Watson On: Ban the Bikes

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Watson On: Ban the Bikes

As a motorcyclist I’m fully aware that I belong to a minority group that is regarded with great deal of suspicion by the public, police officers and now it seems by politicians.

As far as I know I have never eaten a baby, deliberately caused a fight, set something on fire, stolen anything, or just terrorized my local community while on two wheels just for the hell of it. Yet because I ride a motorcycle I am significantly different and therefore should be treated with a fair amount of caution, as clearly I’m up to no good.

Furthermore, it seems there are now some people that think there is no place in 21st century America for motorcycles, or for that matter bicycles, as this is the age of the automobile.

It seems that if some people, and by that I mean politicians, had their way motorcycles should be banned altogether – as in we shouldn’t even be on the roads.

If you think I am exaggerating, or making this all up take a look at what has happened recently in New York.

At the end of last year, a 17-year-old Suffolk County resident by the name of Matthew Cutrone wrote to his local politician and legislator, Thomas F. Barraga, to ask him what I think was a perfectly reasonable question.

The reason for Cutrone’s writing the letter was because his mother had been riding her bicycle last September, when a driver who wasn’t paying attention had knocked her off.

In his letter to Barraga, Cutrone said: “My mother was hit by a work van, whose driver claimed he didn’t see her. Ironically this accident took place in front of the Babylon Bike Shop. My mom did everything right, she was wearing a helmet and she was following the proper bike laws of the road… there should be some sort of bike lane or maybe just some warning signs to put around in certain areas so that drivers can know when to be careful of bicyclists.”

First off, full marks to a young man for taking the initiative and raising a valid point with his local legislator. I wish at such a young age I had been that wise and written such an intelligent letter.

However, it took 70-year-old Barraga almost six weeks to reply to Cutrone, But when he did his letter was shocking to me and maybe also to you if you ride a motorcycle. Not only did Barraga say that Cutrone had to accept that he and his mother lived in ‘a suburban automobile community’ and that riding a bicycle was an extremely dangerous thing for anyone to do in the area.

Barraga also went on to say: I have lived in West Islip most of my life and my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever ride a bicycle or a motorcycle…drivers expect to see other drivers on the road not bicyclists and motorcyclists.

“Reality at times can be difficult for some to come to grips with but giving false hope would be inappropriate.”

As you may imagine, Barraga’s letter  caused an immediate and major stir amongst social media as well as the bicycle and motorcycle riding community in Suffolk County.

However, Barraga is completely unrepentant in what he stated in his letter and says he is standing by his remarks.  “I’m not going to tell them what they want to hear, a lot of fluff. I tell them the truth,” he said.

I am assuming here the ‘them’ the County Legislator is referring to are people like you and me who like and enjoy riding motorcycles (and bicycles).

Barraga is also of the opinion that it’s perfectly acceptable that motorists in West Islip ignore road-warning signs. To compound things further he is completely dismissive of Matthew’s helpful suggestion in his letter to create bike lanes in the area, as they would never work.

I can accept that as a group of enthusiasts not everyone can, or wants, to appreciate riding a motorcycle, or for that matter a bicycle.  But to publicly state that you shouldn’t ride because you live in an ‘automobile community’ makes the hackles on the back of my neck stand up. This is not the first time motorcyclists have come under fire from politicians and I have every reason to believe it won’t be the last. I also know I won’t ever be riding in West Islip, New York anytime soon.

  • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

    I must inhale and exhale, slowly and deliberately, in order to avoid an invective laced rant in full agreement with your stance, Professor Watson.

  • 80-watt Hamster

    A sad example of the all-too-common sentiment that “majority rules” means “the minority doesn’t matter.” There have always been and always will be certain persons who believe that their view of the world is the only valid view, and will dismiss out of hand any that don’t conform. Sadly, some of these become politicians. All we can do is what has always needed to be done: Watch closely for similar sentiments in our own district, and make sure that our voices are heard as the opposition. Thankfully, at least for now, this neanderthal seems to be in the significant minority, as there’s a pretty big push in many communities to make the roadways MORE bicycle-friendly. What that means to us as motorcyclists, however, is up for debate.

    • Stuki

      “More bicycle friendly” is politico speak for paying their son i law’s contracting firm 3x market rate for building a half mile, way too narrow, strip on pavement from nowhere to nowhere. To be used by anyone from skateboarders to child strollers to dog walkers to gays and lesbians taking up the entire width holding hands.

      If making a city more bicycle friendly to actual riders was the goal, there are only two ways about it. Either ban cars outright, Dutch style. Just include cop cars in the ban as well. And, or at least Or, treat bicycle theft the same way theft of other means of transportation; like cars and jetliners, are treated. Not differently.

      • HoldenL

        Where I live, auto theft and bicycle theft are treated equally: The cops are pissed that you’re wasting their time, and they scornfully write your stupid police report so you can mail it to your silly little insurance company.

        • Stuki

          Where do you live? Next time I’m there, I’ll be sure to nab a car and sell it openly on craigslist with no fear of any kind of reprisal whatsoever.

          • HoldenL

            Well, OK, I no longer live there; I lived there for nine years and once called police when I saw someone stealing a pickup truck outside my apartment and they didn’t do anything about it. Toledo.

            • Stuki

              That’s still a far cry from “Bicycle Friendly” San Francisco, where you can run a long term, profitable business of of Craigslist by pretty much flat out advertising that the bikes you sell are brand new, recently stolen. I know guys in Bulgaria who used to do the same with cars obtained as part of insurance fraud in the West; but I doubt yo can get away with operating a stolen car lot quite so brazenly in Toledo.

              • Piglet2010

                The only way to change that is to put political pressure on the mayor (or whoever has the power to fire the police chief).

              • Mark D

                SF does have a stolen-bike registration; you basically give the cops your new bike’s VIN, and they keep a database. There was a bit of a stink about cops stepping up enforcement this summer, but I don’t think it came to anything.

                My bike got stolen from the front of the SF Superior Court house. Bunch of savages in that town!

                • Stuki

                  SF cops, like tax feeders in general, can be relied upon to not only do nothing to prevent someone from stealing your bike; but to, in addition, run interference for the thieves by suddenly springing into action if you yourself do something to prevent someone from stealing your bike. Which is the real tragedy. Chances are, even back in the civilized era, cops wouldn’t go out of their way to help you chase down a horse thief. But at least they had the decency to also refrain from doing something when you hung him yourself.

        • Piglet2010

          “Little people” are not to bother the police – whom the courts have decided have no obligation to protect citizens.

          • Doug Erickson

            “…protect non-wealthy elite citizens”

            fixed

      • Campisi

        “… To gays and lesbians taking up the entire width holding hands.”

        What does that even mean?

        • LS650

          I think it means he’s a hater.

        • Stuki

          It was supposed to mean that bicycle lanes are just another feelgood bucket list item to support, for the San Francisco PC crowd. While, in practice, they serve no practical purpose at all. Since they will inevitably be blocked by members of other PC groups, showing how PC they are.

          Sorry if I came off as a hater. I’m probably as far from that as it is possible to get.

  • zion

    Feel free to contact the Honorable Thomas F. Barraga here: http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/do11/Contact.aspx and let him know how well liked West Islip and Suffolk County will become, thanks to his insightful and educated opinions.

    • Send Margaritas

      If you do, remember that the most compelling arguments, will be the ones stated in a rational, non emotional, logical fashion.As tempting as it may be to vent anger, and flame Barraga, it may only get your feedback dismissed.

      • Asher Lawson

        Although this particular man has already outed himself as thoughtless, so maybe it’s best just to cause him frustration, rather than frustrate ourselves attempting to reason with him.

      • zion

        I’m definitely not advocating irrational rants.

        • Send Margaritas

          I didn’t mean to imply that. It was just a bit of coaching. Kudos to you for posting his email. I’ve sent him a note, expressing my disappointment, and giving him some other ideas.I expect to hear about my IRS audit later in the week. ;)Who is organizing the peaceful protest by the Hells Angels New York Chapter on his front lawn?

  • Send Margaritas

    This is a good topic to bring up Tim. As Americans, raising such issues, and weighing in may be necessary to keep our rights to ride.Unfortunately, given incidents such as the SUV-Bikers incident in New York last year, the press can weigh in and divide public sentiment. I’ve heard people make the case that Motorcycles are dangerous, and that they feel motorcycles should be outlawed, supporting such statements with the sentiment that there is worry over driving people’s healthcare costs up.Truly, America is changing, and it will take some effort to preserve our liberties. We should all try to be good representatives of the riding community, and state our case for the preservation of the liberty to ride. Urbanization, and a self-interested public has shifted the pendulum to the liberal side. Liberals are often the nicest people…until you disagree with them. So it won’t necessarily be easy. When you can, weigh in, for public opinion is swayed by the herd mentality. Articles such as this do raise the issue (kudos for that Tim), but only in our community.So when you look at motorcycle liberties, remember, united we stand, divided we fall. Other riders are our brothers, regardless of what they ride, or if they are pirates, power rangers, or even squids.

    • runnermatt

      Your comment about liberals can also be applied to republicans. Case in point, the politician in question, Thomas F. Barraga, is a republican. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has run a bicyclist off the road because “the biker has no right to be on the road.”

      • Send Margaritas

        Point taken. He is a Republican, if not in name only.

        • Stuki

          The whole RINO moniker no longer serve any purpose. It implies that there is such a thing as a non RINO Republican somewhere. As in, that the GOP is somehow not the party of totalitarian thugs. Meaningfully different from that other party of totalitarian thugs. Which is objectively wrong. Or at least will be, once Ron Paul, now closing in on 150 years old and starting to show it, pretty soon retires.

          Crazy and flippant as it may sound, reality is that the last best hope for Americans are the so called “terrorists.” Neither lane splitting bans, Obama”care” nor gun restrictions in Tora Bora. Nor taxmen, unless they suffer from the kind of suicidality that ought to be the identifying trait of all those of that persuasion.

          And road quality, while hardly the greatest, isn’t all that different from where LA and San Francisco will be in 10 years, judging by recent developments. The big difference being, over there you pay nothing, so you don’t really expect all that much. While here, every half literate drone have had the “but who’s gonna fix the roads if you don’t spend half your life working for free for the man on TV” mantra drummed into their indoctrinated little heads, seemingly since birth. Anyway, I could have bought an awfully nice stable of KTMs for the money I have had stole from me under pretext of “fixing roads” over the years.

    • Mark D

      I’ve often found terms like “liberal” or “conservative” are for people interested in the political sideshow, yet have no actual ISSUES they care about. I’m a self identified liberal/progressive, but when you start caring about local politics and issues, things that affect your day-to-day life, allies can come from the most unexpected places.

      • Piglet2010

        I’m a communist-libertarian.

        • Stuki

          Anarchist with some faith in the moral compass of your fellow man, in other words…

  • Michael Howard

    Why is it that when this very topic (legislators wanting to ban motorcycles) is brought up in the comments in other posts it’s considered ridiculous paranoia?

    • Stuki

      Just pervasive publicly funded indoctrination doing what it’s supposed to. “Our” government (which run our schools) is good, after all. Not like all the others, which are bad.

  • Ben Mcghie

    I just want to be a respectful, law abiding road user, polite to others… until I can get to the twisties.

    I don’t need loud pipes. I don’t need to hoist wheelies down Main St. I don’t need to lane split aggressively and cut people off.

    I just need to get to the twisties, with no other cars or popo around, and ignore the speed limit all by my lonesome.

    Please?

    • Zanpa

      Get yourself to a track.

      • Ben Mcghie

        I’d love to, but only having the bike as a means for transportation makes it a fair bit more difficult. Also the cost.

        Hopefully I can get some days in one of these summers though. Might have to try to meet old geezers with pickup trucks and track day addictions…

      • Stuki

        No longer applies. The EPA and the NIMBY just closed down the last one remaining. A well connected developer determined the “community” “needed” an upscale shopping center selling European anti aging creams there.

        • VTR1

          Yeah how long will it be before there won’t be tracks anymore? I mean, do they really “serve the greater good”? We must regulate them out of existence…. “For The Children”, of course

          • Piglet2010

            Thankfully, I live in a state that still maintains several OHV parks, which I can use as much as I want for $17/year.

        • BillW

          Right. Why, here in practically-communist California, we’re down to a mere six road-racing tracks that I can think of off the top of my head, including one that was built in the last couple of years.

          But, I guess if the facts don’t fit your ideology, the facts must be wrong.

          • Stuki

            More like why, is it four or five, out of the six, are hours hours or more away from where most people who would want to use them happen to reside. Even in more formally communist China, you can probably get away with some spirited laps of riding, as long as you don’t mind heading to the middle of the Gobi to do so.

            • BillW

              Because the population keeps growing, people need homes, land close in gets too valuable, and hardly anybody wants to live next to a race track because of noise and traffic during events. Pretty simple, and nothing to do with the EPA. It sucks that Riverside Raceway closed, for example, but it was an economic decision, not an environmental one. It used to be that Riverside Raceway was out in the sticks. Willow Springs is still there because few people want to live in Rosamond, although that may change as the Lancaster/Palmdale “metroplex” continues to sprawl. It probably brings in a fair amount of money, too.

              • Piglet2010

                I hate people who build or buy houses next to an existing race track (or airport), then whine about the noise and traffic.

                If I were a rich developer building a track, I would make the surrounding area an industrial/warehouse park, just to keep the idiot suburbanites farther away.

              • Stuki

                There is more traffic generated by a shopping mall (selling expensive European anti wrinkle lotions to politically correct baby boomer gay and lesbians. And heteros) than a racetrack.

                If the problem is noise, focus on noise. I have never, ever, ever; even living off of PCH in Malibu, been nearly as bothered by the supposed noise making activity of bikers, as I have of either incompetently trained yaptrash, police and news helicopters, sirens and backup beepers. Not to mention diesel chugging city buses. Sit at an outside cafe anywhere but the Rockstore, and all of the above deposit more decibels at your eardrums per day than all manners of bikes combined. Yet, bikes (along with boomboxes, of all things, it seems) are, by the great Progressive retardocarcy, the great, noisy evil.

                Even in the thick of San Francisco, it is perfectly OK, even encouraged, to open yaptrash recycling centers all over densely populated neighborhoods. But motorbikes, oh man, they are somehow too loud??????

                Competitive race classes as regulated today do allow for awfully loud bikes; largely because many racefans, like the loud snarling engines and the smell of race fumes. But nothing prevents a community from putting a cap on noise and pollution emitted by someone, without at the same time prescribing that they cannot race at all. After all, noise is noise. Only i progressive dystopias are some people more equal than others. And some noises more acceptable than others.

                • Piglet2010

                  “yaptrash recycling centers” – ???

                  At every track day and track class I have been to, the loudest bike is much quieter than a Harley-Davidson with straight pipes – the latter would be banned from most tracks for being too loud.

                • Stuki

                  Dog pounds, or whatever is common lingo for where people trade their current model in for a newer, shinier one. Or at least one they don;t yet personally know to be beyond their capacity for handling.

  • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

    The natural progression of a city is to first accept bicycles and then motorcycles. You dont get lanesplitting legalized until you get joe shmoe going to work and splitting lanes on his townie. You don’t get potholes removed or canyon roads repaved until the cyclists complain. In every sense, bicyclists are the canaries of motorcyclists. You have to support them and and send them into the mines first.

    And the motorcycling industry in general has to do a better job of marketing bikes to folks like politicians. Name one bike out there that you’d expect to see a congressman or a senator going to work on? Not a one. If someone wears a suit to work and is worried about their image, they don’t ride a motorcycle.

    • imprezive

      I don’t agree with your last statement at all. I’m an executive at a mid-size company (~1,300 employees) and I ride my Street Triple to work a few days a week plus one of our division heads rides a BMW 1200S. No one has ever said anything negative to me about it and it definitely hasn’t held my career back. I have plenty of successful white collar professional friends that ride to work as well, mostly BMWs or Ducs. It’s usually not the bike that stops people from riding to work it’s the gear that looks like a space suit.

      • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

        Thats definitely part of it. What industry do you work in?

        • imprezive

          I’m in Aerospace. Not as formal as say the banking industry but dress shirt, slacks, and dress shoes for our dress code.

          • Randy S

            I’ve had the same experience, personally (i.e., riding to work being not a bad thing), but I’ve also worked in small start ups in a liberal city with lots of cyclists, Cambridge, MA. However, I grew up in a red state and, based on that experience, I’ve often wondered if more conservative areas or industries would hold commuting on a motorcycle against me.

            • Laez

              Are you seriously equating conservatives with anti-motorcycle? Most of the riders I know are very conservative… Power sports in general really.
              I’m not saying this is 100% of the time true, but for the most part.

              • Randy S

                No. I’m saying that, in the US, I believe there is a conventional prejudice against 2-wheeled transport for commuting (include bicycles in your mind) versus as a hobby. Additionally, from what I’ve seen, there is less prejudice against this in liberal areas.

                I agree about conservatives being strongly represented amongst motorcyclists and power sport types. When the topic changes to what is an acceptable hobby, I would expect more “tsking” from liberals concerned about the environment.

                Again, all of the above is just my experience …

                • Laez

                  Very interesting, makes a lot more sense. I commute about 10% of the year on a superbike. Other than the “you are going to die!!” comments I don’t get any complaints. My conservative buddies do the same and my liberal friends respect the gas mileage the Panigale puts out.

              • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

                I wonder what the crossover between kneejerk idiot politicians and conservative politicians is. 99%?

                • Send Margaritas

                  So Wes, with that troll, and as Moderator, is RideApart going to become a Progressive site? I’d hate for a progressive site to earn ad revenue from my review, and was actually already unhappy with your anti-HD anti-Cruiser comments already.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  You just called the dude who started HFL and rideapart a troll and forum moderator. Confused much?

                • Michael Howard

                  Does “Mod” after Wes’ name not signify he is a/the forum moderator?

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  It says “mod” on my name in my blog as well. It’s part of the commenting software.

                • charlie

                  You do know that this website might have not existed if it wasn’t for Wes and the HFL crew right? He usually gives good reasons for those criticisms and since this is a free country, nobody is forcing you to read any of it.

                • Send Margaritas

                  You can read his post, determine if it was on-topic, or related.The question was feedback. He can reply, ignore, sensor, or easily ban my participation in forums. Wes may even consider whether he would moderate the site to be inclusive or divisive. Readers may learn what to expect, and make their own decisions on how they spend their time.Did you think my question was rude, or unwarranted, given his post and role as moderator?

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  Rude, i dont even know. Unwarranted…. more accurately I read it and whispered to myself “wtf is he even talkin bout…”

                • Send Margaritas

                  Kr Tong, I’m here for objective articles on motorcycles, not Wes’ views on politics/cruisers. This article was Tim Watson’s, and you can see Siler’s contribution was to alienate half the population, and set the tone as a moderator. That is annoying stuff I’d happily skip, should we expect it to continue.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  Like i said, it’s an editorial website. Best of luck with your formal letters of complaint towards the opinions of the creator/editor of the news rag.

                • Send Margaritas

                  *nod* Probably a lost cause. Keep the shiny side up.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  What cause did you lose? The “Saying offensive things about conservatives should be banned because nobody is allowed to offend me” cause? That’s definitely a lost cause. Relax. Get over it. You just said you dislike censorship and you want everyone else to censor themselves.

                • Nate Terrill

                  I think that what Send Margaritas is trying to say is not that no one has the right to offend him (in my experience that is a way of thinking associated with Liberals, not Conservatives), but that if this site continues to bring left leaning politics into the moto discussion that he will “change the channel” and no longer use the site. At least, that’s what I get out of his comments.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  I didnt say dont read hfl. I said change the channel. As in walk away. You dont write angry letters into the shows that offend you… Or maybe you do.

                  And youre the one assigning the “liberal agenda” to the website, so maybe you should take a harder look in the mirror.

                • Nate Terrill

                  Actually, no I am not assigning any agenda to this site. I was simply stating what I thought to be the gist of Send Margarita’s post. I did not assign a “Liberal Agenda” to this site in my comment. That is you blindly attacking someone who you assume you disagree with, which is a symptom of both the extreme right, the extreme left and idiots in general.

                  If you make a comment like this:
                  “I wonder what the crossover between kneejerk idiot politicians and conservative politicians is. 99%?” on any website, devoted to any topic, you should expect that someone will take you to task for it and the topic will immediately become political. That’s what has happend here.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  Annnnd you just called me a left wing extremist because i disagreed with you.

                • Nate Terrill

                  Reading comprehension much? Please quote were in this thread I called you a left wing extremist.

                  “Yeah, you did label this website “liberal agenda” you’re just smart enough to sneak it in rather than say it outright.”
                  You quote me as labelling this website “liberal agenda” but then say I did not say it outright. If I did not say it outright, then there would be no quote. That’s you putting fake quotes in my mouth to try to win an argument.

                  I will happily cut the BS. I am not labelling you an extreme member of the right or the left, I am labelling you an extreme idiot, which is the reason you end up in so many flame wars on this site. I would venture a guess that this is not the only site were that happens when it comes to you. So, if we assume that’s the case, what is the common denominator? That would be you.

                  BTW, I work in a politically appointed position. I was initially appointed by a republican, then reappointed by a democrat. I have no use for either of those parties.

                  Have a nice day, I’m out.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  You didnt call me an extreme idiot. You called me either an extreme leftist or an extreme rightist, and you and I BOTH know you’re not calling me a rightist. Stop backing and filling. Not to meniton, I didn’t say ANYTHING political at ALL, which makes you incredibly stupid to label me part of ANY party. I said it was silly for a guy who JUST SAID “america was going liberal and taking away our freedoms” to then say nobody can knock conservatives.

                • Nate Terrill

                  Again, you attempt to cast something that was not about you as some sort of personal attack. Again, you attempt to make it all about you, rather than stick to the topic. In this case, of three choices, you chose Extreme Left as the “attack” on you. 1. While your momma and daddy may have taught you differently, not everything is about you. 2. As I have already stated, If I had to identify you with one of those three, I would go with idiot, although it was my intent to illustrate the problem with extremists of whatever political stripe.

                  Watching you on these forums, all i see is a bully. You push, until someone pushes back and then claim you are the victim. That’s typical. Why do you feel this need to attack those who don’t agree with you? The only difference between this thread and a school yard is that on the internet, you dont walk away bloody. For someone with so little reading comprehension your sure “KNOW” alot.

                  What are you missing in your life bro?

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  Cliff notes: It’s not about you, but I’m going to write a huge thing about you. Defeating my own argument.

                • Nate Terrill

                  Cliff Notes: “When I can’t logically answer for my behavior on internet forums, I resort to bullshit statements with no examples to back them. I must have the last word, especially when shown to be an asshole on the internet. ”

                  Analysis: Fail Troll

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  I’m glad you know that an argument is supposed to follow rules of logic and have support. Im sorry you don’t know what they look like.

                • Nate Terrill

                  I see you are following me on Disqus now. What a creeper.

                • Nate Terrill

                  Keep in mind if you attack people in forums and I see it. I will continue to call you on it.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  Just don’t use words like “logic” “sense” or “valid” or try to pass on your own disdain of liberals for somebody else’s.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  Actually I only follow guys i know in real life. What about you? Do you have any of those? Now that i know you don’t like it I will follow you…

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  Your comments waiting moderation so i’ll resond here:
                  One more time here, although i’ve said this SEVERAL TIMES BEFORE but thank you for being on topic for once.

                  “Wes made an anti-Republican comment (stupid move for a site owner on a non-political site). ”
                  He didn’t say specifically political comments. He said conservatives and cruisers.

                  “Another user mentioned that this would possibly alienate a good portion of RideApart’s user base (good advice). ”
                  Didn’t say it wasn’t bad advice. I did say however that for someone who dislikes censorship he sure does want to censor anything he finds to be “liberal.”

                  “You jumped all over that user for daring to maybe, possibly be conservative on the internet. ”
                  Not at all. He’s made several anti liberal pro conservative comments before. Nobody said anything about it. I WANT him to post his comments and not be worried about alienating folks. That’s the whole point.

                  “I attempted to explain what I thought to be the user’s reasoning. ”
                  No you said what you thought was a valid argument from him. You’re still the one who made the argument and vouched for it’s validity.
                  That argument was, and I quote, “if this site continues to bring left leaning politics into the moto discussion that he will “change the channel” and no longer use the site.”

                  The underlying assumptions, which you have claimed are valid, are as follows, “this site continues to bring left leaning politics into the moto discussion.” meaning not only do you see a liberal agenda pushed on this website but there is unequal representation of conservative beliefs, and that you assume this is specifically about political sensibilities.

                  “Your panties became bunched immediately because you assumed my comment was all about you. ”
                  This is the first time you have made an effort to talk about anything BUT me.

                  Did i miss anything?

                • BillW

                  So you’re free to post all the political comments you like, but Wes isn’t? Because your posts on this topic have been pretty political.

                • Send Margaritas

                  I understand that comment, and you have a point. Some of my extreme disappointment with the current administration leaked out, on a post, which was much more focused on the topic of protecting the right to ride.Siler’s post was all political troll, and he is a moderator, setting the tone discussion.Sincerely, I apologize for the one political generalization in my other post. I offer no apology for raising it to Siler though, I’ve found many of his comments annoying before, and was sensitive to his drivel. You can see in the thread how politics impacts the discussion, as others descended into a flame war. Other sites have forums in which on-topic discussions can be enforced, and opinionated drivel about personal taste and politics are dealt with.I’ll change the channel, avoid the aggravation. Good luck here, and keep the shiny side up.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  You know what’s the number 1 topic that derails comments sections around here? Not politics. It’s people getting offended over nothing.

                • Piglet2010

                  “…or calling the editor a “moderator” doesnt make sense.”

                  Well, there is that little gray box that says “Mod” that shows up next to Wes Siler’s name, but not the rest of ours – I believe that make him the comments section moderator.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  Looks like he needs to remake his business cards.

                • Stuki

                  The same as the crossover between kneejerk idiot politicians and liberal politicians. IOW, probably a bit closer to 100, but 99 ain’t too far off for a fist attempt.

          • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

            Theres probably a lot more people who respect motorcycles as an engineering feat. Motorcycling seems to fit well with the mindset of engineers

          • PJ

            Funny you should mention Aerospace and exec and motos and them not holding your career back… The last three execs of my department/organization all rode moto’s most of the summer. Other than that, it was some sporty car (wrx/porsche/m3…). And they were not “plateaued execs”. Still moving up!

      • MrDefo

        Conversely I work under a CIO who detests motorcycles, regards them as death machines and actively pushes to have me not ride, to sell my bike even.

        • Piglet2010

          One of my bosses bosses owns a H-D, but lectures me that I should not ride my Deauville to work in the rain, cold, or dark because it is too dangerous. :(

          • Michael Howard

            You should listen to him. Obviously he’s the real biker. ;)

            • Piglet2010

              He has never ridden it to work.

              • Michael Howard

                Of course not. Wouldn’t want to intimidate or frighten all the employees with that kind of inappropriate badassery.

              • LS650

                It doesn’t project a corporate image. Let me guess, he drives a German sedan, such, as a BMW, Audi, Mercedes, etc?

                • Piglet2010

                  No, Buick.

          • BillW

            Well, of course not! It’s a Deauville! You might fall asleep! ;)

    • Stuki

      A significant difference between all motorcycles and a chauffeured car, is that operating any motorcycle requires at least some minimum of competence at something; however simple. Which is a hurdle too tall for both any conceivable politician, and anyone who would stoop to supporting any of them.

      • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

        I dunno, actors seem capable of riding them.

        • Piglet2010

          Sort of.

        • Stuki

          They also figured out how to feed themselves, without having to resort to robbing and harassing others. Another hurdle to tall for politicians and their army of well indoctrinated sycophants.

          • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

            • Stuki

              It’s a sentiment that inevitably follows from that minimal competence demand of staying alive as a rider for any duration.. Once you figure out 2+2 is 4, it’s really hard to take seriously those who claim it’s 5 just because that’s how the majority of TV watchers voted.

    • Jack Meoph

      The Honda CTX700N. It doesn’t get anymore whitebread than that. A politician or a nun are about the only people I can picture on it. Even my accountant rides a Vespa GTS.

      • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

        The gts is probably the closest to something i could imagine riding around dc, but still not awesome.

        • Piglet2010

          If only Honda would bring back the Pacific Coast…

    • Piglet2010

      “…in a high vis aerostitch…”, “Name one bike out there that you’d expect to see a congressman or a senator going to work on?”

      A Honda Deauville (NT700V) might fit the latter, and yes a hi-viz ‘Stich sets one apart from the biker crowd. Combine both – hey, no wonder I get so many dirty looks from “bikers” on Real Motorcycles™ (aka Harley-Davidsons).

      • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

        You’re onto something with that bike. Or maybe a VFR1200F. Soulless, utilitarian, but you don’t look poor. The aerostitch is still not something you’d want to be seen in. Get Hugo Boss to design one and you’re close.

        • Piglet2010

          I am thinking about ordering one of these, and wearing my chest/back protector under it.

          Maybe Wes Siler will review it – it is stylish, after all?

          http://silodrome.com/revit-opera-motorcycle-jacket/

          • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

            It’s close but I couldnt imagine frank underwood wearing it, and that’s who you need riding a motorcycle.

          • Campisi

            I do wish it had dual rows of buttons, like a proper pea coat.

            • Piglet2010

              Sew some on – the buttons are only there to hold the flap over the zipper, since they most likely would not hold in a crash.

      • Dennis Newman

        You should see the looks I get while wearing my ‘Stich on my Sportster….

        • Michael Howard

          That is such a clash of cultures my mind has trouble even imagining it. ;)

          • Piglet2010

            I did a charity ride at the request of a friend – 90% people in black leather jackets, many with club patches, on cruisers. Me with the hi-viz Roadcrafter Light, Honda Deauville, and furry helmet ears. But since many (including the organizers) were LEO clubs, the worst I got was people averting their eyes. I would not try the same at a rural roadhouse on a Friday or Saturday night, since there would likely be one or two people with ethanol enhanced bravery looking for trouble.

            • Michael Howard

              With the “unfriendly” looks I get from solo riders at a busy intersections, being in the company of a group of those similar-minded individuals would likely be, at the very least, “verbally hostile”.

    • jlxn

      “And let’s be honest here, the “image problem” that motorcyclists have is completely LEGIT.”
      You show up to one rally and have drawn this conclusion? Who did you expect to find at this rally? A bunch of ATGATT riders? Show up at a rally wearing what the rally is opposing and you’re shocked you’re being mocked? How popular are politicians anywhere? Anytime any one of them say something even remotely out of sync with the crowd they’re speaking to they get booed off stage. No matter who the audience is.
      Let’s be honest. Motorcycling is expensive and it takes a good income to support and every motorcyclist I know, or have known, have been good hard working people. The majority of motorcyclists are upstanding citizens, in spite of your hurt feelings.

      • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

        Never said I was the one that went to the rally. Never said they were against being atgatt. Not sure what the rest of your post has to do with anything.

        • jlxn

          “If you went to the Sacramento rally against mandatory high vis vests (which wasn’t even a real proposed bill) and the anti-lanesplitting bill (which was already killed) You’d completely understand the rage anyone has against motorcyclists. politicians were bood off stage and any motorcyclist that showed up in a high vis aerostitch as mocked by the majority. ”
          You don’t read your own posts?

          • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

            It was an anti lanesplitting rally that was also against the government forcing you to wear high vis vests. At what point did i say they were against atgatt or that I went?

    • Don Silvernail

      Motorcycle riders have been fighting the good fight for full recognition from autos on the road for many years before bicycles were re-discovered by adults. Motorcyclists were accepted as motor vehicles a long time ago. Linking motorcycles and bicycles (because they both have two wheels?) is a desperate attempt by bicyclists for shirt-tail acceptance. It will never be safe for non-motorized vehicles to mix in with motorized traffic. Sorry spandex brigade, the best you can hope for is a kind of separate but equal situation with bike paths that go somewhere practical. Please don’t try to “dumb down” the entire traffic system to cater to the weakest link in typical Progressive fashion. But if you insist on using the road with “us” – the best way to gain traction is to stop using the minority tactic of whining about your “rights” and start paying an annual license and reg. fee + headlights, brake lights, horn etc. If you want respect out there on the road you’ve got to stop trying to have it both ways.

      • Piglet2010

        “It will never be safe for non-motorized vehicles to mix in with motorized traffic.”

        This is completely wrong, as the low death toll among pedal cyclists in the US shows. Furthermore, regular commuter cyclists die in accidents at about 1% the rate of people on bicycles in general, and club cyclists die at about 10% the rate. Just like motorcycles, taking it seriously and not drinking alcohol before riding makes you much safer than the average.

        “Please don’t try to “dumb down” the entire traffic system to cater to the weakest link in typical Progressive fashion.”

        More people on bicycles and fewer in cages decreases congestion in cities.

        “whining about your “rights” and start paying an annual license and reg. fee + headlights, brake lights, horn etc.”

        What about licensing and lights for pedestrians too?

        You really need to educate yourself on the issue.

        Oh, as a pavement engineer I can verify that bicycles and motorcycles are ignored in pavement life calculations because they do so little damage. Even automobiles can be mostly ignored – one 3-axle, 66,000 pound garbage truck does as much fatigue damage as about 7,500 2-ton cars/light trucks per AASHTO 1993 design methods.

        • Stuki

          “one 3-axle, 66,000 pound garbage truck does as much fatigue damage as
          about 7,500 2-ton cars/light trucks per AASHTO 1993 design methods.”

          Of course, in really true Progressive fashion, the “license and reg fees” paid by the garbage truck operator is nowhere near 7500 times that which is paid by the driver of a Honda or Ferrari. Some people are more equal, after all..

      • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

        Five stars. 10/10. Would read again.

        Something you might like to read when you talk about who “owns” the road. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Roads_Movement

  • Scott Otte

    Sadly not that shocking. It’s deeply disturbing, and I often wonder if there is a way to shift the current trend of thinking in the US that bikes are only dangerous and toys.

  • Curtis Caulfield

    The 1st problem is 70 year old legislators. He has confused West Islip with his lawn.

    • Gonfern

      As a former Suffolk county resident and until last year, motorcyclist in the area, I can stand by this statement. To the extent that for this year the legislators are bragging that if you ride a motorcycle in this county, “we have our eye on you.” Both counties in Long Island have created a “Motorcycle Task force” whose only

      purpose is to harass and prosecute motorcyclists. There is a full on witch hunt for motorcyclists in New York.

      • Stuki

        That’s Democracy for you. We’ll take your money, then split it up 90-10 between our own pension coffers and continued efforts to harass you.

      • HoldenL

        A few years ago, Wes (well, I believe it was Wes) profiled a group of hooligan riders on Long Island who would go out and ride at 186+ mph. I wonder if those guys ruined it politically for the rest of us.

        • Nathan Haley

          Those guys have kindled the popular sentiment that by riding a bike (motor or pedal), you forfeit your right to government-sponsored safety.

          Because we are such a small group, we are all ambassadors for our minority. Since people base their thoughts on individual examples, there’s a lot of scope for a few morons “ruining it politically for the rest of us.”

    • Randy S

      ^^^ +1

      A 70 year old represents more of what was than what is coming. I’ll bet 2 wheels will be much more common in the future as the average person in the US has less and less disposable income.

      • Eric Powell

        I think that is the reason motorcyclists will be less common. A bike is more expensive than a car and you are more likely to total it. Insurance is higher on a bike and medical bills will be too much for some people. I love riding but its just a money vacume. My car requires less money than my bike does.

        • 80-watt Hamster

          Insurance is all over the map. My old bike cost me less than $100 a year. My current’s not much more. But as you mention, the other stuff can add up quick.

          • Peter Negru

            …what bike was that, if you dont mind me asking…..I need a machine with cheaper insurance.

            • 80-watt Hamster

              Used to ride a Virago (V-Star) 250, now have a Versys. But I’m also over 30, live in North Dakota, and paid for the bikes in full. The same machines for a 20-year-old making payments (thus requiring full coverage) in L.A. could easily cost more than double what I pay.

        • Randy S

          I’m sure it always depends on your situation. However, if you are looking for cost savings only (not convenience or having a nice motorcycle) a bike is unequivocally the cheapest option available. Still you’re right that most of us don’t approach things this way.

  • TheBigPill

    You’ll get an analogous discussion regarding general aviation. I think that most here, and most motorcyclists in general are live and let live sorts. This is just a reminder that some people see their way as the only way and some of those people possess power. At least you can still get a Big Gulp!

  • El Isbani

    Lots of bicycle lanes in Austin, TX. I don’t ride a bicycle, and I drive my car to work/back and my motorcycle for everything else. No problems with me as far as bicycle lanes. I think it’s a great idea because I don’t get stuck behind a bike thinking that I’m forcing him to feel threatened by this vehicle. Plus, those bike lanes sprung up almost overnight. Seriously, I can’t remember having to get stuck in traffic for one minute before those things were drawn and being used.

    • Piglet2010

      For the most part I hate bicycle lanes – do a search for “effective cycling” or “vehicular cycling” to understand why.

      TAKE THE LANE!

      • Stuki

        Yess! Finally someone with some sense.

        America probably has more bicycle lanes than any place on earth. Just have to clean off the cages that clutter them up.

      • El Isbani

        Maybe the lanes are for the convenience of car drivers, at which point it still works for me. I think the problem bicycles have sometimes are the same as motorcycles–cars expect them to yield and stop on a dime. While I feel the traffic flows better downtown, the lane does not prevent an accident when the car driver does not realize he has to check for an another vehicle before making a right turn. I guess the real answer for safety boils down to being considerate.

      • LS650

        Crunch.

        There’s being right, and then there’s being dead right. You go ahead and take the lane; I’ll stick to the bike lane if there is one.

        • Piglet2010

          That is why people say who have never tried it. Riding the gutter gets you consistently “brush passed”, which is more dangerous. And bike lanes put you in conflict with turning traffic, and in many cases also has you riding in the door zone.

          Maybe a class is in order? http://cyclingsavvy.org/

        • Stuki

          In practice, even the most vehemently road raging anti cyclist won’t run over bicyclists on purpose. Pretty much every car/bike accident that is not simply due to the biker being a complete nutjob/moron, is due to the car not seing the cyclist, and turning into him. Very often at intersections, where a car may have passed a bike 2 seconds ago, forgotten about him while texting, and turns right into him without blinking (After all, noone knows how to blink, and cops find it much more lucrative to harass people for doing 56mph on empty 4 lane freeways with 10 miles of visibility in all directions, than to ticket them for not blinking. Blinking requires some competence, after all, and competence went out of fashion with replacement rate fertility; nondebasable money; dead white males on dollar bills; some modicum of ability to defend oneself; and such.)

          Hence, the safest way to ride a bike, is the way that maximizes the probability that you are seen. Which means placing yourself smack in front of the eye sockets of cage apes. If that casues them to honk, flash their lights, yell, scream, curse and threaten; all the better; since them doing so will alert other caged idiots in your surrondings of your presence; as well. Minimizing the chance they will hit you, too. And then, we can all just get along to where we’re all going, like one big dysfunctional family; which is all that’s left of America, anyway.

          • Piglet2010

            “In practice, even the most vehemently road raging anti cyclist won’t run over bicyclists on purpose.”

            Yes, Charles Joseph Whitman mentality drivers are exceedingly rare.

            And when cagers honk at me when I take the lane, I give them a “Hi Mom!” type wave like I know them – messes with their anger.

            • Stuki

              Being in SF, I just assume they can’t help themselves honking when they see a tight, muscular tail in tight shorts……..

  • Scheffy

    “…drivers expect to see other drivers on the road not bicyclists and motorcyclists.”
    I’m not generally expecting to see pedestrians on most non-city roads either. Following his logic, if somebody mows down a pedestrian on the road (including a politician!), they’re in the clear as long as said pedestrian did not look like a car.

  • Kevin Daly

    I grew up on LI and I have to tell to you, there’s not much reason to ride a motorcycle there. Lane splitting/filtering is illegal, the traffic is abhorrent and the people are stuffy. Add the fact there are no good roads that capture the excitement of riding there you are better off taking the bus. I ride and I’m a motorcycle fanatic but LI sucks and could care less of the legislators comments.

  • Laez

    Using New York as an example for anything else in the US is pointless.

  • RyYYZ

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: self-centred idiots with excessively loud exhausts are doing more to harm the image of motorcyclists than anything (although idiots riding through traffic at very high speeds, or stunting on public roads don’t help, either). Yes, I know there are lots of other sources of noise, including lawnmowers, leaf blowers, loud cars and trucks, etc, but most of those are things that people have either resigned themselves too, or learned to live with.

    Quebec city bans motorcycles from the old city, mostly due to noise concerns as far as I can tell. While there a couple of years ago, watching a busker perform, a group of idiots who apparently missed the large signs about the ban rolled through the main tourist area (near the Chateau Frontenac). The show how to come to a stop for a minute since nobody could hear the busker anymore over their bikes. Many dirty looks were cast towards the bikers.

    • Piglet2010

      Chateau Frontenac – could they load up one of the cannons and point it at the bikers?

      So one cannot ride a motorcycle to Carnivale? ;)

  • Jack Meoph

    Old people……..wait.

    • Davidabl2

      I think and hope I’ll be still be riding bicycles and motorcycles when I reach Mr. Barraga’s age. In another seven years.

  • Davidabl2

    What this article lacks is the contact info for legislator Barraga….

    • zweirad

      Quoting Zion:

      “Feel free to contact the Honorable Thomas F. Barraga here: http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov… and let him know how well liked West Islip and Suffolk County will become, thanks to his insightful and educated opinions.”

  • Stuki

    But of course; motorcyclists and bicyclists still have to pay “their” taxes, so that such “important” people as cops get to live and retire in relative splendor.

    • Piglet2010

      I wish I could get 80% of my salary at age 50 to retire on. :(

      • Stuki

        That kind of luxury is reserved for those for whom gun bans do not apply.

  • William Connor

    Funny thing like a lot of things we pushed aside in this country, bikes were here first. 18.7 million bicycles sold in the US in 2012, 14.5 million cars sold. Well I guess car drivers should look out, it’s a bicycle world.

  • Ayabe

    As long as we’re talking expectations, I guess distracted drivers and those who defend them can be expecting to get their mirrors kicked off.

    It’s all about expectations, right?

  • Campisi

    “I have never eaten a baby…”

    #YOLO

  • Mark D

    He’s lucky he lives on LI. If he said that in SF, he could expect these ladies and gentlemen in front of his house for about 48 hours straight. You do NOT fuck with the bicycle lobby out here. http://www.sfcriticalmass.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/bike-lift-on-Masonic-and-Fell_48761.jpg

  • Paul Cypert

    Barraga obviously lost a girlfriend at some point to someone on two wheels and finally has a chance to exact his revenge.

  • charlie

    WTF? Why doesn’t the kid submit that reply to the local news station? Considering it has to do with both bicycles and motorcycles which are completely legal. That’s like a response from the President saying “you shouldn’t have lived in New Orleans” after Katrina hit.

  • gregory

    Bicycles aren’t dangerous. Neither are motorcycles, until you hit, say, 400cc. They’re sensible, practical forms of urban transportation. Fun, too. In my garage, I often chose the motorcycle over the scooter just ’cause I like to change gears. Sure glad I don’t live in a weird place like New York State.

  • eddi

    This is not a one-off thing. http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/morgan-stanley-thinks-self-driving-cars-will-bring-utop-1530995073 I’m in the comments there as “dredlocke”. Feel free to scream incoherently after you read the article. But let your blood pressure settle before reaching for the keyboard.

  • Dennis Newman

    It’s unfortunate that people like this are in positions of power. Politics aside, his viewpoint is sadly more common than all of us want to admit. It’s nice to see the bicycle/motorcycle correlation. All too often bicyclists are labeled as some sort of heroes for their selfless acts of saving the planet. Truth be told, both our communities are full of ill behaving hooligans. Be it critical mass, the NY biker gang assault, or just a pack of HA thundering down the freeway, it’s very common to see 2 wheels used as an outlet for bad behavior. Then again, there is a huge contingent of car drivers who really act badly. The difference is attention and perception. Maybe it’s time for us as a 2 wheeled community to bring attention to all the bad things we see. Shed some light on the dangerous things we see by drivers. Maybe moto commute cams will displace the Russian dash cams as the new source for stupidity. Then we can start the “ban all cars” campaign…

    • Piglet2010

      Cagers who act badly are seen as people who act badly.

      Pedal and motorcyclists who act badly are seen as cyclists/motorcyclists who act badly.

      Because, of course, almost everyone drives a cage.

  • Megaskull

    This guy (and those who elected him) is a member of a particularly stupid tribe. They should have been confined to Brooklyn, where they came from.

  • Doug Erickson

    alternatively, hold a bike rally in west islip.

  • KC

    I understand Barraga’s response in context to the question. He’s actually correct: drivers do expect to see other drivers. Beyond that, it’s his opinion.

    Before anyone gets wired by my take on this let me explain, since I live in NY. The majority of traffic IS cars. In the right areas you have a greater chance of seeing a horse, even a cow, than a motorcycle or bicycle. It changes a bit in nice weather but not by much. Bicycles are getting popular among wobbly adults. That’s nice, but often it’s like trying to predict what a squirrel on the road’s edge is going to do. Let’s not try to read too much into this. My best wishes to the young man and his mother.

    Tim, what caught my attention was the “Ban the Bikes” headline and the picture. Nothing will fire up the anti-motorcycle sentiment like that scenario. It all looks innocent enough – until one or more motorcycles starts up and blasts people on the sidewalk, more so in front of an open air cafe. Try it sometime. Go about four feet behind your motorcycle, have someone startup and rev your engine – in your face. It’s not pleasant, less so with aftermarket mufflers.

  • Robert Glover

    Gotta love the liberal mindset of these ancient career politicians. Conform or get out (or to them, preferably, die). Individuality is not to be tolerated. Motorcycles represent freedom, a concept they cannot accept in any way.

    • Renato Valenzuela

      how on earth is this a liberal mindset? the article doesn’t even state the politician’s party affiliation. liberals (historically) fight for people’s rights. a quick google search indicates that he is a CONSERVATIVE.

  • di0genes

    Whiners, you shoulda been riding in the sixties when all motorcycles were routinely banned from parks and motels wouldn’t rent you a room. Things are much better now that yuppies and grumpies are riding stupid Harleys instead of driving made in Detroit stupid muscle cars and Cadillacs the size of ocean liners.

  • ‘Mike Smith

    I feel 100% confident that if I ever were to ride in NY state, it would be a “through trip”. Too many bleeding heart, Yankee Socialists for me. It’s like East California.

    • Renato Valenzuela

      most of New York State identify with the Republican Party. New York goes “blue” during elections because of New York City and its outlying suburbs.

  • rkfire

    Talk about creating a story where there is none. Barraga NEVER said Ban the Bikes! He’s NOT calling for a law, or writing one, or voting on one.
    The 70 year old is saying motorcycling and bicycling is a dangerous proposition in that area. Much like many of our OWN grandfathers might have said to us, and they’re correct. He said it was his personal opinion. If it wasn’t your grandfather saying that, I bet your grandmother did.
    My choice in riding a motorcycle causes me to ride aware, to understand I might not be visible to this driver or that, and every vehicle in my vicinity is capable of doing me harm, so plan to make that impossible.