Regulars will be aware that every year around this time social media begins to fill up with obscene pictures featuring acres of gravel rash accompanied by warnings that only a fool would ever venture out on a motorcycle wearing anything less than ATGATT; which prompts me to dig out and share the picture of me and the missus out for a ride on my Burgervan (while on our honeymoon), dressed completely inappropriately.
This invariably initiates a lively debate covering freedom of choice, the overall dangers presented by powered two wheelers and the mental health of the person who’s expressing a diametrically opposite point of view; and I have to admit that I tend to thoroughly enjoy myself.
Interesting then that I find myself moved to editorialise when I’m supposed to be relaxing with the family in the Dordogne, after seeing pictures of unsuitably dressed scooter riders! I’d been doing a thoroughly good job of chilling so most of the press releases that plop into my inbox on a daily basis have gone straight into the bin after the most cursory of glances, but this morning’s offering from Bikesure gave me pause for thought.
I’ve always been at great pains to point out that my personal choices about what I wear while riding, are just that; I am not recommending the wholesale eschewal of protective gear, nor am I trying to persuade others to follow my example, I am simply arguing that individual adults have the right to make up their own minds without having their experience or their sanity questioned.
Personally even if I had nothing else on aside from a pair of budgie smugglers, I’d still be wearing gloves and boots because I’m almost superstitious about the bare minimum of protection they offer. Consequently I was a little shocked to see a naked hand on the throttle of the ‘ped in the photo that Bikesure chose to accompany their press release and when I followed the link by clicking on said image, the article it opened only contained one other illustration and that was a young learner sitting astride his scooter wearing no more than an Adrian Flux t-shirt!
This armour argument has been going on long enough that I remember correspondents with the printed Digest rebuking me for setting such an appalling example when I held a position of responsibility as a magazine editor. I countered by pointing out that given TRD’s origins as a London courier rag, I could hardly be accused of corrupting the minds of motorcycling virgins!
However as this Bikesure piece was entitled “Things to consider before you buy your first scooter” it was clearly mainly targeted at youngsters setting out on the road rather than experienced riders, so frankly I was more than a little shocked that a responsible motorcycle insurance company hadn’t given a bit more thought to the kind of message it was sending out to potential new riders!
What do you think?