Dec 6, 2009

Why Not?

All Rights Reserved © 2008 Thomas W. Day

"I have attention deficit disorder. Can I ride a motorcycle?"

Sure, why not.

"Will I be safe in freeway traffic?"

Probably not. I expect you'll get killed or maimed in your first week in traffic.

"That's not fair"

You have attention deficit disorder. Motorcycling is a high concentration activity. Get used to it. Life is like that. In fact, nature intended life to be only for the fit.

"I have dyslexia, can I ride a motorcycle?"

"I weigh 400 pounds and can barely lift a coffee cup with out experiencing chest pains, can I ride a motorcycle?"

"I am blind in one eye and can't see out of the other, can I ride a motorcycle?"

"My little (22 year old) boy is dumb as a post, irresponsible, and couldn't find his own nose with a 1x12, should I buy him a motorcycle?"

Sure, why not? All of you should take out a second mortgage and buy the biggest, ugliest hippobike you can find. Slap some loud pipes on it, for safety's sake, and slip that big monster into heavy traffic. Do your bit to solve overpopulation. Why not?

We live in a victim-based, entitlement-sheltered, litigious culture where everyone is not only "created equal" but where many believe the legal system can overrule the laws of physics and common sense. My home state once attempted to legislate pi to 3.00 (actually, 3 without decimal places to keep the concept simple), for convenience and orderly-ness sake. Pi, however, remained its unruly self and the universe remained inconveniently hostile to simple minds. The universe is a really big place and, in the overall scheme of it, we're insignificant as a planet, of no notable consequence as a species, and totally non-existent as motorcyclists. We can make all the dumbass laws we want without making the slightest dent in the effects of gravity, velocity, mass, acceleration and deceleration, centripetal forces, entropy, or mortality.

Outside of being a tiny part of a really big picture, the problem with a motorcycle is that, regardless of our distaste for the inconvenience, a motorcycle will remain a two-wheeled vehicle with minimal safety features and a high skill requirement. You can be dyslexic, ADD-afflicted, uncoordinated, physically incapacitated, and a total moron and public transportation can, probably, still help you to your intended destination. At the least, a cage will surround you in a shock-absorbent, crash enclosure that will probably shield you from your inabilities and indiscretions. A motorcycle will spit you off, fling you into fast moving traffic, and--if you time it carefully--add insult to injury by landing on top of you after other obstacles have had their way with your mangled body.

Even if you are in the prime of life, at the peak of human capacity and a nuclear-physicist-brain-surgery-performing-rocket-scientist, a motorcycle, Murphy, and Mother Nature can still find a way to maim or annihilate you. If astronaut John Glenn can practically kill himself stepping out of a shower, zipping down the highway on two wheels at 100 feet-per-second has to be pushing the limits of reasonable activities. Of course, that also applies to flying an airplane, hang gliding, sky and scuba diving, bicycling, playing most sports, running, climbing or descending stairs, jumping rope, and talking about religion, love, or politics in public.

Many high risk activities have restrictive entry requirements. To rent or fill scuba tanks, for example, you have to successfully complete accredited scuba diving training. Before you're allowed to jump out of an airplane, you have to suffer through hours of closely monitored instruction. Motorcycling is less carefully controlled. Like getting a driver's license, the state's licensing program is designed to hand out certifications in Cracker Jack boxes. If you can't meet the current requirements for getting a motorcycle license, you might not be safe outside of a padded room.

Regardless of the state's low standards of acceptance, we humans ought to exercise a little uncommon sense. If your legs are broken, don't run marathons. If you're blind, don't waste your money on computer aided design college classes. If you can't sing, don't expect Simon Whatshisface to say nice things about your voice. If you aren't physically and mentally able to deal with the demands of managing a motorcycle in heavy traffic, if you can't control your panic reactions, if you don't have the self-discipline to constantly work on your riding skills, stay away from motorcycles. Yes, you can "ride" all of the motorcycle video games you like, but don't touch real iron. You'll create even more enemies for an otherwise perfectly useful mode of transportation. You'll add to our already miserable statistics. You'll get killed. We'll end up with more moronic laws, more employment for useless lawyers, and you'll still be dead.

I've changed my mind. No, you can't ride a motorcycle.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you - great polemic. It refreshes the reader with the feeling that some of the BS has - at least for the moment - been washed off.

    KC

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful!! Not everyone is "entitled" to join the crowd and do everything their little hearts desire, even ride motorcycles. Puzzled by your rant against the DMVs of the world. In California at least (and I know you've been here), a driving/riding test is required either by the DMV examiner or the MSF class. While I aced the written test, it took two tries to pass the riding part -- so something must be right if they actually fail people. My guess is the MSF folk need to fail a certain percentage of people else the CHP will refuse to certify the classes. I certainly learned a great deal in the two classes I took some years ago and plan to take an advanced class early next year.


    Keep up the great work.

    Dave

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonderful!! Not everyone is "entitled" to join the crowd and do everything their little hearts desire, even ride motorcycles. Puzzled by your rant against the DMVs of the world. In California at least (and I know you've been here), a driving/riding test is required either by the DMV examiner or the MSF class. While I aced the written test, it took two tries to pass the riding part -- so something must be right if they actually fail people. My guess is the MSF folk need to fail a certain percentage of people else the CHP will refuse to certify the classes. I certainly learned a great deal in the two classes I took some years ago and plan to take an advanced class early next year.


    Keep up the great work.

    Dave

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Dave,

    At least for cagers, I've watched DMV employees in 4 states assist folks who couldn't read, see, or drive to pass the tests and get their licenses (including CA). I think the test ought to be harder than it is and it ought to be mandatory that everyone retake both the written and driving test every few years. Until you pass 60 then a retest ought to happen every couple of years.

    ReplyDelete
  5. In California, at age 70 everyone must retake both written and driving test every year. Most seem to do so; I have a 90+ neighbor who just bought a new Camry and still drives. Some years ago an 84 year old man killed a bunch of people in Santa Monica. That was the impetus for the law.

    Personally, I plan to be still riding at least until I'm 85 or so.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow! That's brilliant. I wish Minnesota had that much common sense. I hope to ride my whole life, but life sometimes has different plans for us. However, no one's desires or incapacities should be allowed to risk other's lives. One of the beauties of motorcycling is that we put ourselves at risk without putting others in much jeopardy.

    This time of year, I can almost miss living in California. California’s winter riding season is the best in the nation. Mild weather, occasional rain, and PCH combine almost all of my favorite memories of California.

    ReplyDelete

Disagree? Bring it on. Have more to add? Feel free to set me straight.(Spammers get serious. Spam goes straight to trash and is never read.)