Helmets Off!

Right To Ride – Helmets Off!

21st September 2009

Following on from our successful petrol station campaign we are further raising the issue regarding removing helmets in petrol stations.


Common Practice – the universal practice of walking into a bank: would you walk into a bank and not expect to be asked to take your helmet off?

In fact would you be given the opportunity to be asked? Or would the alarms start sounding with the arrival of a posse of armed police?

Is this discrimination against motorcyclists?

Why should a petrol station be any different?

tescohelmetA petrol station may have cash and products that can be stolen in store, apart from the actual petrol. Operators need to protect their staff (often young staff) and livelihood.

What seems apparent is that at every petrol station, whether it is the people who are managing (franchising) them or who own the station rights (the companies), are just making the rules up as they go along, even amongst the same petrol chain, because there is no universal code of conduct.

There appears to be an ad hoc policy advised to petrol stations by “security advisors” that motorcyclists must remove helmets, either before filling up on the forecourt or before they enter the petrol station shop or even to prepay during normal operating hours before pumps are operated.

Signs are sometimes displayed on petrol pumps, sometimes on the door of the shop, these signs are not generic, they usually only mention motorcyclists/bikers and not all head coverings that can hide a person‘s face.

More often than not, motorcyclists are advised through tannoy systems on the forecourt, for all to hear, that they must remove their helmets before being served, or arm waving gesticulations by cashiers from the till inside the petrol station shop or approached physically on the forecourt.

What Is Needed?

An agreeable universal sign that can be used by petrol stations whether there is an actual issue or perceived threat of drive offs (bilking) and thefts.

What other options can they take to protect their staff and more probably their livelihood from drive offs or robberies, without being seen to discriminate against one section of the community!

What is the actual scale of the problem? Or is it just easy to adopt a policy of helmet removal without consideration of genuine honest law abiding customers who wear a motorcycle helmet.

Are petrol stations across Northern Ireland being robbed by people wearing helmets and on motorcycles and if this is the reason for the “company policy”?

For example, what type of motorcycle was it, road legal, motocross type or Quad, age of rider, was the motorcycle stolen?

Are We The Common Threat?

The issue is the head covering and the potential for that person to automatically be seen as a threat.

The common threat is not the motorcyclist, it is the inability to identify people covering their heads – but that can include woolly (or not) hats, caps, hooded tops, possibly scarves, shawls and even wigs (because these can change your appearance) – and so on – that is the bottom line.

There are side issues about removing helmets – people who wear glasses, especially during colder weather or and when it’s raining or changes of temperature and putting helmets back on with all the problems of misting. Also is there a distinction between full faced or open faced helmets and whether the visor is up or down?


Most if not all petrol stations in Northern Ireland operate CCTV cameras, it would appear that most of these systems only view the front of a vehicle and as we know motorcycles only have a number plate on the rear, so these systems are useless regarding motorcycles but that’s not our problem if the petrol station owners/companies have not thought about this.

Recordings would be useless if vehicles have false plates fitted for identification after the fact, so for motorcyclists it would seem these cameras are used to identify the rider, which can’t be done if wearing a helmet, or in fact, any other person hiding their identity by covering their head.

This is where it becomes a minefield for petrol station owners – they go for the easy option.

This leads to cases of highly frustrated motorcyclists who will turn away their custom and advice family, friends and other motorcyclists to take their custom elsewhere.

This discrimination could lead to a boycott, therefore the petrol station ends up losing business that they were trying to protect.

What To Do?

Don’t take it out on the employee at the petrol station, they are usually just following what the company or local policy may be..

Ask to see the boss to find out if they have a written policy.

Write letters to the owners of the forecourts to find out what their policy is regarding the removal of helmets or any other head cover?

Send us your story of helmet removal requests.

Send us a picture or example of notices/signs in petrol stations.

What We are Doing

We are contacting petrol station operators/associations regarding the matter.

We need your input and opinion.

Bikers Tales

Bikers Tale 1#

tescohelmet2smallOn Saturday evening (12 September 2009) I went for a short spin on the bike and stopped at Sainsbury’s petrol station, Sprucefield, Lisburn to fill up.

I then proceeded to pay the checkout assistant when she said to me “Has anyone commented on your helmet?”

I replied” Why yes thank you, lots of people have told me it’s very shiny”

She said ” That’s not what I meant!”

“What do you mean?” I said.

“Did you not see the notice in the window?”

“No” I replied.

She said” We are gently and quietly trying to introduce a policy of no helmets”

I said ” Why do you get many drive offs without paying?”

“None” she said. ” Well then what’s the problem?” I said.

“It’s because of robbers” she said.

I said “Do you get many robbers on motorbikes?”

”None but it’s just in case!” she said.

I said “What is the policy on ski masks?” and left it at that.

Bikers Tale 2#

One of the garages I would usually us to fill up is only 700 yards from my house.

I went recently to fill up and the pump would not work.

A young lad came out and said “its company policy you must remove your helmet or no petrol”.

I was shocked and then drove of to another garage. I would rather travel past this garage than be humiliated like that.

What ever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”.

I am 51 years young and I don’t go round stealing a tenner’s worth of petrol, this is just another insult as bikers we have to suffer.

The garage in on the Gransha Road, Bangor the BP garage run by Henderson Group.

Bikers Tale 3#

The Spar shop and petrol station on the Bushmills Road Coleraine, has today Friday 17th April 2009 put a rather large sign up on the automatic door of the shop, asking motorcyclists to remove helmets and hoodies before entering.

I know this was a problem in other places and we don’t want it spreading across the country, I think this is a pure disgrace and makes me feel that the owners of this petrol station should be told, that just because we walk in with crash helmets on we are not going to rob them.

I know this shop has been robbed a few times but never once heard that the culprits left on motorcycles or even that they wore crash helmets, I hate this as it makes other folk look at all bikers as crooks, I got a few weird looks as I walked in with helmet on head, even though mine is open face and stood with it on as I paid for my fuel.

Bikers Tale 4#

The Moat garage in Donaghadee has adopted the policy of not turning on the pumps for bikers if they don’t remove their helmets.

Bikers Tale 5#

I am always glad of the opportunity to take my helmet off – so I don’t have a problem with these signs.

Please Read This First

Right To Ride comments: We will enact our own version of Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) – you lost any credibility in the debate – which includes any reference to colour, creed or sexual orientation and specifically to head coverings – usually meaning the burkha, bourkha, burka or burqu’, burqa, as this in our opinion has no place in this debate. It is about motorcyclists and removal of their helmet and the reasons why this is being requested and whether we should or not. It is not about what others are “permitted” to do!

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  1. paul gregory says

    I used to get asked to remove my helmet a lot and this leads to further problems as due to wearing glasses and having double d fastener it takes me a while to remove my gloves refit glasses and then get all set up and usually by this time I end up with some prat beeping horn at me to move!
    Now I try only to use stations with the pay at pump / fast lane as the staff have no control over these and I can fill pay and leave without it turning into a stressful and inconvenient hassle.

  2. Gerry McBride says

    I ride a bright red Suzuki 125, one Saturday morning a few months ago I was riding to work and decided to stop in at the spar petrol station near my building, I filled my wee bike up with £5 worth of petrol and proceeded into the shop. my helmet was flipped up so my face was on full view, wearing a high vis bike jacket, (also on my bike I had bloody big L plates attached to the front and back)
    The usual lovely ladies (not sarcasm) were not here, they knew my face and they knew that I had a 15 hour shift ahead of me and would not hassle me with such nonsense.
    Instead I got a different lovely lady (yes that one’s sarcasm). Her tone of voice was disgraceful and I felt absolutely humiliated. I gave her the pump number and placed the £5 note on the desk (I did not remove my helmet like I was ordered) .
    Apparently robbers wear high vis bike jackets, ride 125 motorcycles and have big L plates displayed these days… makes them easier to spot I guess.

  3. Stuart Gething says

    A filling station near where I live refused to switch on the pump until I removed my open-face helmet.
    Despite ten minutes of debate, with my face in full view, they stuck to their guns.
    This was two years ago and I haven’t used them since, despite the inconvenience.
    I have 3 bikes, a car and a camper van, so they’ve lost more than they realize!

  4. Well I have just come home after a busy day at work (petrol station) and I thought I would have a look at some of these forums as I am completely fed up with the continuing abuse from certain members of the public.
    I would say around 70% of the abuse we suffer is from motorcyclists who don’t want to remove their helmets, it is company policy where I work to remove your helmet before entering the shop.
    While I understand this can be annoying, what’s the big deal?
    Just take it off!
    You wouldn’t go into a bank like that- reason:- lots of cash- so why go into a petrol station with it on?- same reason.
    Can you understand how daunting it is (for us) when you approach (especially after dark) the young lady at the cash till with your face all covered up?
    We do try to remember our regulars, but to be honest they are all so good and just remove their helmets, so we might not always have to ask, and as for the “religious face cover argument” lets hope our country can be a little more like France!
    Also in fairness I have never heard of a woman in one of these ever robbing a petrol station or a bank!
    If anyone came in with their hoodie on and a scarf around their face we would also ask them to remove it so their face can be seen by us and the CCTV, we also have 10 cameras on-site with ANPR and yes a drive off camera to enable us to see every side of the vehicles using our petrol station.
    We have no desire to stand and embarrass you or ourselves so please spare a thought for us- we are just doing our jobs. (and paying at the pump is always a good idea!)
    Happy biking!!! xxxxxxx

    • Thanks Nik for a perspective of the other side of the issue.
      As we said: don’t take it out on the employee at the petrol station, they are just following orders.
      A petrol station may have cash and products that can be stolen in store, apart from the actual petrol. Operators need to protect their staff (often young staff) and livelihood.
      Common Practice – the universal practice of walking into a bank: would you walk into a bank and not expect to be asked to take your helmet off?
      What seems apparent is that at every petrol station, whether it is the people who are managing (franchising) them or who own the station rights (the companies), are just making the rules up as they go along, even amongst the same petrol chain, because there is no universal code of conduct.
      There appears to be an ad hoc policy advised to petrol stations by “security advisors” that motorcyclists must remove helmets, either before filling up on the forecourt or before they enter the petrol station shop or even to prepay during normal operating hours before pumps are operated.
      What Is Needed?
      An agreeable universal sign that can be used by petrol stations whether there is an actual issue or perceived threat of drive offs (bilking) and thefts.
      You say it is company policy where you work to remove your helmet before entering the shop.
      Is this displayed clearly by any method? e.g poster?
      So that there is no embarrassment to you or us!

  5. I’ve only been riding a few years, and lots of the fuel stations around South London have signs about removing helmets before fuelling so I’ve always been in the habbit of doing it. The other day however I was at a Tesco Express fuel station in Croydon (With no such signs), removed my helmet and went to fill up, at which point the security guard charges across the forecourt saying I have to pre-pay. It was the middle of the day and there were cars at every other pump filling up merrily without having to pay for the fuel first. I made my disgust clear as politely as I could and made my way off.. Won’t be going to Tesco Express again.

  6. Our local Asda has a drive in, fill-up, drive to the till system. I rode in (new bike and skid lid so not known) and filled up my tank. I rode over to the counter with my tenner in my hand. The woman REFUSED to take my money as I wouldn’t take my helmet off. I offered her 3 times, then just rode off. Police came to my house about 2 hours later saying I was being arrested under suspicion of theft (bilking). I “politely” went with them in the back of there (now dented) shiny ford focus to the station, where i explained the situation to them.
    turns out that because tehy refused payments and don’t have a sign up, I’m quite within my rights to do so – I’ve made attempts to pay, with legal tender, and they’ve refused.
    I’ve been in on 3 bikes since and had no issue!
    i always wear an open faced helmet and I always try to chat with the cashiers – screw them tin can owners waiting; they try to knock me off (and a few weeks ago succeeded!

  7. Try this one if you dislike being treated as a potential robber/criminal.
    I went into an Esso/Ford garage in Wadebridge. Having kept my helmet on because of wind and rain, I was gestured to by the guy in the shop to remove my helmet in order to allow the pump to work. Feeling like a second class citizen I reluctantly did so.
    What they did not expect was when I had finished refuelling I replaced my helmet and went to pay. The guy was frankly peeved. He asked me to remove my helmet in order to pay and when I asked why, he said it was to record my image. I said you have already done this at the pump and that I did not want to be recorded any further.
    He kept on insisting but I refused. Deciding he was getting nowhere he sent his mate out to record my registration and accepted my direct debit card which I had been holding in front of them for around 3-4 mins for payment.
    I’ve nothing against removing helmets in general but dislike being gestured to and treated like a yob.
    By the way I am 59.

  8. Judith Smith says

    We had a similar experience in the Wadebridge/Ford garage on September 20th. As the pillion, I always go to pay, usually before my partner has filled up. On this occasion the attendants wouldn’t turn on the pump unless my rider had taken off his helmet. We both have flip front lids which were ‘flipped’. I had cash in my hand ready to pay – it would have been about £25.00.
    The attendant would not turn on the pump even though I was waiting to pay. I left the shop and we rode on to another garage within a few miles – no problems there.
    As I was already in the queue, was my partner going to ride off without me or would I have suddenly run out and leapt on the back of the bike without paying? We are both 57 and ride a bike worth more than most of the cars on the forecourt. I don’t think we could make a quick getaway if we wanted to and certainly wouldn’t risk a conviction for a few pounds.
    We found parts of Cornwall to be very ‘biker unfriendly’ – no parking found in St Ives and a Parking ‘fine’ at the Lizard. We had paid but failed to display because we’re fed up of having tickets stolen. £80.00 for that breach of contract! We should have parked in the National Trust car park because as members we wouldn’t have to pay. Just make sure that if you park in the Private car park at The Lizard, that you take a photograph of your ticket. The ‘Enforcer’ lurks in a car watching !

  9. I have just been asked to remove my helmet in the post office in Croydon. I know it sound trivial but it is so annoying, I see it as predjudice in addition to infringment of my rights. I doubt they would make somebody remove their veil. Its always happening to me and it really pi**** me off. I am a professional person, law abiding etc

  10. Stuart Gething says

    I posted on here on the 6th of March, but have just read the reply following mine from Nik, a petrol station employee.
    I clearly stated that I was wearing an open face helmet, so my face was no more hidden than if I’d been wearing a wooly hat. I was previously a regular at that station for over 20 years, with no bother. The signs on the pump are miniscule and easy to miss, so you face the embarassment of a tannoy shouting at you. I’ve heard that they even ask the pillions to remove their helmets, also.
    Obviously this chap doesn’t know what a pain it is to remove a tight-fitting helmet, take out earplugs, which don’t always seal when they are replaced, remove spectacles and replace on face while juggling a helmet and gloves and struggling to unlock the filler cap and pull the nozzle over without splashing fuel all over the forecourt.
    And then when you get to the till you’re supposed to fiddle in your pocket while lugging all this stuff around.
    Get real, Nik, we’ll just take our custom elsewhere, even when we’re not on our bikes, because, at 65, I don’t take that kind of insulting behaviour from anybody!
    I give respect where I get respect!

  11. I think the main reasoning behind removing helmets (and I would ask personaly for any face covering to be removed )is fuel like several other items on sale are covered by age restriction and to determin someones age you must be able to see the face and not just the eyes common sence really it is not just for recognition in case of robbery etc

  12. Stewart Clarke says

    I filled up my bike at Tesco Westhill today & for the first time in 2 years of going to this petrol station I was asked to remove my helmet by a not nice lady while the usual guy behind the counter rolled his eyes at her.
    I said thats fine i will fill up at ASDA from now on, paid & left.
    Got to work & called Tesco head office & was informed that they have a remove crash helmet policy in place. I said what about hats, scarfs, dark glasses etc. he said no only crash helmets.
    I said so I can go in with my balaclava on & you cant see my face at all & thats fine. His reply was we only have a crash helmet policy.
    NUTS eh? I can go in with my whole face covered & they wont say a word but as soon as I use a helmet im stuffed.
    Funny thing about their policy, I need to remove my helmet before I enter their property. How do I get from the edge of their property to the pump & from the pump to the edge of their property??????
    I asked if I still had to remove it if I was paying at pump & was told yes. I was not alowed on Tesco property with my helmet on even if its an open/flip face helmet.
    I will be going back tomorrow, taking my helmet off & leaving my full face banlaclava on & educate them on their policy.

  13. Stewart Clarke says

    Wee up date on below.
    Called Tesco back to check a few things & have now been told that I dont need to take my helmet off until I go to walk into the building itself. I dont need to take it off for them to start the pump.
    I am also not alowed to go in wearing a balaclava.
    Have asked that the person I spoke to at Tesco this morning be educated on the real policy wording before it get him in trouble.
    NOTE: Some people have asked why we dont just use the pay at pump service. This is due to my card not being accepted at the pay at pumps.
    I have spoken with the bank & hopefully get that changed as Tesco have said i can keep my helmet on when using the pay at pump service.

  14. I was asked to remove my helmet yesterday at the Barnstaple tescos after filling up, I politley declined as i found the request discrimonatory but was less politey told “in future you’ll have to pay at the pump”.
    I have made a complaint to Tesco customer services about the fact thier sign only refers to motorcyclists but no other head covering, they inform me that sign at the particular station is incorrect and thier policy is is to request removal of “any head covering other than those for religious or cultural reasons”.
    I would not object if thier policy applied to ALL head coverings

  15. Ian, I asked Tesco to provide me with their written policy & they said it was in the post to me. A few days later a letter came in from Tesco, Me thinking it was the policy they said they sent out but NO, It was a silly little letter with basic format saying we have to remove helmets before we enter the store.
    I went to my bank & changed by card over to one that means i dont need to go into the store area.
    I pulled up to the Tesco garage pump that i was told to remove my helmet at the other week & got the biggest look ever from them as i put my card in, filled up & left.
    Was a little miffed that they never came out as i was armed withthe Tesco letter. i would have let them hang themselves then pulled out the letter as i complained to their manager. never mind maybe next time.
    Its heavy rain just now here so i may just fill the bike up tonight & put my wet helmet & gloves on their counter. LOL

  16. Lex Luther says

    Funny, last time I robbed a petrol station I made sure to fill up my bike with petrol at the pump of the very station i was about to rob (got it bang on the zeros too!) and made sure to get the plate on the anpr system. All before kindly parking up next to the window so that the driver behind could also fill up ‘cos i’m a thoughtful robber (not like those who leave their car at the pumps then come back to look in the mirror, fix their make-up and check their text messages before leaving..)
    I then proceeded to remove the keys from the ignition and put the bike on the centrestand (so that i could make a speedy getaway obviously) and walked into the cashier with both them and the cash in hand with my helmet flipped up too (all a part of my cunning plan).
    I proceeded to pull out my smile and then quickly disarmed the cashier with a cheery, ‘Hello!’
    Needless to say she was terrified, mistook me for a robber and begged me not to hurt her.
    She refused to take my money even though I handed it to her so I just left it on the counter and walked out.
    And now here I am in prison. Here I am with a ball and chain..

  17. I have no problem removing my helmet for anyone tho i have only been asked once to do it one in an asian shop and after i had handed over the monies. I asked if anyone wearing a Burka would be required to remove it and got no answer, so left my helmet on [it was a flip up open face anyway] and took my change and left, never to go into that shop again.
    The latest i heard was that filling with petrol, the fumes given off can sometimes find there way into ones helmet, particularly if one is astride the bike at the time [perhaps more likely to ride off after filling] so they are generally advising riders to remove helmets for safety sake. Tho the petrol suppliers have made a statement that there is no problem as they can see supporting the retailer to come to that conclusion.

  18. I hate the helmet removal policy, I’ve been asked at tesco’s to remove before entering the store; whats the difference between an OPEN helmet and a large hat and dark glasses. yes, NOTHING.
    Options- take it off, now I’m caring me £400 helmet, getting bashed by plebs, unable to pick things up.
    – leave it on your bike, yes soon be someone else’s.
    – put it in your basket, yes i do and only buy half of what i need, tesco’s loss (and mine).
    – go some where else, worth a though.
    I think we should sod the rules and have an arguement EVERY time, they’ll soon get pissed off.

  19. ‘Im 17 a young rider with a full licence prople can tell I am young, every where I go I am asked to take it off, so I ask why they say ”you just have to” so I just keep going about my business if they follow me I just go to the self checkouts, a machine can’t refuse service can they 😉

  20. This is an e-mail I got from Tesco after writing to them..
    Dear Trevor
    Thank you for your email.
    I have contacted our Business Support Team to clarify the policy, as I believe it has not changed.
    They confirm our policy is; while helmets can act as a disguise it is their use, however infrequently, in crime which means we ask that they be removed so as to avoid the potential for alarm. It may appear to be inconsistent that we do not ask someone wearing a veil to take it off, but we wish to show sensitivity to the faith and culture of the individual concerned. We recognise it can be an inconvenience to remove a crash helmet but believe it will not result in the distress which might arise for a lady obliged to remove her veil in public.
    Therefore, we think our current approach is inclusive strikes the right balance between respect for a different tradition and other considerations. Where a customer has covered their face, except for religious or cultural reasons, they should be asked politely and respectfully to remove the covering.
    I hope this now answers your question.
    I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
    Kind regards
    Claire Jenkins
    Tesco Customer Service

  21. i have never been asked to remove my helmet although i was asked to pre-pay
    i said “i want to fill up so i dont know how much to pay and i am paying with a debit card’
    he replied ‘you have to pre-pay’
    i repeated myself and added ‘here hold onto my card’
    ‘you have to pre-pay’
    ‘here hold onto my wallet’
    ‘you have to pre-pay’
    ‘look in my wallet is my drivers licence’
    ‘you have to pre-pay’
    ‘no i don’t have to pre-pay i will go elsewhere’
    i love pay at pump i don’t even get off the bike

  22. I have been thinking of removing my helmet while filling up the bike and then putting it back on before paying for it, that would give the staff a problem, as you would have the fuel and wanted to pay for it.
    They would have to accept it from you, it would do no good them phoning the police as you wanted to pay for it, no offence.

    • But then could you really be arsed to be such a pain in the arse to staff……………..
      There is no grand ground swell of action on the issues of filling up and paying.
      A few instances being brought to the fore through the internet but no protest rides to petrol company headquarters or lobbying politicians.
      It’s not apathy, just – well it happens – hasn’t happened to me – it’s not a life and death issue – it’s an inconvenience if you are caught out.
      Of course I wait to be proven wrong……………….

  23. Received via email to Right To Ride – I`ve been riding bikes for over 35years now and have heard most of the anti biking drivel.
    But today was a new one for me.Pulled into the petrol station, took my gloves off, set the alarm to service mode,(35 yrs never been asked to remove helmet) and proceeded to fill up my tank.
    What no petrol? i signal for the attendant to push the button ,nozzle back in pump and out again,,still no petrol.
    Then, this person waddled toward me “You gotta get off your bike” were the words thrown at me by a little tyrannical woman , “It`s the LAW”……news to me and just as distastefully as she`d walked out, off she went, back inside.
    Any signs anywhere stating this so called law being displayed by this station??
    NO, not one!
    On went the gloves,off went the alarm and off I rode, to Sainsburys, 2 miles down the road and no hassle ..
    And the name off the the miserable station ….. THE CO-OPERATIVE,PICKWICK ROAD,CORSHAM WILTSHIRE……just watch out for the attendant ….better still boycott the place.
    Regarding the helmets off policy,no objection what so ever,,so long as notices are posted by the petrol stations IN CLEAR VIEW,also that they provide a safe shelf or similar so that i and others dont have to put £400 worth of helmet on the floor of the dirty forecourts.

  24. In Tyne & Wear and Northumberland/Cumbria I have filled up with no hassles about wearing my lid and to be fair there is a large biking community up here.
    If it came to it I would rather pay a few pence more per litre than put up with anti-biker diatribe from supermarket forecourts.

  25. Forecourt Rules

    3rd September 2013
    MAG Ireland, the Irish Motorcyclists’ Action Group, has published a clarification on forecourt rules as regards riders being refused petrol, unless they dismounted from their bike.
    It was last year that a number of riders had informed MAG Ireland, that they were refused petrol unless they dismounted their bike.
    Filling a bike in this manner is usually carried out by riders whose bike only has a side stand fitted, so that with the rider sitting on the bike upright the bike is not leant over on the side stand, thus the petrol tank will take some more petrol on board.
    MAG Ireland said then, “Different justifications were put forward for this by forecourt staff when asked the reason why such a rule is in force. It appears many were under the impression that this was as a result of an EU Directive, or other statutory regulation.
    MAG Ireland’s research officer asked the HSA (Health and Safety Authority) to clarify, and they have responded to the effect that they do not have a policy which requires riders to dismount before filling up.”
    MAG Ireland also said, “Custom and practice has long been for the rider to sit astride the machine in an upright position to allow him/her to fully refuel before dismounting to pay.”
    We reported on this article and one rider responded on our website, “Having seen a petrol spill on a hot bike ignite, sitting in a pool of spilled petrol emolliating yourself isn’t something I’d want.
    Though of course there is the other reason, to help stop ‘ride-away’ petrol thefts…”
    Also at that time we said, that we were aware of this situation and letter writing by motorcyclists here in Northern Ireland, however we have not heard anything since!
    Full Article on Right To Ride – Click Here

  26. Speaking as an experienced motorcyclist, I do not need to be asked to remove my helmet before dispensing fuel I do it as a matter of course whether there is a sign or not.
    Those of you who whine about it need to wind your necks in a tad and stop trying to be offended by every little thing that crops up in life that might cause you inconvenience.
    The Right to Ride position seems to be annoyance at the lack of a “universal code of conduct”, try being mannerly and considerate to the rest of humanity how about that for a code of conduct, and lose the persecution complex for Gods sake.
    The world isn’t out to get you, you’re not being discriminated against and your human rights are not being infringed.

  27. Steve Coady – From what I can see, the Right To Ride position on helmets on forecourts is that it’s a great opportunity to take it off – even better when somebody asks you to. Maybe it’s as simple as when you walk into a bank – they want to see your face – it might be ugly, it might be a version of Adonis – but it’s their bank, their petrol station – they have that right.

  28. My exhortation to “lose the persecution complex” is directed squarely at the motorcycling fraternity in general as represented by the majority of the input so far, on this and other matters, not at R2R whose position seems to be as I have outlined, concern at the lack of a universal code on this matter.
    How about a “universal code ” for bikers?
    Remove your helmet when entering a place of business.
    No need for signage or a campaign its simply good manners.
    And on the manners issue Elaine we are ad idem.

  29. I don’t particularly mind being asked to remove my lid in a shop, petrol station etc, though I can see how it is irritating when other people with faces even less visible are not asked to do so.
    What I really don’t like is the staff at my local job centre who demand that I hand it over to them. When I ask why, I have been given the following answers…
    “It is just to keep it safe and make sure it’s not lost or stolen.” Yeah, right. As if I would leave it somewhere and forget where I put it. Anyway, what if my wallet, keys, jacket etc got lost? If this was true, to be on the safe side, we should all strip off and go for our interviews in the buff.
    “It’s for health and safety reasons.” Ah, that old chestnut. It seems as if any rule, however ludicrous can be justified this way, these days. We are getting closer to the truth, though.
    The most likely reason is that the job centres have decided that lids can be used as an offensive weapon. Even this doesn’t make sense. You can walk min with a bag full of shopping containing bottles and cans. Is this confiscated? If I wanted to be violent, I could simply pick up a chair, printer, monitor or any number of hard objects and go mad with my newfound weapon.
    My lid and that of my daughter are miked up. What happens if the intercom’s damaged? I’ve seen them shoving the helmet into a cupboard and lifting it by the visor. I have to wear the helmet by law and want to make sure it is in perfect nick when I ride, without some non-bikers manhandling it however takes their fancy.
    Are they within their rights to confiscate my helmet?

    • Hi
      I would suppose they don’t see it as confiscation and will quote as you have said it is to keep it safe.
      However you have hinted on a route to follow and that is once you hand the helmet over it is their staffs responsiblity.
      Are their staff trained to handle helmets, doesn’t sound like it, have they liability insurance, will they asccept liasability if their staff damage a helmet.
      Maybe every time you have to hand over the helmet you can give a print out of the replacement cost, including the intercom system, ask the staff if they will sign this as taking responsbility and a statement to sign that they will take responsibility and are willing to pay for any damages they cause.
      I suspect you will have a manager on hand very quickly, however this may backfire as they may not take responsibility and may “ban” you from entering if you don’t play by their rules.
      But that is a bridge to cross if it happens. Before all this a letter written to whoever is in charge and has implemented this policy might help I would even go as far as to include your local MP.
      Let us know how you get on!

  30. fuck tescos and use an independent garage where possible

  31. Brian Wood says

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned that the sale of goods takes place in 2 parts, the supply of the goods and payment for the goods.
    I’ve had this discussion with the Department for Fair Trading here in New South Wales and I assume the situation would be the same in Ireland.
    In Australia I’ve not seen any signs on the forecourt that you must remove your helmet, only at the entrance to the store where you pay.
    My reasoning is that the operator agreed to enter into a ‘contract’ by turning on the pump to provide me with goods, while I was wearing a helmet and they can’t be changing the conditions of the contract when I go to pay.
    If they wish that I remove my helmet they should indicate this before they supply the goods.
    Safe riding,

  32. Happened to me last year in august 2013 at Swansea Fforestfach , Tesco petrol station. Just what I do not understand in someone IQ, he turned the pump on when I had my helmet on and I filled up a tenner, walk straight into the store and was queuing. Then the lad became mouthy and said “Oi take your helmet off”.
    And I said “you let me fill up with my helmet on, now you telling me to take it off, I don’t understand you” as you all probably know what they said “Did you see sign on door?”
    Of course not… It was a very small sign.
    He didn’t serve me as I argued with him so I got served by other lad.
    So I complained to the manager in the store because that kid spoke down at me and I felt humiliated.
    I very rare go to that petrol station because of the manners of the little kid were not treating customers right.

  33. tim cannock says

    Had problems at Co-op fuel station (Castle Lane, Bournemouth). Staff told me to remove helmet before filling-up, which I did.
    Staff told me this was a legal requirement to establish my age (57 yrs) and a Health&Safety requirement.
    Manager not available, so will be contacting the C0-op head office, not expecting much from them.

  34. I work in a jewellers shop and we always ask all customers to remove any helmets, hoods or face coverings for security.
    I even ask police officers on their bikes to remove them before I allow them to come in through an access controlled door.
    If anyone says no they can go elsewhere, as a retail premises I have the right to refuse entry without discrimination and the customer has the right to shop elsewhere.
    My staff and my security comes first.

  35. Due to the problem of hidden identity then, can we request that I the interests of safety that Muslim women remove their Burkahs, Sikhs remove their knife, anyone with a beard to remove it immediately due to them being able to change their appearance should they decide on the off-chance to rob the station.
    At 41 years of age riding a 15 grand motorcycle, is it beyond the comprehension of the petrol station employee to figure out that I’m not willing to risk a sentence at Her Majesties pleasure for nicking a Tennessee worth of fuel.
    Right To Ride comments: We will enact our own version of Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) – you lost any credibility in the debate – which includes any reference to colour, creed or sexual orintation and specifically to head coverings – usually meaning the burkha, bourkha, burka or burqu’ burqa burqa as this in our opinion has no place in this debate. It is about motorcyclists and removal of their helmet and the reasons why this is being requested and whether we should or not.

  36. I’m 28 and have been brought up with certain ideals.
    One of which is that it is rude to speak to someone without showing them your face, including your eyes.
    When I had a flip up helmet I always made my face visible when going into a store.
    However in some cases people have told me to remove my helmet completely, in most cases they were reasonable when I told them no.
    On one occasion the Tesco security guard tried to physically remove me from the store (he ended up with a black eye and was eventually fired). On another occasion, Tesco again, the security guard followed me around the store for an hour keeping watch until he finally approached me and told me to remove it for safety.
    He said that if I didn’t remove it then I would end up assaulting the staff by head butting them. To which I said ‘leaving your insult aside for a second, if you think that not having a helmet on is going to prevent me from giving someone a Glasgow kiss then you’ve got another thing coming pal’, I complained to a supervisor, he was also let go.
    But the best one was in ASDA when the security guard came up and said ‘please remove your helmet so we can see your face’ to which I retorted ‘you cant see my face?’ Then I pointed to my nose, eyes and mouth and said ‘that’s my nose, can you see that? these are my eyes, can you see them? that’s my nose, can you see that?… yes?… don’t be so daft, of course you can see my face. But now since I have bought a non flip up helmet I try to use the pay at pump systems but if I need to go inside then I’ll take my helmet off.
    The signs though are highly discriminatory. If a biker is to remove their helmet then anyone wearing any kind of head clothing, be it sunglasses, hats, wigs, burkas or even a traffic cone should remove it. Its the only way.
    If the police stop me I remove it without asking. Because to be fair if they’re stopping me then I’ve probably done something stupid and I want them to see that I’m not black; so they will let me off.
    Only joking… the police aren’t racist… 😉
    Right To Ride comments: We will enact our own version of Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) – you lost any credibility in the debate – which includes any reference to colour, creed or sexual orintation and specifically to head coverings – usually meaning the burkha, bourkha, burka or burqu’ burqa burqa as this in our opinion has no place in this debate. It is about motorcyclists and removal of their helmet and the reasons why this is being requested and whether we should or not.

  37. Here’s my experience of ASDA, please see video below of me being ordered off site by security.
    They treat ALL bikers as potential criminals…
    They choose to get security to escort customers off site and refuse to serve.

    The manager told me its because a few kids on scooters have nicked the odd tenner here and there, and because motorcycles don’t have front plates the cameras cant pick up the registrations
    Hmmm, maybe they should speak to the people who installed the cameras then.
    Not that they could make any identifying features out anyway as I am so far away from the camera, then I have to put my helmet back on to ride to the paypoint so the video evidence is useless anyway.
    And where would Asda like me to place my helmet, on their diesel infested, unclean floors, or risk balancing it on my bike for it to fall on the floor, and force me to buy a new one every time ??
    They confirmed, they WOULD serve someone who couldnt be identified with a religeous covering. They would refuse service if someone was wearing a hoodie sunglasses etc, (However this is untrue as I see these being served here all the time).
    When I contacted head office, they could only repeated tell me “its a policy for health and safety reasons”, i.e. if I was overcome with fumes inside my helmet (with the visor open!!) yeah right.
    Please show me some statistics on when this has actually happened EVER !!!
    When I pointed out that I can use the prepay pumps WITH MY HELMET ON and never get challenged, they spouted the same pre written drivel about health and safety policy again. however this health and safety script is moot, as they contradict themselves, in fact I was told if I didn’t want to remove my helmet I could use the prepay. further enforcing this is Asda only being concerned about profits and not customer service.
    The fact is, Asda are targeting motorcyclists as we are an easy target for them to deal with, They don’t know how to cope with the real fuel thieves on stolen plates, so instead try to minimise any losses by targeting bikers, therefore this IS DISCRIMINATION !!!
    There are 28.8 million cars in the uk, and 1.1 million registered bikes (3.98%), cars take an average of 60litres of fuel, and bikes 15 litres
    Last year there were 45,000 reported thefts of numberplates mainly to be used by car drivers for theft of fuel.
    In fact my wifes plates got knicked off her zafira in Oldham a month ago, the police have reported the plates have been used for at least 3 drive offs, I know that zafira takes £ 70 to fill up.
    So…who is your biggest risk Asda, bikes or Cars with stolen plates ??

  38. I just tried to fill up at Morrisons at Borehamwood, when I heard on the tannoy to remove my helmet before the pump was activated, was pouring I was soaked, I did so as I was in a rush and if I hadnt been on reserve I would have gone elsewhere.
    I emailed Morrisons head office when I got home and got a very snotty reply, “With regard to our policy on asking motorcyclists to remove their helmets in our petrol stations I would first like to confirm that our policy in respect of motorcycle helmets is consistent amongst members of the Downstream Fuels Association, and other major competitors”
    This policy includes customers using the pay at the pump facility as well as entering the kiosk, because it is important for staff to be able to identify, communicate with, and verify the age of customers on the forecourt where necessary.”
    I have never had a problem before at any supermarket and have been riding for 8 years, I understand why there is a need to remove it before entering the kiosk, however at this Morrisons there are no signs whatsoever so will be going back tomorrow to take photographic evidence to plead my case.
    Right To Ride Comment – Thanks for your message regarding Morrisons.
    This part of what we originally came to a conclusion that if a petrol station requires a rider to remove a helmet then this requirement should be placed in a prominate postion. So that there is no need for tannoy announcements and that the members of the British Oil Security Syndicate (Boss) http://www.bossuk.org or as Morrison’s has mentioned the Downstream Fuels Association – http://www.downstreamfuel.org.uk have a universal policy and clear requlation signage in place.
    Of course it would be good that they also have sinage that welcomes motorcyclists and states if there is no requirement to remove a helmet. Then rider’s have a choice to use that petrol station or not and take their business elswhere – but then again too much to hope for.
    Or do riders simply treat filling up at a petrol station, approaching staff to pay, the same that is accepted as entering a bank?

  39. delboy25236 says

    This probably won’t make me popular, but I work in a fuel station where they are bringing this into force, I personally have no problems with the bikers I have NEVER had a biker drive off without paying, but as anyone can see there is a real problem and petrol stations are seen as easy targets, and the problem is more widespread than you would believe and is getting worse, the police who end up dealing with this are trying their best and it is they who are insisting on this change.
    I have to carry out these policies as I am only a cashier I don’t make the rules but I do get the grief, it’s not discrimination it’s people protecting their business.
    This will be like the smoking ban and soon all fuel stations will carry this policy so there won’t be an option and all bikers will do what the polite ones have done for years a full face helmet fine for the road not so fine in a shop environment where customers are jostled and shelves knocked and struggling to count money or use a card get real guys.

  40. Paul Godfrey says

    Yesterday, 27 August 2014 I tried to fill up at Cottonwood Morrisons nr Barnsley, was bellowed at via tannoy to remove helmet before filling up, the attendant told me this was a police rule, so I called South Yorks police, surprise suprise, it’s not a legal requirement, then called Morrisons HQ in Bradford to be told it’s an age verification measure, I countered with the headdress argument only to be told that it would be too sensitive to ask the Muslim ladies to remove head covering, in such instances ID is asked for to verify age, my argument was and still is why can’t bikers be treated the same, waiting on answer from Morrisons policy making team.
    Right To Ride comments: We will enact our own version of Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) – you lost any credibility in the debate – which includes any reference to colour, creed or sexual orintation and specifically to head coverings – usually meaning the burkha, bourkha, burka or burqu’ burqa burqa as this in our opinion has no place in this debate. It is about motorcyclists and removal of their helmet and the reasons why this is being requested and whether we should or not.

  41. Today I went to refuel at Texaco/Co-op, Mapperley, Nottingham. A petrol station I have visited numerous times before without incident.
    Unfortunately today I felt completely humiliated as it was bellowed over the tannoy for “Pump 6 to remove your helmet”, with everyone turning around to stare, including a colleague who said “now that’s embarrassing” (I agree).
    There were no signs/requests on pumps or the store, and if I hadn’t been desperate for fuel, I’d have ridden off.
    I removed my helmet and refuelled.
    Stomped into the store to pay and asked the cashier why I’d been yelled at to remove my helmet.
    She said it was to check my age……bearing in mind I ride a 1000cc motorbike and I’m a 43 year old female, I took exception to this.
    When I challenged her further and asked for their complaints procedure, she told me she didn’t want to lose her job I then asked for the Manager, who tried to tell me that it was because their ANPR was forward facing, therefore they needed facial identification. I told him to change the position to rear facing, especially as they only had one entrance, but two exits.
    He agreed it would be better, but proceeded to say that it was also for security as it could be a robber/attacker. My answer to this was that I felt not only humiliated, but incredibly vulnerable, as if someone approached me without my helmet, I wouldn’t have a car to escape to and lock myself in, and I wouldn’t be able to get my helmet on fast enough to leave. Now this one seems to work, as he didn’t have an answer for that one!
    Next time my instant reply will be “no, I’m left vulnerable without it”, surely they can’t argue that?
    It’s about time they stop discriminating and treating all bikers as common criminals.

  42. I filled up my bike at BP today at a local station (Australia) I was asked to remove my helmet after filling up my bike, while waiting to pay.
    I said that’s fine, but what happened if I worn a burka (I am not against any race or religion ), the guy at the counter said ” don’t walk into a bank with it” ?, that’s not the question , I understand about safety, I removed it and paid the bill, surely this is not a right??? you can see my eyes , I am a 56 yr old riding a triumph sprint
    I asked if I still had to remove it if I was paying at pump & was told yes. I was not allowed on BP property with my helmet on even if its an open/flip face helmet.

  43. Mark Templar says

    This evening I visited my regular BP station near to Kempton Park racecourse, regular as in 3 times a week for the last few years.
    It was a miserable night I had on waterproofs and over gloves.
    I popped my filler cap off put the nozzle into my tank and waited for the fuel to flow.
    When nothing happened I glanced towards the cashiers who were doing a great impression of someone removing a helmet.
    Rather than just do what I was told I went into the station to be told that it was “policy”.
    No further explanation was offered.
    Apparently if i was wearing a burka I would’ve been ok.
    I voted with my wallet and bought my fuel elsewhere.

  44. Ok so I think I have a new one. I do always take my lid off when filling up. At a Waitrose / shell station I was told I can’t sit astride of my bike when filling up. Even with my lid off, engine obviously off and side stand down?
    I do have an email thread between me and Waitrose which might interest some readers. And will copy and paste if anyone still reads this. And if anyone has verbosenes? or articulacy to respond to these people then I would love to hear from you as I think my angry words just will not win the battle. simonhopkin138@msn.com

    • Hi Simon
      Not a new one this has been around on the grounds of health and safety for a while now.
      For ourselves we would not sit astride our motorcycle to fill it up with flammable liquid while sitting on a very hot engine.
      Although we understand one of the points made elsewhere regarding bikes with only side stands e.g. Sportsbikes with a smaller fuel capacity, to get as much fuel into the tank the bike is stood up off the stand.
      Edit – Read this article from MAG Ireland on Forecourt Rules – Click Here
      Trevor.B – Right To Ride

  45. Gordon Eames says

    At a risk of mentioning other head gear, it seems the issue is about head gear that covers part or all of the main facial features, being unable to identify that person or aiming to help staff feel more comfortable with the customer and not feeling intimidated. that said yes they are going for the easy target eg motorcyclist but that’s what we find upsetting, as if a rule is applied it must be applied to all. I for one do not wish to remove my helmet due to inconvenience. If you work in a garage environment you will expect to see all walks of life many who could be seen as intimidating but that’s the job those staff and owners have signed up to serve.

  46. I have a flip top lid which leaves my whole face exposed when I open it up.
    story #1. The time time I ever got told to remove my helmet was at a BP station near Cirencester. I pulled up to the pump, flipped the lid up and went to fill up but nothing happened. The tannoy system at the garage was making some strange noises but obviously wasn’t working. Eventually I went inside to a scowling fella behind the till.
    Me: Morning.
    Him: Take your helmet off at the pump.
    Me: Er…(a little surprised at the abrupt tone)….why?
    Him: It’s company policy.
    Me: Same question, why?
    Him: For safety.
    Me: But this is a piece of safety equipment. That’s a garage forecourt that could very well be covered in split diesel and might be slippy.
    Him: You’ve got to take your helmet off.
    Me: I’ve got a better idea, I’ll go somewhere else, where’s the next garage?
    Him: Oh….20 miles up the road. (said in a really arsey tone)
    Me: You’re a liar, there’s one half a mile further up the A417 and you know it. Karma is gonna make your penis wither and fall off now. Good day.
    story #2. Wandered into Tesco’s in Egham…..actually twice now I’ve been accosted in Tesco’s in Egham. The first time a really short Indian (maybe?) security guard came up and asked me to remove my (open faced flipped up) lid. He was really, really polite. I asked him why and he paused for a bit….so I thought I’d help him out and said “Usually it’s so CCTV can get a clear picture of someone’s face for identification purposes.” and waved a hand around my clearly visible face. “Do we need to continue?” He just said “No, that’s fine” and wandered off. Top bloke. Sensible chap.
    The second time was a guard who looked like he’d just come from a BNP meeting. Skin head, very stocky.
    Him: Take your helmet off.
    Me: Sure, if you can tell me why.
    Him: Cos I told you to.
    Now that, boys and girls, is not an acceptable way to speak to a customer in my view. I’m not generally an arsey git, these 2 stories may well give the impression I am but I only react when spoken to disrespectfully:
    Me (resisting the urge to ask who died and made him Queen of Sheba): That’s not a reason, why do you want me to take my helmet off?
    Him: We’ve had trouble.
    Me: What sort of trouble?
    Him: With bikers.
    Me: You’ve had trouble from middle aged, respectable looking motorcyclists in open face helmets? (shirt and tie on under the jacket, came from the office)
    He blinked at me so I carried on: If you can give me a reasonable explanation of why I’m being requested to remove my helmet I absolutely will. Otherwise, I’d like to continue my shopping please.
    This continued for a while while I was wandering around with a shopping basket, by the time I got to the til he’d finally given up as it had become clear that I wasn’t intimidated by him in the slightest so he ran off to get the manager after telling the cashier not to serve me….manager came out to the till, took one look at me and just told the cashier to ‘please serve this gentleman’.
    Never saw that guard again….
    And in response to the fella below who got told to remove his helmet as he might head butt someone……yeah, that’s such a stupid reason. If I was going to be head butted I’d want the person doing it to be wearing a nice thick layer of shock absorbing material to cushion the blow. A removed helmet is of much better use as a club anyway.
    These idiots just don’t think things through though.
    Right To Ride Comment: Well looks more like customer to business (customer care) and vice versa issues/attitude attitude than anything else here.
    As for wandering around Tescos shopping with a helmet on – albeit an open faced helmet and even looking respectable with a shirt and tie on (under your jacket), you are going to attract attention.
    Whether this is from any store employee, whatever they look like or you think that their appearance reflects what sort of person they might be.
    Now put the shoe on the other foot and maybe think what they think you look like or might be “up to” in a store with other members of the public that they would have a duty of care to look after.
    So in that respect at Right To Ride there is no sympathy and we are only to glad to remove our helmets at the first opportunity where ever we are.
    In these case we don’t think that you have thought through the situation you have put shop staff and yourself through!

  47. What about a bikers code and remove Helmets before walking into any building.
    I usually take gloves off as i need to get the payment out. Chin strap undone and visor up but helmet still worn when filling up as its not practical to hold.
    Never had a bad experience anywhere and fail to see what the fuss is about.

  48. Gareth Bult says

    Once upon a time I used to wear a full-face and naturally removed my helmet when entering a Petrol station, for fear of worrying staff – when your face is hidden, others have a natural tendency to wonder / worry why.
    On moving to what Swoop refers to as a flip-top, I stopped removing my helmet as my previous reason for so doing had become obsolete – people could see my face even with my helmet on. Since then I’ve reverted to simply flipping up the front of my helmet when filling up. Thus ensuring cameras get a good look and other people are not intimidated / worried. “look! nothing worrying inside! just a fat hairy biker!”.
    That said, I’ve had similar experiences to Swoop, I’ve been stood at a pump waiting (and waiting) for it to activate, only to hear a garbled message over the tannoy that I have eventually worked out said “take your helmet off”, and that it was directed at me. (even tho’ I had the front flipped up) Unfortunately my tank was empty, so I complied – but that didn’t stop me from asking for the manager inside the station and explaining to him the error of his ways. He looked a little shell-shocked at my reaction, but until you’ve been embarrassed like that yourself, maybe it’s difficult to appreciate the feeling.
    Not been back since, nor will I. As it’s also a local shop that I’d been frequenting for over 10 years, their policy will have cost them (literally) thousands of pounds since then in lost grocery trade.
    I’d quite like to see a roster of offending petrol stations that bikers can boycott, maybe they’ll eventually get the idea that discrimination is a bad thing and that “Sons of Anarchy” is actually a fictional Television Program and not a historical document that defines all motorcycle riders.
    With regards to “Right to Ride”‘s comments in relation to Swoop’s posting, I find this attitude outrageous – there are many things one can do and wear that might draw attention to one’s self in Tesco’s, why on earth would someone wearing a motorcycle helmet immediately imply wrongdoing ?! Does this mean that Firemen and Policemen also have to remove their headgear when entering the store? What about cyclists, potholers, kids in pom pom hats, women on their way to Ascott or indeed people wearing religious headgear? Or are we just discriminating against motorcyclists?
    That said, please temper this with my opinion that nobody should be allowed to enter any premises with their face covered to the extent they cannot be identified, whether they be covered by a motorcycle helmet, balaclava or indeed anything else !!!
    Maybe “Right to Ride” could post using their name an indicate what it is that they ride, so I can tell people about “the biker” who thinks flip-tops need to be removed at petrol stations.
    We already have serious problems with discrimination against bikers (try booking a random hotel while touring with your leathers on!) , this is just fueling the myth that bikers are a group that it’s Ok to discriminate against.

    • Hi Gareth thanks for your comments.
      First as you asked, this is Trevor from Right To Ride replying and who posted the comment you replied to.
      Both our profiles are on the website at About Us this includes a bit about the bikes I have ridden and now ride, also below is our photo gallery on our travels and some of what we have done.
      Now the issue is whether I said that “flip-tops” need to be removed at petrol station is your interpretation and it is not what I actually said was, “we are only to glad to remove our helmets at the first opportunity where ever we are.”. This comes from a background of riders rights and the issue of the helmet law and freedom of choice of whether to wear a helmet when riding. Therefore I am only to glad to remove my helmet at every opportunity, which includes when filling up with petrol or walking around a Tesco store and only to glad to remove it when entering a bank.
      That brings me to your interpretation, “why on earth would someone wearing a motorcycle helmet immediately imply wrongdoing ?! Does this mean that Firemen and Policemen also have to remove their headgear when entering the store? What about cyclists, potholers, kids in pom pom hats, women on their way to Ascott or indeed people wearing religious headgear? Or are we just discriminating against motorcyclists?”, tempered with your opinion, “that nobody should be allowed to enter any premises with their face covered to the extent they cannot be identified, whether they be covered by a motorcycle helmet, balaclava or indeed anything else !!!”
      Which as your comment that I am saying that flip-tops need to be removed at petrol stations are you saying as a biker that flip-tops/helmets should be removed when entering any premises – what is the difference at a petrol station where you would receiving goods and entering a premises which carries a lot of cash – just like a bank?
      Again your interpretation is wrong, I did not imply that, “wearing a motorcycle helmet immediately imply wrongdoing?!” I said,”you are going to attract attention.” just like you would in any head covering that covers ones face like a Ned Kelly helmet or even a saucepan, that is just the way of the world!
      You said, “Does this mean that Firemen and Policemen also have to remove their headgear when entering the store?” well no that would be silly as it is part of their uniform and recognised as such………………
      What is this serious discrimination we are having, I have booked many a hotel and campsite and have had no problems what so ever and have always removed my helmet – until last year I wore a flip up helmet from the Roof Boxer to the Shark Evoline, although I do not wear leathers I wear a Wax Cotton Jacket – Kelvar lined trousers – Gortex when it is wet with para boots, maybe the myth is that we are being discriminated against. Maybe you can post up the hotels names involved in this?
      Please while you are informing people of this “biker” you could also point them in the direction of the web page that allows people to mark and map mobile and other forms of distraction – http://www.righttoride.co.uk/mobile-phone-scourge-mark-it-map-it/ that runs a motorcycle road safety website – http://www.rideitright.org – First Aid Courses For Riders – http://www.firstaidforriders.org – and the CRASH Card – bikernisafetycard.org
      We are all entitled to our opinion and that opinion will get posted here but we don’t have to agree with each other and we can air any disagreement openly.
      Trevor’s history of motorcycling is long – starting on a Yamaha DT 175MX in 1977, before getting hooked on the BMW GS styled bikes in the late nineties, moving through from the 1100GS to the R1200GSA Adventure – but now downsized to a F800GS. In between there has been a K1200RS, a Fireblade and a motorcycle and sidecar combination.
      Click Here

    • Hello Gareth,
      I’m Elaine – the other part of Right To Ride. I used to ride a Scooter for many years in Italy – sans helmet because it wasn’t the law there until the 90s. I rode a Virago in England, but like a lot of women I ended up riding pillion – mainly because I am a very defensive rider and tend to ride at low speed – this meant that if we ever went anywhere – it was a hassle to try to keep up with Trevor.
      Anyway back to helmets. I just don’t get it, it’s their garage, it’s their shop – so where ever you go, if the owners of a premises wants you to remove your helmet and you don’t want to, because for some reason you feel discriminated against – then go somewhere else. It’s simple. The way I see it, any chance to remove my helmet is always a blessing, because I can’t stand wearing the damn thing.
      I wrote an article about the Helmet Law which might interest you – you might also like to read Trev’s comments within it, about wearing helmets too.
      See here http://motorcycleminds.org/?p=1232
      You live in England, so why not contact MAG UK or even the BMF to air your views. In fact the best person to contact in MAG UK about this issue, in my opinion, is Ian Mutch, President and Editor of their magazine.
      As above, the way I see it, shopkeepers or their employees should have the right to decide who they serve and why. It’s their shop – no?

  49. Hi Elaine & Trevor,
    I appreciate that “you” can’t wait to take your helmet off, but do you think “your” preference is a suitable bias for you to pile-in on a discussion that removes the “choice” from others? Let’s be clear, the problem isn’t having to take off one’s helmet, that’s a minor physical inconvenience, the issue here is the removal of choice by others, or to quote the Wikipedia definition of discrimination; “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people”.
    With regards to “it’s their shop so it’s their choice”, I’m afraid this argument breaks down fairly rapidly when we introduce a number of “What-if’s”. What if the shop keeper decides they don’t want to serve fat people, short people, people wearing hoodies, anyone with Ginger hair, anyone from Scotland, anyone with a Welsh accent? Where exactly do we get off letting the shop keeper decide? Well, we don’t, we call the shop keeper deciding who they will serve “discrimination” and it’s supposed to be illegal in this country.
    If there is a good reason not to serve someone, for example if you can’t see their face and there’s a possibility they might be using a stolen credit card then this “might” be a valid reason to ask them to remove their head-gear before serving them. If on the other hand your head-gear poses no threat and does not obscure your identity, having a “rule” that forces the removal of a helmet prior to getting served, this is pure and blanket discrimination against bikers based on a stereotype.
    Now, you think I misinterpreted your comments, let me run through them to see where I’m going wrong.
    “As for wandering around Tescos shopping with a helmet on – albeit an open faced helmet and even looking respectable with a shirt and tie on (under your jacket), you are going to attract attention.”
    And? Your implication here is that this is a problem. Exactly why should it be a problem?
    “Whether this is from any store employee, whatever they look like or you think that their appearance reflects what sort of person they might be.”
    Indeed. The store staff are going to think; “Oh look, a motorcyclist, it’s pissing it down outside, I bet he got a bit wet getting here!” .. What was your point, other than implying the store employee might have a negative opinion – for no apparent reason ??
    “Now put the shoe on the other foot and maybe think what they think you look like or might be “up to” in a store with other members of the public that they would have a duty of care to look after.”
    Ok, so this really annoyed me. You ride a bike, yet you subscribe to the myth that just because someone is wearing gear, people might think they might be “up to something”. Seriously. This is 2015! And duty of care, we’re talking polished poly or fibreglass helmets with lots of round edges, typically not something from the latest Mad Max movie that’s going to impale all passers-by !!
    “So in that respect at Right To Ride there is no sympathy”
    So maybe you should be saying “I Trevor” rather than implying Swoop is in some way out on his own and the rest of the biking community disagrees with him – which simply is not the case!
    “In these case we don’t think that you have thought through the situation you have put shop staff and yourself through!”
    You “don’t think he’s thought it through”. Are you familiar with the word “condescending” ?
    Again, what exactly are the shop staff being put through?
    Maybe if the staff are in some way pre-disposed to think that bikers pose some sort of threat? Do you think this is the case?
    “Which as your comment that I am saying that flip-tops need to be removed at petrol stations are you saying as a biker that flip-tops/helmets should be removed when entering any premises – what is the difference”
    I had thought that your comment regarding lack of sympathy was fairy clear, but do feel free to clarify.
    “allowed to enter any premises with their face covered to the extent they cannot be identified”
    Flip-tops do NOT cover one’s face to the extent one cannot be identified.
    The difference is that if there is a “good” reason, it’s not discrimination.
    If the government want to introduce a law saying that “all” headgear should be removed in or on commercial premises, I would be fine with that. That would apply to everyone. However, having “petrol stations” decide they are going to introduce a “rule” for one specific section of the community with no basis other than prejudice, that is pure discrimination. The same would apply to any other commercial outlet, including Tesco’s, whereas I would generally remove my helmet in a Tesco’s store, as I’m likely to be there for a while, if I’m nipping into a Tesco Express to buy a packet of fags, typically I would not want to and seriously, should not have to.
    With regards to your comment above regarding “Godwin’s Law”, I think maybe you have this upside-down. You’re siding with a majority against a minority, quoting something designed to protect minorities, well, it doesn’t really “fly” as such.
    Oh, and by the way, I don’t live in England. I hate to tell you this but I live in the “United Kingdom”, more specifically Wales – which is most definitely “not” England, although if you’re a Rugby fan and follow coverage on the BBC, you might be forgiven for thinking that the England “is” the UK.

    • Pile in you say?? Pile in? This is our website! The fact that you have piled in is because we like to have discussions about issues such as helmet removal. This particular discussion has been going on – this website – since 2009.
      We’ll keep it simple, you are entitled to your opinion – as previously mentioned. We are entitled to ours which is simply that we would prefer to have the freedom of choice NOT to wear a helmet. So in that respect we hope you can understand our dilemma. In our opinion the freedom of choice to wear or not to wear a helmet was denied in 1973 by parliament. You are suggesting that freedom of choice to wear a helmet…. is being eroded by people who are not law-makers, but individuals who want to protect their business and view those with helmets as a possible threat.
      Whatever – it seems that we will have to agree to disagree on this. With regards this issue in Northern Ireland – where this website and Right to Ride is based – it’s really not an issue. In fact the vast majority of comments are from riders in Great Britain – not Northern Ireland.
      As previously mentioned – as you live in Wales, we suggest you contact Ian Mutch of the Motorcycle Action Group and let us know how you get on.
      Trevor and Elaine

  50. Mmm, I think you may be missing the point. Motorcyclists have to wear helmets by law. You can debate whether you think this is a good law or a bad law, but it’s a law, and it was enacted because, like it or not, there is a good reason to have that law. Being forced to remove your helmet in a petrol station, shop, or anywhere else – typically that is not a law, that is a ‘rule’ the establishments concerned have determined themselves based on their own prejudice. That is discrimination. As you seem happy to remove your helmet then I presume the issue is of no consequence to you, so why have a go at Swoop because it’s an issue for him?

    • Hi Gareth,
      We don’t think we are missing the point at all. In fact if you had taken the time to read the article we suggested regarding our opinion about helmets – http://motorcycleminds.org/?p=1232 you will perhaps understand our perspective a bit more. We have also suggested that you contact MAG UK’s President or if you don’t want to to do that, you could even contact Lembit Opik – (he used to represent a Wales Constituency once) who is the MAG UK Communications Director. They are the riders’ rights organisation in Great Britain and specifically in your case, in Wales.
      Regards rules and guidelines – well that’s a whole new world. A fantastic place to understand this distinction is in fact the Highway Code.
      With regards Swoop. Nobody had a “go” at him, he gave his opinion and we (Trevor) gave his – simples.
      Once again, the purpose of this discussion is exactly that – to discuss without getting personal. You are fully entitled to your opinion and we are entitled to ours. But this Gareth is what makes life interesting.
      Why not join MAG or the BMF and bring this issue up either locally or regionally in order to express your opinions and get them to complain?

  51. Helmets Off – Pump To Shop!

    See our latest article on this issue as the BMF (British Motorcyclists Federation) in the UK, is talking at the moment to the Petrol Retailers Association to get a “sensible understanding” looking at the wearing of helmets – the safe placing of helmets, pay at the pump vs entering the shop and the arbitrarily inconsistent local rules and other aspects of this “strange subject” after receiving complaints from their members and riders.
    Click Here

  52. Hello There,
    I work at a petrol station and thought i’d share some insight on this issue from the other side.
    Please first of all it’s nothing personal, I don’t see a biker and think “CRIMINAL”
    No basically we have rules and procedures to follow and one of them is the removal of helmets.
    This is purely because if someone dishonest rides up for example on a stolen bike, fills up and rides off, we’ll have a difficult time identifying the rider, where as if we see their facial features before letting them fill up it can be both a deterrent and a way to identify them to the police if they drive off.
    Helmets in stores are also used for identification purposes, we need to see the persons face before selling age related goods. Yeah it’s easy to say you have to be the legal age to ride the bike but if say for example if a 15year old was using their dads bike for a joy ride and needed to fill up, we have a responsibility to try and prevent that person from illegally purchasing that fuel.
    Also we need to follow the challenge 25 policy for other goods such as Cigs, alcohol and also again a deterrent and identification in case of theft and robberies.
    Now the hoodies and burka argument…..
    Hoodies are my pet hate and ideally they should be off at all times inside the store, but some argue that as long as we can see their faces it’s not an issue, same as we allow the helmets with flip lids. As long as we can see your full face it’s ok.
    I inquired about the burka and we do have the legal right to refuse sales and not allow sale to anyone who wouldn’t be willing to show their face. A grey area but it’s noted that those who follow the religion and wear a burka are less likely to buy age related goods and drive.
    I like to finish off and ask the following……
    If you come across a situation where you’re asked to remove your helmet please do not take it out on the cashier, as they have a job to do, which they can lose or be disciplined if they don’t follow procedure.
    Don’t use the “the other stations let me” argument. It won’t make a difference. Some people follow the rules, some don’t and it makes our job that more difficult when they don’t
    If you don’t like the rule, ride away and/or write to the companies head office and let them know that you’re not happy. They’ll be more in a position to assist you then the counter staff can.
    Thank you for reading and I hope this’ll bring a bit more understanding.
    Right To Ride Comment – Thanks for your comments on the issue from the “other” side of of the counter so to speak.

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