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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Deep Thoughts about Motorcycles

I had a Honda CBR sport motorcycle back in 2003. I have a small streak of adventurism that I need to feed every once in awhile and a fast motorcycle seemed like a good way to satisfy that hunger. I sold that motorcycle two years later after responding to the scene of an fatal accident involving a "crotch rocket". I decided that my job provided me all the adrenaline I needed.

I understand the adrenaline junkies who have a need for speed and to live on the edge. What I don't understand is taking to the street of a suburban city to fulfill that need. The motorcyclists who decided to come through our city last Sunday caused a bit of a stir and we would be remiss if we didn't have a conversation about it.

I want to be crystal clear with the bikers. Don't come into our city and act like fools. When you drive down our city streets and pop wheelies and cut in and out of traffic, know you are not welcome. When you do what you did on Sunday, you give your hobby and other law-abiding bikers a bad name.

I have been on enough accident scenes where I have watched dead bodies of motorcyclists get scooped up into the coroner's van as a result of driving recklessly so I have the credibility to make such a bold statement.

The Aurora Police Department responded to several calls to 911 regarding a road rage incident on Sunday. The motorcycle group did not notify the city that they were coming through and there was no police escort. I say that to dispel a few rumors.

What happened was simple. A few of the motorcycle drivers were acting reckless. Bikers, you simply have to understand that the drivers of motor vehicles who share the road with you get really freaked out when you cut in and out of traffic, pop wheelies, and speed. I'm sure you are a bunch of nice people with good intentions who like to capture your adventures on go-pro cameras and that probably makes for really cool footage. But I need you to move outside your own reality for a moment and put yourself in the place of drivers on the road who find you erratic and unpredictable. There is a place for your adventures but it's not in the middle of a suburban roadway.

For those of you sitting behind your computer screens and attacking the police department for allowing this "act of terrorism" to take place, let's put this in proper perspective.

When the officers responded, they didn't have the luxury of watching all of the videos that have poured in after the fact. They responded to the scene where they met with hundreds of bikers who were pointing fingers at the driver of the truck and other witnesses who were pointing fingers at the bikers. The handful of officers on scene were attempting to sort out all finger-pointing and it was extremely difficult to do so without the videos we are all now enjoying.

Put yourself in the place of these officers for just a moment and I'll let you answer the questions I'm getting:

Why didn't they chase the motorcyclists and pull them over?
I find it hard to believe they couldn't identify the bikers from the videos they are posting on Facebook. Can't you find out who they are?
Why didn't you go get that big tank you drive in the parades?
What are you doing about this terrorist attack on our community?
I don't feel safe and I want to know what the police department is going to do about it?

Friends, the officers and the police department shouldn't be vilified in this scenario. They did the best they could in the moment. They responded when called and mediated the situation which resulted in no further injuries to people or property. We have to weigh the safety of the other drivers with every action and pursuing the bikers would have put others in danger. Everything is so clear to everyone after the fact but in the middle of the chaotic scene, not so much. The majority of our residents are reasonable and understand this.

I have full faith in the detectives of the Aurora Police Department investigations division who are sifting through video footage to try and determine who is culpable for the road rage incident. They will determine if any other criminal charges can be filed and attempt to identify the offender(s). The interaction between the driver of the truck and the bikers who had a physical altercation may or may not result in charges. It depends on all facts gathered and everything considered -- including the state's attorney's office.

Motorcyclists, I want you to know that you are more than welcome in our city. My understanding is that you stopped to have Mexican food on Highland Ave. Excellent choice! Come to our city and eat at our restaurants and enjoy Aurora. But follow the laws. It's that simple.

I don't see the need to have a big forum about this. We have never had an issue in the past. I would welcome a face to face with the group of motorcyclists so we can plan for your next visit should you choose to come back. Motorcyclists are awesome people and we want to help you get a better reputation.

So let's keep perspective and rationale. No one was hurt. Life is moving on and we are all okay.