Bike policy here is like the morality of a gangster

Monday, 10th January

Cycling bike

‘It is cheaper to park a car than it is to park a bike on Islington’s streets’

• I AM writing to complain at the extortionate protection racket Islington Council operates when it comes to bicycle storage.

As readers will know, Islington operates bike hangars across the borough’s streets. Each of these can hold six bikes and takes up half the space of a car, according to the council’s literature.

Outside estates users must pay over £100 per year for the privilege of using these spaces. That’s more than it costs to park an EV car or vehicle of up to 1,200cc.

Given that you can store 12 bikes in the same space as one motor vehicle, how does Islington justify charging £1,200 a year for the same space?

Insanely, it is cheaper to park a car than it is to park a bike on Islington’s streets.

On some estates storage is subsidised, as is correct given thefts have been frequent in the past. But the act of making bike parking on estates more secure has a wider impact. That impact is that bike thieves no longer target the estates and, instead, seek targets elsewhere.

What this means is that Islington Council has effectively weaponised bike theft, pushing it out of the estates (good) but inflaming the same problem outside of those estates (bad) and then forcing residents to pay for security.

Sadly this lack of thought illustrates how our Labour-dominated council faces no strong opposition to help reach better and more balanced decisions through negotiation and healthy compromise.

This has caused the current council to become complacent, taking poor decisions that divide communities through lack of effective consultation.

The terrible decision to prioritise cricket in Wray Crescent is another example of this one-sided thinking.

Cyclists should not be exploited as cash cows by a council deliberately engineering a decline in the revenue raised through car parking permits and parking tickets, while at the same time raising the risk of bike theft.

They say people should be judged by actions not words. So it is ironic, is it not, that a council that seems to want to drive cars off our roads also wants to force cyclists to pay so much more for the security of their steeds?

That’s the morality of a gangster, creating a threat and then charging for security against it.

The council is effectively approaching cyclists and saying: “Nice bike, be a shame if anything happened to it,” while deliberately raising the risk.

It is to be hoped that the balance of power in Islington changes in May.


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