Do not wear your helmet, it’s the law!

More and more often I feel treated like a criminal, like a scumbag who steals, who can not be trusted and best should be put away for many many years.

It is all done under the unbeatable umbrella argument of “Your safety!”, it is politically correct not to question these supposedly “sensible” rules pilled on top of each other. But enough is enough, my helmet is a safety devise and we should win this argument.

Again and again I am refused fuel at service stations. Embarrassingly loud the stations speakers yell for everybody to hear: “The motorcyclist has to remove his helmet!”, and I am not sure if from some hidden space a sharpshooter is aiming his rifle at me.

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Not only it is insulting to ask me to remove my helmet, but it is also plain dangerous.

In a world of full scale CCTV observation it is acceptable within limits that the movement of visitors or intruders can be recorded. At a fuel station, all vehicle registrations are recorded and used in criminal prosecution should the customer leave without paying. That is fair. But to ask me in a further step to remove my helmet is simply not acceptable. First I have no plan to steal fuel, and the statistics confirm that fuel is stolen mainly by drivers of cars and not motorcycles. But not only does the operator think I may be stealing, but he also implies that I am driving a stolen motorcycle, why else would he also need my face on tape.

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Ask your friendly fuel station operator: more fuel is not paid by confused elderly drivers then by criminal motorcyclists.

This is insulting and goes a step to far. When will fuel station operators ask customers to remove their sunglasses, as boarder patrol officers do at the Eurotunnel? When will there be a sign by Shell, BP or Esso to lower your hoddies, scarf or burka? You must be 15 to shop for fuel, when will they impose a upper age limit, refusing fuel for the confused elderly? I am sure that in some dark corporate back room a bureaucrat is already justifying his employment by formulating such further rules.

But not only is this new practise insulting, it is plain dangerous on numerous accounts:

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First it dilutes the visibility and respect of actually important safety notices at fuel stations. While a warning symbol that smoking is dangerous and your engine should be switched off make some sense, the back room bureaucrat adds symbols banning activities at a alarming rate: no speeding, no eating, no mobile, whats next: no kissing, no smiling? Recently he invented: no helmets, but what does this have to do with safety? Does he thinks I pull a gun and endanger the safety of his other customers? Will the fuel ignite because I wear a helmet?

If the back room bureaucrat would be in touch with the sport his fuel brand supports and sponsors, he should know that its a rule to wear a helmet at some refuelling stations for safety reasons.

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A helmet is a safety devise, and should not be banned on a safety board.

Secondly this new rule is dangerous for the motorcycle rider himself. Dear underpaid fuel station operator: a helmet is not removed like a baseball cap, and to wear and secure it correctly is a important safety measure. To ask a rider to remove it involves the risk that it is not put on again correctly. We all remember that on occasion we have to stop after the first few miles of a ride to adjust the helmet or scarf, and now I am forced to remove a perfectly fastened helmet without good reason.

The back room bureaucrat has the law on his side to enforce this wrong and insulting rule, it is up to us to make it a economical stupid decision for his company to do so. Luckily not all stations enforce this rule, but once they do, I leave after a lengthy friendly discussion without aggression and purchase… and never return.

blogaboutbiker

Like biker friendly pubs and restaurants, fuel station should advertise the fact that they are biker friendly, and allow you to keep your helmet on when you refuel, accepting that the helmet is a safety device and you are not considered a thief.

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3 Responses to “Do not wear your helmet, it’s the law!”

  1. Haven’t seen that over here yet (although CCTV is nowhere near as ubiquitous as in the UK) but I’m with you – I’d take my business elsewhere after explaining – politely – why.

  2. I don’t let them bully me Axel. I wear an open face helmet and they can see my face very clearly. If they ask me to remove my helmet all I do is politely refuse and tell them I will if they can explain the reason to me. They never can, so I just ignore them and continue to fill my bike. As you say, if they did the same for hoodies and burkas, the situation would be different and our argument would be lessened, but until then, I will not give into this stupidity.

  3. david gibbs Says:

    well put

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