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What Do We Do About Idiots?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Bravus, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. It's been a bit of a subtheme of the board in the past week or so, from the 'other side of the windscreen' and 'riders cause...' threads as well as other places. I'm a bit of a n00b, so it may well be an on-going theme here as well, but I thought I'd raise the question.

    Let me come at it from an angle. I'm a teacher, and in fact now I teach teachers. The majority of teachers are committed, excellent and professional. A small minority are slack, lazy, abusive and shouldn't be in the profession. But the union's job is to protect teachers, and the result is that it is sometimes seen to be protecting these bad teachers, and resisting the moves that would get rid of them. That seems to be against the interests of the majority of teachers, whose reputations are being damaged... I imagine it's the same for most/all unions.

    So what do we do with dangerous, irresponsible riders? I've seen examples of both "throw the book at 'em" and defending responses here. I think that particularly because riders sometimes feel under siege already from the broader society the automatic response is to defend fellow riders. But in cases like the ones that got me thinking about this issue, I think that's unhelpful.

    I think there's a further distinction to be made - between really bad, dangerous, stupid and irresponsible riders versus those who are exhuberant and might stretch the law a bit but do it in a careful, responsible and (as far as possible) safe way. In other words, I don't think we can say "throw the book at 'em" for any little infraction of the law: sometimes the law is crazy and even unsafe, and there's also the "let him who is without sin cast the first stone" problem. But things like overtaking over double lines on a crest or blind corner are in a completely different category.

    My own take on the issue is that riders need to very vocally condemn and dissociate themselves from that kind of behaviour... Whaddaya reckon?
  2. Agreed wholeheartedly. The only problem is that these sorts of riders (those that don't necessarily agree with how I ride or those who I have ridden with - safe but with room for fun) don't associate with us. How can we condemn and dissociate when they already dissociate themselves?

    I have found that riders already choose to ride with like-minded riders, and only once have I been in a situation where I felt really uncomfortable how another person rode around me (and another rider spoke up for me - I was a brand new rider at the time).
  3. Ostracising works well. If they ride like a tool, they will soon find they are not welcome on group rides I suspect.
    Then again, group riding for some packs of "sports riders" I have seen seems to be all about pushing teh envelope, no matter how uncomfortable they are.
    I recently watched a group of four riders up this way go through a corner, and 3 of the four ran wide over double lines. And I mean WIDE.
    What do you do? Anyone who can fog a mirror in Australia can get a licence.

    Regards, Andrew.
  4. Got one question to ask here. Is it the numerical value of the speed, or the speed AND location, that is causing you to sigh?
  5. Could it be the unlicensed and wet road factor?
    Regards, Andrew.
  6. The guy is unlicensed and speeding...

    No matter what put in place i.e. lowering the speed limit, more policing, etc. would fix the problem :? There will always be that certain percentage of the population ...
  7. That's part of situational criteria. I was just interested in hornet's singling out of the speed alone, rather than the situational circumstances. 208kph is not of itself dangerous or every racer would be dead.
  8. I expected better of you than that, Stew.

    208 kph is illegal on any road in Australia bar the NT, and is a wonderful piece of PR for riders like you and me who seek to obey the law, but like to go a bit quick every now and then. I can't see what your racetrack comment has to do with a person, irrespective of vehicle, being more than double the posted limit on the street?????
  9. or, i suppose, we could obey the road laws we know exist, and then maybe this problem might not be so significant-if present at all.

    I'm no saint-don't pretend to be- but thought this perspective might be worth a mention

    '...versus those who are exhuberant and might stretch the law a bit but do it in a careful, responsible and (as far as possible) safe way"

    what is responsible about breaking the law? Where is the safety in this- i will suppose the rider who did 208 in a 100 zone thought he would be safe or he (or she) would not have done it? So how would you define safe?

    ...just some more thoughts to add to the pot.
  10. Paul, the issue here is the idiot on the bike. What defines idiocy though is what I'm getting at. You singled out 208kph alone, which doesn't seem to gel with your stated comment of "go a bit quick every now and then". If speed alone makes an idiot, then both you and I are idiots.

    The guy was an idiot because he was unlicensed, going very fast on wet and slippery roads, and in a city environment.

    If someone instead did 208kph on a back road that they knew well, that had clear vision to the horizon, keeping in mind that at 200kph you can pull a bike up in around 180m if you know what you're doing, without rural driveways. Then is such a person automatically an idiot too?

    I'm just wanting to see some clarification on the definition of idiot, because if it's based upon exceeding the posted speed limit alone, I'm definitely an idiot, and I'd hazard a pretty good guess that you are too, or have been one at some point in your past.
  11. idiocy, well there's a lot of definitions.

    I think of idiocy as people who squid in Canberra winters, speed excessively (more than 20kph over the limit on city streets. highways and back roads aren't so bad). It's popping monos and stoppies when not on a racetrack/other place specifically for it.

    I'm sure I can think of more, but i really can't be bothered going into it all.
  12. Stew, I accept your thesis unreservedly

    I probably should not have linked the 208kph incident to a thread that had the emotive word 'idiot' in it; I guess I'm still a bit leery after what I described in my "The Law IS an ass" thread.
  13. Yeah, I agree that keeping 100% within the law at all times would probably address most of these issues... I'm just not sure it's a realistic approach. How about on freeway where every single car is doing 15-30 over the limit and it's dangerous to ride at the speed limit?

    By all means if that's the approach that works for you, go for it. I thought it made sense to try to make a distinction, though, between the kind of things that every driver/rider might do occasionally, and truly, deeply stupid sh.. ,er, stuff that has a high probability of getting you or someone else killed.
  14. Spot-on. THere was this 40kph zone which I drove religiously and I just couldn't belive the amout of abuse I got from other drivers!!! Imagine that on a motorcycle!!
  15. It doesnt matter what you do, if you ride bakies, drive cars, fly paper aeroplanes etc.. There will always be irresponsible people that also enjoy doing whatever it is that you do.

    These people are the reason we have rules in the first place. If everyone behaved in a civilized manner we wouldnt need rules at all.

    Dont worry so much about the fools, theyll sort themselves out eventually.
  16. Thanks Paul.

    Sorry for singling you out, but I admit to using your post as an example.

    While I applaud the sentiment of the opening post, it has logistical difficulties. If riders are to be ostracized, then by what measures are we to ostracize them for? Who gets to decide that? What characterises an idiot?

    Ask 100 different people and I'm sure we'll get 100 different answers.

    JohnnyO asked a good question yesterday on his ride, and I think that it probably spells out the issue. "What is common group ride etiquette?", asked in terms of what can one do around other group riders.

    For me, I summed it up as "No overtaking on the left, ever, and if you do overtake, leave at least 1.5m (5') of clearance around the overtaken rider at all times". Following those two simple rules pretty much means that if you're pushing the envelope, you're unlikely to take someone else out.

    That's group ride etiquette though. Outside of a group ride, people who are truly dangerous don't tend to go on group rides themselves, mostly because they don't like the reactions they get at the next stop.

    So it all boils down to "How do the stop the idiots?". I think that's a question that applies across humanity as a whole, and is one that is way too hard to solve.
  17. Something tells me he wasn't the only person in Australia who did 200kph in 100kph zone on the weekend...

    Or any other weekend...
  18. This thread is only a few posts old and already it is looking like degenerating into the same old stand-off between the no-tolerance " the law-is-the-law" brigade and the "200+ is safe on a bike" mob.
    Rather than go through all that again., how about we stick to the things that we can maybe all agree on, like crossing double lines on blind corners - that kind of thing.
    There are some behaviours that even the most hard-charging riders must know in the guts are just plain wrong. We've seen this last weekend that it CAN affect other road users, so it's not just about personal risk taking and choices.
    Bravus' posed the question about how we react to others who ride in a manner that WE know is unacceptable. I suppose if you don't find anything unacceptable then you won't feel like saying or doing anything anyway.
    But what about the rest of us? I'm reluctant to tell other people what to do at any time, but my gut tells me it's not right to just let people go on doing stupid shit without trying to do SOMETHING about it.
    For my part, I will only speak if I think it's going to be heard. If I see a learner do something foolish I might try and talk them through it without being judgemental. But if it's a skilled or experienced rider that just disregards the safety of others (yes, it does happen) I might be more likely to say "That was f*(ked" and leave them to it. They probably won't take it well on the spot, but at least they'll know they haven't got the implicit approval of other riders.
  19. I know. I was doing the limit (80) on a road near home, and once was tailgated so closely that after dropping a good 20k off my speed, if I'd slowed any further, he would have hit me. I was too scared to slow down further.