Victory for motorcyclists as Stevenage backs down on ride-out ban

High Court injunction could end ride-outs in Stevenage

 

Stevenage Council has made a last-minute amendment to a High Court injunction application that could have seen motorcycle ride-outs banned in the borough. Motorcycles are now specifically excluded from the document’s scope to ensure that group rides remain legal.

Yesterday we reported on the injunction application, which is due to be heard in court today (20 August). In its initial form, the document – which is aimed at outlawing car cruises – was also drafted to stop motorcycles riding ‘in convoy’ or for owners to ‘show off’ their bikes to other ‘participants’. The wording meant motorcycle meets, charity ride-outs and even bike training sessions could have been branded illegal. The injunction application comes following a spate of problems with car cruises in Stevenage including an accident last year that saw 18 injured when two cars collided and ran into spectators, but didn’t cite any problems with motorcyclists.

 

High Court injunction could end ride-outs in Stevenage

 

Now, just hours before the court hearing at Luton District Registry – scheduled for 2pm today – the application has been redrafted, not just removing mentions of motorcycles but specifically excluding them from its scope.

The new version of the document defines ‘car-cruises’ as congregations of drivers of two or motor ‘motor-vehicles’ and goes on to explain:

‘In this Order, the term “Motor-Vehicle” means a motorized or automotive vehicle with more than 2 wheels (including quad bikes) but excludes motor-cycles (including any motor-cycles with more than 2 wheels).’ [emphasis ours].

 

High Court injunction could end ride-outs in Stevenage

 

The rewrite comes after legal action from Stevenage dealer Bike Stop and its owner, Martin Brown.

He said: “We are pleased and relieved to announce that after several days of complex legal action a consensual agreement has been reached with Stevenage Borough Council that has resulted in the Council’s proposed injunction being reframed to exclude motorcycles. We recognise that there is a legitimate concern in respect of the threat of criminal damage or injury that may arise from “car-cruises”. On the basis that motorcycles and motorcyclists are removed from the proposed order we have notified the court that we will not oppose the council’s applications.

“Had the injunction been granted in the form sought it would have it would have prohibited all motorcycle rides and criminalised legitimate lawful activities. It would have been impossible to run a business that encouraged others to breach such an injunction in the hope that it would not be enforced. The existence of the order would have been a serious deterrent to any law abiding motorcyclists from even passing through Stevenage and could have sent charity events elsewhere. Had the injunction been grated it would have criminalised all rights of assembly by local bike clubs, the local Institute of Advanced Motorists and even the Air Ambulance.

Bike Stop’s interests were therefore aligned with those of the motorcycle community, although we had no formal right to represent the interests of the wider community we hope that it will be understood that we a appreciate the loyalty and support of the biking community. Bike Stop is far more than just a shop, it is a biking destination a community hub, with its combination of large stock, café and events.  The combination of the very tough retail climate and lockdown meant we could not risk being “collateral damage” to an excessively wide high court injunction.

“So we are very pleased that we have managed to work with the Council who worked with us and our legal team to modify the proposed order.  We will be keeping a close interest in the use of this injunction and will not hesitate to apply to the court if the propose form of order has any unintended consequences.

“We would like to thank the specific help from our customer and lawyer, Alex Carter-Silk of Keystone Law for his commitment and support and Stevenage and District Motorcycle Club for raising this issue with us.”

 

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