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Ed’s desk | Columns | Gassit Garage

I don’t believe it’s long-term riders who are deserting this great lifestyle

My son obtained his motorcycle L-plates recently. It was entertaining to watch because he has been riding dirtbikes since he was six, and road racing for the past couple of seasons. But to his credit, and despite all the complaining, he went into the two-day course with an open mind and learned a few things that will help him be a better road rider.

But what struck me were the numbers. Zane had five other newbies in his class, ranging in age from 17 through to 50 years old. The course is always booked out at least three weeks in advance, and if you want a weekend date, then expect a two-month wait.

Simple and conservative maths suggests that one school has at least 30 new riders heading for their local RMS office to obtain a shiny new learner’s permit every week. Multiply that number by the 10 or so schools in the greater Sydney area and the rough figure balloons out to a couple of hundred people acquiring a motorcycle licence every seven days.

Even ultra-conservative calculations suggest thousands of new riders are being produced each year in Sydney alone. So where are they all? Falling motorcycle sales suggest we are losing motorcyclists faster than we are gaining them, and I don’t believe it’s long-term riders who are deserting this great lifestyle, so it must be new riders just not following through with their plans to take up a life on two-wheels.

Zane now has a car and a bike, and unless he’s taking his girlfriend out he will always reach for the bike keys because it’s easier. What’s preventing others from feeling the same way?

Chris Dobie