Motorbike protest heads for Cleddau Bridge
10:16am Friday 12th October 2012 in News
Local bikers on a campaign trail to scrap motorcycle tolls on the Cleddau Bridge will stage a protest this weekend.
Members of the Pembrokeshire Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), who say they are some of the last bikers to pay toll charges in the UK, plan to ride across the bridge en masse on Sunday.
MAG’s south Wales representative Phil McFadden said: “We plan to organise mass crossings of the bridge by motorcycles over the next few weekends, taking the right amount of time at the tolls to ensure our safety and public safety.”
Mr McFadden said that motorcycle tolls cause unnecessary traffic jams on a daily basis, because bikers have to stop, switch off their engines and put their bikes on a stand, before removing their gloves and digging out 35p.
“If it’s wet, and you take your gloves off, putting them back on is murder,” he added.
Mr McFadden, who began campaigning about nine months ago, said that many toll roads in Britain were free to PTW (Powered Two Wheel) users, including the Severn crossings, and the Cob at Porthmadog, which stopped charging bikers in the 50s.
And recently the Humber Bridge and the Tyne Tunnel joined this trend following MAG campaigns, he said.
MAG Pembrokeshire spokesman Paul ‘Panda’ Francis added: “Transport For London-funded research shows that PTWs are five times less polluting than cars, cause far less damage to roads, and are a far quicker, enjoyable way to get through the traffic jams – but this nonsense causes jams at the tollbooths.
“I am an avid rider, and my family are avid riders, and this is a daily inconvenience for us. I use my motorcycle to commute to work, which is less damaging for the environment and theroads, and the council should be encouraging more people to do it.”
Pembrokeshire County Council spokesman Len Mullins said that toll charges had stayed the same since they were introduced by Dyfed County Council in 1993.
He said that the council’s research found that other bridge operators increased their fees during the same period.
He said: “It is the county council’s intention to maintain the status quo with free passage being granted only for the disabled in prescribed circumstances.”
Mr McFadden and other bikers will leave Pembroke Common at 12pm on Sunday, and ride to the Cleddau Bridge.