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Madrid: another bike friendly city unlike Westminster

October 21, 2009

Back in August, we published a post to show the fantastic parking facilities made available to motorcyclists in the city of Barcelona, as a result of the local council encouraging the use of motorbikes and scooters to reduce road congestion and air pollution (click here to view the post). Let’s now move on to another Spanish city, Madrid, where the use of motorcycles is also highly encouraged. So far, we haven’t found a single city in Europe, and indeed the rest of the world, where a local council discourages the use of motorcycles, like it is the case in the London Borough of Westminster.

The city of Madrid has seen the number of motorbikes and scooters increase dramatically in the past few years, as a result of the local authorities actively encouraging their use. Like in Milan, Paris, Singapore or Barcelona, motorcycles are seen in Madrid as a transport solution, not a problem. Motorcyclists in the Spanish capital will soon benefit from an additional 9,000 motorcycle parking spaces to accomodate the ever increasing demand. Unlike Westminster City Council, for which motorcycles seem to cause a serious problem to the extent that they feel the urge to cynically stealth tax motorcyclists for parking by using the rubbish Verrus pay by phone system, which keeps breaking down and leaves its users in distress in the pouring rain, Madrid are keen to provide thousands of additional parking spaces for motorcycles, free of charge and with excellent security devices, such as the ones shown below.


Madrid 1


Madrid 2


Note the excellent security devices, located at the front of the bay in order not to use up any valuable parking space, and to which the front or back wheel of a motorcycle can be chained, to prevent theft. 9,000 additional free spaces, as shown above, are in the process of being created in Madrid, to meet demand levels.

This is to be compared with the third world motorcycle parking facilities provided in Central London, by Westminster City Council. We say third world parking facilities because no security devices are provided, unlike most European cities outside the UK. The motorcycle bays in Westminster are constantly over-crowded due to the on-going lack of investment to provide an adequate number of motorcycle spaces to meet demand, despite motorcyclists being cynically stealth taxed by Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley, who has no other ambition than promote his own political career by bringing as much money as he possibly can to the council, and sell his cynical attack on bikers to other UK councils. That’s all this man is interested in, he gives no consideration whatsoever to the environment, given that he has granted himself and his fellow Conservative colleagues the benefit of a free official parking permit for their cars, and allow 18 Westminster Conservative Councillors (including himself ?) the luxury of free parking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all this of course behind the back of their own electorate.


Madrid 4What if you can’t find a space to park your bike? In Madrid, this is not a problem, you are allowed to park in car bays for free, and even use the entire bay just for your bike! In Westminster, if you can’t find a space, you are advised to park your bike in a car bay and pay the corresponding fare. After all, Westminster City Council treat motorcycles like cars by charging them to park, although they don’t congest, so they might as well grab as much money as they possibly can, why not?


Madrid 3In Madrid, you can also park your motorbike or scooter on the pavement, along the edge of the road, without obstructing the footway, as shown on the photo. We wonder what would happen to your bike should you dare to park it on the pavement in Westminster, even if it doesn’t obstruct the footway. A CEO, desparate to meet their daily target to avoid losing their job and being told off by the council, will jump on the opportunity to issue your bike with a PCN.

It is very clear that Westminster City Council are totally left alone with their bike parking tax, a concept that absolutely no other public authority is keen to adopt. Even other local councils in London, such as the City of London and the Royal Borough of Kensignton and Chelsea have advised that they have no plans to charge motorcyclists for parking. So is Mr Chalkley really keen to damage his own political career and generate bad publicity for himself in the UK, as well as overseas?


Source (in Spanish, click to view):-


Halloween demoPlease join and support the legal fight to get the bike parking tax in Westminster scrapped before it spreads all over the UK and the European Union. The next demonstration is on 31st October 2009, don’t miss it! For further details, visit

Soutenez et participez au proces dont le but est de forcer la mairie de Westminster a supprimer la taxe de stationnement des deux-roues avant que le concept ne se propage a travers le Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. La prochaine manifestation aura lieu le 31 octobre 2009, ne la ratez pas! Pour plus d’informations, consultez


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