When I am in a car, I put my seatbelt on. In Britain it is the law. We must wear seatbelts in cars or risk being fined by a court. However, this rule does not apply to motorcyclists. No sirree! If you have a motorbike you are welcome to go riding around the country without the security of a seatbelt. Of course I realise that fitting a seatbelt to a motorcycle would be practically impossible but that's not the point.
Some fellows love motorbikes. My French brother has at least ten of them and he has loved motorbikes all his life. At one time he was a keen "scrambler" - a motocross rider, frequently competing at top level amateur meets. He still loves tinkering with his bikes and occasionally speeds around the byways of southern France like a bat out of hell.
Now I have a confession to make. I do not like motorbikes. I am not interested in the makers, the shiny chrome or in their ability to accelerate. To me motorbikes are dangerous machines that can so easily cause death or serious injury. It puzzles me why anybody should want to ride one when you can sit comfortably in a car like Clint listening to the radio and occasionally reaching for a mint as the miles pass by. And if it rains, so what? You won't get wet and you have four tyres on the road surface. Not so with a motorbike.
A car seatbelt is of course no guarantee of total safety on the roads but at least if you hit something you won't go flying headfirst into a tree. Also you don't have to wear a helmet, a visor, a leather suit and boots when driving a car. If you were so inclined you could just wear latex underpants.
In Third World countries, low-powered motorcycles are often vital workhorses. They allow owners to participate in the economic advancement of their nations. They are rarely used for leisure biking - just cruising around and admiring the view. No - in The Third World they get people to and from work, they are used as taxis and for transporting goods or messages. But here in the west, we don't really need them do we? They have been responsible for far too many tears.
|This roadside cross in memory of Peter James Smith is one of many shrines|
to dead motorcyclists who have met their ends on The Isle of Man.
I heard an interview with a truck driver (lorry driver for you, Mr. P!) on our wonderful NPR and he said that first of all, semi-truck drivers can't usually see motorcycles at all. And that slang for motorcycles amongst the truckers is "murdercycles." AND that they call motorcyclists "organ donors."ReplyDelete
Still, I have to admit that I have had some wonderful experiences on the back of a motorcycle. You can see and feel and smell so much more than in a car. And we have often rented a scooter when in Mexico and those rides have been some of the happiest times of my life.
But. I make my husband rent cars now. We are older, we are perhaps wiser, and there is so much more traffic where we vacation down there.
But I don't regret the times we became part of the general stream of scooter traffic.
As you can tell, I have a lot of ambivalence on this subject. Logically, I completely agree with you but there is part of me which understands the other side of the equation.
My brother Robin would go even further than you in his defence of motorbikes. Many people like him somehow feel that they are invulnerable.Delete
Your last photo says it all. we have the same roadside memorials here.ReplyDelete
Just for the thrill of having a powerful machine between your legs and the roar of the engine.Delete
As with many other things in life, motorcyclists pay their money and take their chances.ReplyDelete
Some make it through okay and see don't.
I guess that heroin addicts and alcoholics do the same.Delete
Yes. They are all risk takers, to greater or lesser degrees.Delete
I can't recall EVER hearing about an accident involving a cyclist where the cyclist walked away with minor or no injuries. The odds just aren't in their favour when there is a collision.ReplyDelete
They are like lambs to the slaughter.Delete
A " best friend" of my middle son died on a motorcycle some years ago when a car pulled out in front of him, and our niece's partner died on a motorcycle a few months ago at a junction ! Dangerous way to travel. I have , to this day, a scar on my left knee from when I was a pillion passenger , aged about 17, on my boyfriend's Velocette . He took a corner in the country badly and the bike went over, skidding on gravel at the side of the road, and we stopped it with our knees ! No leathers then!ReplyDelete
I think that most families in Britain can relate tales about motorcycle deaths and injuries. There have been so many.Delete
I lived on a tiny Greek island for a while back in he 90s and every family had at least one male member who had died on a motorbike on the island at some point. There were memorials everywhere. Nearly all the young men I saw or met had a fatalistic attitude toward their presumed eventual demise (no fully formed frontal lobes acting as the voice of reason!) reckoning it was the "island way" and so drove their bikes in a very cavalier fashion - fast, drunk and without helmets or lights at night. Utter madness.ReplyDelete
What was that island called Pipistrello?Delete
Patmos, in the Dodecanese, where the Book of Revelations was written, back in the day. Less Horsemen, more horsepower, today?Delete
I have been to more than twenty Greek islands but not to Patmos.Delete
I've never understood why some people are so captivated by motorcycles and motorbikes. They definitely have a certain mystique for some. But then, I've never been interested in mechanical stuff or engines or cars in general, either.ReplyDelete
I don't care about engines either. I just want them to work efficiently and get me from A to B.Delete
Years spent on a Spinal.Injury Ward, gave me a healthy disregard for bikes and bikingReplyDelete
And I guess that every one of those victims of motorcycle accidents had previously thought they were invulnerable.Delete
Maybe that Isle should be re-named the Isle of Fools.ReplyDelete
Every summer The Isle of Man attracts thousands of motorcyclists. They come to see the famous TT races and every summer bikers die.Delete
Same here YP we get the bike races down on the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria from all over Australia and inevitable they visit the mountains and winding roads of the North East of Victoria and a number get killed - taking the corners wide and way too fast.Delete
There are many reasons why bikes are popular. Apart from the thrill and the adrenaline fix that the biker gets in spades there are practical applications as you mentioned. It is cheaper to register and maintain a motor bike over a car and that too appeals to the young who have limited funds.ReplyDelete
There are obvious accidents that are the cause of other drivers to the biker yet I think (from personal experience) that the bikers attitude contributes a lot to their survival. You see them weave in and out of traffic and my son definately was of the mind set that accidents happened to others - not him!! Feeling invincible, strong and free is something the bike provides and that is a powerful 'drug' to many.
My husband had bikes & when I met him at a dance he could hardly move for gravel rash from a bike spill. My passion for cars in particular MGB's saw him trade in the bike on one :) and although that particular car invariably went due to family pressures we bought another in '82 and we still love it and drive it today.
Nothing beats the top down on a gorgeous evening with the deep B burble coming from the MG's muffler... thrilling enough for me.
Meeting you probably saved your husband's life Elle.Delete
My cousin (18 at the time) was knocked of his motorbike by a driver coming out of a side street. He was due to take his bike test the following day. He was very lucky in the fact that he lost his left leg from just above his knee. He has never ridden a bike since.ReplyDelete
Thank heavens he survived but every day he lives with the result of motorcycle madness.Delete
I can't claim to dislike motorbikes per se but I certainly dislike them on the road because I fear for their drivers and other who may get involved in an accident with them. My son (who, fortunately, drives a tank in the form of a Land Rover Discovery) still hankers for his motorbike days and was mentioning the other day that he might but one again. I'm just hoping that we can persuade him that having a new baby should give him the incentive to be more circumspect.ReplyDelete
Amen to parts one and two and hello (came visiting from Going Gently).ReplyDelete
In my 20's a dear friend was killed when a car came round a bend on the wrong side of the road, the car driver been in the pub. A close relative was born with 4 limbs, now only has three - result of bike & lorry having a coming together. Spousal unit adores bikes, has five but thankfully they all spend their time in bits as he seems to spend more time rebuilding them than ever riding the damn things. I hate the bluddy things.
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