Without prejudice?

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The events of this story took place on a beautiful May weekend. The Husband and I booked a long weekend (i.e. arrive Friday, leave Monday) at a posh seafront hotel in Aberystwyth.

It had a secure park at the back for the ‘bikes (Triumph Thunderbird Storm for him, Ducati Monster for me).  As with many old seafront establishments, it had a function room and bar to one side with big bay windows looking out to the promenade.

The weather was untypically tropical and we had a great day on the Saturday just exploring Aberystwyth on foot. On the Sunday, we decided to get on the ‘bikes and take a ride down the coast road to Aberaeron.

We got ourselves kitted out in full leathers and walked through the Reception to get to the car park at the back, dropping the room key off as we went.   There was a young man on duty at the Reception desk, who was busy on the ‘phone as we walked through, so I gave him a cheery wave and plopped the room key on the desk.

I’d taken the disc lock off the Monster and was putting my helmet on ready to hit the road.

Suddenly the young Receptionist came dashing out of the hotel, yelling “Stop! You can’t go! You can’t go!”. I asked what was the problem, and he said “You haven’t paid your bill yet”.

Somewhat taken aback, I explained patiently that we weren’t leaving, we were just off for a quick ride out and we’d be back later. If he checked the hotel register, he would see that we were booked in for another night. He shuffled off back to the hotel, but he did not look convinced.

The coast road down to Aberaeron is well worth a visit if you get the chance, we had a lovely relaxing tour round and took in the scenery. When we returned to Aberystwyth, the promenade was full of ‘bikers, so we stopped for a chat with some of our brethren.  I left The Husband there and took the Monster back to the car park, then into the hotel to pick up the room key.

When I got in, the place was in full swing with a very posh wedding reception happening in the bar area.  Everyone was resplendent in their outfits and having a merry time.

The young man from the Reception desk was clearly having to be a jack-of-all-trades, and was serving at the bar. I had no choice but to walk through the mass of guests in their finery, cutting a swathe in my fly-spattered black leathers.

I asked for my key.  “Oh, yes”, he said, very loudly over the buzz of the wedding crowd’s conversation, “I’ll get it for you now.  By the way, I am sorry about what happened earlier, only we don’t get many of your type in here”.

There was a hush from the assembled wedding group, who seemed to be holding their collective breath.

“No, I don’t suppose you do get many solicitors in here…” I replied.

Cue peals of laughter from the amused party-goers, and one very red-faced and embarrassed young man.

Funny though I found the incident at the time, it got me thinking about the prejudice and preconceptions of ‘bikers generally.  The young man had assumed we were a couple of ne’er-do-wells intent on doing a runner, simply because of our appearance and mode of transport.

My work as a solicitor dealing exclusively with motorcycle accident claims means that all my clients are ‘bikers.  There is definitely no such thing as a “typical ‘biker”, for sure.

It is actually that event which led me to join the Motorcycle Action Group.

MAG exists to campaign for the rights and freedoms of motorcyclists of all shapes and sizes. Not to be prejudged and discriminated against simply because of vehicle choice must surely be a principal right.


Originally posted in Motorcycle Action Group MAG Magazine

The writer, Liz Hoskins, is a solicitor and Accredited Senior Litigator with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.  She rides a Triumph Bonneville America and a 1995 Ducati Monster.  SorryMate is a firm of solicitors working exclusively to help ‘bikers get the compensation they deserve after an accident.

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