Commentary by Mark Lester
I think I just hit empty on my lifelong supply of tolerance for television news media.
Here’s the deal. CBS just aired an “investigative” piece on the Rhino fiasco. The piece was not just poorly researched but unspeakably poorly done featuring skewed misquotes, reams of inaccuracies and, of course, sensationalized accounts of Rhino operators suffering from serious injury.
I’m old enough to remember how the “investigative” TV news program, 60 Minutes, did a similar pummeling of the 3-wheeled ATV back in the early 1980s. Sure, 3-wheelers were somewhat unstable but they were a whole lot more stable than 2-wheeled dirt bikes. The result of the ridiculous report concocted by 60 Minutes killed an entire industry. Before you get concerned I might be defending 3-wheeled ATVs, I’m not.
Here’s what’s consistently stupid about these opportunistic TV talking heads who call themselves “journalists”: They intentionally miss the point every time! I hope you’re onto why they deliberately fabricate falsehoods and peddle them as truth over and over again. Ratings.
Make no mistake about this: A child in a wheelchair, or worse yet, a headstone on a grave generates huge ratings hay allowing networks to charge more for a 60-second toothpaste commercial. Ultimately it’s about money, not facts.
Here’s the point intentionally missed in the CBS “Investigative” Rhino report. It’s the same point missed with every attack on our sport or any other form of motorized recreation: RESPONSIBLE USE!
Responsible use includes these elements. Always wear a helmet. Always use seatbelts in a SxS. Never allow children to operate any adult sized off-road vehicle. Never operate any off-road vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Don’t attempt stunts you are not capable of. There you have it. Not very sexy, certainly not very interesting when compared to bedside shots of maimed “victims” of “accidents”.
Sadly, when these “accidents” are reviewed the vast majority can be explained by the lack of one or all of the former elements of responsible use. Simply put, it ain’t an accident if you’re not using the vehicle responsibly – it’s a self inflicted inevitability.
Plain and simple, the Rhino is not just a safe off-road vehicle, it is an incredibly safe off-road vehicle.
A Rhino, when operated responsibly, is safer than any off-road conveyance this side of an Abram’s tank.
I would encourage responsible off-roaders of all description to band together and tune out CBS news and send the network and your local station a letter telling them why.
I would encourage all of us interested in the preservation of off-road sports to get behind Yamaha Motor Corporation today and visit www.truthaboutrhino.com.
Get informed and get involved. This isn’t about Rhinos or SxS off-road vehicles; this is about the future of all motorized off-road recreation.
Think of it this way. If you gave those involved in unfounded, self inflicted personal injury Rhino lawsuits – the ones that are a result of irresponsible behavior – a loaded gun, do you think someone might get shot and the gun maker sued? I do.