The Outlaw Biking Phenomenon

Biker culture has existed since man first welded the engine to a twin wheeled frame - and saw that it was good. But how have the ramifications of motorcycle culture impacted on our everyday lives? What of the outlaws, angels and 1-%-ers?

It is true that many motorcycle groups are built up of law abiding citizens. Most motorcycle organisations are recognised by various associations (such as AMA, the American Motorcycle Association). But deviants have existed outside of these boundaries for nigh-on a century and have splashed into pop culture, literature, films and other media. This is the "Outlaw Phenomenon".

In 1947, the AMA supposedly commented on the Hollister incident (a riot which occurred that year at a motorcyclist gathering in Hollister, USA). The AMA said that 99% of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens, and that the last percentage were merely outlaws.

This prompted the term "1-%-er". Bike gangs such as the Hells Angels and the Outlaw Motorcycle Club are groups of 1-%-ers, organised criminals and deviants who operate on the highways idolising freedom through velocity and gas-guzzling engines.

Unlike normal criminal groups, organised bike syndicates have their own websites, publicly display their affinity to their chosen group (usually by use of a tattoo or patches on clothing) and additionally maintain their own bylaws. These practices are not unrelated to those of sea-faring pirates and marauders during the 1500s and 1600s.

The criminal activities of bike gangs of the outlaw constitution (including blackmail, riding without motorcycle insurance, extortion, drug trafficking and even murder) became a subject of much study and enthusiasm by novelists and film writers. In 1979, George Miller and Byron Kennedy's "Mad Max" hit the cinema screens.

Mad Max explores a dystopian-regressive future where the only way to survive for many is to keep moving - and quickly! However; there is not enough fuel to go around and roaming gangs of bikers pillage the highways for precious gasoline. Although Max himself is not a biker, his 'wingman' known as Goose rides a motorcycle for the local law authority. The fact that his organisation clashes with a sinister bike gang when he helps to put a stop to one of their members (the 'Nightrider') ultimately causes his demise. The friction between biker organizations, clubs and groups is sociologically speaking a subject of much debate.

Outlaw motorcycle groups even have their own heroes and figureheads who are to some extent revered in pop-culture today. The Outlaw Motorcycle Group's Harry Joseph Bowman made the FBI's most wanted list during the 1990s for a number of crimes. Criminal activities here in the United Kingdom have been less severe.

Today most bikers are amicable, peaceful people who meet up for the simple pleasure of 'riding out'. Still, hopefully it has been interesting to dip into the outlaw phenomenon. Why not see if your group takes part in any practices or iconography which dates back to the age of the 1-%-ers?

0 komentar:

Post a Comment