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Open Phones: Motorcyclists Reflect on West Side Road Rage

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Motorcyclists: what would you put in a motorcyclists' bill of rights and responsibilities?

 

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Comments [50]

As a middle aged woman, with a well-paying, high-expectation career, I am pleased that this has caught the attention of many female motorcyclists. I am certainly not what many think of as a "biker." I love motorcycling, have 5 motorcycles in the garage, and am appalled by the behavior of many motorcyclists on the road today. Whether it was a motorcycle gang or a flash mob of motorcyclists who decided to make there own rules in the recent incidents in NYC, what they did is wrong and projects the worst possible image of motorcyclists.

I am a strong supporter of the American Motorcyclist Association, mandatory motor cycle safety training, noise limits, helmet laws, and respect for others. The argument that spending $350 to obtain a motorcycle endorsement is not affordable is a poor argument. If you can afford $5k for a motorcycle, you can afford to learn how to responsibly use it.

I find the use of "gang" to describe motorcyclist is a bit prejudiced. The late Malcolm Forbes had a "gang" called the Capitalist Tools. These leaders of business and industry set a great example for those of us who strive to be ambassadors of a great sport, based on friendship, camaraderie, and good deeds towards others - not only in our work lives but in our personal lives.

For those of you who are quick to place all motorcyclists in a group of criminals, please take a moment to rethink your stand.

Here's to the majority of motorcyclists who do ride responsibly, treat ALL others with respect, obey traffic laws, and still have a great time!

Oct. 10 2013 09:47 PM
Deborah Held from Brooklyn, NY

The behavior of motorcyclists, alone and in packs has become increasingly risky and obnoxious. On the Garden State Parkway last summer the rocketing hot shots weaving in and out and roaring by in their own special lanes between the slower vehicles was rampant, dangerous, antisocial and of course unchecked by any kind of police presence. It made the trip a nightmare. It's no different on the Long Island Expressway or the Jersey Turnpike, or I 95 to Washington DC.
Why should a motorcyclist be allowed to speed along, or even cruise slowly, between the lanes when traffic slows? Is that legal? If so, it should be made illegal. It not, there should be police enforcement of the laws. But now it seems the police are for whatever reason not inclined to ticket the motorcyclists, even when they become a terrifying pack of testosterone fueled batterers. Why is that? Put cameras on our highways and roads and catch these guys.

Oct. 10 2013 02:54 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

Jessie Henshaw - So to school Mr. Bad, you simply repeat what you said prior?

To whom is this lesson valuable? The police? I ask because we're the choir. We understand the gang dynamic, groupthink, most psychological mores. We get the motivation, and that's not going to change on the part of the riders. Even a complete understanding of these concepts on the part of non-riders or law-abiding riders isn't going to change it.

When they're blowing past your apartment, rattling your windows, all the philosophy takes a back seat to the idea that enforcement of laws is the only way forward.

Oct. 10 2013 02:23 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

Lenore - Don't be silly. Don't you know nobody walks in L.A.? Where are these pedestrians there of which you speak?

Oct. 10 2013 02:13 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

Steve from the Upper West Side - No. This is a roadway, for vehicles going from point A to point B. Want to do stunts? Get the equivalent of a velodrome or an empty parking lot. If the whole thing is about exhibitionism, then make it public. But a big "NO!" to using public roadways, where liability to the general public is at stake. That's irresponsible, and only feeding the beast.

Oct. 10 2013 01:57 PM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

@'Mr. Bad'?? You speak as it you got half the message of my comment, and wondered where such a unique point of view might have come from...

It's natural science, from the study of the natural behaviors that develop by viral contagions, in "bursts" of growth and change. It's what you discover when studying the flows of development that result in permanent changes in how our environment works.

fyi see http://synapse9.com/signals

..re your: Mr. Bad from NYC
@ Jessie Henshaw from way uptown -- What was that, freestyle poetry? That's some way out prose man, I can dig it. Stay in school.What was that, freestyle poetry? That's some way out prose man, I can dig it. Stay in school.

....re my:Jessie Henshaw from way uptown
It's kind of embarrassing, to everyone, that the parallels to "extreme social pack behavior" are a very big part if our lives, prevalent in nature and in human cultures and both highly rich and fruitful for the social pack animals WE are, as well as highly dangerous for how easily they can become uncontrolled and destructive.

With the "war fever" that invariably precedes societies going to war, it's an uncontrollable convulsion and group revolution with an emotional threat to the group cohesion. These are largely unstudied or discussed, but highly dangerous when they do go out of control.

To really understand it you need to consider the problem "out of context" to erase your assumptions, and expose the problems. Individual dogs can run free with no harm to anyone day after day, but if a number of dogs are running free they tend to form packs that respond in very unpredictable ways as a group. Should we have "leash laws" for bikers, as the kind of crude legal mechanism needed to intercede??

Obviously I'd prefer the opposite sort of "intervention", to educate people to recognize social dynamics, to "feel what's happening" and "chill" when it's within reach of the thresholds of disaster we all know can be crossed. Everyone says they're "against war" but tend to keep falling into taking part in the social rages that bring it about, for not knowing how to recognize or respond to it. Generally.. when people see what's "going down" some "mom" shows up to distract the hooligans from what's going out of control.

Oct. 10 2013 12:47 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

This group of bikers are a pack of wolves that need to be hunted down.

Oct. 10 2013 12:24 PM

"Hollywood Stuntz" - so badass, braugh!

...totally "extreme".

Oct. 10 2013 12:10 PM
Daniel from Manhattan

Loud pipes on motorcycles get more attention to the poseurs who like to be noticed. No statistics support the assertion that they increase safety. BTW Harleys are not the only offenders, screaming crotch rockets can be loud and annoying as well if you wind them up to high RPM (unnecessary if you're not racing)

Oct. 10 2013 12:08 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Where were the cops? Millions are spent on “anti-terrorism.” Millions are spent to check up on Muslims in their Mosques and communities mean while a bunch of terrorists on bikes are not stopped.
Where is the police helicopter spotter?
Chief Kelly needs to account for this.

Oct. 10 2013 12:07 PM
Lenore from Manhattan

Actually, traffic with motorcycles, bicycles, cars, and also pedestrians is generally anarchic in NYC. NOBODY obeys the rules. I hated when Giuliani tried to police jaywalking, which I indulge in all the time. That said, in Los Angeles in the city, everyone follows the rules. Who would'a thunk it?

Is a basic culture change required?

Oct. 10 2013 12:05 PM

@dboy you raise some interest points

Oct. 10 2013 12:05 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

What was that, freestyle poetry? That's some way out prose man, I can dig it. Stay in school.

Oct. 10 2013 12:04 PM

NYPD: Too busy setting up ticket stings and writing quota citations.

BS!

Oct. 10 2013 12:02 PM
Janet from NYC-Manhattan

It interests me that there is no mention of "consideration," in terms of noise. Motor cyclists have every right to enjoy riding their vehicles, but in addition to whatever laws may be in place to regulate them, what about the obvious fact that they are deafening and very intrusive to the people along their way?

Oct. 10 2013 12:01 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ steve from upper west side

How about we just start confiscating bikes? They can do it for DWI's, I think it's the perfect solution. You'll see how quickly the whole "culture" of outlaw biking/stunting stops. Overnight.

Oct. 10 2013 12:01 PM
Seth

The popularity of these stunt bikers rose with the growth of UTube. Why not do a segment on the effects that UTube has on how we conduct ourselves in public??? It's not just bikers, but the idea of doing stupid things, just so folks will watch you later, make you a star, is a bigger part of our society than the media is seeing.

Oct. 10 2013 12:01 PM
Benton from Brooklyn

88db.is NY Law for motorcyclist.. they wouldn't need to rev their engines if they follow the DRIVING RULES. Just because you weave in and out doesn't mean you can!

Oct. 10 2013 12:00 PM
BK from Hoboken

Ditto un-muffled bikes- mostly Harley's. They echo around my town (Hoboken) every weekend until late at night. When I lived in Chicago they finally cracked down on those guys riding around my neighborhood with roadside noise meters- would
Love to see it here. The bike should be confiscated upon a second noise violation as a non-road legal modification.
as for subsidizing motorcycle education- everyone who get a a drivers license has to pay for private behind the wheel lessons. Why should my tax dollars go to subsidize bikes?

Oct. 10 2013 12:00 PM
fuva from harlemworld

OK, those Harleys, etc. are TOO DAMN LOUD. Bottom line. It should be illegal.

On another note, ACCESS is an issue here.

Oct. 10 2013 11:59 AM

@Steve UWS..so the answer is MORE gvt regulation?

Oct. 10 2013 11:59 AM
Dennis Fox from Washington Heights

I would like to reinforce the fact that the police are primarily at fault. They have their heads in the sand on this issue. Please have a rep from the police force on the show to attempt to defend themselves.

Oct. 10 2013 11:59 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

It's kind of embarrassing, to everyone, that the parallels to "extreme social pack behavior" are a very big part if our lives, prevalent in nature and in human cultures and both highly rich and fruitful for the social pack animals WE are, as well as highly dangerous for how easily they can become uncontrolled and destructive.

With the "war fever" that invariably precedes societies going to war, it's an uncontrollable convulsion and group revolution with an emotional threat to the group cohesion. These are largely unstudied or discussed, but highly dangerous when they do go out of control.

To really understand it you need to consider the problem "out of context" to erase your assumptions, and expose the problems. Individual dogs can run free with no harm to anyone day after day, but if a number of dogs are running free they tend to form packs that respond in very unpredictable ways as a group. Should we have "leash laws" for bikers, as the kind of crude legal mechanism needed to intercede??

Obviously I'd prefer the opposite sort of "intervention", to educate people to recognize social dynamics, to "feel what's happening" and "chill" when it's within reach of the thresholds of disaster we all know can be crossed. Everyone says they're "against war" but tend to keep falling into taking part in the social rages that bring it about, for not knowing how to recognize or respond to it. Generally.. when people see what's "going down" some "mom" shows up to distract the hooligans from what's going out of control.

Oct. 10 2013 11:59 AM
mitchell wright from Brooklyn

The truth is motorcyclists skirt the law and ignore the rules of the road all the time. I see them on a daily basis veer into the bicycle lanes speeding around a line of cars that are waiting at a light, only to jump in front of the line.

Oct. 10 2013 11:58 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

The worst thing about motorcycles is the noise. Esp when they rev 'em up - VVROOOOMMMM!! SCREEEECHH! Look at me! I need attention!

Looks cool in the movies, sounds horrible in real life.

Oct. 10 2013 11:58 AM

Joe please shut up!

You are clearly too dumb to comprehend that NOBODY IS SUGGESTING that cyclists are "victims".

...quite the opposite.

Oct. 10 2013 11:57 AM

I thought that the general laws of New York State, particularly the Vehicle and Traffic Laws, were the "Bill of Rights & Responsibilities" for the vehicle operators on public thoroughfares. Sounds like your first caller was a "tea party-er" who wants to take the public hostage for compliance with their demands.

Oct. 10 2013 11:56 AM
Connor from Brooklyn

These days, there are a lot of people in cars (non-cyclists) who act this way, too.

Every time we drive out to Long Island, we get passed by people who think the highway is a video driving game or the Indy 500

These people believe they are in a movie or something. They're not. If they make one small mistake, they'll take lives.

We never see any cops on the road. We never see these people pulled over.
It's sad and makes you feel totally powerless.

Oct. 10 2013 11:56 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

My husband and I ride, but it's an old bike that doesn't go over 50 mph, is quiet, and we ride in the country. We respect the law where we ride, and defer to other vehicles for safety's sake.

That said, we live here in Manhattan, and have seen this amateur stunt group pull this nonsense many times. Most of them are unlicensed, and are probably uninsured, as well. Any car driver that gets caught in their pack will experience sheer terror.

These riders are creating both a public nuisance and a safety hazard. They should all lose their licenses for doing this on public roads.

The police enabled this debacle. They didn't come to break up this mess, knowing they pushed the group out of Midtown, and the fact that the SUV driver stayed on the phone with the police from the 50s to 178th street, and not one cop showed up (save for the off-duty, NOT "undercover" riders in the group) at any point during this incident. As usual, lazy policing for a force that can't seem to do their jobs outside a squad car.

As for that caller who thinks licensure and registration should be "subsidized?" Dream on, sister. Riding is a privilege, just as driving is. Grow up, earn the money to learn to ride, pass a test and register. Many responsible riders do, and resent what you've brought to the subject of riding.

Oct. 10 2013 11:56 AM
steve from upper west side

Every 3rd Sunday of each month (let's say) close down the southbound lanes (let's say) of the West Side Highway from 23rd Street to Canal Street (let's say) for LICENSED stunters. There would have to be an organization that sponsors this so they would cover the city's need for liability, etc. But if we give the LICENSED stunters a place, there won't be further issues with traffic and law-abiding drivers out with their family..

Oct. 10 2013 11:56 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

The NYPD is entirely to blame. They're great at frisking 12 year olds with baggy pants but when it comes to a bunch of bikers they are scared sh*tless. The traffic division has always been an embarrassment - now that there is a legitimate public safety concern where are they to be found? Popping bon bons in their cruisers. How about using the "7th largest army" in the world to police the highways, streets and public places?

Oct. 10 2013 11:56 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Good point from the caller Paul:

Many of these "bikers" - many who ride off road, four wheel vehicles and unlicensed dirt bikes in my neighborhood, should be separated from the legitimate riders, that ride registered bikes.

Oct. 10 2013 11:55 AM

so NOW motorcyclist are an oppressed group? Does everyone want to play the victim card every time?

Oct. 10 2013 11:55 AM
steve from upper west side

Every 3rd Sunday of each month (let's say) close down the southbound lanes (let's say) of the West Side Highway from 23rd Street to Canal Street (let's say) for LICENSED stunters. There would have to be an organization that sponsors this so they would cover the city's need for liability, etc. But if we give the LICENSED stunters a place, there won't be further issues with traffic and law-abiding drivers out with their family..

Oct. 10 2013 11:54 AM
Lenore from Manhattan

The second caller seems oblivious to what happened or what was discussed yesterday. As I said yesterday, there should be an investigation of why the cops disappeared as soon as the bikers left Times Square, thus telling us who they value and who they don't.

Sandra had lots of good ideas. The maneuvers described on the WSH should have led to immediate ticketing/arrests of the bikers, but of course there were no cops present to do that.

Glad to see the women calling in.

Oct. 10 2013 11:54 AM
steve from upper west side

Every 3rd Sunday of each month (let's say) close down the southbound lanes (let's say) of the West Side Highway from 23rd Street to Canal Street (let's say) for LICENSED stunters. There would have to be an organization that sponsors this so they would cover the city's need for liability, etc. But if we give the LICENSED stunters a place, there won't be further issues with traffic and law-abiding drivers out with their family..

Oct. 10 2013 11:53 AM
Seth

brake check
Brake Check
BRAKE CHECK!

Let's all get on the same page about what this brake check action is. It's against the law. The SUV driver was a victim of this, because the bikers were trying to clear the road for their own purposes - stunts. From there, everything got F-ed up.

But the biggers story is: where were the cops?? They clearly knew what was happening that day. Let's do a segment on that!

ps. HOG has a double... no, triple meaning. Let's get Patricia T. O'Connor on this definition.

Oct. 10 2013 11:53 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Motorcycles rights and responsibilities are listed in the NYS Driving Manual.

Road rage is, in its essence, the equivalent of "mob mentality," - i.e., an irrational response to a sudden, given situation. This is, by its nature, unpredictable, but anyone who has been involved in more than one incident needs to go for anger management therapy.

Aside from that, driving is dangerous enough without additional stunts on the road. What should be of primary importance is COURTESY. If all drivers were more courteous on the road, there would be NO accidents or incidents.

Oct. 10 2013 11:52 AM

...ditto on the modified exhaust!!!

Shut 'em down!!

NYPD is LAZY!!

Oct. 10 2013 11:50 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

"Stunt Park"? These are not teenagers, bikers get a trill doing their "stunts" on public roads, intimidating other motorists in the process.

Oct. 10 2013 11:50 AM

needs of motorcycle riders, soooo special rights for motorcycles, does every group want special rights? ...Calgon take me away.

Oct. 10 2013 11:50 AM

I don't fear motorcyclist.

However, I DO think "Hollywood StuntZ-er's" who try to commandeer a public highway to perform illegal and very dangerous so-called "stunts" and THEN attack uncooperative, law-abiding motorists are moronic and need to be arrested.

As a life-long motorcyclist, I've got no problem with law-abiding cyclists.

Oct. 10 2013 11:49 AM

If you want to do stunts you can lease some space and do stunts on private land....

Oct. 10 2013 11:48 AM
ph

Motorcyclists should get their bikes confiscated if they remove or modify their muffler to generate even more noise. I'm sick of noisy joyriders in the middle of the night. And even more importantly, cops should enforce traffic laws against motorcyclists instead of ticketing bicyclists for all sorts of silly issues.

Oct. 10 2013 11:47 AM

The story has nothing to do with bikers/motorcycle riders...they were pinks. So we need to set aside public space for stunt riders...are you high?

Oct. 10 2013 11:47 AM
susan from Manhattan

Oh please
The road is NO place for stunts. If you want to do stunts, go and rent a track for a day.

Every Sunday, this type of gang (and some guys on ATV's) go tearing up first ave. Nobody does anything. And now they're surprised.

You can tell by the way these guys ride that they're looking for trouble. Most bikers obey the rules of the road, so, I doubt people will be comparing them to this type of "club".

You can just tell- these guys are hot rodding. Most motorcyclists don't ride like crazy stuntman wannabees.

Oct. 10 2013 11:46 AM

Whatever label you prefer for the group, "club", "pack", or "gang", the individual motorcycle operators who ride on public thoroughfares as a part of a group, whether it is organized spontaneously or over some longer period of time, those individual operators have the identical rights and obligations as operators of other vehicles on the road.

I would be interested in knowing whether or not your callers feel that any motorcycle operator should be permitted to use their numbers to alter the traffic flow to allow the motorcyclists to perform "stunts" or other maneuvers. Do they feel that a motorcyclist should be allowed to move between cars or trucks stopped or slowed by other traffic flow?

the organized "groups" of individual motorcycle operators on public thoroughfares

Oct. 10 2013 11:40 AM
sanych

It's funny. The question about a "bill of rights" reflects BL's show liberal mindset - suddenly, operating a motor vehicle is a right and not a privilege.

And why stop with motorcyclists?

Diversity requires inclusion of every possible variation of road vehicles...

Oct. 10 2013 11:03 AM
Benton from Brooklyn

Tragic this whole situations is, but these Ninja/Harley riders break the road rules all the time! On the road they're governed and bound by the same vehicle rules CARS are, Yet they're allow to ride in between cars on the lines, skirt along the sides of the cars and roads...etc. Numerous times I see accidents that is caused by them, and riders are never aware.
Yes they are maneuverable, but they are DISOBEYING the LAW...

Rarely do you ever see law enforcement officials stopping them.

Oct. 10 2013 11:00 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

There needs to be a crackdown on motorcycle gangs who think the highway is their playground.

The helmet cam video clearly shows that FIRST the motorcycle gang STOPPED all traffic on the West Side Highway, swarmed the SUV who felt threatened by the gang and reacted to the threat by plowing ahead.

WHY did the motorcycle gang STOP all traffic in the WSH???

What responsibility did the Off-Duty Police Officers in the motorcycle gang have to enforce traffic laws?

Oct. 10 2013 10:22 AM

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