Council foils keyboard warrior who sent at least 68 anti-cyclist responses to proposal to ban cars from London street
118 responses to consultation on closing Garden Walk in London to cars came from just four computers
An attempt by a keyboard warrior to hijack a consultation and get cyclists banned from a 30m-long section of London street has been foiled by the council.
Hackney Council might have been surprised when it received more than 170 responses to its proposal to close one end of Garden Walk to vehicles, only allowing cyclists and pedestrians to pass through, but the reason became clear when it examined the online responses.
An officer's response to the suggestion that cyclists should also be banned from the street noted that "a large number of the responses were similar in nature and no names provided" with further investigation noting that "the majority of responses were submitted from the same IP address [a label assigned to an individual computer]".
>>> 'Disproportionate and deeply concerning': British Cycling hits out at proposed ban on cyclists on A63
Although the officer noted that it was "possible that these responses may have been submitted on behalf of a number of people", they also said that this would have been "highly unusual".
The Hackney Gazzette reports that the council received 68 responses from a single computer, while a further three computers had been used to send a further 50 responses. This meant that four computers were used to send 118 of the 173 responses to the consultation.
The first computer was used to send messages over nine consecutive days during the consultation period in September and October, generally getting shorter in length transitioning from "I want to walk around my area in peace so it’s a good idea to stop cars being able to drive through the street. I think bikes should be banned as well as they would discourage walkers" to the more to-the-point "I don’t like cyclists or cars so I’d prefer it if they were all banned from the street."
>>> Cycle shop owner who helped organise bike thefts is jailed for two years
Hackney Council said that there was an average of 66 cyclists travelling along the road each week, compared to 825 motorcycles, cars, vans, and lorries, with this low level of cycling "minimising the chances of pedestrian and cycle conflict occurring".
The council therefore concluded that cyclists should be allowed to continue to use the road, although it did decide to plant trees at either end of the newly pedestrianised section of road in order to prevent cyclists riding too quickly along the 30m stretch.
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Five things we learned from the 2023 Giro d'Italia
Now it's all over and the dust has pretty much settled, what did this year's bella corsa teach us?
By James Shrubsall • Published
First ride impressions: New Campagnolo Super Record Wireless groupset
Does the Italian brand's flagship groupset live up to expectations and its big price tag?
By Sam Gupta • Published