Oh, *THAT'S* what they're protesting about. Finally, I find out despite the fact that I've avoided Trafalgar for several Wednesdays on the trot (not by car - you have to be an idiot to drive into London, by Tube).
Having to pay for a parking space in Central London. Aw, the poor dears. They must really be struggling after having to pay the Congestion Char... oh, no, they're exempt. Ah, well, it must really be difficult to park a bike in... oh, there's thousands of bike spaces. Oh, but of course being able to work in London doesn't give them any sort of London weighting because of the extra difficulty of living in such an urban environ... No, hang on. Ah, then it must be because... erm...
In London, you park, you pay. It might be a new concept to bike-riders but you're already a LOT cheaper to run than a car (and let's not get into the environmental impact or I might have to mention noise pollution, accident rate, casualty seriousness and idiotic driving to counter the argument). London is notoriously over-crowded, vehicularly, and thus paying to park is a way to reduce unnecessary parking and enforce parking, which means that pillocks don't park in the road or leave their bikes across a car parking space. Residents, etc. are always entitled to concessions, discounts, etc.
Your bike still takes up space and still needs some money to look after that space - probably more than a car space if you include the fact that they can only take phone-payment and not little stickers on the windshield like existing systems, and the security devices that "the motorbikers" demanded, and extra enforcement for the extra spaces, etc.
Read the judgement - basically everything was thrown out and the council even reduced fees and bought more security devices to secure your bikes because bike-parking was SO popular even with the "old" higher charges - they didn't do that for cars. I wondered what all the fuss was about and assumed that, because I hadn't heard anything in particular, it would be something stupid and petty so that people could cause hassle and go have a beer in Trafalgar Square instead (Is that allowed? I have no idea, just hypothesising).
You wanna park, then you pay. You can argue about *how* much you pay (e.g. relative to the equivalent parking/protection for a car), you can argue about *how* you pay, you can argue about not having enough parking spaces, you can argue about heavy-handed enforcement in contravention to the motoring laws, you can argue about lots of things. But no, the court case was about wanting to not be required to pay for a service that every other motorist already has to pay for. You could even argue that all parking charges should be scrapped, I'd be right behind you. But they're just being childish and, subsequently, losing in court. Hopefully this will be the end of it that the average Londoner hears about, or if not, after the appeal.
Aw, diddums. I feel so sorry for those hard-done-by bikers.