Keyworkers fight Camden bike parking charge as 1500 sign MAG letter

Senior Nurse Roseanne Luther with her motorcycle
Senior Nurse Roseanne Luther with her motorcycle
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More than 1500 key workers in Camden have signed an open letter organised by the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) which has been sent to councillors in Camden urging them to rethink extortionate proposed bike parking charges.

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Parking a bike in solo motorcycle bays is currently free both for visitors and residents but the London borough are proposing charging up to £6 per hour for bike parking.

In the letter backed by huge numbers of keyworkers including nurses, doctors, teachers, police officers, couriers, construction workers and Blood Bikers, signatories have told the council that these proposed changes will place serious strain on their ability to go to work.

"Not being able to use my motorbike will affect my shift work, especially at weekends due to reduced services," Roseanne Luther, Senior Staff Nurse at University College Hospital, told MAG.

"During the pandemic, using a motorcycle has allowed me to avoid unnecessary contact with the public as I am at high risk of being a carrier and spreading the virus unknowingly. My motorcycle is very efficient, and I do not sit in traffic adding to pollution or to congestion on the roads."

Camden Council proposed parking charges

Camden is proposing the charges because they say they want to encourage visitors or residents to consider greener modes of transport such as walking or cycling.

Spencer McEvoy, the Motorcycle Action Group’s Greater London Rep, said: "Thousands of keyworkers rely on their motorbikes to be able to get to work.

"Camden Council’s proposals will be devastating, not only to those workers but to all Camden residents who rely on these workers’ selfless public service. The very short consultation Camden ran during a Tier 4 lockdown, when travel patterns did not reflect reality. We have repeatedly asked to meet with Camden Council to explain this to them, but they have refused to engage with MAG."


Camden shock: Council plans extortionate bike parking charges

First published on 8 December, 2020 by Jordan Gibbons

Motorcycle parking bay in Camden

Camden Council are proposing to get rid of their dedicated free motorcycle parking bays and replace them with multi-use bays that will cost £6 a day to park a bike. That means anyone who commutes into Camden by bike will be expected to fork out £1560 a year.

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Even more outrageous is that the £6 per day option will only be available for the first two years, after which parking a bike will cost up to £5.91 an hour!

To help justify their price hike Camden Council claim that it is an attempt to "discourage inessential motorcycle journeys" with which they have taken umbrage.

The council further claims that motorcyclists are "more likely to be involved in collisions resulting in a fatality or serious injury to both pedestrians and cyclists" and that "peak sound levels for motorcycles can significantly exceed those for motor vehicles, creating noise and disturbance for residents". MCN has asked for the evidence Camden Council has used to make these statements but at time of writing had yet to be presented with any.

"It’s outrageous," says Lembit Opik, Director of Communications at Motorcycle Action Group. "Many of the people this will affect will already be low paid and can’t afford to change to a new electric bike or pay these charges."

Out of 32 London boroughs only Westminster currently charges for motorcycle parking at just £1 per day (or 31p per day for a season ticket). Westminster has always justified their parking charge to some extent by installing extra security, such as ground anchors, although Camden have no such plans.

In fact, quite the opposite – by turning all the motorcycle bays into mixed use bays there will be no additional security options at all. Especially concerning as Camden has been a hotspot both for moped theft and moped enabled crime.

It’s not just visitors that are being shafted by this outrageous price hike, residents will have their permit prices doubled, while businesses (such as fast food delivery firms) will be charged £359 per year per bike.

Camden are offering some discounts on certain charges for electric vehicles, although they wouldn’t even come close to offsetting the cost of a new vehicle, while the £6 daily charge isn’t discounted at all.

Adam Kay runs a motorcycle workshop in Camden, which currently makes use of a dedicated motorcycle parking bay outside: "During the most crazy time in the world for health and business this is another stealth tax. Not everyone can walk or cycle and people are avoiding the underground as much as possible."

The consultation is open until December 18 and all feedback should be sent to permitsreview@camden.gov.uk.


Riders fight plans to charge for motorcycle parking in Hackney

First published on 27 March, 2020 by Jordan Gibbons

Bikes parked in London

Hackney council have proposed emissions-based charging permits for motorcycles that could see locals paying hundreds of pounds a year to continue riding their bikes.

It’s currently free to park a bike in Hackney, however, if the new proposals go through, you’ll have to pay to park regardless of whether you’re a resident or a visitor.

The regulations are a minefield too – the vast majority of bikes will cost £61 for a permit but some older models could cost as much as £214 per year. Visiting the area works out at £4 a go for a visitor’s pass, while all the free motorcycle bays are to be converted into shared use that will cost £2 to discourage all-day commuting.

"Hackney has a long history of motorcycling," says Andrew Almond of Bolt Motorcycles which sells coffee, motorcycle clothes and runs mechanics workshops in the borough. "Part of that is because Hackney is so poorly connected by public transport.

"I’m also worried it’ll put people off shopping locally. Why ride your bike around the area when you could go to Tesco out of town and park for free?"

MotoDen on Kingsland Road is the only bike dealer left in Hackney and is one of London’s biggest CBT providers.

"This will wreck our business," says owner George Dennison. "We’ve been here 20 years and have two bike parking bays outside that are essential.

"Two-wheelers are the solution but they’re treating it like the problem. I don’t understand why they’re asking the same money as a car, when you can fit five or six bikes into the same sized space."

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If the proposals are approved, it’s feared the Hackney scheme could inspire other councils to follow suit.

"I understand that there’s a lot of pressure to reduce emissions across London but the truth is that electric bikes aren’t right for a lot of people yet," adds Dennison, owner of MotoDen, Hackney’s only remaining bike dealer.

"Plus if the council continue with their plans, we won’t be around in a few years for people to buy them when they are ready. It’s so short sighted. I know it’s just one London borough for now but it will quickly spread across the capital and then other cities will be next."

George Dennison owns Hackney's only remaining bike dealer

But bikers in London are planning a coordinated effort to reverse plans to charge bikes to park. Hackney council have opened up a consultation that could see riders paying as much as £214 per year to leave a bike on the street.

Visitors would have to pay £4 a day. The council claim that this is to bring motorcycles in line with cars while also encouraging people to switch to greener forms of transport but locals aren’t convinced.

One local bike riding resident who wished to remain anonymous agrees: "I used to work in government and this just strikes me as a cynical way of raising funds. The ULEZ is soon to expand to include the area and it will cost £15 per day to ride a non-compliant bike, which is sure to get all the badly polluting machines off the road.

"If that’s what the council’s goal is, that will do it for them. If bikes are ULEZ compliant, then why bother charging at all?

"There are important questions that need to be raised such as 'how have they come to the conclusion this is the best way to reduce pollution?' and 'how will they measure the effectiveness of what they’re doing?.'"

Dennison thinks the knock-on economic effects could be huge: "I also have big concerns about who this will affect. We sell a lot of scooters to gig economy workers who live and work in the borough making deliveries on a moped.

"These guys simply won’t be able to afford what the council is charging. Anyone who rides a two-wheeler needs to fight this tax."


Petition launched against Matlock Bath parking charge plans

First published on 27 July, 2012 by Angus Parker

Matlock Bath parking

A petition has been set up to fight the planned parking charges for bikes on the streets of Matlock Bath, Derbyshire’s motorcycling Mecca.

Sheffield Motorcycle Centre (SMC) have started the online petition, approved by Derbyshire County Council, which requires 7,500 signatures to force a re-think and keep parking free on Matlock Bath’s North and South parades.

The village is one of the most popular destinations for bikers in the country, attracting thousands every month in summer, however, the council plans to bring in on-street parking charges for all vehicles on the North and South Parades, the areas usually full of bikes.

The plans are expected to have a negative impact on the local economy and local businesses have already voiced their concerns. Phil Kerry, owner of 800BC café, says the plans are "ridiculous; if we lose the bikes, business will fall dramatically".

The county council claim they "have worked closely alongside the parish council to improve parking for businesses, residents and tourists".

Phillip Taylor, marketing manager at SMC, told MCN, "The streets of Matlock Bath can be a great spectacle, attracting couples and families of all ages. We hope to get more recognition to protect the free parking on the parades and we are also thinking of doing a protest ride to raise awareness."


Second city plans bike parking charges

First published on 4 October, 2012 by Steve Farrell

Liverpool could follow London’s Westminster in scrapping free roadside motorcycle parking. A charge for motorcycle parking in the city centre could be introduced as early as this year under plans.

A Liverpool Council spokesman said: "A range of proposals are currently being considered, including the introduction of a small charge for motorcycle parking." A public consultation is due to start within weeks.

Westminster Council introduced its charge for using traditionally free roadside motorcycle bays in 2008. It currently stands at £1 a day.

Campaign group No to Bike Parking Tax has previously warned that other councils will copy Westminster. The group said: "If you thought Westminster Council’s motorcycle parking charge would never apply to you, think again."


Parking campaigner cautious over chances of High Court success

First published on 25 June, 2010 by Steve Farrell

Parking protest in London

The leader of a campaign against motorcycle parking charges gave a cautious response when asked about his chances of High Court victory.

Speaking after barristers for both Westminster Council and campaign group No to the Bike Parking Tax put their arguments to High Court yesterday, Warren Djanogly said: "It’s with the judges. All the evidence has been put before them. We’ve said they’re [Westminster Council] outside the law. They’ve said they’re within the law.

"The judges will take about two weeks to come to a decision and then we’ll be called back to court.  

"Court is court. We’re talking about two barristers trying to convince the judges of two different things. We’ll have to wait and see which way they go."

The campaign has argued the £1-a-day bike parking charge is illegal because its sole purpose is to raise revenue with no benefit to traffic, a claim Westminster disputes.

It’s feared free roadside motorcycle parking could be lost nationally if the campaign fails, while success could see Westminster’s charge rendered unenforceable.

Djanogly said protest rides would continue regardless of the outcome. "That’s where the real pressure comes from," he added.

Around 80 campaigners gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand yesterday ahead of the hearing.  A more upbeat-sounding Djanogly said at the time: "We want judges entering the court to see the level of support."


Parking demo transforms M25

First published on 21 June, 2010 by Steve Farrell

Parking protest on M25

A mile-and-a-half stretch of the M25 became a car-free zone on Saturday as nearly 2000 riders demonstrated over London motorcycle parking charges.

The demo did a complete 117-mile circuit of the motorway at 45mph as police closed junctions to keep cars out. 

Warren Djanogly, chairman of campaign group No to the Bike Parking Tax, said: "It was fantastic. There were over 1700 people. It took eight minutes for everyone to pass a camera filming the ride on the M25. The procession was a mile-and-a-half long.

"I went to bed with the rumble of engines in my ears."


Motorcycles chained to City Hall in parking protest

First published on 7 December, 2009 by Steve Farrell

Westminster City Hall parking protest

Staff arriving at Westminster City Council’s offices in London today found the entrance blocked by a wall of motorcycles chained together in protest over parking charges.

Six chained-together bikes blocked the entrance to City Hall on Victoria Street for two hours from 8am to 10am, forcing staff to use a rear entrance.

Around 25 more bikes were parked on the concourse in front of the building.

Warren Djanogly, chairman of No to the Bike Parking Tax, said the aim was to "raise public awareness" of the group’s campaign against Westminster’s scrapping of free bike parking. 

Picture courtesy of Thierry Muller.


Fight-back over London parking charges

First published on 7 October, 2008 by Steve Farrell

2008 Westminster parking protest

Riders facing new parking charges in London are planning to fight back with a go-slow protest.

Campaigners say Westminster City Council has failed to deliver secure parking facilities trumpeted as justification for the new £1.50 a day charge.

They are calling on motorcyclists to help defeat the scheme by joining the ride on October 24 at 1pm. Around 50 riders joined an earlier protest ride on September 28.


Parking bay charges launched today in Westminster

First published on 4 August, 2008 by Steve Farrell

Motorcycle parking Westminster

Westminster City Council today began introducing a £1.50 per day charge for motorcycle parking.

The council has planned a phased rollout of the charging scheme, with all its bays due to be covered by the end of August.

Riders can pay for parking by setting up a Pay by Phone account, or they can pre-register for the scheme online. In addition to the daily pass, riders can purchase a weekly pass for £5, a monthly pass for £20, a 3-monthly pass for £50, and an annual pass priced at £150.

As part of the charging scheme, the council has increased the number of motorcycle parking spaces by 1,500 to 6,000 spaces.

A spokeswoman for the council said it was looking for ways to improve the security of motorcycles parked in its area. In addition to providing security devices in some of its open bays, the council has provided 400 spaces in secure car parks, she said.

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Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.