It’s been another really interesting week in the world of motorcycling. The SAM Club Summer Picnic was very well attended and everyone had a really good time. However, the 10 members who booked a place and didn’t attend cost the SAM Club £90. The number of meals was pre-booked, so we were committed to paying for the non-attendees. Our thanks go to Fran (Chair) for organising the event, with honourable mentions to Aidan (Secretary) and Tony (Fran’s husband). The latter pair erected the SAM gazebo which seemed to wind up as a cover for someone’s bike. Other facilities included the swingball game enjoyed by some members.
IAM RoadSmart, following the plan to extend the London clean air zone, undertook a ULEZ survey to assess motorists attitudes. The results are very interesting. Bikers were found to be more likely than car drivers to take part in the London Mayor’s consultation exercise. Car drivers would consider changing to electric vehicles, but a significant number, despite the scrappage scheme, would keep their more polluting transport. There were also age differences. Younger motorists, bike and car, would find the new charges unaffordable and would consider switching to public transport. Older bikers and drivers saw the new charges as a tax grab. They questioned how much of the funds raised would be put into improving public transport provision. In contrast, bikers were much more likely to switch to electric bikes whilst older drivers believed the increased costs were unaffordable, but they may have no alternative but to pay up. After all, the cost of the ULEZ tax is being collected ahead of improving public transport provision. But businesses still need workers and workers still need to travel to work. It is estimated that it will need 700,000 cars to pay for ULEZ. If vehicle traffic is reduced and cleaner air achieved, will there be enough revenue to pay for improvements in public transport? In addition, will businesses decide that relocating outside the capitol is preferable to losing valuable members of their workforce. We shall see.
Other recent IAM RoadSmart research into motorcycling has shown that the public have mixed feelings about motorcycling and its role in an integrated transport system. Whilst Health and Safety At Work legislation was introduced in 1974, 49 years ago, bikers working in the gig economy are paid little, have to work long hours and wear little in the way of safety gear. These working bikers are trapped in a system that keeps costs down by encouraging competition for the limited work on offer. Employers provide very limited training, use inexperienced riders on L-plated bikes with huge boxes carrying fast food. This exploitation of those desperate for work has got to stop.
The Holy Grail of personal transport solutions, electric bikes, is given a critical examination. There are definitely advantages and limitations. The weight of electric bikes, cost of purchase, a lack of re-charging infrastructure and range anxiety are all examined. Yes, there is a broken foot reported! Smooth instant acceleration, continuous variable transmission and 0-60mph in 3 seconds make for a thrilling ride. Interestingly, reducing speed for cornering shortens the range to recharging.
In other news there is some advice on how to cope with slippery conditions. Helpful for new/inexperienced riders and reminders for long-in-the-tooth bikers. Just in case the worst happens there is some help on how to pick your bike up after a spill. It’s from 2010, but the principles don’t change. You can watch as some very slim bikers pick up some very big bikes. Of course, if things go really bad BMW, from 2024, are providing an SOS button. What does it do? Well, it calls a BMW operator who will, if needed, call the emergency services. You can just hear the expletives and ranting down the line!
Kevin Williams writes about the limitations of CBT pre-ride briefing. This is interesting because the NMC (National Motorcyclists Council) and the MCIA (Motorcycle Industries Association) have written to Mark Harper (Secretary of State for Transport). They reminded Mr Harper about the changes, promised in 2017 (6 years ago), to the fundamental changes needed to CBT training and certification. These were seen as vitally important to the development of safer motorcycling. It’s a great example of the motorcycle sector, public authorities and road safety organisations coming together to make positive changes in motorcycle safety. Having had his memory refreshed, let’s see if Mr Harper can how remember what he should have done – and do it!
The SAM Club picnic escaped the worst of the rain and it’s very wet at times. However, Summer is the time for motorcycle touring. As it is scorchingly hot in the south of Europe we consider the relative merits of mesh versus textile jackets.
Finally to the history slot. Motorcycling development has gone through periods of fast growth and stuttering bike development. Nothing signifies this uncertainty than the turbulent 1940s. Some of the most iconic motorcycles ever produced began life in this decade. Happy reading.
Helping the Whiteknights Blood Bikes
We are stepping up our partnership with the Whiteknights Blood Bikes. When attending promotional events, the Whiteknights often get people wanting to volunteer to be a Blood Biker. Of course, they always steer them to the SAM Group to complete advanced rider training. The Whiteknights need help from SAM members to explain, encourage and support potential Associates to take up advanced rider training. SAM Members can you help out?
Ways to stay in touch with your Club!
It’s really easy to stay in touch with your Club! We provide emails, a website and use social media accounts for you to contact us. All of which is free of any cost to the Club. If you are not getting the Club information circulated, or simply want to tell us something, just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to ensure that we stay in touch with you. You can also now sign up for Club emails on the SAM website.