MOTORCYCLISTS have rounded on Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman over comments he made about them.
The MP urged people to persuade their relatives not to buy motorbikes, highlighting the number of people killed on the roads each year in motorcycle accidents.
A Facebook group, formed last week, has already attracted 1,594 members.
It is called ‘Don’t vote Labour. MP Barry Sheerman says motorcyclists are orphan-makers’ – and many bikers have offered to take the MP out on their machines to show them how skilful they are.
But the MP has hit back, saying he has experience of riding motorbikes and that all he is trying to do is raise awareness of their dangers.
The MP said: “Some family friends of mine in their 30s were killed. It’s something I’ve campaigned about for 30 years and something I always will.
“I believe human life is precious and it’s dreadful when all that talent is lost in a stupid accident.”
The MP had warned that 650 people on motorbikes die each year.
He called on family members of motorcyclists to try and persuade their loved ones to buy four wheels instead of two.
But his comments did not go down well with bikers themselves, with many leaving critical comments on the Facebook group.
One says: “I think that Mr Sheerman will find that it is his beloved Labour party that are the orphan makers, sending people to fight other people’s wars.”
Another reads: “More people (are) killed by smoking and drinking than anything else yet the Government knows to ban them completely just would not work.”
Another writes: “Why don’t we ban cars, then bikes will be safer and the people who drive cars will get an idea of the skills involved in riding a motorcycle in a civilised society?
“This is another direct attack at bikers who choose (as it is our right) to ride a motorcycle – we do not go on about banning cars or stopping people driving them as it is other people’s right to drive a car if that is what they choose.”
The MP said yesterday: “I organised the seat belt legislation and that is something I am very proud of because I think it saves an awful lot of lives.
“We cannot become complacent – there are too many lives being lost and we need to do something about it.
“I understand these people are devoted to motorbikes, but I’ll be holding my nerve and will carry on campaigning to save lives.
“Twenty years ago I was on the cover of one of those biking magazines which had the words ‘Barry Sheerman – Man or Monster’, simply because it was an issue I was passionate about campaigning for.
“I don’t want a young boy to be able to go into a shop and buy a 500cc motorbike without any proper training.
“I’m very sympathetic to their thoughts but it won’t stop my campaigning, I’m not ashamed of it and I won’t be deterred from doing it because I’ve been doing it for 30 years. It’s ironic they don’t like me because I’m just trying to make sure people know the risks.
“They should work with me on this one.”