Ontario’s motorcyclists will pay dearly if we see more motorcycle mobs like the one that ran amok in the GTA over the long weekend.
In case you missed it, a horde of sportbikes went on a spree of hooliganism around Toronto on August 6, performing wheelies, burnouts and other stunts down major highways. The public got upset, especially due to traffic delays. The OPP asked for help identifying the suspects, and there was a flap in the media. Some motorcyclists condemned the hoonery and others applauded it. By now, the news cycle has forgotten it.
But Canadian motorcyclists, particularly riders in Ontario, need to pay attention to what’s going on, because this sort of behaviour will cost everyone dearly if it keeps up.
The last thing Ontario motorcyclists need is more heat from police. More scrutiny means more tickets for the average rider, whether or not he/she was doing burnouts on the DVP. In a province with strict anti-stunting laws, where riding 50 km/h over the speed limit can land you with a $10,000 fine and more, motorcyclists are going to pay if the OPP decides to enforce traffic regulations more strictly.
And don’t kid yourself: in a law-abiding society like Ontario the OPP will not let this two-wheeled aggression stand. They’ve shut down similar anti-social tuner car cultures in the past, and they’ll put an end to this as well. What flies in the US will not last in Canada.
From my perspective, I don’t care if you don’t religiously follow traffic laws. I’ve been known to enjoy wheelies and speed and other fun on public roads myself. I’m certainly not going to sit here and judge anyone else who enjoys the same.
However, if you want to be irresponsible, there’s a time and a place for it. Pulling these stunts in the middle of a day down a busy highway only angers everyone else, especially if you’re blocking traffic. Yeah, I get it: cars suck. But despite all the times Granny cuts you off in her Caprice Classic, you don’t have the right to shut the road down. All this does is get people mad and mobilize the cops.
The police rightly see this sort of activity as a challenge, and they will respond, like they did with last summer’s hooligan rides in the GTA. It took them a few months, but they laid some serious charges as a result, and I’d expect to see a much more concerted effort this time around.
But a crackdown from the cops is only one of the effects we’re going to see. If this keeps up, we’re going to see cagers pushing bikes around. The public is already mad about the whole loud pipes issue, with legislators goaded into anti-bike laws around the country and citizens taking things into their own hands with cheap vandalism. We don’t need any more of this. Here’s the CBC’s report, and watch the YouTube video below for one family’s comments; suburban moms and dads are not impressed, and want it to end.
There’s a lot of buzz about the GTA mobs on social media, with threats such as “Prepare to get your heads bashed in and your brains spilled” showing up on Facebook. Talk is cheap, but motorcyclists already have enough trouble with other motorists on and off the street. We don’t need more danger to watch out for.
Insurers in Ontario are also likely gleeful at the rise in excessive hooligan riding, as they could see yet another reason to jack up rates, despite the fact many of these squids don’t have insurance, or even a motorcycle licence.
We can also expect to see a spillover in other provinces. Quebec, right next door to Ontario, already has the strongest anti-motorcycle government in the country, with provincial leaders sick of bikers after the Hells Angels-Rock Machine war of the 1990s. You can bet they’re watching this new form of mass lawlessness carefully, plotting their own crackdowns.
Ultimately though, the most significant result won’t just be some hassles from The Man and angry suburbanites. This kind of behaviour is going to end up with serious crashes and riders dead. It’s actually been coming for a while, with the world of motovlogging starting the trend. The guys and girls on YouTube are starting to pay for their hooliganism on the road, with the self-proclaimed “Street Rossi” known as Yammie Noob involved in a very serious crash this year (his second wrecked Daytona in six months), destroying a Porsche and leaving him with serious injuries. Recently, he was followed by Russian vlogger Monika9422. Best-known for her ability to pull off motorcycle stunts in skimpy clothing, the 40-year-old mother died in a crash last month.
These are the people the bike mobs look up to, and some of them will pay the same price for riding recklessly without the skill to back it up. A GTA rider was killed in one of these stunt rides last July, and others were lucky to escape the wreckage in the Labour Day weekend ride last year. If they keep it up, there will be more casualties.
Which is ironic, really. Supposedly, the reason behind the whole motorcycle mob was to raise awareness about motorcycle safety. But just like the whole “loud pipes save lives” argument, which is usually spouted by a rider wearing a beanie helmet, the squid riders are going to have to work on their presentation before we take their message seriously — especially if the rest of us more-or-less respectful riders are left to deal with their fallout.