Back in the 1950s Hollywood created an image of the motorcyclist that remains to this day. From the outlaw type bikers in the “The Wild One” to the drug dealers of “Easy Rider” motorcyclists were shown at their worst.
In reality, bikers come in all flavors. Sure, there are outlaws and drug dealers. But there are also bikers who are members of the Christian Motorcycle Association and other Christian or church based groups; motorcyclists will turn out every weekend, rain or shine, to raise money for charity; and bikers who will give you the shirt off their back if you need it more than they do.
Each of us can be guilty of these preconceptions. Case in point are those bikers often referred to as the 1%ers. I was positive I had absolutely nothing in common with any 1%er – that was until I got know Sharon Smith, Dallas Motorcycle Lifestyle Examiner, and her husband, Snoopy. After reading their story many of you may find some common ground with them as well.
Stereotypes and preconceptions are not limited to just bikers. Hollywood seems to have zeroed in on New Jersey with shows like “The Sopranos” and “Jersey Shore.” If you want to learn about the real New Jersey, check out an article by the Newark Motorcycle Travel Examiner, Louise Reeves – I am New Jersey.
As motorcyclists travel the highways we are subject to our own preconceptions about car drivers. Admittedly, some criticism is well deserved from first hand experiences. However, on a recent road trip I was pleasantly surprised and grateful for those motorists who proved that not all ‘cagers’ are out to run us off the road.
In Pennsylvania several semi-truck drivers watched out for our group of five motorcycles by slowing to allow us all to pass as a group and flashing headlights to signal it was safe for us to cut back into their lane.
Finally, we had all heard the horror stories of the drivers in Massachusetts but one car driver on US-6 dispelled all of that with one single act of kindness. In extreme heavy traffic on a two-lane highway on Cape Cod, a car with Massachusetts license plates came to a complete stop and motioned for our group to merge onto the highway in front of them.
How we see others and how we accept or not accept them should be based on actual encounters and not on some ‘Hollywood’ version of the truth or stereotypes passed on without any basis in reality.
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