Applegreen, A Response

So, an email:

Hi Mark

Hope this mail finds you well.

As a rider myself I do understand your frustration here however after many years in this sector I also see the reasons why we are asked to remove our lids before filling up.

On the contrary to belief this is not because we think all bikers are going to simply fill up and ride off without paying

This is in fact part of the licensing agreements and is associated to the age verification and approval of sale of petroleum spirit before the pump can be verified.

Happy to pick up a call if you want to discuss further .

I do really stress that this is not discrimination against bikers and is standard practice across the industry .



This is bullshit of course. The stations that do this are very much in the minority, so it is not some industry standard. Matt must think I’m easily fobbed off. I recognise flannel when I see it.


Thanks for getting back to me. However, this policy is not standard. Far from it. I regularly fill up without being asked to remove my helmet at stations selling Texaco, Esso, Shell, and the big supermarkets and they do not require me to remove my helmet and consequently put it onto a filthy forecourt floor.

Despite your assurances, none of the reasons given stands up to any scrutiny. If Sainsbury’s can do it, so can you.

It has no effect on motorcycle theft as I have been assured by the likes of Bennetts, as anyone who steals my bikes will have them away in a van. Also, opportunist thieves will rag the bike until they get bored, or it runs out of fuel then abandon it. What they won’t do is politely remove their helmet at a filling station so that the police can identify them. Whoever came up with that one is living in a parallel universe, but, yes, according to Bennetts, this is what is supposed to happen.

I’ve also come across the age verification process as an excuse. This doesn’t wash its face at all. I’m well aware of the need for age verification having worked in retail. I am also aware that cashiers have eyes in their heads and are capable of telling if a middle-aged man on a large capacity motorcycle is over the age of sixteen. I’m wearing a flip front helmet with the front up so they can see my face. I am no more in need to having to have my age verified than when I’m driving my car as my face is clearly visible in both circumstances.

All this policy does is inconvenience law abiding customers, so I repeat my assertion made in the original email. I will not, under any circumstances, patronise a business that treats me less favourably than other customers. It is, absolutely discrimination, and it is not justified and I will not go along with it.


We will see how that one goes down. Ultimately, I’m a lone voice, so unlikely to change anything, but even a lone voice is louder than acquiescent silence.


  1. My own experience – l have worn full face since the 70’s and always remove it in shops, petrol stations etc. Lot of faff but accept it as l recognise staff need to be able to see my face.
    My son, like you, wears a flip-front, never removes it and doesn’t really encounter any problems so you are right in saying removal is not blanket policy across the country.
    Won’t lie, l do sometimes envy the convenience of flip-front helmets

    • I’ve been wearing flip fronts since they first came onto the market because they are so practical. As for the blanket policy, I’ll put that into context. In nearly fifty years of riding, this is the second time it’s happened to me. There is no blanket policy, just jerks who are severely hard of thinking.

  2. Of course that’s the same reason they refuse to sell fuel to Islamic women wearing burkas – oh no, I must have got that wrong, for some reason that face-coverage is not seen as indicative of inadequate age or criminal intent. It’s almost like they are discriminating against mature white male motorcyclists. Spooky that.

    • And for the best part of two years, people had to wear masks and that was just dandy. As I say, their reasons simply don’t survive even the most casual scrutiny. Matt Wossname is talking bollocks.

  3. On the age verification thing, how old do you have to be to ride a powered two wheeler? I know that it used to be sixteen but I think that has changed. If that minimum age is different from the minimum age for pumping petrol that is pretty absurd as you would need to be accompanied by an adult every time you needed to fill up.

    • It’s still sixteen. This will get you onto a restricted moped capable of 28mph. For a car or 125cc motorcycle, it’s seventeen. For an A2 motorcycle it’s nineteen. For a full category A then it’s either 21 if you have done a progressive approach or 24 if you go the DAS route. I appreciate that the motorcycle licencing system is complicated for anyone not involved, but the bare minimum age is seventeen, so age verification isn’t necessary, anymore than it is with a car. No one ever gets age checked when buying fuel, so the argument that we must remove our helmets for this purpose is blatantly false.

      • FFS. What a complicated scheme those twats have set up to build more bureaucracy. It was a blanket 16 when I was there.

        I’d hate to be a kid nowadays.

        • Indeed. The excuse is that the process is an EU directive, which is partially true. However, the French have managed to streamline the process, so if they could do it, so could we. As it is, it’s a pointless mess.

      • When I first hit the road in the mid 1970s, sixteens could ride a 50cc bike with pedals. I always thought that the pedals were a stupid and pointless stipulation but the manufacturers got around it by fitting pedals in place of footrests. A mate showed me how you could pivot one of the pedals backwards so that you could actually pedal it along, totally impractical but it complied with the law. At 17 you could stick L plates on a 250 and ride it as long as you wanted. Over 250 you had to pass the test which involved riding around in a circle while an examiner watched from the curb. I know that our host knows all this of course but I thought that I would share with everyone else. I did the pursuit test with an earpiece and the examiner following behind.

  4. Funnily enough, I filled up yesterday and thinking of your post, I did not remove my helmet or even lifted the front.

    Guess what? No problems whatsoever. 🙂

    • As is the case 99 times out of a hundred. It’s just the odd one that thinks this is okay. As for Matt, he is pissing down my leg and telling me it’s raining and I’m not having it.

  5. My licence says that since I passed my driving tests on both a 125 Lambretta in 1964, and a car in 1966, I can presumably jump on a huge bike and go anywhere I want to – without L plates!

    Senora O’Blene spent many a happy hour riding her Yamaha Passola to work at school, and I always loved pinching it for a jaunt around the lanes – just for fun! Her crash helmet was always a bit tight though, as I’d given my old one to a water-skiing expert when all that fun became too dangerous!

    I’d really like to do all that again, but somehow, the old retirement years seem to stop me, sadly…

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