Rights: Does it Have to be Celebrate vs. Safe? —Ride of the Century, Labor Day, St. Louis, Missouri
Posted on August 29th, 2013 by Zane Cagle
In a press conference held yesterday in Weldon Spring, police leaders across the greater St. Louis area vowed to crack down on any motorcycle mischief when 1000’s of motorcyclist are expected to converge on St. Louis this Labor Day Weekend. The headline read, “St. Louis Area Police Warn of No Tolerance or Stunts During Big Motorcycle Gathering”. The “Ride of the Century” takes place Sunday, September 1, 2013
After reading the St. Louis Post Dispatch article, I discovered that highway patrol and local authorities are concerned about past behaviors of some motorcyclist. Police expect more than 3,000 riders on street bikes over the Labor Day Weekend. Officials said they will set up safety checkpoints and send letters to insurance companies with who ticketed motorcyclist have policies. “We will notify the insurance company of those violators that are committing hazardous moving violations,” said St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch.
According to the article, it is reported that some ticketed riders have boasted that they would contact attorneys to try to get there tickets knocked down to nonmoving violations. I’m not sure how feasible that is to do after boasting about it? Truly, I do not know that the biggest concern here is a “ticket”, tather, more importantly is the circumstances that are created which increase the risk of serious motorcyle accidents resulting in serious injuries or deaths. In years past, I have blogged about these Labor Day weekend rides and sadly, there are usually some injuries.
The Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald Johnson said that “too many riders had set out with the intent to cause chaos during past “Streetfighterz Ride of the Century” events”. However, many ride participants who watched Wednesday’s news conference said that most who ride in the annual celebration were law-abiding and that the police unfairly singled them out. “It’s a celebration of our lifestyle”, said Shane Harper, 33 of O’Fallon, Mo. “It’s something that we like to do.” “It’s not illegal to ride in a group of bikes. It’s not. It’s an absolute stereotype”
Capt. Johnson indicated that riders who are law abiding will have nothing to worry about.
Many of us around St. Louis have seen large groups of these types of bikes riding together. And many people have impressions or ideas that people who ride motorcycles are reckless, in general—I’ve been told that so many times. Motorcycle riding is like any other sport or past time—it only takes a few to be reckless to create a negative stereotype for all others who are riding safely. When we talk about laws—many laws are made for the exceptions and not the general masses who try to be safe.
I have witnessed this ride in years past and I will do what I can to avoid it this year for two reasons: 1) traffic will be extra hectic with the addition of that many vehicles 2) there are a few members that haven riden unsafely in the past and I do not want to be a part of an accident or witness an accident. I hope that there are no accidents! Injuries or fatalities due to personal recklessness are sad and tragic because they are completely Preventable. Daily, I encounter car drivers and motorcyclist alike who were operating safely and were in an accident anyway—it happens but why increase your odds by driving recklessly?
As far as the motorcyclists above saying they would contact their attorneys to get their tickets “fixed”—that will not prevent an injury if they are in an accident. Tickets are not the biggest issue here—accidents resulting in serious injuries and deaths are the real potential problem. I truly believe that is what law enforcement is trying to accomplish with this statement and effort. So, if these riders all ride together in a safe fashion including no trick riding, observing the traffic lights and traveling at a safe distance, then all should be fine.
Obviously, other motorists will have to be on the lookout for motorcyclist but we each should be doing that everyday! We all “share” the road but must be safe when driving, no matter what kind of vehicle we are driving!
At The Cagle Law Firm, we often have clients who are victims of motorcycle accidents and like our victims of auto accidents, they were not usually doing anything unsafe. That’s the point—accidents can happen even when you are operating your vehicle safely. We do not represent motorcycle victims who were injured while trick riding or purposely driving recklessly for the simple reason that purposely driving unsafely can cause a crash and can be considered very negligent. If you are hurt while trick riding on a public street in traffic, you probably will not be able to file a very good personal injury claim. Not that you can’t—it just may be hard to find an attorney much less a jury that will agree with you.
Motorcycle riders should be able to gather and celebrate their love of motorcycle riding! It’s America! We should be able to gather with other like individuals and celebrate our lifestyles under the one condition—that it does not endanger others
If you have been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you need to contact an expert personal injury attorney. Our attorneys are available 7 days a week to answer your questions (314) 276-1681…..Keep it safe on our highways and side streets this Labor Day Weekend!