There I was, enjoying a Sunday afternoon drive along a sweeping country road.
The sun was shining, the motor was purring, there was the prospect of a stroll and a pub lunch on the horizon – all was good with the world.
Well, all was good with the world apart from the born-again bikers.
If you’re a driver you’ll be aware of the phenomenon. Gentlemen of a certain age seem to feel the need to treat themselves either to an open-topped sports car or a powerful motorbike.
As the open-top option betrays the fact that many no longer have hair which will blow prettily in the wind, lots prefer the bike – presumably because, hidden beneath leathers and a big helmet, the lack of hair and the middle-aged spread aren’t quite so apparent.
I’ll be honest, I don’t like bikes. It’s not that they are big and noisy and uncomfortable, and an inefficient way of getting from A to B if you want to transport more than just your body – it’s just that they are incredibly dangerous, and that’s not always the fault of the people sitting up there revving the throttle.
It’s a simple equation – if a bike and any other item of traffic or street furniture come into conflict, the bike and the poor boob aboard is likely to bear the brunt. You could be completely blameless, but that’s not going to be much comfort to those you leave behind.
So there I was, taking the country road, and regularly being overtaken by clutches of bikers, six or seven at a time, also out for a Sunday ride.
There are, it seems, roads up and down the country which are favoured by the two-wheeled fraternity because of their exciting possibilities for early death, and I was on one of them.
Now piloting a powerful piece of machinery along a curving country road is something which ought to demand your full attention. You don’t want distractions.
But on every tree, pole and other potential platform along this road there were brightly-coloured posters – with wording not large enough to be instantly readable. If you wanted to work out the message, you had to give them attention which ought to be have been devoted to the road ahead.
It took my front seat passenger a good few goes to decipher the message, and she wasn’t in charge of any sort of speeding machinery. The message, of course, was urging bikers to slow down and ride safely.
What on earth is the idea here? They’re either hoping bikers will slow down enough to read the posters, or are deliberately trying to distract them to bump up the casualty figures and justify a bigger budget next year.
Either way, these are road safety posters that constitute a road safety hazard. Can anyone explain why this has happened?