Vo l . 1 7 , N o . 9
T h e M R F d o e s n o t e n d o r s e a n y p r o d u c ts o r s e r v i c e s o t h e r t h a n i ts o w n p r o d u c t l i n e . T h i s d o e s n o t a p p l y t o p o l i t i c a l e n d o r s e m e n ts .
Man, we sure could use a big dose of good old fashioned biker about now Photo by Ken Olash
Kirk “Hardtail” Willard MRF President One of the very reasons the Meeting of the Minds Steering Committee got together in 1987 which eventually led to the Meeting of the Minds and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation was the need for State Motorcycle Rights Organization (SMROs) and the motorcycling community in general to come together face to face in a concerted effort to get on the same page, share key learnings and techniques as they developed, and most importantly work together towards common goals. Many bikers involved in those early days will say that a certain level of suspicion, far reaching criticism, a lack of confidence and trust in one another, and differing agendas existed that needed to be dealt with and put behind us if we were to be successful and the founders of this movement knew that getting people in the same room would allow for that. Thankfully over the years the motorcycle rights community has continued to come together and found ways to work more closely together, work more effectively together, and to minimize the differences that existed. I am however seeing signs we are beginning to trend in a less productive direction when it comes to that necessary united front of motorcyclists and quite importantly it seems we are straying from a movement that really knows one another as well as we once did which is a necessary component to build trust, confidence, and
respect. A united front and strong personal and organizational relationships is a must for our continued success as a movement. There is another phenomenon presently going on in our movement that truly piques my interest. Right now in a time of the highest level of Helmet Freedom of Choice nationwide we have ever seen, an unprecedented number of motorcycle friendly laws being passed throughout the country by the SMROs, a substantial number of negative laws and initiatives being successfully headed off in the states, no negative legislation being passed federally against us in the past several years, a sound defeat of a federal helmet amendment in the US Senate, the highest level of motorcycle awareness programs ever in place in the states, significant motorcycle right of way efforts underway, a sizable number of impaired riding campaigns in place, the federal government returning a portion of our tax dollars we generate for motorcycle safety in the form of grants which was unprecedented until recently, we have motorcycle rights people sitting in positions of influence in many state working groups and the highest participation level ever in federal organizations including a Federal level Motorcycle Advisory Council, we are in an extremely strong position statewide and federally regarding influential and key relationships with our politicians, very active internationally, and have at least a working relationship with every federal agency that can affect us yet there is more angst right now than I would suspect there needs to be. Again much of it seems to lie in the fact we haven’t been taking the necessary time to get together and get to know one another which could facilitate a return to the early days of our movement if we don’t get this in check.
We also have an opportunity in these times to go on the offensive rather than dwell so much on the negatives and begin to come together and universally promote motorcycling as a legitimate answer to traffic congestion problems, a method of reducing pollution inventories, lowering gas consumption, lightening up on the heavy road degradation and worsening infrastructure on our roadways. Not unlike our efforts to promote crash avoidance over safer crashing, it all serves put us in a positive light and makes arguments against us much more difficult. Do we have legitimate threats and concerns? Of course we do. Do we have things that upset us. Of course because they threaten our way of life. Must we remain totally vigilant on all fronts, you bet. But how we respond to these events is how we define ourselves. I understand in the beginning we were very confrontational, ever critical, routinely exercised civil and not so civil disobedience at times and held a good many protests. I also know we had a tendency to storm the castle and looked for heads to roll which wasn’t all that successful in building long term political relationships necessary to get the votes, which in the end is what matters. And believe me when I say there remains value in these techniques still today. But we must never forget the success rates that one on ones inside the halls of our Capitals gives us. We also talk a great deal and take substantial pride in our history with regards to how we have learned the system well enough over the years to work within it to get the results we want, sometimes even better than those who make up the system, and how we have become one of the most powerful grass roots lobbying machines in the coun-
try, how we can sit at any table in the country and abroad and hold our own when it comes to the decisions affecting motorcycling. We also have learned that to be treated reasonably by what the majority of society considers reasonable people we must also be reasonable. What disappoints me is how quickly we can tend to abandon the very things that brought us to the unprecedented level of success we are enjoying as a whole today. We become overly critical of ourselves and of the very highly skilled and honed techniques that we have developed over the years and that have proven successful for us as a movement and we do so far too quickly. We’ll certainly get farther attacking a problem than each other; my experience convinces me of that. I also have the opportunity to routinely see some excellent contributions and see the minds work of many top notch personalities in our movement that aren’t as effective or as accepted as they could be because of some of the very things I have mentioned above such as a lack of trust and respect for one another, ultimately which still comes down to the lack of a working relationship. I know a good portion of the SMRO Leadership in this country personally and I also know that they hold their positions because they can effectively process information, reason, negotiate, and build relationships. If they couldn’t they wouldn’t have the ability to lead organizations of thousands of people year after year. If we are as serious as I think we are and as our intentions represent we are, I think it is time we get together in these SMRO meetings, Regional Conferences, and the National Conferences and get to know each other as a movement and get on the same page again. If you haven’t been to one in awhile I’ll expect to see you there. If we make this effort as a movement I can guarantee you we’ll reap the results of that effort. As an old biker brother of mine put it recently, “We all grew up in a world where brotherhood and respect was a given, man we could sure use a big dose of good old fashioned biker about now”
Motorcycle Riders Foundation, 236 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Suite 510 - Washington, DC 20002-4980 PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Phoenix, AZ PERMIT NO. 1072
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Keeping Our Motor Runnin’ Riders Foundation has that counter spinning as well. But again, it’s what we do - costs be damned - let’s not park the machine, the ride is just getting interesting.
Michael Kerr MRF Vice President In an excellent presentation called “Building the Motorcycle” one of the founders of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, Michael "Balls" Farabaugh used an analogy where he compared an actual motorcycle to a motorcyclists rights organization. Balls’ premise was that just as a motorcycle has many different parts to make it road worthy, a rights organization must also have many different departments (i.e. legislative, safety and education, public relations etc.) in order for it to be effective in its mission. He would go on and elaborate that while every part of the motorcycle was critical (you won’t ride very far without a set of handlebars) the engine is what drives the machine down the road. The engine on the bike that we call the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the Washington office. The fuel that makes it run is money. The founders of this organization wisely decided that maintaining a full time presence in our nation’s capitol was critical to our interests as motorcyclists. While that goal has been attained, it has been and is a constant struggle to keep our heads above water financially. The first thing one learns when visiting Washington is that it is an expensive town. It’s in the league with Manhattan and San Francisco in terms of real estate prices, bargain rental property is basically non-existent. One of the more common conversations heard whether you are in Georgetown or on the hill concerns cost of maintaining a household in the district. The custom of sharing an apartment is alive and well in the District of Colombia. Not just among struggling grad students but among hill staffers and believe it or not members of congress. Powerhouse New York Senator Charles Schumer and the Majority Whip in the senate Dick Durbin share an apartment to
Won’t get fooled again
cut down on expenses. When he was chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means Dan Rostenkowski resided in a tiny condominium in a neighborhood that will be politely described as questionable. The high cost of living affects all but the most affluent in Washington. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is not immune from the district’s inflated prices (for everything). Those costs are on the rise. The recent dues increase imposed on our members was something not taken lightly by the MRF Board of Directors. It was agreed to with regret. Not having many options it was decided that the dedicated bikers who make up our membership could absorb the five bucks a year to keep our organization afloat. Looking at the digital counter run up when we fill up our bikes with gas is not something that we relish. Yet we fill ‘er up and head out on the highway - it’s what we do - costs be dammed. Keeping fuel in the tank of the bike we call the Motorcycle
The legislative team of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation has put together a candidate survey. This survey is designed to get candidates for federal office on record as to their positions on our issues. This effort is an outgrowth of our displeasure with the administration of President George W. Bush. President Bush campaigned for the presidency on a platform of “compassionate conservatism.” During his campaign he often spoke of his desire to reign in big government and his commitment to personal freedoms. His message resonated with many in the motorcycling community and with the leadership of the MRF at that time. Since his election however, a growing number of his appointees have taken actions that have outraged many motorcyclists. Christie Todd Whitman proved to be no friend of ours as administrator of the EPA. Dr. Jeff Runge, the Bush appointee at the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration referred to motorcyclists as the scourge of the highways. Mark Rosenker Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is using his position and agency to bully every state in the union to enact mandatory helmet laws for all motorcycle riders. Another favorite of the president is Mary Peters, Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT). Mrs. Peters has gone so far as to write the Speaker of the House and the Vice President of the United States a letter which includes language to be introduced as a bill in congress that would allow funds that were specifically allotted for motorcyclist safety training and awareness
May/June 2008 programs to be diverted. With the Bush administration nearing the end of it’s term, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation feels that the most productive approach to the problem of federal agencies working against our interests would be to look to the future. We have written the chairman of the national parties (RNC & DNC) requesting a meeting at which we will express our concerns. At press time we have yet to receive a reply, but fully expect to meet with them before the national conventions. At these meetings is when we would like to present the surveys to the chairman. We will be requesting that they pass them along to the presidential candidates. When complete we would hope to have them published in the Reports and on our website. The MRF (more specifically MRFPAC) does not plan on endorsing a candidate for president in 2008. The information on the surveys should be of interest to the six million Americans who ride motorcycles in our opinion however. For tactical reasons we are not going to publish the survey questions in advance, but we will include a sample question that shouldn’t surprise anyone below. “Do you believe federal agencies (i.e. NTSB, DOT etc) should be allowed to use federal monies to lobby state governments and state executive level officials? Yes or No.” How do you think your own congressman (or a candidate) would answer that question? The time to ask is now. Let’s try and stack the deck in our favor. The window of opportunity to elect a motorcyclist friendly congress will exist until November 4, 2008. After that, we play the hand we are dealt. Have a safe summer Michael Kerr MRF Vice President
Open MRF Board Positions
MRF Membership Price Increase
MRF has volunteer position openings for interested parties with experience as Webmaster, in Marketing and as a Treasurer.
For the first time in nine years, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is raising the price of membership. This was not done without a lot of consideration. We remain ever vigilant not only in our mission, but in our dedication to our members. This is a necessary action and we know our members will rise to the challenge.
The MRF is looking to fill the position of Treasurer. This position is a Corporate Officer. The ideal volunteer has general knowledge of Financial Statements and Budgeting. A working knowledge of QuickBooks would be helpful. Send resume to Carol Downs, Finance Committee Chair, 1797 S Nile Ct, Aurora, CO 80012 or email to email@example.com. For more information you can call Carol at 303.204-6939.
Webmaster candidates, please contact Eric Hampton, Director of Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org. This position needs to be filled ASAP. Marketing candidates with a professional background in marketing, please contact Deborah Butitta at email@example.com for general information, the qualifications we seek, and the anticipated time commitments these positions will require, and to submit your resume for consideration.
Individual one and three year memberships will now be priced at $30.00 and $80.00. Joint annual and joint three year memberships will go up to $50.00 for one year or $130 for three years. Sustaining Memberships, both for individuals and for organizations will remain the same at $100. The board will continue to be diligent in its commitment of getting the most possible value out of each and every dollar we receive.
Since this price change will become effective on the 1st of June this year, now would be a very good time to renew your current membership. The membership page on the website http://www.mrf.org/ is a convenient way to renew by credit card, or, you can download a printed form and send it snail mail to the office at the address provided. Another option would be to renew your acquaintance with your MRF Representative or Assistant Rep. and let them do the work for you. Thank you one and all for joining and maintaining your membership with the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. Together, We Are in the Freedom Business. John Pierce Membership Director
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Motorcycle madness? More like Media madness. Jeff Hennie MRF VP of Government Relations
Recently I was a source in a USA today March 27th article about motorcycle fatalities and helmet laws. I spent a handful of hours on the phone with the journalist assigned to the story and fed him a lot of accurate data and findings about the reason for the rise in motorcycle fatalities of late. Those with common sense can ascertain that the massive rise in sales and registrations of motorcycles does account for the similar increase in fatalities. It’s not the most fun aspect of motorcycling to discuss but one that warrants an honest open-air discussion, none the less. Or so I thought. You can imagine my displeasure when the article came out and the main factor tied to motorcycle fatalities was the repeal of the federal blackmail law in 1995. Not one mentioning of the increase on the shear amount of motorcycles on the road. How the media can be an unpredictable, cruel machine. The very next day after the story ran I got a call from USA today editorial desk asking for a 350 word piece on the MRF’s position on helmet laws. I was told that someone from USA today would be writing the opposite side of the argument for the paper and website. I asked if their writer was subject to the same 350 word cap and their response was that being a paper of limited physical size they couldn’t assure me that they would be the same size. In the end, they were not. I was allotted about 150 words or less and if you have ever had to write for a paper you know that 350 words is not a lot and every sentence counts. I do feel I was able to get my points across and I have the hate emails from the “safety people” to prove it. However let this be a lesson to you. When you work with the mainstream media expect to be treated as a second class citizen, be prepared to be misquoted, or just plain lied to most of the time. This time was not the worst by a long shot but is a glaring example of just how two faced the media can be. What follows is the USA Today piece in defense of helmet laws and my opposition to their stance. Our view on helmet laws: Motorcycle madness
When mandates are repealed, deaths and injuries increase. If you ride a motorcycle, you're 37 times more likely to die in a crash than someone in a passenger car. Motorcycle deaths have more than doubled in the past 10 years, and motorcycle accidents kill more Americans each year than all the nation's much higherprofile plane crashes, ship disasters, pipeline explosions and railway accidents combined. But motorcycles are economical, popular and — as many people who've been on them will testify — seductively fun to ride. So how do you reduce their toll without severely restricting their use? There's one proven method that the nation, regrettably, has moved away from. For years, the federal government withheld highway money from states that didn't require motorcyclists to wear helmets. Study after study has shown that helmets save lives: A University of Southern California analysis showed that helmets were the single most important factor in surviving motorcycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets saved more than 19,000 motorcyclists from 1984 to 2006. But Congress rescinded its helmet policy in 1995, and states, under pressure from freechoice groups that advocate the right not to wear helmets, began repealing their helmet laws. Now, an analysis of federal accident reports by Gannett News Service finds that death rates have risen steadily since then. As helmet use has dropped, motorcycle deaths have increased by about a third, from 5.5 deaths for every 10,000 registered motorcycles in 1997 to 7.3 deaths in 2006. Just 20 states now require all riders to wear helmets, while 27 others mandate them only for younger riders and/or passengers. Three states — Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire — have no requirements. Groups that oppose helmet laws insist it's their right to ride bare-headed. They argue that accidents hurt no one but the riders, and that the best way to prevent harm is not helmets, but training and education for motorcyclists and other motorists. If only that were so. The fact is, motorcycle crashes spread pain far beyond their victims. In 2005, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, bikers without helmets figured in 36% of motorcycle crashes but accounted for 70% of their $12.2 billion cost. The human cost is even greater. A rider's death or disability can do terrible damage to families, companies and communities. That has always been a strong argument for seat belts, and it's just as convincing a case for motorcycle helmets. And while training can reduce accidents, it will never eliminate human error. Simon Rosa, 22, of Virginia was involved in a crash that left scratches all over his helmet that could just as well have been gouges in his head. "You just never know what's going to happen, regardless of how good a
rider you are," he told Gannett. Motorcycles are dangerous enough already. It's unfortunate that legislatures undid mandates that helped save thousands of lives. If states won't recognize their folly, Congress would do well to press them to reinstate helmet laws. Opposing view: Helmet laws don't work Rider education, driver awareness are better ways to prevent crashes. By Jeff Hennie Government officials will tell you that motorcyclists make up 2% of the vehicles on the road and 10% of the fatalities, and they would be correct. That sounds like a major problem. But what they don't tell you paints a very different scenario. Motorcycle registrations have more than doubled since 1997, and new motorcycle sales have quadrupled since then. Surely, when the population is increased one must expect the crash numbers to climb as well. Simple statistics. The last time motorcycle deaths were as high as they are now was in 1986, when motorcycle registrations were slightly more than 5 million. In 2006, almost 6.5 million motorcycles were registered in this country. That's an additional 1.5 million motorcycles and the same number of fatalities. Maybe the motorcycle fatality rate isn't as out of control as some would like you to believe. When motorcycle safety is addressed, it almost always revolves around one contro-
versial issue: helmet laws. All but three states have a version of a helmet law on the books. Twenty-seven states allow riders to exercise choice when donning personal protective equipment, and the remaining 20 require all riders to wear a helmet of some sort. If helmet laws worked, there would be a sharp contrast concerning crash data between states that require universal helmet use and those that don't. That isn't the case. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration August 2007 publication, two of the three states that had the largest increase in fatalities from 2005 to 2006 have universal helmet laws (Alabama and California). Of the three states with the largest decrease in motorcycle fatalities over that period, two (Illinois and New Hampshire) have no helmet requirement, and the third (Ohio) allows experienced riders to ride without a helmet. The bottom line is that helmet laws don't prevent accidents. The best case scenario is to avoid the crash in the first place. How? Through proper, affordable rider education and widespread motorist awareness campaigns to educate the general motoring public to be aware of motorcycles. Motorcycle safety requires a comprehensive approach, or we risk losing even more lives. Simply relying on a helmet law to reduce the number of fatalities has proved to fail time and time again. Jeff Hennie is vice president of government affairs for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.
MRFNEWS Mailing List
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation would like you to take the time to go to our website, www.mrf.org, and sign up for our Alerts. Through 3 different Department Directors and a server change we want to make certain everyone is still on our list so please go to the following; www.mrf.org, to subscribe to our Alerts, press releases, and Leaders Reports. It is critical with the recent national helmet law push that everyone has the most current information U.S. Senate: You may phone the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.
possible. When you get to the website you will find the option to sign up on the left side of the home page; Sign Up for the MRF News Mailing List. Click this header and you will be taken to page explaining the process. Click the link “here” and you will be taken to the sign-up page. Follow the instructions there, return the email when it is sent to you and you will be assured of getting the latest Alerts. Dave Dwyer U.S. House: You may phone the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the House Representative office you request.
Information about your Federal, State and Local Senate and Representatives is also available from a link at the top of the MRF web site’s home page (www.mrf.org). You will need your Zip+4 number when running this search.
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MRF Young Activist Scholarship Candidate Criteria: 1) Candidates must be between the ages of 18 and 30 with a valid motorcycle endorsement on their drivers license. 31st birthday must fall after MOTM that year. 2) Candidate must be a member in good standing of a State Motorcyclists' Rights Organization (SMRO). Length of membership required in SMRO to be determined by its members if candidate is qualified. 3) Candidates must be nominated by their SMRO. Nominations will be accepted from either state or local (District/Chapter/Local) SRMO groups, and must be submitted on an MRF-approved application form. 4) Nominations must be submitted between October 1st and July 15th and postmarked no late than July 1st of the year for which the application is submitted. 5) Candidates are to submit a minimum three hundred (300) word essay on why biker's rights are important to them. A well-written essay is like a picture of who the candidate is, and it gives the committee members a better perspective of the individual. Winning candidates will be announced via an MRF e-mail news release on or about August 15th. All candidates will be notified with a letter of thanks and encouragement to resubmit their candidacy for the next year if they are not the selected winner.
What Do Winning Candidates Receive? 1) One year membership in the MRF effective the first full day of Meeting of the Minds during the year in which they are selected. 2) Round-trip airfare to MOTM or alternate travel expenses so long as those expenses in total do not exceed the cost of traveling by air. If an alternate mode of transportation is chosen, candidates will be required to provide receipts in order to be reimbursed (receipts will be accepted for tickets on other modes of transportation), hotel accommodations, and gasoline. If there is any question about acceptable travel expenditures, it is the responsibility of the candidate to check with MRF prior to incurring said expense. 3) Hotel accommodations at MOTM. Accommodations will include room and taxes only. Telephone, food, movie rentals, etc. will be the sole responsibility of candidates. 4) MOTM conference and banquet fees waived. 5) Special recognition at MOTM. Recognition to include a plaque and presentation of a one-year individual MRF membership. 6) Winners are to submit one article to the MRF Reports telling of their SMRO activities and their experiences on attending the MOTMs.
How Winning Candidates Are Chosen: MRF Young Activist Scholarship Fund Committee will be responsible for: 1) Promoting the program. 2) Reviewing all applications and choosing winner(s) 3) Chairman of MRF YAS Committee will notify all candidates of their decision. 4) In conjunction with appropriate MRF personnel, ensuring that all financial, travel, lodging and conference issues are addressed in a timely and professional manner. Projected Cost: Estimated not to exceed $750.00 per winning candidate. Number of winners will in part be determined by available funds.
MRF Young Activist Scholarship Fund Nomination Form Date: ___________________________________________________________ Candidate Name: _________________________________________________ Candidate Address: _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ Candidate Phone Number: __________________________________________ Candidate Date of Birth: ____________________________________________ Member of (SMRO): _______________________________________________ Please provide the following information on a separate piece of paper.
MRF Board Member Appointed to Newspaper Advisory Board In March, the Journal and Courier newspaper based in Lafayette, Indiana announced its advisory panel to the editorial board. On that list of local community leaders selected to participate was the Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s Jay Jackson. The panel is chosen to help mold editorial stances the newspaper takes on national, state and local issues. Although, the advisory panel does not have the ultimate authority of the editorial board, they will offer up their broad personal experiences, insights and use their persuasive powers to help the board acquire an editorial stance. Jackson will be in an unique position to help influence the public opinions by offering up his years of political experience in the arena of motorcycle rights and advocacy.
2) Other considerations: Explain any circumstances you feel are appropriate. Submitted by: ____________________________________________________ Signature / Position________________________________________________ (State / Local SMRO Presiding Officer) Mail to: Miles France, 10795 CR 197A, Lot 255, Nathrop, CO 81236 719-395-0360; firstname.lastname@example.org
The MRF congratulates Jay for stepping out of his traditional role in motorcycle rights to fulfill a position where his knowledge will assist the media and community at large. The editorial board will be receiving a valuable assets with Jackson on their advisory panel. He offers up a sterling resume of experience in motorcycle rights by not only serving as the MRF’s rider education director but as the executive director of ABATE of Indiana as well. The appointment of Jay Jackson to the advisory panel of the editorial board proves that all motorcycle rights advocates can take other influential roles in their communities. After years of dedication to our movement, why not offer up your experience and insight where it may be needed? You never know, you may just help start a revolution.
The Helmet Debate Rages On in the National Spotlight Tiffany Latimer MRF Public Relations Assistant In recent days, the USA Today has devoted themselves to covering a major hot button issue with motorcyclists: Helmets. The helmet law debate was catapulted back into the national spotlight with an article last week that highlighted the increase of motorcycling fatalities in the past ten years. Since that original article, Vice President of Government Relations, Jeff Hennie defended why helmet laws have not proven to be the best course of action to save motorcyclist lives. The USA Today continued on with the subject of helmet laws and motorcycle fatalities today by featuring both sides of the story. "Our View on Helmet Laws: Motorcycle Madness," written by the USA Today highlighted the increase of motorcycle fatalities since Congress repealed its helmet policy in 1995.
motorcycle deaths in the past ten years but goes on to explain why state helmet laws have not proven to be the most effective way to prevent fatalities. For more information on this subject, you can contact Jeff Hennie, V.P. of Government Relations at email@example.com or at 202-546-0983. To read these articles for yourself, check them out on the USA Today website. Today's articles: "Our view on helmet laws: Motorcycle madness" by USA Today http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/0 4/our-view-on-hel.html "Opposing view: Helmet Laws don't work" by Jeff Hennie http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/0 4/opposing-view-h.html Last week's article:
Candidate Qualifications: 1) Please explain why you feel this person should be selected.
Like most things do, motorcycling has significantly increased in the US within that time frame used in the USA Today's view of helmet laws. MRF lobbyist, Jeff Hennie weighed in on the situation with his rebuttal "Opposing view: Helmet Laws don't work." Not only does this article discuss the proportionate increase in
"Motorcyclists deaths spike as helmet laws loosen" USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/ 2008-03-26bikehelmets_N.htm?loc=interst itialskip
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HR 1076 HIPAA House Co Sponsor List. 107 Represetatives as of 4-4-08 Jeff Hennie MRF VP of Government Relations
Rep Allen, Thomas H. [ME-1] - 2/27/2007 Rep Altmire, Jason [PA-4] - 11/15/2007 Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] 12/17/2007 Rep Baird, Brian [WA-3] - 7/10/2007 Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 6/12/2007 Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [MD-6] - 7/10/2007 Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] - 10/9/2007 Rep Biggert, Judy [IL-13] - 5/1/2007 Rep Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [GA-2] 3/31/2008 Rep Bishop, Timothy H. [NY-1] - 3/9/2007 Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] - 10/3/2007 Rep Boozman, John [AR-3] - 9/4/2007 Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3] - 3/28/2007 Rep Boucher, Rick [VA-9] - 8/3/2007 Rep Braley, Bruce L. [IA-1] - 4/18/2007 Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] - 10/31/2007 Rep Camp, Dave [MI-4] - 3/23/2007 Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] - 10/24/2007 Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] 5/3/2007 Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] - 3/6/2007 Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7] 9/17/2007 Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] - 7/13/2007 Rep Davis, David [TN-1] - 9/17/2007 Rep Deal, Nathan [GA-9] - 10/9/2007 Rep Dicks, Norman D. [WA-6] - 7/19/2007
Rep Drake, Thelma D. [VA-2] - 2/28/2008 Rep Ehlers, Vernon J. [MI-3] - 2/28/2007 Rep Emerson, Jo Ann [MO-8] - 7/13/2007 Rep English, Phil [PA-3] - 4/16/2007 Rep Eshoo, Anna G. [CA-14] - 1/28/2008 Rep Etheridge, Bob [NC-2] - 4/16/2007 Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] - 7/16/2007 Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 3/13/2007 Rep Fossella, Vito [NY-13] - 6/28/2007 Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 12/6/2007 Rep Gerlach, Jim [PA-6] - 10/15/2007 Rep Gilchrest, Wayne T. [MD-1] 7/10/2007 Rep Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY-20] 4/17/2007 Rep Gillmor, Paul E. [OH-5] - 3/13/2007 Rep Gordon, Bart [TN-6] - 7/30/2007 Rep Graves, Sam [MO-6] - 2/28/2008 Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 3/28/2007 Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] - 2/13/2008 Rep Hare, Phil [IL-17] - 7/31/2007 Rep Hayes, Robin [NC-8] - 7/10/2007 Rep Hill, Baron P. [IN-9] - 11/15/2007 Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] 3/20/2007 Rep Holden, Tim [PA-17] - 7/10/2007 Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] - 4/24/2007 Rep Jindal, Bobby [LA-1] - 9/4/2007 Rep Johnson, Timothy V. [IL-15] - 8/3/2007 Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] - 3/28/2007 Rep Kagen, Steve [WI-8] - 2/15/2007 Rep Kind, Ron [WI-3] - 3/9/2007
Rep King, Steve [IA-5] - 4/24/2007 Rep Kirk, Mark Steven [IL-10] - 3/23/2007 Rep Kline, John [MN-2] - 7/13/2007 Rep Kuhl, John R. "Randy", Jr. [NY-29] 3/27/2007 Rep Larsen, Rick [WA-2] - 4/17/2007 Rep Latham, Tom [IA-4] - 3/29/2007 Rep Loebsack, David [IA-2] - 10/15/2007 Rep Manzullo, Donald A. [IL-16] 4/17/2007 Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] 2/15/2007 Rep McHugh, John M. [NY-23] - 2/26/2008 Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] - 2/7/2008 Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] 5/14/2007 Rep Miller, Brad [NC-13] - 6/12/2007 Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10] - 7/10/2007 Rep Miller, George [CA-7] - 12/12/2007 Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] - 10/15/2007 Rep Moran, Jerry [KS-1] - 9/20/2007 Rep Murphy, Tim [PA-18] - 5/14/2007 Rep Myrick, Sue Wilkins [NC-9] 11/15/2007 Rep Oberstar, James L. [MN-8] - 4/16/2007 Rep Obey, David R. [WI-7] - 2/28/2007 Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] - 9/24/2007 Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] - 6/6/2007 Rep Petri, Thomas E. [WI-6] - 2/27/2007 Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16] - 6/12/2007 Rep Platts, Todd Russell [PA-19] 3/23/2007
Rep Price, David E. [NC-4] - 4/18/2007 Rep Putnam, Adam H. [FL-12] - 7/10/2007 Rep Ramstad, Jim [MN-3] - 3/19/2007 Rep Renzi, Rick [AZ-1] - 12/6/2007 Rep Rogers, Mike J. [MI-8] - 1/15/2008 Rep Roskam, Peter J. [IL-6] - 3/23/2007 Rep Ross, Mike [AR-4] - 1/16/2008 Rep Rothman, Steven R. [NJ-9] - 4/16/2007 Rep Ryan, Paul [WI-1] - 4/24/2007 Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] - 7/10/2007 Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] 9/27/2007 Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] 3/29/2007 Rep Shimkus, John [IL-19] - 3/20/2007 Rep Simpson, Michael K. [ID-2] - 5/7/2007 Rep Smith, Adrian [NE-3] - 10/3/2007 Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] 12/6/2007 Rep Space, Zachary T. [OH-18] - 7/30/2007 Rep Stupak, Bart [MI-1] - 2/15/2007 Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] - 3/21/2007 Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12] - 9/4/2007 Rep Udall, Mark [CO-2] - 3/22/2007 Rep Walberg, Timothy [MI-7] - 2/28/2007 Rep Walz, Timothy J. [MN-1] - 3/19/2007 Rep Weller, Jerry [IL-11] - 3/27/2007 Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] - 1/28/2008 Rep Wilson, Charles A. [OH-6] - 3/31/2008 Rep Young, Don [AK] - 3/7/2007
Vague laws offend several important values. First, because we assume that man is free to steer between lawful and unlawful conduct, we insist that laws give the person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited, so that he may act accordingly. Vague laws may trap the innocent by not providing fair warning. Second, if arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement is to be prevented, laws must provide explicit standards for those who apply them. A vague law impermissibly delegates basic policy matters to policemen, judges, and juries for resolution on an ad hoc and subjective basis with the attendant dangers of arbitrary and discriminatory application." Grayned v. City of Rockford, 408 U.S. 104, 108 (1971).
creates a presumption that the helmet complies with FMVSS 218, and that the presumption can be rebutted only if (1) the helmet was recalled by the manufacturer for failure to comply with FMVSS 218 or determined by NHTSA to be noncompliant with FMVSS 218, AND (2) the biker has "actual knowledge" of a recall or determination of noncompliance.
No List? No Law ! Editor’s Note: ABATE of California's involvement with the State Supreme Court Helmet No list? No Law ! case, submitted by Don Blanscet, Executive Director of ABATE of California, written by Ray Henke Richard Quigley, et al. vs. California Highway Patrol, the Constitutional Case Poised to Bring Down the California Helmet Law By Ray Henke, Esq., Bikers of Lesser Tolerance, California As Don Blanscet, the Executive Director of ABATE of California, has correctly observed is his press release graciously disseminated by our friends at the Motorcycle Riders Federation, the instant Quigley et al. v. California Highway Patrol case will pound the final nail in the coffin of the California helmet law. But in order to appreciate why this case is the undertaker that will place the helmet law 6 feet under, you will need to understand the constitutional defect that this helmet law was born with - the same constitutional defect present at the heart of the helmet law recommended to all states by the NTSB - and how our B.O.L.T. of California freedom fighters, like Don, and Richard Quigley and State Bianco have constructed the law's coffin, a labor of 17 years, in the state and federal courts, to lay the constitutional predicate to finally put the helmet law in its
grave. The constitutional defect in both the California helmet law and that proposed by NTSB is that these laws require motorcyclists to wear helmets compliant with the federal motorcycle helmet performance standard set forth at FMVSS 218. The defect is that neither the ordinarily intelligent biker nor the law enforcement officer could possibly have any clue what FMVSS 218 requires. The rider can't read the law and know how to comply with it; and the law enforcement officer likewise cannot possibly apply it, except arbitrarily. Section 218 states nothing about helmet fabrication or what a helmet should look like. It merely describes some laboratory procedures and some arbitrary impact criteria. Indeed, to determine whether a particular helmet complies with FMVSS 218 requires the essential laboratory equipment and appropriately trained engineers to operate it, and in the process of testing the helmet you also destroy it. The constitutional defect is the law's "vagueness," and the legal challenge derives from the due process clause of the United States Constitution. As explained by the United States Supreme Court: "It is a basic principle of due process that an enactment is void for vagueness if its prohibitions are not clearly defined.
The road to demonstrate that the California helmet law is unconstitutional has been a tortuous one, beginning with a challenge that the law was unconstitutional as written. In Buhl v. Hannigan, the California Court of Appeals agreed that it was "absurd" to posit that the ordinary biker or law enforcement officer could examine a helmet's fabrication and apply FMVSS 218 to determine if it complied with the California helmet law. The Buhl case was followed by Bianco v. California Highway Patrol in which the California Court of Appeals held that where a biker's headgear bears a "DOT" label it
There is a common misconception that the Department of Transportation "approves" helmets. Bikers and cops commonly refer to helmet laws requiring the use of "DOT approved" helmets. There is no such thing as an approved helmet. DOT doesn't approve helmets. No one does. Helmet manufacturers may or may not chose to certify their helmets as compliant with FMVSS 218. But there is no list of "approved" helmets that bikers or cops can refer to in order to find out whether a particular helmet complies with FMVSS 218. The only information the riding public might receives is when a helmet is recalled or determined noncompliant, but those are only a small fraction of the total number of FMVSS 218 compliant and noncompliant helmets, and it is surely unrealistic to expect riders to "have actual knowledge" of a recall or determination of noncompliance. Following the Bianco v. CHP decision, California law enforcement should have continued page 8
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
MRF Reps and the Need for Fresh Blood
May/June 2008 punch. Work the masses and lets get those 800 new members. Young Activist Scholarship 2008
Miles France MRF Director of Reps ABATE of Colorado has been busy with two bills this legislative session. HB-1104 ROW bill has been tossed around, changed poorly then taken back to it’s original version and is still working it’s way through the process. This has been a bill with a great deal of passion behind it and the driving force from the start has been Dave Christy. The other bill is HB-1050 Trike Licensing and it flew through the capitol without any changes and was signed by the governor March 18th. This bill also covers sidecar training which as we all know is a unique style of riding all of it’s own. No Helmet legislation has been introduced at the time of writing this article but it’s not over yet. MRF Reps with the change in “Membership Prices” June 1st be sure and contact your SMRO Editors and get them the correct membership form for their publications. If you know of any other areas where an MRF application is run in any other paper or magazine in your state get them the correct information ASAP. After June 1st destroy any old MRF applications
since these will no longer be useable with this change. The MRF Membership is showing signs of growth as it sits at approximately 4200 and the challenge to all of us is to see if we can hit 5000 members by the MOTM’s in Denver, Co. this year. This will take the force of the entire MRF Reps program and it actually breaks down to the fact that each
of us needs to sign up 8 new members to accomplish this task. This is the time to start getting those fence sitters signed up. You say you ride with folks who aren’t MRF members then why haven’t you tweaked their ear? How about your dentist, doctor, pharmacist, your regular gas stop and family? These are folks who will listen to you especially if they already know and respect you. Push the MRF and help folks understand why this organization is so important to Biker Rights through out this country on the Federal Level. Give folks information on the accomplishments the organization has achieved and how well they work with the elected officials that make the decisions in Washington DC. Let them know the lobbying efforts of all the SMRO’s across the country that work with the MRF to put the Biker Rights on the table before representatives that do make decisions regarding our rights. The lobbying keeps the representatives educated on our issues so when something comes up regarding Biker Rights they know where bikers of this country stand. Face to Face work over the years pays off when the **** hits the fan. Jeff Hennie of course keeps the squeaky wheel greased all year long for the MRF so nothing comes at the bikers of this country like a sucker
Yes folks it’s that time again for you to look at your SMRO’s and see who all of a sudden has grown up right before you. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again the Biker Rights of this country lie in the hands of the youth. How many of the “Gray Hairs” are going to be around in 20 years? This is the opportunity to help build a force of young talented individuals to carry on the work, which has taken so long just to get where it stands today. Look around you and reach out to the youth within your reach and help them along the rough path of biker politics. Their experience at the MOTM’s could be the one thing, which pushes them to keep on with the biker rights movement. Send your MRF YAS Candidates to Miles@mrf.org and as the committee chairman I will share them with the rest of the committee to decide the top candidates. For more information regarding this program go to www.mrf.org and click on YAS. Just a quick heads up but also on the www.mrf.org site watch for a new link with reps tools you can download and use.
MRF Legislative Agenda 2008 Level 1 HIPAA - we must gather more cosponsors, time is a factor and we have to show progress by spring. A red alert on this issue. We need to double the amount of co-sponsors in a short time frame if we expect this legislation to move. NTSB - we will again be asking members of congress to write the NTSB. We will be ratcheting-up the effort in this, the next phase of our strategic initiative. In this session we will be asking congressmen to write the NTSB asking them to honor the spirit of congressional mandates that federal agencies would not use taxpayer dollars to lobby state legislative bodies. We will also stress the economics of the issue i.e. the NTSB lobbying states is a waste of money. Motorcycle Advisory Council –
High priority will be given to our involvement with this council. We will remind the congress that this is important to us and we wish it to continue. 2010 Funds -we will stress how this program is working and we will take offense at any attempts to reduce or eliminate these funds. Washington Meetings Our meetings with federal agencies have yielded positive results. We will continue to put high priority on attending meetings with NHTSA, FHWA, NTSB, and the TRB. International Motorcycle Cooperation Group Meetings. We will continue to remain involved with our partners in the IMCG regarding activities at the European Union and the United
Nations. On this agenda is WP1, WP29, GTR’s, Sound, Emissions, and Global Harmonization.
gressman on the spot (if they are not comfortable with the bill) in asking them to co-sponsor.
Level 3 ITS – We will continue to monitor the implementation of the Intelligent Transportation System and see that motorcyclists’ concerns are addressed.
TEA Reauthorization - Although the 110th congress will not be addressing the act that funds our interstate system (and much more) it is not too early to remind congress - especially those who sit on the House Transportation Committee - that we are concerned about federal mandates raising their ugly head in the next TEA bill. Right to Repair - Once the premier piece of legislation of powerhouse congressman Joe Barton, Right to Repair has been cast to never, never land by Energy and Commerce chairman John Dingell. We’re not giving in, but we would advise not putting friendly con-
“Gang Bills” – We will monitor such legislation to insure that motorcyclists’ are not unfairly singled out solely for the fact that they ride motorcycles. Discrimination Bills – We will be watching for any legislation that would restrict our right to access public roads or public accommodations.
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
It’s Springtime and it’s Conference Season! Carol Downs MRF Conferences Director
In my next article I will talk about what went on at BEAST. We do have one breakout session planned that will be done a little differently. MMA came up with an interesting idea and we are giving it a try. I’ll let you know more in my next article.
One of the things I love about living in the Rockies is spring. Here it is late March and we have had some great riding days. Of course, one of the things I don’t like about living in the Rockies is spring. After every 70 degree day, we get snow and cold for the next couple. But at least we have had a few great days already. Spring also means that it is time for Conference season to start. By the time you are reading this BEAST of the East will be over. I’m certain it was a good Conference. Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA) is always a good host. Even though it has not occurred, as of this writing, I can tell you there was one thing about BEAST this year that I did not like. I had to fly. Anyone who has been reading my articles for any length of time knows that heading east to BEAST of the East is usually mine and Bruce’s (my husband)
As you are reading this you are not too late to attend BEST of the West. It will take place in Vancouver, WA co-hosted by Washington Road Riders Association (WRRA) and ABATE of OR. There is a
first good ride of the year. We usually plan our route for days, and have only once had to cancel our plans to ride. And that one was 1000 miles from home. But this year, even though the weather looked like it might cooperate, time did not permit the ride. So here it is April and I am already
Once More Into the Breach… By “Hairy” George Nitzsky Executive Director A.B.A.T.E. of Ohio, Inc. So there I was, once again riding the escalator up out of the Capitol South Metro Station getting ready to “walk the halls” like I’ve done so many times before. I didn’t expect any surprises but, hey, I got one. This year, for the first time EVER I made it through a federal office building metal detector WITHOUT being wanded! Yeah, I know, I’m as amazed as ya’ll are! I’d already stopped by the MRF DC office the day before and done the briefing thing, got my materials and made, because I’m “Hairy” George, my usual bawdy comments to Tiffany, who takes them in stride without a ruffled feather and gives back as good as she gets, so I was ready to go. Did get a surprise at the office though. I ran into conference organizer extraordinaire, Carol Downs, who was down with the Colorado people to do their lobbying twostep. I’m not planning on writing about the whole trip, hell; most of ya’ll have done the lobbying thing so you know the dance. I will say that I was able to nail down 3 firm commitments to add a Ohio Congressperson to our HIPPA bill sponsor list and a couple of very strong promises, found more than a few sympathetic ears on the Mary Peters thing and more than a couple of Congress critters interested in expanding 2010 monies next time around so, in my semi-humble opinion, the trip was a success. As I said, my plan was NOT to report on my DC trip but rather to offer praise to whoever it was that decided to hire Jeff Hennie. I freely admit to not being overtly enthused when Mr. Hennie first came on. He struck me
down about 3500 miles on my yearly total. Fortunately I do plan to ride to Kansas City (whoo hoo) for the May Board Meeting, and then Vancouver, WA for BEST of the West. Meeting of the Minds (MOTM) this year will be a short trip, about 10 miles round trip. So maybe it won’t be the best year to add up miles. But that doesn’t make the Conferences any less exciting.
as a bit to “young” to hang in with the more mature (read OLD!) brothers that compromise the majority of the SMRO legislative voices who lobby in DC. He rode a VESPA for gawd’s sake. I still remember rolling around my office floor laughing my, well you know, when I heard that. In short, he didn’t seem to have his “street creds”, the hash marks that would make him an effective lobbyist voice for our world. Wellllllllll, I’ve changed my mind and then some. His abilities and skills as a motorcycle lobbyist are, far and away, the best I’ve ever seen working outta the MRF office, bar none! He’s quick, professional, prepared and as slick as they come and he makes sure that the jaded legislative aides that populate so many Congressional offices pay close attention when he “workin’ the office. He ain’t no ball hawg, either. He doesn’t try to be the only voice in a meeting, he’s there to offer support; to work with the SMRO lobbyist, not to be the center of attention. I’ve watched him, time and again, as he makes that extra effort, when a first-time SMRO lobbyist comes to DC, to smooth out the jitters one feels that first time walking the halls. He is, in short, a professional and I’m also proud to call him my brother, in EVERY sense of the word. So, hats off to you, MRF board members, for finding this young man and turning him loose on those unsuspecting Congress critters. Mr. Hennie is, quite simply, the best. Oh yeah, before I go, if Carol Downs shows you a picture of me in a suit coat, it’s a fake! Peace HG
Page 7 flyer elsewhere in this publication that gives you all the details. We would love to have you join us. And do not forget MOTM this year. It will be hosted by ABATE of Colorado and promises to be a very good event. I must admit prejudice as this is my home MRO. I know we can put on a good show. Again, there is a flyer elsewhere to give you details. Let me remind everyone that your state Motorcycle Rights Organization can get even more involved in the MRF by hosting a Conference. There is quite a bit of work involved, but ask anyone who has done it. It is great fun as well. If you would like to know more about what is involved, ask me. Talk to me at a Conference or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know we would love to come to whenever it is you are. I look forward to seeing each of you somewhere along the road this year.
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
Young Activist Scholarship Miles France MRF Director of Reps HMMM who is that guy looking at me in the mirror? Wasn’t it just yesterday that same guy looked back at me with bright youth sparkling all around? Yes now I have the reminder my youth has slipped away and this gray hair is now looking for the young folks to step up and carry on when all of us gray hairs blend into the wind. This is where we as reps have the responsibility to find the young folks to carry on our mission of protecting our hard earned freedoms. Think about it because as the saying goes you can depend on two things in life, death and taxes. So rather than dwell on the down side of death and worrying about the tax man we all live like there is no tomor-
row and sometimes this can dim our view of what is going on around us and forget we are not going to be around forever so in order to keep things rolling along the younger folks need to step up in order to keep the freedom fighting force going strong. This is the fifth year of this program and it has been a success the last four years. The past winners are as follows: 2004-Crystal Maney, CBA/ABATE of North Carolina 2005-Robert Cuthbertson California MRF State Rep
2006-Shawn Dickie, ABATE of Alaska Aaron Meyer, ABATE of Indiana
Justin Crawford, ICMS (Idaho Coalition of Motorcycle Safety) David Duffy, ABATE of Iowa 2007-John Thomas “J.T.” CBA/ABATE of North Carolina
Sunrise “Sonny” Pitch, ABATE Wisconsin, St Croix Valley Riders
these folks the importance of being involved with legislative, safety, rider training and their own personal freedoms. Without the boost they get from the MRF Conference they may never realize how much power they have to protect their rights and all the rights that have been hard earned before them.
Molly Su “Monsoon” Van Daele, ABATE of Iowa As you can see, each of these past winners were all involved in their SMRO’s and for the most part each of them grew up in the biker lifestyle. Everyone of these young folks have a rough job to go out and convince their peers how important it is to be involved in the politics involving their rights. Attending the MOTM’s teaches
Let us open the door to the young folks and welcome them into our fold since they are the soldiers who will carry on for the rest of us. PLEASE SEND US YOUR CANDIDATES BEFORE JULY 15TH, THE DEADLINE Send all information to Miles@mrf.org and I’ll share it with the YAS Committee. Thank-You & Good Luck.
No List? No Law ! (continued) recognized that the constitutional restraints on application of the law, had rendered it unenforceable. The California Highway Patrol's response to the Bianco decision, however, was to ignore it and to continue to enforce the law arbitrarily based upon the law enforcement officer's indiscriminate, although often discriminatory, and certainly incompetent assessment of the fabrication qualities of the helmet, commonly compounding the violation of the constitutional restrains imposed by Bianco by writing tickets for failure to ride with a nonexistent "DOT approved" helmet. Richard Quigley and Steve Bianco then initiated litigation which would later be funded by Easyrider magazine. The bikers established in the federal district court that the California Highway Patrol had a policy and practice of illegally enforcing the law, in violation of the Court of Appeals decision in Bianco v. CHP. The federal district court issued a scathing opinion condemning the CHP for its illegal helmet law enforcement polices, and the United States Court of Appeals then affirmed an injunction, this time relying on the 4th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution, ordering the CHP to cease and desist issuing helmet tickets unless the officer has "probable cause" to believe that the rider has "actual knowledge" that his headgear has been recalled or determined by NHTSA to be noncompliant with FMVSS 218. Again, the CHP should have just laid down their ticket books. The law plainly could not be enforced constitutionally. But again, the CHP determined instead to continue on with its illegal enforcement policy. Riders with Bikers of Lesser Tolerance in California like Richard Quigley and Steve Bianco and Don Blanscet and Red Baron and Pat Holmes, the Plaintiffs in the current
litigation, tested the resolve of the California Highway Patrol, accumulating hundreds of helmet tickets, some for wearing the B.O.L.T. "ill Eagle" helmet, with the Chinese manufacturer's "DOT" label embroidered on the back, others wore sunglasses with DOT labels, or itsy bitsy teenie weenie helmets, beanie helmets, helmets looking similar to what some refer to as "novelty helmets," and many manufactured their own smaller-than-watermelon-sized hard-shell helmets, as specifically authorized in a legal opinion authored by CHP legal counsel, appending their own DOT labels. Quigley challenged his last dozen helmet tickets, this time urging that the California helmet law was unconstitutionally vague "as applied" by the California Highway Patrol. He interrogated the Highway Patrol officers and introduced the internal CHP policy memoranda and bulletins making plain the CHP's intent to skirt the Court of Appeals decisions that now defined the California helmet law; documents he'd accumulated over a dozen years fighting the CHP in court. Ten years to the day after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had upheld the injunction against the CHP's illegal helmet law enforcement policies, Judge Barton, for the California Superior Court for the County of Santa Cruz found that the California Highway Patrol had engaged in a policy and practice of illegal helmet law enforcement, now not only in violation of the California Court of Appeals decision in Bianco, but also in violation of the Easyriders federal court injunction. The Court issued a several page, highly reasoned. constitutional opinion. holding that the California helmet law was unconstitutionally vague as applied.
As the Court transcripts reflect, the Judge's purpose in setting forth his reasoning in the opinion was to permit the case to be taken up to the Court of Appeals, and the California helmet law might have been laid to rest in that case. However, the California Attorney General, less concerned with upholding the California and United
States Constitutions than with preserving the ability of the CHP to continue to enforce the helmet law illegally for a while longer, declined to appeal the case. Parenthetically, in another Quigley case which resulted in a decision by the California Court of Appeals that helmet law continued page 10
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
PRESS RELEASE: From the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA) February 2008
Periodical Inspection of Motorcycles FEMA’s Position: The need for a motorcycle to be in good condition and to comply with relevant technical regulations, so that it can be safely used on public roads, is not questioned. However, the need of adopting an EU harmonised inspection policy for motorcycles remains disputed. The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA) believes that the decision to implement periodical inspections for motorcycles should remain at national level to adapt to the specific needs of the different fleets. FEMA strongly underlines that: • There is no link between the technical condition of vehicles and accidents: technical failure is the primary cause of motorcycle accidents in only 0.7% of all cases. Periodical inspections would not produce additional safety benefits • It is in the interests of the motorcyclist to reduce any possible risk of accident and hence to care for the good maintenance of his vehicle • Motorcycles travel less kilometres in their life cycle than cars or let alone Heavy Good Vehicles (HGVs), and mainly in weather conditions that are much less damaging to their technical condition • The limited amount of emissions produced by motorcycles compared to other motorised road users does not justify the inclusion of Powered Two-Wheelers (PTWs) in the Roadworthiness Directive. • Methods to control emissions and fight against pollution already exist: Motorcycles have been subject to EU emissions limits since 1999 and now comply with the Euro 3 standards • Motorcycles have major advantages compared to other motorised road transport means, especially on climate change, with less emission of greenhouse gas and lower fuel consumption. They should be regarded as a solution to several environmental issues faced by EU Member States, and not as a problem. • Technical inspection is not the right solution to tackle the noise issue • There is no evidence to show that customised vehicles are less safe than their standard counterparts. Many modifications are actually aimed at making the machine safer (brakes, lights, tyres, etc.) • The differences between Powered TwoWheelers and other vehicles would require specific testing methods and costly investments. These costs would affect both the motorcyclists and taxpayers.
The implementation of periodical inspections of motorcycles would only achieve marginal benefits, while the economic burden created would by far outweigh the positive aspects. FEMA hence rejects any proposal to harmonise periodical inspection in Europe. Introduction The society’s interests in regulating the technical condition of motorcycles are based on two main issues: Road Safety and Environment. Today more than ever, these two aspects are areas of particular importance and a series of new policies are designed in order to meet road safety and environmental protection targets. In this context, the European Commission and other associations and institutions – such as the International Motor Vehicle Inspection Committee (CITA) – increasingly regard roadworthiness inspection of motorcycles as necessary. Out of 26 European Member States, 8 countries do not have a roadworthiness testing system for two-wheeled powered vehicles1. However, there is no clear evidence that the implementation of mandatory periodical inspections of motorcycles significantly improves road safety or reduces pollution. The benefits are actually limited and do not justify the implementation of a harmonised Road Worthiness Testing at EU level. For instance, the economic and administrative burden created would by far outweigh the positive aspects. The large variety of the Powered Two-Wheelers’ fleet would indeed require specific testing methods and costly investments. The need for adequate equipment and qualified staff to test motorcycles cannot be overlooked. It is also important to note that motorcycles can only be used and tested part of the year in several European countries due to weather condition. Harmonising the existing – and often very different - national arrangements for technical inspection will prove extremely problematic. Therefore, FEMA and its Member Associations oppose any possible proposal to harmonise periodical inspections in Europe. RWT should remain under national jurisdiction in order to best be adapted to the specific needs of the different fleets. 1. Road safety One of the main arguments to extend the existing Directive on roadworthiness enforcement to motorcycles is the road safety aspect. In its recent study, CITA
underlined that “(…) good accident evidence supports the extension of the Directive to two-wheeled motor vehicles.” Yet, technical features or defects of a motorcycle are indeed hardly ever the underlying factor in the event of an accident. The MAIDS study3 - the most indepth study on motorcycle accidents existing today – shows that the primary cause of motorcycle accidents are human factors (87,5%) - whether from the motorcyclist (37,1%) or another vehicle (50,4%) - and the environment (7,7%). However, only 0.7% of all motorcycle accidents are directly caused by technical failure. In addition, it is usually the quality of the tyres or the use of the brakes that lead to the very few cases of accidents linked to the condition of the vehicle. In other words, the real issue is neglected maintenance and not technical failure. Implementing roadworthiness tests is hence not a solution to improve road safety. Furthermore, Riders are well aware of the need to maintain their machines in a safe condition. Checking the main components of the motorcycle is actually part of the training and test to obtain the driving licence. A motorcyclist has a closer relation to his vehicle and generally maintains it himself. Being a vulnerable road user, it is obviously in the interests of the motorcyclist to reduce any possible risk of accident, as he would be the first one to suffer. Of course, some motorcyclists nevertheless ride damaged or unsafe vehicle. But they clearly represent a minority. The compulsory RWT in Sweden was for instance changed in 2004 for the vehicles showing the best results and least mileage: motorcycles, trailers and caravans. The first RWT is now done after four years and then every second year. (Before 2004, the first test was conducted after two years and then every year for vehicles of ten years or more). In addition, motorcycles travel less kilometres in their life cycle than cars or let alone Heavy Good Vehicles (HGVs), and mainly in weather conditions that are much less damaging to their technical condition. It should also be underlined that on average - a motorcycle needs to be checked every 6.000 km by a professional, which is not the case for cars. In this respect, periodical inspection would only bring very limited added value.\ 2. Environment
A. Emissions The amount of emissions emitted by motorcycles is marginal compared to other motorised road users, let alone compared to total national emission volumes. Powered Two-Wheelers have major advantages compared to any other motorised road transport means, especially on climate change, with less emission of greenhouse gas and lower fuel consumption. Motorcycles offer solutions to many congestion and pollution problems faced by EU Member States. They have been subject to EU emissions limits since 1999 and now comply with the Euro 3 standards. In addition, governments and PTW manufacturers are working together to bring down emission levels on a continuing basis. Motorcycle manufacturers have already achieved enormous progress over the past 7 years: minus 94 % of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions, and minus 50 % of nitrogen emissions for the period 1999-2006. Furthermore, this drastic reduction of the emissions has been coupled with more severe test conditions. According to an independent expert chosen by the European Commission5, PTW exhaust emissions show a good trend compared to the overall emissions of road transports. This trend is not only valid for what concerns the three main pollutants, but also with regard to CO2 and particles emissions. At the horizon of 2012, the share of this two pollutants will be under 0,5% of the overall road transport CO2 and PM emissions. The impact on national emission volumes is thus barely recognisable. In our view, periodical inspections to control motorcycle emissions would request a lot of resources for very limited benefits. Furthermore, there are currently no EU established methods or equipment available for implementing emissions inspections for motorcycles. B. Noise Noise pollution is an additional important aspect to take into account. It has indeed a direct impact on citizens, especially in urban areas. Control of motorcycle noise levels is possible at periodical inspections. However, no EU established test methods exist. In addition, the major problem related to excessive noise levels is mainly linked to the illegal tampering of exhaust systems. As the experience - e.g. in Germany shows, little can be achieved through peri continued page 15
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No List? No Law ! (continued) violations come within the California fix-it ticket statute, the Court in "dicta," meaning without either the AG or Quigley having briefed it, stated that law enforcement can conclude that a fabric helmet violates the law, but agreed again with the previous court decisions that it is well beyond the qualifications of the ordinary biker or law enforcement officers to determine if helmets manufactured out of hard materials comply with FMVSS 218 and the California helmet law. And it is the Plaintiff's evidence that the California Highway Patrol has had the policy and practice to illegally ticket California bikers, including the Plaintiffs, arbitrarily and discriminatorily, for the entire spectrum of fabric and hard-shell helmets despite that every court has agreed that CHP officers plainly lack the ability to discern whether a helmet meets FMVSS 218 standards, the sole standard set forth in the California helmet law. The instant litigation was initiated by Richard Quigley and the several other members of Bikers of Lesser Tolerance, California, including Quig's good friend Steve Bianco, with the intent this time to put on at trial not only the same evidence of illegal highway patrol helmet law enforcement practices as previously adduced by Quig, but the hundreds of illegal citations issued to the other B.O.L.T. Plaintiffs involving the entire spectrum of different types and construction of headgear illegally issued by the California Highway Patrol in violation of the Bianco and Easyriders constitutional decisions. Prior to his death, Quig's video deposition was taken and his testimony
preserved for the trial. The other members of Bikers of Lesser Tolerance including Steve Bianco will also testify in the case, describing their several hundred citations illegally issued by the California Highway Patrol. Don Blanscet, Executive Director of ABATE of California and Assistant Director of B.O.L.T. of California will testify, just to take one example, describing his greater than 60 helmet citations, all but three of them thrown out of court by the Judges specifically on the grounds that the citations were illegally issued in violation of the constitutional law of Bianco v. CHP. In the case of the three tickets of which Don was convicted, those too are evidence; evidence that even the Judges sometimes fail to understand the restraints imposed upon helmet law enforcement essential to avoid the constitutional intrusion upon the bikers due process rights. The CHP officers who issued the citations will be interrogated, making plain that they do not understand and cannot conform to the constitutional requisites of the California and federal constitutional decisions which provide strict limitations of legitimate application of the California helmet law. And what this evidence will amply demonstrate, is that the California helmet law isn't being enforced in conformity with the California and federal constitutional decisions, and that, as a practical matter, it cannot be enforced constitutionally. The case is framed as an injunction and declaratory relief case to assure that it will reach the Court of Appeals. If the B.O.L.T members succeed in the trial court, we anticipate that the Court
will declare the helmet law unconstitutionally vague as applied and issue an injunction against its further enforcement; so the Attorney General will be forced to appeal. If the Court fails to enter a decision that voids the California helmet law then the Plaintiffs can then appeal and we would expect that the Court of Appeals will have no choice but to recognize that the defect in the law is its unconstitutional vagueness and that the law as reinterpreted cannot be applied constitutionally. The litigation represents the culmination of the courageous and determined work of the Plaintiffs and other B.O.L.T. members like Richard Quigley and Steve Bianco who have fought the good fight on the streets and in the courts for the past 17 years. The significance of the litigation extends beyond voiding the California helmet law because the judicial recognition that the helmet law cannot be enforced constitutionally will certainly undercut the NTSB's efforts to persuade every other state nationally to adopt the same FMVSS 218-based law. It will also provide the precedent for freedom fighters in every lid state to take into their state courts. Yes, this will be California appellate law. But in most states the constitutional arguments that will be upheld in this case will be "issues of first impression," meaning issues not yet decided by the courts of the other states. When faced with an "issue of first impression" the court's always look to the decisions of the other states which have faced and decided the issue. And here on the issue of due process "vagueness," this case will be the only relevant constitutional
precedent in point. As Don Blanscet points out in his press release, this is indeed historic litigation. It is an honor for all involved in the case to be a part of it, and we reach out to all who would join us in this historic opportunity to take your place at the forefront of this fight. We can overturn the California helmet law. We can make plain that the law urged by NTSB is unconstitutionally vague and incapable of constitutional application. We can render NTSB's recommendations to the states inert, undercutting the efforts of NTSB, the insurance and medical lobbies underway to obtain helmet laws in the free states. We can shortcut by 17 years the constitutional court battles in every other lid state, and provide you the opportunity to void your helmet law decisively. Please accept this opportunity to join with ABATE of California and Delaware and Michigan and Northern Nevada as our partners in achieving freedom. Ray Henke is a California trial lawyer, a former Governor of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association and LATLA's nominee for "Trial Lawyer of the Year," 1994. Mr. Henke served as legal consultant to Richard Quigley. He is a made member of B.O.L.T., proud to have been nominated by Quig for B.O.L.T. membership, seconded by Steve Bianco, and currently, B.O.L.T. of California, in house litigation advisor. This article is submitted for publication as written, and its publication is not authorized if altered in any way without the advance written permission of Ray Henke.
Chuc Coulter Retires as Treasurer of the MRF and Newly Elected MRF Board of Directors Members Take Office Chuc Coulter retires as Treasurer of the MRF at the January 2008 Board Meeting, Chuc served the MRF for many years in the capacities of SSMRO Rep. to the Board, Vice President, President, and most recently Treasurer Chuc will remain as the PAC Treasurer and the Treasurer for the newly formed MRFAE (Awareness and Education) 501c3 The MRF Board of Directors would like to thank Chuc for his years of dedicated service to the MRF, we would also like to thank his wife Kim for all her accounting expertise in assisting Chuc.
ELECTION RESULTS Thomas "Doc Ski" Wasileski Ph.D. of North Carolina has joined Dave Dwyer as an SSMRO Rep. to the Board
Last year’s MRF Rep. of the Year, Joel Arnoldi from Idaho, will be joining Cindy Hodges as a Member Representative to the Board
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada MCC Launches New Group to Advance and Expand Motorcycle Competition Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 26, 2008 At a Media Conference held coincidently with setup for this weekend's Supercross in Toronto, MCC announced the formation of a Competition Working Group to coordinate and expand motorcycle competition for Canadians. "This is one of the most significant developments on the Canadian motorcycling scene in 25years" says MCC Chair Peter Sheppard, himself a former road racer. "For years the Canadian Competition scene has been fragmented, which has cost riders dearly in terms of local, national and international opportunities. This initiative will start to change that." "MCC has been acutely aware of the divisions" says MCC President Peter Jacobs. "We were formed to bring motorcycling together and have reached out to all motorcycling groups since the beginning. This step was inevitable. With the support of the industry and the principal competitive
disciplines, the timing is right. Riders, promotional partners and industry will come together through this group to offer events that meet the highest standards of event disciplines and sanctioning, and present fair and expanding opportunities for our riders to compete with the best. "
said Colin Fraser of PMP, organizer of the national road racing series for Parts Canada Superbike Championships. "By joining forces, we are creating a win-win opportunity for the individuals who choose competitive racing in Canada and at an international level."
Racing Promoters Support the Inititaive
Lawrence Hacking, one of the principals of World Enduro Canada comments that, "Canadian off road racers deserve recognition. Our FIM sanctioned WEC events have demonstrated the concept to everyone involved in the sport: our riders now know that they can indeed compete at the highest level on an international stage. The formation of the competition council will help carry this momentum to both a National Enduro and Cross Country Series."
"The recognition these various disciplines, series and riders will now receive at the national and international levels is long overdue and will allow Canadian motorcycling to be deservedly showcased worldwide," added Mark Stallybrass, President of CMRC, Canada's leading operator of competitive motocross, dirt track, SuperMoto, Cross Country, ATV and Ice racing. "When it comes to talent, Canada's motorcycle racers are second to none,"
Other MCC members supportive as well
Other MCC members, such as the Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Association (PNWMA) and the Fédération des motocyclistes de sentier du Quebec (FMSQ), are expected to contribute as well. "We can see true national series' developing in our sport" says PNWMA director David Lock, of Chilliwack, BC. As the not-for-profit national advocacy organization that champions motorcycling interests throughout Canada, the MCC believes that the formation of the competition group under the MCC banner is just one more opportunity for us to champion the positive aspects of the sport" says Jacobs. "It's another step forward as the rider community continues to establish influence and control opf the issues that affect our choices of tyransportation, of recreation, and of sport "Jacobs adds.
Call for John “Farmer” Eggars Award Nominations
Michael “Boz” Kerr Live on Biker Nation Radio Show
Acting on a suggestion made in 1993, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation Board of Directors created the John “Farmer” Eggars Award. This award, one of the MRF’s most prized recognitions, is given in the memory of the late motorcyclists’ rights activist John “Farmer” Eggars.
Washington, DC (MRF)-- Who doesn't love a good political chat especially when it involves motorcycles? If we caught your attention, you must check out Mike Kerr, Motorcycle Riders Foundation, Vice President, tomorrow morning on-air live with Peter Boyles from U.S.A. Biker Nation.
The John “Farmer” Eggars Award is given to an individual who works behind the scenes on behalf of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation in the manner that Farmer did, and who has shown extraordinary dedication to the MRF. The only people who are not eligible for this award are current and past MRF Board members, since Farmer never served on the MRF Board of Directors. This does not exclude MRF State Reps, MRF Assistant State Reps, leaders of state motorcyclists’ rights organizations, or deserving individuals.
Past recipients of the John “Farmer” Eggars Award are: Marc Falsetti of Indiana (1994), Ms. Lee Ryan of Ohio (1995), Sherman Packard of New Hampshire (1996), Tom Greenbank of Maryland (1997), Maggot Mike Williams of Colorado (1998), Ed Youngblood of the American Motorcyclist Association (1999), Joe “Puddy” Lloyd of Missouri (2000), Steve Rector of Iowa (2001), Craig Ashbaugh of Illinois (2002), Still Ray Fitzgerald of Arizona (2003), Buzz Ude of Ohio (2004), Bob LeTourneau of New Hampshire (2005), Boyd McFail of Alaska (2006), and John Bolin of Washington (2007). Nominations must be submitted in writing to MRF President Kirk Willard at email@example.com no later than June 1, 2008.
Vice President of the MRF, Mike Kerr has been invited to participate in a discussion on Saturday, March 22, 2008. Peter Boyles plans to cover Kerr's concerns with the past and present Bush Administration officials and their opinions of motorcycling in America. U.S.A. Biker Nation Radio Network is syndicated radio show that is live on-air every Saturday morning at 7AM pacific , 8AM mountain, 9AM central, and 10AM eastern standard time. Radio Personality and Host Peter Boyles dedicates his two hour time slot to all things motorcycling including the often overlooked political
aspects. Since the show is syndicated, you can tune in to U.S.A. Biker Nation at these local AM stations: KTRB-San Francisco, CA, KTNF-Minneapolis, MN, KKZN-Denver, CO, KFXD-Boise, ID, KOLE-Port Arthur, TX, KTRC-Houston, TX, WSBA-York, PA and WPIN-Lynchburg/Roanoke, VA. However, you should check your local radio schedule for the exact air time in your area. Is U.S.A. Biker Nation not broadcasted in your area? Fortunately, you can listen to a live broadcast on the internet by visiting their website at www.usabikernation.com. Don’t forget to tune in to hear the latest topics in the motorcycling community every Saturday morning with Peter Boyles beginning at 8AM mountain time. For more information about the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, you can check us out at www.mrf.org for the latest information from Washington, D.C.
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
Illinois in D.C.
Arizona Arizona’s Luncheon on the Lawn sponsored by the AzCMC, ABATE and the MMA. The catered event gets our legislators out of their offices and gives us an opportunity to speak with them.
ABATE of Illinois goes to Washington Left to right: Jeff Hennie, Deb King, Jim Conley, Michael Kerr, Congresswoman Biggert, Cindy Lannom, Ray Swinda Rick Olson.
Michigan takes the show on the road
Minnesota State Reps Board Member Todd Riba wearing his new ABATE of ND denim shirt.
Reps from Illinois and Michigan worked a booth at the Supercycle show in Schaumburg, Illinois (near Chciago). Pictured from left to right are Fiz Pryzbylo, Shar Sonnenberg, vice president of the MRF Michael 'Boz' Kerr, Jinx Rahn, and Dennis Lange. We pressed flesh with the masses and signed up many members.
Iowa ABATE of MN at Bikerday at the State Capitol
Left to right: Ron Braaksma, Theresa Swingen, David Duffy, Jodi Lyn Cain, Mack Heck and Dan 'spotman' Spotten.
Left to right: Mary Berger, Mike Berger, Todd Riba, Mack Backlund.
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
Tennessee's Lobby Day was February 13. Motorcyclists representing 7 charters braved icy roads to visit the State Capitol.
ABATE of SD's "Biker Day" at the state capitol. Both pics on capitol steps include Rep. Jim Putnam (in black vest, long time ABATE/biker rights supporter) and our Gov. Mike Rounds, and of course the ABATE members there that day.
Left to right: Adam Woodbury, Coordinator, East Pierce County Chapter, ABATE of Washington Jerry Fox, Coordinator, South King County Chapter, ABATE of Washington Mick Gillispie, State Coordinator, ABATE of Washington Jay Frazier, Coordinator, Tacoma Chapter, ABATE of Washington Mike Campbell, Ambassador at Large, ABATE of Washington & Wash. State MRF co-rep
The Connecticut Motorcycle Riders Association Staff at the Hartford Motorcycle Show in January.
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
Out 'n About - South Carolina where, you stop - abruptly. Even politics were simpler then. It was easy for a politician to understand each of the “big issues.” Because we rode, we were considered the motorcycle experts. We knew about our issues, and officials could work with us without depleting the state’s resources.
Doc Ski SSMRO Rep
The original ABATE was formed at a time when life was simpler. We rode our bikes mostly on two-lane roads. The speed limit was 55 mph. Congestion in Los Angeles and Chicago meant a ten/fifteen minute delay, and - when you “tboned” a Ford Pinto you flew over the top. Today many of us find ourselves keeping up with traffic at 80 MPH, on 4 or 6 lane, limited access highways. In mid-sized cities across the nation, congestion delays are rapidly exceeding those previously reserved for only the largest cities. And, when you run into the side of a Soccer-Van, you don’t fly any-
Today, issues are complex, and more demands are being made on limited government resources. Miniscule components of the “big issue” have become the focus of “Special-Interest” groups. Elected officials, unable to follow every issue as closely as they could in the 70’s, seek the advice of the current tax-payer funded subject-experts (aka bureaucrats). I mention this transition to highlight some of the factors that have caused SMRO’s to transform their structure, objectives, and activities over the years. As I visit more of our SMRO family I see a diverse variety of organizational structures, and activities that have evolved to meet the specific conditions of each state. However, regardless of the differences In every case, I see that we are more
alike than different. This month I visited the ABATE of South Carolina’s State meeting. SC ABATE has assumed a key role in their state’s decision making process by accepting a seat on the Governor’s MC Advisory Task Force. From this vantage point they can influence decisions about motorcycle issues, and (when necessary) activate their grassroots activist network. SC ABATE is also working closely with other state entities by promoting the Rider Education program, and teaching high school driver education students about sharing the road with motorcycles. South Carolina’s legislative team maintains an MRO lobbyist at their capitol. In order to compete with the influence of well funded special interest groups, they have formed issue teams to develop and disseminate materials, and provide the biker’s perspective on designated issues. SC currently has four motorcycle related bills being considered. Subjects include an anti-gambling bill (poker-run concerns), a proposed red light exemption, and two MC license plate bills.
Headed up by Reb Richardson, the “Red Light Issue Team” came to town last week, well prepared to argue for an exception for motorcyclists trapped at red lights when traffic light sensors fail to change the signal. Reb and his team; 1) prepared materials for dissemination to the committee members, 2) provided testimony to transportation committees in both the House and Senate, and 3) rallied SC ABATE members to contact their elected officials in their quest to gain support. The end result was approval in the Transportation committee of the Senate. The bill will be heard on the floor of the Senate, and re-considered in committee in the House next week. There is more work ahead, but Reb and his team are prepared. Kudos to SC ABATE, Reb and his team members, and the SC legislature for the advances made for motorcyclists in the Palmetto state this past week. A special thank you goes out to all the members of SC ABATE for the warm Southern hospitality I always receive in the Palmetto State.
The Top Markets for Motorcycle Ownership A new study from The Media Audit reveals that Spokane, Washington is the top market in the U.S. for motorcycle ownership. Among adults who live in Spokane , 18.5 percent own a motorcycle, compared to 9 percent for all U.S. adults. Other markets with a high percentage of motorcycle ownership include Riverside-San Bernardino, California (18.4 percent of adults own a motorcycle), followed by Reno , Nevada (15.2 percent), Boise , Idaho
(14.8 percent) and Salt Lake City , Utah (14 percent). The study was conducted in 88 U.S. markets. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), new motorcycle retail sales equaled an estimated $10.7 billion in 2006, the highest level in 25 years. The MIC attributes the recent growth to the rise in popularity of motor scooters and increase in female riders. Today, there are more than 450 models on the
market, from cruisers to sport bikes to smaller fuel efficient commuter bikes. According to The Media Audit, a majority of motorcycle owners are married (59.2 percent) with an average age of 41 years. Adults who own a motorcycle earn $77,714 in annual household income, a figure that is $12,424 higher than the household income for the average U.S. adult.
Rounding out the top ten markets for motorcycle ownership are EugeneSpringfield , Oregon (13.8 percent own a motorcycle), followed by Colorado Springs , Colorado (13.1 percent), Milwaukee-Racine , Wisconsin -- home of Harley Davidson Motor Company (12.9 percent), Portland , OR (12.4 percent), and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (12.3 percent). (Source: The Media Audit, 02/08)
MOTORCYCLING LOSES ONE OF ITS CHAMPIONS In Memory of Ronald Shepard Ron Shepard, State Coordinator for the Idaho STAR motorcycle safety program, died suddenly of heart failure at home on February 20, 2008. Ron, with his wife Beth, came to Boise in 1996 to help implement the rider education program for Idaho. It became one of the premier rider education programs in the nation. It is difficult to list all of the things Ron did for motorcycling and motorcyclists in this short space. His life was motorcycling, locally and nationally. Ron believed in the motorcyclists’ rights movement. It was bikers, for the most part, who made rider education happen. Ron was supported by the SMROs in his
home state, ICMS, ABATE of North Idaho and ABATE of Idaho. Ron worked nationally with the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) in getting federal funding to the state motorcycle safety programs. The 2010 money has his fingerprints all over it. Ron participated in MRF seminars. Ron was chairman from 2002 to 2004 of the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA) which he helped organize. He was with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation from 1974 until he came to Boise in 1996, all the while training others and organizing training programs.
Ron was one of those people without whom motorcycle safety would not be as good as it is today. Thousands have been trained by Ron and multi-thousands more benefited indirectly from his commitment. . The motorcycle procession at his funeral was a token of the respect riders held for Ron. Ron was interned in the Veterans Cemetery with military honors and the patriot guard (U.S. Air Force). One wonders what it’s like to ride the twisties in heaven where the sun always shines on the likes of Ron.
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
The MRF meets with FEMA
Bob Tomlins, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard and Aline Delhaye
Aline Delhaye, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard and Wes Campbell
March 14, 2008 the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) President Kirk “Hardtail” Willard and ABATE of Wisconsin member Wes Campbell met with the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA) General Secretary Aline Delhaye and retired Assistant General Secretary Bob Tomlins in Brussels Belgium. On the agenda with our European partners was International Motorcycle Cooperation Group (IMCG) business, upcoming IMCG meetings, a detailed discussion around the Sound Issue
extensive Motorcycle Accident In-Depth Study (MAIDS) conducted in Europe and the methodology to be used in University of Oklahoma’s Motorcycle Crash Causation study underway that the AMA championed. The reason for the particular interest is that representatives from NHTSA and the FHWA are participants. The MRF intends to join our Canadian colleagues from the MCC and FEMA at the meeting in June to be held in Norway and reciprocating for FEMA’s annual attendance at the MRF’s Meeting of the Minds details were worked
at the United Nations level and the European Union levels and the informal sound working group being moved to the Global Technical Regulation (GTR) process, a process the MRF has been directly involved in for some time, and an update on their recent activities with ACEM who represent the motorcycle industry in Europe. Of particular interest was the upcoming Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) meeting, if you recall they provided the common methodology used on the
out for the MRF to attend the FEMA Meeting held around the same time frame in Scotland. Our efforts in the IMCG and with both FEMA and the MCC are extremely important in our efforts to represent street riders at the federal level. A full report will follow these events. The MRF would like to thank our Sustaining State Motorcycle Organizations that help support these ongoing relations.
FEMA: Periodical Inspection of Motorcycles (continued) odical noise level control to detected tampering: motorcycles’ exhausts are typically very easy to change back and forth. The owner of a tampered bike would only need to change the exhaust system before the test to comply with the limits. Periodical inspection would therefore bring no added value. On the other hand, appropriate roadside controls of noise levels offer a costeffective solution to noise problems. Motorcycle manufacturers could also ensure that silencers are constructed in a way that prevents “designed-in tampering”. 3. Customised vehicles The interests of riders who customise their machines need to be recognised. The practice of customising, that is altering the appearance of a machine by the fitting of non-standard parts, can range from the replacement of parts such as the mirrors or the seat, to the creation of one-off specials. FEMA accepts that the customising of motorcycles should not result in the machine becoming unsafe and a danger to its rider, to other road users and to the general public. There is, however, no evidence to show that modified machines are less safe than their standard counterparts. On the contrary, many modifications are aimed at making the machine safer by, for example, replacing its tyres, improving its brakes, lights, or fitting mirrors that give better visibility than their standard counterparts. Motorcyclists also modify seats, han-
dlebars or footrests to obtain a more comfortable or varied riding position. This is especially important with regards to smaller riders for safer machine control. After market suspension manufacturers also underline that the replacement of suspension units or modification to the suspension improves the comfort, handling, traction, and hence control of the machine. Custom bikes are thus often covered by lower road traffic insurance premiums. FEMA does not want a roadworthiness testing system that outlaws customised motorcycles by requiring them to be maintained to some strict type-approved specifications. This would not only cost many thousands of jobs in the motorcycle aftermarket industry but also deny motorcyclists the pleasure of modifying their machine. It is also important to underline that technical modification only concerns a minority of motorcyclists. The costs-benefits approach regarding a mandatory periodical inspections aiming to control technical modifications once more needs to be taken into account. In addition, in countries such as Finland with a long history of custom built motorcycles, the modification of vehicles is approved under the current law at the mandatory reinspection. The test is important to ensure that the modifications or major changes do not endanger road safety. As the owner of a customised motorcycle is particularly aware of safety aspects, regular inspections would not fur-
ther improve road safety. 4. Vintage vehicles The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations is also very concerned about the affect of a roadworthiness testing system on older motorcycles, machines that are often described as "classic" or "vintage". It would be totally unacceptable to use a roadworthiness testing system as a means of legislating retrospectively. If a motorcycle manufactured in 1920 or 1935 is in good condition and would be deemed roadworthy by the regulations and standards of those days, then it must be allowed to be used on today's roads. Only the appropriate regulations in force at the time of the machine's construction should be referred to. If older motorcycles were to be included in any roadworthiness testing system, then specific provisions appropriate to their age must be defined within the directive. Conclusion It is clear that private companies providing vehicle inspection services would take on new business, and charge motorcyclists for inspections that the state has made mandatory. With regards to the increasing European fleet of motorcycles, this would mean a gross income transfer of several billion euros each year from motorcycle owners to private companies.
However, the implementation of periodical inspections of motorcycles would only achieve marginal benefits, while the economic burden created would by far outweigh the positive aspects. The costs would affect both the motorcyclists and the taxpayers. Periodical inspections cannot produce additional safety benefits. Reliable statistical evidences support this argument. Furthermore, re-inspection policies and roadside control already exist, and their efficiency as safety enhancement measures can be improved with little or no cost at all. The protection of the environment is a priority. Yet, the limited amount of emissions produced by motorcycles compared to cars and other motorised road users, does not justify the inclusion of Powered TwoWheelers in the Roadworthiness Directive. Motorcyclists are of course concerned by the environmental issue and governments and PTW manufacturers are working together to bring down emission levels on a continuing basis. FEMA hence rejects any proposal to harmonise periodical inspection in Europe. We believe that the decision to implement roadworthiness tests should remain at national level to adapt to the specific needs of the different fleets.
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Honda Pulls Out of Ohio and Returns Production to Japan For Immediate Release Feb 27, 2008 MARYSVILLE, OHIO - Ohio-based Honda of America Mfg., Inc. today announced that it will discontinue production1 of motorcycles in spring 2009 as part of a global strategy that will focus the company on its leader role in Honda's North American automobile operations. The 450 Marysville Motorcycle Plant associates will remain key members of the Honda of America team that produces cars, light trucks, engines, and major components in Ohio. There will be no layoffs. The move reflects a global Honda strategy for production of certain larger motorcycles. All motorcycle production from the Marysville Motorcycle Plant and the historic Hamamatsu Factory in Japan will be consolidated in 2009 at a new motorcycle plant in Kumamoto, Japan. The new plant will serve as Honda's global leader with advanced motorcycle production technologies. Both the Marysville and Hamamatsu plants produce medium- to largesize motorcycles. "Our goal is always to achieve outstanding cus-
tomer satisfaction," said Akio Hamada, president & CEO of Honda of America. "This move allows us to improve the competitiveness and appeal of our products by applying the latest technologies and production systems at one efficient location." "This was a complex decision tied to the important role that Honda in Ohio plays within our North American automobile operations," Hamada said. "We will focus our associates' abilities on our goal to produce cars, light trucks and engines in Ohio that are of the highest quality and value for our customers." Honda of America set a company record for auto production in 2007 with the manufacture of 701,317 passenger cars and light trucks at its two Ohio assembly plants. The diverse and challenging roster of vehicles produced in Ohio includes the Honda Accord Sedan and Coupe, Civic Sedan, natural gaspowered Civic GX, Element and CR-V, and the Acura TL Sedan and RDX sport utility vehicle. The Accord, Civic and CR-V ranked among the top 10 best-selling vehicles in America in 2007. In addition, Honda produced more than 1.1 million automotive engines and 719,861 transmis-
sions in Ohio, as well as a number of other vehicle components. Underpinning the decision is Honda's investment of approximately $11 billion in North American auto production operations. Associates at Honda of America have played critical roles in supporting the startup and management of auto plants in Alabama, Canada and Mexico, transmission plants in Ohio and Georgia, an allterrain vehicle plant in South Carolina, as well as Honda's 7th auto plant in North America, currently under construction in Indiana, and a new auto engine plant under construction in Canada. Experienced associates from Honda of America will continue to play this "leader" function role. Hamada sees the decision to re-direct the focus in Ohio on automobile operations as an opportunity. "Our motorcycle plant associates in Marysville are dedicated and focused on customer satisfaction. They will strengthen the rest of Honda of America with their knowledge, experience and tremendous spirit," Hamada said. The Marysville Motorcycle Plant opened in 1979 as the first Honda plant in the U.S. Last year, it produced approximately 44,000 Gold Wing touring and VTX cruiser bikes. The plant formerly produced all-terrain vehicles and trans-
ferred that responsibility to Honda of South Carolina Mfg. and the Kumamoto Factory in 2005. The Marysville Motorcycle Plant was the catalyst for Honda's production operations in North America. The plant's success provided the foundation for Honda's expansion into automobile production in central Ohio and North America. Honda employs more than 13,000 associates at five production plants in Ohio, and employs 15,000 associates across the state. Total capital investment in Ohio exceeds $7 billion, and Honda purchased $6.7 billion worth of parts from Ohio companies last year. In addition to the Marysville Motorcycle Plant, Honda of America operations include the Marysville Auto Plant, East Liberty Auto Plant and the Anna Engine Plant. Honda Transmission Manufacturing of America also is based in Ohio. In 2007, Honda purchased more than $18.8 billion in parts and materials from 650 North American suppliers. Last fall, Honda of America marked the 25th anniversary of the startup of auto production in Ohio with the launching of the all-new 2008 Honda Accord.
Crossover Day at the Georgia Legislature Today 3/11/2008 is the day that Senate Bills (SB) and House Bills (HB) have to be approved and crossed over to the opposite legislative body. Georgia Legislature is compiled of the Senate and the House, all bills need to be approved by both sides before they go to the Governor to be signed into law. HB-950 (House bill) and SB-437 (Senate bill) were both heard and voted to be passed to the other side. Both these companion bills deal with tags/titles and are on course to become a law. HB-950 is presently assigned to the Public Safety committee in the Senate for review and vote; SB-437 is in the Motor Vehicle committee in the House for review and vote. Since there
appears to be no opposition to these bills they should both be approved, and signed by the Governor. We still need to contact the respective committees and request a hearing for these bills. House of Representatives Motor Vehicle Committee--SB-437 Senate Public Safety Committee--HB-950 We have a Senate Bill (SB-438) which has passed out of committee and been approved by a vote of 51-1 on the floor of the senate. This bill, which deals with increased penalties for 2nd and subsequence violations of Right of Way has
South Carolina ABATE’s Board of Directors. Photo by Keith "Tripod" Dyer - SC ABATE Newsletter
crossed over to the House and has been assigned to the Judiciary Non-Civil committee. Please find attached a link to the official copy of bill SB-438 ALERT 3/21/2008--update on enhanced penalty for 2nd and subsequent ROW violations. Calendar DetailSenate Bill SB-438 Enhanced penality for ROW 2nd offense is scheduled to be heard by the Judiciary NonCivil Committee on Wednesday March 26 at 10am in CAPITOL Rm 132. RM 132 is on the 1st floor of the Capitol on the opposite side from Washington St. It is near the showcase with the
stuffed red fox in it. Come and show support for this bill--we are almost home with it. WE NEED TO CONTACT THESE MEMBERS AND REQUEST THEIR SUPPORT FOR SB438 All our other bills (HB-356 & SB-446)"red light procede", (HB-726 & SB-409) "freedom of choice" ; have all failed to get out of committee and are therefore DEAD FOR THIS SESSION
CBA/ABATE of NC, Raleigh Chapter, had it confirmed, they ARE an Olympic quality ABATE chapter. Sunday, April 6, a few of the chapter attendees gathered around the Olympic torch. The torch for the 2008 Olympics was designed by Lenovo Corporation for the Beijing Games. Despite the fact that the torch was designed by a high-tech company, it will be lit the old fashioned way. This torch, in its travels from Canada, to DC, and now on its way to Mexico, was in Raleigh where Lenovo has offices. Chapter president Jean Dasnoit, who works for Lenovo, brought the torch in for a once-in-a-lifetime viewing for chapter members. From left to right, Larry Rumler, Mike Hodges, Cindy Hodges, Jean Dasnoit, Ruth Boone, Charlie Boone, Tommy Sherbert, and Rita Spaulding.
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Guest Editorial: Jindal replaces highway safety champion Editor’s note: This is reprinted with permission from: http://forgotston.com/2008/03/26/jindalreplaces-highway-safety-champion/
When Jindal’s mentor, Governor Big Daddy Foster sought to repeal the mandatory helmet law, Champagne was a real headache (no pun intended) for him.
Throughout it all, Champagne never backed-down from Big Daddy despite the fact that Big Daddy could have replaced him at any time.
the easiest way is to simply remove Champagne from the picture. Something, I’m sure that Big Daddy had wished he had done.
Today it was announced that the long-time head of the LA Highway Safety Commission, Colonel James Champagne has been replaced by Governor Bobby Jindal.
Champagne produced documentation that showed that helmets saved lives. Imagine that! He even testified against Big Daddy’s legislation in the legislative committees; one of the few pieces of legislation for which Big Daddy personally testified.
Subsequently, Governor Kathleen Blanco, with the help of Champagne, reinstated the mandatory helmet law.
I’ve not always been happy with Col. Champagne’s initiatives; like his annual crack-down on speeding on the Interstates from which I suffered financially. However, I never questioned his motive.
Champagne is being replaced by Lt. Colonel John LeBlanc. What’s the big deal, you say: one former LA State Police Lt. Colonel being replaced by another LSP Lt. Colonel. Motorcycle helmet law The significance involves the fulfillment of one of Jindal’s few specific campaign promises. Jindal promised to repeal the mandatory motorcycle helmet law.
After Big Daddy got the law repealed, Champagne continued the fight to restore the mandatory helmet law. He kept records that showed sans helmets, motorcycle fatalities increased. Champagne’s continuing efforts angered Big Daddy who claimed the number of fatalities went up because the number of motorcycles registered in LA had increased. Nice try, but Champagne’s statistics showed otherwise.
Enter Jindal Jindal replaces Champagne with the former head of Big Daddy’s security detail during his terms as governor. I don’t know Col. LeBlanc and don’t know his feelings about the helmet law. However, I doubt that someone who, in the course of his duties, spent a lot of time with Big Daddy would have been arguing much with him about the necessity of a mandatory helmet law. Obviously, Jindal learned from his mentor’s mistake. Rather than have Champagne sitting in the lege committee with all of his statistics opposing repeal of the helmet law,
Champagne, since I first met him when he was still working at the State Police Headquarters, had one primary and unwavering goal – the motoring safety of the citizens of our state and others who drive on our highways. We’re told by the media that Bobby Jindal is bringing us “reform.” All change is not reform and all change is not good. The removal of Champagne is neither good nor reform. C.B.
ABATE of WI's Lobby Day
Over 500 Bikers show for ABATE of WISCONSIN's Lobby Day March 4th at the State Capital in Madison WI
Around the USA Arizona
Deb Butitta MRF State Representative Federal Legislation HR 2694 Motor Vehicle Owner's Right to Repair Act March 19, 2008 in Phoenix, Arizona there was a productive meeting with automotive aftermarket industry representatives and a staff member of Senator Kyl's. Carol O'Riely, ABATE of AZ Lobbyist and Tim O'Riely, VP of ABATE of AZ were present representing their membership, the consumer of the aftermarket motorcycle industry and myself for MRF (Motorcycle Riders Foundation) and founder of a motorcycle aftermarket shop. Jeff Hennie MRF VP of Gov't Relation was able to work with one of the aftermarket lobbyist to allow MRF and ABATE of AZ to be present in Senator Kyl's home state. It is obvious the auto and motorcycle aftermarket industry parallel one another in the Right to Repair issue. The discussion went well with Sen. Kyl staffer; we let the issues of automotive and motorcycle aftermarket industry. The dealers won't give current downloads to allow the completion of a repairing the auto or motorcycles. Shops can no longer work on certain makes of vehicles due to lack of data/download information. We discussed the economic impact on aftermarket industry and the trickles down effect to the consumer; the fact the dealership has set policy, pricing and diagnostics which give the consumer no choices about their vehicle's repair. This all holds true for the motorcycle aftermarket industry as well. The language by EPA that states the manufacturer must provide the information to the aftermarket is there but and some companies partially comply by posting information on their web site but when you follow direction you get to a point you can go no further without the data downloads, current updates or specialty tools to finish the repairs on the vehicle. MRF will continue to follow and be involved with this legislation representing it's members. Any comments or questions can be directed to Jeff Hennie MRF VP of Gov't Relation at firstname.lastname@example.org . Deborah Butitta Ex-Officio Board Member AZ State Representative
Connie Shepherd MRF State Representative February 29th, the Arkansas State Police, Highway Safety Office called an Arkansas Motorcycle Safety Summit. The meeting started at 10 am at the Wyndom in North Little Rock. There were approximately 40 people there. They were MSF instructors from across the state, some were motorcycle dealerships, some were Ark State Police from various agencies. There were 4 ABATE members there. Steve Walker, Kathy and Arild Mellembakken, Bryan, who also has a Harley Dealership and me. Like most groups, the MSF instructors had a laundry list of things to improve on. But the main one was.... how to get people to take the rider's ed courses. Mandating taking the course was mentioned...In 2007 (for Ark) the age group with the highest death rate was 35-55. Most of these were single vehicle accidents, meaning driver error, and/or
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re-entry riders. They also talked of how to get more instructors in the state. At one point someone mentioned reworking the law for mandatory helmets. Mr. Davis, the moderator, let them talk for a minute, then he ended that conversation with the fact that this money could not be used to put helmets on our heads. We talked of how limited the money is. The need to establish a State Coordinator and how they would have to be paid out of these funds for this first year. The need to establish funding from the state thru added fees to m/c license and tags and possible a portion of ticket fees. This has to be done thru the Legislature. If it were to pass, the fees would not start coming in until July of 2009. These fees will be added to the grant money to help continue to fund these projects. I think it pretty much was a chorus on how the motorcycle driver test needed to be harder. Steve mentioned maybe setting an age limit as to how big a bike you can ride as a beginner rider. There was LOADS of ideas and suggestions on what could be done. For me, some were great, some were not so great!! After lunch we broke up into groups and we were to put on paper what our group thought was the most important things to start with. My group's list was this: 1. Establish/hire a State Coordinator. 2. Public Awareness 3. Rider's Ed Most of the stuff we talked about would really fall in as some of the responsibilities of the State Coordinator. So we broke it down to these 3 as top priority. Ms White, Administrator of the Highway Safety Office, mentioned that if a group wanted to apply for some of the money, they CAN NOT LOBBY at the state house. Steve and I assured her that ABATE was NOT a lobby group, that when we went to lobby, we lobbied as individuals, not for ABATE. I think the State Coordinator will determine if any group can apply for some of the grant money. Each one there was given the opportunity to pick up an application for the M/C Safety Advisory Council, to be established. Steve and I both picked one up, I think Kathy and Arild picked one up too. Even though we might fill these out, does not necessarily mean that we will be on the council. This is a big task that the State of Ark is undertaking and it is going to take some time and patience to get these programs in place. Don and Helen Wesson made a trip to Washington, DC to work on issues that effect jobs and recreation. They were able to meet with members from the Arkansas delegation. They left most of them a packet that was provided by the MRF and asked them to sign on to either HR 1076 or S 616, the HIPPA bills. We still need Representatives Berry and Snyder and Senators Lincoln and Pryor to sign on these bills. Rodney Farley, State Chairman for ABATE of Arkansas made a visit to the MRF office on his recent trip to DC. Ride Safe, Ride Free Connie
Connecticut Ron Troia MRF State Representative
We are still in good shape as far as our freedom to choose and the Connecticut Legislature is concerned. As of this date no motorcycle related bills are on the horizon. However in an unprecedented move the Connecticut Motorcycle Riders was the first group to publicly endorse our close friend and Speaker of the House Jim Amann for his run at the governorâ€™s chair in 2010. Mr. Amann has always been a solid supporter of our right to choose and his election can only solidify our position in Hartford. The legislative banquet was successful once again thanks to the efforts of Mary and Ed Stuart
and all the volunteers who assisted them. Our next event, the Spring Fling will have taken place by the time this is published so watch for the report on that in the future. We are having our annual May Day Break out Party on May 4th at the Wolcott VFW again this year. This party is a fun event and a very important fundraiser for the CMRA. Please try to attend. For directions and information consult the website at www.thecmra.com. We also have at least eight CMRA members planning on attending the Beast of the East in Boston in April. Plans for going to the Storm the Statehouse event in Boston to assist the MMA are still ongoing. Finally, one of our members wrote to Senator Joe Lieberman concerning the HIPAA that would prohibit health coverage discrimination while participating in lawful activities. Unfortunately it is difficult to tell from his response whether he supports the bill or not. You be the judge;
http://lieberman.senate.gov/issues/resources. My official Senate web site is designed to be an on-line office that provides access to constituent services, Connecticut-specific information, and an abundance of information about what I am working on in the Senate on behalf of Connecticut and the nation. I am also pleased to let you know that I have launched an email news update service through my web site. You can sign up for that service by visiting http://lieberman.senate.gov and clicking on the "Subscribe Email News Updates" button at the bottom of the home page. I hope these are informative and useful. Thank you again for letting me know your views and concerns. Please contact me if you have any additional questions or comments about our work in Congress. Sincerely, Joseph I. Lieberman UNITED STATES SENATOR JIL:vdh
March 21, 2008 Mr. Jim V Shelton, CT 06484 Dear Mr. V: Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for the HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act (S. 616), which was introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). A similar measure (H.R. 1076) was sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX). As you may know, this legislation would provide health care coverage parity for individuals participating in legal recreational activities or legal transportation activities. This legislation, which passed the Senate in the 108th Congress, seeks to clarify that individuals participating in activities routinely enjoyed by many Americans cannot be denied access to health care coverage or health benefits solely based on the source of the injury as a result of their activities. In reintroducing this legislation, Senator Collins noted that, in January 2001, a rule was issued in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 that was intended to ensure non-discrimination in health coverage in the group market. As she indicates, that rule prohibits health plans and insurers from denying coverage to individuals who engage in certain types of recreational activities, like skiing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, or motorcycling. However, because of the way the rule was written, some insurers have denied health benefits from otherwise covered injuries that have resulted from participation in these types of activities. Because of this loophole, for instance, an individual who was injured while skiing or running could potentially be denied health care coverage, while someone who is injured while drinking and driving a car would be covered. Senator Collins further stated that, additionally, a plan can exclude coverage for injuries sustained while participating in a recreational activity, even though treatment for those injuries, such as a broken arm, would have been covered under the plan if the individual had, for example, tripped in his or her home. S. 616 is currently pending consideration by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Please be assured that I will continue to watch for action on this bill as it moves through the legislative process. To keep track of future actions on this legislation, you can go to the "Bill Tracking" service at
Well thatâ€™s it from Connecticut. See you at the Beast of the East Ron Troia Connecticut
Warren Woodward MRF State Representative
Legislative News - 8 helmet, 21 mufler bills defeated! By Warren Woodward, Chair, State Legislative Committee Street Bikers United Hawaii The State Legislature does not adjourn until May 1st but all 8 helmet bills and all 21 muffler bills are already defeated. When officers of Street Bikers United Hawaii were meeting with legislators during this year's session, one of the most influential legislators put his arm around our Oahu Chapter president and said he would always support SBU because we always support him. That's why your membership in Street Bikers United Hawaii is so important. It's your dues that make that support possible. Over 3,000 bills get introduced every year in the State Legislature so most are not publicized. As a result, riders who are not SBU members often have no idea what SBU does for them every year. Please tell your riding friends who are not members about our successes and ask them to join SBU. Our strength is in numbers. We must have a strong political front to continue our legislative success in the future.
Jim "Legs" Korte MRF State Representative On February 14, and February 15 two bills were introduced In the Illinois General Assembly as safety legislation. The first bill was introduced on behalf of the Illinois State police to protect people from themselves. These Bill are as follows. HB5185: As Introduced Provides that: the Secretary of State shall not register, renew the registration of, or issue a title for a motorcycle intended for highway use unless its owner possesses a valid driver's license with the proper classification; the application for a certificate of title for, or registration of, a motorcycle intended for highway use shall include the driver's license
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Around the USA number and classification of the owner; the Secretary of State shall refuse registration or any transfer of registration of a motorcycle intended for highway use if the owner does not possess a valid driver's license with the proper classification; and the Secretary of State may suspend or revoke the registration of a vehicle or a certificate of title, registration card, registration sticker, registration plate, disability parking decal or device, or any nonresident or other permit if the vehicle is a motorcycle intended for highway use and its owner does not possess a valid driver's license with the proper classification. Effective January 1, 2009. Abate of Illinois opposes any legislation that singles out motorcycles. SB2801: As Introduced Provides that a person may not transport a child under 16 years of age as a passenger on a motorcycle, motor driven cycle, or motorized pedalcycle unless: the child is wearing protective headgear and the chin strap is properly fastened; or the person is the child's parent or legal guardian and the person is carrying a Child Passenger Permit. Provides that a parent or legal guardian of a child under 16 years of age may apply to the Secretary of State for a Child Passenger Permit to allow the child named in the Child Passenger Permit to be a passenger of that parent or legal guardian on a motorcycle, motor driven cycle, or motorized pedalcycle without wearing protective headgear. Contains provisions regarding: fees; issuance; validity; display; altered, counterfeit, or otherwise invalid permits; confiscation; penalties; and other matters. the price of the permit is $100 per child After a very successful Legislative day on March 5th at our Capitol in Springfield ABATE of Illinois is proud to announce that as of March 9th the sponsor of HB5185 has tabled his bill and the sponsor of SB2801 has informed us he will pull his 16 and under helmet bill. Legs Korte Illinois
Jodi Lyn Cain MRF State Co-Representative ABATE of Iowa had its annual trip to visit our legislators in Washington D.C. the last week of February. Six folks in two vehicles and one suite for seven days. As ABATE of Iowa sent a delegation of two out in November to coincide with the MRF press conference, and all five of our Congressmen are already signed onto the HIPPA fix, our focus was the Mary Peters letter. I am happy to report that all of the Iowa Senators and Congressmen are on board in regards to protecting our 2010 funds for the purpose that they were originally intended. We also touched base with what we are doing at home. That included reviewing our Share the Road and our Riders Education Programs. We also provided information on the Two Wheel Trauma class presented by Slider Gilmore. Due to our close connection with our elected officials, they are all very familiar with these programs already. A trip to the MRF office and some sight seeing rounded out our trip. On March 12th ABATE of Iowa had its annual Lobby Day in Des Moines. We provided breakfast for our Senators and Representatives and an opportunity for our members and legislators to mingle and express concerns face to face. Our lobbyist, Mark Maxwell, does a great job of keeping communication between ABATE of Iowa and the Statehouse ongoing so we have no surprise issues. Respectfully submitted, Jodi
James "Poet" Sisco State Executive President Abate Of La., Inc The legislative session is in full swing and now is the time for the members of the motorcycling community to start voicing their opinions and let the politicians of this State know that we are voting, tax paying, constituents of theirs. In addition to these Bills there will be one more modified helmet Bill presented next week by Representative M.J. "Mert" Smiley who we have been working very closely with. For continuous updates go to the Abate of La., Inc. web site at this link http://www.abateoflouisiana.org/legislative.php Write, e-mail, and call your Representatives and senators concerning the following Bills and let them know WE CARE ABOUT OUR RIGHTS! To find a list of the Committee members contact info just click on the link under the Committee name below the list of Bills. Remember: One voice is but a whisper, but a thousand voices are a ROAR! We support these Bills in their current form. Senator LaFleur has stated to the media that he may amend his Bills to require $50,000.00 in insurance instead of the $10,000.00 already contained in SB 9, SB 83, and SB 85 (SB 673 has no such requirement). If this does happen we will withdraw all support for his Bills.
Mike “Fiz” Przybylo MRF State Representative A Call for Help from Illinois In early January I received an E-mail from Shar Sonnenberg one of Illinois Assistant MRF State Representatives. She was requesting help working at a Motorcycle Riders Foundation booth at the Chicago Supercycle Show and Parts Expo in March. This is Chicago’s largest Swap Meet and Bike Show. After 3 or 4 E-mails I had all the information I needed to go to the ABATE of Michigan Board of Directors with a proposal to help out Illinois. In February, at the Board meeting I explained the request and my proposal for help. Considering our history of working with the surrounding States the BOD said that I could go and take another MRF assistant State Representative with me to help work the booth. Jinx was the first to offer to take one of his free weekends and go with me to work the MRF booth. We began our trip on March 14, 2008 to head to Shaumburg, Illinois. After hours in Chicago’s grid lock traffic, we arrived at the Shaumberg Convention Center to help set up the booth. Shar met us there with all the equipment to set up along with an MRF banner. Once the booth was set up, Jinx and I found our hotel and had our evening meal and then back to our room for some much needed sleep. We arrived at the convention center at 7:30 AM. That is 6:30 Michigan time. After being searched they let us in to go to the booth before the show opened. We were working all day selling memberships and talking about what the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is doing in Washington, DC to help all motorcycle road riders and what they have accomplished in the past. When I had a break I walked around and checked out the bike show and the parts for sale. The prices for used parts were very reasonable and the bikes in the show were very nice. There were antiques and custom built bikes all through the show. Saturday evening Michael “Boz” Kerr Vice President of the MRF stopped by the booth to help out and check out our recruiting techniques. The biggest thing I noticed different at
this show compared to what happens in Michigan swap meets was being frisked when entering and the large Police presence. There were City, County, and State Police at every entrance at the show along with a SWAT team inside the show and another on the roof of the building. Sunday Jinx and I arrived to the show at 8:30 AM. The show opened to the public at 9:00AM we were frisked again when entering the show and the Police presence was the same as Saturday. We worked the show until Noon. Then Jinx and I started the long drive home. I’m not sure how many new memberships we picked up at in the two days but I think it was at least 20 maybe more.
Michael Berger MRF Assistant State Rep The past few months have been busy here in Minnesota. Bikerday at the Capitol took place on February 27. This event brought together hundreds of concerned motorcyclists from all over the state for the sole purpose of letting our legislators know that we, as motorcyclists, vote, and that we expect action on some very important issues facing Minnesota. Our primary focus this year was two-fold: first, get our proposed failureto-yield legislation passed; second, protect the rights of Minnesota’s motorcyclists to ride free and unencumbered by an enforced helmet. After some very positive meetings that day, we left feeling that 2008 would be the year where we finally saw appropriate failure-to-yield legislation passed. Sadly, since then, State Senator Mee Moua (DFL, State District 67), the chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has refused to allow the bill to be heard in her committee. Because of her roadblocks, we now face significant hurdles in getting this bill passed. But we are continuing the fight and remain optimistic. On other fronts, our MRF State Rep, Todd Riba, along with A.B.A.T.E. of MN State Coordinator (and MRF Asst. State Rep) Mack Backlund and MRF Asst. State Reps Mary Berger and I have been spearheading letter-writing campaigns across Minnesota. We’ve set up tables so far at three SMRO fundraisers, and to date, we’ve collected close to 500 signed letters to our State and Federal politicians. In these letters we’ve addressed such topics as fixing the HIPAA loophole and the recent end-run attempt to lobby for mandatory helmet laws by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters. We’re particularly excited about the 122 letters to Rep. Jim Oberstar (DFL), the chairman of the House Transportation Committee – a very powerful individual in Washington D.C. and certainly someone we want on our side. We plan on making it to even more events as Spring and Summer progress, and we expect to be even more successful in our letterwriting campaigns throughout the year. Keepin’ the Shiny Side Up, Mike Berger
New Mexico Barbara Alvar MRF State Representative
We were very fortunate this legislative session; as reported last time, we ensured that they tabled the Gang bills and there were no other motorcycle related bills that came up. We did have Bike Day at the Capitol there was about 60 bikers in attendance. We had three Representatives speak to the group and then sent them to lobby, they reached 80 different Representatives and Senators. We had a lot of new faces this year and a lot of them will return as they found it fun and interesting. They were invited to the House floor to meet the representatives and a lot of them took advantage
of that, it really was special to them. At this point things are on the fast track. We just had our 5th Annul Route 66 Super Bike Show in Albuquerque where we set up a booth for MRF, NMMRO, ABATE and NCOM we have been a supporter of this event for the last 5 years. There were a record number of people in attendance and we handed out a lot of information. We only got a couple of new members, but we feel that as long as we are getting our information out we are doing well. We received the New Mexico Motorcycle Law books from the NMDOT to hand out, and we found that over anything else you give them they really want the books. Although we make sure that our tri-folds are inside so that they have our information as well. May, as we all know, is Motorcycle Awareness month; however the MSF Coordinator has convinced the NMDOT that it should be September, they feel there is no time in May because of two bike rallies in the state and Cinco-de-Mayo, so there push is at the Antique Bike Show in September. I know it makes no sense. What ABATE and the NMMRO did last year and are planning to do again this year, is we are going to a different bike shop each week in May and promoting motorcycle awareness, we make sure that riders know where to go to get educated and hand out a lot of information. This year the bike shops are anxious for us to utilize their facilities for our activities. They are really supporting what we are doing, and really enjoy having us there. We also supply them with the information that we are handing out so that they can also provide it to their customers. They are putting on their signs that it is motorcycle awareness month. I attended the NMDOT Safety Summit to find out what they were thinking on motorcycles, knowing that there would not be a lot but still wanting to know. I did find out that the motorcycle fatalities in New Mexico had risen between 2000 to 2007. In 2000 we had 32 fatalities, and in 2007 we had 52 fatalities. The other concern brought up by the NMDOT is DWI and riding. New Mexico has big issues with drinking and driving, and has actually started doing something about it. The good news is that we are no longer in the top 10 states for DWI; however the issue of drinking and riding has not really been addressed. We will be attending the NM Motorcycle Advisory board meeting that will be held in late April, at that time we will discuss how to deal with the DWI issue and how to get the fatality rate down. Look for a little more information in the next issue. On a lighter note ABATE of NM would like to invite you to their annual State Picnic/Rodeo it will be held June 27th – June 29th if you are interested in attending please contact me and I will give you all the details and send you the flier.
North Dakota Todd Riba State Reps Board Member
A.B.A.T.E. of North Dakota held their state convention in Bismarck on February 22nd and 23rd and they invited the Motorcycle Riders Foundation to take part. The North Dakota folks did a great job with their convention and they had a really good turn out. On Saturday I had the opportunity to give a power point presentation on the MRF to a very captive audience. I also had a chance to talk with our new MRF State Rep for North Dakota, Jay Toepke. Jay hit the ground the running when he stepped up and took the Rep job and the MRF Reps Department is very pleased to have a State Rep in North Dakota once again. continued page 23
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
Sustaining Members As of 10 April 2008 ALASKA Juneau ABATE of AK Dan & Suezanna Coffey Mina Douglas Scott Hamann James Max Kitchens Frank Marineau Boyd & Debbie McFail Mike Seaman ARIZONA State Office MMA of AZ State Office ABATE of AZ AZ Confederation of MC AZ Rider MC News Mountain Motorcycles Association Amon Builders INB Communications Law Tigers of America Deborah Butitta Warren Levenbaum Louis Schwitzer III ARKANSAS State Office ABATE of AR District 1 ABATE of AR District 13 ABATE of AR District 14 ABATE of AR District 17 ABATE of AR District 22 ABATE of AR District 26 ABATE of AR 13 Rebels Motorcycle Club Ch. 5 Shepherd’s Window Cleaning USA Promotions Phillip Barnett Rusty Leewright Allen Winn CANADA AMTTV Comite’ D’action Politique Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada CALIFORNIA State Office ABATE of CA Local 6 ABATE of CA Local 14 ABATE of CA Local 15 ABATE of CA Local 19 ABATE of CA Local 58 ABATE of CA Fix my Hog, Inc. San Diego Harley Davidson/New York Myke Valley V-Twin Jim Brown Hank Hallmark Jean Hughes Richard Mansfield Kelvin Martin Bryon Sands Jess Sorel Mark Thoms Ruby Weber Bob White Donald Woodson COLORADO State Office ABATE of CO District 1 ABATE of CO District 5 ABATE of CO District 6 ABATE of CO District 8 ABATE of CO District 10 ABATE of CO District 11 ABATE of CO District 13 ABATE of CO District 14 ABATE of CO District 15 ABATE of CO District 16 ABATE of CO District 17 ABATE of CO District 18 ABATE of CO
District 21 ABATE of CO Rider Ed. ABATE of CO National Association of SMSA Riders for Justice JB Janitorial, Inc. Lafore’s Inc. Dave Christy Jim and Renee Clark Erik Erikson Miles France Grant Goble Jim Jones Scot & Trish Locke Deb Lower Maggot Mike & Linda Neis Torch Barr & Sue Torch CONNECTICUT State Office CMRA Ray Holbrook William Ogonowski Ronald Troia DELAWARE Kent County ABATE of DE Newcastle County ABATE of DE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Howard Segermark FLORIDA State Office ABATE of FL Estero River ABATE of FL Gulf Coast ABATE of FL Southwest ABATE of FL Bruce Arnold Claude Hamelink Douglas MacCoy GEORGIA State Office ABATE of GA District 1 ABATE of GA District 4W ABATE of GA District 5 ABATE of GA District 6 ABATE of GA District 6 Ch 2 ABATE of GA District 8 ABATE of GA Southland’s Full Throttle Magazine HAWAII Street Bikers United Hawaii Maui Street Bikers United Hawaii Jack Wallace Warren & Josee Woodward IDAHO ICMS ABATE of North ID Hoodoo ABATE of N. ID NW Classic M/C-Glen Wessel Featherberry Farm Joel Arnoldi Chuc Coulter Frank Daniels R. Chris Lambing ILLINOIS Beaucoup Bottoms ABATE of IL Black Diamond ABATE of IL Chicagoland ABATE of IL Crawford County ABATE of IL Crossroads ABATE of IL DuKane ABATE of IL Eastern IL ABATE of IL Embarras Valley ABATE of IL Freedom By Choice ABATE of IL Freedom Valley ABATE of IL Fulton County ABATE of IL Heart of IL ABATE of IL Heritage Trail ABATE of IL Jasper County ABATE of IL
Kaskaskia Valley ABATE of IL Kishwaukee Valley ABATE of IL Liberty Chap. ABATE of IL Lincoln Land ABATE of IL Mid State ABATE of IL Northern IL ABATE of IL NW Suburban ABATE of IL Old River ABATE of IL Open Roads ABATE of IL Peo Taz ABATE of IL Piasa Gateway ABATE of IL St. Clair ABATE of IL Shawnee Hills ABATE of IL Shoal Creek ABATE of IL Starved Rock ABATE of IL South Suburban ABATE of IL Southern Dupage ABATE of IL Southern IL ABATE of IL Tri-County ABATE of IL Twin Rivers ABATE of IL Westgate ABATE of IL Will County ABATE of IL American Harley Express M/C Barak’s Truck Repair Barrio Riders Illinois M/C Chapter 12 Freedom Riders Kelly’s Chicagoland Law Tigers Law Office of Daniel Goodman Steel Justice M/C Rich & Barb Amling Dave & Kate Conner Dr. Dennis Farrell Robert “Gopher” Goffinski Vernon Gottel Pib Knebal Donald Lopatkiewicz Dave & Lee Martin Jim “Legs” Korte & Paulette Pinkham Lawrence Schab Randy Scott Bob Myers & Kathleen Skelton Vince & Sue Starko Jim & Marilyn Viverito INDIANA State Office ABATE of IN Region 1 ABATE of IN Region 2 ABATE of IN Region 3 ABATE of IN Region 4 ABATE of IN Region 6 ABATE of IN Region 9 ABATE of IN Region 11 ABATE of IN Region 13 ABATE of IN Elkhart County ABATE of IN Lake County ABATE of IN Morgan County ABATE of IN Pulaski County ABATE of IN Starke County ABATE of IN Ch. 423 American Legion Riders Pitbull Leather Co, Inc. Big Chuck Bill Creighton Keith Benson John Hansen Frank Hernly Gino Johnson Morris & Dee Kintner Robert Maas RP Morris Michael Swadener Rod Taylor IOWA State Office ABATE of IA District 4 ABATE of IA District 5 ABATE of IA District 6 ABATE of IA District 9 ABATE of IA District 10 ABATE of IA District 11 ABATE of IA
District 12 ABATE of IA District 14 ABATE of IA District 15 ABATE of IA District 16 ABATE of IA District 20 ABATE of IA District 25 ABATE of IA Chosen Few M/C J & P Cycles McCubbin’s Trophy Second Chance Motorcycle Sons of Silence John Barber Ronald Braaksma Charlie & Norma Canny Mike Cmelik Mad Dog & Lady Kitty Mark Maxwell Dave & Kathy Warren, Sr. James & Roxana West Mark & MR Winslow KANSAS State Office ABATE of KS District 1 ABATE of KS District 2 ABATE of KS District 3 ABATE of KS District 4 ABATE of KS District 5 ABATE of KS District 7 ABATE of KS District 8 ABATE of KS District 9 ABATE of KS District 10 ABATE of KS District 11 ABATE of KS District 12 ABATE of KS District 15 ABATE of KS CAMM Enterprises, LLC Graveyard Custom Cycles Sledge Hammer Repair, Inc. Carol & Chris Maurich KENTUCKY State Office KMA/KBA Ed Matheny LOUISANA State Office ABATE of LA MAINE United Bikers of Maine Hancock County UBM Knox County UBM Penobscot County UBM MARYLAND State Office ABATE of MD Baltimore County ABATE of MD Calvert County ABATE of MD Carroll County ABATE of MD Mid Shore County ABATE of MD St. Mary’s ABATE of MD Washington County ABATE of MD Jay Irwin Block Tom Greenback Pc.hlp/Henry Winokur MASSACHUSETTS State Office MMA-MA Paul Cote David Elias Walter Polchlopek MICHIGAN State Office ABATE of MI Region 1 ABATE of MI Region 6 ABATE of MI Region 7 ABATE of MI Region 8 ABATE of MI Region 9 ABATE of MI Region 11 ABATE of MI Region 12 ABATE of MI Region 13 ABATE of MI
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
Sustaining Members Region 15 ABATE of MI Region 16 ABATE of MI Region 17 ABATE of MI Region 18 ABATE of MI Region 19 ABATE of MI Region 21 ABATE of MI Carco Auto Electric Farmer’s Tavern Last Chance Cycles/ Robert Rogers Proud Veterans M/C RT Boring, Inc. Shady Shores Inn Town & Country Sports Center Vince & Pam Piacenti Tom & Patty Rahn David & Wendy Ramirez Daniel Sagataw Gary Lee Slawter Ed Steinkampf MINNESOTA State Office ABATE of MN Borderland Chap. ABATE of MN Buffalo Ridge Chap. ABATE of MN Central Chap. ABATE of MN East Central Chap. ABATE of MN Flatlanders Chap. ABATE of MN Glacial Ridge Chap. ABATE of MN Heart of the Lakes Chap. ABATE of MN Lake Chap. ABATE of MN Metro Chap. ABATE of MN Northeast Chap. ABATE of MN Northwest Chap. ABATE of MN River Riders Chap. ABATE of MN River Valley Chap. ABATE of MN Rolling Prairie Chap. ABATE of MN Sand Dunes Chap. ABATE of MN South Central Chap. ABATE of MN Straight River Chap. ABATE of MN Tri-County Chap. ABATE of MN Assoc. of Independent Riders St. Croix Valley Riders Michelle & Mack Backlund Mike & Mary Berger David “Too Tall” Carlson Jon Krapu Buzz Plante & Karen May Todd & Dawn Riba John Sullivan Kevin Todd MISSISSIPPI State Office ABATE of MS MISSOURI Central Committee FORR Local 29 FORR Local 33 FORR Mid-America Freedom Rally Steve “Wildman” Howard Stephen Morris MONTANA State Office ABATE of MT Lower Yellowstone ABATE of MT Joshua Herbold NEBRASKA State Office ABATE of NE Larry & Penny Schutt NEVADA ABATE of Northern NV Confederation of Clubs So. NV High Rollers Riders Association Ironcrossmen Motorcycle Club Red Riderz of Las Vegas Cecil’s Custom Cycle Accessories Bud Evans NEW HAMPSHIRE
State Office NHMRO Gary Delong R. Skip Gove Victor Sweren NEW JERSEY ABATE of the Garden State Rider Education of NJ Richard Bogert Scott Knoff NEW MEXICO State Office NMMRO State Office ABATE of NM First Mountain ABATE of NM Rio Rancho ABATE of NM Tularosa Basin ABATE of NM NM Confederation of Clubs Southern NM Bikers Coalition Chuck & Carolyn Ryder NEW YORK State Office ABATE of NY Columbia County ABATE of NY Greene County ABATE of NY Long Island Chap. ABATE of NY Monroe County ABATE of NY Niagara Chap. ABATE of NY Onondaga Chap. ABATE of NY Ontario County ABATE of NY Orleans County ABATE of NY District 3 Road Division AMA Melchizedeks M/C Robert Bancroft Susan Buck Corky Edwards Robert Friedrich Prospector James Schuyler James (Jeddy) Tranquill Timothy Werder NORTH CAROLINA State Office CBA of NC Brunswick County CBA of NC Cape Fear Valley CBA/ABTE of NC Carteret/ Cavern CBA of NC Chatham County CBA/ABATE of NC Columbus County CBA/ABATE of NC Davidson County CBA/ABATE of NC Gaston County CBA of NC Tar River Basin CBA/ABATE of NC Triad CBA/ABATE of NC Raleigh CBA of NC Randolph County CBA of NC Carolina Custom Products, Inc. David Gore Donald Hampton Bruce Harris Vinny Neumann Larry & Gail Rumler James Tuthill NORTH DAKOTA State Office ABATE of ND FM Crusaders M/C Freedom Riders M/C OHIO Concerned Motorcycle Riders of OH Region 1 CMRO Region 8 CMRO Region 16 CMRO Region 1 ABATE of OH Region 4 ABATE of OH Region 7 ABATE of OH Region 9 ABATE of OH Region 11 ABATE of OH Steel Horsepower Larry Belford Jim Bown
Joe & Robin Pickens Roland “Buzz” Ude Michael Zaciewski, Sr. OKLAHOMA State Office ABATE of OK Lakes Area ABATE of OK Muskogee ABATE of OK Daniel Hill OREGON BikePAC of OR Central OR Chap. ABATE of OR Josephine Chap. ABATE of OR River City Chap. ABATE of OR Salem Chap. ABATE of OR SE Portland Chap. ABATE of OR Washington County ABATE of OR Jerry’s Custom Cycle Repair Joy Hoover Ken Ray Brian Stovall Jill Tracy Ted Tracy Ed Vaughn PENNSYLVANIA Allegheny County ABATE of PA Bald Eagle Mountain ABATE of PA Blair County IHRR ABATE of PA Butler County ABATE of PA Cambria Summit ABATE of PS Chester County ABATE of PA Clarion County ABATE of PA Delaware County ABATE of PA Fayette County ABATE of PA God’s Country ABATE of PA Keystone Chap. ABATE of PA Lawrence County ABATE of PA Liberty Rider Chap. ABATE of PA Mon Valley Chap. ABATE of PA Philadelphia Chap. ABATE of PA South Mountain ABATE of PS Lancaster Harley Davidson/ Randy Texter Susquehanna Motorcycle Club Joe Dickey John Garner William Holmes Larry Lydick Robert Yohn RHODE ISLAND Rhode Island Motorcycle Assocation John Sullivan SOUTH CAROLINA SC Motorcycle Rights Assocation State Office ABATE of SC Greenville County ABATE of SC Low Country Chap. ABATE of SC Pee Dee Chap. ABATE of SC Swamp Fox Chap. ABATE of SC SOUTH DAKOTA State Office ABATE of SD Aberdeen ABATE of SD Black Hills ABATE of SD Northeast ABATE of SD Rushmore ABATE of SD Sioux Falls ABATE of SD Sioux River ABATE of SD Those Guys ABATE of SD Wind Riders ABATE of SD S F & G Motorcycle Susan & Wayne Lettau TENNESSEE State Office CMT/ABATE Upper Cumberland CMT/ABATE Wheels of Thunder CMT/ABATE
TEXAS Texas ABATE Confederation Robert Hall Dad & Bag Lady Brenda Shea Andy Stoody UTAH Bob & Sue Addams Brian (B-Y) Hepworth Michael Lythgoe VERMONT United Motorcyclists of VT Southwest Freedom Riders, Inc. VIRGINIA VA Freedom Riders RACE Lonesome Pine ABATE of VA River City ABATE of VA Scott Blankenship Douglas Findlay Ken Swartz WASHINGTON WA Road Riders Association State Office ABATE of WA Cowlitz County ABATE of WA North Kitsap Chap. ABATE of WA Pacific County ABATE of WA Rat City Chap. ABATE of WA South King County ABATE of WA Tacoma Chap. ABATE of WA John Bolin Cindy Burger Jo Breneman & Mark Colling Vern Jenkins Ian King Ginger Magures WEST VIRGINIA Upper Ohio Valley ABATE of WV WISCONSIN State Office ABATE of WI Region 1A ABATE of WI Region 1F ABATE of WI Region 1H ABATE of WI Region 1I ABATE of WI Region 1J ABATE of WI Region 2B ABATE of WI Region 2E ABATE of WI Region 2F ABATE of WI Region 2H ABATE of WI Region 3A ABATE of WI Region 4C ABATE of WI Region 7B ABATE of WI Ozaukee County ABATE of WI Capital City Riders Motorcycle Club HEARTLAND STEAM c/o ABATE of WI Weigel, Carlson, Blau & Clemens Dan & Barbara Batker Bill ‘Wild Bill’ Carrick Dave (Chubby) Charlebois Dave Dwyer John Hager Michael Hupy Jesse James Kittredge Dnie Liegeois Donna & Wayne Pingel Bob & Mary Ready Grant Wilkinson Kirk ‘Hardtail’ Williard WYOMING State Office ABATE of WY ABATE of Cody Albany County ABATE of WY Brian & Juli Cox Graydon Wheeler
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION Board of Directors PRESIDENT Kirk “Hardtail” Willard 715-421-0717 email@example.com
Miles France State Reps Program Director 719-395-0360 firstname.lastname@example.org
VICE-PRESIDENT Michael “Boz” Kerr 773-583-2764 email@example.com
Marketing Director Vacant Accepting Applications
VICE PRESIDENT OF GOV’T RELATIONS Jeff Hennie 202-546-0983 firstname.lastname@example.org SECRETARY Paulette Pinkham 618-980-5622 email@example.com TREASURER Dave Anderson 715-531-0790 firstname.lastname@example.org Eric Hampton Communications Director 602-788-4132 email@example.com Carol Downs Conference Director 303-369-2684 firstname.lastname@example.org Dave Dwyer SSMRO Board Member 608-742-0144 email@example.com Cindy Hodges Member Representative 919-266-2653 firstname.lastname@example.org Jay Jackson Motorcycle Safety/Rider Ed. 317-422-8040 email@example.com Steve Zimmer MRFPAC Director 614-985-4727 firstname.lastname@example.org
Products Director Vacant Accepting Applications John Pierce Membership Director 901-409-7170 email@example.com Todd Riba State Reps Board Member firstname.lastname@example.org Member Representative Joel Arnoldi 208-704-5517 email@example.com Thomas “Doc” Wasileski SSMRO Board Member 919-662-6229 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chuc Coulter Asst. Treasurer email@example.com
Justin Downs Assist. Communications IT firstname.lastname@example.org
MAIL TO BOARD MEMBERS
may be sent to the MRF office and will be forwarded. If you must mail time-sensitive material to a board member, contact that person by phone or email first to make arrangements.
Eric Hampton email@example.com Send all submissions for publication to:
Tiffany Latimer Assist. Communications PR 202-546-0983 firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Wesson Assist. Products email@example.com
The FIRST of every even-numbered month
Polly Schoeller Assist. Membership firstname.lastname@example.org Sarah Muckenhoupt Assist. Membership email@example.com Webmaster Vacant, Accepting Applications
Steve Zimmer Supporting SMRO Board Member 614-985-4727 firstname.lastname@example.org Tiffany Latimer DC Office Adminstrator 202-546-0983 email@example.com
Please send in writing to: Motorcycle Riders Foundation 236 Massachusetts Ave. NE Suite 510 Washington, DC 20002-4980 firstname.lastname@example.org
MRF Office Ex-Officio Board Mark Buckner, Colorado 303-833-3195 email@example.com Deborah Butitta, Arizona 928-308-1117 firstname.lastname@example.org Chuc Coulter, Idaho 208-343-7452 email@example.com
236 Massachusetts Ave. NE Suite 510 Washington, DC 20002-4980 Phone: 202-546-0983 Fax: 202-546-0986 firstname.lastname@example.org Website
To continue developing an aggressive, independent national advocacy for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle, which is financially stable and exceeds the needs of motorcycling enthusiasts.
Mission Goals Maintain and improve our ability to act as an advocate before national, state and local legislative, executive and judicial bodies, and with private or public entities, regarding issues affecting motorcycles, motorcyclists or motorcycling. Maintain and improve our financial base and ensure financial stability. Maintain and improve our capability to meet and exceed the needs of our membership base and all state motorcyclists’ rights organizations. Maintain and improve our capability to be the national information center for motorcyclists’ rights information. Enhance the training of national, state and local motorcyclists’ rights activists.
This newsletter is an official publication of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, 236 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Suite 510, Washington, D.C. 20002-4980; phone (202) 546-0983; fax (202) 546-0986. All rights reserved. Portions may be reprinted with proper attribution. MRF Reports is published six times a year and distributed nationwide. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent those of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, its officers or representatives. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will not knowingly contract with or do business with any entity that discriminates against motorcyclists in any way, shape or form.
For your convenience, we can accept memberships, donations,conference registrations and product orders by phone or fax, or via our website, using VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express.
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
Around the USA (continued) I had a chance to talk to some of the North Dakota folks about Heartland STEAM and Meeting of the Minds and they expressed interest in attending both events. A.B.A.T.E. of North Dakota will be a great addition to both of these events. North Dakota has one of the best motorcycle safety programs in the country and the program is sponsored by A.B.A.T.E. of North Dakota. I would like to thank the folks from North Dakota for giving the MRF an opportunity to be part of their state convention and their renewed commitment to the MRF. Todd Riba State Reps Board Member
Barbara Tittle MRF State Representative Revitalize and Rebuild. This is the 21st century mantra of ABATE of Ohio. This was the feeling behind the February Legislative Seminar in our capitol of Columbus. For many reasons we had forgone spring seminar for too long. Kari Engen, one of theinspired and inspirational State Board members (and newsletter editor hero) urged us to organize one for 2008. In fact she spearheaded and led the way for a grandly successful and PROFITABLE seminar. With numerous sponsors, the leaders in theState made it an excellent event. Along with our new Executive Director, "Hairy" George Nitzsky, they gathered speakers from the MC community as well as the Ohio political community. Our State officers helped us to improve our treasuries, websites and newsletters. Others shared media relations, the Share the Road motorcycle awareness program from two members who have led this program in Ohio for a long time and preparing to conduct better events which help
support any organization. Attorney Rod Taylor told us legal war stories and the use of a creative dog story to wheedle his way out of a ticket. We were honored by presentations from MRF stalwarts Jeff Hennie and Doc Ski, who spoke about national motorcycle issues. John Pierce, a membership guru, brought us words of wisdom for growth, tendered with the warmth of his Tennessee cadence. "Slider" Gilmore reprised his excellent "Goals" presentation to the crowd's delight. We learned more about the progress of statewide legislation from Imre Szauter of the AMA. Assistant MRF Rep, Kristy O'Leary, illuminated our knowledge about the Safer Communities initiative whereby some funded Ohio groups have the responsibility to promote motorcycle awareness and ABATE can assist. Pete Cline, from Motorcycle Ohio, spoke about rider training. Ohio State Senator Capri Cafaro and State Representative Tom Letson gave us wisdom from the political podium. Our Board presented many leadership awards to outstanding members, including the extremely diligent organization boosters, Kari Engen and our tireless Chairman of the Board, Jim Elgin. Appears those people in the E part of the alphabet have no End to their Energy. Thanks to all for a lesson in revitalization to carry us forward. Exec Director,"Hairy" George, made his annual spring pilgrimage to DC in March. He was able to confab with 17 of our 18 Congress people and left information with our two Senators. He also gained firm commitments from three Congressmen for sponsorship of the HIPAA repair bill. If you've read this far and reside in Ohio, thanks for reading and belonging to MRF! More so, if you have news from your MC organization or SMRO, PLEASE let me know what is happening in your neighborhood (email@example.com),
We are there… watching.
Support Your Voice in Washington, DC
Help Build MRFPAC! Contributions of $5 and $10 can go a long way to make our voices heard in DC and coast-to-coast Send to: Motorcycle Riders Foundation, 236 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20002 Please make checks payable to MRFPAC Donations to MRFPAC are not Tax Deductible We cannot accept corporate checks
so that I can share it with the MRF world. Best wishes from the Buckeye state! Barbara Tittle
Louis P. Petrucci MRF State Representative
The attached bills are the happening in RI at this time. The General Assembly is busy with our State budget but seems to have time to introduce some bike legislation. H 7505 - The Baffle Bill is once again introduced. We spoke with Representative Menard and have reach an agreement. An amendment to the bill will implement fines of the following: First offense $ 100.00, Second offense $ 250.00 and last and every subsequent fine $ 750.00. Last year due to us not reaching an agreement with the sponsor the bill dies in Committee due to pressure from the RIMA. S 2146 - Right of Way has been introduced for the second year in a row. Its sister bill will be showing up shortly. This bill did not move last session. S 2426, S 2127 & H 7648 - Education bills have been introduced in different forms. The RIMA is working hard with the Lobbyist working for HD, the Community College and the Division of Motor Vehicles to work wording that is acceptable by all. S 2426 also includes our designated parking language. A sister bill should be introduced in the House soon. Other than the above, we are pretty quiet here in RI.
Carol Simpson MRF Asst. State Representative
Tennessee's Lobby Day was February 13. Motorcyclists representing 7 charters braved icy roads to visit the State Capitol. Eight legislators received Champion Awards. Senators Doug Henry and Tim Burchett. Representatives Glen Casada, Curry Todd, Dr. Joey Hensley, Rob Briley, John Tidwell and Judd Matheny. Over Twenty legislators stood in line to address the CMT/ABATE grassroots activists during the early day meet and greet. Members of the new Iron Mules Charter were so invigorated by the information about May is Motorcycle Awareness Proclamation, that they returned to their area of the state and have set up eight opportunities with county and city governments to effect local proclamations. Even with well-laid strategy to best the Budget Sub-Committee, and dedicated efforts from our many sponsors and supporters, the will of the Speaker of the House caused House Bill 1283 (helmet law modification)to be placed behind the budget for no good reason. State-wide efforts during this year's election season will be the opportunity to rid CMT/ABATE of this unfair treatment. Stay tuned.
Dave 'Chubby' Charlebois Public Relations Director ABATE of WI Inc. ABATE gets the job done; Lobby Day brings over 500 to the Capitol Members and supporters of ABATE of WI Inc,
got the job done March 4th in Madison with over 500 bikers in attendance looking for support for their 2008 legislative agenda. One hundred percent of our legislators offices were reached and everyone that attended should be congratulated on a job well done. Once again, ABATE of WI and its supporters showed that grassroots lobbying can get the job done in Wisconsin. ABATE of WI Inc 2008 legislative agenda includes amending parts of recently passed legislation that was intended to enhance penalties for right of way violations that cause serious bodily injury or death to a motorcyclist and make motorcycle awareness such as ABATEs’ Share the Road program mandatory for all violators. Since this law has been in effect for more than a year and we haven’t seen any changes, this is one of our top priorities. Also promoted in Madison were our suggestions for a state fix to the federal Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPPA) which currently allows insurance companies to discriminate against motorcyclists by denying health insurance coverage simply because they choose to ride a motorcycle. A great amount of interest was shown by our legislators on these issues. ABATE members and supporters also took this opportunity to re-introduce themselves to our legislators and let them know our stance on recent helmet recommendations by the NTSB and the overwhelming need for crash avoidance solutions not safer crashing. Information on our Share the Road motorcycle awareness program and our new anti-impaired riding program was also given to legislators to give examples of the tireless efforts of our organization and its members. This is the first time ABATE of WI has offered transportation to get it’s members to our state capitol and it turned out to be just what we needed to boost attendance. Nine busses converged on Madison from all over the state with some leaving as early as 4:30am. You have to be serious about your rights to not only take a day off work to lobby, but to drag yourself up at that hour to do it. With several busses sponsored by ABATE supporters and donations accepted from riders this proved to be a cost effective way to get our voices heard. Many thanks go out to our crack office staff, region reps, and district directors for putting in the extra time needed to handle the complicated logistics of getting members to Madison in time to make all of their appointments. Even though everything went quite well on our lobby day, I think everyone understands that this is just the start of what ABATE of WI is trying to accomplish this year. Follow up phone calls and letters are still needed to make sure the ball keeps rolling. Once some of these bills are introduced you can be sure ABATE of WI will do all we can to see them through to law by attending committee hearings, sponsoring letter writing campaigns, and of course more personal meetings and phone calls. ABATE of WI is well known for bringing large numbers of bikers to our state capitol, over 50,000 bikers attended rallies in the late seventies and thousands more showed up for rallies we held until the mid nineties. This is the first time in my recollection that we had over 500 show up, without a rally. All members and supporters made their own appointments, with some exceptions, and all of our legislative offices were reached. It may have not gained as much media exposure as some of our rallies and events, but seeing leather in every direction you looked definitely made and impact on our legislators and their aides. I hope that other SMRO’s see attendance like this on their lobby days. Grassroots activism is alive and well in Wisconsin, and ABATE of WI is getting the job done.
MRF Committees Communications: Eric Hampton (Chair), Jeff Hennie, John Pierce, Michael Kerr, Paulette Pinkham, Justin Downs, Todd Riba, Cindy Hodges, Jim “Legs” Korte Marketing: Deborah Butitta (Chair), John Pierce, Cindy Hodges, Todd Riba, Paulette Pinkham, Tiffany Latimer, Eric Hampton Elections: Miles France (Chair), Dave Dwyer, Dave Anderson By-Laws: Michael Kerr (Chair), Carol Downs, Kirk Willard, Paulette Pinkham Alcohol Awareness: Jay Jackson (Chair), Steve Zimmer, Jeff Hennie, Dave Dwyer, Lynn Oldenburg, Susan Huttman, Carol Simpson MRFPAC: Steve Zimmer (Chair), Chuc Coulter, Dave Dwyer, Jeff Hennie, Michael Kerr, Dave Anderson Finance: Carol Downs (Chair), Kirk Willard, Chuc Coulter, John Pierce, Dave Anderson, Paulette Pinkham Membership Committee: John Pierce (Chair), Miles France, Tiffany Latimer, Sarah Muckenhoupt, Cindy Hodges, Polly Schoeller, Todd Riba MRFAE: Michael Kerr (Chair), Chuc Coulter, Susan Huttman, Todd Suda, Jeff Hennie, Deborah Butitta, Paulette Pinkham, Jay Jackson, Dave Anderson, Carol Downs
September 25th–28th, 2008
Conference & Events: Carol Downs (Chair), Kirk Willard, Jeff Hennie, Cindy Hodges, Carol Simpson, Todd Riba, Steve Zimmer, Lynn Oldenburg
Denver Tech Center Marriott, Denver, Colorado
Products: Carol Downs (Chair), Lynn Oldenburg, Polly Schoeller, Helen Wesson, Dave Anderson Funds Steering Committee: Kirk Willard (Chair), Cindy Hodges, Todd Riba, Jay Jackson, Dave Anderson, Mark Buckner Statistics Committee: Jay Jackson (Chair), Paulette Pinkham, Jeff Hennie, Kirk Willard, Doc Ski, David Tusche State & Federal Legislative Awards: State & Federal: Dave Dwyer (Chair), Cindy Hodges, Steve Zimmer, Todd Riba, Michael Kerr, Jeff Hennie
• Hosted by ABATE of Colorado • Denver Tech Center Marriott, 4900 South Syracuse, Denver, CO 80237 Room reservations, call 800-228-9290. Room rate,* $89 single or double. (Hotel amenities include refrigerators, hair dryer, coffee maker, iron, indoor and outdoor pools, workout room – Italian restaurant on-site.) *indicate that you are with the Motorcycle Riders Foundation for group rate
Pre-register for conference through the MRF, 236 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20002. (Pre-registration must be received by August 18, 2008). $60 Current, individual MRF member. $70 Current, individual MRF member (after Aug. 18th). $70 Non-MRF member. $80 Non-MRF member (after Aug. 18th). Registration includes all workshops, workshop materials, and Saturday banquet. Registration questions call the MRF at 202-546-0983 or Carol Downs at 303-204-6939, firstname.lastname@example.org. Hosted by ABATE of Colorado, 4725 Paris St., Denver, CO 80239, 303-789-3264
Awards: Farmers Award: Kirk Willard (Chair), Mark Buckner, Deborah Butitta Founders Award: Kirk Willard (Chair), Mark Buckner, Mark Falsetti, Steve Zimmer Lifetime Achievement Award: Kirk Willard (Chair), Deborah Butitta, Paulette Pinkham MRF Reps Awards: Miles France (Chair), Todd Riba, Polly Schoeller Reps Growth Group: Miles France (Chair), Cindy Hodges, Carol Simpson, Todd Riba, Polly Schoeller, Lynn Oldenburg Safety Recognition: Jay Jackson (Chair), Carol Downs, Chuc Coulter, Paulette Pinkham, John Pierce Thomas Paine Award: Kirk Willard (Chair), Sarah Muckenhoupt Young Activist Scholarship Fund: Miles France (Chair), Cindy Hodges, Carol Downs, Jeff Hennie, Steve Eggleston, Susan Huttman
Motorcycle Riders Foundation is proud to present their annual conference for politically motivated motorcyclists! (
Spend the weekend with some of motorcycling’s most educated and dedicated activists. Learn what issues will impact bikers today and in the future!
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the leading voice for you, the street rider, in Washington, D.C. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is com...