Friday, 21 November 2008

Bike Safety And The Law

By law, once you have a bike license and road-legal bike, all you need to be legal is a helmet. Yet is this safe enough? Should the law be changed to enforce more safety clothing?

According to the DSA website, all the safety gear you need to get out on the road is a helmet, while visors, gloves, boots and other protective clothing is only recommended.

During training, both on a CBT course and a full license course, instructors are expected to explain the importance of other safety equipment while the actual purchasing of it it left up to your own disgression.

Common Sense

The majority of serious bikers take the safety talks into consideration, and wear at least gloves and a jacket, as well as boots and padded trousers on longer rides.

You would be unlikely to see a biker come past you on the motorway wearing no more than shorts and a T-shirt to go with the helmet. You might see it on slow roads, through villages or country lanes in the summer.

It's common sense; every biker who's come off knows what it feels like, and every biker that hasn't can imagine what it would be like.

New Riders

For new riders however; those on 'L' plates and on nothing bigger than a 125cc engine, you will often see out in basic clothing: and especially in warmer weather.

For riders who have only taken the CBT in order to get out and about before they can drive a car: they often don't want to spend more than they need to and will buy only the helmet as a safety measure.

In these instances, safety is not the most important issue. Should the law be changed so that new learners are expected to buy extra safety clothing?

The downside

Introducing such a law would of course mean that the cost of starting out learning to ride would rise, as learners would be expected to buy gloves or a jacket, or both.

Such a requirement may stop would-be serious riders from starting the process. Although many young riders will eventually give up riding in favour of driving, there is a number that would 'go the whole distance'.

It is these new riders who might be dissuaded from learning to ride so early on. Yet if you have a passion for something, surely nothing will stop you from getting there eventually?

At what point are riders considered able to make their own decision regarding clothing? Riding 2 miles through a village or very slow traffic is different to 100 miles on motorways and A roads.

Imposing such a regulation could suggest that riders aren't mature or skilled enough to know what's the safest option, thereby mollycoddling bikers.

The upside

The most important arguement for introducing stricter safety regulations for new riders is that it would result in a safer riders, and could also lead to a reduction in serious injuries for bikers.

The cost could also put off those that don't plan to ride safely once legal on the road. Those who do decide to take the test, and eventually go on the

There are many arguements both for and against stricter regulations on protective clothing. Surely the possibility of safer riders is an issue worth considering?


Jophiel said...

I don't know whether to reply on my own page or here... Here will do for now ;)

Thanks for your comment! I have great expectations for My most conservative estimate is that it's going to save me more than 8000DKK (around 800£) on sleeping. And, as I said, it's grand adventure :)

About packing: I have a solid rucksack, and I expect to buy Panniers with the bike. That's it. I'll write my packing list in a future blog post for you, so you can see it. I'm figuring others might be interested too, so I won't spend the time compiling it here. Besides, it's not complete as I haven't packed :P
Clothes will be very basic, like, 3 shirts (including the one I'm wearing) etc. I don't expect to bring tools as I don't know how to use them...

Jophiel said...

I will only be in London for 1½ hour, so not enough time to see the town really.

fasthair said...

Ms. Fylix: Be careful what you ask for. If your government is anything like ours here the USA they will take a good idea and screw it all up. Think about what they could do if this became law. I can see regulation of what the safety gear must be made of, hold up to and even what color it should be. All of this just adds expense to the sport of motorcycling which can be pretty expensive at times already. Not to mention the taking of my liberties to pursue happiness as I see it, either with ATGATT or not.

I prefer to arm myself with knowledge and make choices accordingly. I don’t need some suit telling me how I should ride my bike because they have no clue what it is to ride anyway


Earl Thomas said...

I agree whole-heartedly with Fasthair. While I am a very strong proponent of ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time), I try not to judge those folks who decide to ride with far less protection, although sometimes I find myself grimacing at the site of there choice of "riding gear". For all the same reasons that Fasthair stated above, I feel that the decision has to be made by the individual, maybe I should add an "unfortunately" to that.

It looks to me that you are making some sound judgement calls in regards to respecting your own personal abilities, and the abilities of the bike, and the perils of falling. Keep it up!!

I love reading about new riders experiences and adventures, it's one of the things that makes blogging experience so much fun for me.

I'm looking forward to reading about your new experiences with a sport that stole my heart over 34 years ago.

Ride Well