In a possibly unprecedented move, Brent council have banned all motorcycles from using a stretch of road in N London. Admittedly, Rainsford Road was being abused by a bunch of total prats, who happened to be on bikes. There are laws already in existence about prattish behaviour. MAG does not feel persecuting an entire group of legitimate road users, because of the actions of a few, is appropriate use of their powers.
MAG has made great progress in getting two types of bans on motorcycling
lifted in the London borough of Brent. Productive action and discussions
between MAG and Brent Council has led to the council changing its original
plan to make a one-off ban of motorcycling on Rainsford Road, a permanent
measure. Following input from MAG, the Council has now agreed that the ban
will be kept as a temporary ‘experimental’ measure until it is no longer
needed. Removing the ban is expected in due course, now that a key aspect
of the situation that led to the problems – namely the absence of traffic
on a brand new road – is set to change. (Please see editor’s notes below)
Action and input by MAG has also started proceedings that will pave the way
to lift the bans that currently exist, on motorcycle access to non TfL bus
lanes in the borough.
The Council introduced a one-off ban in Rainsford Road on August 12 as an
‘Experimental Scheme’, in response to an unprecedented level of problems
caused by the anti-social behaviour of a handful of irresponsible
motorcyclists. They had turned a new but rarely used road into a race track
and stunt arena. Despite huge efforts by the local police and in the face
of police vehicles being attacked, the problems continued to upset and
endanger residents and users of the nearby Middlesex Hospital.
Now, after productive discussions with MAG, the Council has agreed that the
need for the ban will go and it can be lifted in due course. A detailed
examination of the situation showed that the road will no longer be left
devoid of traffic, as the developer who built it is starting work on the
site, as he now has permission to build housing as well as offices.
Speaking for MAG, National Chairman John Mitchell says: “The Rainsford Road
situation was more complex than it seemed at face value. MAG deplores any
move to restrict motorcycling on any section of public roads, however, we
are led to believe that all realistic alternatives had been tried to tackle
a huge range of problems caused by an irresponsible few. Now though, after
productive engagement with the council, we are confident that a way has
been found to lift the Rainsford Road ban in due course, and others that
currently apply to the Borough’s network of bus lanes.”
Thorough investigation by MAG of Brent Council’s decision to ban
motorcycles from a backstreet in the London Borough revealed that the
situation and the level of problems is unique.
Problems included 174 reported bike crashes in a year and a death looked
inevitable with bikes doing 80+mph past a hospital into the night. The full
list of problems was huge and included attacks on police vehicles. No
fatalities so far ruled out the use of automated speed cameras, and traffic
calming was out for other reasons. All policing options were considered or
tried which left one way to go. CCTV was already there but prosecutions
with that evidence required a court case each – whereas enforcing traffic
signs for an experimental bike ban could be automated.