Lockdown lifted already?

Bikers at Strand Quay back in pre-lockdown days

“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 ? 

Camber traffic last year in June

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 .


  1. Firstly, I’m a biker, but hopefully a responsible one! Why can’t the area where bikers gather at Strand Quay just be closed off for a couple of weeks with a notice put up explaining the noise situation? Word would soon get around the biking community and hopefully funnel back to the ones who spoil it for the rest of us who behave with respect for the locals. Maybe a “use it responsibly or lose it for good” scenario might get the message home?

  2. As well as in Rye centre and the Military road we get bikers (normally the three Amigos) who will come through Camber down past Jury’s Gap and then off to Lydd intent on breaking their previous speed records!
    Normally on a Sunday when everyone is relaxing. I don’t mind bikers but the noise these bikes make can be heard all the way from beyond Camber and all the way to Lydd. In my dreams I wish for the police to take action but we don’t see many patrol vehicles here or indeed in Camber.

  3. Leaving aside their antisocial excessive speed and noise, in this instance, because of lockdown, these bikers were breaking the law. The police in other parts of the country are turning away and fining visitors not from the local area. Where were the Sussex force? It wouldn’t have taken much imagination to anticipate this situation and for patrols to be set up on the roads into Rye thus preventing the nuisance even arriving.

  4. Once again we are expected to just grin and bear it with motorbikes driving in excess along the B2089 towards Rye. It is time that these dangerous bikers were punished for driving recklessly along the approach roads into Rye. Why should local residents have to put up with this endless weekend noise and very dangerous driving. Someone is going to get hurt either a biker or innocent person.
    We are also officially in lockdown until 17th April ? So why are they allowed to get away with gathering in numbers !! on the Strand.

  5. What are Sussex police doing ..not a lot judging by their Twitter comment last Sunday about first fine Sunday and the bikers are back in Rye ! If other police forces fine 2 women walking in a field with a cup of coffee what’s the problem with issuing fines to the bike brigade ..or where they all out for “ essentials” ?!

  6. Please call 101 and report the bikers breaking lockdown at Strand Quay. The more of us that report it the more likely it is that the police will come over and try to take action. I rang them this Sunday and was pleased to see a car turn up within an hour and a half and all of the bikers quietly (!) leaving as a result. I get angry that they appear to have so little respect for the community they are visiting. Moaning does nothing but ringing the police about it will eventually lead to action.

  7. now lockdown has gone there is no law to stop bikers going to rye its not the bikers breaking the law is it its the rye locals who put the nails down in bike park hoping to mam or kill bikers………


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