Young motorcyclists' tragic end unfortunate and alarming
Published: May 11, 2023 12:51 AM
Illustration: Liu Xiangya/Global Times

Illustration: Liu Xiangya/Global Times

Recently, two young girls dressed in skirts and wearing helmets decorated with big butterflies died while illegally racing their motorcycles. The two were influencers who often held "drag races" and posted these "cool" short videos online. Although they may have gained some fans or money, their fatal end was unfortunate and worthless. This case should be a warning to all other copycats, and more regulations should be implemented on short video platforms. 

Tragic stories like this one happen frequently. According to incomplete statistics, five motorcycle influencers have lost their lives since October 2022 while speeding, or driving larger-capacity or even refitted motorcycles. It is a great loss for their families. 

In recent years, motorcycling has been getting more and more popular as it is a very efficient means of transportation amid traffic jams in big cities, rising gas prices and epidemic prevention needs. 

According to media reports, 5.34 million motorcycles were registered across China in the first half of 2022 alone, up 25.38 percent from the same period in 2021. 

For young people born in the 1990s, motorcycling has become a sport, a trend that they have seen in films and a way of life that can show their personality. 

These riders favor motorcycles with powerful engines, cool styling and excellent performance. While riding, many also shoot videos and post them online. 

Instead of putting on helmets and proper outfits, some wear fancy clothes and ignore traffic lights to demonstrate their "superior" skills. Some of them even make phone calls, or look at cell phone messages while riding. Some slender girls drive motorcycles that are far too heavy to handle.

There is nothing wrong with young people to love motorcycles and follow trends, but improper motorcycling like the above cases could be dangerous. In particular, these actions by online "influencers" will lead to more young people following suit. 

Seeing their "cool" posts, some young netizens often come up with the idea of learning to ride a motorcycle and go racing to get the same "exhilarating" experience. 

Young people's improper motorcycling is also largely driven by the streaming economy. 

Some motorcyclists become internet influencers by gaining a great number of views, and even benefit financially. 

For example, videos of riders popping a wheelie while riding often receive large numbers of views online. 

According to China's Ministry of Public ­Security, there are nearly 60 ­billion posts about "motorcycles" on Douyin the popular Chinese short-video ­platform.

According to reports, many influencers can earn hundreds of thousands of yuan for a single advertisement while streaming. 

Naturally, some people have ­inevitably hoped to make a quick buck, but they didn't know how hard these influencers actually work behind the scenes to earn these huge amounts of money. 

Young motorcyclists should value their lives over money while following this trend. The effort one puts in for a single comment is not worth one's life. 

More importantly, social media platforms have the responsibility to check posts and delete dangerous or misleading content. 

They should provide juvenile netizens with safe driving knowledge and response measures to help raise their safety awareness.