Blog, Motorcycle, Writing

The Media Ignores Riders

Warning: may contain a rant

Sometimes I really feel the vitriolic energy of people who complain about certain media outlets; I understand why they are so vigorously opposed to some of them but not others.

I’m honestly not interested in nurturing that mindset within myself, but I can’t deny the fact that they so easily seem to propose thoughtless ideas, especially when this translates to those who ride motorbikes.

In this case, I’m referring to a BBC article explaining why it’s the end for petrol stations, but it’s not that claim that frustrates me.

Fear Mongering?

But the real question you should be asking is how you’re going to refuel your petrol or diesel vehicle if you don’t go electric. – Justin Rowlatt

It’s possible to guide people to an outcome you want if you feed the right breadcrumbs, especially if those crumbs are the fear of something. After all, I’m pretty sure that’s partly how propaganda works, and it’s certainly how it reads to me.

This particular article makes full use of this idea of fear and danger; placing us momentarily in a situation fraught with danger, even though danger exists in many aspects of our lives.

I don’t deny the risks of using petrol to cause mini explosions in a block of metal beneath my gentleman’s sausage, but it’s not the only risk in life. If you wear makeup, for example, you’re potentially absorbing various chemicals into your body on a daily basis.

But it’s more than this. I fully accept that we need to protect our planet, and that technology like electric transport is part of the process – I completely support it.

No, my complaint is with the fact that, as usual, ‘our’ utopian future seems to include only car drivers.

Death Sentences Can Be Wrong

Funnily enough, if you read the article, you’ll undoubtedly see the image of an empty petrol station, save for one lone motorcycle. Is this a joke? Are we now villains of some deplorable part of human history, where we alone advocate the burning of fossil fuels at the cost of our planet?

All throughout this article, Justin refers to cars. And, yes, I’m well aware that the majority of people use cars, but there’s often a good reason for that.

We don’t all share the same financial opportunities in life, and whilst there are definitely expensive motorbikes out there, their potential for low-cost transport is a major factor in why many of us have one in the first place.

Even for me, my current ride is a VFR800 from 2005 that cost only £2k. Did I buy this for the fun of it? Ok, partly yes, but it’s also because I also can’t afford a car (and I don’t care too).

The reason this is an issue, though, is because the article paints the idea of an electric utopia; heralding the death of fossil fuel whilst ignoring the fact that not all of us can afford to attend the funeral.

Till The End, A Martyr

These vehicles will simply not disappear off the roads overnight. Petrol and diesel stations will be essential in keeping the country mobile beyond 2030. – Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association

You know what Justin had to say in response to Brian?

‘Maybe.’

He’s right that “…technological change can be very rapid and very disruptive”, but this willingness to seemingly strive against the obvious and necessary truth is beyond madness.

We can’t live off dinosaurs forever, this we all know. But as ordinary people, living within your own current society, it’s wrong to write us off even if it’s not intentional.

Glorifying the difficulty such a transition will bring is pretty unfair when people, who may want to change to electric (drivers included), simply can’t afford to do so.

The media needs to take a moment to remember that not everyone falls into the same boat, because the next time you’re stuck in a traffic jam (because you still will be), it’ll still be the riders saving you some space by simply not driving in the first place.

 

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