I was reminded today by a fellow editor that being a fair journalist is knowing all the facts. At the time of my previous post, I based my conclusions on articles posted by the NY Post and NY Times before many additional circumstances were brought to light in the following hours. Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell exactly what happened based on the helmet cam footage posted on YouTube. When I wrote my article, I had no intention of offending or singling out anyone involved as being at fault. My conclusions were hypothetical and would only have been valid if what I’d read were true. My article was merely my opinion and not a factual piece written by a reporter. I realize I may have favored the side of the riders, but that is because I myself am a rider. And for that bias, I’m sorry, but I can’t overlook Alexian leaving the scene of an accident, nor can I deny that the riders were wrong when they chased him down afterward.
Furthermore, I was told by a trusted source that the Hollywood ride (started by Hollywood Stunts) never actually took place. On the morning of the incident, police sat outside Hollywood’s shop, perhaps trying to prevent him from holding his annual event. As a result, Hollywood never left his shop and he was in no way affiliated with the violent actions that took place on the street that day. I also learned that Jay Meezee was riding with a suspended license and never should have been out riding that day, so his involvement was merely circumstantial. Still, he is a human being and regardless of character, his injuries are still saddening and by no means not worth mentioning.
The riders who consumed the streets of New York were more than likely out on their own. No club members or anyone associated with Hollywood or the annual event was present and therefore, can not be associated with the riders responsible for the inexcusable acts that happened that day.
After watching the video, it does appear as if the rider who was in front of Alexian’s SUV did in fact brake check him and if Alexian did not have enough time to react, this one rider is mostly likely the catalyst for the consequences that followed. There is ten seconds of video where Alexian’s SUV does not move and who knows what conversation took place to cause him to flee the scene of an accident. Did the riders threaten him? Was he in fear for his life and his family? Or was it adrenaline or aggression? It is hard to tell by the video and unless we were there or heard the words exchanged, we might never know exactly what caused Alexian to run over the riders in front of him or what caused the riders to react so violently.
By no means do I condone the actions of the riders, nor do I excuse Alexian for his. Regardless, violence is never the right option, nor is detaining a vehicle, as that is also a felony. If Alexian did provoke the riders, their actions would not have been right, only instinctual. But the result is still the same. Alexian and his family, as well as every other citizen of New York is left asking questions and coming to the conclusion that all riders are felonious animals who need to be stopped. This event has cast a shadow on the motorcycling community that has left us all divided and now we no longer trust each other. Each of us is biting our fingernails wondering if when we go out riding, someone on the road will see us as one of the riders who terrorized Alexian and chase us down without empathy. Or worse, we will terrorize each other.
There is much that can be speculated about what caused the event, whose actions were justified and who needs to be sent to jail. But instead of pointing fingers and screaming at each other, why don’t we learn from it? When I expressed my point of view, my only hope was to see the media be fair and just in their coverage of the event, that’s all. Report the hard evidence and use proven facts to write the story. I know the police will do their job and not only bring justice for Alexian, but also the rest of us who were peripherally scarred by this.
I also want to state by posting Jay Meezee’s photo, it was to show there was more than one victim here. It sends a message to not only the motorcycling community, but the entire community that regardless of character or one’s past, needless violence shouldn’t happen. Hate and malicious intent only results in pain.
What matters now is that each and every motorcyclist make small steps to stitch the wounds inside our community. We need to treat each other like family, as that is what we were before this happened. The beauty of motorcycling is that it’s a sport, a past time or way of life that brings people from all walks of life, religions and classes together on an equal ground. Riding is about enjoying life and having a passion for exploring the world and living each day like it is a gift. We need to place stereotypes and misconceptions aside. Now is a time for the track riders to shake hands with the club riders and the stunt riders to give respect to the canyon riders and for everyone to respect the road as a shared and privileged space not to be taken for granted. Set the right examples. And don’t let one act of road rage shatter everything we’ve worked for.
Other riders have led massive group rides safely and some event organizers or leaders will not ride without first seeking permission from the city and the blessing of local law enforcement. Allan Lane, who is Editor-N-Chief of SportbikesIncMag.com does this with his bi-annual rides. It’s riders like him who set the right example and give the right of way to other traffic sharing the road.
If you’ll see on my bog, I have a story about a Corset Run where riders came together to raise money for breast cancer. They did it peacefully and safely. They did it because they’re good people. If the rest of us strive for the same benevolence and change, we will be able to set things right.
My heart goes out to all involved. Ride safe. Do the right thing and don’t let anger get the best of you.