The Biker’s Code
Bravo to National Review for Charles C. W. Cooke’s article on bikers (“Right Turn on the Open Road,” April 30). I haven’t been to Daytona or Sturgis, but I have been to several smaller events of a similar nature, and I found most of the people I met to be friendly and fun to hang out with. We truly are victims of misrepresentation by the media because of a few bad apples. My hair might be slightly longer, but otherwise I look like most other sixtysomething guys. My bikes are not loud, and I don’t pull stupid stunts on the road, but I have had people look at me like I am some kind of criminal when I pull into a gas station to fill up. Actually, I work in a group home for men with traumatic brain injuries.
I was not surprised by the comments Cooke heard from bikers who wondered what is wrong with people who need to be ordered to help out. I am always amazed by news reports after a tornado or some other natural disaster, when reporters gush over how the townspeople came together to help each other out. I am sorry, but it is not supposed to take a natural disaster or some other tragedy for us to be kind and helpful to each other. This is how we are supposed to act all the time. I always stop when I see a bike on the side of the road to see if the rider needs help, and other riders stopped to offer help the two times I have had flat tires.
I think bikers’ problem with rules goes deeper than just a reaction to being told what to do. We have a government that is trying to take all the fun out of living. When I got my license, seat belts were just beginning to appear in cars. Up until then, we stood up in the back seat, sat on the trunk with our legs in the back seat in convertibles, and didn’t have baby seats, and guess what? Most of us survived. I never ride without a helmet and protective gear, but if an adult chooses to take the risks, then he or she should be free to do so. Minors should be required to wear helmets, but the safety Nazis should realize that they can never make life totally safe, and that even if they could, they would soon discover that they don’t really like it that way. Life is a lot more enjoyable and meaningful when it is tested.
So thank you, Charles C. W. Cooke, for telling our story the way it is. One last thing. Only someone who has ridden knows this, but riding is great for your mental health and cheaper than a psychiatrist.