Stunt riding, one of the latest trends in motorcycle sports, appeals to a new generation of motorcycle enthusiasts. Riders use dirt bikes, or they buy sports bikes designed with enhanced power to weight ratios.
Automobile design has increased power while decreasing weight. Sports bike manufacturers are now adopting the technology to entice stunt riders. These bikes also provide manufacturers a big profit in aftermarket modification equipment.
Pushing the limits of safe riding
As with most sports, participants show varying degrees of athletic skill, practice time and experience. Sports bikes seem to attract a broader base of young, inexperienced riders who are passionate about stunting. They can incur serious injury when they attempt stunts that are beyond their expertise. Stunts require riding experience, precision timing, familiarity with changing road and weather conditions, and the ability to understand how modifications affect balance and braking. Riders who ignore the laws of physics seriously compromise safety not only for themselves but also for others on the road.
Most motorcycle riders, including those who ride sports bikes, follow laws about wearing protective body and headgear and only ride in designated areas; unfortunately, stunting on highways and freeways has become a nationwide problem. Motor vehicles such as personal trucks, cars, SUVs, along with commercial tractor-trailers or buses can cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities to fearless stunt bikers. Out-of-control stunt riders can cause multiple-vehicle crashes when drivers try to avoid hitting them.
Stunting swarms threaten law enforcement
Large groups of bikers, called swarms, take over freeways. They can form in a matter of minutes by using cell phones to call in their friends. These events are increasing. Some riders block the highway by threatening drivers until traffic stops while the remaining swarm members race back and forth along the open lanes, performing dangerous stunts at high speeds. The bikers tend to outnumber law enforcement, who cannot stop these displays of aggression. In some cities, officers hide in concealed locations and watch stunt drivers to identify them. They later make arrests at a rider’s house or school.
Drivers can protect themselves from a swarm
The danger of swarms causing vehicle accidents means drivers need to protect themselves and their passengers. They should pull off the highway and head for residential or other safe areas, then call 911. Besides the swarm’s location and travel direction, the caller may be asked to describe arm or helmet insignia worn by bikers; particular types of clothing; or the brand of bike—sports bikes, dirt bikes, regular motorcycles or a mixture of types.
If a stunt biker collides with a passenger vehicle, call for immediate medical assistance, then call law enforcement. Stunting on public roads is illegal, and the danger is obvious.