It takes higher-order skills, for one, to ride a motorcycle than it does to drive a car. In addition to balancing clutch and throttle, one must also balance oneself on the bike – and learn to do all three things simultaneously and automatically. It is probably true that anyone who rides is a better driver, just in terms of physical skills, than most anyone who merely drives.
Riding a bike is also something that requires engagement. You cannot be passive or zoned out as so many cagers often are. Well, I suppose you can – but if you do zone out on a bike, you won’t be riding for very long. And passivity on two wheels is pretty much impossible, even if you were so inclined. It’s not unlike leaning back in a chair, so that you are balanced on the hind two legs. Go to sleep – or stop paying attention – and soon you will be on the floor. Now, imagine adding the element of speed – as well as needing to turn – and so on. You can’t do that half-awake. No one texts on two wheels.
I got an e-mail alerting me to an outfit – ostensibly, a biker outfit – that is agitating for a national “zero tolerance” standard for motorcycle riders. It is called MotorcycleAccident.org and wants to see laws passed making it a criminal offense for a motorcycle rider to have any alcohol whatsoever in his system.
From the web site:
“… we are petitioning the Federal Highway Authority to pass a nationwide requirement that states raise the 0.08% blood alcohol level threshold for drunk driving to a zero tolerance threshold for motorcyclists.”
Er, uh… I am pretty sure they meant to say lower the BAC threshold to “zero tolerance.” They can’t even get that right.
This zero tolerance bidness is, of course, the logical end point of the neo-Prohibitionist jihad spearheaded by the out-of-control Mothers Against Drunk Driving – but I never woulda thunk that it would be a biker organization openly emoting (note, not reasoning) for the criminalization of the consumption of any alcohol whatsoever. That would actually claim that having had even a single drink – and perhaps two hours ago – amounts to “drunk” driving (or riding) and that people should be arrested and thrown in jail and subjected to massive fines and life-altering punishment for that. It is so egregious – so bereft of reason – as to be almost unbelievable. Until you take into account the Cloverite mindset. Because the Cloverite mind (if you want to call it that) cannot reason. It does not base its views on facts. It does not apply principles to particulars. It merely feels. And believes.
And for a Clover, that is enough.
Re-read the quote above. Notice the fact-free nature of the thing. And conversely, the emotional pleading. They are “petitioning” for a “zero tolerance” standard. But where is the evidence that a rider who enjoyed a beer over dinner 45 minutes ago is no longer competent to ride his machine safely? Not even MADD has gone this far – and MADD is pretty demented. The BAC threshold defining “drunk” driving in all 50 states is .08, a political (no, religious) standard that has not been shown to correlate with actual accidents – as the former .10 standard did. But even MADD hasn’t – yet – demanded that people be arrested and tossed in the clink if they are found to have been drinking any alcohol at all.
But, why not? It is of a piece with the rest of police state America. We are all presumptively criminals anyhow – and treated as such – in order that Clovers may feel safe. An interesting thing about Clovers is that they will posit a vague, generalized and theoretical “harm” in order to impose an actual, real harm on millions of specific individuals. This business here being a case in point. The Clover feels that any rider who has even the most minuscule trace amount of alcohol in his system is dangerously impaired (even though there is no evidence to support this) and so demands that millions of riders who have done nothing to anyone be threatened with brutal punitive sanctions. And of course, that everyone on the road be not only stopped for no specific reason but also forced to take a Breathalyzer or similar test to “make sure” they have no alcohol whatsoever in their system – since this is the only way to “make sure” of such a thing. Because a person who has had one drink 90 minutes ago will exhibit no external manifestation of his consumption. The only way to “make sure” is by a blood or breath test. And – tada – just guess what we have in the tool box? Several states have already put into place throw-you-over-the-cruiser’s-hood blood draws (conducted by “trained” GED graduate cops) and the car companies are developing in-car sniffers/samplers that will disable the ignition (and probably call the cops, too) if they sense any booze in your system.
The circle is now complete.
Probable cause was thrown in the trash back in the ’80s – and it’s already de facto the reality that you can be stopped and inspected for absolutely no specific reason whatsoever – other than to assuage the Cloverite’s feeling that someone (anyone) might be driving or riding “drunk.” If these two-wheeled Clovers succeed, the final impediment to bare-fanged totalitarianism on the roads will have been removed, since a “zero tolerance” standard means, in practice, no tolerance – for our former right to be left unmolested unless we have given some reason to justify otherwise. Because a “zero tolerance” policy is as unreasonable a thing as can be imagined.
I am not (as Clover will surely accuse me of doing) defending “drunk” driving (or riding). I am attacking idiocy based on over-the-top emoting, which a free society cannot abide and expect to survive.
Thanks, MotorcycleAccident.org – for helping to further turn this country into a parody of East Germany. At least in the former Deutsch Demokratische Republik, they didn’t hassle you because you’d had a drink two hours ago.
In the USSA, we can’t even do that anymore without being thrown in prison.
Throw it in the Woods?