Is it necessary to ride our beloved motorcycle?
So after checking Facebook yesterday it appears that Bennetts and MCN have published articles stating that after speaking with an official at Number 10 (no names mentioned?), we as motorcyclists can in fact ride our motorcycles from Wednesday…
After Boris Johnson’s speech on Sunday night it was clear, nothing was clear. What he said was open to interpretation, so of course it didn’t take long for bikers to question whether they could take to roads once more. Read the official guidelines here.
I for one am not planning on riding my motorbike any time soon. I don’t need to. I’m a self employed motorcycle instructor (and I’m not training), but I have a car. I realise that some bikers might not have such a luxury and if they are key workers or can’t get their shopping without using their motorbike then why not.
My biggest concern however, is that even whilst the ‘stay home’ message was very clear, bikers could still be heard by many racing around local towns and villages, infuriating both bikers and non-bikers alike. Not just because they were flouting the rules on essential travel, but because they were clearly not adhering to regular Highway-code orders including speed limits.
So now after at least 8 weeks off the bike (unless you’re a key worker who’s only form of transport is a motorcycle) some of you are going out for a ride. This might seem like a really plausible argument, but how long has it been since you rode your beloved motorcycle? For me, my last training day was back in March. My standard of riding is certainly not where it was before lock down. To be honest, even when I was training students during the winter, I have lost my edge. I’m not where I was back in September last year. After a Summer of touring Europe and advanced and learner level training and as an educator in this arena, I know I need to be sensible.
Was it their fault?
Not only have I listened to many stories (before Covid) about my students and other motorcyclists being out of their depth and having crashes, I also often hear that they are quick to blame others. The driver didn’t see them, the driver was completely oblivious or worse still didn’t care that they had just caused them to crash. I hear it time and time again. Do drivers pull out in front of us on purpose? The answer of course is no. They might appear to, but most of the time they are so wrapped up their own lives that they simply haven’t seen you.
As a trainer I will always advocate further training to sharpen our knowledge and to allow us to spot the potential danger before it happens. However, most of you won’t have done any training or practiced recently and neither have I.
So why put more unnecessary risk on Emergency services by being involved in an RTC (Road Traffic Collision)? I for one do not fancy going into hospital right now. Not only would I be worried about contracting Covid 19, I’d also be extremely embarrassed as to why I was there! Remember the facts, we account for 1% of the traffic on the road, but we account for 25% of all KSIs (killed or seriously injured).
So should you choose to flex the rules and go out for a jolly, make sure you remember that your riding skills are going to be lacking. Take your time, know your limits, but please ask yourselves first, is it really necessary? I know that many find it a way of improving mental health, but there are other ways. If you do go out, remember lots of other motorists are also going to be out after an 8 week break. So make sure you’re not another statistic.