The blame game has started in the wake of a recent YouTube sensation depicting a clash between bikers and a Range Rover in New York.
You may have seen the video. If not, just search for “Hollywood Stuntz” on YouTube and take your pick from the many videos on display.
This is actually only a small part of more than an hour’s worth of video since removed from the web and shot before the incident. It shows the group, the Hollywood Stuntz, riding like lunatics through traffic, on the footpaths and even the wrong way in moving traffic as if they are starring in their own Hollywood movie.
Now, I love a lark on a bike. Don’t get me wrong. But this sort of behaviour in heavy traffic is not only a danger to the riders, but also to innocent bystanders, some of whom are children.
The video doesn’t show what started the altercation between the driver and riders. However, it seems a rider has taken exception to the driver’s behaviour and slammed on the brakes in front of the Rangey.
The SUV has then rear-ended the bike attracting the ire of fellow riders who start to block the driver’s progress.
The driver has his wife and baby in the car and obviously feels threatened. But he then makes a dangerous and erratic exit, riding over several bikes.
One of those riders is now believed to be partially paralysed.
The video then shows the riders pursuing the driver and an eventual confrontation where they smash his windows.
The video abruptly stops at that point.
What it doesn’t show is that the driver is dragged from the car and beaten in front of his wife and child.
Ok, so who is to blame?
I’ve read stories and blogs recounting the scenario from both sides, with equally myopic views and disparaging terms such as “thugs” and even “terrorists”. I note that the mainstream media has only chosen to show the final part of the video where the riders chase the SUV and don’t show the cause of their anger.
It’s difficult to sit in judgement without full knowledge of the facts, but basically everyone shares some of the blame.
The riders should have taken down the driver’s number plate, called the police and tracked him until he was apprehended.
The driver should not have run into that first bike nor driven over those other motorcycles.
The first rider should not have stopped in front of the driver.
The Hollywood Stuntz group should not have chosen city streets for their hooning antics.
And maybe action camera manufacturers also share some of the blame by putting 15-minute hero status in the hands of people with such a low regard for public safety and responsibility.
So far, several riders have been charged over the incident, but not the driver.
And, remember, one rider is now paralysed and perhaps the mother and child are traumatised – for life.
It is a horrible outcome and one that no one could have predicted when the riders started out on their jaunt.
Motorcycles are excitement machines and we love nothing more than to play with their enormous potential for fun and frivolity.
But unless we start to exercise some level of restraint and responsibility, I can see the authorities using incidents such as this to heighten already tough anti-hooning laws, or perhaps limit the power of motorcycles.
Don’t think it won’t happen.
Just look at recent political responses to roll-over deaths in Australia involving ATVs.
One incident involved several 14-year-old girls riding an ATV built for one (which clearly has stickers on the dashboard saying it is not to be operated without a helmet or by anyone under 16). The girls rolled the vehicle and one died.
But instead of targeting the parents for a lack of supervision, the politicians are targeting SUVs, calling for mandatory roll bars.
What do you think? Who is to blame? What are the long-term ramifications of this video?