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FROM THE BEAR

Posted On 03 May 2024
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This entry is part 7 of 30 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#29

This is… what? The winner of the latest custom bike competition,or a 1930 Harley Davidson DAH Hillclimber? The latter, of course, but doesn’t it look like something you’d see at a show today? Talk about history repeating itself…

GRIZZLING

MELBOURNE DOES IT AGAIN

Well, Sydney is a much more motorcycle-friendly city than it used to be, thanks mainly to the City Council’s motorcycle and scooter plan, which increased parking substantially. I was lucky enough to be asked to draft that plan, and I’m still very proud of it. But there is no way of acing Melbourne, the Australian city which pioneered footpath parking for bikes thanks largely to activist Damien Codognotto.

It is now likely that motorcycles and scooters will be given even more preferential treatment over cars and trucks in Melbourne’s inner city, as part of a Council plan to reduce traffic and parking congestion by getting more commuters to take up motorcycling.

Melbourne City Council is set to expand motorcycle parking across the municipality, at the same time as competition for these spaces, and the city’s footpaths, heats up.

Paid car parking could be replaced with free scooter spaces, while the council will also try to force developers of new apartment and office towers to create more motorcycle parking and supply lockers for protective clothing.

The 2015-2018 Motorcycle Plan is about to be voted on by councillors as I write this. In the document, council staff argue that more motorcyclists on the roads would result in faster travel times for all, while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. They point to a European study that showed that if 10 per cent of private cars were replaced by motorcycles, commuting times could decrease by 40 per cent.

The council said that a “shift from cars to motorcycles” would free up parking space, as up to six motorcycles or 10 scooters can be parked in the space required for a single car. And while they concede cars can carry more passengers, the reality is that they don’t. The average car in Australian cities carries 1.1 to 1.2 people, meaning that most people drive alone.

The council has also vowed to work with the state government and other authorities to remove a number of road hazards for motorcyclists.

Good work, Melbourne. Now how can Australia’s other cities catch up? NEWS FLASH: The plan passed unanimously! Congratulations, John Eacott from VMC and Damien from IRG as well as all the other riders who helped.

AND REMEMBER

Some people are like slinkies… no bloody use for anything, but it’s still fun watching them fall down the stairs.

Steve McQueen with one of the several thousand (if claims of provenance are to be believed) motorcycles he owned during his tragically short life.

FATE WILL GET YOU ONE WAY OR ANOTHER Many years ago – I was still riding a Harley-Davidson 10/12 outfit around, which was subsequently stolen, but of course you don’t care about that, despite the fact that it still rankles with me – a friend of mine had a solo Triumph. He also owned an Irish setter called Brough, but that has nothing to do with this story.

He and his girlfriend were headed into town from Balmain on some errand or other; they were both wearing jeans and she had accessorised hers with a home knitted long cardigan.

As he straightened the bike up after the White Bay corner and wound on the power, the rear wheel suddenly locked and all three of them hit the deck. They weren’t going terribly fast, so there were no injuries beyond a few scratches on bike, rider and pillion, but the last mentioned was no longer wearing a long cardigan. Instead, she wore a rather fetching bolero jacket. The rest of the cardigan had unravelled after being caught in the spokes and was wound around the Trumpy’s backwheel, an early and seldom imitated form of macramé…

Peter ‘The Bear’ Thoeming

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Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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