Council gets 118 near-identical complaints about cyclists in Shoreditch road closure consultation – from four IP addresses

A person who dislikes cyclists, posed by a model, responded 68 times to a consultation about road cl

A person who dislikes cyclists, posed by a model, responded 68 times to a consultation about road closures - from the same IP address. - Credit: Ramzy Alwakeel

A keyboard warrior who has it in for cyclists spent hours bashing out scores of near-identical responses to a council survey about a Shoreditch road closure.

But the mystery moaner was caught out when the town hall realised all 68 of their messages had been sent from just one computer.

Three other IP addresses, which could indicate a lone computer or a group of computers using the same network, were between them responsible for a further 50 oddly similar responses to the questionnaire.

The spurious haul of 118 dwarfs the 55 other answers the council received during a consultation on shutting a section of Garden Walk to all vehicles. The town hall says the move would reduce air pollution and make the area safer to walk and cycle in.

All 118 of the suspicious responses backed the road closures but said bicycles should also be banned to make it safer for pedestrians.

The first IP address sent the lion’s share of the messages over nine consecutive days.

“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,” one read.

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Another suggested: “It would bother me that bicycles can still use the area for pedestrians. I don’t really want to be walking in an area where bicycles are running rampant.”

The comments then gradually became less creative, with one submitted later on reading: “I don’t like cyclists or cars so I’d prefer it if they were all banned from the street.”

Meanwhile, the second IP address submitted 12 responses in two days. One read: “I walk regularly in the area and cyclists are a real nuisance.

“The proposal will be better if cyclists are put under the same conditions as cars, as their speed is just as fast.”

A third IP address responded 19 times over four days, and the fourth sent 19 responses over three consecutive days. One read: “Some of the proposal is OK but I really don’t think bicycles should be able to use it. It will put people off walking if they have to dodge fast cyclists.”

Despite the efforts, the council is going ahead with the road closure after redesigning the scheme to avoid potential conflict.

Transport chief Cllr Feryal Demirci said: “It is very unusual to receive 100 almost identical responses, especially as none of them included a name and email address.

“The responses all support closing the road to through traffic, but would also like a ban on cycling too. This is not something we would want to do, or practically could do in Garden Walk.”