Sunday, October 6, 2013

Editorial: An Open Letter to the Motorcycling Community

Fellow motorcyclists,

Last week, a video of an altercation in New York City between a group on motorcycles, affiliated with a Hollywood Stuntz event, and a family in a Range Rover emerged on the Internet. The video showed a bunch of squidly riders swarming around the black SUV, one of them intentionally brake-checking the driver. When a slight bump occurred, the reaction from bikers was to mob the SUV and physically assault the vehicle and threaten the driver and his family, causing the driver to panic and attempt to escape the situation, resulting in at least one serious injury. To further fan the flames, additional footage was revealed prior to the incident showing the motorcyclists all over the road, riding recklessly, and violating countless laws. Add to that the ultimate outcome of the altercation with the Range Rover, which includes assaulting the driver, and it is clear that these squids are nothing more than the undesirable dregs of our community.

Such deplorable behavior from bikers, whether we like them or not, sullies the good name of those of us who are responsible motorcyclists. The fact that there has not been a unified refutation of these individuals from the motorcycling community at large is almost equally disheartening. Instead of condemning the actions of these delinquents, our tepid response simply allows us to be implicated as tacitly accepting such irresponsibility. Why would those of us who ride responsibly want to have any association with people who risk not only their own lives, but the lives of others, especially the life of a child?

As motorcyclists, we want other motorists to respect us. We fight for our right to safely share the roads. We fight to get motoring laws changed to improve our safety. However, when we fail to speak out against behavior that makes us all look like thugs and criminals, we set those actions back and create more enemies who will fight against our common cause.  If our goal is to make the roads safer and more enjoyable for all road users, we must be willing to not only to answer a call to arms when something bad happens to one of our own; we must also be prepared to leap to action when elements within our community commit transgressions that no sane person would stand for.

If our goal is truly to fight for our rights as motorcyclists, we must recognize that criminal behavior is not only undesirable, but intolerable. While it may seem like nothing more than words, distancing ourselves from those people who commit such atrocities, who demonstrate such a cavalier attitude towards their own safety and the safety of others, helps other motorists to distinguish between those of us who are responsible riders that take everyone's safety into consideration and those selfish clowns who believe that they somehow are above the law.

Let us draw a line in the sand at this incident and stop enduring those who sully our good name. Let us no longer stand idly by when members of our community commit reckless acts against other motorists. Let us vocally castigate and physically cast out those who believe that their egotistical self-gratification is more important than the safety of others around them.

Please pass this letter to our fellow motorcyclists and encourage them to be more active in voicing their derision for the riders in this incident. If we wish to recruit more people to help our motorcycling cause, we must show that we are amenable to condemning the actions of those among us who create chaos.

East Brother

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