For many who have never ridden a motorcycle the question “why do people choose to ride motorcycles?” is a valid one. From the outside it is easy to see some downsides. Do I want to wear a crash helmet and bulky gloves and boots? Why would I give up the comfort of my car given the British weather? Is it really worth the risk?
For us, at the Motorcycle Action Group, it is easy to write a long list of benefits. Riding a motorcycle gets me there quicker, no waiting in traffic jams. I produce less emissions on my bike than I do in my car. My motorcycle gets me there cheaply and efficiently.
Sometimes hearing personal testimony from individual riders is all it takes to make someone consider both sides of the story.
We previously heard from Anika. Here are two more testimonies.
Why I choose to ride a scooter: Rachel, London
I was first attracted to riding a scooter seeing them filter past me stuck in traffic in my car. When I developed asthma and I started to find it impossible to take the tube due to the poor air quality on the London Underground, I decided to finally do my CBT.
It was a well-run course that taught me good road sense and safe riding techniques, as well as how to handle the vehicle. I passed and got myself a 125cc scooter. I now use this to commute every day. My scooter is incredibly fuel efficient at around 100 mpg, and has automatic engine idling cut off built in.
Rather than being an impossible task, my commute is now quick, easy and enjoyable. Riding a moped has also opened up Greater London to me. I can travel large distances across London with ease and pleasure. It means I can enjoy the whole of London, and see my elderly parents and young nephews more easily. Most crucially I have replaced many car journeys with a much more efficient form of transport. The majority of journeys I go on would be too far to cycle and far too far to walk.
I am scared that the changes to London roads will force me back onto the tube, which will ultimately force me out of the city. I love this city and don’t want to leave it or my family behind.
Why ride a motorcycle: Mark, Oxfordshire
For me, motorcycling is the most efficient way to travel. It has been since I got my first bike, aged 16, that meant I could get a part-time job away from the rural area I lived in. Today, my bike gets me all over the UK to visit my business’ clients, to see friends and family and to get where and when I need quickly, cheaply and reliably.
I live in a rural area with almost no public transport. I could drive to London, but the number of new rural housing developments in Oxfordshire means the roads are increasingly congested. This means either getting up at a traffic-beating 0550, driving to the station and paying £70 for a return ticket to London and spending two and a half hours travelling or taking the bike.
If I ride, it’s 1:45 door-to-door and costs less than a third of the train fare – and I can leave at a reasonable time. I get a seat – guaranteed (unlike the train) – I can carry everything I need with me and I arrive smiling, even in the middle of winter.
The plans to close roads to bikes both locally in Oxford and other cities are worrying. For those of us in rural areas who have to work in towns, closed roads and difficult access means less time with our families and friends. We don’t have an alternative.