But what are the long-term consequences?
There’s a saying here in America that the scariest words which can be uttered in English are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Australia most certainly isn’t the US. Instead, Aussies have for the most part surrendered their firearms and many other rights for the promise of government protection. While it’s easy to see the form that protection took during the pandemic, a less obvious one is the Australian government being increasingly involved in what clothing motorcycle riders wear.
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While Australia hasn’t gone as far as the European Union, which back in 2018 started heavily regulating clothing used by motorcyclists – among other personal protective equipment – Down Under certainly is moving in that direction.
It’s started with MotoCAP providing ratings for motorcycle clothing for riders not only in Australia but in New Zealand too. While the organization isn’t regulating the industry, at least not yet, it is seeking to put manufacturers on notice while educating riders about material durability and other factors they might consider when selecting helmets, jackets, pants, etc.
This plan isn’t some insidious plot per se, because many riders know little about what truly offers protection when they start sliding across the pavement. MotoCAP relies on scientific testing that many manufacturers of motorcycle gear simply can’t afford to perform, so it is providing a useful service to help elevate safety for all.
That said, it’s easy to see how this will evolve into something similar to the European Union regulations. That legislation on personal protective equipment passed in 2018 requires clothing sold on the continent to carry government certifications. Some are likening it to the safety testing cars are subjected to.
In a way, this all makes sense. After all, when a motorcycle crashes, the rider often separates from the bike, meaning the integrity of the clothing being worn is what determines the extent of injuries suffered. On the flip side, how long until riders are forced to wear certain items with certifications prominently displayed? While that might never happen, the heavy hand of Australian government has been shown recently, so one has to question such things.
Images via Harley-Davidson