Sept. 18, 2006
What belching, odoriferous road full of swarming locusts appeared last Sunday? You win, about 1,000 motorcyclists driving through lower New York State on one of their "fundraisers", terrorizing every single pedestrian, cyclist, and motorist in their path last Sunday, Sept. 17, that's what.
I thought motorists were the bad guys. And because motorcyclists are also on two wheels, and subject to many of the same dangers, I thought they might be more sympathetic to our plight: The double indemnity of close passing, speeding motorists. Drivers who turn in front of us, assuming we are made of steel.
Motorcyclists are also being killed in greater numbers than ever before, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. So maybe it was fair to assume that motorcyclists are on our side.
Not so fast my friend.
As the screaming, belching motorcyclists swarmed their way up Rte. 501 from Sparkill, NY onto Rte. 9W, about 20 cyclists heading south gathered at the intersection of Tallman Rd. and 9W to wait for them to pass. A long line of cars coming north, and south were also stopped to wait for the cavalcade of motorized steel blarting their way through the green countryside, decimating any semblance of peace on this otherwise tranquil Sunday morning. We tried to exchange words, but the noise was deafening.
As the police held traffic to allow them to bully through at 60 miles per hour (in a 40 mph zone), and unable to cross to the south side, after waiting about 15 minutes I headed south along the northbound shoulder, watching for cyclists that might be coming my way.
After the Palisades intersection I crossed over onto the southbound side by merging with some motorcycle riders who had slowed near the intersection.
It seemed to me, and to five other cyclists who climbed State Line Hill, that we were intentionally terrorized as motorcyclists driving on the right white line passed us with intense speed, pushing us over even farther, onto the grass and into the ditch.
The din was enormous, the smell of gas noxious and nauseating. The fear of being hit by one of these screeching machines was overwhelming. As they passed closer and closer, I waved my arm out to signal to them to give me more space.
But this simple action made these people come even closer, virtually within inches of my legs, while simultaneously accelerating.
I felt if I moved an inch to my left, I might be pierced by a speeding spear of steel.
Some of the riders were sitting back low with their legs sticking out on both sides, as if on a couch drinking beer and watching football: One man mocked us by making a cycling movement with his legs out of the stirrups. Policemen on massive motorcycles added to the cacophony and danger by speeding by with their sirens blazing, and making everyone move even farther over the white line and into the shoulder.
I thought, “Perhaps today I will die.”
I understood them: "Hey you road target, it's our day, our "ride". Now 'git you lowlife!”
Ten four, message received loud and clear.
I stopped with a group of cyclists at the top of State Line because the "people" on motorcycles were taking a turn at about 50 mph onto the Palisades Parkway, across our path of egress. Another line of cars snaked down the road from the south, waiting for the motorcyclists to turn onto the highway. I could only imagine what the wild animals on both sides of the road were doing--trembling and quivering, hidden in holes, from the deafening noise, smells, and violence of these people and their machines.
And imagine that the city of New York wants quiet, peaceful, environmentally careful, safe cyclists to get a permit when they ride in numbers greater than 10!
This ride of insane, dangerous, environmentally damaging road hogs shouldn't even be granted a permit!
Disclaimer: Anyone who did not partake in this heinous ride, nor in the behavior the riders exhibited, is not included in this expression of disgust will all things motorcyclist, and my most sincere apologies for lumping you in with those whose behavior is abominable