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SAM Weekly Newsletter – 1st September 2023

Sheffield Advanced Motorcyclists - Supporting the Whiteknights NHS Blood Bikes


As pointed out last week, the UK Government continues to drag its feet on making riding safer for bikers. Whether it’s CBT (Compulsory Basic Training)changes agreed in 2017, taking VAT (Value Added Tax)off biker safety clothing, or repairing the highways. Research has shown that a 10% increase in PTW (Powered Two Wheel) use would resolve a lot of congestion and reduce pollution. Due to their lighter footprint, It would also reduce damage to the highway. This hasn’t stopped the expansion of the London ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) zone. Over 600 (at the last count) newly installed cameras have been defaced, stolen
or destroyed in the past few weeks. Only a quarter of vehicle owners in London are hoping to change to a cleaner vehicle. Affordable electric vehicles are in very short supply and the scrappage scheme is limited and bureaucratic. Politicians never seem to learn that they govern with the consent of people. If people don’t agree with the change, then politicians may soon find themselves out of office. Leaving them with less influence and damaged reputations.

One way to increase the voice of bikers is to attract more people to ride on two wheels. It can be expensive and in light of huge financial demands made on young people there is an article on how to get kitted out more economically. Increasing the number of PTW road users could add power to the safer riding message. Motorcycling is an easy target for vested interests to deflect attention away from the core message that biking can be an important part of an integrated, greener, transport solution. The doom and gloom messages about the dangers of riding and antisocial behaviour of riders, seriously skews any sensible debate about our future two-wheeled transport. The walkers, cyclists and electrified road users cannot be allowed to spread Sheffield Advanced Motorcyclists their ill-informed messages and take over the social and political motorcycling public agenda. Even so-called motorcycle representatives can fall into the trap of promoting the dangers of riding over messages about becoming a trained safe rider of greener, more economical transport. It is going to be a long, sustained slog to get people to accept motorcycling as a realistic mode of transport. Remember the introduction of seat belts? The public mind is only changed when there is a constant drip feed, read hourly/daily/weekly, of information educating and persuading people to get on PTWs. If we can help the NHS by delivering blood and baby milk, we can use a PTW to get people to the shops, offices and coastal resorts. We all know it’s a brilliant way to travel.
One way that the biking community, including SAM members, can help is to encourage young people to use PTWs for their personal transport. Whether it’s getting to College, going to work, or having a day out with friends. PTWs offer a greener, cost-effective and timely way to get around. These are messages to which young people will readily respond. There was real excitement in the biking world this week as Henry Cole and Alan Millyard broke the record for the ‘fastest tandem motorcycle’. That’s two-up to you and me. The previous record had stood for 10 years, so it was quite an achievement. The record now stands at 183.5mph on a 500bhp on a Viper V10 machine. The pair are aiming to break the 200mph barrier. My pillion just rolled her eyes and said don’t even think about it!!
In other biking news, Royal Enfield, fresh from meeting the challenge of building a complete replica, without proper drawings or specifications, of their 1901 motorcycle, are looking to keep their machines on the road for longer. They have trademarked the ‘Reown’ brand to enable them to sell second-hand Royal Enfields in their main dealerships. You can also watch a Yamaha YZ250 being transformed into an e-bike. Cake and Treesistance have joined forces to protect the Amazon rain forest. Both the latter
projects are likely to appeal to young people who are worried about the world they are inheriting. Biking has always been in a constant state of challenges and change. Converting existing bikes to electric power trains and modifying frame design to accommodate large capacity batteries is just the start of the next
Kevin Williams finishes off his series of articles that took him down the rabbit hole of making biking safer. This series started with the observation that there seemed to be no logic to the siting of ‘Think Bike’ warning signs. Kevin argues these should be installed at sites where there is evidence that bikers are coming to grief. Examining the crash data showed that some very odd decisions were being made. This series of articles led to a discussion about the siting of signage and its utility value to bikers and other road users. Kevin concluded that push notifications via a mobile phone app might prove helpful to all
road users. Read it and see what you think. This week SYSRP focussed on its anti-drink/drug driving
campaign. Over the past 10 years the figures for convictions in the UK have stubbornly remained at around 25,000/year. There are probably a lot more road users who don’t get caught. If the
figures remain the same each year, suggesting that road users, despite the public health education/promotion efforts, aren’t taking much notice. Perhaps it’s time to think differently about how
‘Think Bike’ and other road safety messages are delivered to the public.
What are safe speed limits and who should obey them? This week IAM RoadSmart responded to the latest figures on road users breaking speed limits. The response asks for a review of their effectiveness. What types of vehicles are breaking these speed limits? What is the context in which speed limits are broken? What proportion of vehicles, by type, are being caught?
We have a TV star! Whiteknights manager and SAM membership secretary, Roy Clark, was interviewed by ITV this week outside the Revs ‘n Relics cafe. Roy has always been a tireless worker for the Whiteknights NHS dispatch rider service and the SAM Club’s role in encouraging and promoting advanced riding.
Finally, for some real adventurous riding take a look at the latest adventures of the Itchy Boots traveller (Noraly Shoemaker). This week it’s the Saloum Delta in Senegal. To be helpful in your quest
for riding adventures, there is a review of sat navs and navigation apps in this newsletter. Happy reading.
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