It’s even more important for us motorcyclists to be, in Pope Francis’ phrase, “artisans of the common good,” because if we’re not we tend to get smooshed. We don’t always agree with David Brooks of The New York Times, but this column, in which Brooks expands upon what the pope had to say in his New Year’s Eve homily, is a keeper for anybody who rides or drives.

The pope said, “the people who have the most influence on society are actually the normal folks, through their normal, everyday gestures being kind in public places, attentive to the elderly. The pope called such people, in a beautiful phrase, “the artisans of the common good.”

Small deeds, he said, “express concretely love for the city … without giving speeches, without publicity, but with a style of practical civic education for daily life.”

The pope focused especially on driving, praising those people “who move in traffic with good sense and prudence.” As Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution points out, driving is precisely the sort of everyday activity through which people mold the culture of their community.”