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Over 1000 sign-up for protest

Published: 18 February 2002

Updated at 9am, Tuesday, February 19: Your response to a newly set-up site to gather response for a possible protest proved so great that a wider band width has had to be installed. You’ll find a link to the new greater-access site, right.

motorcyclenews.com user garyholc set up the mini-site. Up to 5pm on Friday close to 400 people had already signed their support on our Talk News discussion board, in response to a leaked anti-bike letter to police from Environment Minister Michael Meacher. But the current boards can prove confusing when so many postings are being made (there’s never been a bigger response to a story on the site). garyholc’s site allows you to register and say which region you are in, along with your contact details. You’ll find a link for it, right. By Tuesday morning more than 1000 people had signed

Meanwhile Revetts is suggesting March 13 as the day for protests and is asking for feedback on our discussion boards.

We’ve also added the " evidence " the Department of the Environment is offering to back up Environment Minister Michael Meacher’s anti-bike campaign.

You’ll find a " Why Is He Doing This To Us? " link, right, and your own submitted ideas on how to complain to Meacher himself, complete with links to his e-mail and websites.

Since we reported on his leaked letter on Wednesday, there has been growing support for a mass protest. We’re currently investigating the most effective means using our contacts in Westminster.

It’s clear from his letter to Chief Constables that Meacher wanted us banned from the roads in National Parks. But since a ban isn’t legal he has chosen instead to call on top policemen to launch a sweeping clampdown on bikes riding through the countryside.

And initially, when we challenged his department on why, a spokesman said: " We’re not going into detail on why. You can like it or lump it. "

Now many motorcyclenews.com users are talking about reacting with a rapid campaign.

Revetts posted on our Talk News boards: " Go-slows should be held in as many major cities of the UK as possible. It should be done by the book, peacefully, in co-operation with the BMF, MAG, the police and media. A coherent message to be offered - that we will not tolerate being discriminated against and pushed around by Tony and his Cronies. All those in favour? "

On Thursday night we started a thread titled " Who would join the Go-Slow " by Friday morning 135 had signed up, By noon it was over 300. We’ve now added a " Who Would Join The Go-Slow 4 " posting in TALK NEWS for those who haven’t already signed up. You have to be a registered user to post on the boards. Registering is free and easy to do. Click on " Register " at the top, right of the screen, for details.

If you have particular protest plans, or are intending to organise a gathering or rallying point on this issue, as well as posting on the boards, please e-mail david.cushman@emap.com with your plans and include PROTEST in the subject line of your e-mail. We will draw those together to add to our main story, to give points of contact a higher profile. Please only do this if you are willing to lead, rather than simply join a protest ride.

The leaked letter from Meacher emerged on Tuesday requesting that they make our lives more difficult, with more speed cameras and ever closer attention. He made the recommendation after accepting that local authorities would not be able to bring in a ban on bikes in National Parks.

When we contacted the Department of the Environment to check that the letter was genuine the department issued a statement claiming bikes were a problem in Britain’s 11 National Parks and 41 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

A spokesman said: " We are highlighting to chief police officers that there’s a problem which needs to be addressed.

" Evidence has come to ministers’ attention that motorcycles are a particular problem in these areas. There’s no evidence that cars are causing a problem. "

Asked what this evidence was, the spokesman replied: " We’re not going into detail on why. You’ve had our statement, you can like it or lump it. " There has been further response since, as detailed in the " Why is he doing this to us? " link.

Mike Taylor, secretary of the Association of Areas of Natural Beauty, was bemused by the Minister’s stance.

He said: " I’m not aware of any problems created by motorcyclists on the public highways. They are tourists like anyone else and anyone who leaves a little bit of money behind when they visit is always welcomed in these areas. "

Meacher was unavailable for comment. He is at a conference in South America.

Read what the many others have to say, and add your own views, by following the link, right.

This story was released to MCN2U News Alerts subscribers at 4pm on Wednesday, February 13, 2002. Were you among the first to know? Find out how you could be by following the link, right.

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