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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.

13 comments:

Wlp Advertising said...

Well said Chief! I was fully supporting what you said about that incident that happened by my neighborhood. I was afraid of someone getting hurt. Thank you for what you do for our great city.

Daniel Klenke said...

A difficult surprise situation that required prioritizing with the limited resources available. Based on some of the videos, I'm surprised and grateful nothing more physical happened. Now after the fact, is there an ordinance regulating voluntary gatherings using public facilities (extendable to streets) as to permission, times, etc. to be sent to the group leadership?

Unknown said...

Crisp and to the point statement. Well done.

Val Ojeda

Pineapple said...

Chief Z. ONCE AGAIN hit it out of the ballpark. Concise and insightful. I hope our citizens will leave the judgements as to outcome where it should be-- to the professionals.

Gloria Torres said...

Right on...I want to add that on that same day we were heading to the airport and on I-88 near the 294 exit..a group of bikers...probably same group on crotch rockets were speeding and weaving in and out of traffic..it had me so nervous..they were cutting in front of people..couple of gals on rider's backs..my husband being a firefighter and I a nurse...have seen our share of tragedies...I was relieved we merged onto 294..because I did not want to witness another tragedy ....
N

Gloria Torres said...

Right on...I want to add that on that same day we were heading to the airport and on I-88 near the 294 exit..a group of bikers...probably same group on crotch rockets were speeding and weaving in and out of traffic..it had me so nervous..they were cutting in front of people..couple of gals on rider's backs..my husband being a firefighter and I a nurse...have seen our share of tragedies...I was relieved we merged onto 294..because I did not want to witness another tragedy ....
N

john smalberis said...

Just to add my 2 cents.... Not all riders do the 'stunts' that some do. I talked with a lady once and she said she hates ALL riders. I told her not all riders are jerks (like these riders allegedly were). I told her there are more safe riders than reckless ones but that wouldn't sway her. She HATES them all. My point is, the trucker could have been one of those people that hate riders and decided to mess with them and cause a problem. I've seen Youtube videos of car drivers messing with riders 'just because'. I do not think this is the case but it could be. I say this as a car driver not a motorcyclist.

Nathan said...

Very very well said Chief. Thank you, and Keep up the good work!

Nathan said...

Very very well said Chief. Thank you, and Keep up the good work!

irisheyes0577 said...

Thank you Chief. You said it perfectly. We were getting on on 88 shortly after the pick up incident and we found ourselves surrounded by a large group of them tearing out of our city at over 100 mph. It terrified me and my family in the car. They were riding In between cars so close I thought we were going to get hit. Absolutely ridiculous.

kingcuke said...

Bikers against MOMs (Morons On Motorcycles)
Excellent response Chief....

Lori Hoots said...

Bravo, Chief Ziman. So eloquently stated. Lori (Kallenbach) Hoots

Dee Carlson said...

Well said. Standing behind your APD Family is why you are Chief now. Keep up the good work.