Camera car consultation deadline: motorcycles ignored again
Here's a reminder that the government's deadline for its local authority parking consultation ends on 14th February 2014, which is, of course, Valentine's Day.
That's an ironic date by which to pop these particular questions because there's little love lost between most British road users and the parking Nazis currently infesting British towns and cities and making life a misery for half the nation.
These increasingly militarist guys and girls, we're told, hand out eight million penalty tickets each year netting £1.3billion. And naturally enough, most British councils are perfectly happy with them.
But the (Tory-Lib Dem) government is expressing concern that the balance between reasonable civil enforcement and blatant council money-grabbing is all wrong. That's the impetus behind the consultation—and no doubt there's also a touch of opportunism in the fact that the next general election comes around a little over a year later on 7th May 2015, hence the timely softening up. This new 25-page parking consultation was opened on 6th December 2013.
The upshot is that the government wants to ease parking controls and "encourage" local authorities to do more to help the struggling motorist park and shop without undue harassment.
More specifically, the government is considering scrapping, or at least limiting the use of CCTV cars. Importantly, the consultation is examining the problem faced by tens of thousands of road users when a camera car ticket arrives in the post weeks after an alleged offence, thereby allowing the recipient little or no opportunity to study and/or challenge its legality at the time of issuance.
In response, local authorities claim that the camera cars are a very cost-effective way of controlling wayward drivers, not least those who park thoughtlessly across zebra crossing markings or outside school gates, thereby creating a very real and immediate danger for children and other pedestrians. The road safety charity, Brake, agrees and has no problem with the 75 councils that currently are licensed to use these CCTV cars, and other "spy" methods.
Naturally, there's no specific mention of motorcycles—classic or otherwise—in the consultation document, which there ought to be. Bikes have a minimal roadside footprint, and although some authorities are happy to ignore powered two wheelers if and when parked "sensibly", others take a different stance and will ruthlessly ticket all comers (sometimes even when no offence has been committed).
To its credit, the current government has recently outlawed the wheel clamp cowboys (or at least the vast majority of them), and it's also (and quite rightly) scrapped the requirement for (£385) planning permission when a householder rents out a driveway for parking purposes.
But keep in mind that local authorities are under huge pressure to maintain their falling revenues and will grab at any opportunity to fill their pockets. However, if they were a little more energetic about capping the huge salaries paid to many council leaders and senior staff, and if they wasted less money on silly season projects, they'd no doubt get more support from we plebs.
So wanna have your say on this? Okay. There's a link below that will tell you what to do next. As either a trader or a private citizen, this is (theoretically, at least) a timely opportunity to move the goalposts to somewhere near where they used to be. Yes, the government has its own re-election agenda here, but that doesn't mean that we classic bikers can't serve our own ends too.
Make hay while the sun's shining, and all that. Here's that link:
— Big End
Copyright Sump Publishing 2013