Parked bikes in London 'under threat' say campaigners

Claims cycles could be removed en mass dismissed by authorities

London cyclists have claimed a new law could see locked bikes in the city confiscated.

New rules will allow authorities in the capital to remove items which cause “blockages” and campaigners fear it will mean the mass removal of parked cycles from railings, fences and lamp posts.

A statement released by London Cycling Campaign said the law “could lead to indiscriminate removal of bicycles from pavements which will be a huge deterrent to people cycling”.

The group added:”The clauses are drafted so widely that any cycle could be removed, if necessary by breaking locks, which may cost up to £100, without remedy for the owner, after only a ‘cursory’ check to see if the owner of a bicycle is nearby.”

However, a spokesman for London Councils denied the rules, currently awaiting approval by Parliament, were designed to target two-wheelers.

Despite the assurances, the LCC has written to London Councils to object to the proposed rules and to ask for the legislation to be rewritten, exempting bicycles.

The group has said it will lobby against the law when it is presented in Parliament for approval this year.  

Tom Bogdanowicz, LCC campaigns manager, said: "This could create a vast, unfair problem for cyclists who need to be able to park their bicycles. There simply is not enough parking in London despite us calling for more.

“While LCC backs removal of abandoned bicycles, even these should have a noticed fixed to them, giving the owner 28 days to act.”

When BikeRadar.com contacted London Councils we were told the proposed law would not be used for the en masse removal of bikes.

Spokesman Chris Hogwood said: “The purpose of the legislation is basically so that nuisance articles can be collected from the streets. It’s not targeting left bikes.

“In theory it could be used to remove them if they were deemed to be a nuisance but it’s not victimising cyclists at all.”

Mr Hogwood said the law could be used to remove a bike if it was blocking a thoroughfare. A notice would be attached to the cycle for 14 days warning the owner before it could be removed.

“It’s about making sure that our roads operate safely and smoothly for everyone,” he added.

He said the law would be used to remove illegal advertising sandwich boards and junk left on the city streets. 

The bill containing the proposal, the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act, will have to be passed by the Houses of Parliament before it can become law.

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