Campaign to gain more rider respect

Blessing of the Bikes respect

The organiser of the annual Blessing of the Bikes (pictured) before the annual Phillip Island MotoGP plans a campaign he hopes will increase public respect for riders.

Marcel Widmer, who runs the Inline 4 Cafe with wife Sabine says he wants those who attend the blessing at San Remo on Saturday 19 October 2019 to bring cards showing their profession.

Marcel and Sabine Widmer respect
Marcel and Sabine Widmer

“If we take some pictures on the day of riders holding up signs with their profession, we could send a very strong message,” he says.

“Can you imagine a guy in leathers holding up a sign saying ‘I am a doctor’, or ‘I am a teacher’ or ‘I am a pilot’ etc?

“I want to show the non-riding community that we are not bad people.

“We could start a very strong campaign here.”

Marcel says they would take photos at the blessing which could be used in an advertising campaign or on social media.

“The idea came from a conversation Sabine had with a customer, Ian Chamberlain,” Marcel says.

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No respect

“I am sick and tired of how we get treated here in Australia,” says Marcel who has lived in Australia for 23 years and rides a 2015 Honda CBR1000SP.

Blessing of the Bikes respect
Marcel’s bike

“I am from Switzerland where riders get respect for what we are.”

Marcel says he and Sabine opened their motorcycle-themed Inline 4 Cafe in Mirboo North, Gippsland, six years ago but have moved out because of hostility from the local community.

“Shortly after we opened there was a heatwave and our fridges were not ready so we closed for the weekend and straight away rumours went through town that the police had us shut down,” he says.

“We are honest hard-working people and the biking community supported us greatly, but it was a struggle with the locals.

“When we organised the first Blessing of the Bikes, some local shops boycotted the event and made it hard for us.Blessing of the Bikes respect

“We also had some great supporter coming from the Mirboo North community, but there are always a few with a very strong voice!

“So we moved the event to San Remo three years ago and we moved our cafe to nearby Cape Woolamai on Phillip Island about 10 months ago.”

Blessing of the Bikes respect
Inline 4 Cafe

Marcel says he started the blessing ceremony to mirror similar ceremonies in Switzerland.

The event has several ministers administering the blessing and in 2017 the event attracted a record crowd of almost 8000 riders from around Australia.

Blessing of the Bikes respect
2017 Blessing of the Bikes

If you can help Marcel to organise the respect campaign during this year’s blessing event, he can be contacted via email by clicking here.

8 Comments

  1. Roger are you saying Mr and Mrs Joe Public’s negative attitude towards motorcyclists is what you truly desire?
    In my 40 years of riding and conversing with other motorcyclists I’d suggest the vast majority do not want to be seen as degenerates and the only things they are rebelling against are hypocrisy, draconian attitudes and freedom stealers.
    More power to Marcel and all who try to break down the stereotypical barriers that threaten our freedoms and lives!

  2. Respect is an interesting term and a powerful one. Unfortunate for a great many, respect has to be earnt rather than demanded. When we look at respect, especially on the roads, people don’t give a tinkers cuss what you do for a living. Whether you are a doctor, a lawyer, a welder or a garbo fades into insignificance. Respect on the roads is determined by the behaviour on the roads.

    The Govt made a very good attempt at demonising riders with the inception of VLAD and Anti Association some years ago. Riders of Australia couldn’t stand together then and we know see freedom of speech attacked and the media targeted. Riders across the country stated loudly that this would happen and Australia laughed and turned the collective back. Now we have the media asking for Australia’s support as the crystal ball proved correct. Those making the statements in those VLAD days were lawyers and other “respectable” professional people and no one cared or respected their collective professional opinions and standings.

    While their are riders (and drivers) treating the roads as a race track and behaving as though they are superior to the collective good of the community as a whole, unfortunately, the wider community at large will tar all with the brush held by the few. This is simply the nature of things. It is that age old saying, if you hang with a dickhead, you will all be judged as the worst of your group.

    I have met some of the best I know through riding but I have also met some tossers. Is this restricted to the bike world, hell no, but people share their bad experiences a great deal faster than their good. The media who are now calling for us to stand united sell the biking community down the river at the speed of light to report a negative rider story rather than report on the hundreds of charity rides undertaken each and every year.

    Good luck but a business card saying you are supposedly professional does not engender the belief that you are not still a dickhead and should be respected.

  3. Roger
    It may shock you that the majority of motorcyclists I have met (I have been a rider for 40years) do not want to be classed as degenerates and are not rebelling against anything but hypocrisy. The glue that binds us (I think?) is the freedom found behind the twist grip. If I want to scare the neighbors I walk outside nude, I don’t believe starting one of my bikes should intimidate anyone!

  4. When i took up motorcycling at the tender age of 18, one of the appeals was that we were on the outer edges of society. along with those dirty hippies ..etc….in the last couple of decades it has become what i could only call ‘gentrified’ with merchant bankers and accountants wanting to show that they are really’ wild and rebellious ‘ and not the boring status obsessed drones they really are. Gee macel ..if you want respect from the local community join apex and play golf..Leave the rest of us degenerates to our lifestyle….Usually the last thing i talk to with another motorcyclist about is their job,….or the price of their motorcycle.

    1. I really have to agree with this. The non-riding public will always have a closed mind , and getting riders to agree on anything is like a proposal to herd cats.

      1. can’t argue with the herding cats, but we sometimes need to play nice together to stop the Harold Bishops of the world making motorcycling even more restricted here…

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