Tower Hamlets MP blasts 'tunnel run' races for "endangering" lives
PUBLISHED: 16:26 07 November 2012
Miss Banzai - submitted
A bizarre Hollywood-style craze, in which hundreds of sports cars rev their engines to create a cacophony of noise as they speed through East End tunnels late at night, is putting people's lives at risk according to a Tower Hamlets MP.
A bizarre Hollywood-style craze, in which hundreds of sports cars rev their engines to create a cacophony of noise as they speed through East End tunnels late at night, is putting people’s lives at risk according to a Tower Hamlets MP.
The trend is known as “tunnel running” and has been compared to The Fast and the Furious movie franchise about illegal street car racing – although organisers claim the rallies, which raise money for charity, focus on noise creation rather than speed.
The routes are organised by online enthusiasts and regularly take drivers through the Blackwall Tunnel, Limehouse Link, Dartford Tunnel, and Westferry Circus.
But they often drive at dangerous speeds and use the Westferry underpass to regroup and perform stunts, according to furious Jim Fitzpatrick, who represents Poplar and Limehouse.
He blasted the trend saying: “Videos posted online show dangerous and loud street car racing which belongs in a Hollywood movie and not the streets of east London.
“As well as causing a disturbance to residents, the fast cars endanger motorists on the road.
“Raising money for charity does not allow you to operate with impunity and doesn’t justify dangerous and loud car driving which disturbs residents who are trying to get a decent night’s sleep.”
In the wake of residents’ complaints, the MP has raised the issue with London Mayor Boris Johnson, and bosses as the Met and Transport for London. He’s also written to Tower Hamlets Police and Council calling for barriers be put up and for a dispersal zone on race nights.
But an organiser for Miss Banzai, a tunnel running group for Japanese cars that claims participants’ donations have raised about £25,000 for charity, insists the MP “hasn’t got a leg to stand on”.
The 25-year-old Mazda MX5, who would only identify himself as Martin, said: “I’d like to know if this means the charity taxi runs from London to Brighton are bad too?
“All the evidence you need is on our videos – you can see a high performance Japanese car being overtaken by a Ford Focus!
“The tunnels are away from residential units, so noise shouldn’t be an issue, and we’ve had no injuries or deaths at any of our events.”