Guest Post: Gavin Marriott

Motorcycling Madness

With 5 deaths the other day – bringing the total now to 265 – the Isle of Man TT “race” again draws the shaking of heads from us normal of the species.
For those that don’t know much about this, it is one of the world’s most famous sporting events where a normal road is closed for “participants” to race over a 1,300ft high mountainous circuit of 37 miles with over 200 turns at over 130mph.

Any ambulanceman will tell you of the motorcycle crashes they’ve attended – well they won’t actually, they’ve attended so many they lose count and forget – usually fractured femurs. I have never understood the madness of putting my whole life on 2 wheels where the amount of rubber actually touching the road would surprise you (about the size of a matchbox) but the worst part is with cornering there is a gravity factor as well. On a motorbike, speed is necessary to counteract gravity.

For over a century the media and tourists flock to his wee island to see a glimpse (all you can see) of a flashing bike race past – to their often doom. Yes it is a basic human right to be free to choose what you do with your own body. The risks and the consequences are well known yet riders keep coming back. Why? To say “they’ve done it”.

By the way, there are 7 funeral firms on the island. Just saying.

30 thoughts on “Guest Post: Gavin Marriott

  1. Here in the “Live Free and Die” state, we have regular motorcycle fatalities. Why? The driver and passenger weren’t wearing helmets. Why? The state’s legislators refuse to enact a mandatory helmet law. Why? Their constituents won’t stand for anyone telling them what to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My young colleague (trainee) had a very serious motorcycle accident a little over a week ago.
    Not a race, but still so dangerous. A motorist failed to see her turning left and she hit the side of the car head-on. I don’t know how fast she was going, but I think it almost doesn’t matter if you hit a car at 70 or 100 kmh (43 or 63 mph).
    She has multiple fractures and cerebral hemorrhages, has had two surgeries and is still in an induced coma.
    We all hope she gets through this.
    So sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One poor woman lost her husband and son on the same day there last weekend.
      But you cannot stop people doing what they love as a hobby, I suppose. Even if it is notoriously dangerous.
      Best wishes, Pete.


    1. The TT (time trials) has been popular here since 1907, Don. People get killed every year. I don’t know why they do it, but then I am not someone who needs a sporting adrenaline rush to excite me. Like you, I rode motorcylces to commute to work, or because they were easy (and free) to park in London.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete, I spent a week on the island this year and watched the practise runs. As someone with no interest in vehicles of any kind, and with thirty years experience policing sporting and other public events, I found the experience fascinating.
    The vast number of bikers in one place was quite something. To see a couple of hundred bikers leave the ferry en masse was a spectacle in itself.
    The island was heavily policed yet I saw no trouble among the bikers at all. I suspect that the average age of the bikers being over 50 was a factor. The price of the bikes also impacted somewhat on the type of attendee. I was also surprised at the huge numbers of Germans, Belgians, and French bikers I saw.
    There were significant arrests on the bank holiday but these were the foot passengers that had travelled over from Liverpool for a
    Jubilee weekend of drunken revelry.
    The locals love the event. Many front gardens lining the ‘track’ are made available to others (usually for a charity donation) and people sit all day watching this incredible event.p
    It is a sport that comes with risk, but at least people are dying doing something they love.
    How many of us will get to say that?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hadn’t realised the TT races were so dangerous. That is not good. It’s hard to explain to anyone who doesn’t love bikes but the experience of riding is like nothing else. There is no comparison to driving a car, even a sports car with the top down, it just doesn’t compare. I am about to get a bike after a gap of about 40 years and I can’t wait. That said, I take my responsibilities seriously, to wear proper gear, to be visible and to ride safely. And crucially to assume that everyone else on the road is an idiot who can’t see me

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I commuted to work on motorcycles for 9 years, so I understand what you are saying, Sarada. But the TT has always been known for regular fatalities, and would be far too scary for me to ever attempt that course.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  5. The deaths are regrettable, Pete, but one aspect of humanity which has propelled us forward is our capacity for taking risks, and not everybody survives every time: it must be enjoyable for the participants, or I guess they wouldn’t do it. The plethora of funeral directors is understandable in a capitalist economy, of course. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jon. Yes, we have to allow potholers, mountain climbers, kyakers, swimmers, and even bungee jumpers to risk all in a ‘free society’. As long as they don’t put others at risk having to rescue them of course. That then becomes ‘selfish’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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