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Scotland’s day of protest

Published: 06 May 2002

Saturday marked a day of action for Scottish bikers. Concerned at similar anti-biker legislation to that faced south of the Border, riders took to the streets to make their feelings known.

Gary Thompson, the organiser for the protest north of the Border, has e-mailed us his summary of Saturday’s ride to the Scottish Parliament:

First, let me say a huge thanks to all who showed up for the Protest ride in Scotland. We had circa 70 bikes in the end, which made for a bloody good show.

I arrived a little late at Harthill services. I'd hoped to get there for 10.00am and got there at 10.30, to see four bikes lined up. I have to admit to having a slight whiff of panic at that stage, thinking - no bugger's going to turn up.

However, one strong coffee later, I went back outside, and there were 10 bikes. This kept increasing, and the two bike cops arrived, making our total 35. They seemed happy to be counted.

As 12.00pm approached, we had nearly 50 bikes leaving the service station. Not quite the 100 I'd hoped for, but this was to change. The police escort headed down the M8 and waved us on.

I think one of my overriding memories of the day will be looking ahead to a completely empty motorway, and looking back to see bikes as far as I could see, and lo! he was happy.We did the 20 miles of the M8 and about 35-40 mph, and all along, there were members of the public waving and taking photos from the overpasses.

We picked up more bikers who were waiting on the overpasses, and trundled on into the city. We had originally been expecting to have to hold for a protest in front of us to clear, and we were going to have to obey all traffic lights.

That all changed when we were joined by another two police bikes, and we were promptly cleared to cross all traffic lights and roundabouts. By this time, we had continued to pick up groups of riders through the city and had our peak numbers.

The mood was fantastic, everyone beeping horns throughout the column - you should have heard the noise as we passed through every Gatso, and the occasional engine rev. Top marks for the Ducati lad.We wound our way through the city at 10mph, and climber up Calton hill where I had a word with the group, thanked the police and everyone signed our petition.

The press photographer showed up looking slightly ruffled - he'd missed us on North Bridge and actually asked if we could do it again so he could get a photo! (Doh) I suggested to him that perhaps 'no', and he got a few shots on top of the hill.

Didn't make it into the Evening News on Monday as he though - there was a mini riot in Edinburgh which stole the news, so it may never make the press.

Thanks to: Chris T - for distributing flyers and marshalling, Craig - for marshalling and the support, Lesley - for putting up with me through the planning, Infinity M/Cs for offering hi-vis stuff for the marshalls, Lothian and Borders Police - for an excellently policed protest, and all the riders who came and made the day worthwhile.Where to from here? I'm sending another letter to the (Scottish) Executive today, with the petition, and I will write again to Meacher.

If the Executive don't start to make some positive moves, this may happen again. Watch this space.

Where you there? Do you wish you were? Let us know what you though tof the Scottish protest. If you have any pictures of the protest then e-mail them to dave.batchelor@emap.com and we’ll publish them on the site.

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