We love our motorcycles for the speed, the comfort, the excitement, the look and feel, the roar of the engine; it all creates a unique experience. But I think you'll agree, motorcycles make the world a better place too. So here's a few examples!
The people riding their motorcycles with a real purpose are putting their riding skills to good use and supporting others. We wanted to share some of these skills and say thanks to these selfless people for their contributions. Motorcycles have not only helped Steve McQueen (or Bud Ekins...) make the infamous jump in a POW camp, they also have a fundamentally important role in today's society.
Our first thanks go to the Road Policing Unit, where the majority of police motorcycles are used. From counter-terrorism activities to offering extra rider training that helps reduce motorcycle accidents, patrols on motorcycles offer high visibility and rapid response to incidents, keeping the roads of Britain safer.
There is also a Metropolitan Police Special Escort Group of officers, which alongside the Diplomatic Protection Group, is one of the only armed motorcycle police outfits in London. You'll often see these groups following politicians or escorting Royalty.
Obviously the greatest benefit of these police motorcycles is the speed with which they can get to an incident, skipping through traffic and getting an officer to the scene rapidly. They commonly use the likes of the BMW R1200RT, Honda ST1100 Pan-European or the Yamaha FJR1300 - perfect for their size, power and carrying ability.
There’s a definite theme with the benefits of using a motorcycle in emergencies! Getting a medical professional to the scene as quickly as possible can literally be the difference between life or death.
Bikes have been used for this since the First World War and, in some cases, they even had sidecars to help transport the wounded - the NUT motorcycle was one such example. The superior speed, mobility and lightweight nature of these bikes made them ideal for this purpose during the wars, not to mention the fuel economy.
Working mostly in built-up areas, all modern motorcycle responders have been fully trained to work on their own, carrying similar life-saving equipment as an ambulance - they even have a defibrillator! This video following a London motorcycle paramedic shows all of the equipment and why motorcycles are ideal for this job.
According to defibshop, if a defibrillator is used with effective CPR within 3-5 minutes of cardiac arrest, the chances of survival increase from 6% to 74%, which is why speed is of the essence!
Blood and organ couriers
Another lifesaving reason we have motorcycles on our roads is the transferring of vital medical supplies, including organs and blood. The majority of these couriers are volunteers, taking time out of their own lives to help save the lives of others.
If you want to volunteer, it’s not as simple as putting your name down on a list; you need to be a qualified rider of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikers (NABB). You have to be on call, ready to hop on your bike and deliver vital supplies to one of 262 UK hospitals. I'll remind you at this point that the majority of blood couriers are volunteers.
Essentially, you’re like a Deliveroo service for the NHS, delivering surgical tools, human milk, spinal fluid, faecal matter or even rabies serum!
In modern warfare, motorcycles have had many purposes, one of which was mentioned earlier. But it’s not always been just for helping the wounded. In the First and Second World War, motorcycles were used for reconnaissance, scouting and delivering supplies.
Again, it’s their low-weight, speed and mobility that makes them a great tool in warfare. These lightweight vehicles are surprisingly too light to set off landmines, and combined with their speed and mobility across tricky terrain made them both invaluable & harder to track.
Yamaha and KTM motorcross bikes are used for more than just tactical manoeuvres, supplies and medical attention; they are being used on the frontline too.
But my favourite by far is the Vespa 150 TAP, an anti-tank scooter (yes you read that correctly) used by French paratroopers in the 1950s. 600 of these scooters were produced at a cost of roughly £400 per scooter (at the time). Think about that next time you see a classic scooter on the road...!
Since their creation motorcycles have had a huge positive effect on the world in more ways than one. Not only have they been helping save lives since they were invented (and continue to do so to this day) - but more importantly they have a knack of putting a huge smile on your face, no matter the day.
What’s the most unusual purpose you’ve seen for a motorcycle?