Get on your bike and ride

World Motorcycle Day 2022 highlights safety, cool factor

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FREEDOM: World Motorcycle Day is on June 21. Pictured is a Harley Davidson Heritage Classic 114. Image credit: Harley Davidson.

FREEDOM: World Motorcycle Day is on June 21. Pictured is a Harley Davidson Heritage Classic 114. Image credit: Harley Davidson.

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Could you downsize your ride to just two wheels?

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June 21 is World Motorcycle Day, and the longest daytime of the year in the northern hemisphere - which is believed to be the reason this date was chosen.

With international conflicts already underway and other geopolitical tensions rising, and pretty poor energy security in Australia, it must be said that the price of fossil fuels (and everything for that matter) is only destined to rise further.

That currently places two-wheeled vehicles at a distinct advantage due to their light weight and, therefore, more frugal use of resources - not just energy to run them but also energy and materials to make, distribute, maintain and repair them.

The petrol-powered motorcycle traces its history to the same period, and the same country, as the petrol-powered carriage (car). That was the mid-1880s when a couple of Germans decided to test their particular design of internal combustion engine in what is now known as the 1885 Daimler Reitwagen made by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach.

Other propulsion systems for motorcycles have been used before, in the case of steam (at least as early as 1868) and since, in the case of electricity (also quite early, with the first such patent dating to 1895). Annual global motorcycle (including scooter) sales currently remain comparable with the category of cars (which also includes various shapes).

The figures for 2021 were 58.6 million new motorcycles and 66.7 million new cars. But if we were to strip out the fleet sales and just look at personal use, it's probably fair to assume that motorcycles would be more popular with private buyers.

Either way, motorcycles and scooters play a huge role in transport and recreation. So if they are this prolific, why does there need to be an awareness campaign?

Well, for starters, why not? But I would argue that safety is an excellent reason. The risk of injury is higher purely as a byproduct of design. As such, in many so-called developed parts of the world, the fatality rate for motorcyclists is also much higher than it is for other vehicles.

So while most motorcyclists are already aware of this trait, it is also vital that all other road users remain constantly motorcycle-aware. They can be rather tricky to spot if you don't actually put in the effort to look for them, and this is especially vital when using an intersection or when changing lanes.

Campaigns such as 'Check twice for motorcycles' have reached various parts of the world, including Australia.

This catchphrase, in particular, bears remembering whether you're in a car, a truck, or even a pedestrian trying to slip through stopped cars because bikes are allowed to lane-filter in many places now.

The story Get on your bike and ride first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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