It's all too easy for bikers to bemoan the decline in driving standards on South Africa's roads and the dangers our lawless roads pose for two-wheelers; far too many evenings down at the clubhouse are spent debating what "they" should do about it - stricter law enforcement, more and better-trained traffic officers, etc.
Just getting the doughnut brigade out from behind their speed cameras and on to the roads, kicking butt and taking names among the cellphone-using, non-indicating, red light-jumping majority out there, would save an appreciable number of lives - and arguably, increase the city's income, but that's an argument for another day.
What's more difficult is figuring out what we as drivers and riders can do about it - and then getting off our backsides and doing it.
IMPARTING SURVIVAL SKILLS
More than a decade ago the senior members of Wheels Motorcycle Club in Cape Town came to the conclusion that the standard of riding skills - and preparedness for other road users' lack of it - of their club-mates wasn't about to improve unless they improved, on a more formal basis than just lecturing an impatient young rider at a club event.
So in 2000 they put together the first Wheels Safety Campaign, using exercises based on the K53 motorcycle riding licence test to refresh, older riders and impart their survival skills to the younger generation of riders. Originally intended as a club event, it rapidly outgrew their membership as other riders joined in.
Five years down the line, the campaign moved to the grounds of the Gene Louw Traffic College in Brackenfell, signalling in the start of a growing partnership with the provincial government and the very skilled riders of Killarney's Western Province Motor Club.
This Sunday, 15 September, will see the 13th annual Wheels Safety Campaign, with short seminars on basic first aid, bike maintenance, protective riding gear and how it works, followed by a series of riding exercises in the college grounds.
Over the years these have grown beyond the prescriptions of the K53 test to include scenarios taken from real-world riding, such as lane-splitting, a sudden lane change to avoid a car that pulls out in front of you, corners that tighten up as you dive deeper into them.
Some are great fun, others downright scary no matter how many years' experience you have, but each will enable participating riders to practice under the safest possible conditions a skill set that, sooner or later, will save them from a potentially deadly fall.
As Safety Campaign stalwart James Arendse put it: "If all this work saves the life of just one rider, it will all have been worth it - it could be my son, or your daughter."