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Motorcycling Myths

November 26, 2009


Myths - We're behind you, is it a ghostly mail coach or an umarked police bike!!

Colchester, England – Myths, the spooky tales kind. The ones about riding alone at 3.30am on an autumnal morning with the sun just glimmering on the horizon.

That bit of road, I’m sure you know it, about 15 miles from home a little eerie, runs though a wood. Whichever season whatever time of day you ride there its always chilly, autumnal mist gathers in the surface dips just before dawn. The bike always runs well there, but you get that strange feeling you are not alone, you get that hairs on the back of the neck thing, that feeling when you’re in the middle of getting a prostate exam and you realise that the doctor has a hand on each of  your b**ls.

No I’m not going there. I’m on biking myths of the urban kind. Here’s a few of my particular favourites:-

Bikers Like a Few Beers – Nicely dispelled this week by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) who in supporting Road Safety Week, yes folks it’s this week, have pointed up research shows that motorcyclists are half as likely as other motorists to take the risk of drinking before riding.

Other Drivers Don’t Care About Motorcyclists – Actually, other drivers don’t care about other drivers either so it’s not really big news is it.

Loud Pipes Save Lives – The only way loud pipes would work as a safety device is if they faced forward. Loud pipes simple p**s people off.

A Skilled Rider Can Stop Better with Conventional Brakes than with Anti-Lock Brakes – Anti-lock brakes pulse far, far faster than any rider could ever think to pump the brakes. That’s the reason tests show that anti-lock brakes out perform conventional brakes in reducing braking distance and above all in maintaining control during hard braking.

Meantime on planet bike some good news.

Obviously the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) hiring Paddy Tyson MA to front their UK General Election campaign is having positive results. Yep it’s out with the old boring strap line ‘Bikers are Voters’ and in with the scintillating ‘Riders are Voters’. Not only that, but the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF), MCIA and MAG joined forces to launch said campaign which will encourage motorcyclists to vote in the forthcoming General Election.

MAG, BMF and MCI want to know what riders think are the key issues that the campaign should focus on. So if you are attending the International Motorcycle and Scooter Show at Birmingham’s NEC in the next 10 days whip around to their stands, CX10 Hall 2 (MAG) and 1D72 Hall 1 (BMF) and let the campaign organisers know your views via the Riders Are Voters ‘ballot box’.

Who knows your ideas could appear in the motorcycling manifesto; ‘Britain Needs Biking’ that’s going to be dropping through a prospective parliamentary candidates letter box somewhere near you.

Might be an idea if one of the campaigners popped down to London and had a chat with some Tory Back Benchers. The ones who talk to me reckon that biking is not doing too badly and bikers should stop whinging to each other. Might also be an idea to weave in few manifesto strands that appeal to the general populace on the basis that it’s always a good idea to preach to both the converted and the non-believers.

Talking of whinging – my turn. Sheila Rainger, MCIA Director of Communications, is quoted in the MCIA press release pushing ‘Riders are Voters’ as saying: “It’s clear that despite the limited actions taken in the last ten years and the occasional warm words from Ministers, the motorcycle community expects much more”. Now Sheila the first part of that is a little disingenuous. What about the UK Governments Motorcycle Strategy developed over two years and published in 2005, with updates in 2008. What about the Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers’ Guidelines for Motorcycling, published in April 2005. Both documents now considered as global best practice. OK implementation should have been better, but then the motorcycle campaigners should have insisted on legislation that made that compulsory.


© Back Roads Rider 2009

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Blue permalink
    November 29, 2009 6:43 pm

    Although it may not be true that ‘Loud Pipes Save Lives’, certainly in London i think Loud pipes saves injuries. Because it’s nearly all buildings in London the sound of a loud bike can be heard ahead of it’s appearance.

    I was a central London courier for more years than I should have been. London perhaps like many other UK cities has more than it’s fair share of Ipod zombies and international tourist leaping in to the road seemingly aware of nothing in particular. So the sound of loud pipes must have saved some of them at least.

    Although I can see how it reenforces an image of PTW’s the likes of the MCIA would want to forget. But I still have my first embroidered yellow and black MAG badge with what looks to be a set of loud pipes for the logo on, how we’ve come 🙂

  2. December 1, 2009 5:21 pm

    It’s easy to criticise from the safety of anonymity. I’ll discuss Riders are Voters, the MCI’s lobbying, or the RAV campaign with anyone willing to put a name to their comments.

    Best regards,


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