Killing-off the Biker Hordes April 14, 2009Posted by markswill in Cars and Bikes.
Who can blame folks for hating motorcyclists? They dodge dangerously between us as we sit in our Mondeos waiting for the jams to clear, accelerate effortlessly and infuriatingly around obstacles and scare us witless when they roar past as we pootle at a steady and above all safe 53mph along otherwise deserted country A-roads. Dressed like multi-coloured spacemen or dread-locked Mad Max-types in greasy black leather, these ‘ton-up’ boys and their peroxide blonde jezebels seem to mock us with their jovial banter when we stop for flap-jacks and bottled water at Corley Services. So it’s reassuring to know that ongoing legislation is fuelling a steep decline in motorcycle ownership and soon we will be entirely rid of these reprobates.
Our admirably responsive government has steadily increased the complexity and cost of youngsters smitten by the insidious lure of two-wheeled ‘kicks’ getting their licence to enjoy them, and the prohibitive price of insurance has added a further, welcome deterrent. (Our shrewd American cousins set an example earlier this year by outlawing sales of all ‘youth motorcycles’). At the other end of this vile spectrum, older ‘bikers’, equally repulsed by the financial penalties rightly imposed on them for insuring the garish ‘superbikes’, find that the plethora of speed cameras judiciously placed along their favourite highways soon render their machines, if not their licences, impotent.
Unfortunately, many of these motorised ‘speed fiends’ thought they could still get their perverted thrills by abandoning the tarmac their obscenely powerful machines were designed to terrorise in favour of ‘mudplugging’. Happily, groups of public spirited libertarians banded together to pressure governments both local and national to address the innocuous-sounding practice of ‘green-laning’, and the results are encouraging. Although Britain’s 17,000-odd so-called ‘trailriders’ once enjoyed the ancient byways that they spuriously claim their forebears rode for many decades, wiser heads prevailed and a law passed in 2006 effectively slashed by half the mileage available to them. (They can now only access 2% of the nation’s unsurfaced byways, let’s hope it’ll soon be 0%).
This had the additional benefit of increasing the traffic on the remaining ‘green-lane’ network to the point where it has become over-used, worn out and even damaged, thus justifying local authorities closing them to vehicular traffic because they can’t afford to repair them – much better to spend our taxes on more road signs and magazines telling us how much they care about us. As a consequence, many ‘trailriders’ are hanging up their helmets for good, frustrated by the lack of anywhere left to ride, and the relative powerlessness of the toothless trade bodies and/or the only organisation championing their so-called right to ride which, unlike the morally righteous institutions who oppose them, lack the singlemindedness, marketing savvy and political cunning to further their unjust cause.
By co-opting politicians of every stripe to their cause – after all, woe betide the MP who doesn’t list ‘walking’ and/or ‘country pursuits’ amongst their hobbies – the noble champions of this entirely justifiable intolerance of all things motorised and two-wheeled are increasingly outgunning last-ditch attempts by the dwindling band of battle-weary activists to keep ‘green-lanes’ prone to the ruination of rural tranquility that all right thinking people abhor.
So within just a few years the remaining green-lanes will be stilled to the bark of exhausts (save of course those of the massive farm tractors which have been erroneously blamed for damaging sensitive surfaces far more effectively than any motorcycle could) or allowed to become overgrown to the point where even horses can’t be ridden along them (in the process tearing up moist surfaces that stymie the spandex-clad ninnies who ride mountain bikes) and the countryside will be safe for us to drive our Range Rovers into scenic car parks where we can enjoy a packed lunch of the finest comestibles Sainsburys can provide and perhaps take a gentle stroll up a thoughtfully paved ‘footpath’ before heading home.
There remain of course a few misguided cretins bemoaning the loss of previous so-called rights and liberties, and even some who might claim that the so-called rural economy suffers at the loss of free-spending motorbicyclists who cannot bring everything with them when they go for a weekend of hitherto legalised devilry either on or off-road. Fortunately public opinion will continue to turn against them: After all, is it not infinitely preferable that those who might otherwise have taken up so-called ‘two-wheeled fun’ instead spend their time safely Twittering on Facebook with their myriad and very real friends who share values so much worthier than some spurious ‘entitlement’ to enjoy themselves in the open-air? As for the beleagured small filling station, B&B and shop owners, well like the social deviants who patronised them, in this age of Wal-Mart, Tesco and good-old corporate homogeneity who, quite literally, needs them?
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(c) Mark Williams 2009