Somerfield: We’re intimidated by motorcyclists in helmets

By Steve Farrell -

General news

 28 October 2009 11:09

Motorcyclists must remove open-face crash helmets to avoid ‘intimidating’ petrol station staff, a supermarket chain has said.

And riders must be ‘earthed’ before filling up to prevent risk of explosion, according to the bizarre policy statement from Somerfield.

The supermarket said: ‘We have to consider the feelings and views of our workforce who currently find being approached by someone in a helmet intimidating…

‘We also ask riders to dismount their bike prior to fuel being authorised. The reason for this is that when the rider gets off the bike it will cause any static in the clothing to earth, thereby reducing the incidence of flash while refuelling takes place.’

The policies were set out in an email to a customer who was ordered to remove his open-face helmet halfway through filling up.

Dan Moorcroft, 33, complained after the fuel cut off mid-flow while he filled up at the Somerfield Texaco station in Leamore, Walsall.

He said: “This is the first time I have ever been asked to remove my open-face helmet.”

A Somerfield spokesman said staff found riders in helmets intimidating “because they can’t see their face”. Asked about the policy on open-face helmets he said: “I don’t know what an open-face helmet looks like. I’m not a biker.”

The store said in a statement: ‘It is our policy to ask all customers at Somerfield petrol forecourts to remove helmets and other headgear.

'This is to help staff verify the age of the customer but also to help police with enquiries should they need to review CCTV footage if a stolen bike is driven into the petrol station, a bike is stolen from the forecourt or a customer drives off without paying for their fuel.’

Asked why a rider wouldn’t be earthed simply by putting his feet down, the spokesman said: “I have given you all the information I have on this.” He said the policy was “under review”.

We also asked how many fires had started in this way and were told: “I do not have access to any records which would allow me to tell you.

“Somerfield policy is not designed to discriminate in any way against motorcyclists but to ensure the safety of all our customers and staff members,” the spokesman added.