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Council responds to community concerns about motorbikes

News release issued:

Wyre Forest District Council has responded to concerns from residents and visitors about the impact of large numbers of motorbike riders visiting Bewdley.

The problems have become particularly noticeable since lockdown began to ease in May and the return of warmer, sunnier weather.

Large numbers of bikers are congregating on Severnside South and illegally parking their bikes on the pavement, ignoring restrictions which apply to all vehicles on either side of the double yellow lines.

The council’s enforcement officers are unable to be present all day, every day but will be issuing penalty charge notices for any vehicle parked in contravention of the restrictions, except those which are loading or unloading.

The council has funded new signs from its community safety budget which will be erected shortly to make it clear that no parking is allowed either side of double yellow lines.

Councillor Helen Dyke, Cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Community Protection, said “Bikers are welcome in Bewdley, a town which depends on its visitor economy, and we don’t have the power, nor would we wish, to ban motorbikes.  

“However we would ask bikers to comply with parking restrictions in the town and not behave in a way that many local residents feel is anti-social.

“It is irresponsible to park vehicles on the pavements. It prevents pedestrians from using them safely, including people with loss of vision, disabled people and those with children in prams or pushchairs. It is not right that they have to use the road because of the selfish behaviour of a minority of road users.”

She added “West Mercia Police has powers to deal with allegations of driving in the wrong direction on one-way roads, speeding, excessively noisy exhausts that have been adapted from the manufacturer’s specification or obstruction of the highway including pavements. These actions all contravene the law but none of them is an emergency, however annoying they may be to local residents. They can be reported on 101 with number plate details and members of the public can provide photographic evidence.  

“However, the public will understand that the police must give priority to emergencies and to detecting serious crime. Many of the concerns local people are reporting can be dealt with by the police only if they are present to observe them. As with the council, the police do not have the resources to be present all day, every day.”

Councillor John Thomas, Cabinet member for Operational Services, said “The council’s powers are limited to controlling on-street parking. However we will initiate a consultation shortly on whether we should change arrangements in our car parks to provide more space for motorbikes to be parked so that bikers can leave their machines. This would be accompanied by the introduction of a modest charge for motorbikes, which presently park for free.”

“We are not promising to make these changes as we need to test support for them from local residents. There is a possibility that disruption associated with motorbikes might simply move from Severnside South and affect different groups of residents in the town. The level of public concern demonstrates that we need to see whether these changes should form part of our response. Because it takes time to consult on changes to the car parks order, they would not in any case be able to take effect for at least two months.”

He concluded: “We will also talk to Bewdley Town Council about whether it wishes to provide funding to enhance the level of civil enforcement activity in the town.”

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