5 Oct 2013

A Biker's Point of View on the SUV vs Biker Attack

I'm a biker. I passed my test when I was 33 because I moved to a new job in a city where parking and traffic made driving almost impossible. For three years I commuted to work every single day - even in the snow.

Now, nine years later I mainly ride for fun because I work from home. I usually drive places but I have a bike (a Triumph) and ride when the feeling takes me, and when I have to go into London.

I consider myself part of the biker community, but I rarely ride with other bikers. Biking is about freedom and individuality, and if you ride as part of a gang you tend to lose that and become part of an amorphous group.

This summer I broke that rule when four of us toured Scotland. It was huge fun. We were all over 40, and possibly a bit rough round the edges, but we behaved just as we normally do.

We rode at sensible(ish) speeds, we overtook vast trains of cars without endangering ourselves or the drivers and when we met people we were our usual selves. We didn't turn into idiots just because we were part of a group. We just enjoyed ourselves.

In other words we were four individuals who happened to be riding together, but we retained our own ideas of how we should ride and behave - and didn't form a pack mentality.

Based on the videos and accounts I've seen, some of the bikers who form Hollywood Stuntz seem to be a) idiots in the first place and b) the individual's behaviour was skewed by the needs and personality of the tribe. They all became worse arse clowns than they were in the first place.

They seemed to want to show off, intimidate car drivers, be a menace to society, be above the law and generally behave like the BRMC, Toecutter's Gang or even The Black Widows (kudos to who can name all three films).

The tribe formed an anti-social personality and the bikers within that tribe adopted the collective personality.

But not all bikers are like that. Most of us are individuals. Most us retain a sense of individuality, even when riding with other bikers. The members of Hollywood Stuntz don't represent mainstream bikers or biker behaviour.

The behaviours adopted by certain individuals in Hollywood Stuntz are not necessarily those of bikers devoid of moral values, they're just morally bankrupt humans who happen to be bikers.

I was shocked when I viewed the videos and read the reports. I sided with the Range Rover driver. Even though I hadn't seen what had happened before the video the clustering of the bikes around the SUV, and resultant intimidation, was inexcusable. The fact it escalated into a nasty confrontation (and injury) was, to me, as a result of the biker gang's actions.

Please don't tar all us bikers with the same brush.

This article first appeared on Jalopnik.  I've Anglicised it slightly for Speedmonkey

Article by Matt Hubbard