Crucial bike parking victory for London cyclists

LCC and London cyclists are celebrating victory against legislation that could have seriously undermined the growth of cycling in the capital.

A proposed law that could have made bike parking in London a ‘lock it and lose it’ lottery has been rejected by a committee of peers in the House of Lords.

The law, had it been passed, would have allowed council contractors to remove without notice bicycles chained to railings even if they were not an obstruction or abandoned.

Evidence from the London Cycling Campaign played a crucial role in the peers' deliberations. Committee members listened to the case for and against the legislation and concluded that the relevant clauses should ‘not proceed’.

Speaking for LCC before the committee, the organisation’s counsel Ralph Smyth said, "Because of the lack of clarity as to where you could or could not park your bicycle, this aspect of the Bill would have a chilling effect on people’s desire to cycle. One of the peers asked if cyclists would have to carry a tape measure to make sure they were parking in a street of the required width.

Peers were told that local councils already have powers to remove bicycles that are an obstruction or which are abandoned. The rejected law could have been applied to thousands of bikes that were not attached to bike stands. 

LCC’s chief executive Koy Thomson said, “After a long campaign we're delighted that committee members decided to throw out legislation that could have been a serious deterrent to cycling.”

“Cycle stands in London are overflowing with bikes, even in the winter. We need more bike stands, not new laws making parking more difficult.”

Many LCC members wrote to the Mayor and to London Assembly representatives last year protesting against the proposed legislation.  Intense work by LCC volunteers with legal expertise over recent months enabled the House of Lords committee to base its judgment on a range of evidence.

The House of Lords committee also rejected legislation that would have allowed councils to set different penalties on different streets for footway cycling. Peers said there were problems with the traffic environment in London, but that the proposed legislation would not solve them.

One peer suggested that the legislation could have allowed councils to create 16 different penalties. The UK Government, as well as LCC, opposed the proposed legislation.