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Magistrates Court says "no bikes are allowed on court premises", allegedly telling visitors to park bikes in town centre nearby

A defence lawyer who works at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court says no explanation has been given for an apparent ban on parking or bringing cycles on the premises, adding that the court has a large car park...

A defence lawyer who regularly cycles to Wimbledon Magistrates' Court to represent clients has told road.cc of his bafflement at a new ban on visitors parking - or even bringing - bikes of any kind to the court. 

The London-based lawyer, who did not wish to be named, says he was "informed by friends in the security staff" at the court yesterday, so he would not arrive next week finding he was unable to park his bike. 

> Worst bike racks — from the useless to utterly unusable places to park your bicycle

"I have cycled to this court for years and have either parked my bike locked to the railings outside the court or in the car park", he said. 

"There are no bike facilities there except for court employees where there is a small bike rack. There is a large car park... in fact I had a bike stolen in the car park there a few months ago but that is another story.

"On Friday I was informed no bikes are now to be allowed on court premises, including any locked to the railings or in the car park... this includes folding bikes or as in my case, a road bike. A notice has gone up outside the court stating all bikes should be stored in the bike racks in the town centre.

"Whilst I regularly cycled and parked there I am not the only one. There are Prosecutors, Interpreters, other defence lawyers who also choose to cycle there. No reason has been given as yet for this decision."

At the time of writing the Wimbledon Magistrates' Court website makes no mention of a ban on cycle parking for visitors, with a page titled 'a guide to Wimbledon Magistrates' Court' recommending nearby car parks for drivers, and advising that it is "a better idea to take public transport."

road.cc has contacted Wimbledon Magistrates' Court for comment. 

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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19 comments

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TwoHeadsTalking | 3 weeks ago
5 likes

Possibly just to avoid the public embarrassment of multiple thefts from the actual flipping Magistrates Court.
They know better than anyone how little enforcement and control there is, thieves probably walk out freshly emboldened to steal, and have a go right away.

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chrisonabike replied to TwoHeadsTalking | 3 weeks ago
6 likes

Well that makes sense.

If you were done for nicking bikes for your fix, you're probably clucking by the time they've given you a community order / fine and you'll need some quick cash to score.

If you've just been banned from driving in there, how are you going to get home? *

* Drive, of course.  Being banned from driving doesn't actually "do" anything, because in the unlikely event you're caught, you'll just be banned again...

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Săndel | 3 weeks ago
4 likes

Arrrrrgh! Come on, brits! Just ban cycling already! Come on! Pull it together! I know you can!  24
Make car driving compulsory! (And not only)

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chrisonabike replied to Săndel | 3 weeks ago
5 likes

Some local cultural knowledge - the UK doesn't tend to actually ban anything (though the papers / popular culture uses that phrase).  Yes, some laws may be enacted but the key thing is something (normally already contentious) becomes less socially ... "the done thing".  It may be made more inconvenient (though the usual way is simply to ignore things / reduce or stop funding), organisationally disfavoured, socially unpopular (or even sneered at).  And (in rare cases) something might come to court, and might even attract a (usually small) penalty!

After some time the "banned" thing tends to mostly wither away, or become the preserve of criminals (we seem to accept that "we'll never fix everyone" - probably sensible).

On the flip side - things which appear "banned" can be quite common, due to UK laissez-faire fudge.

So we have:

Cycling - only banned on motorways and a few other roads, and technically on the pavement (enforcement is minimal).  However for decades authorities have "encouraged cycling" ... by massive promotion of driving, hundreds of billions of pounds of "strategic" road building and indeed financial support for the road building, motor and road transport industries - oh, and individual drivers.  The result is that the national average (2022 - after a lockdown boost) is 2% of journeys are cycled.

Speeding - clearly "banned" by law but many people do it (most people, in 20mph speed limit zones).

Driving on the pavement - illegal, so obviously you can't park on the pavement either - though technically not a specific offense.  BUT you'll see this happening everywhere because it's seen as less socially acceptable to "block" the carriageway for other drivers.  With the exception of recent developments in Scotland (e.g. Edinburgh - and it's early days) courts have decided that it's going to be too hard to prove and the police have said they just won't bother.

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bikegirl-2 replied to Săndel | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

What about walking, catching a bus, train, tram or ferry or for gods sake taking a cycle on one of these modes of transport?

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freespirit1 | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

Of course he's had a bike stolen, there's too many criminals get in those courts.

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Bungle_52 | 3 weeks ago
11 likes

I hate to admit that Gloucestershire has got something right but when I did my jury service I cycled in every day. When I did my recce the very friendly gate man pointed out the secure bike storage and said I was welcome to use it. I had no problems apart from having to get changed in the toilets. They even paid me a travel allowance specifically for bike users which was not much but it's the thought that counts.

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Aluminium can | 3 weeks ago
5 likes

They're lawyers so they can afford to rent a van each to literally "obey" this rule. Just rent one van for each cyclist and then turn up really early with the bike in the back of the van and park the vans in all the best spots. After work, ride the bike home leaving the vans there overnight. Use the vans for parking the bikes for as long as it takes to get the policy reversed.

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grOg replied to Aluminium can | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

Funnily enough, I do just this at my large workplace which has a very large carpark, but zero facilities for cyclists; I have an old van on historic rego that I keep parked at work just so I can securely 'park' my bicycle..

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Steve K | 3 weeks ago
7 likes

It's a pity that the previous Chief Executive of the Courts Services (up to 2020) isn't still in post because she cycles to work (or at least used to, when we both worked in a different government organisation).

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Bob's Bikes | 3 weeks ago
10 likes

They have done this to force people to travel by car to court so they can catch muppets like the "person" in/near Liverpool who drove to hand in his licence then went to drive home and got immediately rearrested.

But still think the best (?) one was When Addenbrookes Hospital took out the sheffield bars from the bus stop style bike shelters so the smokers could use them!

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Robert Hardy replied to Bob's Bikes | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

Well they are the ones with a lamp post in the very middle of the rather hopeless cycle lane, on a tight corner too!

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chrisonabike replied to Bob's Bikes | 3 weeks ago
3 likes
Bob's Bikes wrote:

But still think the best (?) one was When Addenbrookes Hospital took out the sheffield bars from the bus stop style bike shelters so the smokers could use them!

It's all about joined-up thinking and holistic health outcomes! If they'd not had that bright idea smokers might have been tempted to smoke closer to other patients. Or got colds by smoking in the rain / become depressed since their needs weren't addressed. You have to look at the bigger picture...

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TwoHeadsTalking replied to chrisonabike | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

There's no smoking enforcement at hospitals either way, I've seen indoor smoking in the main entrance of multiple hospital sites. I'm all for compassion and tolerance, but I'm sure it doesn't help people who are trying to overcome their addiction for the health of themselves and those around them.
I have seen bike/smoking shelters directly across from the entrance to a Maternity Ward, at a different Hospital.
Welcome to the world, enjoy the smoke.

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chrisonabike replied to TwoHeadsTalking | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

The times I was visiting hospitals in Edinburgh a common sight was a group just outside the hospital doors, smoking in the cold, with one or more amputations.

Lots of proximate reasons they could be in that condition of course (just unlucky - diabetes 1, poor heart or vascular health, industrial accident) but probably some of diet, ciggies, booze or even drugs feature.  It seems to be a common "condition of the poor", in Edinburgh at least.  (Possibly the rich folks with gout and smokers' cough are at the private hospitals...)

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TwoHeadsTalking replied to chrisonabike | 3 weeks ago
1 like

Certainly not just Edinburgh, last time I saw this was in a Hospital in Central London; it was raining though.

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Sriracha | 3 weeks ago
23 likes

Surely they make an exception for a Gavel Bike?

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Rendel Harris replied to Sriracha | 3 weeks ago
13 likes

Sriracha wrote:

Surely they make an exception for a Gavel Bike?

And surely Wiggo would always be welcome?

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ubercurmudgeon replied to Sriracha | 3 weeks ago
9 likes

Sriracha wrote:

Surely they make an exception for a Gavel Bike?

Nope, not even for an open-and-shut one, such as a Brompton.

And don't call me Shirley.

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