The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), We Ride London and the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group are calling for an end to ‘victim bashing.’
The Motorcycle Action Group’s Regional Representative for Greater London, Tim Fawthrop, has raised concerns about how victims of motorcycle crime are being treated. After challenging the Mayor of London at a Question Time event following the murder of rider Ricky Hayden, who was killed by bike thieves, Tim said: ‘at the Question Time just after the murder of Ricky Hayden, Mayor Sadiq Khan claimed that bike crime was partly the fault of the owners for not locking their bikes up properly. By that logic, homeowners are partly to blame if burgled because they have glass windows.’
Tim adds: ‘we’re told to secure our motorbikes and scooters to street furniture but even an enlightened Borough like Brent, which allows motorcycles in resident bays and elsewhere, won’t invest in secure anchor points when they have such a limited budget. Also, when owners fasten their machines to lamp posts and so on, they often return to a parking ticket. And don’t forget that ‘bike- jacking’ is a growing concern. Thieves have become increasingly violent: acid attacks, using machetes and fire extinguishers and common assault are now prevalent.’
Mrs Penny Alexander, who works in the city, narrowly avoided an assault: ‘I was attacked on the Old Kent Road recently as criminals tried to steal my bike whilst I was waiting at red lights. I got away – and then had to pay a fine for jumping the red lights. I’m in fear every day I ride my bike. It’s just a question of time before it happens again – and perhaps I’m followed home and attacked for my bike”.
Tim Fawthrop, said, “I start work at 6.00 am, nine miles from home. Public transport takes two hours – my motorbike takes thirty minutes. It’s reasonable for me to expect to be able to make the trip without fear of attack or of having my bike stolen.’
Along with We Ride London and the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group, MAG is calling for measures to be taken to improve the situation, with urgent action required by Government, local councils, the GLA, TfL and the IPCC.
Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or email@example.com
Notes on policy requests
The Motorcycle Action Group, We Ride London and the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group are calling for a series of measures to start improving matters
- A higher prosecution rate for thieves. The Police must be permitted to pursue offenders and to be protected from prosecution should the criminals injure or kill themselves.
- Much harsher penalties to deter potential offenders. Many thieves are under age and are merely cautioned or fined under £100. No consideration is given to the consequential cost to the biker who suffered the theft. Compensation must cover the huge costs to repair or recover a stolen bike, including increased insurance premiums.
- Victim blaming must end. While locking a bike to a hard anchor is desirable, many thieves carry cutting equipment and attack riders at lights and in petrol stations. Acid attacks are serious, about they are not the only method used to harm riders.
- We should consider legislation for all Councils to supply security bars and ground anchors in motorcycle parking areas that cannot be cut with angle grinders. Bike manufacturers should also be encouraged to find technical solutions to robbery.
Further notes on motorbikes and the consequences of related crime
- Recently, a police officer – Superintendent Mark Payne – from operation Venice addressing the current crime epidemic relating to powered two wheelers – was interviewed about acid attacks and motorcycle and moped crime on BBC Radio 4. He stated: ‘the victims of motorcycle, scooter and moped theft should chain their vehicles to street furniture.’ While supporting the concept of responsible security measures, good quality chains are not always light and easy to carry, weighing up to 15kg. Carrying them can also create safety issues. The problems require a more comprehensive solution than merely inviting riders to lock up their motorcycles and scooters.
- It’s also worth noting that many owners are not well paid and use their mopeds and motorbikes because of the cost and convenience. Many low paid jobs also involve unsociable hours. Starting work at 6 am is not convenient for lots of public options – meaning motorbikes are often the only practicable way for these employees to get to work.
- The costs of crime far exceed the mere loss of the use of the machine. Owners of stolen vehicles are also penalised through increased premiums, and excess payment and loss of no claims for the next 5 years. Sometimes even being able to add theft to their insurance is subsequently denied.