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MMA Open Response Concerning a Letter to "District 5 Voters"

Doc D'Errico | Published on 10/19/2020
Massachusetts Motorcycle Association
An Open Response
Concerning a Letter
to "District 5 Voters"

To all whom this may concern,

The attached letter was forwarded to our attention by numerous residents of Cape Cod – some current and some past members of our Massachusetts Motorcycle Association. The letter takes aim at our organization and implies that motorcycles and motorcyclists somehow represent the negatives of society and life on Cape Cod and implies an affiliation with a candidate for office in the Commonwealth is therefore somehow tainted. There are numerous assertions based on fallacy, fabrication, and implication that need to be addressed.

First and foremost, the letter opens with an excerpt from a press release memorializing one of our past members and Board Members, Rick Wood. This photo clipping from our website’s news archives was used in violation of US Copyright by removing said copyright from the usage. The clip was NOT used with our permission, nor would we disrespect the memory of one of our members in this fashion. However, it is this memorial press release that is meant to somehow imply a long-standing affiliation between Steven Xiarhos, candidate for 5th Barnstable State Representative and the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association.

Further, the photo selected for the memorial represented Mr. Wood’s passion – prior to and during his tenure with the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association – that of supporting Veterans and Veterans causes. Mr. Wood was an organizer for many years of similar causes and a significant supporter of “Big Nick’s Ride”, an event named after Corporal Nicholas Xiarhos, a Cape Cod resident who sacrificed his life in the pursuit of freedom. This event also memorializes all of Cape Cod’s 16 fallen heroes and is supported by the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association as what it is – an event to remember and support those who defend the rest of us in the course of human events, be they military, or civil protectors of freedom and life, including Police, Fire, and First Responders.

The author’s use of this article is not only as previously noted a violation of Copyright, but maligns the good name and intention of Mr. Wood, Corporal Xiarhos, and the others of Cape Cod’s Fallen.

The letter then goes on to attack Motorcycles and Motorcyclists as somehow contributing to the downfall of society by using inflammatory rhetoric and outdated statistics concerning Motorcycle Sound and Environmental Emissions – asserting that ALL motorcycles and motorcyclists are bad for society and the environment. It further associates these bad behaviors as if they have been somehow protected by our Association and candidate Steven Xiarhos.

Indeed, our Massachusetts Motorcycle Association did provide support and testimony to the Town of Yarmouth (and others) in defense of Big Nick’s Ride and the First Responders’ Appreciation Riders on Cape Cod when challenged several times by residents seeking to stop these rides from occurring. These attempts were also, like the aforementioned letter, based on hearsay, outdated statistics, and inflammatory emotional rhetoric. Each attempt was denied in public Town Meeting, and the last such attempt as a warrant article was not seconded, and thus never brought to a public vote. Candidate Xiarhos was not a deciding factor in any of those attempts, although like his Police Chief, was likely present during the public hearings and votes as both a resident and town official. Rather than Steven Xiarhos, it was the citizens of Yarmouth, not the few officials, who decided the fate of the rides in question.

As for the claims and concerns regarding motorcycle emissions, we at the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association have stated publicly numerous times that we do not endorse nor condone poor behavior by motorcyclists and through our “When in Town, Throttle Down©” program, for over a decade have taken educational steps to work in collaboration with local officials around the Commonwealth with great success. Motorcyclists do, however, like to enjoy the scenery of our beautiful commonwealth among friends – motorcycling is a community experience as well as a means for commuting. And any group of vehicles will most certainly be louder than others.

This letter, however, also uses outdated statistics to imply that Motorcycles are a negative to the environment as well. Yet fails to cite that motorcycles are a significant minority on the roadways, representing less than 1% of roadway miles driven, while at the same time consuming about half as much fuel and contributing far fewer greenhouse gasses such as CO2.

Indeed, some studies about a decade or more old did note that Motorcycles can contribute other forms of hydrocarbon emissions which are cited in the letter. These extremes however are citations with limited exhausts and at a time when motorcycles were generally not equipped with Catalytic Converters – something that many newer motorcycles are indeed so equipped. But even so, and realizing that trading one set of benefits for detriments doesn’t make it right, considering the percentage of miles consumed and the advancements in motorcycle exhausts, not to mention improvements in all roadway vehicles toward higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions, including electric motorcycles from Zero, Harley-Davidson, and others, this is a problem that will work itself out in time and not something to be targeted toward political gain much less attack.

Our Massachusetts Motorcycle Association has little respect for those who hide behind anonymity and the illusion of majority, especially for the purposes of maligning an organization with a 45-year history of positive contribution to the Commonwealth, much less sullying the reputations of 16 of Cape Cod’s finest citizens, an individual who gave time to supporting veterans, and a candidate whose sole offense was to be present in a photo with that individual during an event celebrating the selflessness of Cape Cod’s fallen – an event attended by well over 1,000 motorcyclists.

Doc D’Errico
Chairman, Massachusetts Motorcycle Association

©2020 Massachusetts Motorcycle Association & ©MRF Reprinted with Permission
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