fingerprinted Mark to determine whether prints that they found on the vehicle were Mark's. Beyond this there are a couple of rumours: one, the driver of the HGV said that he hadn't seen Mark; two, a traffic cop told an LCMA member that the driver was being prosecuted.

A bunch of LCMA people went and zip-tied a banner and flowers to the railings near the spot where the accident happened. Actually, we have done that three times now because the banner was taken down twice by persons unknown. Whilst we were there I could see just how dangerous that corner is. Vehicles come off the green and apex the corner at pretty high speeds.
It is an unpleasant corner that leads to one of the roads that I dislike the most. It's an ugly place and a horrible way to die.

The phrase 'road traffic accident' implies something unavoidable. Something that we should accept as part and parcel of making a living fromriding a bike in a big city. I do not accept this. Mark was killed because someone made a mistake.

I was in court in 1992 when the driver of the truck that killed Edward Newstead (see 'Recycled Target' in this issue) was sentenced. He got a 3 month ban and £500 fine. What kind of set of values is it that imposes such a small penalty for negligently killing someone?

I hope that Mark, wherever he is now, is riding in peace. But I know that if it turns out that the driver bears any responsibility at all for Mark's death, I will not be able to ride in peace if he is allowed to continue driving an HGV in London.


­ Buffalo Bill,
from Moving Target
via Messengerville