Public safety films are amazing time capsules sometimes, but they rarely feature motorcycling icons like Peter Fonda and Evel Knievel. If you’ve never seen the short film Not So Easy, you’re in for a treat that’s surprisingly not as dated as you might expect.
Clearly, both motorcycle safety and riding skills have come a long way since this film’s 1973 release. Bikes and safety gear technology have both greatly advanced. Unfortunately, the number of things that make other road users—especially car drivers—take their eyes off the road have increased over time, as well.
Knievel’s advice that you should a) be ATGATT and b) familiarize yourself with any new-to-you bike you hop on is timeless. Likewise, Fonda’s admonition that, “For some reason, most car drivers just don’t seem to see bikes, so you’ve got to think of them as asleep, blind, or drunk,” is unfortunately an eternal truth. So, why Evel Knievel and Peter Fonda?
Well, as for Fonda—once Easy Rider put him on the map, he said he never lacked for work. That’s a plus when you’re obsessed with motorcycles, as he was—it was never just an acting job for him, it was a true and lifelong passion. He passed away at the age of 79 earlier this year, which is, quite coincidentally, the same age that Not So Easy director Cliff ‘Soney’ Vaughs was when he passed a few years back.
As for Knievel, could there be a more appropriate ambassador for motorcycle safety from the early ‘70s? I mean, the man suffered enough bone fractures in his life that no one could quite agree on how many breaks he’d suffered, according to the Billings Gazette. More to the point, he lived to talk about them later—so clearly, even wearing gear of the time made a huge difference.
All three of these legends are remembered fondly—and with constant rediscoveries of videos like these, their legacies live on forever.