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Ban this, Ban that, Oh Err Ban Biking……

September 9, 2009
A vision of the future??

A vision of the future??

Darlington, England – No no they, them, those people of governmental influence and legislative power would never ban motorcycling, would they?

Well let’s think outside the box for a moment, actually I live outside the box. Ten years ago who would have thought that management of road speed in the UK would be devolved to 6000 little yellow boxes dutifully clicking away handing out fines and bans. Who would have thought that smokers would be the pariahs of society, forced to stand outside pubs and workplaces to enjoy a drag on the evil weed. Who would have thought moves would be afoot to control the consumption of alcohol by introducing a comprehensive ban on advertising, ban sponsorship, have minimum pricing, increase taxation above the rate of inflation and link the level to the alcoholic strength of the drink. You see anything’s possible in Britain’s ban culture and of course it all seems so reasonable, we can solve all our social and health problems simple by banning something. Hey why not ban democracy while we are about it.

I’m not suggesting its going to be the blanket ban as proposed by Norwegian safety expert Rune Elvik who no doubt is still peddling his position, motorcycles are incompatible with the elimination of road death, to any policy makers hanging out at the  European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and Transport who are stupid enough to listen. No it’s going to be the acting Chief Constable of North Wales Police Clive Wolfendale approach that will surface first.

Mr Wolfendale’s suggestion relating to a ban on bikes in UK National Parks, saying they created a “grand prix ambience” went down like a lead balloon in the biking community but was subsequently ignored as a joke. But put that remark in the context of the UK Association of Chief police Officers evidence to the UK Parliament Transport Committee, “There is a need for radical thinking in respect of motorcycles, including the creation of protection zones where all motorcycles other than those specifically permitted would be prohibited”, and maybe the jokes on us.

Also consider the alleged rumblings about a bike ban in the UK Association of National Park Authorities (ANPA) and the legislation available. Under section 22 of the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act (as amended by section 66 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000), local authorities can regulate traffic by means of traffic regulation orders in special areas of the countryside. Such an order could be used to prevent the use of roads by certain types of vehicle where they cause damage or danger. Ok the local authority concerned would need to justify any proposed motorcycle ban. But considering some of the anti biking bigots I’ve met who, allegedly, pull the strings in local authorities within National Parks I wouldn’t see approval as a problem. Even in the face of some opposition from the biking community.

Let’s not forget the wonderful summer the boys and girls from Cheshire East Council have been having playing with their nice shiny TDC Systems motorcycle detection system. Can it discriminate on engine size?? Well allegedly yes, via a check on the registration plate. Handy then to ban everything above 125cc from a specified zone, with the notice of intended prosecution conveniently posted to the bike owner transgressors.

There it is then a ban mentality, something to ban, in this case bikes, somewhere to ban them from, a reason to ban – nasty noise things and they speed don’t they and a means to ban them. Now ten years ago……………..

A prophet is never recognised in his own country so they say.

© Back Roads Rider 2009

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