I often wonder whether the powers that be really care about our wellbeing or are even in the slightest interested in our opinions. Whether it be over politics, the economy, the ongoing Brexit saga or even about issues surrounding specific demographics or interest groups.
Take motorcycling for instance…bikers are often perceived as the scourge of society with many of the past freedoms having been removed. The act of riding motorcycles has become cleaner, safer and more reliable…but it has also become a lot more sanitised too with many of the attributes of being a biker or belonging to the motorcycling groups fading away with new rules and policies.
Riders are increasingly being pushed towards buying the brand new motorcycle or trying to be persuaded to adopt and embrace all of the latest technology as a ‘must have’ aspect of riding…to make you a better and safer rider. However they are missing the point entirely because the greatest tool a rider can have is their brain and how they use it. How decisions are made and what influences those decision making processes too.
The modern rider is bombarded with legislation, increasing restrictions and new technology and ways of thinking that is supposed to tell us that everyone else knows better than us…but is that the case and indeed is anyone even listening to our point of view.
Take for example the London Ultra Low Emission Zone which will come into force in April and riders of motorcycles older than 2007 will be forced to pay a daily charge to ride within the zoned area. This is supposed to be a pollution and congestion reduction measure but it fails to reason that motorcycles are the solution to medium to longer distance efficiency and congestion easing…and the pollution reduction element is a red herring too.
Most, if not all motorcycles are less polluting than the four wheeled counterparts and because motorcycles are more likely to keep rolling through stationary traffic, that means they will pollute less per road mile too. However nobody within the corridors of power within Transport for London and the London Mayor’s office appear to acknowledge this…or even if they do they simply dismiss the rationale in favour of their own agendas.
An agenda always seems to be behind any policy, new way of thinking or a new bit of technology that we are supposed to believe we cannot do without, when this is simply not the case.
The ULEZ will come into force and this will have a negative effect and impact on motorcycling and especially for those riding older motorcycles which are considered to be polluters but in actual fact are really not. New technology will be thrust upon us despite our proclamations that we really do not care for it…and there will always be someone who will try to tell you that what you have been doing since time immemorial…has been incorrect.
There are so many know it alls out there and they gain the upper hand on a daily basis by coming up with nonsense and getting their cronies to corroborate this thinking to self service their agendas. Nobody ever does anything altruistically for the common man or in this case the everyday rider. There is always a hook, a reason and behind the scenes somebody is getting fat off of the spoils.
What can you do? Well, not a lot when it comes to policy apart from continuing to be the dissenting voices that will not go quietly into the long dark night…but there is always the power of will power and the inflexibility of the wallet that will determine whether we ever really need to buy the latest nonsensical gadget.