There is a stereotype of the trucker and the biker that television news and cheap Hollywood products keep trotting out before the public. But truck drivers have never been more professional, and among the ranks of bikers are people we not only look up to but also depend on and implicitly trust. People like doctors and nurses, bankers and attorneys.
There are drivers and bike riders who sometimes feel the stares of moms, dads and pillars of the community as they roll by or pull up beside them. Unfortunately the public often too easily buys into overused caricatures.
You know that a trucker that people are often a little wary of is probably extremely capable and responsible at what he does. He keeps 80,000 pounds, a tractor and a 53-foot trailer rolling safely along through sleet, rain, traffic jams, construction sites and irrational automobile drivers.
And those bikers under the leather and behind the visors are quite likely just people out enjoying their passion the way other folks do at golf courses or tennis courts, pleasure boats or mountain cabins.
Once a bad rap sticks to you – and Hollywood has done a good job of setting up bikers and truckers as prototypical bad guys – it’s hard to get rid of. We all know there are a few bad apples in any barrel. But it burns me up when the words “trucking industry” come up in conversations, or we hear someone “rides a big ol’ Harley,” and I see people grin and nod their heads as if to say, “Oh yeah, sure I know all about them, they’re not nice people.”
A few weeks ago, Randall Trucking Media, publisher of Truckers News, Overdrive and CCJ was the host of a special event. The Big Rig Ride brought together truckers, bikers and trucking industry executives. They rode the highways around Orlando, Fla., raising money for the Professional Drivers Training Institute.
One of the principles America stands on is that someone is innocent until proven guilty. Don’t be shy. Tell perfect strangers to give you a fair shake, to throw away those outdated images of truckers and bikers, talk to some, watch them out on the road, and make up their own minds. I think those people will come to like, respect and admire a good many of you. Give them this copy of Truckers News. They can read about some of you good guys in this issue.