Just a Joke?

Is destruction of property just a joke?

If you ever had a doubt how many of the non-riding public regard motorcyclists, this should clear things up for you. Today Demetri Martin, humorist and one-time contributor to The Daily Show, took a cheap shot at motorcyclists:

The difference between a row of motorcycles and dominoes depends on how nearby the motorcycles owners are.

Let’s break that joke down a bit. Martin is not-so-subtly proposing that his fans should go out and knock over motorcycles. Preferably, a whole bunch of them. Because it will be funny. And, his fans have picked up on this suggestion. From his Facebook post, some typical comments:

Jessica Clark: “This is to good– haha!!! I like how bikers are getting offended— it’s not like he is actually going to knock your bike over dummy- IT’S A JOKE!!!”

Tom Allard: “It’s a joke you fucking cry babies!”

What Jessica and Tom don’t understand is that, for riders who have the temerity to park in Manhattan, getting knocked over isn’t a joke – it happens all the time. Sometimes it happens by accident, but even in those circumstance, it is vanishingly rare that the person who caused the accident ever leaves a note. As Mr. Martin suggested, “if the motorcycle owner isn’t nearby”, just laugh it off.

More insidious in Martin’s “joke” is the underlying assumption that motorcyclists are a segment of our society which deserve no respect. How far is it from knocking motorcycles over for “fun”, to knocking over motorcyclists for fun? Not too far, as we see from another one of Demetri Martin’s fans:

James Odell Dugger: “It’s more fun door checking them on the highway.”

Is assault with a deadly weapon also a joke, “James?” Motorcycle road fatalities have failed to decline in the past several years – a period over which pedestrian and bicycle fatalities have been strongly reduced. Given that 75% of all motorcycle serious road injuries are as a result of another driver failing to yield, not many motorcyclists will file James’ comment under “humor.”

Maybe Demetri Martin can make a joke out of that for him?

Sadly, this prevailing attitude — that people who ride motorcycles are unworthy of being treated with very much basic human courtesy — is why anti-motorcycle rage-a-holics are allowed to continue as far as they are, as demonstrated by the story of Stephen Mara last year.

The grandson of late Giants owner Wellington Mara was charged with five counts of arson after he twice set fire to motorcycles parked near his East Side apartment, police said Tuesday.

Stephen Mara, 26, played the firebug on Halloween and again early Tuesday, torching motorcycles on Lexington Ave., around the corner from his apartment on E. 26th St. in Kips Bay, police said.

Not only was this particular “anti-motorcycle-rager” allowed to progress to the point where he committed arson – but it was not even the first time he did it! Does he bully any other type of people? Did any of his friends or family try to stop him? Ever?

As of this writing, well over 3,000 people have “liked” Martin’s “Joke.” We hope that Demetri might read some of the comments from motorcyclists in response to his “joke” and perhaps learn that acting like a bully isn’t funny to the people on the receiving end of it.