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BikeStormz protestPhotography Adam Corbett, @adamcorbettphoto

Thousands of London youths join #BikesUpKnivesDown protest alongside police

Teens have taken to the streets to bike with their peers following a surge in stabbings

A group of young bikers who were featured in a Dazed documentary last year have led a huge protest calling for an end to knife crime on London's streets.

Following a surge in stabbings over the past year, there have been urgent calls to tackle the problem, with new statistics showing that offences involving knife crime with injury rose in the last 12 months by six per cent, putting it at its highest level in six years. 

Under the mantra of #BikesUpKnivesDown, thousands of teens have been taking to the streets to bike with their peers in mass ride-outs since 2014. Yesterday (April 7) was their biggest protest yet, with as many as 4,000 cyclists taking to the streets.

It was organised by teenage bike enthusiast “Jake 100” and fellow biker “MAC”, who told The Independent that the group “want people to put the guns down, put the knives down and for everyone to love their life, live their life and be peaceful and respectful... Never leave your house with a bad intention.”

Biking as part of the group is seen as an alternative to selling drugs or knife crime, with the young bikers breaking postcode wars and stereotypes as they take to the roads. They have a strong sense of community, with older riders are stepping up to mentor youngers. And like so many other contemporary collectives, they use social media to connect and organise events.

At the most recent protest, the bikers rode alongside Met Police officers. The Met hasn't always been the best ally to the young, multicultural working-class communities they represent, thanks to its problems with institutional racism. In response to the surge in deaths, Met Police chief Cressida Dick denied there was an “epidemic” but added that:

“These homicides are predominantly, tragically, affecting young people from certain areas of London and certain communities and that makes me angry and motivated to do something about it. But London remains a very safe city.”  

Watch the Dazed documentary on Bikes up Knives down below: