Commuting to work on a motorcycle can make you feel like you have superpowers. Gliding past queues of traffic you are sure to never be late. You waft by with barely noticeable impact on the environment. Your cares are left behind and you arrive with a more positive attitude than any of your colleagues. By choosing to ride to work you are taking on the trappings of a superhero. There is one thing you must remember, however; as Peter Parker’s uncle reminded him: “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Power is fun, but is responsibility fun?
Road safety may not be the most fun subject to be discussing in a year when we are focusing on the fun of riding to work. It may not be the reason for choosing to ride a motorcycle to work, but it is certainly the biggest justification used to discourage the choice. It won’t come as a surprise to learn that we think the benefits far outweigh the risks, but that is no invitation to be blasé or worse still – irresponsible.
We want you to have fun riding to work. But it makes sense to be responsible while doing it. It is important to remember here that it is not just about your safety, but also about the safety of others.
We agree, there are risks. But provided that you are aware of those risks, and know how to mitigate them, there is no need to panic. Life is full of risk – and riding is no different. Some may feel that the risk is too high for them – we don’t have a problem with that. Motorcycling is not for everyone.
When it comes to the risk that we pose to others there is a level of responsibility that must not be overlooked. Just as Uncle Ben warned, it is possible to get carried away. We must remain mindful that in enjoying the fun of riding to work we are not placing others at increased risk. We have no more right to harm others than, say, car drivers have a right to knock us off.
Filtering through traffic is a great power. It is easy to see that having great power is fun, but the question is can being responsible also be fun?
Consequences of irresponsible pursuit of fun
I think that the best way to approach that question is to consider the consequences of not being responsible. I can assure you that the consequences are most definitely not fun.
Again I don’t think I need to explain to any of you that if it goes wrong, it will probably hurt …. or worse. We don’t need to dwell on that.
But there will be some who believe they are invincible and will use that mistaken belief as an excuse to be irresponsible. A fair few will also believe that their skills mean they can ignore the rules. They are wrong.
Irresponsible behaviour will do nothing to persuade other road users to let you filter past them. In case you are not sure, the superpowers that riding to work conveys do not extend to making your bike narrower at will. It is very easy for disgruntled road users to deny you of the filtering superpower.
In short then, the ride-to-work superpower is a gift that can be easily taken away if you abuse it. Would that be fun?
Also, if we lose the power to filter, we offer far less of a benefit to others as well. If we cannot filter we will add to the queue. We will be late for work along with everyone else. We too will sit polluting the air and stressing out our fellow commuters.
Filtering in an overly aggressive or dangerous way is Ride To Work hero Kryptonite. It would be a disaster! Not least because I would need to mix more superhero metaphors!!
Filter Friendly is a two way street.
It is no coincidence that we run the #FilterFriendly campaign in parallel with Ride To Work Day. We ask drivers to look out for filtering motorcycles and create space for us when possible. More fun for us!
But to get other road users to be #FilterFriendly we need to be friendly filterers.
Thank those who give you space, and give a friendly wave (just don’t get over-excited and fall off in the process!).
You may think you are clever if you can filter at aggressively high speeds, but that is missing the point. It is ‘even more cleverer’ to keep those cars leaving enough space. Not to mention the fact that you will get it wrong sooner rather than later if you insist on showing off.