I routinely shake my head watching squids on their one-way ride to the emergency room. You know…testosterone-fueled novice riders who hang on to bikes with horsepower numbers that are roughly three times their IQ. However, if they are insured and are riding alone, who am I to judge?
You see, I’m a big proponent of personal freedom. If your choices don’t negatively impact others, I say do what you want. You have probably already identified my big qualifier: “Don’t negatively impact others.”
My newest motorcycling pet peeve involves squids who flirt with natural selection while carrying a girl on the passenger pylon. On several recent trips in the good ol’ passenger car, I have been passed by knuckleheads who scream by me at triple digit speeds (often on a double yellow) carrying girls in shorts and t-shirts hanging on for dear life.
I know that you may be saying, “If the girl was dumb enough to climb on….” That’s like saying, “If she went to the party, she was asking for….” Those antiquated arguments just don’t fly anymore.
I myself ride fast motorcycles, and I often ride those motorcycles fast. That is personal freedom. But when my wife climbs on, the pace is more leisurely and the lean angles are less acute. When riding solo, I make choices and decide how much risk is acceptable. When riding two-up, I realize that I am not the only factor in the risk equation.
Yes, I am the father of two girls, and that may factor into my overall disgust at these squids. However, I also have a son who rides and he is insistent that his girlfriend ride with helmet, boots, leather jacket and gloves. He also tones down his normal riding pace in respect of her inability to control the situation.
Maybe that is the crux of the matter. A motorcyclist is “in control” of a situation in which the passenger can make no choices. There is huge responsibility in that relationship. Clearly “responsibility” is something that squids have not developed (much like their underdeveloped riding skills).
A squid who wraps a crotch-rocket around a tree is one thing – and yes, it’s a sad thing. However, a squid who takes a passenger with him on that tragic nature ride is inexcusable.
I’ll climb down off my soapbox now. But just to reiterate – SQUIDS, RIDE SOLO!