THE issue of bikers at Rye’s Strand Quay reached boiling point this week.
The town has been invaded by hundreds of bikes on two occasions this year leading to angry complaints about noise and blocked pavements,
Now some Rye councillors are calling for more controls while businesses at The Strand insist bikers are their lifeblood.
The council held a long debate this week in a bid to find a solution to the problem.
Police have warned against banning bikers from parking on the quay-side, on land owned by the Environment Agency, saying it would displace the problem and lead to more parking on pavements.
Problems were caused when the Environment Agency allowed Ducati to park a vehicle on the quay for an event which attracted hundreds of bikers.
The Agency has now said it will not allow any further events, although the Society of Christian Bikers wants to hold a church service on the quay.
Cllr Sam Souster said: “When it does get out of hand down there no-one can handle it. I have spent an afternoon down there myself and people could not even get into the Heritage Centre. The traffic warden just held his hands up and gave up.
“There should be some form of tourism management in the town.”
Rye PCSO Neil Holden said: “The police did respond the last time there was a problem but it also coincided with the busiest day of the year at Camber Sands when 23 kids went missing and that had to take priority.”
He added: “I was there last weekend and there were no problems.
“We will be monitoring the situation during this weekend’s maritime Festival.”
Cllr Jo Kirkham said: “We have had this argument for years, it only happens once or twice a year.
“The bikers bring a lot of trade into the town. Ten of them visited the museum recently and were polite and spent money on books.
“Bikers will not park at Gibbets Marsh as their bikes are out of sight and cost a lot of money.”
Cllr Gemma Blumire commented: “The bikes are a tourist attraction in themselves.”
One trader commented: “A ban on motorcycles at Strand Quay would cripple us – it would be the kiss of death.”
Cllr Mary Smith said: “Bikers park with impunity in illegal areas, cars get targeted, bikes don’t.
“It is a nuisance for residents in the whole area. One lady who lives nearby and is dying of terminal cancer was greatly distressed by the noise.”
Rye Heritage Centre manager Peter Cosstick said: “Two days have seen a big problem there. It is anti-social behaviour and accelerating from 0 – 60mph in two second that are the big issues.
“It is only a small minority but you will get bikers pulling wheelies and noise pollution.”
Planning committee chairman Cllr Adam Smith said; “We don’t want to alienate the bikers but we need to find a solution.