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Westminster Motorcycling Parking…Chalkleys Charge…Madness!

January 14, 2010


Carlisle, England – Don’t give up! Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war. That’s a message to the Westminster No To Bike Parking Tax campaigners following Westminster City Councils approval of a permanent central London motorcycle and scooter parking charge.

From Monday 25 January Westminster City Council (WCC) will charge motorcycle and scooter users £1 a day for on-street parking, it is the first London authority to do so. WCC’s decision to make the charge permanent has been taken despite huge demonstrations, petitions, face-to-face representations and responses to officially consultations from the London biking community and local residents.

Its simple motorcycle and scooter users believe that their mode is part of the solution to transport problems in London, and Westminster City Council does not agree. Well lets say that those who make up WCC and support the views of fellow Councillor, Cabinet Member and Chair of the Board of Partners in Parking Organisation Danny Chalkley do not agree. Chalkley has led WCC by the nose into its decision to charge, hence the Chalkley charge tag, yet in debates he is unable to offer any sensible thought through transport planning arguments as to why it should be imposed.

Be it demand management, a simple method of raising cash to prop up WCC or, as has been alleged, self-interest on the part of Danny Chalkley there are two victims of the WCC decision to charge. One the motorcycle and scooter users the other local democracy.

What of the ‘industry’. Unsurprisingly motorcycle and scooter dealers in London strongly support the Westminster No To Bike Parking Tax (NTBPT) campaign. A fantastic selling point ‘you can park for free’. Not so easy for the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCI). The letter from Steve Kenward, MCI Chief Executive, which blatantly fails to press any of the support buttons that NTBPT might have expected, is now an internet must see. As a dealer friend said; ‘how to kick your customer base in the teeth in one easy lesson, not exactly a good move in a recession’. Then there are the allegations of meetings between industry lobbyists and WCC. Did they take place? Why did they take place?. What was said?

As for Transport for London (TfL). In public they remain tight-lipped on the parking charge issue. With no effective overall strategy for motorcycle and scooter use and no powers over the London Boroughs TfL is in a difficult situation. However, that does not stop TfL punting membership of the European Safer Urban Motorcycling project (eSUM) at every opportunity. Surely the provision of free parking is a safety benefit, or is it TfL’s agenda to support parking charges thus reducing overall motorcycle and scooter numbers, demand management, and by default casualties. London Boroughs charging for bikers to park would be useful precedent for TfL to revisit the ‘shelved’ proposals to include motorcycles and scooters in the congestion-charging scheme.

More info on the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign here….

© Back Roads Rider 2010

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    January 14, 2010 9:20 am

    I’m not keen on the idea of paying to park my bike but why is free motorcycle parking a safety benefit? Perhaps WCC should charge cyclists too, bet there’s a lot more money to be made there…

    • backroadsrider permalink
      January 14, 2010 7:19 pm

      Hi Dave,

      It’s very easy to become over focused on finding a parking space for the bike and forget about ‘proper’ safe riding. In short having to scan for a parking space, particularly if there’s lack of provision, can override riders ‘normal’ hazard recognition. It could be argued that the fact that a space is free also a safety benefit as it basically makes the whole parking experience stress free and thus safer.

      I seem to recall that safety was a factor in the case put up in Paris for providing 10,000? free bike parking spaces, which was later approved by the Mayor.

  2. Rich Bradley permalink
    January 14, 2010 10:14 am

    Excellent article! What really shines through is the lack of reason for this charge. What does WCC gain by imposing a charge on Motorcycle parking? We take up very little space, aid congestion and are more fuel efficient. Surely anyone with a brain would know that Motorcycle use should be actively encouraged in busy cities? Danny cannot claim it is propping up WCC coffers – coffers he helped empty by the way -because they are claiming it will be revenue neutral. It isn’t about demand management, as reducing motorcycle use would be actively bad for Westminster, causing an increase in congestion as people switched back to cars.

    So come on Daniel, what is your real motive for introducing it? It is because Verrus UK appear to be taking 90p out of every £1 spent on parking? Are you trying to shore up a friend’s shareprice, eh? Because that would be mad, bad and very very illegal…

  3. edenphil permalink
    January 14, 2010 11:23 am

    Excellent article. Puts the points across well and shows why we motorcyclists/scooter riders are fighting this tax. You are right democracy has suffered appallingly, this is nothing more than an excuse by Chalkly and his chronies to stealth tax hardworking , financially stressed individuals and realise self benefit and promotion into the equation. Is it any suprise that we will not give up and will exercise our rights to challenge this tax and the individuals in court. The war is not over.

  4. January 14, 2010 11:44 am

    All Westminster has done is fire the starting pistol for a massive backlash of active protest against their money grabbing parking system.

    The article that just appeared in the Evening Standard saying 30 signs had been vandalised is completely inaccurate… Its more like 300!
    Their system has a fatal flaw. If there is no sign they can’t make you pay. As quick as they replace them they will get removed.

    On the legal side they are facing a barrage of official investigations, Its a race to see which action finishes them off first.
    I predict all parking will be free in about 10 days if B&Q don’t run out of paint!

  5. January 14, 2010 1:40 pm

    Very good post! This tax is ridiculous and doesn’t make any sense. The battle against it continues and will not cease until the tax is fully scrapped.

  6. Jenny permalink
    February 5, 2010 2:40 am

    Motorcycles, mopeds and scooters should be able to park for free in motorcycle bays AND car bays. Around half of London’s councils allow bikes to park in residential bays and pay and display bays free of charge.


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