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How do we deal with 4x4ers who give us all a bad name?

By Kalen Ziflian, 23 Nov 2020 Opinion

How to deal with 4x4ers who give us all a bad name

Sometimes a group of 4x4ers will destroy the good reputation of the majority, so do we chastise or reach out?

A FEW weeks ago a video went online that showed a local site that had been defaced with graffiti.

I rang around to see if anyone knew anything about it, but unfortunately that process proved fruitless. Thankfully, some kind-hearted and committed four-wheel drivers from a local club went and remediated the issue the next morning.

Generally 4WDers are interesting characters. Down to earth, knockabout, straight shooters who embody a camaraderie and willingness to get involved in every facet of the passion that is off-roading.

IRRESPONSIBLE 4WDing: Environmental effects

At the same time, the same attributes that exude that camaraderie can also be quite divisive. There are different sub-segments in our hobby: the tourer, the caravanner, the hardcore rock crawler, different age groups; and more than ever, brand-new entrants into the passion. As in any group, there are always some who can create issues on many different levels, unfortunately.

A short time after the graffiti had been removed, some more irresponsible activity was posted to a social media group. The group seems to consist of a younger generation which are more intent on challenging themselves and their vehicles; not really an issue because who doesn’t love to put their fourby through its paces?

However, the general 4WDing fraternity would clearly have a view on this sort of sub-segment. This activity quickly blew up for them in the shape of naming and shaming across other pages. Did they deserve it? I think they did, but what happened next is the point.

The administrator from that very page went out of his way to clearly and unreservedly apologise; taking complete responsibility for it in the process. Despite continuing to cop the brunt of criticism and sometimes unfair treatment, he continued, persevered and is really putting in an effort to improve the profile of this community he has built.

The proof will be in the pudding, but, as a risk-averse insurance business, this individual’s actions deserve some recognition and cred. When an mate of mine reached out to invite me along to meet with this individual, I was happy to oblige as I’d love to understand more about what he’s trying to achieve and to see if there is an opportunity to help him also understand different ways for all of us to contribute to a more safe and responsible 4WDing community.

OPINION: Keep our tracks clean

There’s an old saying that goes something along the lines of “help people excel and so will you”. In a time when most 4WD-related businesses are seeing strong interest and growth, presumably being driven by more people wanting to see our countryside, these words can see us grow as a community.

Imagine if we could let go of judgement and typecasting? Imagine how powerful a force we would be if we focused more on educating and helping each other, espousing the mateship and camaraderie that is on the surface of our community?

A united 4WDing community, all supporting each other regardless of the age group or experience would do a lot better in getting the eyes of pollies to get our needs met - Kalen Ziflian, Club 4x4 Insurance

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