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The Biker Society…..

July 16, 2010


Wantage, England – I’m having a ‘oh no not another motorcycle rider survey’ moment……

It’s that time of year again, yes folks it is motorcycle rider survey time. Everything you always wanted to know about motorcycling* (* but were afraid to ask). Like the UK Post Office Insurance survey that claimed motorcyclists didn’t understand license restrictions and one in five weren’t qualified for the bike they rode. Subsequently withdrawn when the company admitted the research “doesn’t stack up”. Maybe they should stick to selling stamps!

Then we have the Motor Cycle News survey of 6,500 riders carried out to discover the most important thing the new Government ought to do for motorcyclists. 43%of the motorcyclists asked believe improving road conditions is the priority. 36% thought that improving car driver’s awareness of motorcyclists was an essential. 10% think the Government should reduce vehicle excise duty and 11% would like to see bus lanes access expanded. All fine and dandy, but they would say that wouldn’t they.

Ok I’ll admit, with lighted matches under my finger nails, that surveys are sometimes useful. It’s very handy to know what riders think especially if the information can be used at one of those nice little meetings that take place between riders and local councils. I’m sure you know the sort of thing. Riders on one side, with the usually verbose local NAG rep, councillors on the other. Cup of tea and a sandwich. Earnest discussion on secure parking, access to bus lanes, road safety issues, provocative policing, noisy motorcycles, speeding, local yobbos using nicked scooters for ‘doing one’ up the local sheltered housing scheme giving Auntie Doris the ‘vapours’ etc etc. Nice bit of post meeting PR based on, constructive meeting, all on the same page, mutual respect, stakeholding, new approach, partnership etc etc. Then what? Well very little or naff all happens. Why? Well local councillors will say anything to get re-elected and, due to cutbacks, there’s no cash. Motorcycling simple isn’t a priority. Oh well the sandwiches were tasty!

Supposing there was an alternative. Take parking as an instance. What if there was a local network of motorcycle and scooter users who were charged by the local council to provide free secure parking. Paid for by grants, sponsorship, even by the bikers themselves on a profit for purpose basis. In short instead of sitting around moaning and protesting and blaming ‘them’ get out there and do it ourselves.

Good news The Big Society is arriving. What’s that? Well its Prime Minster Dave ‘The Boy’ Cameron’s take on people centred economic development. It aims to put more power and responsibility into the hands of families, groups, networks, neighbourhoods and locally based communities, and to generate more community organisers, neighbourhood groups, volunteers, mutual’s, co-operatives, charities, social enterprises and small businesses. The idea is that all of these will take more action at a local level, with more freedom to do things the way they want.

So opportunity knocks. Let’s get down to solving our issues. OK we need to fight off the vested interests. The elected members, the council officers, the industry, the nay sayers, the user representative groups. We have become the victims of our rhetoric simple constrained by a belief that lobbying, campaigning and negotiation will produce our outcomes. Time to move on, time to form a network, time to do it ourselves. The Big Society offers us the chance of doing so.

BTW don’t forget National Motorcycle Week which runs from 18 to 24 July with Ride To Work day on Wednesday 21 July.

Details here….

No work to ride too? What the hell go out for a ride anyway. Trust me it’s a great antidote for unemployment and you meet nice people. Don’t forget to wave at riders coming the other way. Why wave? Just do. It’s important.

© Back Roads Rider 2010

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mustapha Kunt permalink
    July 16, 2010 8:30 pm

    You hit the nail on the head about surveys – with a set of numbers you can justify anything. Look at IQ tests – the reason they were set up in the first place was to exclude undesirable ethnics from entering the US – of course the questions were loaded.

    Not sure that the “Big Society” will offer us any more than another quango, but the status quo in motorcycling sucks. Apart from the brilliant campaigning by the NTBPT which is focussed on one specific issue, anything that threatens motorcycling ends up a fight amongst our various “Captain Americas”

    Even within the representative organisations – there are the factions – the Popular Front of Judea versus the Judean Popular Front. In the Midlands, there is a battle on for who is the holder of the “truth”.

    I guess for most of us out there, cynicism has set in and while we may hold on to our beliefs and principles, in the end all we really want to do is enjoy the pleasure that motorcycling gives us with the desire that those who think they are better would quietly f*ck off.

  2. wiznyme permalink
    July 20, 2010 12:14 pm

    So does anyone know how this works, do you setup 1 big society scheme for the whole country or dozens of little ones for each town or city.

    Do you need people to sign a petition, if so how many ?


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