As a widower urges “reckless” cyclists to learn from the death of his wife, who was knocked down and killed by a teen on bike with no front brake in east London, a messenger explains to the BBC’s Laura Lea what stimulated him ride a “fixie” – and why this may now change.
Michael – not his real name – has worked as a bike courier for the last year and a half and believes the example – which led to an Old Bailey trial and national media attention – has “whipped up hatred against cyclists”.
“I’ve heard other messengers saying to me they feel on edge and that pedestrians have looked at them differently, ” he says.
“In the last couple of weeks, with every messenger I’ve satisfied, this has been the first thing we’ve talked about, ” the 27 -year-old adds.
He expends 9-10 hours a day delivering packages on the roads of central London and is paid on a job-by-job basis, so weaving in and out of traffic to complete the run quickly is vital.
‘Sensation of control’
Michael rides a fixie – a fixed-wheel bicycle – with no front brake. This is illegal.
By law, a motorcycle on a public road in the UK must have two brakes.
A fixed-wheel bicycle has a single gear , no freewheel mechanism and fell handlebars. The rear fixed wheel of a fixie – which a rider can slow employing the pedals – counts as a brake.
“I didn’t actually know it was against the law until this case, ” he says.