I have several qualifications to my name: BPsych, BTheol, certificates in writing and in editing (what they contract to, I don’t know). In 2001 I acquired another qualification; a motorcycle licence. This means I can add “TA” – “Temporary Australian” – to my resume. I’d not been astride a ‘bike for about four years until recently, circumstances contributed to changing this.

My 1987 Barina was yellow-stickered last Friday. I decided not to fix it – there were problems the police didn’t pick up but the pit examiner certainly would – but to get another means of transportation.

I thought my finances would stretch to either a moped or motorbike. A moped, though? Bourgeoisie and nouveau kitsch it might be; but still, a moped!? So I bought a ‘bike. A Suzuki GN250. I have my open (over 250cc) licence, but the Suzuki was readily available at a decent price, so I grit my teeth, curtailed my procrastinal nature, and acquired it.

I’m not enamoured of motorbikes as a practical means of transport, although they’re great in spring and early summer, for fun and catching the feminine eye. While I’ve crossed paths with courteous and careful drivers in Perth (both of them), there are clearly many road users who need to learn how to drive rather than merely operate an automobile. It’s easy to operate a car: you only need to know how to man(ipulate) its controls. I use “drive” to mean operating a car safely in times and places where other people are engaged in the same activity. To drive a car, you take responsibility for the people around you.

To ride (drive) a motorbike, assume that everyone else on the road is blind, stupid, selfish and homicidal, and you should get home alright.