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It’s always best to leave bikers alone

December 2, 2009

Westminster Councillor Danny Chalkley has made the grave mistake to impose a parking tax on motorcyclists in a pure attempt to boost parking revenue and sell the Verrus pay by phone parking infrastructure to other councils, through the Partners in Parking (PiP) scheme. We say grave mistake because the PiP scheme, lead by Councillor Danny Chalkley, Kevin Goad (Assistant Director of Parking) and Alastair Gilchrist (former Director of Parking) at Westminster City Council, seems to be the subject of severe violations of European law. These guys have just gone a step too far by stealth taxing bikers to park in their borough, and it is that step that has lead thousands of motorcyclists to campaign against the bike parking tax for the past sixteen months, and investigations to be carried out with regards to the implementation of the Verrus pay by phone parking system together with the PiP scheme. Should these three individuals not have made the decision to tax bikers for parking in the first place, no investigation would have been carried out and no public inquiry into the way the Verrus contract together with the PiP scheme have been set up would be demanded by thousands of bikers on 7th December 2009. These three bureaucrates have chosen to ignore thousands of bikers for months, who have expressed their complete opposition to being charged for parking, so they are now facing the consequences of their ignorance. Such is life!

We are glad to say that British bikers are not the only ones prepared to go out in the street to express their disgust at politicians who treat them like cash cows. Bikers in France have protested many times at parking conditions in Paris, Canadian bikers have been organising petitions to protect their parking rights in Vancouver, and it is now the turn of a good thousand of bikers in Latvia to demonstrate against a proposed increase in the annual road tax for motorcycles.

Bikers, wherever they are on the planet, constitute the most solid and united group of road users. We are always prepared to help each other, defend our rights all together, protest en masse when required. Why? Because motorbikes and scooters are the transport solution to congestion and pollution issues. Bikes don’t congest, pollute far less than cars and offer a reliable, quicker and cheaper mode of transport. So any attempt from politicians to attack the freedom that bikers have always enjoyed over the years make them get all together and fight all the way through, as one enormous single group, against those politicians, until they are brought into submission.

Some governments, whether local or central, have never dared to attack bikers, either because those governments recognise the benefits that bikes bring to the environment, or they are too scared of what the motorcyclist community may do against them. The three Westminster guys mentioned above must have been living a complete nightmare and have sleepless nights over the past year, with thousands of bikers demonstrating and blocking the streets of Central London every month against their parking policy, bombarding them with letters, emails and Freedom of Information requests on a daily basis, investigating the way their Verrus parking infrastructure has been implemented to finally find out that it may be in serious breach of European law. Not to mention the embarrassment that some Westminster Conservative Councillors, who have voted in favour of stealth taxing bikers to park, have caused themselves, by denying that they hold a free official parking permit (Councillor Jean-Paul Floru) when a Freedom of Information request revealed that they indeed had one, or by lying in the middle of a public scrutiny committee meeting saying that they had found a French report on the internet that proved that “motorcycles, even small ones, pollute more than hummers” (Councillor Susie Burbridge, who has never been able to provide a copy of the so-called report).

Anyway, we are glad that, in some parts of the world, some local authorities continue to encourage the use of bikes, like it is the case for instance in the city of Papeete (French Polynesia), where not only parking is offered free of charge, but also with individually delineated spaces and adequate security devices… a bit like in Paris.

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Please 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 7th December 2009, don’t miss it! For further details, visit  http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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 7 decembre 2009, ne la ratez pas! Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

 

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