‘Last stand in bike parking battle’

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Motorcyclists have one chance left in the battle to save free bike parking in towns and cities across the country, campaigners say. 

Unless daily bike parking charges can be defeated in court on March 14, councils across the UK will introduce them, according to the group No to the Bike Parking Tax (NBPT).

The group hopes to raise vital funds for the case through donations on a protest ride on March 5.

NBPT is challenging the legality of a central London £1-a-day charge to use traditionally free roadside bike bays.

The British Motorcyclists Federation has joined the group in warning that free bike parking will be lost nationally if the challenge fails.

NBPT chairman Warren Djanogly said there would be nothing to stop the charge rising sharply once the principle was firmly established.

The danger is that a key incentive for motorcycling will be lost, leading to a fall in rider numbers and costing the rest of us hundreds of pounds a year. 

Djanogly is asking riders to join the ride and donate to £10 towards its appeal against a High Court ruling in favour of London’s Westminster City Council. He hopes to plug a £7000 shortfall in funds.

He said: “I know times are hard but you need only look at the car parking charges in Westminster, which during this campaign have increased from £3 to £5 an hour, to know that, if unopposed, times will only get harder.

“The £10 you could have given may start to look like a very good investment when you're being fleeced maybe £1000 a year for bike parking.”

The March 5 protest ride will depart from the Ace Café in Wembley, London, at 10.30am. Find details at notobikeparkingtax.com

Westminster Council has refused to answer MCN’s questions since February 2009, when we revealed that income figures for its motorcycle parking scheme did not include hundreds of thousands of pounds raised through fines.

In November the council claimed in a press release it had been "cleared of any wrong-doing" over a parking contract when an EU letter suggested it knew this was false.

The European Commission had said the council infringed the law over a parking enforcement contract which was extended to other boroughs when it should have been retendered.

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell