James Daley: I finally got an apology from the police for losing my bike
Cyclotherapy: We cyclists must continue hassling for more formal and safe urban bike parking
Thursday 28 August 2008
I finally received an apology last week from the police for losing my bike, after my moan to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) made it all the way up to the Superintendent at Belgravia police station. I have to admit that as I made my way down to meet him, I felt like a bit of a pillock. After all, I did get my bike back in the end, and while I was angry with the way I was treated, I'm sure the police have bigger things to worry about than missing bikes. Still, if no one ever complained, perhaps things would never improve – and I do think it's wrong that the police can go round chopping up locks and confiscating bikes, even when there are no signs to let you know you can't park there.
For those who didn't read the story, the police took my mountain bike in April when I chained it to railings in Trafalgar Square, leaving me a note to say it had been taken to Belgravia station. When I went to recover it, there was no record of any bikes being confiscated on that night, nor any sign of my bike among the hundreds hiding in its underground car park.
Many calls and several weeks later, it did show up. Although no one was able to explain where it had been, or why it had been taken, I was thankful that all I'd lost was my £40 lock.
At the time, I wondered whether it had been stolen by a policeman who returned it after I made enquiries – a theory that Supt Ovens of Belgravia wasn't particularly keen on when I put it to him last Friday. Nevertheless, he was kind enough to buy me a coffee and apologise for the way I was treated, before explaining why my bike had been confiscated.
Producing a list of bike-bomb incidents dating to the 1930s, he said the police's mandate to protect the public gives it the right to remove bikes if they are deemed to be a threat. Although that doesn't mean they make a habit of picking up every bike they see, you'll be lucky to find your wheels where you left them if you parked in the Government exclusion zone around Westminster, as I did.
I can't argue with the police's desire to protect the public. But it does strike me as slightly ludicrous that they can go round chopping off people's locks when there aren't even any signs warning that you can't padlock your bike there. But street signs are not the police's responsibility, said Supt Ovens. Take it up with Westminster council.
I did, however, leave with a promise that the police will make a bigger effort to book-in every bike they confiscate, and will make a better effort to reunite these bikes with their owners. The rest, however, is up to the local authorities and Government – who we cyclists must continue hassling for more formal and safe urban bike parking. If the Government is serious about more people getting on two wheels, it should listen up.
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars
A million homes to be heated by river water energy
Malawi to burn its £5m ivory stockpile this week - and demonstrate its commitment to wildlife conservation
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 3 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
- 4 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: I have depression. That doesn't make me a psychopath
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£32000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant / F...
£27000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of a mark...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides Reliabili...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...