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Hush Barry Sheerman MP Speaketh!!

March 28, 2010


Barry Sheerman MP - a man on a mission!!

Galashiels, Scotland – Submarines, yes those big black things that turn up unexpectedly and have a habit of ruining someone’s day.

Engineering a sub to be quiet is pretty damn difficult, you eliminate the loudest noise and then find you got the next loudest and so on and so. In fact pretty much like trying to eliminate the critics of motorcycling.

On the subject of motorcycling critics, enter stage left none other than Mr Barry Sheerman MP sometime Chairman and Director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS). Barry is famous, or should it be infamous, for his anti biking utterances which are usual confined to PACTS meetings and the corridors of the Palace of Westminster. But in a well-timed pre-election tirade our Barry has again vented his spleen on biking via, of all things, the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

Restating comments he made in the UK Parliament our Barry is reported as saying that motorcyclists are: “widow makers and orphan makers” who were “disgraceful in a civilised society”.  Adding: “If you have a husband, boyfriend or son who wants to get a motorbike, please try to persuade them to get something with four wheels instead”, and my particular favourite “Around 650 people on motorbikes die each year, which is an astonishing figure. In two years nearly as many people are killed in motorbike crashes as British soldiers killed in combat in the last 40 years”.

Well done Barry that’s alienated most of the bikers in your constituency and as you will know doubt find from your e-mail p****d off the rest of us. Bet you wouldn’t say the same sort of things about the ethic minorities in Huddersfield, but bikers are fair game for an insult.

Puts me in mind of a quote from one of those American self-help books. If I recall correctly something like: ‘Children and politicians are notorious for either not understanding the consequences of their actions or refusing to believe that the same actions will always result in the same consequences. (It is fascinating to ponder why we punish children for not heeding the consequences of their actions, yet vote for politicians who promise to ignore history and repeat the mistakes of the past)’.

Meantime all the real critics, the ones that do real the damage, are busy whispering in politicians and civil servants ears. I’m talking road safety here, our Achilles heel. People from road safety groups like BRAKE and Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents etc etc etc spend enormous amounts of time attending meetings and getting nice grants from the Department for Transport to spend on motorcycle related research projects that lead to, well more grants and research projects which lead to……..

So how about this. How about in the four-week hiatus between the general election being called and the polling all the user group lobbyists, who read this blog, popping down to the DfT and having a quiet chat about some useful policies on motorcycle safety. A few words about future government policies with civil servants Paul O’Sullivan, Patricia Hayes, and Steve Gooding would be an idea; after all they are the folk who will be briefing then new ministerial team.  Because if you really do want to ‘mainstream’ motorcycling as a transport mode in the UK it might be a teensy-weensy bit of an idea to get us treated the same as cyclists.

All know the way, few actually walk it.

© Back Roads Rider 2010

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2010 10:30 pm

    Interesting and good points. I would like to discuss some of these thoughts and suggestions – not least of which is contact with Gooding, which I had been thinking about doing for some time…

  2. Dave permalink
    March 30, 2010 10:07 pm

    Are you really criticising the work that RoSPA do? If RoSPA were anti motorcycle why would they have a large motorcycle section? Why would they offer rider training and testing? The only real reason road safety is an issue to motorcycling is because of the numbers of riders that get killed and seriously injured every year for one reason and another. Anti motorcycling politicians only have ammunition because the figures are there for them to make the most of. Cut rider casualties and the anti motorcycling lobby starts to look mighty silly.

    • Back Roads Rider permalink*
      March 30, 2010 10:19 pm

      Unfortunately I am criticising RoSpa. As someone whose been in ‘the loop’ I hold a personal opinion that RoSpa has on occasion used its influence with the Department of Transport to ensure that at least one motorcycle organisation has been refused a Road Safety Partnership Grant.


  1. Anonymous

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