Many More Beside These

02 October 2013

How To Stop Motorcycle Gangs

I have not posted for a while. Most of the ideas on this years-old blog are still current. For example, in the news yesterday was a story about eating in a car being as dangerous as cellphone use. Four years ago I pointed out that using a cellphone could be as safe as eating in a car-- it's all about timing and knowing when and where to look.
I've written about motorcycle scofflawing before, but want to add some things in light of the tragedy that happened in NY yesterday, with a large gang baiting then attacking one car with a family, including a child, inside. We have these gangs on Long Island too. They typically buzz, like a swarm of bees, past my car, with license plates too small to see. They change lanes illegally, get much too close, are too unpredictable. The potential is there for mob behavior.
What to do?
1. As I mentioned years ago, motorcycle license plates should be much larger, as a means to be able to call in bad behavior to the police. Hang the aerodynamics. The plates should be front and back, like a car.
2. Because a "gang" reacts as one entity, there should be a law restricting the number of motorcyclists who ride together. While a bit unworkable, this could be a law that the police could use, in and of itself, to stop any group without a proper permit. Thirty motorcyclists should not ride together as one semi-amorphous group. In other words, if thirty motorcyclists were found riding together, a police car could ask them all to stop, take all their numbers and IDs, ask them to disperse, and if something bad happened later, would have all the info. This is a viable deterrent to a potential crime.
3. Most importantly (this would work for cars too), and somewhat of a change from my initial article posted on Best Driver In The World about being able to call an automated number to "tell on each other"-- I think it is becoming obvious, and inevitable, that we greatly increase the number of cameras on roadways. We can have cameras that record motion, proximity, distance from other cars, and even acceleration and deceleration, related to other objects, that basically record our safe or unsafe driving. These cameras need to be set up to a system that will either fine us, increase our insurance, or ID scofflaw or dangerous behavior so that things are taken from us-- cars or motorcycles. Critics would say that what of course would happen is an outlaw society, where motorcycles, for example, would be sold, fake plates made, fake licenses made-- but this would be overcome in time with sheer numbers of legal points of checking. The outlaw society exists now anyway. Adding more points of observation and accountability would stop this in time.
We need, as law-abiding citizens, to agree to this level of monitoring, to weed out the types of criminal behavior exhibited on the NYC roads by the gang the other day. They knew there were not enough police around to watch them. A number of them had no plates on their bikes.
Law-abiding citizens would gain, after a number of decades, the ability to drive faster safely. As long as distance between cars was the number one factor deciding who gets fined or not (as it is on the German Autobahn), better drivers who know how to keep space around their vehicles would benefit. Other would be forced to learn.


  1. According to the recent survey reports it is found that lots of road accidents involve the fault of motorcyclists. Either they ride so rash that they kill people and self in the accidents. Government must take strict action against all those who ride the motorcycle more than the defined speed.

    Arnold Brame

    1. So you are proposing that speed limits be more strictly enforced for one type of vehicle? Why would we do this? Are you claiming that a speeding motorcycle is more dangerous than the +90% of automobiles that speed, or are you simply proposing stricter enforcement on a group of people because you aren't among them?

      I am glad to see that you at least attempted to provide a source for your information and accurate numbers, but I'm afraid "the recent survey reports" and "lots" aren't terribly convincing.

    2. Looks like you missed the point of the article... where did I emphasize enforcing speed limits more for motorcycles?

  2. Thank you; this happens where I live too.

  3. "While a bit unworkable, this could be a law that the police could use, in and of itself, to stop any group without a proper permit."

    A *bit* unworkable? How, exactly, do you propose that an officer, in seconds, can 1. Count the number of bikes in a group, 2. determine whether or not they have a "permit", 3 position themselves in such a way as to be able to safely stop 30 (10? 100?) motorcycles in such a way that they do not block traffic, and lastly 4. invite each and every rider, one at a time, to the squad car to collect information and write tickets. Let's see, at a conservative 5 minutes to write a ticket, per bike for thirty bikes, means the last ticket is written 2.5 hours after the stop is made. I'm certain everyone will wait patiently.

    But let's set all of that aside for a moment, and assume the tickets can be written, and sit in on the courtroom proceedings. Prove that any one individual rider was a member of the group that was cited, and not simply passing through, or being passed, as the case may be. And then there is the small matter of constitutionality, as in the right to free assembly. Will your law apply to large collections of motorcyclists who gather at local watering holes every weekend across the country?

    What people don't seem to understand (yourself included) is that passing unenforceable laws is actually worse than having no law for two reasons. First, it weakens the authority of law officers and the rule of law in general, because it's one more law people will break without consequence. Second it invites selective enforcement, as in the situations where police "just need a reason", and "piling-on", wherein someone who has committed a single illegal act is suddenly charged with 30 crimes .

    Maybe we should write a law about proposing dumb laws. It would be just as enforceable. Before the next time you utter the words "There should be a law." ask yourself these two things; 1. What has changed about the world, or technology, or human nature, that now makes a new law necessary? 2. Is there already a law on the books that covers the activity, and why is it not being enforced?

    1. There are many easy answers to the questions you raise. In brief, this is a long-term solution being offered. I agree there should not be any scofflaw behavior when driving is concerned, but there is, and the way out is selective enforcement. As it turns out, two days after posting this entry, I read that Australia has enacted a law to limit motorcyclists riding together-- so it's obvious that this approach has some merit.

      By the way (and I ask this with some of the same pointedness that you seem to be showing me), where did you get the title "Supergenius"? You sure are wordy, but seem to be negative, as if nothing can be done about this problem. If you have better suggestions, write them here please, on this forum. People will read them. The title of this blog is not contentious; I state that it is a title I'd like to earn. Great book title, eh? Imagine people just seeing the title, feeling what you feel, and improving their safety? That's my intention.

  4. This comment is posted months after the article: the problem is growing in cities, where large groups of riders break laws and feel nothing can be done about it.