100% Biker 163

100% Biker 163
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I’ve been reading a book called Sirius, by Olaf Stapledon, which is about a dog who’s been genetically-engineered to be as intelligent as a human, that goes through a kind of existential crisis when he realises that humanity, his creators, despite all its gifts, despite all its intelligence, can be a depressingly stupid species.

And he’s not wrong either; you only have to look around you to see myriad demonstrations of this. Take just two that affect us as bikers: daytime headlights, and high-vis clothing.

Daytime headlights, when they were foisted upon us, would apparently make us all the more visible to other traffic and that would be safer for us. And for a while perhaps that was true. These days, though, just about every car driver on the road drives with their headlights on and the result is that bikes, with their headlights on, are no more easily discernible than they were before… what was the bloody point?

Secondly, there’s all this tosh about high-vis clothing. In an echo of the daytime headlight thing, if we wear high-vis clothing, we’ll be easier to see and so we’ll be safer.

Now, apart from the fact that we shouldn’t have to wear high-vis clothing, that car drivers should actually look where they’re fcuking going, these days every man and his dog (literally!) wears high-vis for everything from road construction to dog-walking to going down the feckin’ pub. And, as with the daytime headlights, because there’s such an overabundance of it, your brain kind o’ filters it out and, again, you don’t really tend to see it. A few years back only the police wore high-vis and so you took notice of someone wearing a bright yellow coat, but now everyone wears it and it’s become meaningless. No, it really has – I watched a programme a few years ago about the Channel Island of Sark, the last feudal state in Europe, as it became democratic and in the queue of folk waiting to finally vote, to stand up and be counted, there was a bloke wearing a high-vis jacket. Sark doesn’t have any traffic! Cars are not allowed there! They have a couple of tractors and a few horses-and-carts so what the fcuk was he wearing a high-vis jacket for?

I tell you what, Olaf may have been writing his book back in 1944, way before the modern age, but he wasn’t bloody wrong, was he?

-Nik

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