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Street Racing Responses

Sound RIDER! Readers Speak Their Minds

In March of 2000 we ran coinciding features on Street Racing.  In one corner of the ring was a feature about a new video release from Exit Light video featuring local riders exceeding the limits of the law on public roads.  In the other corner was a feature disputing the illegal nature of much of the video.  We provided a chance for our readers to comment on what they think of the issue of street racing and the video, and here's what they came forth with:


Um, I have little problem with street racing. In fact, I like all kinds of riding. But it should be kept off the more populated roads and the safety of non-participants should be considered (like the scene of people passed on the right on the viaduct). As long as racers are willing to own up when they get popped for traffic violations, go for it.

Personally, I have a brain and am in no hurry to lose it. :)

Isaac


Yes, Ted, you are a pussy.

Cynthia Collins


I must be an un-cool pussy too, because I agree 100% with Ted Knecht. That's not motorcycling - that's plain stupidity and like Ted said 'one of the reasons for high insurance rates.'

billh@hotmail.com


After viewing the trailer for this video, I can not strongly enough express my disgust and dismay at the thought that this promotion of teenage and 20ish riders' death wish is being sponsored by supposedly responsible dealers. I have been riding for 29+ years now and have the scars that go with it. Fortunately for me, in my younger days the motorcycles weren't as fast or as powerful as today. Also, there wasn't near the volume of traffic on the roads as there is now. The people who will be influenced by this video are the young and inexperienced riders. Most of which have neither the skill or experience to handle the complications of dealing with the drivers and road conditions of the street, along with the concentration needed for driving at high speed or doing tricks. The kind of riding shown in this video causes accidents. It may not be the rider who goes down, but someone will get hurt, maybe a young mom with her kids. Not to mention the Road Rage this will cause to be directed at all riders. It is dangerous enough out there as it is, without promoting this kind of stupidity. Finally, I would like to state to all dealers who wish to participate in this video, I will push, pull, drag or tow my bike another twenty miles to get the parts I need rather than buy anything from you. thank you, 

P. Mayberg


I checked out the trailer and here's what I have to say: The video is definitely something I would like to see. It looks like it contains the fun and excitement of sport bike riding in the Exit Light style -- otherwise known as "edgy". Obviously there's a big fat element of illegality, irresponsibility, etc. and this I don't particularly like.

I hate it when it comes insurance paying time, and I don't particularly like legislators telling me what I can and cannot do (helmet law, lights on, etc.). These decisions are made via "public opinion" and this opinion is formed by how we as motorcyclists are perceived by others. Now, I'm no saint when it comes to riding, but I know this video (and more to the point the action contained in it) has caused or will cause less repute for our sport by non motorcyclists. I think some of these riders are incredible (and some incredibly stupid). But then again, I've screamed around SRI on a GP bike with the same feeling as night riding/racing around Mercer Island. Call me a hypocrite...

Will I boycott the thing? Absolutely not -- I'll be waiting for its release! Do I think it was a bad idea to make? Well, yes and no... Having permits, legal requirements and all that in place would handle any objections I have to its production, but in the final analysis I would have loved to have been in it!

I also have a greater interest in becoming part of an organized group now...

Anyway, there's my two cents worth. Let me know where I can get one!!!

Richard


Stupid is as Stupid does. Steet Racing is only confirming what a good deal of the general public says about motorcycle riders. If the street is closed off and it is a sanctioned race , GO FOR IT!, other wise, a bad thing for all motorcycle riders.

JT


Yes, I checked out the article on the sportbike video in your March issue and even though I get a kick out of the hooligan motorcycle antics, I do not think this behavior should be promoted or endorsed. This stuff is best kept below the radar of the media. I have to admit that I've done my fair share of sport bike activities that weren't/aren't socially acceptable, but myself & my buddies at the time didn't go telling the world about it fer chrissakes -- these stories are to be saved for BS'ing & reminiscing in the local watering holes. Motorcycling's image has never been up there with motherhood, and this type stuff sure won't help get it anywhere close. I think this video is all about some people wanting to draw attention to themselves, with no regard to how much it hurts the public image of the sport/hobby. I guess this bunch of sportbikers wants to go lower than the Harley dudes with their loud pipes and jerky streetwise behavior. Anyway, we need to sit down at your place and watch the Las Vegas Extremes video over a few beers (with the scooter gang too, if possible). I'm sure the LVE guys can top anything in the NW video version of motorcycle craziness...

Kevin M


You think this video is bad ...well, bad meaning good and also bad meaning bad for newbies to be watching go to www.lasvegasextremes.com and check out THEIR VIDEO , puts the boys in seattle to SHAME I think ! I have the whole thing and it is AWESOME ! As for my opinion, I agree its illegal to do this but, if you don't get caught it's cool as hell... I don't know about you, but I like to do a little wheelie now and again down a side street, not fast just a little one ! 

Rich


1. Asinine beyond belief. 

2. Possibly criminal depending on outcome. 

3. Did I mention Stupid? 

4. "Most" participants are at least marginally dressed for the role in their one piece suits from their friendly scooter shop along with their Arai multicolor style statement on their head.

Warren J


I was in the video and agree with your comments whole heartily. BUT, it is a cool video. It would have been PC to have had legal permission, but I doubt it would have been granted without a year's worth of insurance and other political fee wrangling, especially with all the laws you say were broken. The only way for Americans to do anything on their on cognizance is to do it illegally I'm afraid. If you have seen the Las Vegas Extreme video, you'll see they paid the price in more ways than one for their actions, as did the Open Throttle guys. My club mates and I who watch these videos, all comment on how cool the actions are and at the same time say how stupid they are in the same breath(of course if the stunt doesn't go off). It is refreshing to see others let it out when opportunity knocks as I know you have also. It's in the blood of the biker, pilot, etc., whatever that person finds is safe and exhilarating in their own mind at the time.

Arbandit


Go fast on the track. I did the Pridmore class at SIR last summer on my Hayabusa and it was a total positive experience. No police, no speed limits, no cars or pedestrians, and good pavement. Also ambulances on location. The potential for death, tickets, and general disaster is great on the street. It's not worth it. I look forward to getting back on the track at the Pridmore class again. Until then I'll enjoy my Busa in a low key manner on the streets!

D Flowers


I agree with the opening statement to column...."one hundred fifty miles an hour....this must be nuts". Anyone riding like that on a open road or highway is not just nuts, they are a potential killer and certainly a cause for all the non-motorcycle public to once again paint us all with a broad brush. Do you wonder why the government officials along with the Insurance Institute salivate when talking about m/cs? It's because of jerks like this. Our insurance rates go up. Or we are required to carry extra medical insurance like some states are enforcing. Or we must be watched, penalized and type cast just because a few jerks want a testosterone rush. Thanks guys. You should publish a list of the dealers who support and encourage this type of activity so we know where NOT to go. Ride Safe.......live to ride again. 

Vince


Well, well, well. It looks like somebody finally did it. At last, a video that actually shows the insane things we sometimes do on our bikes but rarely talk about to non-riders. This video looks like it will capture in vivid detail the hidden sub-culture within sport-riding that we, as hooligans, never really wanted the general public to know about.

I must admit that I have mixed feelings about this video's release. It's not necessarily something I'm ashamed of, I just fear what its consequences may be. I liken it to the release of a military school hazing video that sends it's unprepared viewers into a state of stammered shock. I also think that the release of this video could also be drawn parallel to, say, the Masonic Temple releasing a book that tells all the details of it's secret society. Who knows what eyebrows may be raised by the release of this video. I am reminded of a quote from a movie I recently saw. It went something like, "The first rule of Fight Club is that we don't TALK about Fight Club." I think this also applies to sportbike hooliganism.

On the other hand, however, I must give Exit Light Productions a big, fat thumbs-up for having the balls to do something like this. I think these guys are showing great vision and originality with this video.

"Atomic" Tim Kreitz Crazy Bastards Sportbike Club


Ride-On! IMO Ride Like You Stole It!!

Lee Heffernan


In the past the Harley Davidson was associated with the Outlaw Biker, the so called 1% ers. The new reality is that the sport bikers are really the 1%ers. As an avid motorcyclist who wants to bring the joy of the sport to as many people as possible and promote a positive image to the non riding public I hold these macho stunts in contempt... I divide the world into two kinds of people - people who love riding and people who think we should not. We all need to stick together if we are going to protect our right to ride from the narrow minded folks who don't think we should. 

Ben Staib


Street racing is going to give us "Sport Bike" riders a bad rep. Maybe these guys ought to load up there little mini van with all there gear, and try to pull off that shit down here in Dallas Tx. We have been making the news on this whole "street racing" thing. The cops down here will through your ass in jail, and impound your ride. By the time you get out of Lew's, get your bike back, you have just spent about 700.00. But that's not all you get! There is more! Just wait until your court date arrives. That's when the shit really hits the fan! You see, its next to impossible to have the citation appealed, because its almost certain that the arresting officer will show for the court date. Street racing is not a wise thing, not in Dallas anyways. Best to go Club racing. It's cheaper, safer, and you even get to keep your TX D.L.!

ZX9RT1@hotmail.com


Watching the trailer reminds me of high school and the kid with the hot rod Camaro doing smoky burnouts in the parking lot. I wasn't impressed then, I'm not impressed now.

It also reminds me of the kid with the Camaro who killed himself and three of his friends by driving way over his skill level while trying to impress his girl friend. He made an impression on everybody all right.

There will always be a crowd of these geniuses around. If a few of them make the Darwin Awards then the rest of us are better off, as long as they don't take any innocent bystanders with them.

Riding fast is great fun, don't get me wrong. But for the sake of all of us, do it on the track or if you must do it on public roads at least have a little respect for the other people who use the roads and highways. Be discreet, be careful, and for gad's sake, don't openly advertise and offer proof of your previously merely alleged infractions.

Blatent law-breaking and reckless behavior like that is what gives the Mothers-Against-Fun organizations the fuel to lobby for more of the laws that take our personal freedoms away from us one by one.

I won't be a bit surprised if this video is used as an excuse to try imposing some new legislature restricting horsepower, limiting displacement, making performance or other modifications illegal, or maybe (and this may not be a bad thing) graduated displacement for younger riders. Do you want to be restricted to 125cc untill you're 18 or 250cc untill you're 21?

This kind of limitations are already the norm in many other countries, why encourage them here? Freedoms abused soon become freedoms revoked.

FF


This letter does not condemn or condone street racing. It is only my opinion. In the past I have raced many times on a very famous or infamous section of road in southern california. Perhaps you've heard of it. Hwy 74 from Capistrano to Lake Elsinore. Also known as Ortega hwy. Those days were a lot of fun. We didn't have the dollars or the sense to go to Willow Springs and race so we did the next best thing......we raced on the street. We weren't your average squids, we had a little bit of sense. We used to go up early in the morning during the middle of the week, when there weren't all the lookeyloo weekend drivers up there. Sure we had our share of accidents, mishaps and close calls complete with broken bones, speeding tickets and appearances in front of the judge,but that would only serve to slow us down (very) temporarily. Then one day IT happened to us. One of my buddies was actually killed on Ortega hwy. That put this street racing fun into proper perspective. Rarely did we ever go up the hwy again, except to remember our fallen friend. One of my group went on to be a class champion at Willow Springs for several years. Another is now the crew chief for the Factory Yamaha roadracing team. I am not for or against street racing, but I think it is a part of growing up, some thing to be learned from. Keep the rubber side down. 

Paul in NORCAL


Yes we all knew Open Throttle was a squid club. However, I believe this issue is covered under the First Amendment....

Mark McMellin


Somebody please give ted knecht a nice cozy tatalitarian regime to live under so that he can feel safe.

WVS


Sound Rider! offered Exit Light Productions the opportunity to write an article promoting our video Open Throttle. No warning was given that the article would be placed in the context of a debate, accompanied by a "rebuttle" [sic]. In their editorial, written by Ted Knecht, Sound Rider! offered their readers what they call a "reality check". It's a reality check based on anything but reality. Here are 10 reasons why:

1. In the real world, high performance sport motorcycles are marketed toward and purchased primarily by people who fully intend to exploit the awesome power offered by these machines. This generally means operating them at high speeds around other motorists and on public roadways. Any rider claiming that this is something they haven't done nor intend to do is saying the motorcycle equivalent of "I never inhaled".

2. You will never see an extreme sport video of any genre that depicts people doing "safe" things. Warren Miller of extreme snow skiing fame didn't become world renowned by making movies of people doing the snowplow down a bunny slope.

3. Many scenes from Open Throttle depict sport riders engaging in exhibition riding, which is often illegal. Does anyone in the real world really need to be informed of this? Do people need to be informed that jaywalking is illegal too?

4. While most motorcycle riders (of all types) agree that wearing a helmet while riding is the smart thing to do, a large majority oppose the fact that the right to ride without one has been taken away from them. If you believe that riding without one is stupid, great! We agree with you, but we would never impose an authoritarian judgment on the issue the way Ted Knecht has. This is a classic example of the prevalent attitude of non-riders who would have every bike limited to 20 horsepower or banned entirely.

5. Among their redundant criticisms, Ted Knecht mentions that "all of this and more is featured in the upcoming video." In fact, that "more" includes segments involving the truly talented men and women of WRMMA who race at the fabulous Seattle International Raceway. Sound Rider! plugs the WRMMA videos a number of times in their editorial as an example of what is "responsible" video making, yet no mention is made that WRMMA is represented in Open Throttle. We believe that it is high time these courageous racers are featured in a professional vehicle that is guaranteed to put them in the international spotlight where they deserve to be.

6. Anyone ever encountering the laws of our friend Mr. Murphy while performing even the simplest of tasks knows that risk is a part of life. This is why any rational person realizes that our shooting of Open Throttle under controlled circumstances does not imply total safety. Every attempt to limit the danger to our riders and others was made during the making of Open Throttle. This does not mean that our riders did not perform dangerous actions. Let's face it, riding a motorcycle at all is dangerous. We all take the risk and we all have to face its consequences.

7. Sport bikes have higher insurance rates than other motorcycles. Porsches have higher insurance rates than minivans. No reasonable person has any expectation that this relationship will ever change. It almost seems that Sound Rider! would have sport bikes banned completely. Of course, if that were to ever happen, your personal choice of ride would be next.

8. Ted Knecht suggests that "smoky burn-outs" on city property destroys something other than the tires of the bikes themselves, and then suggests that purchasing a permit somehow eliminates the "destruction." In fact, permits are portrayed positively throughout their editorial. Yet in Sound Rider's article Clinton Land Grab (Jan. 2000), they outwardly oppose government restrictions of motorcycle sports. Clearly, Sound Rider! is confused in regards to their stance on whether the powers that be have a right to destroy our ability to enjoy our lives and our sports as we see fit.

9. Noting that passing on the right may be grounds for a "road rage" penalty simply illustrates just how absurd road rage laws really are. While passing on the right may be punishable as a minor traffic offense, an officer charging someone with road rage penalties for such an act is truly misusing his authority and the law, and is a compelling reason for the dismissal of the officer. It's amazing that a motorcycle rider would condone this sort of arbitrary and authoritarian interpretation of the law.

10. Even the most idiotic squid knows that if they wipe out while wearing only shorts and a tank top, they are going to need more than "band aids." As our disclaimer mentions in the teaser and again numerous times in the full-length video - which Ted Knecht has not even seen - imitating the riding depicted in Open Throttle may result in loss of property, injury or death. It also says, "Don't be an idiot." Intelligent people everywhere know that only an idiot needs this kind of warning. Unfortunately, in this litigious world, it's readily apparent that we are surrounded by idiots.

Finally, while we at Exit Light Productions have produced a video that is mostly directed toward the sport rider market, we also see the bigger picture: a tight-knit riding community comprised of all types of motor sports enthusiasts, covering a wide range of demographics and lifestyles in Puget Sound area. We, the riders and participants in that community, think of each other as family. That is why it is especially painful and disheartening when one of our own brothers severs that family tie. Disagreement and debate combined with mutual respect and support makes a family strong. Deception hurts everyone. Ted Knecht's editorial drives a wedge between the brothers and sisters of the thriving Seattle riding community and leaves us vulnerable to those outsiders who wish to diminish and take away our sport altogether. We're all riders together. Let's watch each others' backs instead of stabbing them.

Nick Rossi

Editors note:  Sound Rider was hesitant about running a feature on the Exit Light Video, but felt it would be of interest to some riders here.  Feeling a responsibility toward safety we couldn't run the feature without a different perspective taking a look at the unsafe practices in the video.  

As is always the case in publishing no one ever knows or can anticipate what the final issue will look like until it is published.  The editors and publisher determine the content without any outside influence and often it's on the fly  (seen the 11 oclock news or Seatle Times?).

We're pleased at the amount a reader response we got from these articles and look forward to presenting more issues in the future.  Thanks for reading.

 

 


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