Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal – Motorcycling is dangerous. Every rider knows, most of us first-hand, that a little bump which would be cause for no more than an exchange of details for a car driver inevitably results in injury, or worse, for a biker.
Every day we read, hear of or experience motorcycle crashes on South African roads; some riders survive, like the one in the (very graphic) video below, some don’t. And if riders themselves don’t do something about it, nobody will.
Which has led dedicated bikers Hein and Carin Jonker of Amanzimtoti to found the Motorcycle Safety Institute, to teach rider skills at a real-world level, including often-overlooked facets such as marshalling club rides and how to act as a road captain.
And now, they say, it’s time to take that initiative to the next level.
May is Motorcycle Awareness month worldwide, with events in the United States, Britain and Europe, focusing on the twin pillars of teaching bikers safer riding skills and teaching other road users to be more aware of motorcycles.
And in South Africa, a National Motorcycle Awareness ride will be hosted at various locations across the country on Sunday 14 May. It’s intended that this should be an annual event, on the second Sunday in May each year, involving individual mainstream clubs, informal rider groups, individual riders, riding schools, motorcycle dealers and distributors, local government and other safety groups.
It’s not a Motorcycle Safety Institute event; regional bodies such as Biker Councils are welcome to host their own rides, including routes, times and end venues, and encouraged to contact the MSI office to coordinate their efforts.
The only requirement is that the convenors register, free of charge, on the MSI website; guidelines are available there to help set up an Awareness Ride in your area. Individual riders and members of rider groups are asked to register directly, so that local authorities and convenors know in advance just how big a ride they will be dealing with.
And if you don’t think an awareness ride is necessary:
Since January 2016 the MSI has been collating and tabulating data on motorcycle accidents from emergency medical services, police, Arrive Alive and other online media resources. They don’t pretend that the data is complete, but their monthly motorcycle accident report still makes chilling reading, especially when compared to previous months.