Stunting isn't big or clever, even when done by a professional it's only ever a variation on a theme, I mean how many wheelies/stoppies/burnouts etc. etc. ad infinitum can anyone endure before narcolepsy sets in? If you ever use the 'machine control' argument to defend stunters you've obviously never seen a talented trials rider in full flow. But if we're honest for a second, we all know that control is simply a requirement and not the real point of stunting, because the real point is out and out attention whoring. If ever anyone wanted to make a bigger 'LOOK AT ME EVERYONE I'M REALLY COOL!' statement I'd like to know what it is. The irony of this, of course, for anyone with a gram of intelligence is that by saying you're really cool in such an overt, obvious way, you cease to be cool and become the desperate kid clamouring for attention that you really are.
And it's because of this knob-waving premise that stunting is simply the biking equivalent of fake chrome spinning hubcaps, tasteless, tacky, trite.
Now, if that were all it was I really wouldn't have an issue with it. But it's much more than that, especially when you consider how many insecure people with powerful bikes are compromising the public perception of biking and bikers in general. For example, take the bike meets at Chelsea Bridge or the Ace Cafe that have gone spectacularly wrong due to retards with very little machine control and even less sense. Cretins of the highest order who've binned their bike and hurled it into the crowd, or down the road, not only injuring themselves (if Darwin had anything to do with it they'd be better off dead) but also bystanders watching the show. Now 'some' responsibility does lie with those watching, stunters and audience (i.e. those easily pleased) being something of a 'chicken and egg' scenario. For example if there aren't any safety-barriers and riders are stunting while your kids are running around, call me alarmist but perhaps it might be a good idea not to let your kids get too close...
Something that the parents' of two kids at the Ace Cafe will probably take more care over in future. Back in March 2005 the children ended up in hospital after being hit by some twat who threw his bike into the crowd after losing it while desperately trying to impress. The spineless coward then got what was left of his bike into the back of a van and left the scene amidst the confusion. How can anyone, ever, defend such sickening behaviour, I mean how low do you have to stoop to even begin to understand what little was going through this circus reject's head, apart from 'fuck everyone else, as long as I'm OK'.
However, ultimate responsibility lies with those performing for the audience because they have, or should have, control over themselves and their machines if they're going to put themselves in the limelight. Putting too much emphasis on the responsibility of the audience because they 'chose to stand there and watch' if something does go Pete Tong is ridiculous. In fact, it's so ridiculous it's a bit like saying 'well they chose to stand there and queue' when a runaway bendy-bus ploughs into a line of commuters.
The responsibility issue is a thorny one for amateur and pro stunters alike. So allow me to clarify it for you in simple terms, pro stunters at organised events are responsible for knowing and checking what safety measures the organisers have made, advising where necessary. Whereas 'have a go harry' at any bike meet be it Box Hill, Chelsea Bridge, Ace Cafe, wherever, has a responsibility to his or her audience, because let's face it if they weren't there you wouldn't feel half as desperate to flatter your ego and show off. If you screw things up take it on the chin, know that if it hits the papers you're responsible for dragging biking down in the view of the public at large, something we could all do without, and know you'll also be responsible for when meets at places like Chelsea Bridge get banned if not policed into oblivion, don't say I didn't warn you.