Cause chaos? We’re too busy sav­ing the world

ANDY CAL­TON EDI­TOR

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment - Gareth Ash­man, 01733-468118

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.

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