Whitehall becomes motorcycle-only zone as thousands join Ride for Rights demo

Published: 20 October 2007

Thousands of motorcyclists rode through London today on an MCN-backed demo against road pricing for bikes.

A giant procession of around 2,000 bikers brought traffic to a standstill as it made its way from the meeting point at Wembley Stadium to Whitehall, which police closed to all traffic except motorcycles for what is believed to be the first time.

Speakers including MPs addressed the crowd through a PA system. Conservative MP Bill Wiggin, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Motorcycling, told riders they were part of the solution to congestion and were right to expect exemption from planned local road pricing schemes.

Simon Wilkinson-Blake, director of riders’ rights group Rider Connect, which organised the demo, got the crowd to repeatedly cheer “Bikes go free” on the famous London street just yards from Downing Street and Parliament Square.  
Despite a petition signed by thousands of riders, Government has yet to offer any assurance that motorcycles will not be included in local road pricing schemes planned across the country. The ride, called Ride for Rights, was demanding exemption for bikes be written into the forthcoming Local Transport Bill, which gives local authorities powers to introduce road pricing schemes. 

Wiggin said: "It is important that we are heard. We are not the problem, we are the solution, and we are not the disease, we are the cure to congestion. We deserve to be treated fairly and with respect, as we are solving the problem, not creating it."
Lib Dem MP Susan Kramer, who also addressed the crowd, said: "It is a fantastic sight to see everyone coming here. I backed the decision to not include bikes in the London charging scheme, and that was the right choice."

Wilkinson-Blake thanked MCN for supporting the ride and said: "We want to draw a line in the sand. We don't want to pay for roads we've already paid for."