Motorcyclist Argues for Different Safety Approach

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Following another motorcycling fatality, a motorcyclist argues that calls for more regulations are unfounded. He says that the key to safety is thinking. And he has set up a website to help other motorcyclists to think better.

Regulations will not make any difference. Nor will improvements in motorcycle engineering. Nor will reductions in power. What matters is motorcyclist behaviour. And behind that is how motorcyclists think about their riding.

A motorcyclist today weighed into the debate about motorcycling safety.

This follows a motorcycling fatality in Milton Keynes, England. In the background is a row between a motorcyclist group, British Motorcyclist Federation, and a road safety charity, Road Peace, about motorcycle safety.

John Blake, the author of motorcyclemeditation.com who commutes a hundred miles every day on a motorcycle, says, "Regulations will not make any difference. Nor will improvements in motorcycle engineering. Nor will reductions in power. What matters is motorcyclist behaviour. And behind that is how motorcyclists think about their riding."

John Blake set up motorcyclemeditation.com as a record of daily riding experience. He says, "Safe motorcycling cannot be reduced to tips and techniques. It is more a question of mindset."

He adds, "But you need to apply the thinking in actual motorcycling situations, not just in the abstract. That is why the website is really a collection of stories. It conveys the live situation on a motorcycle, and communicates real life dangers. This lets motorcyclists be forewarned and forearmed."

Asked why he set up motorcyclemeditation.com, John Blake says, "A trick question on motorcycle courses is, where is the most important piece of safety equipment on a motorcycle? Answer, between the ears. Yet when I tried to find out how to think, all the motorcycle websites were about machinery or racing. I decided to share the thinking that goes into my daily motorcycle commute. And in fact, the thinking turns out to be quite wide ranging, with motorcycle issues woven into other thinking, just the way it happens on a motorcycle."

Motorcyclemeditation.com has no commercial links and no vested interests to promote. Its sole purpose is to communicate the thrill and challenge of safe motorcycling.

Notes to editors:

1. Sample quotes from motorcyclemeditation.com:

  • "In the rain, a fifty percent increase to the safety bubble in front. Partly to stay out of the spray. Partly because braking distances are longer. Partly because if there's trouble, you don't brake, you accelerate. Braking puts the weight on the unstable front wheel, accelerating puts it on the stable back wheel. So you need space to accelerate into. Also, ride in a lower gear, use it to slow down without braking or accelerate without delaying."
  • "But the payoff comes when you climb on the motorcycle. If it's been push push push getting ready, you'll carry on push push pushing on the roads. And you'll have a willing accomplice, a rampantly eager engine. Break the natural pace of the morning, and you break the natural pace of the road. Maybe you get away with it a few times, but not for ever."

2. A motorcyclist has been killed and another driver seriously injured following a crash in Milton Keynes. A red and white Yamaha motorbike was in collision with a blue Renault Clio in Fulmer Street at its junction with Blackmoor Gate in Furzton. Source: mediapoint.press.net.

3. The British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) announced it had withdrawn its membership of Road Peace following a letter from the charity to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee proposing motorbikes be downsized in "weight, power and speed". Source: mediapoint.press.net.

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