What would you say if I suggested that before a bike could be raced in, say, next weekends SBK at Donington, or perhaps the MotoGP round in June, that it would have to be road registered? Of course it would have to pass all current DTp requirements, have lights and a horn, be silenced to current regulations and so on first. Gottfried Daimler's first powered two wheeler, sitting in the Science Museum, would have to go through the same process, and would all the exhibits at museums all over the country. You'd laugh and tell me that I was crazy. And of course you'd be right - it is crazy to even consider legislation like that. But the trouble is you'd also be wrong. Because under a spectacularly misguided piece of legislation currently going through parliament, that ridiculous situation is exactly what could arise.
A private members bill, tabled by Graham Stringer MP, has already received its second reading in the house and is now at committee stage. That means it's not far from becoming law. What Mr Stringer's proposed law says is quite simple. All motorcycles in the UK must be road registered, and failure to comply would no longer be a civil matter but a criminal one. The penalty would include confiscation and destruction of the vehicle. That means anything from the latest MotoGP bike to Herr Daimler's masterpiece to that box of bits in the back of your garage that may well eventually become a Max Norton to the trackday special RS250 that you ad some friends use.
But why would such a ludicrous piece of legislation even get proposed? Because of the "menace" (not my choice of words) posed by illegally ridden mini-motos and, presumably, field bikes, around Mr Stringer's Manchester constituency. And why has it got so far? Apathy, mainly, and the fact that until recently it seems nobody outside parliament had even heard of it.
Presumably Mr Stringer has yet to make the intellectual leap needed to reach the conclusion that these bikes are already illegal and being ridden illegally, so why would another piece of legislation make any difference? So what has presumably started off as a well intentioned idea has turned into a blanket restriction on all bikes everywhere.
Of course, the legislation doesn't specifically say this. But that's why we've got this problem now. It doesn't flag the problem because it doesn't detail what's covered. And convention says that if the exact details of what's covered aren't stated then by default everything is covered.
So what can you do? Easy. You can get hold of your MP and tell them how you feel. They work for you and, whether they like it or not, they are obliged to listen to what you say and to respond. Take the time to phrase yourself properly. Don't be rude or confrontational but do get writing and make this stupid law fall on its face at the next hurdle.
You can contact your MP, for free, through www.writetothem.com. If you can't find the words yourself or don't have time then you can copy and paste a sample letter from here - it's the one I sent to my MP. All you need to do is fill in the details. The mail system at Writetothem will add your MP's name for you.
But please, do something. Or risk seeing bike sport in all forms leave these shores forever.