LETTER: Bikers still face much persecution

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I write in reply to Peta Little and Billinghurst Parish Council (County times May 30).

So Peta Little wants to upset modern day bikers with an anti-noise and speeding campaign. Sorry but bikers of all types of machines pay for fuel, insurance, MoTs and an extremely high disproportionate amount of road fund licence compared to car drivers.

Therefore, they have just as much right on all roads as any other vehicle. Bikers face just as much persecution these days as they did 50-plus years ago. We now have to endure thousands of potholes and appalling tarred and gritted roads of West Sussex County Council.

Despite national Think Bike campaigns, there is still disregard for bikers by car and lorry drivers, who account for and are most responsible for the majority of bikers killed on our roads.

The trouble today is that driving schools only teach pupils how to pass the driving test and not how to drive or driving etiquette. No respect is shown to cyclists, moped riders, motorcyclists or pedestrians for that matter. The best car drivers out there are also motorcyclists, without doubt.

As for speeding offences on Billingshurst bypass, that is purely a matter for Sussex Police and not the village parish council. There are more motoring offences committed in the High Street, Silver Lane, plus Upper and Lower Station Road in Billingshurst than on the A29. The 30mph limit and the waste of time 20mph zone (which is not enforceable according to the police when questioned by myself in 2009) is regularly broken.

More and more drivers are using mobile phones, drinking from cups, reading newspapers. Here, pedestrians are at greater risk than on the bypass. If there ever was a ‘cash cow’ these drivers would be a great source of revenue from fines.

For the record, Stane Street (or A29 as now commonly addressed) has been here for nearly 2,000 years since the Roman occupation as the main route from London to Chichester. Peta Little herself admits causing a nightmare to residents of Dorking in her ‘Rockers’ years. She was probably pillion onboard one the hoards of BSAs, Triumphs and Nortons riding from London and Box Hill down to Whiteways at Bury Hill or the coast.

As a young boy I remember cycling down to the A29 at North Heath to watch the Sunday morning ‘ton-up’ bikers. A fantastic sight and really ear splittingly noisey compared to today’s silenced machines.

On a technical point, modern day large four cylinder engines are revving much higher, hence the sound. The sound of a screaming four or a booming Italian ‘V’-twin is a joy to behold.

It really adds to the character of the area and attracts revenue to the village and surrounding area by those that ride in for refreshment or supplies.

Modern day bikers come from all walks of life, including Hell’s Angels. The latter also carrying out fund raising days for charity.

There will always be a small minority of both bike riders and car drivers who travel in excess of the speed limit. They all know the risks involved and the penalties if caught. But again that is part of the excitement for them all.

The anti-social element are solely the responsibilty of the police - not the parish council ‘few’ or a handful of vigilanties.

I would like to add, when I was a parish councillor, a member of the public discussed speeding vehicles as a subject with me and they advised me that another former councillor at the time. Said that they would like to tie a wire across the road on the by-pass and cause serious harm to motorcyclists. I found this comment extremely distasteful and seriously suggest we hear no more like it.

Personally, as a 55 year old mature biker, me and my 67 year old ancient rider buddy prefer the A272 and A30 for our Sunday morning breakfast ride out. You just can’t beat a nice early morning little ride out to Salisbury on a Ducati. Dont therefore, Mrs Little and councillor Berry paint us all with the same brush!

One thing that still makes me seethe is why people do not do their homework before purchasing a property. Finding out it is next to a major ‘A’ road and then whinging about the noise from it. For all of those who fall into this catergory, my message is clear and simple... Put up, shut up or move out!

DAVID DUKE

Wicks Road, Billingshurst