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The Little Things….

November 15, 2010

 

Thurso, Scotland – It can often be the little things that give away an individuals or organisations real level of concern about an issue.

In this case the organisation is Transport for London and the issue is motorcycle and scooter parking.

We have come across an interesting Fact Sheet issued by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) as part of its 3 year Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees (PRAISE) Project. Who? What? The ETSC is a Brussels-based independent non-profit making organisation dedicated to the reduction of the number and severity of transport crash injuries in Europe. PRAISE is a project set up by ETSC to “praise” best practices in order to help European employers secure high road safety standards for their employees. All paid for of course by the European Commission i.e. you via your taxes.

Ahh yes the PRAISE Fact Sheet 4. A delightful interview with Steve Connolly he of the TfL London Road Safety Unit, the London Motorcycle Policy Unit, the London Safety Camera Partnership (if it still exists) and co-ordinator of the London team for the European Safer Urban Motorcycling (eSUM) Project. Incidentally Steve nice picture, did you get that tan on your last paid trip to Barcelona?

So why are the BRR people getting excited? Well it’s because the ETSC Fact Sheet explorers TfL’s scheme aimed at providing a free parking slot at TfL HQ buildings for its employees who commute on a motorcycle, scooter or moped. Further the Fact Sheet states that: “One of the main barriers preventing staff commuting is the lack of a secure PTW  (powered two-wheeler) parking area in the vicinity of their workplace”. So while the rest of the London motorcycling community, at least the ones in Westminster, are paying a quid a day to park in unsecured, poorly maintained, wet, oily, on street bike parks. The same bikers who are London tax payers are paying for TfL employees to park their motorcycles in nice dry, secure motorcycle parks. Further TfL are openly admitting that there is not enough motorcycle, scooter and moped parking in London.

Then there are other issues raised by the Fact Sheet but not necessarily appearing in it. TfL seem quite happy to promote motorcycling as an acceptable commuting mode for their employees, but not for Londoners in general. Millions spent on promoting cycling via Sky Ride, Boris Bikes and a hundred other means, zero spend on promoting motorcycle, scooter and moped use.

And eSum? A collaborative initiative between local authorities of Europe’s principal motorcycle cities e.g. Barcelona, London, Paris, Rome? To deliver safer urban motorcycling, funded of course by the European Commission. Well we all know that ‘continentals’ have a slightly more laissez-faire attitude to road safety than TfL. In other European cities it’s how can we help motorcyclists, things like , access to bus lane, free parking, use of advanced stop lines etc etc. Even festivals of motorcycling sponsored by the City. But not in London, where it’s all will we won’t we from TfL on bus lane access and advanced stop lines. Year after year after year after year on road safety campaigns that cost a fortune win awards and produce plenty of stats on how effective both TfL and the campaigns are.

Back to parking. Don’t be too hard on TFL after all it’s the system. What ever they say, even if they offer money, the London Boroughs don’t have to take notice. So with no overall motorcycle strategy for the Capital we a have multiplicity of ways and means of fulfilling the parking needs of London’s, motorcycle, scooter and moped users. It’s called a mess!

Is it that TfL are not concerned or don’t care that we can’t park? Is it demand management or intransigence? The answer probably no. It’s simple that TfL cannot do anything about it. But by publicising attempts to fix their own parking problems they have done us a good turn. As even TfL are now saying that there’s not enough free motorcycle parking in London!

Have fun, ride safe and wave!

© Back Roads Rider 2010

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