“One could think that Covid-19 is no longer a problem. Rye seemed like a spring day with dozens of visitors on Sunday Feb 21. Social distancing a thing of the past. The motorbike noise has returned with a vengeance with dozens of bikers at Strand Quay. Surely they are not all from Rye?”
The note above came into Rye News on Sunday from Tony Roi, and there were other comments on social media circulating rapidly on social media. Rye News volunteers were asked to investigate and Heidi Foster reports from the quayside.
No doubt, the complaints will be coming in again as last summer, 2020, when the first lockdown ended. Before the pandemic, motorbikes visited Rye regularly but on the whole it seemed the first lockdown was accepted and last March with the new regulations the streets became very quiet for several months.
Of course, when rules were lifted, the bikers returned in the summer and the noise was felt doubly after the preceding peace. Rye News wrote about the difference, with various responses from bike owners – some trying to understand, others being defiant. In this third (still continuing) lockdown, similar feelings are now being voiced by local residents about the noise, the speed along the main roads into the town and the flouting of the present rules (including no meeting except with one person for exercise. and only going out for exercise in your own local area) and people feel let down.
Few, or many, at fault?
The last time the issue was raised it became apparent that the space, Strand Quay, is owned by the government’s Environment Agency, which although is not exactly putting a sign up for bikers to congregate there, neither is it forbidding the practice. Instead they just allow it to happen and have done so for years.
There is an argument that it is only a few who rev up and speed. Unfortunately there are enough of the few to be dangerous along Military Road and along the A259 towards Hastings, and who create disturbance which can be heard in the allotments at Rock Channel.
So, if it is still possible for the motorbikes to meet on Strand Quay, they will return en masse in the summer. Many of the bikes are rather beautiful and some also argue that the riders do use the cafes which helps trade especially when hospitality can open properly again. But is there a solution that serves both parties – bikes and locals?
Idiots in cars as well
Nick Forman adds: Standing outside the Rye Heritage Centre today (Sunday, February 21) anyone would think it was a spring day in 2019 (remember those?) the bikers were back in force but social distancing didn’t happen, not a mask in sight, pandemic, what pandemic?
Most of the bikers, like many of us today, tempted out by the lovely weather, were just doing what bikers do and not causing any issues, and then the small contingent of idiots decided to scream their engines, two were seen doing wheelies, and it was difficult at times to hear yourself shout.
Talking of idiots, a visitor in a very expensive Porsche decided it was a good idea to stop on the zig zag lines near the zebra crossing, half on the road, half on the pavement, oblivious to everybody around him whilst he sat there chatting to his female passenger.
He finally decided to pull away, didn’t bother to check his mirror, and caused the biker behind him to brake. He then started shouting at the driver and sounding his horn, the annoyed/embarrassed Porsche driver then decided to put his foot down, and skidded away at break neck speed with the biker following.
Is this the way to Camber ?
Whilst this was going on, an estate car with a top box decided to pull over, facing traffic and on double yellow lines, and the driver then shouted from his car, “Is this the way to Camber?” to which I told him “No” and pointed him in the right direction but warned him that if he was not local, (and he obviously wasn’t) he could be caught by police looking for drivers breaching lockdown travel restrictions – but his reply was “Don’t worry. I’ll take a chance”
All this in the space of 20 minutes. None of us want to have to endure another lockdown, but it makes you think we may have to if attitudes don’t change and things don’t tighten up.
[Editor’s note: I heard a lot of biker noise on Sunday while I was out in my Valley Park garden most of the day, but I heard no police sirens at all – and I thought the police were supposed to be taking action against lockdown offenders]
Image Credits: John Minter , Nick Forman .