Overzealous parking wardens are ruining one of the UK’s most popular biking meccas and damaging businesses, say local traders.
Wardens have been “swamping” Matlock Bath in Derbyshire and driving out bikers since the council contracted a private firm to take care of enforcement in February, according to shopkeepers.
Despite regularly attracting riders by the thousand, the area has no motorcycle parking spaces. Bikes parked on the pavement are issued with fines since the clampdown.
Riders can use pay-and-display car spaces but get no discount despite taking up less space and risk their tickets being removed. They can also use limited free car spaces but are subject to a strict one-hour time limit.
Matt Edwards, who runs local motorcycle clothing shop Twisted Spanner, said: “Parking enforcement officers are swamping the area even on quiet days.
"Any bikes on the pavement are getting tickets and they’re being very strict about the one-hour time limit. People have to constantly watch the clock so they can’t browse in the shop.
"With parking enforcement officers walking about they don’t hang around.
“In the pay-and-display areas they’re saying bikes must pay. They’ve never enforced that in the past.”
Allison Chouhan, owner of Bikers Gearbox, another clothing shop in the village, plans to petition the local council to provide dedicated bike spaces.
She said: “They’ve always parked along the parade and now they’re getting cleared off after an hour. No new parking signs have been put up so the lads also keep parking on the pavement and coming back to a fine.”
A spokesman for Derbyshire Dales District Council said: "The subject of dedicated spaces for motorcycles was considered back in the last parking review, in 2003, but was ruled out on the grounds that demand for motorcycles is predominantly at weekends, whilst demand for car parking spaces is constant.
"Dual use bays serve the district best, as dedicated motorcycle bays preclude use by cars whilst car sized bays do not preclude use by motorcycles.
"Authorities generally tend to provide dedicated motorcycle bays in areas that are less accessible to cars, but convenient for motorcycles and cycles. However there are no such areas in Matlock Bath, where all bays are dual use."