In this blog I take a look at the common myths surrounding riding a scooter or motorcycle.
1: They’re too dangerous: Although crashing a bike is a risky business it’s not a sure fire way to reach certain death - despite what your parents/non-riding friends etc. try to tell you. In fact RIDING A HORSE IS 20 TIMES MORE DANGEROUS THAN RIDING A MOTORCYCLE (use that one in your argument). It’s not all good news though, motorcyclists are still 38 times more likely to be killed than car drivers.
2: Everybody is trying to kill me: No they’re not, although car drivers don’t always give us riders the room/time or respect we deserve you are still the one in control of looking after yourself. If you don’t want to be killed develop defensive riding techniques. Never rely on right of way, road markings, signs, indicators or common courtesy. PROTECT YOURSELF.
3: You can’t ride that on the motorway: If your machine is over 50cc and you hold a full licence you CAN ride it on the motorway. Lots of people assume quite wrongly that you can’t ride a scooter (or small capacity bike) on there. You can.
4: I can carry a passenger because he has a full licence: Back in the day you could ride on L-Plates and carry a pillion if they were a full licence holder. YOU CAN’T ANY MORE. That changed years ago in one of the many bike licencing shake-ups. However, if you passed your car test before 2002 and ride a 50cc moped then you can carry a pillion and don’t need L-plates.
5: It’s a moped: Despite the huge media interest in ‘moped enabled crime’ in London (and other big cities) most of the machines used for theft, snatching, bike jacking and general crime AREN’T ACTUALLY MOPEDS. Even the Metropolitan police have a wrongly named ‘Moped crime task force’ to tackle the problem. Most of these crimes are committed on and involve high-powered scooters of 250cc upwards. A 28mph moped wouldn’t cut it as a getaway vehicle.
6: You can’t filter: In some countries it’s illegal to filter past slow moving and stationary traffic, thankfully in the UK THE LAW ALLOWS US TO FILTER. It’s actually one of the biggest benefits of riding, especially if you live near, or work in a busy city. Literally weeks of your life can be saved by filtering. Do it responsibly, carefully and always be ready for those bored car drivers making sudden U-turns, or swapping lanes if they see a gap and you’ll be fine.
7: You need a breathalyser in France: Although the French tried to make it compulsory for everybody to carry a breathalyser when driving/riding, the law NEVER ACTUALLY CAME INTO FORCE. You do need to wear high-viz though now if riding through France.
8: I’ll never handle that: Learning to ride can be daunting; the bikes can seem huge and heavy but believe in yourself. Most of the weight disappears once you’re riding and you soon learn techniques to cope with the height. With enough determination YOU CAN RIDE ANYTHING don’t give up; it’s worth the effort!
9: I can’t go far on it: Your machine may only be a small capacity one but they’re usually very resilient. As I type this, 650 British scooter riders are on their way to Italy for the Euro Lambretta event. Most of their machines will be 200cc or less and be up to 70 years old. With some mechanical knowhow (or a decent modern machine) YOU CAN RIDE ANYWHERE.
10: There’s nowhere to go: Although riding alone can be fun it’s much better if you can share your passion with others. No matter what bike or scooter you ride, from a Honda 90 to a Yamaha RD, or a Vespa to a Peugeot Django there’s a club and a social scene out there for you. Join a club catering for your marque and start to explore the two-wheeled world with friends. THERE’S ALWAYS SOMEWHERE TO RIDE TO and people to do it with.