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Think, biker!


I’ve becoming increasingly irked this month by the manner in which the majority of bikers treat other road users.  It’s been said before, followed by mass denial by bikers, but it would appear that speed limits and driving etiquette simply don’t apply if you’re straddling a fuel tank.

I’ve never ridden a motorbike, except for my mate’s scooter, and that doesn’t really count.  So I can’t comment apparently.  That’s what I’ve been told.

Imagine the scenario, which you will have witnessed at some point, of a motorway steadily flowing in all three lanes.  A motorbike appears in lane 3, undertakes to lane 2, overtakes between lane 2 and 3, then swerves into lane 1, floors it up to about 100mph, and continues weaving.  A motorist checks their left hand mirror, indicates and moves over back into lane 1 after a safe gradual overtake.  Said motorbike suddenly appears in lane 1 alongside, travelling about 30mph faster having undertaken all lanes.  Rider furiously gesticulates with his right arm at the audacity of the driver who did everything right, only to be greeted by a bike undertaking well over the limit.  Rider accelerates back up to 100mph shaking his head for a quarter of a mile.

It deeply angers me.

I’m not anti-bike by any stretch and acknowledge the motorbike as a machine unrivalled for thrills and speed, and the skill required to ride them well, but what’s with the complete lack of respect for others?  Ask a biker what the biggest risk is on the road to them and they’ll immediately cite ‘the driver who doesn’t look’.  True, many drivers have little awareness, but why on earth should car drivers in general keep their eyes glued to their mirrors to placate the wild actions of bikers who break most motoring laws on every journey?  Deep arrogance.

Or put it another way; when did you last see a biker content to progress with the flow of traffic?

Maybe one day I’ll get on a bike and see for myself.  Or maybe I won’t.  Couldn’t trust myself.


National speed remit

  Interesting situation regarding the implementation of a 40mph national speed limit where local councils see fit.  The thing with councils is that they become incredibly blinkered about their own ideas, ignore any common sense advice and pretty much refuse consultation with groups who have the knowledge.  They will initially suggest that the narrowest, bendiest, victim-riddled roads will be cut down but within time you can guarantee there will be a move to reduce as many limits on roads as possible, to raise funds through fines primarily.  Watch how the quotient of ‘Speed Partnership’ liveried vans rises as the limits tumble…

Mate the lowering of the national speed limit to the continued introduction of 20mph urban zones and those of you well over 100 years old will sense a touch of déjà vu.  An article in Autocar (Seven of the best, 29th August) states that in the early 20th century ‘the UK’s tiny car industry was being hampered by a national 20mph speed limit.  There was literally nowhere to test production models at speed’.

If the 40mph limit became widespread, would the UK remain a test venue for the world’s manufacturers to develop chassis settings on our challenging surfaces?  No.  Would JLR for one retain its engineering centre in the UK?  No.  And would the British performance car buyer still have an interest in driving for sheer enjoyment?  No. 

The motoring media wouldn’t gain much feedback testing cars at 40mph and could possibly base their road test departments in Europe where the performance car market would be more influential.

Imagine the tailbacks on cross country routes resulting from these lowered limits.  The sense of getting nowhere dawdling along at little more than the pace of a fit cyclist, in a rigorously developed, highly capable 21st century car.  It’s patronising and plain weird.  Slower journeys stuck in a 2 mile snake of traffic can only result in a loss of concentration and massive frustration.  More accidents will result.

All in the interests of safety?  Highly unlikely given that the government’s motoring proposals are always reactive and never ever proactive.  Every professional motoring body and industry cries out for better driver training.  It’s so simple and obvious that the refusal to acknowledge it can only suggest dark agendas driving these mad-cap alternatives.

Of course we don’t know for sure what will happen and naturally assume the worst.  We could all be blown away by the subtle yet effective way it’s implemented.  Fat chance, but we’ll wait and see.