Bike owner takes condo to court over parking row

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Sept 4, 2013

Rather than cruising the streets of Singapore, Mr William Ashlock's 1800cc Harley-Davidson has spent the last three months left locked in a wheel clamp at his condo.

The management council of the Metropolitan Condominium took action after he parked that and another large bike in spots meant for cars.

Mr Ashlock claims the bike parking spaces provided are too narrow, as is a gap between a car space and a pillar that is used to access them. He said he was afraid of damaging his bike and other cars if he parked there.

Now the 58-year-old has put his foot down - and taken the matter to court.

He is seeking a court order to get the council to re-mark or relocate its spaces for motorcycles and ensure safe access to them.

The financial services executive discovered that his Harley and BMW K1330GT bikes had been clamped on June 5. He paid a $341 release fee for the BMW but the Harley is still locked up.

Since June, he claims, talks between himself and the management council have been deadlocked and he has turned to the courts in a bid to find the council's actions unjust, as well as to seek a refund plus damages.

In a case partly heard before District Judge Ow Yong Tuck Leong on Monday, the council is contesting his claims. It countered that it was adhering to by-laws passed at a general meeting last year.

Council chairman Chan Yeok Pheng said such rules are governed by the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, which obliges the council to control and manage common property - such as the carpark spaces - for the benefit of all residents.

At issue in the case is whether the council's action is reasonable and whether the allotted motorcycle spots allow safe access.

The council argued it had first put Mr Ashlock on notice of his breach in November 2011.

Various warning letters and notices followed.

The wheel clamp action was undertaken in accordance with by-laws after he persisted in parking in the car spaces, it said.

Mr Ashlock is arguing that his bikes are up to 75 per cent bigger than usual motorcycles. He claims his 1300cc BMW measures about 95cm by 255cm while the motorcycle parking space at the Alexandra View condo is 70cm by 220cm.

He is also arguing that the motorbike parking spots are only accessible through a narrow route flanked by a supporting pillar and car spot - making it difficult to steer his pride and joy in and out.

A blind spot, he adds, makes it difficult for the exiting motorcyclist to see vehicles or pedestrians around the corner.

Indian-born Mr Ashlock, who has lived in Singapore, the US and Britain, says these issues forced him into using the car parking spaces. He argues that 80 per cent of those in the second level basement are empty most of the time.

However the council denied that photographs shown in evidence proved that large motorcycles would have difficulty in accessing the spaces.

It added that riders had a duty to check to avoid dangers posed by the blind spots before turning the corner. The hearing will continue on a day to be fixed.

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Sept 4, 2013

To subscribe to The Straits Times, please go to