“Mostly Left Turns” is a project that visually documents the locations of all cycling fatalities in London during 2015. It consists of a series of photographs depicting the last movements of the eight cyclists killed.
The title reflects the fact that all but one of these deaths were caused by left-turning lorries. The one exception being the death of Clifton James in Harrow who was killed by a car. Of the seven cyclist killed by lorries, it’s notable that six of these were women.
The eight fatal accidents presented here are in chronological order. Each photograph is taken at the site of the accident, and a light-trail depicts the last moments of the journey of the cyclist. Where the light trail ends is the spot the cyclist was struck, and, more often than not, killed instantly. The light trails were created by a cyclist riding towards the camera set to a long exposure, their bike fitted with a very bright, but commonly available, bike-light. It seemed important somehow that a bicycle be used as an integral part of making these images. In every instance myself and a friend, Tim May, rode to the scenes at dawn in order to take the photographs without any traffic present.
In 2014 cyclists undertook a record 23 million journeys in the capital, and this is estimated to have risen by ten per cent in 2015. Despite 2014 being called “the safest year on record” by Transport for London, 13 cyclists died on London’s roads — “safest” maybe, but certainly not safe.
My hope is that in a small way this work will help highlight the issue that cyclists are needlessly dying and bring some radical solutions — as have been adopted in many other European cities — to make cycling safer in the capital.
London, January 2016