STREET BEAT: Riding with sense
MOTORCYCLES INSPIRE various emotions such as awe, admiration, fear and loathing.
However you feel about the powerful and noisy machines, there is no denying the appeal and freedom of riding a motorcycle.
Still, there are right ways and wrong ways to ride and to keep your bikes running.
“I ride a bike myself and I always make sure to strap on a proper helmet,” began Demario Redman, the manager of Demario’s Cycle World in Mason Hall Street who has been in the business since 2002.
“When you start your bike, let it run for three to five minutes and make sure all the lights are working and the cables lubed. If you are an everyday rider, take your bike to get serviced every three to four months,” he continued.
Some motorcyclists have been getting a bad rap in recent times because of their perceived recklessness on the roads.
“I don’t have a problem with the younger guys doing stunts but you have to be considerate of others on the road,” cautioned Demario.
He said riding a motorcycle was a major responsibility. “You have to drive, not only for yourself, but for other people too.
“Some motorists give you respect but others will purposely try to block you. Don’t speed through traffic because you don’t know what’s going to happen. Once you take the proper precautions, you will be good. Not wearing a helmet is putting your life at risk; a head injury is nothing to play with.”
Star Products Co. Ltd in Baxter’s Road is one of the oldest motorcycle dealerships in Barbados.
While the owner declined to be identified, he had strong viers on the road habits of some motorcyclists.
“Some people ride the larger motorbikes and ATVs real stupid on the roads; it is madness and something needs to be done,”?he said. “This reckless behaviour has been going on for a long time and I have been asking them not to drive in a way for people to look at them in a discriminatory way, but they are not listening.”
The motorcycle retailer said anyone looking to ride a motorcycle should begin with a small machine.
“Get a licence and start on the 110cc bikes and drive that for a year until you get accustomed to it; starting on a big bike will kill you,” he said, adding that proper clothing and head protection was paramount.
John Wharton, the managing director of Psycho Bikes and Green Riders, had a different point of view. He said he understood the feeling young people had when riding the bikes as he too rode in his youth but now after gaining experience, he could also speak of the dangers.
“I’ve been that age and you have that energy but these bikes are very powerful on the bottom end so when you’re marvelling at a wheelie, it is really just balancing as the machine is doing the work. Not only that, you may look at someone doing that and judge but that person may have problems you don’t know about and doing that lifts them up but doing it on the road is still wrong,” he said.
Wharton advised young riders to find other ways to channel that energy and perhaps find a way to perform stunts for cash. He said recklessness was not worth it.
“Don’t drink or use drugs and drive and never be in a rush, anytime you are in a rush you are putting yourself and others at risk. Remember on a bike, your face is the windscreen, the top of your head is the bonnet and your shoulders are the door so you have to be careful,” he said.
Police spokesman Inspector David Welch told Street Beat that the force remained concerned about reckless motorcyclists and urged them to obey the law for their own safety and the safety of others.
“We want to appeal to them to ensure their vehicles are properly licensed and to always wear proper gear,”?he said. “We conduct operations from time to time and will continue to do so but sometimes when we arrive, the perpetrators are gone. We still encourage people to make reports, however.” [email protected]