The End of Free Motorcycle Parking

You will soon need to pay for a parking permit if you want to park your motorcycle in the London borough of Hackney. The borough will be starting a consultation period on the 24th February on a proposal to introduce parking permits for motorcycles that park in the borough and want your feedback on their idea!

Up until now motorcycles could park for free in Hackney but under the guise of pollution control, the council are determined to introduce emissions-based permits for motorcycles in line with cars. As a sort of bribe to get motorcyclists to accept their policy they are also proposing to introduce lockable stands in motorcycle bays. However if experience has taught us one thing, councils are very good at taking money but very bad at providing the services so don't expect the lockable stands to materialise in all but a few places.

Lets say what this really is. A money making exercise targeting the very vehicles that can provide a solution to congestion and pollution. Motorcycles are not cars. Motorcycles do not get caught up in slow moving bumper to bumper traffic with metal cages inching their way to their destination. Motorcycles can skip past the lines of Chelsea taxis and spend considerably less time on any particular journey. Motorcycles pollute considerably less than cars for this very reason alone and cause minimal congestion so should be being encouraged as a way to reduce emissions rather than being penalised and treated like the vehicles that really cause the problem. With public transport at breaking point (just try to get on the tube in rush hour) you would have thought that motorcycles would be seen as a good way to relieve the pressure, but they do not feature in the grey bureaucratical minds of town hall.

There is a fundamental problem with charging for parking based on emissions. For a start a parked vehicle does not pollute the environment. What causes the most pollution, an old car that runs maybe a couple of hundred miles a year to the shops or a newer vehicle that does 50 miles a day (18,250 miles a year)? The old car will still need a more expensive permit than the new car despite it actually polluting less. The other fundamental problem is that if you have enough money you can pollute to your hearts content. It is the poorer people who will be forced onto more expensive forms of getting about (public transport is still more expensive than running a motorcycle), and that will only restrict how much they actually do move about when they have to choose between taking a bus to the food bank or to the park. Eventually only the rich will be able to travel around the capital, chucking out noxious fumes with impunity on the poor unwashed trudging along the pavements and highways from their air-conditioned diesel powered SUVs, all because they've paid for the privilege. If you REALLY want to reduce pollution and emissions then don't introduce a charge, that's just an excuse to make money and doesn't tackle the problem, no you should simply BAN the vehicles that pollute the most. Of course that would hit the very people making the policies so don't expect that to be an option anytime soon.

There are currently 7 boroughs in London that require motorcycles to have a parking permit, but most don't require motorcycles to pay to park in solo motorcycle bays. Hackney are proposing that motorcycles will pay no matter where they are parked. Camden only requires a residents permit and allows free parking in solo motorcycle bays. So does Islington, Southwark, and Lambeth, and the City of London allows free parking in both bays and council car parks. No, it's only Hackney who are proposing to charge motorcyclists no matter where they park - they are quite clear about this when they state that "you will have to pay to park in a solo motorcycle parking bay". Another change that they are proposing is to bring in maximum-stay restrictions in motorcycle bays, though if you will be paying to not move your motorcycle I don't see why they would want you to move it and cause more pollution, unless this isn't about pollution at all.

The main reason given for not being able to charge motorcycles up to now was the problem of displaying parking permits securely. Well obviously that is pure hogwash. It was perfectly possible to display tax disks on motorcycles for decades without them going walkabouts. The council are proposing to use e-Permits and cashless parking sessions to charge motorcyclists.

The consultation starts on the 24th February and finishes on the 17th May 2020. We encourage you to take part in this consultation and say no to motorcycle parking charges.