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.