Today's Independent newspaper reports that the European Parliament is to vote on a wide range of new laws aimed at bikers and their rides. The article, Bikers out in force against new safety rules, reports on a protest in Dublin by the Motorcyclists' Action Group. Among the proposals are to force all bikers to wear high-visibility jackets, the introduction of an NCT style test for all bikes, and no customization of bikes.
I sometimes wear a high viz vest - the photo to the right was taken near the top of a mountain in Andorra last summer when it was raining and was very cloudy. But mostly I don't. My bike has three headlamps which are on all the time - kinda hard to miss me when they are on. The long-sleeved high viz jacket that is proposed takes away from the leather jacket look, and is definitely uncool (even my sleeveless one which is decorated with Harley-Davidson logos). This new law will create a business opportunity for clothes manufacturers, as well as practically kill the leather jacket and motorclothes industry. Wearing a high-viz jacket will not make me feel safer - that will only happen when idiot drivers in cars and trucks start to pay attention on the road. Dull coloured cars being driven around with no headlights on in the twilight time by idiots are far more dangerous. Despite the noise my bike makes - some idiots don't hear me, despite the three headlights, some idiots don't see me, WTF difference will a high-viz jacket make?
An NCT test is bad news for Harley riders - mine would almost certainly fail a noise test as the exhaust pipes are Screamin' Eagle custom pipes that make a lot of noise. Very few of us keep the factory pipes. I have also customized my bike quite a lot, which both personalizes it and makes it look cooler.
These proposals are no doubt aimed at saving lives - if they save even one life in the whole of Europe, then of course they will be worthwhile. However, I feel that they are being introduced by faceless Eurocrats with nothing else to do besides spoil our fun on bikes - where is Maggie Thatcher when we need her?. I bet none of them ever had something exiting between their legs. My message to them is to "Feck Off"!
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