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Even Dogs Know Better

While out riding with the rest of the Motorcycle Daily crew at Racetown 395 on Christmas Eve, I saw something that really made me think about the bad reputation that off-road motorcyclists may have in some circles. You see, parked next to us were several “toyhauler”-style trailers, and riding out of them were several families of off-road enthusiasts. Now, it always makes me feel good to see an entire family together enjoying our great sport, and the trailer which was right next to our truck was a perfect example of this. A young father and mother were riding with their three children, two boys and a girl, all of whom looked to be younger than 6 years old. Seeing a family riding together like this always reminds me of why motorcycling is such a great sport; you’d never see a kid’s parents out playing little league baseball or pop warner football with them, would you?

Late in the day, as the sun was setting and everyone in the pits was loading up, this family drove away in their brand-new full-size truck pulling their fancy enclosed trailer, and leaving behind an entire trash bag full of trash! Not only was their a full trashbag laying in the dirt next to their parking area, but there was more trash, mostly the paper remnants of a fast food binge, scattered about the area they had just vacated.

Looking at this impressive display of selfishness, I considered what it meant for the future of our sport. Besides showing a distinct lack of manners, littering like this hurts every rider, everywhere, to some extent. Think about it: at the track, this may not have much effect, as track personnel are likely to clean up the mess (although they shouldn’t have to). Of course, if the family litters like this at the track, I’m sure they do it at their local trail-riding area as well. And considering that they were parked with several other families who were obviously their friends, I could see a whole generation of kids being brought up to think it’s okay to leave your trash wherever it is that you go riding.

You may remember reading my article about a proposed ordinance in Riverside County, California to restrict riding on private land. There will always be people who are annoyed by the fact that we ride our motorcycles in the dirt, and there will always be those to whom they complain: police officers, sheriffs, city or county officials, environmental conservation agencies, whoever. When these officials arrive to get a firsthand view of our supposedly “anti-social” activity, what will they think when they see that we have turned our riding area into a miniature trash dump, our own little wasteland, a monument to our disrespect for the environment and our fellow man?

The bottom line is this: for all sorts of reasons, don’t leave your trash or other debris in your riding area! If you see someone else do so, say something to them about it. Maybe if you mention a few of the points from this article, you can convince them to change. If not, wait until they leave and then pick it up. Don’t let them take away your riding areas due to their own selfishness!