From the monthly archives:

May 2009

Discretion

by Jeff on May 20, 2009

I just came from getting groceries at the nearby Trader Joes. It’s in a strip mall, and it was busy. Lots of car and foot traffic everywhere.

So I’m walking out the door, and a Kawi green ZX something ridden by a kid in shorts and sneakers blows through the double stop signs. He is weaving back and forth, I guess warming his tires for his next road race, or letting everyone know what a great bike handler he is.

Behind him comes a blue R6. He does a pause, never stops, and accelerates almost pulling the front wheel off the ground just feet from moms walking kids, old people, etc.

A man walking looks back at them flying down the road of the strip mall, catches my eye, shakes his head and says, “Those a**holes are everywhere!”

How ironic, I thought. Pennsylvania ABATE (and others) have a “Motorcycles are everywhere” campaign ongoing to raise positive awareness for riders, and here was a man on the street telling it like he saw it – a sad distortion of the ABATE message, but an honest expression of his gut opinion.

Even though I ride, I had to agree that at least in this one instance, he had a point.

Then to top it off, the oblivious pair of squids in shorts and T-shirts, park their bikes not even a couple hundred yards away, and walk in a store.

If I was a concerned citizen type, I know the LEOs in this particular area would have gladly fielded a call, and would have welcomed the opportunity to have a few words with those riders.

I thought, here was ignorance on top of indiscretion. Personally, if I had ridden like that, I’d have had the sense not to hang around.

My guess is these guys did not even know how their actions were perceived.

They should have though. I know I would have, and if I was reckless and stupid enough to upset shoppers like that, I’d have the sense not to park in the same shopping area within sight of those I’d just offended.

My opinion: Riders represent the sport 100 percent of the time.

If you are having fun, tone it DOWN among the civilians.

Don’t strafe cars with sudden speed out of nowhere (for them) if you pass them, don’t ride too fast right by non-riders which may scare or anger them. Around town, chill out and help improve public opinion instead of making new anti-sportbike enemies.

The average person does not share your enthusiasm, and if you ride in a way that makes a bad name for riders, you are risking the whole sport.

Florida just passed a super-stringent anti-wheelie law.

Cops in New York City and vicinity have been reported as harassing riders for the past three years with aggressive apprehension and pullover tactics, on-the-spot “safety” inspections, and giving tickets for the least infraction.

All over the place, there are legislators on all levels who have no idea about motorcycles except an opinion that they are dangerous. They have no sympathy for riders or their rights, and are looking for any excuse to create anti-bike laws of one sort or another.

Anti-bike sentiment can happen anywhere, and as it is, it already at least somewhat exists everywhere.

Don’t give them and those like them the ammunition they need!

The freedoms we enjoy with motorcycles that perform incredibly are a privilege, not a right.

My suggestion: To whom it applies: Please be discrete. Represent all of us riders, and don’t give strangers reason to tell other strangers “those a**holes are everywhere!”

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