The longer I ride, the more need I see for advocacy. I am not talking about the AMA, they do a fine job of what they do. The AMA is advocating our rights as motorcycle riders, as is their mandate. This is not the advocacy I am talking about. I mean a different campaign altogether. What is needed is not a campaign for rider rights, but a campaign for riders.
This is something that should be an industry group, but at this point, the industry of motorcycles and scooters in the U.S. market seems to be perfectly happy with the cyclic status quo of low volume, mediocre margins and service departments that feel no urgency.
For the last 50 years, motorcycle advocacy has been the image of the Harley Davidson bad boy, the street racing rice rocket, or the 50cc liquor cycle. None of these images are representations of the the broad range of motorcycles, nor are the effective tools for advocating the use of motorcycles ann scooters are transportation. Even the fun and entertaining looks at the other sides of two wheeled culture in movies like Larry Crowne, Yes Man, and even Wild Hogs, the stereotypes are persisted.
From the time we are children, we are taught there is safety in numbers. In nature, it is certainly true, where being a part of the herd helps protect against predators. With spring coming and gas prices rising, the herd of motorcycles on the road is growing. With this comes a measure of added safety in the higher visibility and awareness of motorcycles. At the same time, it also seems to raise the ire of some drivers.
Think of the typical car driver as the predator, while the motorcycle is the prey. When we are few we hide in the grass. We aren't seen, and we protect ourselves. Aa our numbers grow, we are in view and the awareness becomes a mixed bag. Prey, as it were.
Every year, it seems the same drivers that seem to grudgingly respect those of us out in the cold and rain, start to resent us when the weather turns nice and gas prices soar. I suppose this is natural, they are trapped in the cage. It is about this time of year when I start to see things like the minivan mom enforcer. You know the one, the soccer mom that deliberately squeezes as far to the right at the light to prevent you from slipping past her to turn right at the light.