One of the longtime problems associated with riding a motorcycle is that the public misjudges us. Over the years they have thought riders are lawless, dirty, smelly, obnoxious, daredevil ruffians who don’t care about causing noise and air pollution nor even care about their own safety. Now some of those labels may fit and may even be worn as a badge of honour by some, but I would vehemently refute the latter that we don’t consider our own safety. In fact, it has been found that riders are the most safety conscious of all motorists, perform better on road rule tests, and are far more likely to undergo after-licence training. Maybe a lot of those social labels are also now disappearing, especially when some riders roll up at a trendy cafe on a $30,000+ BMW motorcycle in their corporate Goretex suits! However, there remain a lot of preconceptions among the public that we need to break if we want to be considered as legitimate road users worthy of our position on the road. I recently experienced some of this public misconception when I cracked a couple of ribs falling out of a hammock, of all things! The immediate response from people when I told them I had cracked ribs was: “Did you fall off your bike?” Mind you, when I told them the full story, they then asked: “Were you drunk?” So maybe people just think the worst of me, anyway! But if we want to be included in road safety initiatives, road infrastructure and want a better deal for riders as per a new petition supported by the industry and Australia’s first GP world champion, Wayne Gardner, (Click here to sign the petition), then we need to start changing public perceptions. How we do that is the big question. TV shows such as Sons of Anarchy certainly don’t help our case. But I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest us all wearing that hideous BMW corporate riding gear!