Is a Sturgis Boycott Good for Motorcycle Riders? Readers Sound Off

The August 2004 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser magazine expressed various opinions from the editors about whether a boycott of the Sturgis was an appropriate response to the light sentenced imposed on former governor, congressman and motorcyclist killer Willi

Regular Updates In the August 2004 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser, the three editors offered differing views on what the motorcycling community's response to the light punishement given to former South Dakota Governor and U.S. Congressman, Wiliam Janklow, who a year ago ran a stop sign and killed Randy Scott, a motorcyclist who had right-of-way. After the accident, it was revealed that Janklow frequently broke traffic laws and even bragged about it in speeches. He was convicted, but the sentence imposed by the judge in his home-town court was just 100 days. It was also ruled that he could not be held liable because he was working as a U.S. federal employee at the time of the crash.

Each editor has a differing viewpoint on what the appropriate response should be, and they are reflected in the current poll on the home page of this site.

However, we also asked readers to voice their views on this topic, and we are posting the emails we receive here (most recent ones are nearest the top). We will continue to add the comments we receive until late July. Send yours to: Art.Friedman@primedia.com or to ArtoftheMotorcycle@hotmail.com. We reserve the right shorten, edit or reject those we receive if we feel they are inappropiate.

Readers' Comments

  • The best suggestion that I have heard is...Go to the wrong Sturgis...Why not? Take your own guest book there and find as many folks as you can to sign it there. If you can send a total number of signatures to the Chamber of Commerce in Sturgis, SD, the SD State capital, and even Washington, maybe that will send a stronger message.

J. Gant

  • The award for missing the point goes to the person who suggests "boycotting" all states. Most states wouldn't care when some rally there went away. But South Dakota depends on bikers for big bucks, if as you say Sturgis is its biggest tourist attraction. Since they want us to support them, why shouldn't we riders demand that they support us BEFORE we spend our hard-earned money there?

G. Quinlan
Wisconsin

  • Mr. or Ms. Abbey should look at the AMA's site. It explains what the AMA is trying to do and how.

T. Redding
Ohio

  • To the Sturgis boycotters; I have a better idea! Stop riding motorcycles altogether! That will get ALL of them where they live! Because if you're going to boycott South Dakota because a judge let someone off for murdering a biker, you have to boycott EVERY state where such a thing has happened, and it's happened in EVERY state. A recent example is Iowa (conspiring with their neighbor, South Dakota?) where a van crossed the centerline, wiped out six bikes and killed three people. His penalty? A $70 fine. Since Iowa doesn't have a big rally like Sturgis, but IS one of only three 100% helmet-free states, maybe the bikers there could protest by wearing helmets! THAT'LL get the biker-haters where they live!

  • If you think for 2 seconds, you realize that a boycott of South Dakota is rewarding the biker-hating judge who let Janklow off so easy, not punishing him. A boycott punishes mainly bikers and the people who make products for them. So if you applaud the actions of that South Dakota judge, stand up and be heard! Boycott Sturgis!

M. Poizun

  • The entire world will be watching. Do nothing, nothing gets done. Boycott Sturgis and the moniker "Loud and Proud" is more than just noise.

I am a Texas Rider and support a Boycott. I would not care to be seen by Mr. Scott's family paying no mind to what happened in the name of my having fun.

J. Keeney
Texas

  • What have they been smokin' at the AMA?

How can Mr. Lindsay see the boycott of the Sturgis Rally as "instant gratification" (or any kind of gratification) and as a "symbolic protest"?!? Since when is shutting down a state's biggest tourism event symbolic?

He implies that boycotting Sturgis is just vengance but can't accomplish anything. Rather he says motorcyclists should "work for change," though he offers no suggestion of what that might involve. Does he expect us to change things by conducting business-as-usual in the state with the most prominent example of the outrages the AMA is supposedly working against? How will going to Sturgis do anything but send a message that we don't care about this issue? If Sturgis fizzles, you can bet legislators in South Dakota will pay attention because the people who depend on us for income will make sure it doesn't happen again. And you bet the news coverage will make other states pay attention as well. But if we go to this event this year, we have lost all the leverage that our economic clout gives us in a place where it is at its greatest.

My best friend and I have ridden (no trailers) to Sturgis for 7 of the last 8 rallies, and you can be sure we didn't feel gratified about our decision not to go this year—that is, not at first. Following the suggestion of one of your correspondents, we are going to Sturgis—the one in our own state. We think this is the ideal way to make a statement about our feelings. If you want change in South Dakota, ride to Sturgis, Michigan—or Sturgis, Kentucky or Mississippi or Oklahoma or Pennsylvania. Perhaps some group can organize visitor books for all the riders who go to these Stugises instead of the usual Sturgis, to help count how many people didn't go to the pro-Janklow Rally for Injustice in South Dakota. We are planning on getting to at least three different Sturgises (MI, KY and PA) during the week we usually spend in South Dakota. We will do more riding and less waiting in traffic and paying for over-priced lodging and food (probably saving us a few hundred doallrs each). We hope to see all of your readers at one of them.

N. Abbey
Michigan

**Editor's Note: **_ If somebody in a Sturgis in one of those other states would like to arrange to have a guest book for motorcyclists who visit to their Sturgis as a form of protest, let us know where they can sign it. We will post the information here. Use the email addresses above._

  • Mr Tom Lindsay of the American Motorcycle Association demeans a Sturgis Boycott as symbolic, but does not advise what we should do instead that would be even remotely as effective.

Like the man said, "Hell, no! I won't go!"

L. Boyer
Indiana

  • My father-in-law was killed on his motorcycle by a drunk driver. The drunk got 27 weekends in jail. A widow was left with four children under the age of nine. The year was 1963. Some things never change.

M. Bryant
Georgia

  • About Janklow... Got away with murder.

Jamie... Hate to disagree with your comments, but as a 38-year 800-thousand-mile-plus motorcycle veteran, I must... I will still support your rights and others who agree with you but I am disappointed in your view. But Lady, keep it up.

Andy... Shame on you too. We can not let anyone recklessly take a life, be that life on a motorcycle in a car or just walking down the road . And with this clown's record, if it were you or I with a driving history, we would not see daylight for years.

Art... Thanks, Dude!

B. Bivona

  • Differing opinions make the motorcycling world go 'round. We at the American Motorcyclist Association are glad that Motorcycle Cruiser magazine and motorcyclecruiser.com have devoted space to an exchange of those opinions on the Janklow-Sturgis issue.

We'll line up behind Associate Editor Cherney on this one.

Boycotting is easy—what could be easier than doing nothing? * About Janklow... Got away with murder.

Jamie... Hate to disagree with your comments, but as a 38-year 800-thousand-mile-plus motorcycle veteran, I must... I will still support your rights and others who agree with you but I am disappointed in your view. But Lady, keep it up.

Andy... Shame on you too. We can not let anyone recklessly take a life, be that life on a motorcycle in a car or just walking down the road . And with this clown's record, if it were you or I with a driving history, we would not see daylight for years.

Art... Thanks, Dude!

B. Bivona

  • Differing opinions make the motorcycling world go 'round. We at the American Motorcyclist Association are glad that Motorcycle Cruiser magazine and motorcyclecruiser.com have devoted space to an exchange of those opinions on the Janklow-Sturgis issue.

We'll line up behind Associate Editor Cherney on this one.

Boycotting is easy—what could be easier than doing nothing?>About Janklow... Got away with murder.

Jamie... Hate to disagree with your comments, but as a 38-year 800-thousand-mile-plus motorcycle veteran, I must... I will still support your rights and others who agree with you but I am disappointed in your view. But Lady, keep it up.

Andy... Shame on you too. We can not let anyone recklessly take a life, be that life on a motorcycle in a car or just walking down the road . And with this clown's record, if it were you or I with a driving history, we would not see daylight for years.

Art... Thanks, Dude!

B. Bivona

  • Differing opinions make the motorcycling world go 'round. We at the American Motorcyclist Association are glad that Motorcycle Cruiser magazine and motorcyclecruiser.com have devoted space to an exchange of those opinions on the Janklow-Sturgis issue.

We'll line up behind Associate Editor Cherney on this one.

Boycotting is easy—what could be easier than doing nothing?li>About Janklow... Got away with murder. Jamie... Hate to disagree with your comments, but as a 38-year 800-thousand-mile-plus motorcycle veteran, I must... I will still support your rights and others who agree with you but I am disappointed in your view. But Lady, keep it up. Andy... Shame on you too. We can not let anyone recklessly take a life, be that life on a motorcycle in a car or just walking down the road . And with this clown's record, if it were you or I with a driving history, we would not see daylight for years. Art... Thanks, Dude!B. BivonaDiffering opinions make the motorcycling world go 'round. We at the American Motorcyclist Association are glad that Motorcycle Cruiser magazine and motorcyclecruiser.com have devoted space to an exchange of those opinions on the Janklow-Sturgis issue. We'll line up behind Associate Editor Cherney on this one.Boycotting is easy—what could be easier than doing nothing?—but we believe that boycotting Sturgis 2004 would accomplish virtually nothing in the long run. And in the short run, it'd punish motorcycle businesses and the citizens of South Dakota; neither group had anything to do with the injustice handed down in the Janklow case.Changing our justice system, on the other hand, is hard. It doesn't come with the instant "Take that!" gratification of a symbolic protest. But working to change a system that under-sentences motorists whose criminal acts take the lives of other motorists—that is, actually "doing something"—is in the best interest of American motorcyclists, now and farther down the road. The AMA's "Justice for All" campaign (www.amadirectlink.com/justice, e-mail ) gives motorcyclists an opportunity to work for change, state by state. We encourage motorcyclecruiser.com readers to join us in making a difference.Tom LindsayPublic Information DirectorAmerican Motorcyclist Association13515 Yarmouth Drive, Pickerington, OH 43147www.AMADirectlink.com(614)856-1900justice@amadirectlink.comI have to agree with much of what has been said. Yes: boycotting the rally will hurt the local economy and vendors, but it will send the message to S.D. and all other states, a message that will be heard above any voice that cries foul. It will have a much greater impact on the state Politicians/Revenues (money matters/not a complainer). Politicians love to talk, but absolutly hate to listen. Also there are many states/towns that would love to have a large bike rally (even if just once) and it's the people that make the event successful/fun, not the location. ALL riders have to stand together and and fight as one, because any law that gets passed affects everyone that rides, not just those that ride Harleys or Hondas. If the AMA is weak we need to find an organization or start one that is willing to stand up to the politicians and tell them what we want said (we are the people that put them in office, we have the right to be heard.)I myself will continue to ride as long as I am able, and will support the communities that do not target Motorcyclists. R. GondekIllinoisI would not attend Sturgis or any other motorcycle-related event in South Dakota. It's a beautiful state with great people, however, their blind loyalty to their "favorite son" defies logic and good sense. This is made more painful, and frustrating, when I hear that civil charges cannot be brought because Mr. Janklow was "on duty" and in an official capacity at the time of the killing thus cannot be charged. Shame!M. Quinn

  • I read these letters and hear a lot of "I don't wanna give up my fun!!! Waaah!" Lots of excuses why it's not gonna help to punish the merchants.

Standing up for what's right means doing something you don't want to do. It's easier to go to Sturgis and say you're angry about it than it is to forego your pleasure and take a huge bite out of the state's yearly sales tax revenue.

South Dakota depends on those Sturgis dollars, the legislature knows that, but prevented a hearing on a bill to increase the penalties for vehicular manslaughter—wouldn't want any drunk driving/speeding/etc. politicians to actually go to jail now would they?

And since the penalty is so light, the next motorcyclist killed in South Dakota might be you, on your way to Sturgis.

C.Tucker

  • In brief, I will not attend Sturgis ever again because of the Janklow incident. I am tired of special privileges being awarded to "special people". I think the whole event should be moved to another state. It won't happen, but if we got together on this maybe this type of thing would stop.

Personally I have suffered from much the same thing but at least I did not die from it. The offending parties were fined as much as a whole $100 in one case and $25 in another. It is nice to know what injuries that are completely due to someone else's careless behavior are worth. Makes my hospital stays all worth it.

G. Frey
Montana

  • Boycott Sturgis?

You have to be kidding. Just who exactly would that course of action benefit; what really would be accomplished by this?

Of course it was a horrible accident. Of course the sentence didn't fit the crime. And I, of course, would be suitably outraged at the incident if Janklow had been sitting and waiting at the intersection in his car for a motorcyclist to come along so he could purposely, and with malicious intent, pull out and kill him.

As long as there's multiple, repeat drunk driving offenders still on the road, I don't want to hear another word on one, specific lone individual.

And I am a fellow rider.

Caren McMillen
Washington

  • Boycott Sturgis?

Yes! Absolutely! What could possibly better show our anger and dissatisfaction with the sentence passed on a privileged member of society who was known to drive in a manner that showed careless disregard for others? A publicized boycott that has a palpable economic impact is the only way to draw attention to what is a greater issue; namely, the right to engage in safe transport, supported by laws that penalize careless, often selfish, drivers.

True, Sturgis is as much a cultural event as it is a vacation experience, but signs, picketing, protests, etc. simply do not get the point across like an economic boycott. Should vendors be penalized by a reduced attendance? Unfortunately, this is a price they'll have to pay in helping secure their future livelihood, that is, the ability of their customers to continue to ride in a safe manner and be alive to purchase merchandise from them!

J. Guerci
Massachusetts

  • Boycott Sturgis?

I'm afraid I will not. This is my first year to attend, and I've already made my plans. It's extremely difficult to get a vacation in August, since I work in education (school starts mid-August) but I got it approved and I'm going. What I will do however, is wear a protest shirt (if they are available) and maybe sport a sticker on my bike while I'm there. I will also talk up to any locals I meet, how I think Janklow got off really lucky, and if he had tried this in Texas, we've hung him (well maybe not hung him, but he sure as hell would have gotten more than 100 days for taking a life).

B. Thompson
Texas

  • Welcome to the real world folks! Did you really think our "justice system" was truly just?! Just about anyone who has been forced to deal with the system has learned the hard way, that unless you have a lot of money, you more than likely will not get justice. Our "system" requires that you purchase justice...regardless of the subject matter, and regardless of guilt or innocence! The problem extends a lot further than Stugis, lies in all levels of government, and probably will never change - whether 10,000 or 10 show up at Sturgis!!!

M. Cline Georgia

  • South Dakota politicos have already ignored legislation that would have changed the punishment for such crimes in their state. But unless someone really gets their attention, why would they pass a law that diminishes their immunity from acting irresponsibly? The group best positioned to make them change their minds is bikers because we can take a lot of tax dollars out of their pockets.

I won't go to Sturgis now or until they fix it. In fact, I won't buy gas or anything in S.D. and am driving around the state when possible. Every dollar I spend lines their pockets and says this sort of thing is alright with me.

South Dakota has already said no to us. Just say no to South Dakota.

R. Kluge
North Dakota

  • I think that we should boycott Sturgis. The most effective tool we have in demonstrating our disgust of the sentencing is our wallet. We say to everyone, not just South Dakota, that it's time for the laws to change. Our legislators do not want to see their districts lose income or their states lose tax revenue. If we hit them in the wallet we can get their attention.

It seems like the number of people going to the Sturgis rally have been growing over the past ten years. What kind of message do we send if the number declines for the first time in ten years?

Pete
Texas

  • I am an avid biker and have been riding for over 18 years and have been to a lot of rallies. I feel for the Scott's family and wish this would never happer, but we don't live in a safe world.

But all I can wish for is that someone has knowledge and connections to put a ride together and maybe a concert at the end in Randy Scott's honor. This shopuld be done at Sturgis. As any true biker, one that rides on vaction not trailer his motorcycle, I know that no matter where we are, that anything can happen. I am not trying to speak for Scott but don't you think he loved the ride and would of came back if this wouldn't of happened. I know I would and I have been involved in my fair share of traffic james. Randy Scott ios on the ultimate ride, the sites are endless and the road is filled with curbes and when it is time he will see his loved ones again and ride forever.

God bless Randy and God's speed.

N. Hayes
Alabama

  • As a retired Deputy Sheriff of 30 years service, I have seen the successes and failures of our judicial system over and over. And the one failure that aggravates me the most is the fact that the Scales of Justice are not level by any means. Money and power seem to reign in our courtrooms, as in the case of Scott/Janklow. As for boycotting Sturgis? No. Use Sturgis. Use it to carry the message of the injustice that put Janklow back on the street behind the wheel of a machine that he addmittedly does not know how to use. All the shop owners and vendors in Sturgis that benefit from the throngs that ride into town and spend their money are not to blame. Jankow is. Why hurt them? Rallies, fundrasiers, protests!

take it to Janklow's doorstep, not the wallets of the citizens of Sturgis. Having seen these travesties of justice many times in my career, I developed a hardedge. I personally think Janklow should be taken out and strung up with the primary drive chain of a Harley Road King. But I also learned the best way to get to them is thru public opinion. That is what takes down the Janklow's of the world.

D. Stoner
Florida

  • I think it is horrible that this man was shown such leniency while he killed somebody. I find it wrong and cannot understand what the judge was thinking. Janklow killed somebody and shown the leniency, he will probably kill again.

I don't think a boycott of Sturgis is the answer though. I feel it would be better to get the state to impose harsher penalties on this kind of accident. No matter who kills a motorcyclist, there should be a mandatory sentence they must meet.

I am sorry for the family and the loss they have.

C. Jacobson

  • Get over it! This happens all the time...and not just to motorcycle riders.

The rich and famous get away with running down pedestrians, bicycle riders, people in cars. But you don't need influence to be treated lightly. Judges seem to feel that you shouldn't be held responsible for allowing yourself to be distracted, tired, or just plain stupid and killing someone accidentally. Just say you didn't see the stop sign or the pedestrian or the car or that the sun was in your eyes or your beer spilled...Hey, it's not your fault. You could take the Janklow approach: "Dude, I've done this kind of sh*t hundreds of time before and no one got hurt. Not my fault if someone was crossing my path..."

My point is this...this perception of anti-motorcyclist bias is just paranoia. Well sort of...they really are trying to get us, but they are trying to get everybody.

It happens, and it's more likely to happen to you if you don't do like Jamie says and get a grip on riding skills and smarts.

Toddster

  • The reader who said the "The threat of a boycott if this law is not passed will have much greater effect then [sic] just a boycott of the Sturgis rally" is dreaming! If we motorcycle riders want to see an effect, our reaction must be swift and stunning! No one will be talking about this next year, and law-makers definitely won't be concerned, if we go to Sturgis this year like nothing had happened.

I have read the AMA's position, and it reads more like they are worried about offending SD than they are actually fixing this issue. I want the people fighting for me to be tigers, not a pussycat!

A. Jason
Illinois

  • Why not go to Sturgis, but this year make it Sturgis, Michigan. This wonderful small town would love to have the cycle lovers come to southern Michigan. All would have a grand time !!

D. Hopkins
Michigan

  • My friends and I have decided never to go to Sturgis again since they think they can put on this rally like nothing has happened.

L.H.

  • I agree with Mr. Andy Cherney that the judge should be our target, but I don't think we do that by supporting the Black Hills Rally! If South Dakotans feel it in their wallets, then I guess they will look at their judges and laws. But if I go to Sturgis, business as usual, I expect they will vote like usual.

Have you read any pleas for law changes or expelling the judge from rally sponsors or supporters? I haven't either. They don't care about justice...just money!!!

If South Dakota cares if I come to Sturgis...well, I'm from the Show-Me state!

B. Black
Missouri

  • I don't think I'll ever be able to go to Sturgis again because I'll know I would be rubbing elbows and handlebars with people who ignored a huge opportunity to improve road safety in general and biker safety in particular. And I'll bet they spout that hypocitical BS about Biker Brotherhood the whole time!

I would also know that I am spending my money at businesses who see me as a wallet, not as human worth safe guarding.

P. Glover
Ohio

  • Art, I rarely respond to any issues in any magazine because I basically believe in live and let live. But after reading the opinions of you, Ms. Elvidge and Mr. Cherney I decided I would respond. First I agree with your comments about the possible boycott 100%. I know none of us wants to hurt the folks of Sturgis, but how better to get some attention than from the folks of Sturgis themselves contacting their own legislators about the absurdity of the Janklow sentence?

Ms. Elvidge's response surprised me as it made her appear to be predisposed to having a good time and worrying about her own driving abilities to protect her. But she is wrong and you were right: how do you protect yourself at an intersection when someone comes through a stop sign well over the speed limit causes a death and gets away with it?

Mr. Cherney gave a good response, which was closer to your response, and maybe a suspended license would have gotten Janklow's attention before he killed Mr. Scott. Something has to be done to protect folks. That's what laws are for. But when someone disobeys the law there should be a punishment somewhat in alignment with the violation. In this case a man lost his life, and when people realize that for this kind of behavor a severe penalty will result, then maybe we can get better compliance with the law.

I support the thoughts of you, Elvidge, and Cherney because I think you have the best magazine out there, but Art you nailed this one with your well thought-out response. My respect goes out to you, Cherney and Elvidge in that order with regard to your individual responses on this matter. These are just my thoughts and no cheap shots intended. Respect and regards to each of you.

Frank

  • If it had been your brother or son that was killed, would you go?

Al in Bloomington

  • "Sturgis... Avoid Riding There"

One of Pablo Picasso's quotations about art describes the mentality of this issue..."Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up."

This argument you present on Sturgis is valid, but many prefer to follow their egos to live the dream and fantasies associated with Sturgis outweighing intelligent decisions on the subject of this debate to protest Sturgis. It is so hard to grow up.

The "ART" of Motorcycling...
A = Always
R = Ride
T = Thinking

N. McNamara

  • Are bikers so blind that they will go willingly to the slaughter?

Is it right to take action that will hurt the people of South Dakota? Yes! They elected this guy and all the officials that permitted him to repeatedly and arrogantly violate the law and finally get away with murder.

I have read comments that Janklow should have been treated leniently because he was governer. I say just the opposite. This man was an official charged with enforcing the law, which he apparently did quite vigorously when it was a party opposed to him. When it came to himself, he acted as though he was above the law instead of part of it. He accepted the offices and the responsibility of enforcing the law, then flaunted it, recklessly killing someone. And the people of South Dakota enabled him and the people who made sure that he was not punished.

Motorcyclists must tell this state that this is not acceptable. If they want to behave that way, do not expect us to come and pay for it with our discretionary dollars. Other states will get the message if we take a stand now against this particularly outrageous case.

J. Hickok
Colorado

  • Mr. Janklow used his power/money to buy a judge off and once again evade being held accountable for his irresponsible behavior. So for bikers to be heard in the halls of power it is essential to boycott not only Sturgis, but some of the other well known biker events, Daytona Bike Week/Biketoberfest, Laconia, Myrtle Beach, State HOG rallies, Honda Hoot, etc. just to name a few.

Imagine the tremendous economic impact this would have on the various local communities where these rallies are held. It would not be long before the message was heard by the powers that be to make and enforce laws that would truly benefit not just bikers but the general population as well.

Unfortunately most bikers will piss and moan about Mr. Janklow and his light sentence and shake their heads in disgust while they load up to head to the rally of their choice and drink beer, do a few burn outs, spend their hard earned cash on various biker items as well as food and lodging and come home a few days later with ringing ears from loud pipes and the noise of the open road and tell all of their friends what a great time they had thereby only increasing the desire of others to attend. But then again maybe not, maybe those that makeup the biker world will suprise me! I can always hope.

M. Merritt

  • Someone is going to say the people of Sturgis are not to blame for Janklow's actions. I say bull shiite. They are the ones that let him run ragged for years... How many times did a LEO let him off without recording the stop?? This state needs to be taught a lesson and it needs to redefine its penal code, as do others...

If the boycott is successful, (I'd like to see at least a drop in attendance of 50%), then not only will South Dakota get the message but maybe so will other states.

MESSAGE: Vehicular homicide is a crime that should be punished.. Negligent homicide while under the influence should be a minimum of murder 2... Just because the victim is a biker does not mitigate the severity of the crime.. Being a much beloved azzhole politician is also not a mitigating factor...

Janklow knew what he was doing, he knew he was wrong, and he had a long history of ignoring the law.

An Old Parrot Head
Florida

  • Of course you shouldn't go to Sturgis!!! If the vast majority of bikers had IQs over 62, this would be automatic—a no-brainer. But then these are the same folks who have fought to go helmetless, so it will never happen. Thanks for the rant. B. Penny

  • You have to go to Sturgis in August! It's a religious pilgrimmage.

Thunderdog

  • I have never been to Sturgis, and I was thinking of going this year with a friend. One trip to the official rally site convinced me that it wasn't for me. The main sponsor seems to be Jack Daniels whiskey. I'm not sure about how the state of South Dakota feels about bikers, but the rally organizers obviously care more about a big-money sponsor than about the safety of its patrons.

So what other events are there during the first week of August?

P. Wagner

  • Hell, no, I won't go.

C. Parrotte

  • The comments of Motorcycle Cruiser's editors on this subject were disappointing.

Mr. Friedman's support of a boycott was partially right, but lacked the punch line. The American Motorcycle Association (AMA), as he should know and have mentioned, advocates a new state law to increase penalties when drivers injure or kill cyclists. The threat of a boycott if this law is not passed will have much greater effect then just a boycott of the Sturgis rally.

Mr. Cherney's comments are also nearly on the mark, but again he doesn't get specific enough. Why doesn't your magazine support the AMA's position on this issue? It has already done the hard part of preparing a sample law.

Ms. Elvidge's suggestion is well and good, but misses the point: The most skilled rider in the world can still be killed by a drunk/drugged driver speeding through a stop sigh or red light. She cannot control and respond successfully to every danger on the road no matter how skilled and prepared she is. More effort must be made to remove those drivers who continuously violate traffic laws.

R. Mumby
Oregon

  • Don't punish South Dakota's citizens...they made up the jury that said Janklow was guilty. But get that judge that let him off so easy and made their verdict a joke.

R. Martinez
California

  • You have written before about the herd instinct of bikers, and that's why there won't be a Sturgis Boycott. They will go because the other bikers are going and they can't imagine riding anywhere without the herd. Baaa to Sturgis!

T.J. Lynch
Massachusetts

  • I just saw the Roadhouse Poll on the MC website reference boycotting Sturgis. I totally agree with Jamie's position. I agree with your position that riding skills and constant alertness are a much better solution to inattentive drivers. Careless and inattentive drivers are a fact of life. So are cell phones, screaming kids, CD changing, talking, and the numerous other things that distract us from concentrating on driving. They aren't going away so we as both motorists and riders have to deal with the hazards. We as motorcycle riders have chosen to participate in a dangerous activity. Honing our skills to defeat this danger is part of the motorcycling allure.

I also disagree with the us against them attitude. Most people who ride motorcycles spend more time behind the wheel of a car than they do riding (with me it's about 50/50). So most of the time we are them.

We all should keep in mind that most if not all of us at one time or another have been guilty of speeding, distractions while driving or riding, and yes even talking on a cell phone while driving. Most of us were just fortunate enough not to injure anyone. Any one of us could be involved in a Janklow type incident because of a moment of inattention or carelessness.

I don't think jail time for Janklow serves any purpose. Because of his prior numerous speeding tickets and blantant disrespect for the law, a more appropriate sentence would be lengthy probation and community service with a lifetime license suspension and monetary restitution to Randy Scotts' family.

And lastly, boycotting Sturgis punishes people whose only crime is living and working in South Dakota. Punishing innocent people for the acts of another doesn't sound very American to me.

B. Whitehurst
Florida

  • I agree with Mr. Friedman. If I went to Sturgis this year, I would feel like I'm saying, "It's Ok to run down bikers." Just let those people go with a slap-on-the-wrist and I'll come spend my money with you anyway.

Colorado is beautiful this time of the year. Not so many loud Harleys either.

L. Ravitsch
Illinois

  • I think that it would be a great idea to boycott Sturgis because it is no longer fun and there are too many fines for breaking a slew of municipal codes. But not over the Janklow issue. The problem is not just confined to South Dakota. There is a nation wide problem of under sentencing vehicle homicide. Instead, I want to encourage you get behind the AMA's campaign of "justice for all" to have states establish minimum sentencing guide lines. The AMA plans to open the campaign at this years Sturgis.

Elvidge stated "I'm sure not waiting for some zero-tolerance law to turn stupid drivers into saints." As a licenced California motor vehicle/motorcycle operator I do not depend on any law to make me safe from stupid drivers. That is not the point. The point is that it is reasonable to expect if someone does beaks the law and kills another person with a motor vehicle, that they be held accountable and serve the time that fits the crime. I would like to think that if someone blows a stop sign at 70 MPH and kills me, they are going to spend more than 100 days in jail.

J. Thomas
California

  • Andy Cherney is right. The judge who slapped the ex-governor's hand should be thrown out of office. It was his duty to protect the rights of people victimized by this powerful, arrogant man, and he didn't do it.

T. Cissell
Pennsylvania

  • On principal I am inclined to agree with Mr. Cherney, but if you have seen the recent news that Lead Foot Bill Janklow was stopped many times by South Dakota police officers while he was governer and let go without ever getting so much as a written warning, you know that the entire system is corrupt. Lawmakers aren't going to pass laws that prevent them from skating for minor illegalities. Judges are not going to throw the book at their cronies. And lots of S.D, citizens didn't want to see good ole Bill go to jail.

So maybe Art Friedman is right. If they hear their biggest tourist event is going away, maybe they will demand justice for the rich and famous.

C. Roman
Missouri

  • Don't boycott Sturgis because of Janklow. Boycott it because it's Sturgis.

F. Beurmann

  • Stop the madness. Stay away.

R. Schneider
Minnesota

  • Usually I agree with Jamie, but I believe she is putting too much faith in riding skills. Do you think anybody could have avoiding htting Janklow's car if they were going 55 mph and he came from a blind crossroad going 55 mph? Do you remember Mike Hailwood, the great British motorcycle and automobile racer? He was killed (in a car) when a truck pulled in front of him. I don't think I can handle a vehicle better than Mike the Bike.

The people of South Dakota shouldn't be held accountable for one unthinking man, no matter how habitual his offenses. However, the judge that released him to do it again should be thrown out. I vote with Cheney.

E. Capalite

  • Don't think of it as a boycott, think of it as an opportunity... Instead of going to a dusty little town with nothing to see, you could ride to some place pretty, new and not infested with a zillion guys in black T-shirts clogging the streets. Ride to Canada or down the Mississippi or to the Honda Homecoming. Look me up if you do go to Marysville... I'll buy you a low-carb Coke.

Big Nate
Iowa

  • I agree with all of you.

Jamie, improving skills will help everybody, even the lunkhead we don't collide into. Andy, we should hold the judges accountable for letting dangerous people go, even if they are powerful and respected. Art, we should let people feel our power and unhappiness when there is such an opportunity.

J. Tannebaum
Virginia

  • Vote with your wallet! If the people who elect the judges and lawmakers learn that we aren't going to spend our money with them until they clean up their act about respecting bikers, they will put some justice in the law and other states will notice too. I'll skip Sturgis and if they want me to come back, they will have to change their laws.

M. Mortimer
Texas

  • Quentin Tarantino has it right: Kill Bill!

M. Brooks
California

  • I wasn't going to go this year, but I read the AMA's position and now I think maybe I will.

V. Church
Michigan

  • Going to Sturgis? Go to hell. It is the same thing really, but you who go are helping to make the roads hell for the rest of us.

S. Tolley
Oregon