Life on bikes

To this motorcyclist: Can you please stop

After seeing a picture of a motorcyclist carrying a poorly-protected child on pillion in London, we’d like to reach out and see if we can prevent her being put in danger again. Please share this message as widely as you can, in the hope that the rider might see this.

Warning: There are graphic images at the end of this article.

To the unknown rider.

It’s absolutely none of our business how you dress; we get that.

But like the hundreds and probably thousands of bikers and non-bikers on social media who have seen the picture of you and a young girl riding in London with almost no protection, we are truly shocked that you would place this girl in so much danger.

Not from riding pillion. With the right protection and riding style, pillion riding can be safe.

We are shocked because we’ve seen what can happen when an unprotected rider hits the tarmac. We’ve put some pictures at the end of the article, so you know what we mean.

You have every right to drive around in shorts. And while no law says your passenger must be dressed more appropriately, we are appealing to you as a father/brother/friend to take her wellbeing and indeed her life more seriously.

Reduce your motorcycle insurance premium

You may be a great rider, technically skilled. But that’s not really the problem, is it? What happens when a car pulls out of a side turning, doesn’t see you and you don’t have time to stop?

The best you can hope for is to avoid a direct impact by sending you, your bike and your passenger down. But when you all hit the deck, the problems will start as skin and bone hit the tarmac. Even at low speed, the injuries can be horrific, in some cases life-changing.

As you are up front, you might have more time to react. She won’t, and as her small legs aren’t able to reach the ground she will almost certainly go down and slide, possibly under the bike itself.

If you are travelling at just 30 mph, her young skin, with hardly any protection from muscle and fat, will soon dissolve and it’s likely that the tarmac will tear straight through to the bone. If this happens, her body could very quickly go into circulatory shock – in a young person, in extreme circumstances, this could lead to her death. Even if that doesn’t happen, she faces months perhaps years of often painful reconstructive surgery.

Then there is her helmet… It looks a little large for a head of her size. Even if the straps are done up, a poorly fitting helmet can easily fly off in a collision. Please take a moment to think what happens to a small child’s head when it hits either a car or the road at 30mph.

This could have been a one-off and we sincerely hope it is. It could be you only went 200m down a road, but really, that is 200m too far, and we know this road isn’t a minor one as this a significant junction.

We can only speak for the team here, but we suspect we might have the agreement of the entire biking community – can we please ask that you take this child’s safety even more seriously than you would your own?

Please, put her in appropriately-designed, well-fitting motorcycle clothing – no matter how short the journey or how hot the weather is.

The consequences of not doing so go much further than a quick lift to school.

Please note, the following images contain graphic representations of injuries to skin. We have decided not to publish images showing more serious effects. The images are not included to thrill or entertain but to show the serious effects of not wearing adequate protective gear on a motorcycle. Believe us, we could have used much, much worse.

road rash motorcycle


road rash motorcycle


road rash motorcycle


road rash motorcycle

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