I’m NOT a SAFETY NAZI!!!
…honest I’m not, but just do as I say and you’ll be ok!
I’m obviously interested in motorcycle awareness and rider safety! I like to think that I can provide useful information that any rider can benefit from…but what I do not want to do is provide information that does not inform, does not educate, is not practical and most importantly is not true and not based on fact.
The problem is, with anything to do ‘safety’ then we may have a tendency to readily dismiss it…even without hearing what it has to say! So safety, in general has got a bad reputation because it is interpreted as being restrictive, sometimes rightly so but many times not!
I too am equally frustrated by many road or rider safety campaigns, schemes, agencies etc which proclaim to hold the solution to rider safety, and much of what is claimed…I have not seen as an overriding concern at accident scenes. I am not even convinced that many who make the suggestions are even motorbike riders, either current or have been in the past!
However, of course some suggestions do have merit…but more and more there is little in the way of providing really good sound information and reasoning…especially when it comes to motorcycle awareness and rider safety.
Just take a peak at most road safety websites or at their literature and you’ll see hardly any content with any real substance that will at least be of interest to riders, let alone engage with them on rider safety issues.
No wonder a lot of people will roll their eyes whenever they hear anything to do with motorcycle safety because usually it is pedestrian/cyclist and car centric and many times the solutions are focussed on speed reduction and vilification of riders and motorcycles.
I too have had my fair share of dissenters in the past, but most have made comments before they have even read my information! So why is that?
I have always stated that the information HELI BIKES can and should provide, is to be based upon experiences of dealing with motorcycle accidents. It is the information that riders may not want to hear, but it may be that what they need to hear!
However, all information is offered and should never be forced, because the primary goal here is to engage with riders, to promote open discussion and debate…be factual, be honest and provide practical solutions!
I don’t expect everyone to agree with me at all, just as I don’t agree with much of what is held up as gold standard safety advice!
Hence why the website and social media pages, the videos and podcasts attempts to break down myths and misunderstanding both in terms of injuries and causes of accidents…and the validity of solutions and policies.
One of my greatest frustrations is not only with the quality of information and the reasoning behind safety advice, but also with the general application of blanket policies.
I recently posted on various threads on the main Facebook page, whether there is a problem with how speed and safety are linked and whether the focus on speed by safety agencies is actually ignoring the more prominent accident causation factors. Should we be reviewing the way in which we think about speed and risk and whether we need to review some speed limits.
I received varied comments, which was to be expected but also there was quite a polarised view of what was safe speed and what were acceptable limits etc.
The problem with any kind of definitive policy…it is a line in the sand and therefore it will not solve all situations and will not be reasonable in all circumstances!
The problem with having an unyielding faith for either side of the divide, is that the reasoning is then applied to all situations…and if it doesn’t fit…well that’s just an acceptable consequence.
As a rider, as a member of the emergency services, as someone who has dealt with hundreds of motorcycle accidents and had an uneasy interest in them for over a decade, as a lobbyist for practical and reasoned solutions to ‘real’ safety issues, I sit in the void as do so many others…asking “Is this right?” “Are we right?” “What can and should we do?
In the void, I see the ‘safety nazis’ high up on the hill…looking down upon us, tutting as they form policy. On the other side of the hill I see the dissenters either with their backs turned to us all, or just trying to find a way to climb over us so that they could throttle their opposites.
As the roads get busier and new riders and drivers start to gain experiences, I think it is upon us to not only bridge the divide but also to find common ground.
We as riders and drivers should be willing to listen more to suggestions, be more engaged with debate and not shrug our shoulders in apathy! As policy makers and campaigners we need to adopt new methods and new ways of thinking and provide more reasoning and be prepared to listen to the road using public more.
Rider safety is for us all…if only it is reasonable and right…and only if it works!