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Motorcycles banned at Whitby Railway Station – UPDATED

The BMF is alarmed to hear the news of a surprise ban on motorcycles that has been imposed at Whitby railway station in North Yorkshire by its owners Northern Rail. The station is the location of a well-known biker café, the Whistlestop that has been welcoming bikers to share its fabulous food and hospitality for many years. The café owners have expressed their shock and frustration at the news and fear the impact that this will have on their business. Bikers travel from far and wide to visit the café. Many have been quick to express their anger at the decision and the impact it will have on the biking community. There is a regular well attended bike night held at the café on Thursday evenings and it is not clear yet how this will be affected. Northern Rail’s Joseph Creamer stated that “Northern Trains has not granted permission for this gathering”. A statement that has left many local groups considering a protest.

Banning motorcycles from parking in a railway station carpark is clearly an act of discrimination. This, coupled with the makeshift signage, has left some to consider if it the ban can be legally enforced. Motorcyclists wishing to use the carpark as part of their overall journey by train are now presumably barred from doing so. A move that makes no sense at all given the current focus on sustainable transport. Motorcycles take up less space, reduce traffic congestion and are a more sustainable mode of transport compared to a car. Their wider use should be encouraged by providing secure parking facilities at transport hubs, such as railway stations, to foster a more interconnected sustainable transport network throughout the UK.

The BMF has written to Northern Rail to express our concerns over this discriminatory ban and to ask them to reconsider their actions and the impact that they will have, both on the Whistlestop Cafe and the wider motorcycling community.


Following feedback from local groups including the York branch of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), Northern Rail have u-turned on their decision to ban motorcycles from the carpark at Whitby Station. A spokesperson from Northern Rail said “that the decision on banning motorcycles has been reversed and this will not be going ahead”. MAG York representative Richard Suddaby had threatened to hold a peaceful demonstration against the ban, however, with the decision now reversed, plans for a demonstration have been dropped.

The BMF welcomes Northern Rail’s decision to overturn its discriminatory ban on motorcycles using the carpark but remains concerned over the heavy-handed tactics used by Northern Rail and the message this sends out to motorcyclists and the wider public. Motorcycles are a legitimate form of transport. They are more sustainable, less damaging to the environment, and their use should be encouraged.

The BMF will continue to campaign on issues that directly affect the liberty, safety, and security of motorcyclists in the UK.

Written by Alex Parsons-Hulse – BMF North East Regional Rep

Photo by Marco Angelo on Unsplash