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'Bike storming' and skateboarding youths welcome in City of London, suggests new police report responding to anti-social behaviour complaints

Far from cracking down on youths cycling and skating in the Square Mile, the report says that the City "is a safer place to spend time in comparison to other London boroughs", and suggests more longer term solutions...

A police response to anti-social behaviour complaints about youths 'bike storming' and skating in London's Square Mile has played down the issue, concluding that the number of reports are low, and that the City is a safer place for youths to take part in their hobbies in a relatively safe environment. 

In the report, under the subject 'Responses to Anti-Social Behaviour in the City of London', points 20 through to 27 refer to Skateboarding and ‘Bike Storming’. It says the City of London Corporation and City Police have been working closely to 'proportionately respond' to reports of anti-social behaviour with regards to bike storming and skateboarding; however, it says the number of reports are low: 

"Several options have been explored by partners to holistically mitigate the issue", says the report. "However, many of proposed solutions have been compounded by data from the City Police, which indicates that the actual number of reports to the Police regarding ASB [anti-social behaviour] and such activities is very low.

"Additionally, if there is ASB displayed with the skateboarding and cycling activities the age range of many of those 5 participating in those activities limit the use of low-level ASB enforcement powers, such as Community Protection Warnings and Notices and subsequently displacing the issue."

Long-term solutions are suggested to allow youths to cycle and skate in a specific area of the City "to avoid noise complaints"; a skate park in the Square Mile is one of the options being explored. 

The report concludes: "We are exploring which are the most effective options to address this issue and aim to provide the best possible outcome for both residents and young people.

"We know young people come to the City for a number of reasons and one of them is that the City is a safer place to spend time in comparison to other London boroughs. As such, children and young people can visit the City to play with a significantly reduced risk of becoming involved in serious criminal activities, both as victims and perpetrators. Rather, they can spend their time taking part in an active hobby which promotes exercise, with many of them considering it a sport."

The response was shared numerous times on social media, with @lastnotlost commenting: "The City provides a safe environment to burn off energy." 

Paul Allen added: "Whenever I see Bike Stormz I find it heart warming rather than threatening. A lovely response from the authorities." 

'Bike storming' commonly refers to cyclists, often youths, riding bmx and mountain bikes in a large group together. As we've previously reported, the official 'BikeStormz' events are described as "the biggest underground youth movement in the UK" by its creators, with the video above recorded at the 2020 edition. Launched in 2015, the defining message is ‘Knives Down, Bikes Up’, and organisers say they want to turn the riding style – one-handed wheelies, skids and numerous others tricks performed in motion – into a sport in its own right. 

BikeStormz 2021 is set to take place on 10th July, and those interested in joining can register on the BikeStormz website. Under 18's must have parental consent to participate. 

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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44 comments

Avatar
ig_alexei | 2 years ago
3 likes

Thank you for attempting to bring this to light. I in fact took part in this, and would like to explain the reasons behind it. Many people, who have large followings on social media have decided to arrange these meet-ups, in an attempt to help kids get off the streets, away from crime, and ride a bike and enjoy themselves. You may not see it as that, but the whole point is to help. During this day, thousands of pounds of clothes, food, even brand new bikes were given out to young children (11/12) and massive groups of people. The media, as per usual sees this in a negative light however the reality is, people are trying to do better. They are trying to stay away from knife crime, that being the reason for these rides #knivesdownbikesup. Please don't try to put a bad light on this, It is better than kids going out taking part in crime, which in London they very easily could be. See it from both sides, and stop putting a negative image on something so positive.

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welshcyclist | 3 years ago
0 likes

Well, where do I begin? Riding a bike is my greatest pleasure, but I think this is attrocious. The police pandering to a bunch of idiots whose only wish is to take over the roads, and dangerously. If this is what the police welcome to the streets of London, then what chance has a law abiding cyclist without a police escort. I believe it is disgraceful. 

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wycombewheeler replied to welshcyclist | 3 years ago
1 like
welshcyclist wrote:

Well, where do I begin? Riding a bike is my greatest pleasure, but I think this is attrocious. The police pandering to a bunch of idiots whose only wish is to take over the roads, and dangerously. If this is what the police welcome to the streets of London, then what chance has a law abiding cyclist without a police escort. I believe it is disgraceful. 

I think the streets of the city of london which are relatively empty outside of business hours monday to friday is the best place for these rides.

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Captain Badger replied to welshcyclist | 3 years ago
3 likes
welshcyclist wrote:

Well, where do I begin? Riding a bike is my greatest pleasure, but I think this is attrocious. The police pandering to a bunch of idiots whose only wish is to take over the roads, and dangerously. If this is what the police welcome to the streets of London, then what chance has a law abiding cyclist without a police escort. I believe it is disgraceful. 

Sorry, are we talking about motorists here?.....

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qwerty360 | 3 years ago
4 likes

The vast majority of complaints I have seen about this sort of behaviour have usually included a nice video, recorded on a mobile phone by the driver of a vehicle...

Usually a driver complaining about how 'dangerous' the riders are while driving towards them at speed in a 2+ Ton chunk of steel while focusing on getting mobile phone video... It is terrifying when I comment on this how few are able to grasp the concept that if you think the children are behaving dangerously, then the last thing you should be doing is turning a low speed fall/bump if they screw up (most likely bruises and given the talent usually shown highly unlikely anyway) into a 30mph collision where your 2+tons of metal is going to end up crushing them and therefore the justice system really should be focusing on the driver as by their own complaint (the riders are risking dangerous collisions) proceeding is clearly dangerous driving (as they continue driving into a dangerous situation...)

 

 

(n.b. half the complaint is also usually the existance of a large group of cyclists on "major" roads (reality - tiny residential access roads/rat runs serving a few hundred properties with nearby parallel main roads) that it isn't safe to overtake causing 'massive' delays (reality - 30 seconds following cyclists out of 5+ min of delays for lights, junctions, parked cars and traffic) as well as chances of them hurting themselves (reality - hospital stats show this is safer than most other sporting activities they could be doing and a lot safer than being idle) or someone else (reality - no evidence in either hospital or police stats))

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Dsf028 | 3 years ago
0 likes

I'm not sure the City of London Corporation and the City of London Police are on the same page with this.  As police officers in the City have been told to deal robustly with the issues that the cyclists and skateboarders are causing such as the ASB element Road Traffic Offences, theft and and public order that occur every weekend and school holidays 

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Ihatecheese | 3 years ago
2 likes

We always see the 100s of kids and older when they do their bike events, on our weekend bike rides around town. 

Their skills are damn impressive and amazingly I've never seen any of them fall off besides the ages and the ridiculous wheelies. 

I haven't witnessed trouble except for the worried looking older cyclists and pedestrians and of course comments  of covid and kids. 

What makes me jealous as adult is the bikes these kids are riding. Don't turn up if the bikes under a grand unless you can wheelie 99% time! 

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hawkinspeter | 3 years ago
2 likes

Meanwhile, in Bristol we've installed anti-skate strips around the Cenotaph: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/row-dozens-raised-strips-installed-5550730

On the one hand, there should be some respect for the Cenotaph, but I just hate hostile architecture (e.g. sloping benches).

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brooksby replied to hawkinspeter | 3 years ago
4 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

Meanwhile, in Bristol we've installed anti-skate strips around the Cenotaph: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/row-dozens-raised-strips-installed-5550730

On the one hand, there should be some respect for the Cenotaph, but I just hate hostile architecture (e.g. sloping benches).

I saw them putting those in last week. Clearly someone living in Electricity House has connections...

How long until the first damages claim from someone who's tripped over them, or disability access claim from a chair user?

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hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
2 likes

I'm almost hoping that happens though obviously not so great for whoever gets hurt and not so great for the public purse. They can't be good for anyone with sight issues or is a bit unsteady on their feet and I'm guessing they'd be slippery when wet.

Surely they could instead have changed it to a planted garden or even a bit of turf?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
3 likes

Talking about disability claims, the BCC /Walsall council(?) have decided this official ped and cycling shared path should now have a bar barrier across the width of it with the bushy area on the left being paved and having one of those "anti motorbike" barriers. They haven't even put a drop kerb the other side so anyone in a wheelchair or larger vehicle is just getting a massive Fuck You. 

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SaintClarence27 replied to hawkinspeter | 3 years ago
3 likes

I will never understand that.  If it's not dangerous to others, it's a public place - PEOPLE SHOULD BE CONGREGATING.  That's kind of the point.

hawkinspeter wrote:

Meanwhile, in Bristol we've installed anti-skate strips around the Cenotaph: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/row-dozens-raised-strips-installed-5550730

On the one hand, there should be some respect for the Cenotaph, but I just hate hostile architecture (e.g. sloping benches).

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to SaintClarence27 | 3 years ago
3 likes
SaintClarence27 wrote:

I will never understand that.  If it's not dangerous to others, it's a public place - PEOPLE SHOULD BE CONGREGATING.  That's kind of the point.

hawkinspeter wrote:

Meanwhile, in Bristol we've installed anti-skate strips around the Cenotaph: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/row-dozens-raised-strips-installed-5550730

On the one hand, there should be some respect for the Cenotaph, but I just hate hostile architecture (e.g. sloping benches).

I saw a reddit post about it and pretty much all the responses were along the lines of "it's great to watch the skateboarders there".

As Brooksby implies, it's likely that the wealthy residents of Electricity House don't like the noise.

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caw35ride | 3 years ago
8 likes

I had to read this twice, can't quite believe it:

"We know young people come to the City for a number of reasons and one of them is that the City is a safer place to spend time in comparison to other London boroughs. As such, children and young people can visit the City to play with a significantly reduced risk of becoming involved in serious criminal activities, both as victims and perpetrators. Rather, they can spend their time taking part in an active hobby which promotes exercise, with many of them considering it a sport."

Kids being encouraged to act like kids, who'd have thought it!

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Boopop replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 3 years ago
2 likes

Oops, wish I could delete this!

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Boopop replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 3 years ago
7 likes

Remember folks, don't feed the troll 🤐. Just like my comment and move on 😉

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Steve K replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 3 years ago
6 likes

I'm going foolishly to ignore Boopop's sound advice and point out that the Mayor of London has nothing to do with the City of London police. But, hey, who needs facts?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 3 years ago
4 likes

So hold on, your initial complaint was it was criminal behaviour that was welcome in "Khans" London. Then when pointed out the City Police don't have anything to with Khan you then throw out your normal statements about crime in London causing it. (Still nothing to do with 10 years of Austerity for both Police AND Charity/council funded after school clubs?)

So, do you feel that this "Bike Storming" is criminal behaviour then? I noticed you cut out all the rest of the quote from the CoL Police about letting children do it as it is an exercise and sport.

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OldRidgeback replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 3 years ago
4 likes

Khan has just been relected. So either London's voters endorse criminality or they recognise that a decade of Tory cuts to the police and social services, including Boris Johnson closing police stations when he was mayor, have more to do with the recent jump in crime. Note that the jump in crime is seen right across the UK. So what's the real answer?

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Muddy Ford | 3 years ago
6 likes

Bikestormz should be a regular event. Even better if it helped a youth charity.

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TheBillder | 3 years ago
8 likes

I almost can't believe this - a sensible, proportionate response by police, realising that the issue extends beyond their force boundary and beyond the immediate behaviour. Have we been moved to Amsterdam or Copenhagen and not noticed?

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Richard Tillotson | 3 years ago
6 likes

Except when they ride straight at you and pull away at the last moment, this has happened to me multiple times riding through the city.  This is often not safe riding that takes into consideration other road users.

If it isn't bad enough trying to build any respect with drivers and pedestrians, it all goes out the window with groups riding like this through the city.

If you want to gain the respect as a sport then knock of the reckless riding that puts others at risk.

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AidanR replied to Richard Tillotson | 3 years ago
7 likes

It's happened to me too. It's annoying, but it's just kids showing off and looking to get a reaction. It's a bit like when kids at bus stops shout "boo!" as you ride past.

Personally, I'm happy enough to let them be. 

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Richard Tillotson replied to AidanR | 3 years ago
3 likes

What kind of reaction......an accident, calling them out and getting mobbed for doing so, damaging other peoples property, negative attention whilst trying to gain some kind of recognition for performing a wheelie towards oncoming traffic?

I am all for pushing your abilities in your chosen field but the need to get in peoples faces to do so is unnecessary.  There is intimidation and that is why most people won't intervene.

We as cyclists are often lambasted for not having insurance or having total disregard for other road users and this behaviour is a complete step backwards.  Do it in an area that doesn't involve other road users.

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ktache replied to Richard Tillotson | 3 years ago
5 likes

Dis you not notice, there are reasons the City is safer for this, acknowledged by the police, far less traffic, it's within the ULEZ, congestion charge zone and ring of steel, very few private motorists.  Hardly any residents either...

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I love my bike replied to Richard Tillotson | 3 years ago
6 likes

Motorists do much the same thing all the time & it's considered normal! And they're notionally all adults, trained, taxed & insured; and actually kill people!

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Hirsute replied to Richard Tillotson | 3 years ago
1 like

Except they are not adults, so the comparison fails immediately.

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AidanR replied to Richard Tillotson | 3 years ago
7 likes

The kind of reaction any teenager is looking for - trying to get a rise out of you. Looks like they're succeeding. 

As for the damage to the reputation of cyclists, it's like saying people doing burn-outs and donuts at car meets tar all motorists with their actions. Nobody is going to mistake you as a commuter cyclist with a group of teenagers pulling wheelies down the middle of the road.

As I said, they can be annoying, but what would you have the police do differently? 

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Sriracha replied to AidanR | 3 years ago
0 likes

Yes, but are you also saying we should likewise encourage "people doing burn-outs and donuts at car meets"? And might it depend where those meets are?

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Gus T replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
5 likes

Errm, how much damage and loss of life will be incurred by 1 person losing control of a bike compared to a 1 person loosing control of a motorvehicle. Apples and oranges.

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