As a rider with 60 years of experience on motorcycles who has crossed our country eight times and ridden in the Alps, I applaud Matt Davies’ essay on the dangers that automobile drivers present to motorcycles. I was shoved off the road by a driver in Italy who “never saw me,” and I have had left-turners from Montana to just one block from my home in Lynbrook bring on near-death experiences. So I was surprised to see such critical responses. The shock is: I agree with the critics, too. They are not referring to Davies’ or my way of riding a motorcycle — they are thinking of the foolish bikers on “Crotch Rockets” who weave through Long Island’s highways in pursuit of their own death wish. Yes, I hit 70 mph on the Southern State. But I stay in my lane and wear brightly colored protective gear, not including a cheap, plastic helmet with a spike on top. But even all that is not enough. Like Davies, I must assume automobile drivers don’t see me coming.
I was disappointed, dismayed and, quite frankly, disgusted by the recent responses to Matt Davies’ essay on what it’s like to ride a motorcycle on Long Island. Collectively, it seems that their opinions are that since some riders don’t obey all of the traffic laws and since motorcycles aren’t as easy to see as cars, the riders deserve what they get. I am astonished that the practice of blaming the victims is still so prevalent in some people’s minds. I don’t think all car drivers are bad when I see a group of souped-up cars careening down the parkways. Nor do I complain about the noise. And don’t even get me started on distracted driving. I’m sorry that these people feel that it’s too much work to look for motorcycles. But guess what? It’s your responsibility to be aware of everything going on around you when you get behind the wheel. Just as it’s your responsibility to obey the rules of the road and yield the right-of-way. That’s all we’re asking for. And to the readers who were “startled” by the noise of a motorcycle they didn’t see? Perhaps if you paid more attention when you’re driving a lethal weapon we would have less need for modified exhaust systems on our motorcycles.
Most of “us” bikers are retired or semi-retired and, when we are on the road, “we” ride as a group of four to eight in a pattern, scattered so we can be seen. Yes, other riders weave, but not all! Some riders speed, but not all! We usually have a destination. “We” don’t appreciate being cut off, either — not by cars or trucks. We signal, maintain speed and don’t block other vehicles. “We” do not like being bunched with all bikers. “We” are the mature people who’ve been riding for many years for relaxation and enjoyment. Not all drivers of cars and trucks or motorcyclists are polite on the road. But remember: We pay the same road tax, license fee and insurance as you do and have an equal right to share the road.
Harris a curious selection as VP
I find it interesting, if not dubious, that former Vice President Joe Biden selected Sen. Kamala Harris for the vice-presidential slot. The vice president is a heartbeat away from the presidency. Biden would be the oldest elected president and, I believe, appears to already have cognitive issues. It’s also possible that he might not survive his first term and Harris would become president. So why would the Democrats place in that situation a person who had single-digit polling with prospective primary voters? The vast majority of Democratic voters preferred someone else. Democrats and pundits now seem to claim that Harris is a composite of Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt and Joan of Arc. So with Harris apparently being chosen primarily for gender and race, I can only surmise that personal qualities and attributes again have taken second place when pandering for votes.
Thank you, Amazon, for your new facilities
When New York’s economy is being battered on multiple fronts, it is heartening to read that Amazon will open many new facilities that will provide thousands of jobs in mid-Manhattan and Long Island. Those jobs will spin off tax revenues, more jobs and business income that will benefit everyone. Shame on the so-called “progressive” politicians who derailed Amazon’s plans for a Queens headquarters 18 months ago. I say those folks are not true progressives — they are self-serving fringe politicians who want their names in the news. If they expect the public sector to fund their so-called progressive agenda, why do they attack potential tax bases that might provide those resources? They were loud in 2019, before COVID-19 hit. Now, they are strangely silent. Who will pay for universal free health care, free higher education and free mass transit? To single out “billionaires” for more taxation will simply accelerate the taxpayers’ flight out of New York. We need people with means to stay here, not leave. I am a lifelong liberal Democrat who realizes that in a capitalist society business must be a partner, not an enemy. If the tax base shrinks, there cannot be progress.
Andrew J. Sparberg,