Just a small town guy born and raised in the country. Strong passion for technology and over 20 years off-road riding experience.
Where to begin?
Life...Such a small word and yet, such a massive meaning. Life, among a billion other things, gives us the ability to feel happiness through action. Now most of us perform actions that don't effect anyone else, but once in awhile some people choose an action, while not wrong, that causes tension and therefor issues with our fellow humans.
Let me get more specific. A lot of people including myself choose to ride ATV's, Dirt Bikes, Sand Rails, Side-By-Sides, and anything else that can tear around off-road. While there is nothing wrong with this, there are those that think riding is a danger to everyone around, and ruins the environment in more ways than one. That it's only for people who like causing chaos and stirring up trouble for others. These people tend to be someone who has never ridden a day in their life, or had a bad experience in some way that revolved around riding.
So why bring any of this up? Well, for one really good reason in my mind. Violence. The increase in violence between riders and non-riders has risen to such a level that I feel someone needs to speak up and bring action and understanding to the table from BOTH sides. The issue has went from people simply throwing nasty words around to actual violence. People tearing up lawns and doing doughnuts to damage yards. Running over crops and riding on Private Property. People running riders over in trucks and other cars. Throwing glass, nails, and other sharp or large objects into the path. "Clothes-Lining" riders with bars, branches, and strung up chains / ropes. So with that being said, let me lead with a hard truth. Whether or not you choose to believe it, both sides are to blame. I don't care if you're the one riding and tearing up peoples lawns, or the one throwing nails in the path because you think riders are to loud. Both sides are responsible for their roles and the actions that lead to the situations current state.
Riders harsh truth.
However let's try to remember a couple things, and Im looking at all us riders on this one. We ride nearly everyday. Some of us ride everyday multiple times a day. We come from all over the world and all different kinds of environments, some of us ride in the desert terrain, some in the snow. Some in plush grass and soft dirt, while others ride in the sand dunes, and some even ride in the mountains. We are used to dust, harsh winds, branches across the hands and arms. To do a doughnut and drive through the dust is nothing new and done without a second thought. All of this is just things that we know can happen and things we do, but look at it from someones point of view who doesn't ride. None of this is true for them. Their car isn't nearly as loud when they drive it, they don't leave deep tracks, they don't kick up as much dust, and generally don't drift / jump / race down trails. So when someone comes flying by their home at 50 MPH, leaving them looking, and even worrying you can see how it can get upsetting. Especially those that live on dirt roads and have riders up and down ALL day EVERY day. Now I know some non-riders take things over board acting way to dramatic, and for people like that all we can do is be respectful, hear them out, and move on with our lives knowing we were the better person that day. I also know that you as a rider, didn't make them choose to live in an area that has frequent riders or choose to make them unhappy when you got up and decided to go for a ride. However this doesn't excuse bad riding behavior. A stick up their ass isn't a free pass to act rude and cause trouble.
Being able to ride is a privilege not a right. In many states and countries, riding is either illegal or locked down to the point where you require a Drivers License, Registration, Insurance, Emissions Test Pass, and have a License Plate along with some form of safety course completed. So realize that not everyone gets to ride and experience what we do, be aware of the people around you, be aware of your speed. Dust Allergies is a very real thing. Do you want to be the reason someone DIED because you didn't want to slow down just a tad. Remember that cutting up, jumping, drifting, is all for the trails. Not the side of the road, not someones front yard that made you mad, not the dirt road leading to the trail. I know some of you have to haul your toys to the trail-head and those of you that do, don't really experience encounters with people on the way there. However for the riders that ride their toys to the trail-head, you know what I'm talking about.
So the next time you are riding to the trails, go a little slower, makes a little less dust and noise. If someone says its illegal to be riding where you are, don't argue, inform them. Make sure you know the laws and where you can ride. ALWAYS be respectful and if needed apologize for other riders. We are never alone and the actions of one rider effects us all. Often times telling someone sorry for them having to deal with bad riders makes them realize you aren't here to cause trouble. It makes them more willing to talk so you both can reach an agreement. If in the end no agreement can be reached, don't get hateful or vengeful. Find somewhere else to ride or just ignore that person from now on.
Non-Riders harsh truth.
Now folks it's not all about making you happy. I get it, to some of you, we are loud, obnoxious, dirty, hooligans that belong locked up and our toys confiscated. To some of you, we have driven over your crops, lawns, property, and damaged your very way of life. To those of you who have experienced that, no apology can make up for it, and surely no words can reverse the damage done. What you need to understand however, is that these are not the actions of riders everywhere, and a lot of actions you take to get "even" with those few bad ones end up harming all riders. Believe me when I say you can find good hearted riders that care about respecting you and yours.
Try to understand, riding isn't just something we do. It's apart of who we are. It's freedom and happiness, and SO much more all wrapped up into one awesome experience. There is nothing wrong with it, or negative about it, and it can be done in a way in which no harm falls onto anyone. There just a few things you need to keep an open mind about. A lot of the things we ride / drive are a lot smaller than your cars and trucks. Due to this 25 MPH in a car will look much slower than 25 MPH on an ATV. So when you go rushing to the phone to call 911 because you "think" someone is speeding just remember that both the size and color of the object effect how your eyes see and track them. So unless you have speed test training, please stop trying to assume you know how fast we are going. If we are going to fast or we end up riding on your land without knowing it, try talking to us first. Wave us down with a smile and just communicate. Often times Private Property signs get knocked down by nature and we never see them. I have also found other entrances onto land that the owner never knew about or that was made by a storm. Due to this, no signs are posted and it leads to riders entering private land without knowledge. So let us know, and if we don't stop, don't start cussing at us. A lot of times getting flagged down means trouble, keeping on riding avoids that trouble. So hang a sign for us to see what you want letting us know you don't want any trouble. If that still doesn't work try talking to other riders around. I myself will run down another rider to have a chat with them about how they are behaving. Many riders feel the same and will have no problem catching up to your trouble maker to let them know what they are doing wrong.
When it comes to our toys being to loud, please remember some of us can't change it without modifications. Some exhaust mods can run into the thousands. If it becomes to much of a bother try talking with the rider and seeing if there is another road they can take to the trails. You can also look inward and try things like better home insulation, and dry-wall instead of thin panel. Don't be ignorant to the laws around you. Google makes it very east to learn the local riding laws for your area. Know where riders can and can't go legally and you can stand up to trouble makers better. If you have problems with law breakers don't take matters into your own hands. It will only lead to a never ending cycle of revenge in which someone ends up dead, hurt, or in jail. For what? Because two people couldn't just stop and talk??
Bringing some understanding to the table.
Whether you are a rider or not, we all deserve to be happy. The only way our two sides will ever co-exist without the violence and hate is if we both open up and truly hear each other out. It's not cool to trespass and ride on private land. It's not ok to cut across someones yard simply because you can, or because it's faster. People who do this don't deserve to ride. They are punks who should have their toys taken from them and given a swift kick in the ass. Anyone who rides with others and doesn't speak up deserves that same kick in the ass.
Don't stand up for other riders, stand up for other good people. Because whether you ride or not, you only have one life. We can live it together, and be happy. Or we can keep fighting and stand by while the ones we love are killed in the most useless waste of life we can think of. But remember that we can't control the actions of one another, only ourselves. So don't take it out your anger for one person on everyone simply because they have something in common. Try to wake up each day for yourself and loved ones. Make each day a good one and don't let the actions of others ruin your outlook.
Neither side is going anywhere so make a choice. Do you choose to keep fueling a senseless hate, or do you choose to be that one person who made the difference? Either one you pick won't stop the world from turning, but it can make it a better place for both sides. Which one will you choose to be today?