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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought I would share a great post I found on BARF

XRsick50 said:
There are a lot of threads on BARF that talk about safety and the positive, general public view of motorcycles and riders. Where I am a huge proponent of upping the awareness of these two issues, I have come to realize that most of our efforts are done in vain.

Let's look at prejudice and biases, in general. Certain ethnic groups i.e. blacks, have been discriminated against, tortured, terrorized and oppressed since the time they came to the United States. Although times have definetely changed, there are some areas in this country where racism and prejudice still run rampant; let's not forget the words that are said behind closed doors. Not only that, there was a major revolution in thinking called the Civil Rights Movement, which still, to this day, did little to affect generations of negative thinking. With all the education, movements and re-writing of history books - the black American still has to face the ugly head of racism.

Now, let's look at a much smaller group and, IMO, a less important group in the eye of the general public - the motorcycle community. Since the production and marketing of the motorcycle to the general public, especially with the idea of "biker gangs", motorcycle riders have been portrayed and viewed as thugs and outlaws. With movies such as Torque and BikerBoyz, although we laugh at them on these boards, they truly do make an impact on the way people percieve us. To make matters heightened, there still ARE biker gangs and groups, and as much as they say they are organized for good and positivity - with leather vests and logos, the perception of us does not change. Think about what a group of 50 sportbikes at Starbucks looks like to the mini-van soccer mom - not very inviting, unless she rides, is married to, or knows somebody who rides. Otherwise, it looks like a scene right out of one of those movies.

Even sportriders decked out in head-to-toe safety gear: people in mini-vans are not saying, "Wow, look at how safe he is!" They are saying, "These racers on these crotch rockets are going to kill somebody!"

Motorcycle riders also do things which are perfectly legal (i.e. lane sharing) that the general public views as dangerous and illegal. Even a normal pass can be perceived as threatening as they are usually done with some good torque and a throaty motor sound.

Let's not forget the things we do illegally - which by the accounts we read on these boards, are done frequently. I, myself, fess up to these activities at times (wheelies, stoppies, hooliganism).

BARF and other moto forums, although very popular amongst ourselves, are virtually invisible to the people we are trying to convince - many of our efforts of teaching the general public about what we do are virtually invisible. The general public, unless riders themselves, don't care about us. When was the last time you saw an American TV commercial about motorcycle safety? When was the last time you saw a billboard asking drivers to watch out for us? It doesn't happen because the general public just doesn't care.

So, before calling out other riders about riding with high beams, group riding, safety gear, passing in the twisties, speeding, etc. and saying "Your attitude is why the general public perceives us the way they do...", let's look at the GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS - we've been stereotyped from the very get-go.

Flaming a rider on this invisible-to-the-gernal-public board is just beating a dead horse and preaching to the choir. When the moto community DOES step out to the general public, you don't see people in mini-vans, sedans, or normal, non-riding people from the community - what do you see? A BUNCH OF PEOPLE ON MOTORCYCLES!

We can all be riding around with bright orange suits and helmets within the speed limit on Ninja 250's, and they will STILL hate us. For every perfectly good, safe rider there are thousands and thousands of those who fit the negative stereotype that's prevalent among the general public. We all look like racers, clowns, thugs, outlaws, "born-to-be-wild" folks, or lane-sharing, pompous commuters (who I think the general public stuck in traffic get's most angry at).

Ride safe, ride well, and know that the odds are against us. Until we get those TV commercials, billboards, pamphlets, etc. we have a serious uphill battle that's going to last a long time.

9,233 Posts

true, i have had about 6 people who i know that think i am crazy, even though ill have helmet jacket gloves boots on.

shit sucks
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