Cause chaos? We’re too busy saving the world
ANDY CALTON EDITOR
It takes a long time to change perceptions, to challenge long-held stereotypes. And, of course, these perceptions and sterotypes have come from somewhere or something.
Motorcyclists have for decades been pigeon-holed by non-motorcyclists as Hells Angels or death-wish warriors causing carnage on our roads. Of course, mods, rockers and sportsbike thrill-seekers have added to the heady mix of horror stories. So, maybe we don’t always help our cause. Excessively loud exhausts, speeding through built-up areas and a frankly frightening fatality rate (motorcycles account for about 3% of UK vehicles but 19% of UK road deaths) are hardly going to dispel the fears of the non-believers.
So maybe someone dressed as Zippy will help! Those of us inside the all-welcoming twowheeled world KNOW that bikers are largely a sensible bunch who wish no-one any harm and just want to experience freedom and escapism. But to make others notice, to change perceptions, you have to do something big and brash over a long period of time. Trying to convince others how amazing motorcycling is, can be very difficult and often fruitless. Riding a bike to a local hospital with a toy in your rucksack dressed as Santa does a lot of very positive things.
Motorcyclists are doing an incredible amount of good for charity these days (see p32) and it’s getting noticed. Blood Bikes made 40,000 deliveries to hospitals last year. More than 1500 qualified volunteers take blood and other vital supplies where time is of the essence.
Millions of pounds and many spirits are raised every year as motorcycling connects with the world. Many air ambulance miles are funded by nutters willing to ride from Lands’ End to John o’groats on scooters and thousands of children up and down the land get a pressie at Christmas or an egg at Easter from a bloke in a fancy dress costume that fits neatly (or not) over his helmet.
Helping those sick or in trouble is good. Others seeing bikers doing that is good too. Perceptions can be changed.