STRATFORD should be more motorbike-friendly say riders ahead of a possible ban on them gathering in the town centre.
Ken Mullis, who regularly joins hundreds of fellow riders on Waterside, says Stratford District Council needs to work with bikers to make them welcome.
The message comes following a decision by the council to discuss whether to enforce a by-law banning motorbikes parking up on the pavement on Waterside – a popular pit stop for the biking community for many years.
The by-law was put in place more than a decade ago, but bikers who argue the spectacle is an attraction for both visitors and townspeople, have continued to park there.
But former mayor Cyril Bennis, who has been campaigning for five years for enforcement action to ban the bikers, has welcomed news of the council discussion next month.
He said: “I’m pleased the council has realised it is a serious issue and that elected members will have to take on the responsibility to ensure the safety of pedestrians on the promenade and address the noise issues.
“It’s clearly designed for pedestrians, they enforced it in the beginning but one by one the bikes have been sneaking in and now we’re back to square one.
“I’m just hoping once and for all on behalf of residents something will be done.
“I’ve nothing against the bikers, I think the machines are wonderful and really admire the way they keep them – but this is about the safety and noise.”
But Mr Mullis, who lives in Napton, rubbished safety claims arguing bikes were always parked neatly, and riders also ensured there was plenty of room for pedestrians to walk past safely.
He added: “There are towns all over the UK where biking is massive and they hold regular biking events. There needs to be more communication, and Stratford needs to realise how valuable the biking community is to the town. We spend a lot of money with businesses.
“Bikers have a bad reputation, but most of us are middle-aged or retired and just have a passion for motorbikes which we we like to share.
“You only have to see how many people enjoy walking along Waterside looking at the bikes to see what the town could lose if a ban was enforced.”
Following a lengthy exchange between Mr Bennis and the council, executive director David Buckland finally agreed the issue should be reviewed. He added if the view was to maintain the by-law, enforcement action would be taken.
Councillors will discuss the matter on November 5.