In the wake of Boris Johnson’s criticism of the Burka, motorcycle instructor Liam Bradley has slammed a Shell garage in Blackburn, Lancashire, claiming he was told to remove his open face helmet – while a woman in a burka filled up next to him.

Bradley obliged and removed his open face helmet, but was left furious, after noticing a woman in a burka filling up unchallenged at the same time as him. The incident follows on from Boris Johnson’s recent comments about the burka – which he described as looking like a ‘letterbox’.


Taking to Facebook, Bradley branded the treatment he received as ‘racism at work in Britain’ – and the post subsequently went viral with more than 6,000 likes, comments and shares.

He went on to say: “It just annoyed me basically. The main reason it annoyed me is because it is a petrol station I’ve used hundreds of times because we work in the area. We used to use the petrol station as a rest break with the students and they would go and buy their chocolate and drinks from there. So we are always seen around that station and have always been nothing but courteous or respectful. I had an open face helmet so people could see my identity. The lady behind the till has served me on hundreds of occasions. And yet there was a lady there wearing a burka filling up. I could understand it if I was there with a full face helmet on, on a dodgy looking bike, sat there on the back with the engine running while filling up – could totally understand that. But not when I have put thousands of pounds through that station over the years. I have not been asked to remove my helmet before. I don’t want to pursue it any further but I won’t be returning to that garage again.”


Bradley, who was riding his Yamaha Tracer 900, claims it was the first time he has ever been asked to remove his helmet while filling up at the garage, during his three years as an instructor in the local area. Despite his frustration, he didn’t speak directly to the garage, instead choosing to vent on social media.

“Obviously I wasn’t expecting it to go viral like this, if that’s what people call it. It was a surprise to strike a chord in that way. It was never my intention to set off what has happened on Facebook. I put my point across and then everyone has carried on.”


Bradley added that it was by chance that his comments came in the wake of Boris Johnson’s burka criticism.

“There is a lot of stuff going on now that I am just going to let it take its course if you know what I mean. There are lots of arguments on it that I’m keeping out of basically. I’m not getting into a debate on what should be done or what shouldn’t be done because the way it might be taken is something totally different, and that’s what’s happened on Facebook at the moment. In fact, I go to quite a few BP stations that are ran by Asians and I have never have a problem – they always let me fill up with my helmet on as I have my face showing.”

Have you been asked to remove your helmet at a garage? What do you think about Bradley’s reaction?

Ross Mowbray
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