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British bikers to submit a claim against parking charges to the European Court of Justice

After having almost exhausted all the options available in the UK domestic legal system to successfully challenge the validity and legality of motorcycle parking charges imposed by Westminster City Council in the heart of London, thousands of British bikers are preparing to take their case to the European Court of Justice. We say “almost exhausted” as the bikers are still in the process of asking permission to present their case before the UK Supreme Court, which is the only remaining option to see the parking tax scrapped through the UK domestic legal system. If that doesn’t work, which we believe to be highly likely, the bikers will submit a claim to the European Court of Justice against the Government of the United Kingdom.

The UK domestic courts have (subject to any possible ruling from the Supreme Court) declared Westminster Council’s motorcycle parking charge legal and valid on the grounds that it is only fair that motorbike and scooter riders pay for parking because car drivers are required to do so. The UK courts have also said that, by making motorcyclists pay for parking, any discrimination between bikes and cars is eliminated. In other words, the UK legal system assumes that bikes and cars are to be treated in exactly the same way, which gives the green light to any UK council to charge motorbike and scooter riders to park within their borough, if they so wish.

The UK courts have totally failed to recognise the fact that motorbikes and scooters are congestion boosters and offer a cheaper, more convenient, less polluting and faster mode of transport, especially in large cities such as London, where congestion and pollution are very serious issues that need constant tackling. By simply considering that it is only fair that riders have to pay to park because other motorised road users also have to pay, we fear that the ruling made by the UK courts will discourage the use of motorcycles in a heavily congested and polluted environment, where bikes are an ideal and effective solution and not the cause of the problem.

Many believed that the case was robust and able to clearly demonstrate to the UK domestic courts that Westminster City Council had introduced their motorcycle parking charge without adequate consultation and in the sole and unique objective to raise revenue from parking bays that were totally free of charge from the day of their creation. The UK courts rejected these claims and based their entire judgement on grounds of discrimination and fairness between cars and motorcycles.

The thousands of bikers who have been supporting the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign for the past three years disagree with the ruling made by the UK courts and now intend to take their case to the European Court of Justice (pending the result of their application to the UK Supreme Court) and against their own British Government.

The bikers wish to ask the European Court of Justice whether any member state of the European Union is entitled to treat motorcycles like cars when the former have, among other benefits, the power of considerably cutting congestion and pollution. The same bikers also wish to ask the European Court of Justice whether it is acceptable to discourage the use of motorcycles within the European Union by charging them in a view to raising revenue and managing demand, when motorcycles are a key solution to pollution and congestion issues and domestic governments should actively encourage their citizens to switch from four to two wheels. Let’s face it, if the European Court of Justice considers, like the UK domestic courts, that motorcycles are to be treated like cars, not only can we expect to see parking charges for motorbikes and scooters rolled out across the entire European Union, but also the presence of considerable problems with managing pollution, congestion and road space (to name three) in all member states and their respective cities. If, on the contrary, the European Court of Justice recognises that motorbikes and scooters are a major solution to cut pollution, congestion, effectively manage road space etc, then we can expect the ruling made by the UK domestic courts to become invalid and other European member states to scrap any plans they may have to charge motorbikes and scooters for parking.

The case, as it is to be presented before the European Court of Justice, is likely to generate an inmense interest across the entire European Union, from Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Milan to Athens, Warsaw, Stockholm, to name a few. Whatever decision the European Courts will come up with will impact all member states. That decision will either give the green light to all European Union member states to introduce parking charges for motorcycles, and thus discourage their use, or else, prohibit the implementation and imposition of parking charges for motorcycles everywhere within Europe.

The No To Bike Parking Tax campaign has so far successfully managed to keep motorcycle parking charges limited to the central London Borough of Westminster. Surely, a large number of UK councils have been waiting for the ruling of their domestic courts before embarking on to charging for motorcycle parking. Now that the case is highly likely to be taken to the European Court of Justice, will councils wait for a European ruling before introducing parking charges for bikes or will they introduce them anyway and take the risk of having to scrap them at a later stage, should the European Union orders them to do so? Let’s wait and see… but it’s soon all going to be within the very capable hands of the European Court of Justice.

We can only be thankful that the United Kingdom is a full and permanent member state of the European Union, where British bikers sincerely hope to benefit from a much fairer and more realistic hearing than it has been in their own domestic legal system.

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Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Bikers take parking fight to Europe as UK dismiss their appeal

Today has been a very disappointing day for thousands of bikers in the United Kingdom who have been supporting the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign to fight the introduction of parking charges for motorcyclists in the heart of the British capital by Westminster City Council. The Court of Appeal has dismissed the bikers’ case although permission to appeal the initial judgement was granted on six grounds out of seven.

The High Court of Justice considers that it is fair that motorcyclists pay, along with car drivers, for parking, despite the fact that motorcycle parking has always been free of charge until recently. The judges today rejected the claim from the The No To Bike Parking Tax group that motorcycle parking charges were introduced in the sole attempt to raise revenue although, as admitted by Westminster Council, the motorcycle charging scheme has been generating an annual loss to the taxpayer of over £400,000, whilst the scheme was being pushed through by the same council as “revenue-neutral”.

The High Court of Justice has also rejected the bikers’ claim that consultation had not been properly carried out by the council prior to introducing the charging scheme. The Court of Appeal also agreed with Westminster Council that parking charges were necessary to regulate demand from motorcyclists given that bikes remain exempt from the congestion charge in central London. Lord Justice Maurice Kay said that “it is common ground that increasing demand, if evidentially well-founded, would justify charging”. The question remains however whether the increasing demand was indeed “well-founded”…

The Court of Appeal took the view that the council had fairly considered the opposing views of motorcyclists by reducing the charge from £1.50 to £1 a day in an attempt to make the scheme revenue-neutral.

The campaign group still disagrees with today’s ruling and intends to continue with their legal fight against Westminster Council by taking the case to the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg to establish whether the council has indeed followed the European Union rules and regulations when setting up its parking infrastructure and while charging for parking. Since the claim that the group is submitting to the European Court of Justice is against the UK Government, as opposed to Westminster Council individually, legal-aid will negate the need for further fundraising from the protest group.

Whilst we are definitely not best placed to make any comments or criticism on the judgement announced today by the Court of Appeal in the UK, we wonder the extent to which the decision has been influenced by politics and personal opinions. Assuming Westminster Council had done something illegitimate or illegal in implementing and imposing a parking charge on motorcyclists, would it have been really appropriate to make a local authority lose against members of the public and admit that they are in the wrong? Would this not have encouraged members of the public across the UK to take the habit of investigating the actions of and suing their local Government every time the latter was to implement an unpopular scheme? Also, after having heard comments during the trial such as “but it’s only a pound” or “why should motorcyclists not pay when car drivers do”, do we really think that a ruling in favour of the bikers was going to be announced today?

In Europe, we expect the case to take a complete different dimension. As far as we can see, the EU is not concerned about local and national politics, and even personal opinions. It’s all about assessing whether European law has been correctly applied in a particular member state and, if not, sanctions and orders are given against the national Government of that member state. Let’s see what the European Court of Justice has to say to the UK Government about the bikers’ claims in due course, if anything. Sometimes, it’s good and reassuring to know that the UK is a full member state of the EU, as one can hope that justice involving the UK may be done in a fairer way.

Westminster councillors may be celebrating their victory today with a glass of champagne, but it sounds like they have only won a battle, not the war against the bikers!

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Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Motorcycles may be banned from cities in France !

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet is trying to push through one of the most evil and disgusting piece of anti-bike legislation in France. Let's hope she will fail.

We have recently learned that France’s ecology minister, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (left), has proposed a ban on the circulation of all older motorbikes and scooters in city centres. Motorbikes and scooters that were manufactured before 1st July 2004 (and also cars manufactured before 1997) may be banned from entering city centres from as early as 2012 in an attempt to improve air quality by reducing pollution.

The proposals have yet to be approved by the French Government but, if implemented, up to 1.6 million motorbike and scooter owners could be forced to replace their machine if they wish to continue to ride in city centres. The scheme would initially be the subject of a trial in eight cities across France (Paris, Bordeaux, Nice, Lyon, Grenoble, Clermont-Ferrand, Aix-en-Provence and Saint-Denis). Under the new proposals, anyone caught riding a motorcycle from before 2004 will be issued with an expensive fine and possibly have their bike taken away from them on the spot.

At a time when many citizens are struggling to cope with the adverse economic environment where prices have increased dramatically, these proposals come as a complete shock to most of us. This is most likely to be one of the most disgusting and anti-bike piece of legislation ever seen in France, which would ban up to 1.6 million French riders from using motorcycles to help reduce congestion in city centres.

The Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers) have expressed their total opposition to the proposed scheme and intend to organise a series of protests that will paralyse city centres and bring them to a complete standstill during the most crucial hours of the day, until proposals are totally abandoned. The FFMC argues that “not only motorcycles comply with the Euro 3 regulation since 2003 but also contribute to reducing toxic and harmful emissions caused by traffic. According to CITEPA [institute in charge of preparing and publishing pollution related statistics], motorcycles only represent 0.23% of the overall CO2 emissions in France. In addition, cities such as London, that have taken draconian measures to reduce pollution, have exempt motorcycles from these measures and, in fact, have been encouraging their use”. So why such an evil attack on riders in France?

A first protest will be taking place in Paris this Monday 11th April 2011 where thousands of angry bikers are expected to gather at Place de la Concorde at 12.30pm and cause a little bit of disruption in the French capital! The FFMC together with their thousands of supporters all over the country are determined to show Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet how stupid her proposals are and make her realise the consequences if she doesn’t abandon or withdraw her plans immediately. Good luck to her!

Further reading (in English) Bike ban in French cities (and in French) Interdiction des deux-roues en ville 

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If you’re based in France and want to take part of the fight against the Government’s proposed introduction of a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles and their continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations contre la proposition du gouvernement d’introduire un controle technique pour les 2 roues motorises ansi que de continuer a empecher la circulation inter files pour les motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

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Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

A tsunami of angry bikers floaded Paris to say OUI to traffic filtering

In response to the latest dirty tricks played by the French Police to catch bikers filtering through traffic (or splitting lanes) and issue them with a 90 euros fine payable on the spot together with 3 points taken off their licence, the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers) called all Paris based motorbike and scooter riders to go down the streets on Saturday 26 March 2011 and express their disgust at their Government’s continued refusal to make traffic filtering legal in France.

A peaceful but strategic protest

Unlike previous demonstrations organised by the FFMC, the aim of this one was not to cause massive delays and complete chaos on the roads but rather gain support from other road users, including car, lorry, bus, coach and taxi drivers. Protestors aimed at making drivers realise that if the authorities continue to ban motorcyclists from riding in between lanes in heavy or slow traffic conditions, not only will they increase congestion as a result of poor road space management but they will also increase pollution in stationary traffic. While being stuck in queues of four wheel vehicles, bikers are directly exposed to harmful emissions which have the effect of damaging their langs and potentially developing respiratory complications in the long run. The angry bikers also demonstrated to their road counterparts that in case of emergency or unexpected brake, there is a high risk of them being squashed in between two cars, which could have disastreous consequences.

Let’s hand out leaflets to all cagers !

After a short briefing at Château de Vincennes in East Paris, protestors were split into groups and given thousands of leaflets to distribute to all car, bus, taxi, lorry and coach drivers all over the ring road (peripherique), which is the Police most favourite site to catch bikers filtering through traffic and issue them with fines and take points off their driving licence. The leaflets were designed to explain to all cagers the dramatic consequences that banning traffic filtering has on all road users, particularly the bikers. The aim of this was to gain as much support as possible from drivers to put pressure on the Government to make traffic filtering legal in France. Each group of bikers was assigned an entry point to the ring road and were distributing the leaflets to all drivers, one by one, as they entered the peripherique.

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The bikers stopped each vehicle entering the ring road and explained why traffic filtering for motorcyclists must be made legal

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Drivers were given leaflets to explain why traffic filtering must be made legal and what the consequences of not allowing this practice might be for them and the bikers

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The bikers took the time to explain to drivers the issues around traffic filtering to gain maximum support

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One can only hope that the thousands of angry bikers who participated to the demonstration have successfully educated their fellow road users and the Government, as a result, will see sense and make traffic filtering legal in France. The war between the bikers and the French authorities continues…

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If you’re based in France and want to take part of the fight against the Government’s proposed introduction of a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles and their continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations contre la proposition du gouvernement d’introduire un controle technique pour les 2 roues motorises ansi que de continuer a empecher la circulation inter files pour les motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Traffic filtering in France: Police dirty tricks lead to racket

These bikers are riding illegally under French law. They should queue up in lane like all other vehicles!

In the last few weeks, the Police have been specifically targeting bikers on the Paris ring road (“Peripherique”) by issuing them with expensive fines (90 euros minimum if paid promptly) and taking three points off their licence if caught filtering through stationary or slow moving traffic. Thousands of motorcyclists, whether scooter or motorbike riders, have been forced to contribute to the French Government’s wealth as a result of the authorities continued refusal to make traffic filtering (or lane splitting) legal for all bikers in France, while this practice is either legal or largely accepted in all other member states of the European Union, including the United Kingdom.

In France, where motorists must drive on the right hand side of the road, the Highway Code prohibits a vehicle from overtaking another on the right, which is specifically what traffic filtering does when motorcyclists ride in between lanes. The French Highway Code treats motorcycles and cars in exactly the same way when it comes to overtaking. Under no circumstances a vehicle is allowed to overtake on the right.

Despite enormous national demonstrations organised by the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers), the authorities still refuse to listen and continue to shut their ears to any proposal that consists of making traffic filtering legal for motorcyclists. Bikers represent honey pots for the French authorities who have recently instructed the Police to issue as many fines as they possibly can to bikers caught filtering through stationary or slow moving traffic. To maximise the number of fines issued to bikers, the Police have been employing nasty dirty tricks on the Paris peripherique, which consist of deliberately slowing down the traffic by driving their own cars and vans at a reduced speed in an attempt to take advantage of the bikers’ desperation in slow moving traffic and catch them filtering between lanes. A couple of Police cars or vans squeeze in between cars, slow down the traffic and a few cops further down the road stop all bikers seen filtering through traffic and issue each with a nasty fine and three points off their licence. This is pure racket and unfortunately represents the horrifying truth of how bikers are treated in France.

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Police van stopped on the right hand side delibarately to slow down the traffic and encourage bikers to filter in between lanes

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Further down the road, bikers who have been encouraged to filter through slow traffic created by Police cars and vans, are stopped and fined... RACKET!

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Can you imagine, as a biker, how frustrating it is to be forced to stay stuck in traffic although there is plenty of space for you to move forward and still make it to your destination on time? The FFMC has issued excellent guidelines on how to safely filter through traffic and submitted them to the French Government for approval, but still with no luck.

As a result, the FFMC has decided to intensify its actions against the authorities and the Police and will be organising another enormous protest gathering thousands of riders in Paris on 26th March 2011, to say enough is enough. The protest will initially take place in strategic locations across the French capital with bikers split in groups. The groups will then join to create an enormous convoy and descend en masse onto the peripherique with each bike taking the same space as a car and leaving plenty of space between riders to once again demonstrate to the authorities that if not allowed to filter, bikes can massively congest and cause complete chaos on the roads, as cars do.

UK France bikers.com calls all Paris based riders to join the protest on 26th March 2011 to express their disgust at the recent Police money-grabbing dirty tricks. We also urge all UK riders who can make their way to Paris to come and support their French brothers and sisters in their fight against their Government. Let’s not forget that the FFMC has recently and generously given 720 euros to their UK fellow bikers to help fund the court case against Westminster City Council’s bike parking tax in London, so why not come and support the FFMC on 26th March 2011 in return? Protestors will meet at Chateau de Vincennes in East Paris at noon for a 1pm departure (don’t forget that France is one hour ahead of the UK).

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If you’re based in France and want to take part of the fight against the Government’s proposed introduction of a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles and their continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations contre la proposition du gouvernement d’introduire un controle technique pour les 2 roues motorises ansi que de continuer a empecher la circulation inter files pour les motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Four ways to stay safe by staying visible

France and the United Kingdom are among the most popular countries for motorcycling, particularly in urban areas where public transport can be expensive and not always reliable.  Whilst motorbikes and scooters represent a cheaper, greener and faster mode of transport, riders must remain highly visible at all times to maximise their safety on the road. 

Most car drivers on the road are not used to or don’t think of watching for a motorcyclist in traffic. Attending bike safety courses and increasing motorcycle inspection standards can do very little to change the way motorcyclists are perceived on the road. The best way to stay as safe as possible is to make sure that other drivers can see you. Staying highly visible keeps you from blending into the background in a traffic situation where cars far outnumber bikes. A few simple changes to your riding can increase your visibility and keep you safer.

What to wear

The most visible part of your motorcycle in car traffic is you. Try to wear brightly coloured jackets that are easy to see in any weather. Many motorcycle jacket manufacturers today use bright reflective materials to make riders more visible. Adding reflectors to your bike will also help you catch the light and catch the eyes of other drivers on the road. A brightly coloured helmet is also a good way to remain visible. White helmets provide the best reflection, even on a cloudy day.

How to ride

The way you ride can help you stay more visible. Avoid keeping a straight trajectory as you drive down the road. Safely moving from side to side in your lane, or switching lanes regularly, will help other motorists see you. Position yourself in the lane so that you can see the side mirrors of the car in front of you. When you approach an intersection, stay closer to the middle of the street so that any cars that are turning can see you clearly as early as possible from their side of the intersection. Avoid driving too close to the car in front of you so that you can stay out of the blind spots to the right and left rear of the car.

Adjusting your lights

Your lights are excellent tools when you want to remain highly visible. Always drive with your headlight on. Drivers will notice the light in their mirrors when you pull in behind them in traffic. An inexpensive headlight modulator will make your front light pulse slightly, which will catch someone’s eye much more quickly than a steadily burning light. Flash your tail light a few times before you begin to slow down. This gives the driver behind you more time to realise you are there and adjust to your new speed.

Body language

Remember to use your hands to indicate your intentions to other drivers. A motorcycle rider who is always leaning into the handlebars and never moves can disappear into the background. Use hand signals when you plan to change lanes or make a turn. Your sudden arm movement will usually catch someone’s eye so that they are more aware of you and your bike. Inexperienced riders should practice using hand signals before they try it in traffic.

Now, why not watch the short video below which will show you all the tips you need to stay safe by staying visible on the road.

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This post has been written by one of our readers, Jessica Bosari, who writes for carinsurancequotescomparison.com, a site that seeks to help consumers stay informed about important insurance issues and compare motor vehicle insurance to get the best rates.

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If you’re based in France and want to take part of the fight against the Government’s proposed introduction of a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles and their continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations contre la proposition du gouvernement d’introduire un controle technique pour les 2 roues motorises ansi que de continuer a empecher la circulation inter files pour les motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Calling all female bikers

Too many authorities and members of the public associate bikers to nasty, dirty, ugly and impolite males when, in fact, bikers are just human beings like any others who happen to use motorised two (or three) wheelers as a mode of transport to get around. The image of bikers has always been quite bad although it has improved in the last few years, at least in France and the United Kingdom. On our way to work, whether in London or Paris, we come across many scooter riders wearing very smart office suits and well polished dark shoes, but also many other bike riders in leather suits and boots, as well as jeans, t-shirts and trainers, which demonstrates that all sorts of people make use of motorcycles in today’s society.

Whilst people from all walks of life ride motorcycles, a fair proportion of them are females, contrary to the belief of some uneducated morons who keep associating riders to males for no specific reason. We see more and more women riding scooters and motorbikes in France and the UK, although it is true that scooters are more popular among the ladies than motorbikes. Scooters allow ladies to wear their most sexy skirt and shoes whilst this type of clothing would make them feel rather uncomfortable on motorbikes for obvious reasons. Not to mention the advantage that scooters have over motorbikes when it rains, as they can accomodate leg covers to keep the bottom parts of your body warm and dry. But motorbikes are still the golden kings of motorcycling with many of us who enjoy reviving engines and showing off with the most powerful machines.

Well, almost 1,500 female bikers have recently been touring en masse the streets of Paris and Marseille to show the biking community that not all bikers are males and that women have a right to feel part of the motorcycling community. We say, damn right, well done, ladies! 900 female bikers took over the streets of the French capital and 500 those of Marseille, France’s third largest city, on 6th March 2011.

Anne and Annie decided to organise such a historical and amazing ride and invited all female bikers to participate. All “rideresses” were given pink balloons to attach to their bike for the ride to remind everyone that they are female bikers with the same rights as their male counterparts. A similar ride was organised in Paris by Anne and Annie last year, but this year, the event also took place in Marseille. We have heard that other French cities may see a similar event taking place next year. Perhaps a group of UK “rideresses” may want to cross the Channel and join the convoy next year to support their French female counterparts?

We now leave with you with a nice and short video of this amazing and incredible event for you to enjoy and many congratulations to all female bikers!

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If you’re based in France and want to take part of the fight against the Government’s proposed introduction of a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles and their continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations contre la proposition du gouvernement d’introduire un controle technique pour les 2 roues motorises ansi que de continuer a empecher la circulation inter files pour les motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

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Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

French and British bikers more united than ever before

Only a few days to go before Westminster City Council faces the entire UK motorcycle community in the High Court of Justice for having introduced a parking tax which is strongly alleged to be illegal. From 14 March 2011, thousands of bikers, unhappy with being stealth taxed by a council for which the only objective is to raise revenue for financial gain and personal glorification, will be following the progress of the court case brought by Warren Djanogly, Chairman of the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign against Westminster City Council.

The bikers have had to raise £20,000 to fund the cost of appealing the decision made by Lord Justice Pitchford back in July 2010 that gave reason to Westminster Council. The biking community and their lawyers believe the decision made by Pitchford to be totally wrong in law and, therefore, submitted an application to the Court to appeal it. Not only permission to appeal was granted to the bikers but such permission was granted on six grounds out of seven, which is an amazing and spectacular result. Lord Justice Jackson, who granted permission to the bikers to appeal, will be hearing the case on 14th March 2011, which we all hope will be favourable to the bikers.

Westminster’s most hated bike parking tax has made a lot of bad noise across “la Manche” where the  Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry bikers) has called all its members across the whole of France to support their most respected British neighbours by making a donation towards the £20,000 required to fund the forthcoming hearing at the High Court of Justice in London. On behalf of all its members, the FFMC has recently sent the amazing sum of 720 euros to the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign, which has been extremely well perceived by the bikers in the UK, who have taken the time to post comments in French on the campaign’s forum to express their inmense gratitude towards their French counterparts.

Not only the French biking community has been following the developments of the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign very closely for the last three years but they have also sent representatives of the FFMC and Motomag.com to London to meet with the campaign committee, attend their demonstrations and make the French biking community aware of what could come their way if Westminster’s most evil attack on motorcyclists is not scrapped immediately. The amazing support that the campaign has received from the French is the illustration of a very strong unity and “entente cordiale” between French and British bikers, who in fact have joined forces to fight against self-serving bureaucrates who have no ambition other than fill up their own coffers. UK France bikers.com is indeed very proud and delighted to see bikers between the two nations join forces and support each other so well. We have heard comments made by a group of British bikers talking about going over to France to attend the next FFMC demonstration to force the Government to make traffic filtering (or lane splitting) legal in France and thank them for all the support they have received from the French biking community.

Yesterday, London saw the last mega demonstration against the motorcycle parking tax before the court hearing on 14 March 2011, where hundreds of bikers got together on the North and South circulars to remind all councils in London and beyond that, should they decide to follow the Westminster example and introduce a stealth tax on motorcycle parking for financial gain and personal glorification, the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign will come their way and severely disrupt their working lives, as it has been the case in Westminster.

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If you’re based in France and want to take part of the fight against the Government’s proposed introduction of a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles and their continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations contre la proposition du gouvernement d’introduire un controle technique pour les 2 roues motorises ansi que de continuer a empecher la circulation inter files pour les motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Should bikes be treated like cars?

We are not like cagers!

When it comes to defend and protect the rights of motorcyclists, bikers from all walks of life and horizons form a great alliance to fight against any authority that dares to compromise and put an end to the freedom they have always enjoyed. Free parking, no congestion charge, cheaper, faster, less pollutant, non-congestant, you name it, motorcycles represent an ideal mode of transport for so many of us. But the issue comes when a public authority starts treating motorcycles like cars, although motorcycles are not cars at all. The most recurrent question is “cars pay for parking, why should motorcycles not pay?”. But when we ask why cars should pay for parking, the answer is “well, mmh, euh, I don’t know…!” So if you don’t know why cars should pay for parking, then why should motorcycles pay? Surely, motorcycles should not pay for no reason. In truth, there is no reason why cars should pay for parking, other than bring in more cash to councils, that’s the only reason. But the benefits generated from making cars pay for parking are all for councils, motorists get no benefit whatsoever out of their payment. So again, we ask the question why should motorcycles pay for parking? Answer on a postcard…

While discussing the concept of treating motorcycles like cars with a council member the other day, we made the obvious statement that cars congest our roads whilst bikes don’t. Our statement was accepted but the council member was still keen on the idea of treating motorcycles like cars, which came as no surprise to us given the complete lack of knowledge that this individual demonstrated about bikes. When we made the statement that because cars congest, then bikes should also congest, the guy argued that bikes were different from cars and so don’t cause congestion. So why does he want to treat motorcycles like cars then whilst he clearly recognises that bikes are different from cars?

When a public authority starts to treat bikes like cars, motorcyclists often go down the streets en masse and behave like car drivers, that is take the space of a car either while parked or riding on the road and enjoy the complete mess that this creates. One car equals one bike, right then, let’s occupy the same space as a car on the road, the same kerb space as a car while parked so that the number of parking spaces for cars decrease, stop filtering through traffic (or lane splitting) to cause the same amount of congestion as a car and leave plenty of space between us to cause the same disruption as cars naturally do, and then let’s see whether the public authority will continue to treat motorbikes and scooters like cars.

Last year, the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – the French Federation of Angry Bikers) organised enormous demonstrations all over France to protest against the Government’s proposals to introduce a compulsory road safety and environmental test, exactly the same test as for cars. Thousands of bikers took over the French roads and behaved like car drivers, that is each occupied the same space as a car to prove to the Government that should they treat bikes like cars, then bikes will behave like cars and cause the same disruption and congestion as cars do.

Each bike occupies the same space as a car... Can you imagine the impact on congestion?

Every Wednesday morning and evening, a group of motorcyclists from the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign gather in central London’s Trafalgar Square and ride their bikes like if they were driving cars. Each bike deliberately takes the same space as a car on the road and causes enormous congestion that has the effect of creating massive traffic jams all over central London during rush hour. That’s what happens when an authority like Westminster City Council has decided to treat motorcycles like cars by charging them to park for no reason other than make the authority wealthier. They treat bikes like cars, so they behave like cars.

Traffic jam in central London caused by bikers behaving like car drivers

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THEY TREAT US LIKE CARS, WE WILL BEHAVE LIKE CARS, WHETHER IN FRANCE OR THE UNITED KINGDOM – LET THOSE WHO RIDE DECIDE

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If you’re based in France and want to take part of the fight against the Government’s proposed introduction of a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles and their continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations contre la proposition du gouvernement d’introduire un controle technique pour les 2 roues motorises ansi que de continuer a empecher la circulation inter files pour les motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Westminster Council will face the bikers on Appeal next month

Another five weeks to go and the thousands of bikers who have been supporting the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign, headed by its Chairman Warren Djanogly, will take Westminster Council to court for the second time, although this time it will be a judgement on appeal. The bikers were granted permission by Lord Justice Jackson (a different judge from the first trial) to present their case before the Court of Appeal on 14th and 15th March 2011 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Permission to appeal the first decision, strongly believed by the bikers to be wrong in law, was granted by Lord Justice Jackson on six grounds out of seven, which we think is an excellent result and gives serious prospects of success for the bikers. If the bikers win the case on appeal, chances are that Westminster Council will be ordered to scrap the motorcycle parking tax with immediate effect, which is the result they have been campaigning for during the last 28 months.

Motorcyclists have been treated like cash cows by Westminster Tory Councillors who decided to charge them to park their bikes in Central London with exactly the same facilities as when their use was free of charge. In addition to demonstrating in the streets of Westminster, the bikers have decided to present their case to the Court after having discovered that the motorcycle parking tax, its infrastructure and the way it is being collected may well be illegal. Next month, the bikers will return to Court in the hope that the council will be ordered to put an end to their money grabbing motorcycle parking policy.

In the meantime, the relationship between the council and the bikers has severely heated up. Last week, the council’s head of legal, Peter Large, who claimed to be the victim of defamation by the bikers based on allegations and accusations of professional misconduct and fraud, tried to shut down the campaign’s website by imposing legal threats on the web host. Within 24 hours, the website together with all its contents, including the allegations against Peter Large, was back online and moved to another location, out of Westminster Council’s reach, as we were told. The same Peter Large also attacked Nutsville without success.

Last Friday, we learned that the No To Mob group, composed of bikers who work very closely with the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign, have forced Westminster Council to suspend enforcement at crucial junctions in central London where traffic signs do not comply with the legislation and while they review the sites in question. These junctions all constitute honey pots for the council where thousands upon thousands of motorists have been caught and fined despite illegal traffic signage and brought substantial income to the council. Oh dear, all this is the result of Westminster Council refusing to scrap their motorcycle parking tax despite having received more than 3,000 objections in writing, something that they had never ever seen before. For sure, the income that they are now going to lose as a result of their traffic signage cock-up will cost the council a lot more money than the income generated by the motorcycle parking tax.

Today, hundreds of bikers gathered in central London to raise additional funds for the forthcoming Court of Appeal judgement and remind Westminster Council that they will not go away until full scrapping of the bike parking tax. The ride was, as usual, incident free, unlike what Westminster Council would have hoped to stop the bikers exercising their legal right to protest. There wasn’t any police presence today on the ride, which suggests that there is a great degree a trust between the bikers and the police, again unlike what Westminster Council would have hoped for. The bikers have managed to limit the parking tax to the Borough of Westminster only because it is clear that, without their campaign, other London councils such as Islington, Camden and Kensington & Chelsea, but also throughout the UK and beyond, would have jumped on this fantastic opportunity to also steal money from the bikers. Any council that dares to charge motorcyclists to park will see the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign coming their way and bring their daily working lives to complete hell. That said, it appears that the bikers are about to hit Islington Borough Council right where it hurts, click here for more details.

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Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Council fails to shut down bike parking campaign website

Late last week, we noticed that the No To Bike Parking Tax website had been taken down without previous warning from the campaign’s committee, which we thought was rather bizarre. Our understanding had always been that, only upon full scrapping of the motorcycle parking tax in the Central London Borough of Westminster, will the campaign go away and finally let the miserable Westminster Tory Councillors get on with what they’re supposed to be doing, that is serve the public interest without constantly sticking their hands in the public purse.

We just couldn’t believe that the campaign’s website had just disappeared, so we started to wonder what was going on. We thought that perhaps Councillor Lee Rowley, in charge of parking at Westminster Council, had seen Virgin Mary appear in front of him making him realise that it was a sin to take away public money without justification and ordering him to scrap the unjustified and money grabbing motorcycle parking scheme. We thought that perhaps Westminster was going to become a world wide pilgrimage site where a miracle would have just occured for the first time ever, that is a Tory Councillor listening to the voice of the public, after ignoring more than 3,000 objections to the motorcycle charging scheme a couple of years ago.

So we went down the street and checked our usual parking bay. How disappointed were we when we noticed that the motorcycle parking signs asking us to pay £1 a day were still up. Oh, well never mind, Pope Benedict XVI will have to find another reason to visit London next time.

So we went back to our office and started to google a few words to try and find out what the hell was going on. Oh, thank Godness, the No To Mob forum was still up and running. You can see how much we value the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign. We were in fact feeling devastated to have lost our “petit nid douillet” on the internet. Oh la la, sacre bleu, it looked like the campaign had received some legal threats from Peter Large, Head of Legal at Westminster Council, who also sent an email to the campaign’s internet host requesting them to shut down the site or face legal action.

But, honestly, what is the issue with a very large group of bikers exercising their legal right to protest at a scheme that they don’t agree with? Eh, honestly, what’s the problem? That campaign website was so beautiful, so well organised and presented, so dynamic and full of life. We just thought that it was a real shame to kill it so quickly without having been consulted beforehand. Oh, but wait a minute, consultation is optional in Westminster, it’s not something that they always consider necessary. Actually, it’s easier to do whatever you want rather than ask the opinion of others when you know for a fact that they will say NO, isn’t it?

Oh la la, mon Dieu, legal threats over the contents of the campaign’s website because it disclosed allegations against the professional behaviour of Westminster’s Head of Legal! Thank Goodness, Nutsville.com was still up and running! Then we carried on reading the No To Mob forum and the campaign’s Twitter feed and found out that the IT team was very busy moving the website to a very deep underground location, completely out of the reach of Westminster Council. Phew, we were so reassured because without the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign, we just felt totally devastated. Oh, and we learn today that Nutsville has also moved their site to a very deep underground location, again out of the reach of Westminster Council! It feels good to know that there are so many countries around the world which are able to accomodate and keep the websites of those who want to exercise their legal right to protest and freedom of speech totally safe.

Now we are told that the No To Bike Parking Tax will explain everything that happened in their next newsletter, which is due within the next couple of days or so. Oh my Lord, we can smell a big rat here. That sounds so exciting and we can’t wait to read the bloody good juicy story that is about to come up! It sounds like Westminster Council may be given a very hard and embarrassing time as the campaign is highly unlikely to romove any of its website contents.

Stay tuned!

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Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

7 hours compulsory training for all 125cc riders in France

As of 1st January 2011, all new bikers who don’t hold a category A, A1 or A2 motorcycle licence must attend a compulsory course of 7 hours to be eligible to ride a 125cc motorbike or scooter in France. Only those who can provide evidence that they have been riding a 125cc machine for at least the last five years are exempt from the course. But those who have been riding a machine owned by their employer or not been the main rider on the certificate of insurance are not eligible for the exemption and must complete the course. Anyone with no full bike licence caught riding a 125cc machine without proof that they have completed the training course can be liable for a fine of 135 euros and have 3 points taken off their car licence.

The French Government has recently taken draconian measures in an attempt to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents on the roads. Statistics have shown that a large number of motorcycle collisions involve riders of smaller size machines, particularly those without a full bike licence. In an attempt to reduce motorcycle accidents, the French Government initially proposed to introduce a compulsory technical and environmental test on all motorbikes and scooters, equivalent to the MOT in the United Kingdom. Only four wheel vehicles are subject to this test in France, bikes are exempt. The Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers) worked very hard over the last couple of years to demonstrate to the Government that the introduction of an MOT for motorcycles will not have any impact on reducing bike accidents, since technical faults are responsible for less than 1% of motorcycle accidents. This proposed MOT was only a pure attempt by the Government to impose a new stealth tax on motorcyclists with no impact whatsoever on the objective that this test was supposed to achieve. This technical and environmental test has not yet been introduced because the FFMC has managed to make the Government think twice and delay its introduction until next year.

The new 125cc training course seems to be a one-off course that new riders must complete before going out on the road for the first time. It costs in the region of 300 euros and comprises a total of 7 hours with no examination at the end. It is a skills based course and riders must demonstrate that they have acquired the necessary basic skills to ride a 125cc machine safely on the road. At the end of the course, they are given a certificate of attendance that they must present along with their car licence on demand, otherwise they are liable for a 135 euros fine and 3 points off their car licence.

To be allowed to complete the course, riders must hold a full car licence for at least two years. The course covers theory and practice. The theory module lasts for two hours and is designed to make the rider aware of the various accidents in which they can be involved and teach them how to anticipate hazards to avoid collisions. The course continues with two hours of practice off the road for riders to familiarise themselves with their machine and the main manoeuvres they will need to be comfortable with on the road. The course finishes with three hours of riding on the road with an instructor during which trainees will be required to go through junctions and roundabouts, change lanes, overtake other vehicles etc.

This new French training course is different from its United Kingdom equivalent (called CBT – Compulsory Basic Training) where the theory part is kept to a minimum and the practical on-road training is shorter (only two hours). The main difference however lies in the cost and frequency: 300 euros or 260 pounds for a one-off course in France versus about 100 pounds in the UK for a compulsory course every two years. Whilst UK riders who have attended a CBT course and subsequently obtained a full bike licence are not required to go through CBT again, French riders who have attended the course are not required to attend it again, regardless of whether they have subsequently obtained a full bike licence or not.

UK France bikers.com supports the French initiative that consists of properly training new bikers, however, we have concerns about the course being a one-off. We think the UK system is more appropriate whereby trainees are required to attend a course every two years to refresh their skills until they decide to prepare for the full motorcycle test.

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If you’re based in France and want to take part of the fight against the Government’s proposed introduction of a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles and their continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations contre la proposition du gouvernement d’introduire un controle technique pour les 2 roues motorises ansi que de continuer a empecher la circulation inter files pour les motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Wednesday mayhem in Westminster

This week, the bikers went back to Trafalgar Square in Central London to cause as much road traffic disruption as possible in protest at Westminster Council’s decision to treat motorcycles like cars by charging them to park on-street. For an initial fee of £1.50 a day subsequently reduced to £1 a day, the bikers were promised security devices to lock their motorcycles to and also more parking bays on-street. Unsurprisingly, the number of parking bays in the borough did not increase at all and security devices were not installed. All motorcycle parking bays used to be free of charge and the council suddenly started to charge for their use without providing any additional service to justify the charge. What used to be provided for free, i.e. the most basic bays one can possibly imagine with a bit of white paint to mark the edges of the bays, is now subject to the payment of a stealth tax to make the council wealthier. Since paper based payment methods are not practical for motorcycles, the council offers only one payment method to the bikers, that is by mobile phone and debit/credit card, which gives rise to social exclusion issues for those who don’t have a mobile phone and/or bank card. But we have learned from fellow bloggers, Nutsville, that “the City Council does not consider that payment for motorcycle parking discriminates in any way”. This is a typical response from a public authority that regards itself as above all reproach.

After a well earned Christmas break, the bikers have resumed their Wednesday gatherings at Trafalgar Square, where they simply ride their motorbike or scooter as if they were driving a car. “They have decided to charge us to park like cars, so we have decided to behave like cars”, said one protestor. By leaving plenty of space in between them, riding at the minimum legal speed limit and occupying the whole space for one hour on one of Central London’s most vital roundabout, the bikers cause enormous traffic jams during rush hour, thus delaying thousands of Londoners on their way to and back from work. In normal circumstances, bikers do not cause congestion thanks to the small space occupied by their machines and also to their ability to filter through traffic and ride around stationary cars. But on Wednesdays (morning and evening), they choose to behave like cars by remaining stationary in traffic, thus causing complete mayhem all over the place.

These weekly protests have been going on for well over a year and the number of bikers attending have increased week after week. Westminster Council and TfL (Transport for London) have tried everything they possibly can to stop the bikers exercising their legal right to protest, but without any luck. Even the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, threatened the bikers to lose access to bus lanes if they didn’t stop their weekly protests. The bikers’ protests are perfectly legal, there is nothing in the highway code to suggest that a bike must or must not filter through traffic. In fact, there is no piece of legislation that suggests that bikes cannot be driven like cars and are not allowed to congest, since they are subject to the same highway code as all other road users.

By treating bikes like cars, Westminster Council is making the lives of thousands of commuters a complete nightmare every Wednesday. And this weekly mayhem is not about to stop, unless of course the council scraps the motorcycle parking tax, or is forced to do so.

If you fancy joining the fun on Wednesdays to express your opposition to being stealth taxed to park your bike, then join the No To Bike Parking Tax group at Villiers Street in Central London at 7.30am and/or at 5.30pm. Or if you’re not joining, then try and avoid Westminster on Wednesdays.

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Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Bikers wish Westminster Council a happy bad year

2011 seems to start on the hectic side for Westminster Council as the bikers continue their war against the council’s most hated motorcycle parking tax. After a well earned Christmas and New Year break, the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign is back for some severe but legal action against Westminster Council in a view to forcing them to scrap parking charges for motorbikes and scooters in their borough.

The most important thing is that the campaign will face Westminster Council in the High Court of Justice again in March as a result of Lord Justice Jackson having granted approval to the campaign to appeal the decision that was made by Lord Justice Pitchford in the first round of the trial back in June 2010. Approval to appeal has been granted to the campaign on six grounds out of seven, which suggests that the No To Bike Parking Tax group has a fair chance to win against Westminster Council on appeal. If the decision on appeal is in favour of the bikers, then chances are that the bike parking tax will have to be scrapped with immediate effect. It is really sad to note that the Westminster Conservative bureaucrates have reached the stage of being taken to Court to have the legality of their motorcycle parking policy challenged as a result of ignoring thousands of objections to their bike charging scheme, thus unnecessarily spending a substantial amount of public funds instead of investing them more wisely in developments and improvements to directly benefit the taxpayer.

Traffic chaos caused by the bikers every Wednesday in Central London in protest at Westminster's bike parking tax

Not to mention the regular protests and blockades occasioned by the bikers every Wednesday morning and evening at London’s Trafalgar Square during rush hour, delaying thousands of commuters on their way to and back from work and bringing Central London to a standstill. These weekly legal protests are due to resume this coming Wednesday 12th January 2011, so if you commute to work by bus or car through Central London, it’s best to avoid the area completely on Wednesdays if you don’t want to be caught in stationary traffic for a good couple of hours each way. These demonstrations have caused embarrassment to Westminster Council, especially as a Freedom of Information request has exposed the anger of a member of the public stuck in traffic for hours on Wednesdays and not being able to get on with their business, blaming the council to unfairly stealth tax motorcyclists to park. Unsurprisingly, the council seems to have failed to respond despite the individual chasing for a reply. This shows how badly Westminster Council treats members of the public, by serving their own needs before that of the taxpayer they are primarily paid to serve. Below is the correspondence the individual has had with Westminster Council:-

From: XXXXX

Date: 23 June 2010 11:09:44 GMT+01:00
To:
xxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx.xx
Subject: Motorcycle parking protests – Please can you stop them!

Dear Cllr Rowley,

I am writing to express my very deep concern with regards to the constant protests held by motorcyclists in Trafalgar Square and occasionally on Lambeth roundabout. I am told that you are the person in charge of parking at Westminster City Council and also responsible for this stealth tax that the bikers are not happy with.

I keep being stuck in traffic for at least two hours because of these protests, when I have important meetings to attend with my clients. I run my own business and cannot afford to be late at meetings with clients or else I may lose them. These protests have been going on for at least three months without stopping and thousands of Londoners are being delayed and disrupted because of them.

I am told that the bikers will continue to protest in this manner until you scrap the parking charge you have imposed on them. We just cannot carry on with these protests constantly, they are adversely affecting the London economy and the business of thousands of Londoners.

I therefore urge you to find a solution as soon as possible to put an end to these protests, and if it involves the scrapping of the motorcycle parking charge, then so be it. It’s far more important to keep London running than have this motorcycle parking charge in place that doesn’t bring any benefits to the vast majority of us.

I await your response without delay.

Yours sincerely.

XXXX

From: XXXXX

Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 09:35:19 +0000 (GMT)

To: xxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx.xx<xxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx.xx>

Subject: Fwd: Motorcycle parking protests – Please can you stop them!

Dear Councillor Rowley,

I am disappointed not to have received a response to my email below, or at least an acknowledgement of receipt.

Since you have recently stated that you are keen to discuss matters with members of the public, particularly Westminster residents, and that you maintain an open door policy, I am very surprised by your silence.

Please would you let me have a response to my email below at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely.

XXXXXX

Source: Freedom of Information request to Westminster Council

Hundreds of bikers gathered this morning at the famous Ace Cafe in West London for a slow ride in the outskirts of London to raise awareness of their campaign and raise funds for the Court case in March. After a short briefing, they went off for a ride en masse to remind Westminster Council that they will not go away until full scrapping of the motorcycle parking tax and also to warn other councils throughout the United Kingdom that should they even think about introducing a stealth tax on motorcycle parking, they know what to expect in return.

It is clear that the bikers are determined to defeat Westminster Council and will continue to fight hard until they achieve their objective.

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Nothing can stop a biker… except snow and ice

Both France and the United Kingdom have been severely affected by snow and ice in the last few days with freezing temperatures. These are the weather conditions that bikers hate the most as the presence of snow and/or ice on the roads is a big no go for them. We have had to leave our bike in hibernation and take public transport instead, which is definitely not pleasant either considering the delays that have been caused by the freezing conditions.

At least snow makes a few us happy, particularly the kids. As we opened our curtains this morning, we saw a group of kids playing in the snow and making a snow man. Parked cars and bikes were all covered in snow to the extent that we couldn’t tell which one was ours!

The No To Bike Parking Tax campaign unfortunately had to cancel their demonstration scheduled for this Sunday (19 December 2010) due to the adverse weather conditions and to preserve the safety of all riders. We can’t blame them for their decision as this was definitely the right thing to do.

Whilst snow and ice make some people happy, including kids and those using the excuse for not making it to work, they make others extremely unhappy. Most bikers hate snow and ice as they can cause severe accidents. Thousands of people were stranded today at home or their hotels due to the closure of both Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Public transport was also brought to a standstill and the best plan for most of us was to stay at home and be a couch potato all day really. Thanks God, it’s Saturday, some of us don’t have to make it to work!

In the meantime, Westminster Council is unable to make money out of motorcycle parking as the vast majority of bikes are snowed in. Oh dear, in addition to losing substantial revenue in the last few weeks with the No To Bike Parking Tax campaigners helping out the council’s CCTV camera car drivers to do their job, the bad weather is now kicking in. In fact, whilst it is frustrating to be unable to use our bikes at the moment, at least we are delighted with not bringing any parking revenue to Westminster Council who have offered themselves the luxury to treat bikers like cash cows.

We look forward to being some time in March 2011 when the most respected Chairman of the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign, Warren Djanogly, will attend the High Court of Appeal in the hope that the decision made in the first round of the trial in favour of the Council for charging for motorcycle parking will be reversed. Lord Justice Jackson has granted leave for an appeal against a High Court ruling initially made by Lord Justice Pitchford in June 2010 that Westminster City Council were entitled to use Traffic Act orders to introduce a new tax on motorcycle parking, and hoping to sell the service to other UK councils in need of a new source of income. Snow and ice will definitely not stop the appeal hearing from taking place!

We wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and look forward to keeping you all posted on biking developments in France and the United Kingdom in 2011.

UK France bikers.com is the unique English language based website bringing you biking news in France and the United Kingdom, all in one place.

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If you’re based in France and want to take part of the fight against the Government’s proposed introduction of a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles and their continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations contre la proposition du gouvernement d’introduire un controle technique pour les 2 roues motorises ansi que de continuer a empecher la circulation inter files pour les motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

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