Opinion: Greetings Your Majesty, wanna go for a ride?

You’ve probably heard there’s a new normal, but let me reassure you the old normal is still carrying on in the background.

For instance, right on schedule and despite all the other stuff it’s caught up in, the provincial government sent its annual press release announcing that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

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As a rider myself, I always read through this particular release when it comes just to see if they’ve changed it much since the last time.

They hadn’t. It’s full of predictably bland government speak that, despite the best effort of the sentence “as the weather turns warmer and drier, motorcycle riders are tuning engines, shining chrome and heading out on scenic rides,” falls short of capturing the mood of motorcycling.

There’s a lot of the usual bumf about the dangers of inattention, intersections, inattention at intersections, and roaming wildlife, as well as an admonition against being too noisy and a reminder that “road safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

I get that it’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and not Motorcycle Mania Month and the goal is to get key safety messages across and, to be honest, getting a nice bland, predictable press release is comforting these days.

This year I decided to read the actual proclamation, because there is no Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month without a proclamation in the name of Queen Elizabeth II.

After “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith” offers greetings, the proclamation opens up with, “Whereas British Columbia’s climate and scenery make motorcycle riding an attraction in this beautiful province, and riders consider our roadways some of the best for motorcycle riding.”

The proclamation’s second clause points out “motorcycles are an increasingly popular means of transportation for commuting, touring and recreation; and they are energy-efficient vehicles that reduce fuel consumption, traffic and parking congestion.”

Still not exactly stirring stuff, but it does capture many of the reasons people ride.

Although she didn’t have a direct hand in writing the proclamation, the Queen is a woman who knows a thing or two about motorcycle safety.

One of the more famous pictures of the then Princess Elizabeth during her time with the Auxiliary Territorial Service in the Second World War was taken during her motorcycle training as she manoeuvred a BSA 250 through an obstacle course at low speed – on a grass field.

This is not an easy thing to do, but if the photograph is anything to go on, she did it quite well. She was obviously a very technically competent and safe rider.

It’s a shame that she never kept it up. She’d have found it an excellent way to get away from all this craziness – or at least Philip – for a while.

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