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Knights campaign confuses safety message

Published: 21 April 2004

You’ve got to give them credit for trying a different spin… but West Mercia police’s attempt to grab the headlines with a safe riding campaign looks likely to confuse.

We’ll let them explain. A release to the media reads: " West Mercia Constabulary is comparing bikers to medieval knights to launch a high profile initiative to improve motorcyclists’ skills and help stop them from dying. For the Knights of the Road campaign, the force is drawing the comparison between knights in shining armour and bikers in leathers, in a bid to highlight the belief of some motorcyclists that their protective clothing and equipment makes them invincible on the roads. "

They are even going to trot out a ‘professional’ knight on horseback at the press conference. We kid you not. It’s even being held at a medieval castle.

So what’s the implication? On first reading you could be forgiven for thinking this is a campaign against wearing leather or other protective kit. It is an old argument that we take more risks when we feel safest, but MCN has yet to hear of a force that thinks protective kit is a bad thing. You don’t see many coppers riding without a lid, for example.

If the invited press can see through the confused concepts and pantomime photo-call the reality is that April 27 sees the launch of Bikesafe West Mercia, part of a national police initiative that aims to give us the opportunity to have our riding assessed and to learn advanced riding techniques. And we aren’t about to knock that. But why can’t they just come out and say so?

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