Newslinks | Cycle Clamp Down

The NewsEditor

The Guardian reports that the Mayor and London Councils plan to expand their current powers with regards to the removal of bikes chained to lamp-posts or railings:

TfL and the boroughs are jointly lobbying for new powers in a private bill that gets its first reading in the House of Lords today. Should the new laws be approved, councils will for the first time be legally empowered to seize cycles without warning.

Whilst London Councils and the Mayor's office deny that these new powers would be used for anything other than the pursuit of safety, there is a clear fear amongst the cycling community that a crack-down will follow.

There are parallels in this case with the Congestion Charge - a scheme which on the surface should have our support. In its pure form, this Bill will allow Councils to act to clear bikes which are acting as obstructions and safety hazards, saving much cost and trouble over their current options. However, like the CC there is a danger of 'mission creep', which all Londoners must be aware of.

For the Mayor's plans for sustainability to be met, and levels of car use to drop, it must be clear that cycling in London is a genuine option. That means making the routes safe and providing adequate bike stores - at the moment neither has been achieved to any great measure. The Mayor cannot start to clamp down on people tethering their bikes to the nearest post if it is the only option which they have.

As the Bill is a private one, you can lobby Parliament to amend it. The BBC has an excellent guide to doing this here.