I’m not a bike guy. I don’t care if you are. I watch for motorcycles just as I watch for cars, bicycles, joggers, duckies, UFOs, and pedestrians. I don’t watch out for these things because I don’t want to hurt you. And no, I don’t want to hurt you. I hope you don’t want to hurt me. I watch out for them because I am a responsible person, and sometimes being responsible means watching out for the other guy. Especially when the other guy is a wiener.
That being said, it’s Saturday morning, and wifey is driving. We’re in Miami. She suddenly starts saying, “Oh my God, oh my God.” I hear what sounds like gears grinding as a Jeep comes alongside us. I tell her not to worry, it’s probably a kid learning to drive a manual transmission (they still exist, right?) and she tells me someone fell off a bike.
That’s different. I start to jump out of the car in case I can be of help. I’m no hero, but I’d like to think I can keep calm in bad situations and maybe offer some help.
The bright yellow crotch-rocket is lying in the center lane on its starboard side. The rider is standing 20 yards behind it, removing his helmet. He takes it off to reveal a young face and a wry smile, kind of an “Oh shit, my bad” kind of smile, I get back in the car. He’s fine. We drive along westbound to get onto the highway and not three minutes pass before Road Rash Ricky zips past us, squeezing between cars, riding the lines, asking for another asphalt loofa treatment.
Some people never learn. I’m not sure those are people worth saving.
Everywhere you look, there are stickers reminding us Watch Out For Motorcycles. How about stickers telling motorcyclists to watch out for cars? I’d rather not be involved in a crash with a motorcycle, but I ain’t worried about it. My money is on my five-thousand pound SUV. Any takers?
The issue with these and other “awareness” campaigns is that too many of them seem to shift responsibility away from those who should be watching out for themselves. This is the second motorcycle accident my kids have witnessed in as many months, in each, the rider acted like he had no responsibility for his own safety.
On a similar note, much is made of bullying. We had our own anti-bullying campaign when I was a kid. It consisted of beating the bully’s ass. We’re all tough until we taste our own blood. Now, we highlight the victims. We shift attention away from the problem and the real solutions. Teach your kids to defend themselves, and bullies won’t be an issue. I’m not for a moment defending bullies. I’m just asking for a little personal responsibility. Tell bikers they’ll be responsible for their screw-ups, and you’ll see less of what I saw on Saturday.
The stickers, like the pink NFL uniform enhancements, ribbons, and buckets of ice-water, exist not to solve a problem (have they ever?) and not to create awareness (we all know what cancer is and most people can’t tell you why they dumped ice-water over their heads). They do it for the same reason they dance the Macarena. They do it to be part of the crowd. They do it because stickers absolve them of any real responsibility and tell the world that they care and are therefore good people.
I watch out for motorcycles not because a sticker tells me so. I do it because I want to be safe. I don’t want my vehicle damaged. I don’t want to be there when a person dies a violent death, even if it was their own doing. I donate to the homeless. I pray. I do little things to help make my world a little better. None of those things have anything to do with damaging my car… nor with stickers or motorcycles.
by Adolfo Jiménez – Membership Committeeman, Libertarian Party of Broward County