View Full Version : Columnist Calls Motorcyclist Organ Donors

10-12-2004, 10:16 AM
Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Calls Motorcyclist Organ Donors

September 23, 2004

Chicago, IL. - (MCNW) If you believe Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg, motorcycle riders are pretty sure bets to become organ donors simply because they ride motorcycles.

As a motorcycle rider, you know that's not true. But if you're not a motorcyclist, like most of his readers, you may take the ill-informed comment to heart. What's worse, Steinberg thinks it's a joke.

In a column with the headline "Hop on a motorcycle, fill out your donor card," that appeared in the September 22 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times, Steinberg wrote: "Why are there many more heart transplants performed in the summer than in the winter?

"It's one of my favorite brain teasers, good to toss out at parties. It almost always stumps people." he wrote. "I like to give them a moment to think hard, squirm, then give up, before I spring the answer -- so obvious in retrospect:


Steinberg goes on to say in his column that he has daydreamed about getting a motorcycle but abandons the thought when he thinks about hitting "the twig, or pothole, or whatever" that would "send me flipping into the guardrail, the flash of which would be my last sight on Earth."

Steinberg added: "Besides, there are already too many dumpy middle-aged guys racing on motorcycles, dreaming they're something they're not."

Outraged, AMA Public Information Director Tom Lindsay dashed off a quick e-mail to Steinberg to set him straight.

"Speaking on behalf of this nation's seven million motorcyclists, we found your characterization of motorcyclists-as-organ-donors insulting and ill-informed. Perhaps your intent was dark humor or tongue-in-cheek commentary -- but comments like yours are irresponsible and promote a malicious and unjustified bias against motorcyclists.

"Motorcyclists are doctors and lawyers, office staff and factory workers, and probably your colleagues at the Sun-Times. We're among the most safety-conscious motorists on America's highways," Lindsay wrote. "And while you're making light of the recent increase in fatalities, responsible motorcyclists -- and responsible journalists -- are joining us in an effort to reduce them.

"Please set the record straight with your readers. We look forward to reading your retraction."

Steinberg's response: "Thank you for your comment. There will be no retraction."

If you would like to let Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg know how you feel about his column, you may e-mail him at nsteinberg@suntimes.com.

To read the entire column visit the Chicago Sun-Times web site.