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Don't be a vigilante

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by smileedude, Jun 15, 2015.

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    Riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous. It’s just the cost of doing a thing we enjoy. Clueless, idiotic drivers texting and talking and generally (or literally) jerking off are part of the equation. It sucks. I know. But that doesn’t mean you’ve been deputized as The Enforcer. You’re not helping. And it’s time to drop this self-righteous shit already.

    Nearly every week a helmet cam surfaces of a rider spotting some driver behaving badly. It’s inevitable. And it’s inevitably followed up by the tell-tale headshake, some expletives, and maybe an obscene gesture. Yes, most people are awful drivers. You know it. I know it. It’s a fact of life that can’t be avoided, whether you’re on two wheels or four.

    But the inherent vulnerability of a bike compels some riders take their grievances to the next level. Adrenaline kicks in and a sanctimonious attitude takes over, building up to a tenor that no one would put up with in any civil setting (this kind of shit would never fly in a bar or restaurant). It’s dangerous. And stupid. And the results are entirely predictable.

    Here’s just two examples that have popped up in the last week to prove the point.

    The first comes from the crew at RideApart, which inexplicably gave the rider, Samuel Ayres, a soapbox to stand on after he reprimanded a BMW convertible driver (of course) for playing with his phone at a traffic light. And then the guy clipped him down the road.

    From the video’s YouTube description:

    As I was filtering up to the front of a light, I noticed one particular man in a black BMW convertible. He was very busy texting and talking away on his mobile phone. He became visibly angry when I told him to put down his cell phone while he was in his car.

    You might become “visibly angry” too if someone came out of nowhere and started dropping F-bombs. Ayres might, too. But I certainly understand the urge. Still...

    The BMW driver’s reaction and the ensuing assault – which, according to Ayres, resulted in a concussion, two hairline fractures on his left shoulder and a broken foot – is basically attempted vehicular homicide.

    This asshole needs to go to jail.

    But how culpable is Ayres in spurring the situation to begin with? Did he believe that berating the driver would actually change his behavior forever? Would that one interaction start a cascade of circumstances in which BMW Man tells his friends about the motorcyclist that finally opened his eyes to the dangers of distracted driving? Or was Ayres just pissed – as many of us are – that drivers aren’t focusing on the task at hand, putting our lives at risk in the process, and he decided to finally say something?

    I’m going with the latter, because again, I’ve been there.

    However, that conceited idea that he could somehow change things is just further indication of the twisted sense of superiority some of us feel while on bike – that we choose to ride – despite the risks it poses.

    Then there’s this flaming asshat. He’s riding to the left of a black SUV, thinks the driver could veer into his lane (we’re invisible, after all), and rather than ease off the gas and honk his horn, he twists the throttle, bounces the engine off the rev-limiter, and blows by, calling the lady behind the wheel “a dummy.” And that’s where the civility ended. (Warning: Offensive, disgusting language above).

    After she blasts past him, he follows up to the driver’s side of the SUV, slams on the window, threatens the driver (“I’ll rip your fcuking face off”), and calls her a series of revolting names. All while stopping traffic. And all while her terrified son sits in the passenger seat.

    There’s no excuse for this kind of aggression.

    It’s born out of being in a position of risk, but it also smacks of ego and arrogance. Just the fact that these videos are proudly posted as some kind of trophy collected in their quest to rid the world of idiocy comes off as a strange amalgamation of schadenfreude and narcissism. One rider, out to save the world, and call a woman a “dumb biatch” and “glassy-eyed crackhead.” Or another, who after initiating the situation that lead to his injuries, now wants you to pay for his bills.

    It’s easy to adopt this holier-than-thou attitude on a bike. We see everything because we have to be hyper-aware. We know people (friends, loved ones) that have been hurt or killed by careless – and sometimes unrepentant – drivers. The risk of dying beneath the wheel of the hapless masses is engrained in us early. It’s something we understand. And sometimes, that constant risk avoidance gets the best of us.

    But I’m convinced we’re better than these assholes make us out to be. Maybe we need to take a dedicated motorcyclist anger management class. Or just stick to dirt bikes. Or take a breath and accept the cosmic idiocy of the universe. Because what some of us are doing right now isn’t helping. In fact, it’s making the situation far, far worse.

    Source: Motorcyclists: Please Stop Being Sanctimonious Assholes
    Illustration by Sam Woolley
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  2. Hmmm, Smilee, this should drum up some business.
    I'm tipping 1000 posts in 7 Days.
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  3. I thought the same Wheres me BoikeWheres me Boike . I wonder if there's an equivalent article for drivers? I'm tipping the answer is no.
  4. Didnt have the heart to tell him :)
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  5. But when I spell things wrong it makes WombleWomble cry.
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  6. Hmmm, It's a bit quiet. Well after all it's Monday night and they've had their Snickers bar and Coffees and gone to bed. Just wait till tomorrow when they let their Ego's out from under their Visors, they'll be tugging away at this Thread like two Terriers at a worn Sock.
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  7. Now it's fixed my post makes no sense. Oh, Wheres me BoikeWheres me Boike , up to 5 without any discussion of the actual topic. 1000 should be a breeze.

    By the way, I think yelling at anyone is pointless. They just think you are an idiot, and don't take on your points.
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  8. You'll get no arguing from me, I'm immune to contrived motorcyclist wrath...
  9. [​IMG]
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  10. i had the (un)fortune of being face to face with someone who clipped my buddies bars while overtaking because 'we cut him off'
    dont try to be the big man anywhere that ice addicts and dealers live, they will probably fcuk you up.
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  11. Being pissed off at others inattentiveness/mistakes =/= superiority complex.
    I'm not a better traveller/driver/rider than most on the road, I can be impatient and haphazard at times, but I am still 100% more attentive than an idiot looking at a phone.
    Does that give me a right to tell them off?
    Of course it doesn't, but I still will. Just as much as I expect to be berated if I ride like an idiot... though I experience the most verbal anger by legally filtering to the front. We're the ones with the anger problems, right?
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  12. There are right ways and wrong ways to confront drivers, and you certainly shouldn't put yourself in danger.
    Yes...I am guilty and do very frequently tell distracted drivers off as I feel they are a direct danger to me, but couldn't care any-less if they are doing 90 in a 80 zone etc.

    The main thing is to pass the message firmly and politely (that their actions are socially unacceptable), then move on and don't get angry or continue to torment the driver. This is where the rider that confronted the BMW went wrong.

    I've only ripped into one driver, and that ironically was a BMW as-well who was texting down the freeway then decided to bolt after clipping me. Otherwise its " $433 fine, 4 demerits points...your licence".
  13. Drum roll...I won't buy into this one... time for a lottery ticket everyone. :flame:
    See Mr McsennaMcsenna I am finally exercising some restraint...
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  14. The story is from the USA so it is a reminder that the problem is universal.
    The driver is in charge, or marginally in control, of a 1 - 2 tonne weapon.
    There are nutters out there driving cars but no-one likes being berated in public and as discussed no driver is likely to have a "Road to Damascus" conversion by being yelled at.

    We have agility, better situational awareness and speed, it is pointless, no matter how personally gratifying it may feel at the time, to aggravate someone who can take revenge in the most tragic way.
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  15. #16 Wheres me Boike, Jun 15, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015
    We saw what happened with the Rider Killed in Bankstown thread. That's one Sock and lots of Terriers.
    This Thread has the potential for many socks and many Terriers.

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  16. Last Saturday, during the 15 minute ride to get from my place to my sister's, I had...
    - car stopped in middle (straight ahead) lane at a green light, with left indicator on, waiting for red filter to clear... I swore inside my helmet and gave a little beep of annoyance
    - SUV hanging to left of single lane in 50km zone, doing 35. I crawled along behind for 20 seconds til she finally indicated and pulled in to the kerb. Helmet mutterings.
    - hatchback stopped at a green light waiting for clear space in the junction when there was a perfectly good left hand lane to pull out into. Some more helmet swearing. My impatience took me round the outside. Technically not quite legit
    - another hatchback entering roundabout while I had right of way. Mutterings.

    So, I pulled up out the front of sister's place and switched off the bike. An engine noise persisted. Hmmm. I stole a glance skyward and saw a helicopter. Fark!

    Until a pair of steam trains went by and I realised it was a news chopper, I was slightly concerned.

    Anyway... yes certainly there have been numerous times when I've wanted to tap on a window and give some constructive feedback but I cannot get further than thinking about it. People react badly and I am very vulnerable without a cage (and doors that lock).

    So, I continue on my way and eventually reach home where I wipe all that swearing related spittle from the inside of my visor.
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  17. I agree with not stirring up drivers, there is just far too much to lose given the possible gain.
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  18. Still might be short...

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  19. does a finger waggle = vigilante? :D
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