FYI: At a motorcycle track, young motorcyclists try out different stunts and ride around a circular track repeatedly for hours. (Yes, it's pretty meaningless. And not really in the spirit of getting ready for Matan Torah either.)
However, one group decided they wished to first dip in a natural mikveh in honor of the upcoming chag.
(This group included the God-fearing motorcyclist written about here: a-true-anecdote-of-how-hashem-helps-with-yeshivah-kosher-cell-phones-and-nice-people.html)
Upon arriving at the hill spring in which they wished to immerse, they discovered it packed with people. Maybe that also made it less safe & produced modesty issues, not sure. Anyway, they decided to forgo the immersion and catch up with the other group that skipped the mikveh detour to head straight to the motorcycle track.
So they sped off from the hill spring toward the motorcycle track, where they planned to meet the other group.
As they went around a curve in the road, they encountered a policeman directing traffic away from an ambulance, whose paramedics were, to their horror, loading most of their friend's body (which they recognized from his motorcycle suit) into the ambulance.
This injured young man lead the non-mikveh motorcyclists. He took a curve too fast, which caused an accident and, leaving out the gory details, his body did not remain in one piece.
At that point, he was still alive, but unconscious.
This delayed group swung over to the initial group, who were sitting in a lot near the road.
The rider immediately following the lead motorcyclist suffered a minor injury because he could not stop in time to completely avoid the leader's flying parts & motorcycle, but everyone else was okay physically.
Because they'd all been zooming along at around 100 kph/62 mph, they could not slow down in time to attend to their friend, nor could they immediately U-turn due to traffic coming from the opposite lane.
Yes, they called the ambulance, but that was all they could do.
Needless to say, no one even thought of continuing to the track.
Very concerned & traumatized about their severely injured friend, the group which experienced the accident simply left all their motorcycles in the lot off the road & hitchhiked back home.
The other group returned to their homes riding verrrrry slowly.
The injured young man regained consciousness at one point, but the medical staff was ultimately unable to save his life.
Throughout Shavuot, the friends from the mikveh-group stayed up all night to recite Tikkun Shavuot & learn Gemara in their now-deceased friend's merit.
The funeral was held Motza'ei Shavuot.
Heartbreakingly, in addition to the sudden loss of their son & brother, Shavuot will never be the same for his family.
Just Wanting to Do a Mitzvah Gives You Something
Judaism says that if you sincerely mean to do a mitzvah, but are prevented from actualizing it, it is considered in Shamayim as if you actually fulfilled the mitzvah.
The group of boys who intended to immerse in the natural mikveh were saved from being at the actual accident. Maybe they were also saved from being harmed in the accident too. Who knows?
Even though they ultimately did not immerse, they sincerely intended too & prioritized that before the meaningless motorcycle track excursion.
Beware of Motorcycle Mania
Initially, I didn't realize there was a whole culture built up around motorcycles.
Yeah, I knew about motorcycle gangs & Harley Davidsons. But I'd no inkling there existed a whole general motorcycle subculture, similar to a gamer subculture or a drug subculture.
A lot of young men in Europe & Israel start with motorcycles because they're cheaper & easier than cars.
Meaning, attaining a drivers license, buying a motorcycle, and paying for gas—it's all cheaper & easier than doing the same for a car.
But there's this whole motorcycle culture that leads to obsession similar to a drug or gaming addiction.
These motorcycle addicts spend every free minute on their motorcycle.
They wake up, grab their helmet & whatever else they need, and make a beeline out of the house.
If you need any kind of help from them (or even just a word with them), even to take out the garbage on their way out, they refuse & just keep on going. (If you insist, they get very irritable, just like addicts when you try to communicate or get them to carry out their most minimal responsibilities.)
They stop learning and working just to spend entire days going round & round a track.
They invest tons of money in decals & accessories.
Those 100% kangaroo-leather motorcycle suits cost at least 6000 NIS new, 2000 NIS second-hand—or more.
Some guys invest in more than one suit.
Most of them acquire several really nifty (and expensive) helmets.
One young man stopped working & burned through all his savings buying stuff for his motorcycling obsession—until he suffered an accident that nearly killed him, but fortunately only resulted in temporary injury (written about here: what-it-looks-like-when-hashem-expands-your-tiny-opening-to-the-size-of-a-banquet-hall.html ).
And you hear tons of stories about young men injured in motorcycle accidents, injured very badly, and even killed.
The special suits save lives & prevent injuries, but they aren't foolproof, as shown in the sad story above.
Not to mention, when a motorcycle & its rider go flying or skidding, this endangers any other pedestrians or vehicles in the immediate vicinity.
So it's very nice that they invest so much in protective gear for themselves, but because they like to go so fast & take other risks while riding, they still end up endangering themselves and others.
Like those immersed in other addictions & obsessions, the motorcycle manics blow off the risks ("That won't happen to me;" "It's not so bad"), only thinking about their own enjoyment (regardless of who gets hurt or even killed).
How to Prevent Motorcycle Mania—and What To Do When You Can't
So if you see your son or another young man starting up with the whole motorcycle thing, you should try your best to nip it in the bud.
As noted above, it often starts off innocently, like it's just a way to achieve more mobile independence more cheaply & easily than a car.
But it turns pretty fast.
Once they're into the motorcycle culture, it seems impossible to get them out.
By the way, they can be doing this while still attending yeshivah, dressing in black and white, and so on. Even if the frummer ones don't get as immersed in the culture as the others, they still get obsessive. They need to constantly go out and drive in that stupid circle for hours Erev Shabbat & Erev Chag. And again, they can respond with a lot of resistance & irritability if you merely ask them to postpone their riding (let alone ask them to stop completely).
Like noted above, even delaying them by one minute to take out the garbage meets with resistance & irritability.
They either need to get tired of motorcycling (which can take years) or they get into an accident (sometimes more than once) before they manage to extract themselves from the whole soul-sucking culture.
I don't mean to pressure anyone.
I know that so many "experts" and others believe that parents have some kind of secret ability to exert control over their teens & 20somethings—and if a parent doesn't manage to control them, then many "experts" (and naïve others) believe that means the parent refuses to access this imaginary secret ability. And thus, this means the parent does not care about the child and is clearly a terrible heartless parent!
Because if it was TRULY important to the parents, they would FIND a way to convince their young adult child to do WHATEVER the parents want! So if they can't manage to succeed no matter how hard they try, then that means they're awful uncaring parents. This is true even when one of the parents actually is pretty awful—the other parent is responsible for not completely nullifying the dysfunctional parent's harmful influence on the child, in addition to everything else. [sarc]
But I realize that parents don't necessarily have any way to control or meaningfully influence a wayward young adult child if that young adult child doesn't want them to.
So this is just an "if you can" and also to keep an eye out for the beginning of the obsession (which starts out so innocently) so if possible, you can nip it in the bud. (Because I don't think this obsession is well-known.)
And by the way—not just parents! A friend or other family member sometimes succeeds where the parents don't. So if you see it, try to stop it if you can.
And if you cannot stop it practically, davening really does help!
One young man who refused to listen to his parents merited being spoken to by another person whose opinion he cared about more, and thus he tore up his motorcycle license application.
(Again, the link to how davening helped one obsessed motorcyclist & his distraught parents: http://www.myrtlerising.com/blog/what-it-looks-like-when-hashem-expands-your-tiny-opening-to-the-size-of-a-banquet-hall. Scroll down to "Turning to Hashem Mashes Motorcycle Mania.")
Wishing everyone lots of bracha & hatzlacha, and that we all merit to invest in meaningful activities.