This month’s Bike magazine celebrates the best of Britain with 39 ways to enjoy motorcycling in Britain. #03 points out that in Britain we have fewer regulations on things like engine power and after-market exhausts. #37 starts with, “Because we can still get away with it. Britain is not a police state. A smart rider with his wits about him can still make his own decision on speed and risk taking.”
But for how long? In his column in the same issue, Rupert Paul laments that “they hate us again.”
The EU is talking again about a 100bhp limit for bikes, and manufacturers are terrified at the prospect of other compulsory ‘safety’ laws. The UK government wants to reduce the speed limit on 400,000 miles of country roads to 50mph, using average speed cameras. A Hayabusa rider gets six months for doing 122mph. Derbyshire council installs hidden roadside motorcycle detectors that identify bikes, track their movements and calculate their average speed. There are parking charges for bikes in London—and every other city before long.
He complains that it’s very easy for box-ticking civil servants and politicians trying to get re-elected to To Something About motorcycle death tolls and recognises that reducing death tolls at any cost can interfere with liberty. Riding a bike,
...involves judicious speeding. And yes, if you get nicked, you should usually get fined and points. But it’s not the mindless, suicidal rush into oblivion that the road-safety lobby imagine. It’s a moment-to-moment excersise in judgement and responsibility. Because if anything goes wrong, we cop it. We gladly accept that risk in exchange for not having to sit in a steel box like everybody else. And the resulting freedom is a source of meaning, satisfaction and happiness.
I’m worried that it’s days are numbered. I should get out on my bike and enjoy it while I can.