Jul 1, 2012
The American Dream?
I've been researching crash statistics and biker data interpretations of those results for a future Geezer column. One of the side-effects of that research is discovering how goofy motorcyclists are as a group. Sometimes, it's hard to believe that the people commenting on helmet laws, loud exhaust systems, crash data, and articles about motorcycling in the mass media are capable of paying an internet bill to maintain their computer access. Maybe this is a terrible consequence of having computers in public libraries?
Back in 2007, the New York Times interviewed a character named Lou O’Connell who was, possibly, the first rider "saved' by the airbag on his Goldwing. In that interview, O'Connell said something that might ring true for too many motorcyclists, “The American dream is to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.” His experience in crashing his Goldwing changed his mind and, supposedly, he will always be wearing a helmet after his airbag experience. Good for you, Lou.
Regardless of the airbag bit, I want to know when riding helmetless became an "American dream?" What happened to rags-to-riches, home-ownership, public education, democracy, freedom and liberty, and all of the things I thought were the core of the American Dream? Riding without a helmet? What the hell kind of dream is that? We used to be a nation that was famous for dreaming big. Now, an Irishman comes to the U.S. to enjoy riding helmetless because he's been told that's the new American dream. How the mighty have fallen.