Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Enfield rider asks why no one offered help

Another motorcyclist is standing by the side of the road next to his motorcycle. Should you stop? Of course. Would you stop? Well, that depends.

A Royal Enfield rider who signed himself Bullet 500Dude recounted his experience, on the Pashnit forum:

"What is it with bikers these days? I've always felt a brotherhood with other bikers, and I've never passed a broken down biker. So last weekend I went out riding around on my Enfield when the rod started knocking, and I was stranded on the side of the road. At least 20 bikes passed me, and not a one stopped. Why didn't they stop? My choice of machine?"

I was impressed by the response this got. It says a lot about the quality of the discussion on this website, devoted to great motorcycle roads in California. Those who commented weren't foul or obnoxious. Bullet500Dude was counseled not to take it personally, and not to blame the discourtesy of others on anything he did.

The most instructive comment came from contributor Johnny Owrstrich. The subject is important, so I am taking the liberty of quoting part of what he said here. Owstrich advised that "we don't always stop. But we always investigate. The universal thumb up signal is what we use.

"When we are beside the road and all is well and a moto approaches we give them the thumbs up so they know all is well. If we were broke down we would give them the thumbs down.

"When we see a moto beside the road we will look them in the eyes, point the index finger at them so they know we are talking to them, then give them the thumbs up.

"If they return the thumbs up we continue on our way. If they shake their head no or give us the thumbs down or shrug their shoulders or generally look confused, we stop.

"Likewise, when broke down beside the road, the universal signal is face approaching traffic, point to the moto with one hand, give the thumbs down with the other hand.

"If another moto doesn't stop for that..."

It sounds like fine advice and I appreciate it. Pashnit.com is supported by its members through a $20 yearly subscription to California Motorcycle Roads. If I lived anywhere close (I'm in Florida), I would certainly want to join.

P.S. While I like Owstrich's advice very much, I admit I haven't been very good about taking it. Usually I've tried to determine by looking whether the biker by the road is in trouble or just taking a break. I'm not a mechanic and my bike has a solo seat, so, if the biker was already on his cell phone, I figured there wasn't much else I could do.

No biker has ever stopped for me when I've broken down but I attribute that to the fact that few or none have seen me. People in cars (who may have been motorcyclists, I don't know) have asked if I needed help. Fortunately, since I started carrying spare cables, nothing has happened that I couldn't fix roadside or limb home on.


  1. Interesting post. I would just pull over anyway if it was an old bike, whatever the make, (theyre all known unreliable) and certainly I'd never ride past a bullet, I'd want to talk to them! But if it be a modern bike (reliable) I slow and wave. They would surely let me know if they needed help.


  2. Bullet wounded8/28/2009

    Does anyone in Northern California fix these bikes?


Follow royalenfields on Twitter