Video: 100 bikers ride from Hull to Beverley in memory of helmet campaigner Fred Hill
THE calm of the East Yorkshire countryside was overawed by the sound of horse power on Saturday.
As birds' dawn chorus began and the sun rose, members of the East Yorkshire Motorcycle Action Group took to the road to remember a famous rider.
More than 100 bikers donned their leathers to ride in memory of Fred Hill, who died 29 years ago while fighting the helmet law.
Jolyon Lawson, of the East Yorkshire Motorcycle Action Group (Mag), took part in Saturday's ride from Hull to Beverley.
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"Fred Hill's story has touched a lot of motorcyclists across the country and that is why so many take part in these events to pay tribute to him," he said.
"No one is against the helmet law, it is more to do with having that freedom of choice. I understand the dangers of riding without a helmet and I wear one myself but I also understand why many people would prefer not to.
"Some people like to feel the wind and their hair while riding – that gives them another thrill – where as others feel safer wearing one.
"It is a huge shame that Fred Hill died while fighting for something he believed in so much."
The motorbike fanatic died in prison on the February 10, 1984, while fighting against a law that stated he had to ride his bike wearing a crash helmet.
Born and bred in Yorkshire, Mr Hill served in the British Army during the Second World War before becoming a maths teacher.
In 1973 a law stating it was compulsory to wear a helmet while riding a motorbike was brought in, much to Mr Hill's despair. Three years later, a minority were given exemption from the law which angered Mr Hill and led to him disregarding the new sanction.
He was arrested hundreds of times for not wearing a helmet and was imprisoned 31 times for refusing to pay the fine.
Mr Hill died from heart failure in Pentonville prison while serving his last sentence at the age of 74.
Motorcyclists across the country were also commemorating the anniversary of Mr Hill's death.
MAG has organised memorial rallies every year since Mr Hill's death.
East Yorkshire Mag's route took riders from Kingswood down Beverley Road and along Clive Sullivan Way before finishing at the Foresters Arms in Beverley.
Philip Neale, of Mag said Mr Hill's influence on bikers should never be forgotten.
He said: "Many people will recall the extraordinary example set by Fred Hill in defying the compulsory helmet law.
"Nowhere in the world has anyone made such exceptional sacrifices in the name of bikers' freedoms.
"Whether the helmet issue is important to you or not, we all owe it, not only to Fred but to ourselves, to sustain a ceaseless call for the reform of this outrageous legislation.
"Motorcycling is about freedom. Fred understood that.
"Demonstrations of support by MAG members were frequently staged outside prisons where Fred was held and a commemoration of his efforts is made annually at the gates of Pentonville Prison on the anniversary of his death."
An inquiry into Fred's death resulted in a coroner's report which concluded that Fred's prison experience had not contributed toward his death.
Visit www.east-yorks.mag-uk.org for more information about future rides.