(Photo by Ray Johnson)
Recently, there was a loud motorcycle making a ruckus in the Doody’s Home Center’s parking lot on Avenue Y between East 17 and East 18 Streets. It was late in the evening and the muffler sounded like one of those that is specifically fixed to make extra noise and cause people to shake their heads. But, this wasn’t just a motorcycle looking for a place to park while its owner shopped for some do-it-yourself tools. No, this was a stunt bike, or so it seemed, and the Doody’s store was closed. The motorcyclist was doing wheelies and other stunts while waking all the neighbors who, I’m sure, wanted to scream at the rider, but figured they wouldn’t be heard over the noisy engine.
The photograph above, though a little dark and blurry, captured the motorcycle in the middle of a wheelie. Those stunts do look like fun and I wish I had the skill, equipment, and resources to try such things, but I do not. Even if I had all that, I think I might still not be willing to take the wheelie plunge so that I could hold onto my limbs a little longer.
Just when we thought the stuntman was about to finish his risky practice, he sped on over to the Petco parking lot across the street. Now that this is out in the open, both Petco and Doody’s will probably consider putting up locked gates for after hours. This is how communities get ‘closed up’ in the sense that there is nothing but locked gates and no free, open space.
Calling 311 is not the way to handle this issue, since this type of noise is transient, moving with its motorcycle operator. Residents who witness this quality-of-life issue are advised to call 911. Hopefully, the police can get on the scene immediately, before the cyclist adrenaline-rushes to his own quiet neighborhood to rest for the night thinking he was as quiet as a mouse, disturbing noone.
Motorcycling can be a dangerous activity and we were recently reminded of this fact with the report of professional motorcycle racer Cliff Gullett’s fatal accident on September 3, 2008 during a qualifying time trial. Professional stunt artists use cycles set up for stunting and understand that stunt practice needs to occur in a controlled environment, on a closed course stunt strip, and with emergency personnel standing by. USA Today recently reported about the dangers of such sportbike risk-taking.
If you are reading this and you were the person who was performing your little tricks for nobody’s benefit, please consider the safety of yourself and others — find the appropriate venue for your leisure time fun.