Industry

If we ban Bluetooth calling when riding, where does it all end?

With the recent news that using a Bluetooth headset at the wheel or when riding a motorcycle could soon be banned, Visordown asks what’s next on the MP’s hitlist

LAST week Visordown reported that a group of MPs is calling for a ban of mobile phones being used by riders and drivers even when used in handsfree mode or through a Bluetooth headset.

The move comes after the Commons Transport Select Committee has claimed that using a Bluetooth or hands-free device poses the same risks as a collision as holding the phone to your ear, and that suggesting otherwise is ‘misleading’.

My question (and I’m sorry I don’t have the answer just yet) is where is this all going to end? For bikes and for cars. Both methods of transport have become much more technologically laden in recent years, with manufacturers constantly fighting with each other to offer punters a chance to make their chosen transport more of a bespoke item to them.

Are dashboards just as distracting as bluetooth headsets?

Take the latest generation of V-twin Multistrada 1260 for instance, it has a complex dash to navigate, multi-level traction control, front-wheel lift control, cornering ABS and switchable themes. How long before we see the folk in suits proposing a ban on TFT screens, or the ability to change a riding mode on the fly?

And it isn’t just the bikes that will suffer then - have you seen the interior of the latest Tesla? The cockpit is dominated by vast 17” touchscreen TV, that replaces all but a handful of physical push-buttons. Through the screen you can operate the climate control, audio, navigation, hands-free phone, headlights and sunroof. How that makes it into a production car and is deemed as ‘safe’ I’ll never know.

Even my longterm test bike, which is probably one of the most comfortable and well laid out tourers you can buy, the BMW R1250RT requires you to flick through four of five menu pages before you can turn on the heated grips – what’s wrong with just having a bloody button?!

Back to basics

And maybe that’s it, maybe we need a technology cull. Seriously, in bikes it could be a good thing, a bit like a social media detox in two-wheeled form. Make a conscious effort every month to ride a bike that features an engine, two wheels, suspension and brakes, nothing more! No riding modes, IMUs or wheel lift control. Get back to what riding a bike is actually about, that feeling you felt when you jumped on one for the first time. Not worrying if you’ve set the dashboard background to the correct shade of lilac…

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