Toad Talks: It's videos like this that give bikers a bad rep'

Devon and Cornwall Police release drone video purporting to reveal ‘Dangerous Motorcyclist Behaviour’...

Toad Talks: It's videos like this that give bikers a bad rep'

Devon and Cornwall Police have released drone footage which is supposed to show potentially dangerous riding on the region’s roads.

The video, posted in April, was shared by the Facebook page, Emergency Services News (ESN), which has even gone to the trouble of adding a condescending and snooze-worthy voice-over for added effect. In the video we can see groups of bikers out and about on the roads, enjoying the sunshine and their bikes and personally, I have a few issues with the video. 

It's videos like this that give bikers a bad reputation


First up, there isn’t much wrong with most of the riding you can see, there are no wheelies on public roads, no rolling burnouts, stoppies, or people snatching the handbags of elderly ladies collecting their pensions. Just groups of bikers, enjoying the roads and taking in the scenery. One of the earliest clips ESN highlights shows a rider clipping a solid white line while overtaking a dark-coloured car on a straight piece of road. As the rider overtakes, they clip a solid white line, but not while they are rejoining their lane, it’s as they are leaving it to perform the overtake. I understand that solid white lines are there for a reason, but surely clipping the white line as you begin the overtake is better than the opposite. At least in this instance the rider had the clearest view of the road ahead and is better able to gauge whether or not a vehicle is coming in the opposite direction. It’s also maximising the amount of space the rider has to make the overtake safely.

Another clip apparently ‘vividly captures’ the moment a group of bikers overtake a car on a stretch of road with no solid white line. The commentator mentions that the ‘risky manoeuvre’ took place ‘alarmingly close’ to a bend in the road. First up, all the bikers made it back to their own side of the road before the next solid white line began. They used the advantage of having a high power-to-weight ratio to make the overtake before the road markings, which are there to notify motorists of potentially dangerous stretches of road, had changed. 

The final clip shows a rider with a pillion, crossing the centre line of the road and apexing a corner on the wrong side of the road. Okay, not the most sensible move, especially as they really have nothing to gain from it given the speed they are going, but again, this drone footage only tells the story from the drone’s point of view. It doesn’t take into account the rider’s eye view of the road, how far along the road they can see and so on. I have a couple more issues with this type of video. Firstly, it sensationalises riding that in some cases in this video, is totally legal. In this age of dashcams and cyclists covered in GoPros, this just makes it even easier for high and mighty types to start making lives difficult by reporting riders for what they believe is dangerous riding. In situations like this, it’s the side of the car driver (or cyclist) that is taken as gospel in 99 per cent of cases. The second issue I have is that during the video the commentator bangs on about how the drones have been introduced to improve road safety and decrease collisions on the region’s roads. I’m not sure I follow how a drone recording video can decrease collisions and improve road safety when it’s hovering a couple of hundred feet up in the air and when nobody knows it’s there. Am I missing the point or does it feel a bit more like this is just another way to tick off some bikers for minor riding infringements?

Answers on a postcard, please.