Monday, May 04, 2009
Tips, Tests and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
My son, the speed freak and danger man, whilst adept at Motocross and leaping off large ramps with his feet off the pedals, has in his wisdom decided to get his road motorcycle license.
I hate motorbikes. Not the vehicle themselves but the vulnerability they offer their rider. The way cars don’t see them or refuse to acknowledge them. The thought of my little prince being barged off his bike in heavy traffic is too much to bear.
So, this Sunday, the boy borrowed a bike and a few hours of his fellow bike rider friend’s hot tips on how to pass the road test.
For learner drivers, there are rules, so many hours behind the wheel, at night, in the rain and signed off by a parent or guardian or responsible teaching adult. Sure it can be faked but generally, people do a good wad of hours on the real road before attempting their driving test.
For motorbikes, no such deal.
I was amazed, absolutely flabbergasted actually to learn that all you have to do, is pop along to an appropriate approved testing track with ‘a’ motorbike (doesn’t have to be yours), manoeuvre your bike through some witches hats, show that you can do a safe U-turn and prove that you use your mirrors and that’s it, you’re given a provisional licence that allows you to bolt along the freeway whether you’ve ever ridden a bike before or not!
Now Biker Girl, who is actually an instructor and approved ‘tester’ will tell you that it’s not that easy manoeuvring the course at slow speed so we’ll see. The bottom line for me though, is that someone can actually pass their test without having proven they’ve ever been on the road!
My problem? My son has never ridden legally on the road (I know he’s been around the burbs on the Motocross Bike without me catching him!) but he has no experience on the main roads of Sydney. He is borrowing a bike from a friend to get his license and will probably not be in a position to buy his own for months, if not years! Yet he can hop on anyone’s bike, go anywhere and pretty much do anything within the law (except take a pillion passenger), without having any road experience at all!
Too easy . . just too, too easy. There should be a three-hour written exam and a five year hands-on course before they're allowed to even start the engine!