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Who’s to blame in bikers Vs SUV?

The blame game has started in the wake of a recent YouTube sensation depicting a clash between bikers and a Range Rover in New York.
You may have seen the video. If not, just search for “Hollywood Stuntz” on YouTube and take your pick from the many videos on display.
This is actually only a small part of more than an hour’s worth of video since removed from the web and shot before the incident. It shows the group, the Hollywood Stuntz, riding like lunatics through traffic, on the footpaths and even the wrong way in moving traffic as if they are starring in their own Hollywood movie.
Now, I love a lark on a bike. Don’t get me wrong. But this sort of behaviour in heavy traffic is not only a danger to the riders, but also to innocent bystanders, some of whom are children.
The video doesn’t show what started the altercation between the driver and riders. However, it seems a rider has taken exception to the driver’s behaviour and slammed on the brakes in front of the Rangey.
The SUV has then rear-ended the bike attracting the ire of fellow riders who start to block the driver’s progress.
The driver has his wife and baby in the car and obviously feels threatened. But he then makes a dangerous and erratic exit, riding over several bikes.
One of those riders is now believed to be partially paralysed.
The video then shows the riders pursuing the driver and an eventual confrontation where they smash his windows.
The video abruptly stops at that point.
What it doesn’t show is that the driver is dragged from the car and beaten in front of his wife and child.
Ok, so who is to blame?
I’ve read stories and blogs recounting the scenario from both sides, with equally myopic views and disparaging terms such as “thugs” and even “terrorists”. I note that the mainstream media has only chosen to show the final part of the video where the riders chase the SUV and don’t show the cause of their anger.
It’s difficult to sit in judgement without full knowledge of the facts, but basically everyone shares some of the blame.
The riders should have taken down the driver’s number plate, called the police and tracked him until he was apprehended.
The driver should not have run into that first bike nor driven over those other motorcycles.
The first rider should not have stopped in front of the driver.
The Hollywood Stuntz group should not have chosen city streets for their hooning antics.
And maybe action camera manufacturers also share some of the blame by putting 15-minute hero status in the hands of people with such a low regard for public safety and responsibility.
So far, several riders have been charged over the incident, but not the driver.
And, remember, one rider is now paralysed and perhaps the mother and child are traumatised – for life.
It is a horrible outcome and one that no one could have predicted when the riders started out on their jaunt.
Motorcycles are excitement machines and we love nothing more than to play with their enormous potential for fun and frivolity.
But unless we start to exercise some level of restraint and responsibility, I can see the authorities using incidents such as this to heighten already tough anti-hooning laws, or perhaps limit the power of motorcycles.
Don’t think it won’t happen.
Just look at recent political responses to roll-over deaths in Australia involving ATVs.
One incident involved several 14-year-old girls riding an ATV built for one (which clearly has stickers on the dashboard saying it is not to be operated without a helmet or by anyone under 16). The girls rolled the vehicle and one died.
But instead of targeting the parents for a lack of supervision, the politicians are targeting SUVs, calling for mandatory roll bars.
What do you think? Who is to blame? What are the long-term ramifications of this video?

  1. Excellent analysis. As a biker, my view is that these riders did not manage their safety risk in riding as they did. That is the primary and first cause of the events which precipitated the initial collision event (based on what I have observed from the video and what I’ve read in your description). Prior to the accident they were riding too close to one another and to the cars. This is dangerous and not managing their risk. It’s courting trouble, and it came calling in this case. The driver was probably acting out of intense fear for himself and his family – not a good frame of mind to be in when you are driving. It doesn’t justify his subsequent actions, but it does explain them. Why would any bike rider want to put a car driver into that frame of mind? Do you poke a tiger in the eye with a stick and then wonder why things get out of hand? Their behaviour heightened the risk for everyone, including the bikers. We’ve got to manage our risk as motorcycle riders – always.That’s my view, for what it’s worth.

  2. Thanks Mark for a very well written article that covers the broader issues of conflict and the lack of courtesy so often seen on the roads. Heated situations quickly get out of hand and no one comes away from these conflicts a winner, in fact the opposite outcomes occur. It is disturbing to watch this video and it serves as a reminder that once you engage in this sort of behaviour the outcomes can be both severe and unpredictable. Great work on your part for raising this as a discussion. Regards, Steve.

  3. Really wish i’d not watched that…sickening! Street Gangs moved onto two wheels now have they!

  4. Hey Mark

    This is all over the net at the moment, and really in two camps. If you look at the Hollywood Stuntz site the Rangie driver is a total ass and some say he should be jailed and worse. The Adventure Riders site lean the other way siding with the driver.

    Its worth while looking at the Hollywood Stuntz site or at least some of their videos on you tube. In one I believe its called The Memorial Day Shutdown they blockade a freeway with bikes and then paint their slogans on the roadway and numerous burnouts and idiot behaviour.

    These guys go out to “take over” the road and doing this threaten and intimidate other road users. Check some of their other videos lots of riders no helmets or visible registration plates.

    This is Mob Mentality out of control and I feel sympathy for any of the other road users that come up against these guys, gives us all a bad name.

    Further to the Spinal Injuries claimed suffered by one rider I could find no other reports. Some of the Hollywood Stuntz guys were claiming there was a rider killed but it seems the car driver came off worst and ther were no real injuries.


  5. I can not answer who is to blame but figure that everyone could have done something different. Many wrongs occurred that can not be disputed. At the end of the day, a family was tramatised, a man was paralyzed, many people were arrested and the reputation of good motorcyclists world wide has been tarnished. It makes me sad for everyone involved that this occurred. I do pray for those injured that they are able to fully recover and hope that we as a motorcycling community can learn from these unfortunate events. Thanks for writing your post and increasing communication on the subject.

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