Bikers Behaving Badly | Megaphone

By Tim Kessel, Photography by Tim Kessel, Bob Clarke

DILLIGAF? Frankly, no it doesn’t. Let’s back up for clarity’s sake: That eight-letter acronym is sometimes seen as a patch sewn onto a leather jacket or vest. It’s often surrounded by other, equally compensational patches such as, “The last guy who touched my bike, etc.” You will also see it on the occasional T-shirt or bumper sticker.

What does it mean? The direct English translation is: “Does it look like I give a f*ck?” Oh, the creativity! Why does this warrant precious magazine space? Simple: Too many motorcyclists are living up to the sentiment.

Herein lies the problem: To most of the general public, a motorcycle is a motorcycle, and a motorcyclist is a motorcyclist. This is not true of other, more prevalent forms of locomotion. There is no confusing a mini-van driven by a soccer mom with an excessively lifted 4x4 piloted by a testosterone-infused teenager. However, a straight-piped chopper and a fully-loaded adventure-tourer are the same in the eyes of the uninformed public.

This is where DILLIGAF comes in. Those who don’t GAF are negatively affecting those of us who do.

That biker with the patch on the back of his leather vest is likely the same guy that shakes the windows in suburban homes as he rides the 4 miles to the local bar. His lack of exhaust baffling is not just baffling to the soccer mom and her daughter in the front yard, it is downright painful. Clearly he doesn’t GAF.

He is not alone. That other rider with the acronym on his T-shirt is likely rocketing past the soccer mom over the double-yellow on a sportbike with a horsepower number roughly double his IQ. Sadly, he is also often carrying someone’s daughter on the back in her cut-offs and spaghetti straps. You got it: He doesn’t GAF either—about the soccer mom, the girl on back or public perception.

Are DILLIGAFers limited to the road? That guy on the dirtbike with the fender decal (next to the other one that professes the nature of his “other ride”) lives up to the acronym as well. Blasting past hikers, off the established trail, on a race-piped four-stroke is clearly DILLIGAFing. “Less sound equals more ground”—remember?

What’s the big deal? Think about that soccer mom that covered her daughter’s ears in the front yard and was later passed over the double-yellow. She is a voter. Can we expect her to vote in a motorcycle-friendly way, or to elect those who will? Not when she has been exposed to the DILLIGAFers. And what about that hiker who was roosted on the trail? He can wipe the dirt off his cargo shorts, but he won’t wipe away his negative perceptions.

Like the majority of riders, I am a GAFer. Most of us care how our sport—our passion—is viewed by society as a whole. It has taken decades for the public to forget the Hollister Riots and that staged Life Magazine photo. The problem is the DILLIGAFers are a very visible, intrusive and obnoxious few: the “2-percenters.” And the negative always outweighs the positive.

Recently established motorcycle noise laws attest to the public’s increasing intolerance of loud motorcycles. Overly zealous off-road restrictions are surely a direct result of the abuses of a handful of dirt riders. The list goes on...

Unfortunately, to a public that perceives all motorcyclists as one entity, we are all looking more and more like DILLIGAFers. And less like responsible citizens.

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Before You get up on the soap box, look around.  Ari wheelies past Joe Neric on the way to work (CBR250 fresh meat) DILLIGAF?. Aaron Frank, GSX-R750, Won't put a full exhaust system on to keep it street legal but hacks the ECU, Same result, DILLIGAF?  Motorcycle  manufacturers, building street bikes that can only be introduced at a race track, DILLIGAF?  I ride a CBR600F4 sportingly with a D&D slip on and try to be civil around others, but I'm sure there are people that look at me as I pass and think DILLLHGAF!  We may not wear black leather and a patch but I think we are all guilty at times of DILLIGAF.
About time this was published in the press.  I wish all states would enforce the EPA "label match" standard and ticket the "Loud Pipes Save Lives" (no, they don't) crowd.

I try to disassociate myself as much as possible from the "biker as thug" image, as well as being a good neighbor (stock pipes on all my bikes, and I ride slowly at low RPM until I get out of our condominium development).

The sad part is the really anti-social person is the soccer mom in her 3-ton SUV yakking on the phone and not paying attention to driving, much less having any real skill at it.
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