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Common Tread

Video: Peter Fonda and Evel Knievel teach motorcycle safety, 1973

Sep 05, 2019

“I hate the music already.”

Apparently, the best part of Editor Lance’s morning was not a video I shared with him, a short motorcycle safety film titled “Not so Easy." Of course, your instructor is none other than Peter Fonda. Assisting with the instruction of safe motorcycling is Mr. Evel Knievel. These guys are qualified.

Here’s the video, for your entertainment, and entertainment alone. There are many better resources out there if you want to learn more about safer riding, including countless Common Tread articles. I’m sure this was cutting-edge stuff when it was released in 1973, right around the high-water mark for motorcycling in this country. Much has changed.

Some things are still the same, though. “If the trouble isn’t with the rider, there’s still the threat of the car driver. For some reason, most car drivers just don’t seem to see bikes, so you’ve got to think of them as asleep, blind, or drunk.” Hear, hear! (And an opening door can still “really cream you.” So watch out for those.)

One other thing: the film’s producer-director, Cliff "Soney" Vaughs, is one of the most famous names in Easy Rider lore after Fonda and Hopper. The Vintagent has a great writeup on all this if you’re interested. Vaughs is the rider who tries to "ride in the slot" between cars, which we now call splitting lanes. He's also credited with designing the Captain America bike, depending on who you ask. Go figure.

Hopefully you get as much of a kick out of this as I did. Pay attention, there’s a quiz at the end.