On January 12, I wrote an article called "Debate Raging About Motorcyclist Penalties" addressing a Florida Bill aimed at sanctioning bikers doing stunt riding and exceeding the legal speed limit. Mike Seate, a well known motorcycle journalist and author of many hard cover books on our custom bikes just wrote an interesting article on this subject in the Pittsburgh Tribune. Here his point of view.
‘A few years back, I wrote a book about the then-emergent sport of motorcycle stunt riding. At the time, maybe a dozen teams of young riders were making a good living pulling wheelies and other collarbone-crushing stunts on high-powered motorcycles. They taped the results and sold the videos at a huge profit. It was fun and dangerous, but in our post-MTV "Jackass" world, motorcycle stunt riding was far from a serious crime. Until now, that is.
Florida State Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R-Miami) has introduced House Bill 137, which is aimed at stamping out stunt riding once and for all. If the bill becomes law, anyone caught stunt riding or exceeding the speed limit by 50 mph on a motorcycle in Florida will be arrested and have their bike impounded and their license suspended for 10 years. Lopez-Cantera said he’s determined to make stunt riders "fear the law." It might sound like action-movie dialogue from "Robocop," but, unfortunately, this is an elected representative talking. The state senator claims the 119 motorcyclists killed in roadway accidents in his state in 2006 motivated his decision. But he fails to address how car drivers — many distracted by cell phone conversations, drugs or alcohol, or just plan bad drivers — might have contributed to the number. This kind of overzealous, punitive lawmaking is a threat to all motorists, regardless of how we get around. Laws like this tend to be contagious and just might end up in Pennsylvania sooner or later. A proposed law might mean one thing on paper, but out on the streets, where cops can and, often, will interpret the rule of law with millions of variances, there’s no telling what they might construe as "stunt riding." Slam on the brakes too hard to avoid a crash in front of the wrong cop on the wrong day? Ten year’s riding ban and jail for you, sir. Front wheel lifts off the ground when accelerating too hard? Tear away from a stoplight fast to get out of congested, rush hour traffic? Better call the bail bondsman. You can find car drivers exceeding the speed limit by 50 mph every day, but I can’t imagine anyone jailing them for doing so. Maybe lawmakers like Lopez-Cantera wouldn’t introduce ill-conceived laws like this if they respected the rights of motorcyclists, and viewed us as something more than a group of thrill-seeking kids who need to be taught a lesson".