Tuesday 17 November 2015

Bidwells? Cambridge Police? #Badlyparkedbike? The plot thickens.

So you'll remember #badlyparkedbike, our police services comically inept social media campaign aimed at shaming cyclists into not locking their bikes in perfectly out of the way spots to divert attention away from the fact that most suburban pavements in this city are entirely impassable due to parked cars? You'll remember their clinging to that sinking ship no matter what was shown to them? And you'll no doubt recall how this escalated to the point where a cycling journalist was threatened with arrest for taking a picture of a police car obstructing a cycle lane?

Well, @cambridgecops twitter feed (from which a number of vocal but polite critics have been blocked) has stopped yammering on about it. Initially I assumed this was probably because the tag was hijacked by a gloriously sarcastic deluge of car-blocked pavements and perhaps someone at the constabulary had finally got the point - but then things seemed to be turning sinister as Bidwells (the owner of one of the sites chosen by the Police to hi-light this - not that you can readily discern this, it looks like a public space) threatened to remove bikes locked there. With very little notice. 

Well, they went and did it. 

And, quite understandably, I would expect the bike owners furious. And one of them has been digging to find out whats happening and is pursuing a complaint to get her bike back.

Now it would have been hard to accept the claim (in the link above) from someone at Bidwells that they've been collaborating with the Police to remove bicycles. But lets be frank, Cambridgeshire Constabulary have made a complete pigs ear of things with cyclists recently and it would surprise none of us were the same anti-cyclist elements at Cambridgeshire Constabulary who so unflinchingly backed #badlyparkedbike were to have given tacit approval for this - especially as this was the location for the first shared image of a bike allegedly thus parked.

Its obvious from this that both Bidwells and Cambridgeshire Constabulary have questions to answer if anyone from our police service is reading this, think about how you'd react were the person from Bidwells to have implicated any other organisation but yours. You'd be suspicious too - especially after #badlyparkedbike. 

To remove bicycles that (in this instance) had been in place for less than a day with only a few notices that are rather hard to find in the dark (and commuters at this time of year are arriving in the dark both in the morning and the evening) and give them to a charity isn't a proportional response to those bikes being on your property, and its certainly not good publicity. I urge the folk at Bidwells to sort this out and make things right with cyclists whose bikes they've taken, and to do so as quickly as possible. Guys, we're not just folk on bikes, we're a demographic that spends money and who make decisions who to work with. Right now do you really think this is good business? 

And in the mean time, if anyone has had their bikes grabbed, I wish you all success in getting it back. Keep us all informed how you get on - and if you've any information to add to whats in the complaint letter linked above then please share it. 


  1. Did cambs police give the game away when they tweeted smugly to somone who had their bicycle taken by Bidwells.."an unfortunate consequence of #badlyparkedbike " I think somone at the police was leant on by Bidwells to have an initiative on bikes around the station, and as Plod have no real powers thought a PR stunt would appease Bidwells. Just my theory....

    1. This is why we need plod to clear this up. This is all suspicious as hell.