Wednesday, 10 March 2010

RATS to Westminster council: no to the bike tax! No to job cuts!

RATS stands for "Riders Against Tory Stealth taxes".

Returning from the civil servants' strike rally yesterday, I couldn't help noticing an enormous great motorcade of bikers at Trafalgar Square. They were protesting against Westminster council's "experimental" introduction of parking fees for motorcycles and scooters.

A well-orchestrated campaign, No to the Bike Parking Tax, says:
We strongly hold that this scheme is nothing other than revenue-raising and designed to deter motorcycle and scooter usage, latest figures from Westminster show that so far £2.5million has been made from the experimental scheme yet only £300k has been spent, mainly on signs and lines, this is a dangerous piece of anti-rider legislation which would, if allowed to be introduced fully, soon be copied by other councils throughout the UK and beyond. It was Westminster who introduced extortionate car parking fees to reduce parking congestion and look how long it took for that to spread.

Introducing fees seems totally contrary to the well-documented aims of Transport for London’s anti-congestion initiatives. The levying of the Congestion Charge on 2-wheeled motorised transport – like all previous parking legislation – was felt to be inappropriate, since it was considered an efficient mode of transport to help ease the Capital’s congestion problem.
After riding up and down in front of the Northumberland Hotel, where the council was holding a shindig at the cost of £23,000, the bikers joined Westminster council workers protesting against the council cutting 60 city guardian and inspector posts. These are council workers who walk around Westminster reporting on graffiti, vandalism, deterring crime, giving directions to tourists, etc.

The best part of the evening was when the police tried to tell the bikers that, under the terms of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA), they couldn't use their megaphone.

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