The Law of (Responsible) Hooliganism

Motorcyclists have a bad reputation. You can argue this point until redline, but it always comes down to the same sentiment: The general non-riding public pretty much despises sharing the road with motorcycles. We are all hooligans to them, wether we are rolling a chromed out Harley, clad in black leather, showing off ink and cultivating the badass look or we prefer to showcase the half-naked girlfriend’s asscrack hugging a crotch rocket and looking all Little G. Stereotypes? Of course. Extreme examples? Definitely. But this doesn’t really change the fact that the worst of us pretty much leave the imprint on the minds of many who then judge the rest of us by that first impression. Even the ultra-responsible hard-pannier toting BMW adventure rider isn’t safe from being judged harshly by the unwitting individual. It really doesn’t matter what we ride or how we ride it, when sharing the road with other motorists we eventually run into a taste of said general opinion in one form or another.

We even bicker amongst ourselves. The Harley-riding Badass dislikes the  Wheelie-ing Hooligan on the latest sport bike and would rather run him off the road then yield to a high-speed pass. Adventure Riders laugh at the Rocketeers and everyone is annoyed by the Metric Cruisers, because they represent the worst of both worlds: they are slow and un-American. But that is an entirely different matter altogether and beyond the scope of what I want to get off my chest today. However, let me first state this about the bigger picture: Most of us do get along no matter what we ride and most of us enjoy responsibly and appropriately.

I’m not one of those people who believe that everything should be legislated or regulated or otherwise “dealt with” just because I happen to find it to be completely idiotic or otherwise disagreeable with my own opinionated stance. I don’t believe that we should save others from themselves. We have the rules and laws in place to do that already. We don’t need more rules and we definitely don’t need to add to the contention. However, I do believe in personal accountability and responsibility and with that I am a staunch supporter of education. Inform the people of the consequences and let them do what they will with this information by employing concepts such as personal responsibility and accountability.

You won’t find me judging the rider who makes free use of the lack of mandatory helmet laws in their state. I choose to wear my lid, they choose not to. It’s their noggin, who am I to tell them they have to wear it? Same with protective gear. I myself am a firm believer of wearing my gear, but I am not going to judge the person who decides they don’t need it. I will, however, make every attempt to educate them on the importance of being dressed “for the crash”. I place enough value on my own life to do everything in my power to increase the odds of my continued survival. But this doesn’t give me the authority (or the moral obligation) to regulate the behavior of those who disagree and by the same token, I detest being judged by the idiocy of others. I am a thinking person. I make my own decisions. I don’t need to have someone tell me what is good for me and what isn’t. I know right from wrong and I know how to behave within the social contract. I don’t need a bunch of jackasses force-feeding me. Educate, don’t regulate. You can’t legislate morality (or stupidity) anyway. But I am off on a tangent and am getting way too political for a person with a non-interference clause in her contract and a very dense dislike of politics. I hate politics, I love leadership. But that’s not for this blog or any other piece I’ll ever write.

Every time I get on my bike, I break the law. Every single time. Mostly it’s speeding, but I could have been cited for a host of other offenses had they been witnessed by the proper authority: Illegal drag racing, failure to negotiate a turn, passing in a no-passing zone, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, excessive display of horsepower, road rage, racing, evasion, lane splitting. Those are only the ones that come readily to mind. And I’m a goody-two-shoes. May those of you without sin, cast the first stone! I’m ok with that, because there won’t be a single rock lobbed in my direction. I guarantee it.

Does this make me an unsafe rider? Does this make me a squid? I don’t believe so. I am human, I make mistakes. I have had my share of bad judgment calls. I have messed up in traffic and put myself or others in danger. It happens. I ride well within my limits, I make a concentrated effort to be safe and come home without a scratch on my bike or myself. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m 100% compliant with traffic laws. Nobody is. Safe riding does not equate to legal riding and legal riding does not equate to safe riding. Sometimes you have to make the crapchute decision between breaking the law and saving your ass. And as far as I’m concerned, I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six. That’s how I roll and it works for me. I have my machine under full control and I know its limits and my own. I am a safe and conscientious rider. My riding style may look aggressive to some, but I have long given up on keeping up appearances. My first priority is staying alive. But this isn’t the ultimate topic of this article. I’m just setting the stage for touching on something that everybody who has ever ridden a motorcycle on the street for any length of time eventually experiences to one degree or another.

As far as our bad reputation goes? We have ourselves to blame, or those of us who can’t keep things in the proper perspective, at the proper level and in the proper place. When you act the jackass in front of a bunch of motorists who don’t ride, you are calling negative attention to yourself and I guarantee you that within minutes of your offense the phone at the police station’s front desk is ringing off the hook with calls placed by aggravated individuals trying to save you from yourself and ruin it for every other motorcyclist in that area for the next few hours. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and pull a “race start” off a stop line after the traffic light turns green and then find yourself wondering why not five minutes later you see several squad cars policing the area. That shit is called in by the annoyed cager who is already yapping on his cellphone. You don’t even have to speed, but only appear to be speeding.

I was pulled over once by a motorcycle cop on a Harley. This was one of my more embarrassing moments on two wheels. Yours truly sitting sedately on her white Hayabusa wearing a cat-ear adorned helmet with a motor officer in tow. Sitting in four lanes of traffic at the longest red light in the history of carriageway-paving mankind getting the stink eye from several seemingly offended people in their cars and being told by the copper who pulls up next to me on his Hog to please pull over as soon as safely possible. What the hell did I do now? I didn’t get a ticket. He was a sportbike rider himself, was pretty disappointed that he had to ride a Hog at work, and was more annoyed by the situation than anything else. He said he wouldn’t have even bothered to pull me over, but he had to make it look appropriate, since a lot of the cagers where pointing at me, shaking their fists and signaling for the cop to let me have it, to remove the menace that I am from their motoring society. After running my license and plate, making sure I (and my bike) came back clean, he went off-duty and we talked shop for over half an hour. He said that people called me in for leaving a red light too fast when it turned green. And there were also complaints of speeding. He clocked me doing 70 coming out of a curve, but since I had been going more or less the speed limit before and had slowed back down to the flow of traffic after and didn’t endanger anybody else, he didn’t even worry about it. As for executing the alleged drag race start? I didn’t. I left from that stop line like I always do. I asked him if this was a regular occurrence for people to call in motorcycles. He said, and I quote: “All the damn time! And we have to go chase it down and investigate. You guys don’t even have to be doing something wrong and we still get calls about it.” Proof positive that, at least where I live, there is a direct correlation of some douche pulling some asshat stunt out of his bag of tricks and an increased presence of law enforcement in the area. I’ve always suspected as much, but never had any reason to believe it to be much more than mere coincidence until that conversation with the motorcycle cop. I came to naming the phenomenon “calling in a sighting”.

BCSO Squad Car

We all want to have fun when we’re out on a ride, so please do yourself and everyone else a favor and keep it in check and enjoy responsibly. I know I am going to catch a lot of flak for this, but let’s face it: At one time or another we all like to let it hang out a little and enjoy high performance outside of the parameters set forth by traffic laws and safe driving regulations. So, here they are, my ten rules every smart Hooligan on two wheels should know:

The 10 Commandments for Smart Motorcycle Hooligans

  1. Behave yourself in traffic! For crying out loud, what exactly does it prove when you’re doing a sustained 150 mph on the Interstate, passing everybody like they’re sitting still? Or pulling wheelies in traffic or otherwise annoy cagers with excessive display of your elevated risk acceptance. It only proves one thing: You’re an assclown who is going to have a really short riding career and you risk involving others in your shit-for-brains antics by putting them into possible harm’s way. And they might get to run you over, killing you because you fucked up. Now they have to live with THAT for the rest of their lives. No seriously. That’s just stupid. You want to speed and stunt? Find a deserted backroad with little traffic and no intersecting roads and have all the Hooligan fun you want. The less witnesses the better, and please don’t use the same spot all the time.
  2. Don’t involve others in your shenanigans. (See #1 above)
  3. Don’t pass like a jackass! Don’t tailgate! Don’t make other motorists feel pressured to speed up or get out of your way. Make sure it’s safe and give them some space. No buzzing the mirrors or cutting them off by coming back into your lane too soon. Respect their space and make a clean pass. You want to enjoy your ride, let them enjoy theirs.
  4. Be courteous. When someone does pull over to let you pass (this is a frequent occurrence on mountain roads) know that this is a courtesy extended to you. Give them a nod or a friendly wave. Let them know you appreciate their gesture of good will. Again, chances are if you ride their ass they won’t do jack for you. Respect others and they may just respect you.
  5. Speed safely. Yes. There is such a thing. Don’t hold higher speeds at sustained levels. Slow down for oncoming traffic and for areas that pose severe risk at higher speeds, such as intersecting roads, overlooks, pull-offs, parking lots, driveways, and areas with limited sight distance. You should be able to come to a complete stop within your line of sight, no matter what speed you’re going.
  6. Don’t speed stupid! No speeding (or other high-performance tricks, for that matter) in school zones, residential areas, parking lots, construction zones and other populated high-risk zones. The hefty price of a ticket written in any of those places should be your guide, if safety isn’t a main concern for you.
  7. Adhere to your riding group’s rules or don’t ride with them. Period.
  8. Respect the ride of others. We all have differing riding philosophies and have to ride within our chosen machine’s limitations. Make your passes clean, don’t harass other bikers even if you do not agree with their style, and keep the safety of other riders in mind before you act out.
  9. Don’t be a freaking asshole when you get pulled over. Own your shit!!! The cop is just doing his job and more often than not (within reason), if you were not being a jackass or riding like one, you might just get away with a warning. Don’t play the victim. Don’t whine. Don’t give the officer a hard time. You knew what you were doing could have dire consequences if you happen to get caught. We all know the risks involved when we decide to partake in a little throttle therapy that goes above and beyond.
  10. Don’t be a habitual offender. Ride hard, but ride smart. Don’t ride beyond your skill or machine limit. Engage in your criminal pastime in small doses; and, please, wear all your freaking gear, especially when you’re planning on getting “sporty”. No excuses! Dress for the slide, not the ride! Full race gear is wholeheartedly recommended.

You may now cast the first stone…


Baby, One More Time… Redneck Road Racing

I really can’t help myself. It’s on a need to know basis, and I just needed to know! I had to do another Hayabusa vs. Pirate comparison. How else is a chica to appreciate the new toy and learn its personality? I was on the dam road again, and once I’ve passed Pollard’s Corner and disappeared over the crest of a left-hand sweeping turn, with no witnesses on my tail and seeing that I had the entire road to my lonesome self, the right wrist experienced a moment of squidly possession and gripped it and ripped it. Still, the DTC remained quiet and left me to my own devices as it has since I got the bike. Maybe I’m too much for a Hayabusa, but this bike is probably snickering behind my back: “That’s all you got, girly?”

I jam through the gears, but then decide to try the higher RPM range and bang down two to end up in fourth. I’m tucking in, just as the bike wants me to and go with it. Stable. Precise. Awesome. I feel like the female version of Speed Racer on a mission. I come through a few turns and a quick glance at the digital readout tells me I’m doing triplets. Good gawd! Really?!? Not only is this thing quick as hell, it’s also deceptively fast. My rational brain, which is trying to hang on to sanity and the last shred of maturity, tries to interject a message of reason into my wicked consciousness: high velocity equals jail time; but the thought is drowned out by the ferocious growl of the S1000RR’s inline-four fire-breathing heart. Fuck it! When the shift light comes on, I comply with another snick. 130s… carving through these sweepers like they’re nothing. As stable as the Hayabusa but I’m not feeling like I’m having to work to keep things under control. This is way too easy. Deceptively so. There is that word again! This bike could spell out more legal trouble for me than the ‘Busa ever did. It’s way too much fun. Hell, it almost rides itself. Or is this just my skewed perception of things, since my progression in motorcycles is somewhat backwards from the norm. Harley Sportster 1200 Low > Suzuki Hayabusa > BMW S1000RR. I’m definitely appreciating what the Pirate Bike can do and how it handles its business. It has also made me a better rider in some ways… dare I say it, but my crap weather riding is way better than it was… so are my braking skills… both of which I probably should attribute to more confidence in a skill I already possessed, but was mainly too afraid to use to its fullest; not to mention that the brakes on the Hayabusa really were shit. I can stop this puppy in roughly a third of the distance; without RaceABS intervention. What can I say? The tech is giving me a reason to let go of some of my self-doubts and execute what I’ve been practicing all along with more precision and authority. I still have no clue if the junk really works… for all I know they fleeced me for $1480 to make the pretty lights come on during startup self-diagnositics. 😉

As I round the next turn at hugely illegal speeds, I grab a handful of front brake and haul myself back down in a hurry (damn, I really do love these brakes… did I mention the thing comes with braided steel lines standard?) since I’m coming up on a hill which reduces my sight distance drastically. I’m going 50 in a 45 as I crest the hill and to my astonishment find myself staring down the business end of a radar gun stuck out of a Sheriff’s patrol car, parked in a church parking lot to my right. I smile (not that he can see it), and give him a cheery little nod, still tucked in nice and tidy from hauling Mach 3 pirate booty on a public road, as I vanish around the next curve. Holy shite! I’m glad that worked out, since I’m all out of K-Y and I fired my last traffic court attorney for scheduling issues.


Evasive Maneuvers

Miss Busa and The Fat Lady

Miss Busa & The Fat Lady: We are cute and innocent. Well, ok, innocent. Totally harmless. How can a girl in a Hello Kitty shirt possibly be dangerous? Look she's got pink stickers on her bike. Totally harmelss. We even look slow. We only take it to the limit. Right there and no further. Pinky swear. 😉


Since I have nothing better to do than write about the ride, let me recount this little marvel of a tale. Wouldn’t before, since I still had this little traffic court thing hanging over me like the Fog of War in a mismatched RPG battle; and my license tag coincidentally spells out the domain name (for the more inquisitive mind) of my blog, which in turn holds all the unforgiving evidence in digital print, photographic and videographic form of the workings of Miss Busa’s criminal mind; like a cracked, filthy bedroom wall holds the beloved pieces of the shrine erected to honor a serial killer’s next victim… so does this blog give testimony to…. WAIT A MINUTE!

<!– With my newly attained legal skills I would like to state for the record: I would like to assert, at this time, that the content of this blog. — May it please the court, the definition of a ‘blog’ is as follows: Blog is Internet jargon for web log, which is akin to an online journal or diary for exhibitionist folks like myself. — that the content of this blog is all fabrication and lies! It is strictly for entertainment purposes only, and as such, needs a proper legal disclaimer, which was added as of now. Further, I am a pathological liar even when I tell the truth. A picture is worth a thousand untrue words and a staged video is worth a thousand untrue photos. I have 2x2x2 words for you: Tabloid journalism, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Premiere. –>

I was out riding, enjoying a nice spring day in March, in full race gear (gotta stretch that damn cow hide, it’s still stiff and it’s getting on my nerves), minding my own lane space and not particularly paying attention to the instrument cluster, which is part of the reprogramming efforts of breaking my recently developed love affair between the gauges and my eyeballs. So it does not surprise me that my pleasant ride is rudely interrupted by the annoying flash of blue lights and a quick blip of a police siren. Shit! I look at my gauges. 70 indicated in a 45. Motherfrakker! Not again. And not just one cop, but two: a Sheriff and what looks like State Patrol, but I can’t be certain. What the hell is this? Somebody put out the fresh donut sign? Gawd! Not again! I instinctively slow down while I’m cussing up a storm inside my helmet and keeping track of the two units in my mirrors. Hell no! I am so not stopping! I’m not… shit! I have to! No. You should. Ah, fuck this; gawd, you’re such an idiot, shit! Stop! Get the hell out of here. Don’t stop! OMG! There’s traffic behind me and they slow, obviously looking for a place to turn around to follow me. What the hell is wrong with you? They already caught you going what? 63 in a 45? I accelerate back to my previous speed of 70 indicated. The road is sweeping curves, so I lose sight of the cops fairly quickly. My heart is entering a state of arrhythmia. I have to fight the constant impulse to speed up. My brain is going into overdrive. Holy shit! You’re fleeing. You are now risking an evasion charge on top of going something like 18 over. My anxiety rears its ugly head, so now I’m feeling shaky on the inside in addition to the pounding in my chest and the racing staccato of my brain.

I formulate a game plan… a girly one at that: “I didn’t see you, officer. I would have stopped. By the time I did see you behind me, I couldn’t find a safe place to pull over. No officer, I don’t know how fast I was going, I was practicing a riding skill I have developed problems with. What?!? OMG! You can’t be serious. {at this point I break down in sobs and then start bawling for all it’s worth}. My husband… is…. *sob* so going to….to…*sniffle*… to… oh no…*hangs head* going to be so mad…. at me. *wail*”

I round the last sweeper and am faced with a line of three cars waiting for a newly erected traffic light to change to green. Gawd! Just my luck. I briefly consider making a run for it through the gravel that will soon be a dedicated right turn lane. I dismiss the thought after the visual my logical mind is sending me of a Hayabusa laying on its side with me getting put in cuffs and stuffed into a police cruiser shortly thereafter. I envision myself sitting in a holding tank with a bunch of ugly, fat hookers… at least I’d have my knee pucks for when the jailer comes around… Not good, can’t explain that one away to leave reasonable doubt. While I wait behind the cars, I’m practically staring in my mirrors just waiting to see the coppers put in their flashy, wailing appearance. I’m so nervous, I’m tapping my foot. Oh please, oh please, change to green, I gotta get out of here. I’m starting to sweat. Bullets. The light finally turns, my erratically beating heart is still hammering the inside of my ribcage and my fingers are starting to feel numb. I can’t stand to wait any longer and squeeze by the car in front of me, while he’s waiting for cross traffic to clear. I execute my right turn, and rip it with one last look over my shoulder. No cops in sight, still. Good. My brain still racing, my eyes still searching to the rear. I can’t stay on this road, it’s five lanes, too much traffic and straight as hell, I have got to get out of here. I spot a dump truck to my left. Without so much of a thought I whip it into the suicide lane and execute a quickie left, using the dump truck as a shield. Looking over my shoulder, the rear is still devoid of my friends in gray or blue.

This concludes the evasion. I made two unobserved random turns before the chopper’s in the air. But my nerves are shot. My mental constitution borders on paranoid now and it’s not getting any better. A pickup truck pulls out in front of me and I freak out. Holy crap! Come on, man! He’s going incredibly slow, or so it seems. I got to get the hell out of Dodge! I grip it and rip it and pass him in a no-passing zone. Add one more count to the growing list of infractions. I can’t cope any more, I’m using all my remaining willpower to do the speed limit. Wouldn’t do me no good now to get noticed by some other cop on his way to that imaginary donut shop for a shot of java and a creme-filled whatchamacallit. I take the next available right. Hey, I know this road. Nine more miles of zig-zagging and I arrive at my house, fully expecting the cops to sit there waiting for me. (“Yes, Miss Busa, we know where you live. You are known, and now you are also wanted.”) More paranoia, I remind myself. I pull into my driveway, put the kickstand down, practically jump off The Fat Lady with a half-twist and yank the Bike Barn’s cover over her in one smooth motion, then sprint to my front door, punch in my code and enter in a hurry and slam the door shut. After disarming the alarm, I rip my helmet off, fall to the floor and dissolve into a mad case of the hysterious giggles and the laughter of the kind you will only hear from the insides of padded cells at the insane asylum. Haha! Take that coppers! Woooohooooo! What a rush! Way to stick it to the man! Yeeeehaaaw! Good gawd, I’m mad! Maaaaaaaaad, I tell you! After I calm down, I drag myself to bed to catch my breath and relax and promptly fall asleep in my gear. This much stress is exhausting. Being a fugitive criminal is exhausting. I sleep the sleep of the weary, a three-hour paranoia-induced coma.

Officer M. wasn’t lying about the non-pursuit policy that is in effect in the two counties that I frequent on an almost daily basis. I feel like they could have had me at the traffic light, but I have to assume they aborted as soon as it was clear to them that a.) they couldn’t turn around to follow me quickly enough, and b.) I wasn’t going to pull over.

“He who pulls over gets the ticket.”

~ Officer M. (whose wife made him sell his GSX-R1000 and is condemned to riding a Harley when on duty)