Thursday, November 27, 2008

On yer bikes

Have you ever stopped to consider whether that bike ride you're about to take is legal? You have informed the police haven't you, you're not just thinking of saddling up and being away? Well let your confusion be at an end - the Law Lords have determined that the police do not need to be informed if you want to go for a little cycle. Whew.

Allow me to explain. There's a thing called Critical Mass, which is essentially a celebration of the bicycle through the medium of a mass, random ride and has been taking place every month in London since 1994. But the Met Police don't like it and have been leafleting the event (oh the joy, you get all sorts handing out leaflets at protests these days don't you?) which said that the impromptu rides were contrary to "section 11 of the Public Order Act 1986 and organisers needed to notify them about the date, route and participants' names and addresses. "

That's right - Sir Ian Blair's progressive coppers wanted the name and address of anyone and everyone who takes part. Pfft, I should cocoa.

The Law Lords begged to differ saying that Critical Mass had no leaders and no planned routes so nobody was responsible, which in this case is a good thing apparently. On the Critical Mass website they ask "Who are we and what are our aims?" To which they reply, faq style "We are not sure, opinions seem to differ." Bloody anarchists, no wonder the cops wanted their names.

In a statement Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers (God I hate this backwards fucking country) said "anyone proposing similar processions with no predetermined route for the first time elsewhere in the country would be acting within the law"... "It is inconceivable that Parliament could have intended, by a sidewind, to outlaw events such as Critical Mass."

So there you have it. Fun Day Out 1. Heavy Handed Policing 0. Well done chaps.

1 comment:

Green Gordon said...

Re this backword country, I gather that once the building is ready, the Supreme Court will be brought into being and replace the legal arm of the House of Lords. As Law Lords are really just experienced judges, I don't think it's the end of the world that the system still has its anachronistic characteristics, it's mostly just problematic for ideas of separation of powers (they are effectively seperate in this case, if not literally separate).