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UK: Ongoing Fight To Stop Paying For Motorcycle Parking Taxes -Help Needed

17
March
2010
  Posted at 04:30:00 PM
  File under  Protests
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France
UK

By now, almost every country in the world is in dire need for cash. Budgets have been overrun by 100's of %, debt is increasing, and therefore the money has to come from somewhere. An easy target is the motorcycle world. As a group, bikers are insignificant. We just don't make up the numbers for a strong political lobby to defend our rights. We're not as strong as farmers, car drivers or even hookers.

That is why we often have to resort to heavy-handed protests (see related articles below). With that in mind, it's interesting to see what's going on next door, in the UK.

There, in London, the Westminster City Council Open link in a new window is taxing any motorcycle parked there. What used to be free, is now taxed. The tax is an experiment, but many motorcycle riders do not know this. They are forced to pay, while you can object to the fee. Special parking bays were created, and as a biker you have to use one of them. There are not enough of them, and they are cramped, very cramped. The Council declared that the tax would be used to create more parking bays, but that obviously never happened. But motorcycles are not allowed to park anywhere else, and since there's not enough space, you can guess what happens.... they get ticketed. Parking outside a parking bay will cost you £120 (about US$180)! Scandalous!

Motorcycle parking in London

A group has been created to fight the injustice. "No To Bike Parking Tax Open link in a new window" has been not only campaigning silently, they are the Council to court, and they have asked the European Commission to investigate the illegal practice. They have also asked the Metropolitan Police to intervene.

Despite receiving already 3000 objections from people, the Council are ignoring them. Let's face it, money is money... and it doesn't matter where it comes from.

UK No Motorcycle Parking Tax Protest

The organizers have started a regular protest gathering. Every Wednesday, they gather for the so-called "The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club". The gather and then go out on the road, riding their motorcycles like cars, in other words, created havoc in the streets. Have a look at the video below, you'll get the idea. Too bad the English car drivers aren't like the French, understanding that it's for their own benefit. You'll see in the video many angry car/truck drivers. But if motorcycle have to behave as cars, including parking, then they better get used to the idea for not moving for hours on end.

It's not an easy battle they face, but at least they are doing something about it. The more motorcycles join in, the more weight the message carries. As long as the protests are done legally, there's nothing the authorities can do, and eventually politicians will need to listen. Politicians are a necessary evil, and rarely do things for the good of people. The only time they do, is when they are forced.

What can you do?


As someone living in the UK, contact the organizers. You can donate money, fill in forms, and go out on Wednesday for the protest rides. If you live abroad, you can assist, since you are a potential tourist. I as someone who can visit London will not do so while they are treating bikers like this. So let it be known. Send them an email (info@westminster.gov.uk), or visit the Council's website. Money talks... specially tourist money!

Click here to visit the NoToBikeParkingTax site Open link in a new window
Click here to contact the Westminister City Council site Open link in a new window

The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club
(3 minutes 36 seconds)

     
Click to see the Video clip



























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