Th e MR Fd o e s n o te n d o r s e a n y p ro d u c ts o rs e rv i c e s o th e r th a n i ts o w n p ro d u ctl i n e .Th i sd o e s n o ta p p l yto p o l i ti c a l e n d o r s e m e n ts Vo l .1 9 ,N o .1 J a n u a r y/Fe b r u a r y2 0 11
WHAT’S INSIDE: The 95/5 Rule Page 2 NHTSA Discriminates Against Motorcyclists Page 3 Motorcycle Roadside Checkpoints Page 4 MRF By-Law Amendment Page 6 MRF Legislative Strategy Agenda for 2011 Page 12 The MMA Turns 35! Page 19 Is It Magic? Page 20 Why All Bikers Need the MRF Page 24 Why Did They Hang Horse Thieves? Page 25 MRF “Club Dude” Update Page 45
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
What Does a Bulldozer and the 95/5 Rule Have to Do with a Sphere of Influence Kirk “Hardtail” Willard MRF President
During Sturgis Bike Week this year I specifically sought out motorcyclists that didn’t have a great deal of knowledge about the world of bikers’ rights. I wanted to get a perspective from them of how they are viewing the current political environment. Emotions ran from very angry, to disillusioned and disenfranchised, to plain having given up on the system. Not surprising to me at all, the other opinion I got that I also expected was that so many of the loud ones out there were considered very extreme regardless of the side of the political debate they were on, and that universally seemed to turn folks off to the entire process. It got me thinking about the past in my own State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organization (SMRO). There certainly was a time in history that we were seen as the extreme ones, riding in and marching on the capital during our now legendary and incredibly effective helmet law protests, hanging politicians in effigy in trees on the Capital grounds, riding around the Capital while they were in session with rider education range cones on our bikes to protest the isappropriation of motorcycle safety funds. All very necessary and very effective, and I am confident we could pull off another 50,000 biker helmet protest rally should we need one. Those events rightfully earned us a seat at the table as a grass roots activist force to be reckoned with. Fast forward to today; we are fully engaged in the political process and have made many political friends and allies inside the Capital. We have learned the process as well as they have and we have become a group that they can trust to give them reliable and credible information. In other words, we do our homework and do the research to get the necessary information in hand prior to acting or requesting action on our behalf. We treat our relationships with respect and most importantly hesitate to hang them out to dry (unless they’ve really earned it) on every single issue we face together. I appreciate the ideal, and I know through many conversations that they do as well, that we judge them by their entire body of work and their
Advertising in the MRF Reports TheMRFReportsreachesapproximately5000 motorcyclistssixtimesayear.Evenmorevisit ourwebsite(www.mrf.org)everymonthandthis isaprimelocationtogetthewordoutabout yourproductorservicetomotorcyclists. ContactMargieFerrucciformoreinformation. firstname.lastname@example.org
support of us over many issues as we build our clout and political capital together. So we are no longer seen as extreme, but a well-reasoned and influential player in the process, and most often the ones armed with relevant facts and a compelling case that we can proficiently make. What that affords us in today’s political environment is a genuine increase in our sphere of influence; with politicians, bureaucrats, and both the riding and non-riding public. So rather than being frustrated and sitting this one out for awhile as many will likely do, I suggest we give it all we’ve got this round, for this well could be the greatest time for the motorcyclists of this country as our sphere of influence is on rise. And to take full advantage of this influential rise, I will repeat a concept I shared during our most recent MRF Meeting of the Minds Conference in Illinois that I know struck a chord as I have received several requests for it to be repeated. In business we often talk about the 80/20 rule, and that is for a business to succeed, or any entity for that matter, one must focus 80% of their energies; time, money, and other resources, which is a vast majority of what we have available to us, on the top 20% of things most important to realizing the desired success. A struggling business or organization upon reflection will often discover the opposite, that they in fact are spending only 20% of their time on the most important things and the other 80% on all kinds of distractions that don’t deliver and in fact detract from the desired and necessary results. What I suggest inside the Bikers Rights Machine is that we aspire to achieve a 95/5 rule. With the passion, expertise, and desire to protect the future of motorcycling, our freedom of the road, and its associated way of life, using a familiar and honed single minded, focused, and united approach, I firmly believe the 95/5 rule is well within our reach. Imagine how effective the sphere of influence we have earned would be if we considered our mission statements, vision statements, and agendas in every action we continued page 7
Contact Your Congressmen and Senators 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. 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.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Thumbs Nose at Congress and Discriminates Against Motorcycles Jeff Hennie Government Relations and Public Affairs The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has learned from a source at the US Department of Transportation that they have funded the motorcycle only roadside checkpoints. NHTSA decided to fund the program despite being asked by Congress to not fund the program until the merits were explained. In a letter sent by James Sensenbrenner along with ten other Members of the House of Representatives last month, Sensenbrenner and his colleagues specifically asked NHTSA to respond to the letter before funding the program; they did not.
Read the letter here: http://www.mrf.org/pdfs/nhtsa_roadside%20_checkpoint.pdf The recipient of the money for the demo project was the Georgia Department of Public Safety, which oversees the day-to-day operation of the Georgia State Patrol. The Georgia State Patrol will conduct a series of roadside motorcycle safety checks in accordance with what was outlined in the Request for Applications. The amount of NHTSA funding is $70,000.00. “Not only is this an injustice to the motorcyclists of America, it’s a complete waste of taxpayer money,” said Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the MRF. The MRF will keep you informed on this issue and any actions you can take to defend your freedoms at stake in Washington.
Focus and Unity Jay Jackson MRF Vice President This is an important message and I'm going to make it my mission to deliver it repeatedly during the next year. At the Meeting of the Minds in Peoria, we spoke about staying focused and not becoming distracted by those things which are not our real purpose. In Indiana I'm trying to reemphasize "what we're about" and remind our membership why we were created. The scary thing is that the greatest threat to the motorcyclists rights movement comes from within. We can ill-afford to have dissension, as that will be the unraveling of "the movement". We have been successful for the last 30 years or so because of the passion we have for our cause, which is to ensure that motorcycling exists for future generations so that our grandchildren, and their grandchildren, can experience and enjoy the freedom of the road. While the passion is what drives us to be successful, the unity and focus are what have harnessed the passion and delivered on success. The membership of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, and our SMRO partners, is quite diverse and has many interests. I know for a fact that a great number of our folks are supportive of second amendment rights and I'm certain that there are plenty that are affected by labor issues. Of course, every American should be concerned about what is currently going on with health care. However, while we may have interest in these subjects as individuals, we must remain pure and stay focused on issues relevant to motorcycling. If
you want to stand up for gun rights, join the NRA (in addition to being an MRF member and standing up for motorcyclists' rights of course). There are plenty of groups that represent all different segments of the population and special interest groups, but we are a "motorcyclists'" rights organization and must stay true to that task. SMROs around the country are involved in all kinds of activities from awareness campaigns and social events to raising money for charity and everything in between. While I truly believe that each of these activities has a place in our movement, we need to make sure that they somehow support our primary mission and do not overshadow or dilute that mission. Charity events, for example, help to promote a positive image of motorcyclists and may create relationships that can be beneficial. Additionally, it is heart-warming, makes us feel good and, as human beings, helping others is something more members of society should be doing. However, that's not why we exist. Having parties and events is a lot of fun (and a load of work for some). These events raise money to fund our efforts and also bring people into our organizations, but neither is this why we exist. Let's keep our eye on the prize and not get so excited by riding the horse that we forget to reach for the brass ring. OK, maybe enough of the metaphors, basically let's remember that we must stay focused on our goals, such as working legislatively to protect motorcycling, if we wish to attain them. I'll get more into the unity aspect in the next article, but I suspect most of you already understand that. Ride Safe, Ride Free, Jay Jackson
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Senate Safety Hearing Mentions Motorcycle Helmet Use Jeff Hennie Government Relations and Public Affairs The Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation held a hearing on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s endeavors. The hearing featured NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. Strickland referenced the overall decline in traffic fatalities from 2004-2009. He also suggested that the rise in seat belt use and child restraint use are contributors to the decline. He then went on to point out the rise in motorcycle fatalities over the same time period.
Strickland’s direct quote: “However, you will notice that there is one indicator that is moving in the wrong direction, motorcycle fatalities. Between 2004 and 2009, the number of motorcycle riders killed increased from just over 4,200 to almost 4,462, an 11 percent increase. The number of motorcycle fatalities did fall between 2008 and 2009, the first time we have seen a decrease in more than a decade. We need to work to build on last year’s progress. The most important step we could take would be to assure that all riders wear a DOT-compliant helmet, which are 37 percent effective in reducing fatalities. We estimate that helmets prevented over 1,800 fatalities in 2008, and that more than 800 additional fatalities could have been avoided if all riders wore helmets. NHTSA will actively work with Congress to promote helmet use”. The MRF will be contacting Strickland to remind him that accident avoidance over safer crashing is the best solution to motorcycle safety.
Congress Expresses Concern with Federal Motorcycle Roadside Checkpoint Grant Program Jeff Hennie Government Relations and Public Affairs US Representatives called for the suspension of federally funded motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints. US Representative James Sensenbrenner (WI) took the lead on a letter to Ray LaHood, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, asking him to address the benefits of motorcycle-only checkpoints. As previously announced by the MRF, LaHood’s DOT recently asked for applications from law enforcement agencies to conduct federally funded motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints. The letter goes on to encourage Mr. LaHood to suspend funding for National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland's program until the questions are answered. Sensenbrenner was joined on the letter by Representatives Petri (WI), Jones (NC), Schock (IL), Lanborn (IA), McCotter (MI), Ryan (WI), Rehberg (MT), Terry (NE), Paul (TX), and Wilson (SC). Of note are Shock and Wilson who respectively keynoted the Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s Meeting of Minds and BEAST of the East in 2010. The MRF would like to thank all of those who heeded the call to gather support for this important matter. Should you be fortunate enough to have one of these outstanding Members of Congress that signed onto the letter, the MRF encourages you to contact them and thank them. Ralph Bell of ABATE of SC had this to say to his Member of Congress, Joe Wilson: "I not only appreciate your signing on this letter but applaud your no nonsense understanding of what Freedom is. This grant is definitely against all of our Freedoms and discriminates against us because of what we ride. Thanks again for your support."
Wall Street Journal attacks California’s Motorcycle Awareness Month. Editors at the Wall Street Journal are not so fond of the Golden State’s decision to honor the motorcyclists of California. The opinion piece claims that the awareness month bill is part of a pile of legislation that should not have been passed before the State balances its growing budget crisis. Assembly Republican Leader Martin Garrick defended the legislation pointing out the need "to honor motorcyclists many contributions to the community." At least those in power have the right idea. We at the MRF have our opinion of journalists who attempt to diminish motorcyclists. Take a guess what that would be.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The 2011 Conference Season: Another Promising Year Carol Downs MRF Conference Director Another new year has started. Last year was a great one. I got a new granddaughter; everyone is healthy. We spent more time together as a family; thankful for what we did have and are somehow learning to do with less. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t still prioritized other things that are important to us. Like continuing to work to protect our right to ride; keeping our memberships in MRO’s current, making donations to further the cause, and attending all the Conferences we can that teach us how to protect those rights, and motivate us to do so. The 2011 Conference and event year is already planned. You can go to the MRF website and get registered for all events. We will start in May with a combination of the Spring Board of Directors meeting, Bikers Inside the Beltway and BEAST of the East all the same long weekend. ABATE of MD will be our host that weekend. The MRF Board Meeting will begin on Wednesday, May 11 with our committee meetings. On Thursday the entire Board will join those who ride into DC for Bikers Inside the Beltway. Friday the Board will hold their Spring Board Meeting followed immediately Friday evening with the kickoff of BEAST of the East. For those who will be riding into DC for Bikers Inside the Beltway, rooms are available at our host hotel just outside of Baltimore. A group, led by ABATE of MD, will be leaving early Thursday morning to ride into the Beltway. We will have reserved parking near the Capitol. We do encourage everyone to make appointments with their Representatives, both to talk about the issues we are facing and to have a photo opportunity with the motorcycles. If you need additional information please feel free to call Jeff Hennie at the MRF office. Since we realize not everyone can ride to DC (myself included) a group will also leave the hotel by train to head into the Capitol. No one needs to be left out.
BEAST of the East will start Friday evening, May 13 with our Meet and Greet session. We will spend Saturday morning in general session followed by breakouts Saturday afternoon. The Conference will culminate Saturday evening with the banquet and auctions. Here’s a thought for those men who must fly in. Since you will be bringing your kilts for the banquet anyway, why not wear them through the airport? Who knows you may make some TSA agents’ day. Or maybe not. In June we will be going to Ogden, UT for BEST of the West. This event will be hosted by ABATE of UT. The Conference will take place June 10-12. Details regarding the host hotel can be found on the MRF website. September and the Meeting of the Minds (MOTM) will take us to Romulus, MI. If you have never heard of Romulus pull out a Michigan map and find Detroit. It’s right there. ABATE of MI will be our host for this event. Something I want to encourage you to do while at MOTM is to have a picture taken with your bike in front of the giant American Flag we will have hanging. My husband did so in IL this past MOTM and it is a great picture. Something he is proud to have hanging in his office. Again, all the information about the Conferences is posted on the MRF website. You can register for the Conferences, get hotel information and even make your hotel reservations from our website. I’m not sure we could make it any easier for you. One last comment on supporting our causes: The MRF Awareness and Education is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to promote motorcycle awareness and education. One of our main goals is to be able to send young activists to the annual Meeting of the Minds. Your tax-deductible donation helps us to do that. If you are concerned about getting young people involved in this movement do your part to get them involved; make a donation today. Go on-line to www.mrfae.org or send a check to the DC office made payable to MRF Awareness and Education. Happy New Year to all and I look forward to seeing not just the familiar faces in 2011, but also some new ones.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
MRF By-Law Amendment Amending an MRF By-Law: These articles (By-Laws) may be amended only a a 3/4 vote of the total number of the Board of Directors then qualified to vote and after thirty (30) days written notice and publicized in the then MRF publication for its general membership prior to any meeting requesting amendment of the Bylaws, which notice shall contain the specific language showing the proposed By-Law amendment. The following is a By-Law change that the MRF By-Laws Committee developed and proposed to the Board of Directors. A motion was made and properly seconded to offer this up to the voting Board at which time discussions and revisions resulted and it was passed by a 3/4 majority vote of the Board. (The shaded area contains the change). (Amendment in underlined text) VIII. STATE REPRESENTATIVE PROGRAM: The State Representative Program shall be coordinated by the Director of the State Representative Program. The goal of the State Representatives shall be to increase communication between the MRF and the States Motorcyclists’ Rights Organizations and to recruit members for the MRF. All State Representative candidates should be approved by the State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organization in the state where the proposed state Representative resides. In the case where more than one Sustaining State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organization (SSMRO) exists in a state, it is expected that
the highest ranking Officers of these SSMROs submit to the MRF an agreed upon and approved candidate. If the SSMRO or SSMROs desire and have a relationship in good standing with the Statewide Confederation of Clubs, and the Confederation is also a Sustaining member of the MRF, the SSMRO or SSMROs can allow them a vote in the selection of the MRF State Representative in their State. The MRF State Representative must maintain membership in the MRF while serving in this capacity. BACKGROUND: Recently the MRF Board of Directors took action with intent to change an MRF By-Law to capture what had been a past practice on occasion and to openly encourage collaboration and cooperation amongst motorcycle organizations where their agendas were aligned on key legislative, safety, and education initiatives. In this case specifically to formally recognize we would support Confederations having a "vote" on who would represent them in their state in the position of MRF State Rep, given that they were a Sustaining Member Organization of the MRF, and with the approval of such a practice by the MRF Sustaining State Motorcycle Rights Organization or Organizations in that State. This is ultimately a recognition that a working relationship exists between the MRF Sustaining State Motorcyclists Rights Organization or Organizations and the Confederation, which we have openly encouraged for some time. This does not carry over into any other voting at this time other than individual votes by individual members for the Membership Representative to the Board which of course has been in place since this became an elected position.
Black Motorcyclists - Even in Helmets - More Likely to Die in Crashes Release Date: 09/23/2010 New Johns Hopkins research suggests race plays a factor in accident survival African-American victims of motorcycle crashes were 1.5 times more likely to die from their injuries than similarly injured whites, even though many more of the African-American victims were wearing helmets at the time of injury, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers. Results of the research revealing these racial disparities, published in the August issue of the American Journal of Surgery, suggest that injury-prevention programs — like state laws mandating the use of motorcycle helmets — may not be sufficient to protect all riders equally. “For reasons that we are still trying to figure out, one size of injury prevention does not fit all groups of people and just wearing a helmet is not enough,” says Adil Haider, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study’s senior author. “Helmet for helmet, AfricanAmericans have more lethal injuries.” Haider, who is also co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Surgical Trials and Outcomes Research, suspects several factors
may combine to account for the gap in survival between black and white victims. Previous studies of other accidents and illnesses have shown that lack of health insurance, reduced access to care, poorer quality of care and a greater number of pre-existing illnesses or injuries contribute to racial differences in survival. It is also possible, he says, that riders of different races may prefer different types of helmets or more dangerous types of motorcycles. More research is needed, he says, to determine what role, if any, these issues may play. Motorcycle crashes injure roughly 88,000 people a year in the United States and kill 4,810 annually. The rate of fatal motorcycle crashes has been steadily rising for the past decade and now account for nearly 1 in 8 motor vehicle deaths. In the new study, Haider and surgical resident Dr. Joseph Crompton reviewed National Trauma Data Bank information on 68,840 people involved in motorcycle crashes between 2002 and 2006. Along with the finding that even after controlling for factors such as insurance status, gender and injury severity, black crash victims were 1.5 times more likely to die from their injuries than similarly injured white victims. This was so despite the fact that black motorcycle crash victims were 30 percent more likely to be wearing helmets when injured than were white crash victims. The research also found that whites who were not wearing helmets were less
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What Does a Bulldozer and the 95/5 Rule Have to Do with a Sphere of Influence continued took and spent 95% of all we have on accomplishing against them and only 5% of our time on the things and issues that have little or nothing to do with why we exist. As a youngster growing up in the grasslands in North Dakota, prairie fires were a real life-changing threat, so from a young age we were taught how to fight them. I’ll never forget being told and later seeing it happen that if someone exhausted themselves running around sprinkling water cans on hundreds of little grass fires behind them they would likely crest a butte and find a raging full on
fire coming for them head on. Thankfully someone usually had a massive bulldozer running and engaged that could plow through and stop that raging fire. So we have a choice, we can get it backwards and employ a 5/95 tactic and exhaust ourselves putting out a bunch of pesky little issues behind us and get consumed by the raging issue in front of us, or preferably we embrace the 95/5 rule and crush any threat in our path with the bulldozer we that we have properly maintained, gassed up, and already running. The choice is up to us, and our freedom and way of life depends on us making the right one.
Black Motorcyclists - Even in Helmets - More Likely to Die in Crashes continued likely to die than African-Americans who were wearing helmets, and that the highest mortality rates were among African-American motorcyclists without helmets. Helmets have been proven to reduce traumatic brain injury deaths following motorcycle crashes and reduce the cost of hospital stays. But with this new study in mind, Haider says, more focus should be placed on injury-prevention programs that go beyond imploring motorcyclists to wear helmets, since they alone do not appear to be doing enough to protect some crash victims — particularly AfricanAmericans — from death.
Funding for the research was provided by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Deans Stipend Award to Crompton and the Johns Hopkins Department of Surgery New Faculty Research Support Grant to Haider. Other Johns Hopkins researchers involved in the study include Keshia M. Pollack, Ph.D., M.P.H.; David T. Efron, M.D.; and Elliott R. Haut, M.D. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/surgery/faculty/Haider
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Iâ€ˆGotâ€ˆNothing... Graydon Wheeler State Rep Board Member You would think that with the amount of time between issues and all that is happening right now, coming up with something to write about would be a breeze. You
hands. "Keep it. I think I've had enough." He nodded his thanks once again and pinched last the burning part into the pipe, then place the unburned portion in his pouch. Drawing deep from the pipe he paused for a moment before exhaling through his nose. "So, what's troubling you?' he asked. "What do you mean?" I asked back.
"You only sit out here when something's bothering you."
And as much as my mind wanders from subject to subject, it's not normally an issue. Usually all it takes is a long ride along the bluffs and prairie and something fills the creative void. Usually.
"You've been here before?"
Only thing I think of when I ride this time of year in Wyoming is Kee Kee birds. You see them hopping about wrapping their wings around themselves saying, "Kee-Kee-rist it's cold". Sittting at my computer playing games doesn't help. Agatha Christie's character, Hercule Poirot, would build a house of cards to focus his mind on solving a problem; I play Minesweeper. Still, no topic comes to mind. So I go out in my backyard to the edge of my property where there's a line of brushy trees that serve as a wind-break. It's kinda peaceful there, and there's a few branches low to the ground that make for a comfortable seat. Perhaps I'll find my muse here. Plus, I've brought along some...ah..."natural herbal incense" that a native-American friend of ours gave the wife to help her relax on occasion. Who am I to argue with traditional medicinal ways? I sit there amongst the trees, breathing in the "herbal" smoke, eyes closed, leaning back slightly so the sun will warm my face a little, listening to the breeze in the branches above, and think that occasionally, during moments like this, life is good. And then I open my eyes and about jump out of my skin when I see this...creature, not three feet from me, watching intensely. He was dressed in buckskin leather and atop his head was a hat decorated with a couple of feathers. He was also so small that he had to reach up to the branch where I was sitting to pull himself up to have a seat. I looked at the smoke rising from sweet-scented leaf that I held between my fingers in new-found appreciation. Damn this was good medicine! I turned back to see the tiny man still sitting, watching. I offered a "Hello". "Howdy" came his reply. I looked back down at my fingers. Dayum! This is good medicine! I offered him the smoke. He nodded his thanks and pulled a small bone pipe from a pouch, tapping some of the burning embers into the bowl. He handed what was left back to me but I held up my
"I've been here since before your people came from the east." "How come I've never seen you?" He smiled and patted his pouch. "You've never brought this with you." I thought to myself, "Yeah, and the smoke is probably the reason I'm 'seeing' him now". He adjusted himself, getting comfortable on the branch. "Is this about the motorcycles?" "What do you know about that?" "You leave some of the stuff you write lying around the times when I've been in your library; you have a nice book collection by the way. Anyway", the little guy said as he puffed on the pipe and gave a momentary pause before releasing the cloud, "What's the story?" "That's the problem, I don't have one. I promised my editor I'd have something before deadline, but I'm stuck. I know I should write about what's happening around the country, about the threat to our lifestyle; I can't come up with any ideas." "A threat to your way of life?" The small man, even though it was hard to say exactly how old he appeared, seemed to briefly age a little more as he said those words. " Lose one's way of life" He looked at the ground, lost in thought, lifted his head to stare off in the distance, past the fields and rolling sandhills, staring off to see what was no longer there, things that were lost in the past. He raised the pipe toward his lips, paused, then set the pipe back down and said, "I can tell you a story of loss. I've been around for so many years, I can't say for sure just when I arrived. It's been long enough to see the changes in this country. Not saying it's good or bad, It's just not what it was. Along the way I've had to adapt, learn new languages, learn to read, I managed. The people that once lived had their way of life, following the herds, trapping, fishing. Some years it was good, some years they struggled, but they survived. They had their culture, their spirits, they had their life.
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Iâ€ˆGotâ€ˆNothing...â€ˆcontinued I remember when the horses first came. This was a change that was good. Hunting became easier, travel, the horse changed things for the people. It was good. But with the horse came the others. The ones who claimed the lands, brought disease and starvation. It wasn't the battles that took the people as much as the illness and starvation. The others used that to their advantage, killing the herds for sport so there would be no food, spreading illnesses to which they had immunity. It happened slowly at first, and when the people realized what was happening, many fought back, even though it seemed hopeless, they would fight for what they had rather than lose it to another false promise. There was one battle I witnessed..." He stopped speaking, as if he could still see the scene in front of him, I waited. He continued. "One battle...I was following a hunting party, not a war party, not warriors out for coup, just five men seaching for game. I followed because I could usually get a bit of whatever they shot. Bison, deer, antelope, always made a nice change from rabbit and prairie dog. They stopped by a creek to water the horses and while there, were discovered by a group of about twenty-five soldiers. The soldiers fired at them without warning killing one instantly, the rest fighting back as best they could. The horses had spooked and there was no escape. The hunting party fought. They fought hard. They fought not for themselves, but for their kind. They fought with the small hope that perhaps the others might finally decide it wasn't worth it. They fought...they fought..." The small man choked a little on these words, "They fought, for they had nothing to lose that wasn't already stolen from them. And when it was down to one warrior - at this point to call them anything less would not honor their spirit - the warrior sang his death song. He accepted that he would never go back to his life, but he would welcome his death with glory. He charged into the soldiers, something they had not expected. Before the soldiers had time to react the warrior killed four and wounded three, I counted seven shots that brought him down. One for each man he attacked on his last assault. It was fitting. When it was over, the soldiers had lost twelve men with another five wounded. I've tried to find the story of that battle in the history books I've had the chance to read. I found an account of an incident at the same location, but the official reports state that the soldiers were ambushed by a band of fifty warriors. If this was the same fight I witnessed, I guess that proves that history is indeed written by the victor." He finished talking, picked back up his pipe, and tapped out the now cold ashes. I wasn't sure what to say, or if I should say anything at all. I felt around in my coat pocket, pulled out a piece of candy and unwrapped it while I thought about his story. "Is that peppermint?" The little man was watching the candy in my hand.
"Yeah I...hold on". I pulled out the last two pieces that I had stashed and held them out. He once again nodded his thanks and placed one of the pieces in his pouch. "For later." He smiled as he opened the other one. " I do like peppermint." We sat, quietly enjoying the candy, but his story haunted me. I broke the silence. "I'm surprised that a nation of people, fighting that hard, would have been defeated, even with the insurmountable odds that were against them." This got me an odd half smile from the little guy. "You think they all gave up? Have you ever been up in the hills, walking through the woods by yourself, and get this odd feeling you were not alone? As if there was someone watching your every move and yet, you look around and no one is there, that you can see, but that feeling of being watched just won't go away?" I could feel the hair standing up on my neck as he described something I've encountered often. I leaned toward him. "Are you telling me that some of the...people still roam free in the hills, living their life as they have for centuries?" The small man leaned toward me, and flicked his finger painfully against my nose! "No you dumbass. I'm telling you you have a vivid imagination. Why don't you use it to write a story?" I rubbed my nose as he hopped down from the branch and started walking toward my neighbor's field. "Hey wait!", I said as I stood, "if you're hungry or something, I'd be happy to bring you inside to the kitchen..." I stopped as he held up his hands. "Listen, don't get the idea we're friends or anything. I only appeared to you because I know good smoke when I smell it. You got your world and I got mine. I leave now." At the edge of the grass he paused, "Although, if you take to always carrying peppermint candy in your pocket,.." He looked over his shoulder, smiled and shrugged. I watched as he walked into the tall grass, his movement making the grass flow as if the wind was passing through...or maybe it was only the wind. Back in the house I sit at my computer,awaiting my muse. I think of the little man's story of a people fighting for their lifestyle, but I can't think of how to adapt it for my use. I sit at the computer staring at the keys. Deadline come. Deadline go. Still I can't think of anything to write about. That's why, for this issue, I got nothing.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
YAS Growing Miles France MRF A&E Marketing Assistant The 2010 Meeting of the Minds met another goal for the future of our motorcycling rights and freedoms. Three more Young Activist Scholars were added to the folks who we’re depending on to keep motorcycling as free and enjoyable as it is today. This years winners were Jeremiah Parent (Idaho), Katie Gross (MN), and Lori Butler (SD). As I’ve said before this is a starting point for these younger folks to go home and spread the word what our government can do to us if they are not watched daily. Think if no one cared and we had no choice as to what we wear or what our motorcycle customization would be, none. Luckily we do have SMRO’s and others who do care and keep a close eye on our government.
These younger folks are the ticket to carrying on what so many folks have fought to keep in line. As an SMRO you need to look deep into your organization and find that next YAS candidate for 2011. Maybe you have the diamond in the rough right in front of you. Watch them and prepare them for what lies ahead of them and how much better our world will continue to be if only they step up and continue the battle that is always going to be there. Tomorrow there could be another politician telling us all a new law will make it against the law to ride without a windshield. Think it couldn’t happen, sit back do nothing and watch the results. THANK YOU to all the SMRO’s who took the time over the years to help build the force that is going to keep our government in line with our riding freedoms. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation Awareness and Education is asking you to dig deep and find more of the future freedom fighters for the Young Activist Scholarship program.
Letter from a 2010 YAS Winner Katie Gross 2010 Young Activist Scholarship Winner First of all, I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity to receive the Young Activist Scholarship and attend the Meeting of the Minds in Illinois. I had a great time meeting all of you and hearing all of the struggles you are facing and, more importantly, the triumphs. It was an eye opening experience. There is one phrase that sticks in my mind from the weekend. I was talking with some people after the panel discussion Friday afternoon. Someone walked up to me and said “Thank you for giving a shit.” Folks, thank YOU for giving a shit. It is people like you who have fought the fight so people like me can have the freedoms we do and also join you in the fight and eventually have to take it over. It is hard for someone my age to fully understand how hard it is to fight a helmet law or to have to talk loud enough to get your point across to a politician. Us young people need your experience. Take us under your wing and teach us. Try and put things into our perspective. There are people my age who do understand and care about freedoms. Most of them don’t
know where to go to learn more or do more. When someone new, old or young, comes to a meeting or an event, make them feel wanted and important. The best way to get people to stick around is to make them feel like you want them there and that their ideas and opinions are worthwhile. I hope to attend events like the Meeting of the Minds in the future. I also hope that there are more people who have “been there, done that” who are willing to help me understand what fights are being fought and what I can do to help. Remember, anyone who rides is someone who can help the cause. Approach people, tell them what you stand for and are about. You never know what might happen. There are a lot of people who are uninformed. You might make a lifelong friend or even find the next state coordinator of your organization. God bless you all and I hope you find the courage you need to do what you do every day. Thank you for fighting the fight so I can chose when and where and how long I ride my bike. I hope to carry the torch someday and I really hope I don’t disappoint anyone. Folks, Thanks for giving a shit!
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
MEP Bernd Lange Supports FEMA Positions Aline Delhaye, General Secretary of FEMA, met Member of European Parliament (MEP) Bernd Lange to discuss current topics of the European agenda which are related to motorcycling. The German MEP is a motorcycle enthusiast, and has been supporting FEMA activities for many years. During the meeting Mrs. Delhaye presented to Mr. Lange the ongoing FEMA campaign against the harmonisation of periodical technical inspections (PTI) for motorcycles. According to Mrs. Delhaye, such harmonisation of testing standards would lead to the forced introduction of PTI for motorcycles in countries where they have been left out so far. Because the proportion of motorcycle accidents caused by technical failures remains as low as ever, regardless of the implementation of PTI, many riders consider mandatory periodic testing as an unnecessary administrative burden. Mr. Lange stated that he would not oppose PTI for motorcycles in general. In Germany vehicle testing has been introduced over 60 years ago and its benefit is hardly put into question. Nevertheless the MEP highlighted that riding conditions vary significantly across Europe, which warrants action country by country rather than an extensive European system. Mr. Lange concluded that "safety matters should be addressed by member states, this is not the time to harmonise PTI in Europe".
Low emissions require high durability While it is claimed that PTI improves road safety, arguments in favour also underline the importance of pollution control. Supporters of mandatory inspections argue that it is the only feasible way to check vehicle emissions on a regular basis. "I consider current emission measurements for motorcycles as inadequate and unreliable. Up to my knowledge no valid testing procedure has been introduced yet" said Mr. Lange. In line with FEMA, the German MEP pledges for high durability regulations whenever motorcycle emissions are discussed. Mr Lange added: "I have been reported a number of cases already, where motorcycles were unable to pass an emissions test despite fairly low mileage. Whatever will be agreed upon, emissions durability is not the responsibility of the user, it must be guaranteed by the manufacturers". "The upcoming months might include some major threats for the users of powered two wheelers. For the motorcycling community it is very important to be in contact with decision makers who really know about motorcycling and its specific characteristics. Bernd Lange is one of them" says Aline Delhaye.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The MRF Legislative Strategy Agenda for 2010-2011 At the recent 2010 Motorcycle Riders Foundations (MRF) Meeting of the Minds held September in Peoria Illinois, a Legislative Strategy Session was hosted by the MRF’s Legislative Committee. As has been done for the past several years, the MRF requested that it be attended by Sustaining State Motorcyclists Rights Organizations (SSMRO) Legislative and/or Executive Officers. The goal is to set the MRF’s Federal Legislative Agenda for the coming Meeting of the Minds “to” Meeting of the Minds cycle. Our Sustaining SMRO partners responded once again and the Legislative Committee was extremely pleased at how aligned and clear the direction from our SSMRO partners was. This level of alignment will allow for a solid and focused Strategic Action plan to be developed, disseminated, and effectively employed. An additional feature of the session this year was to have the session moderated by MRF Vice President Jay Jackson and supported by MRF President, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, and MRF Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, Jeff Hennie. Also instituted this year was a one vote per organization policy and those votes were then recorded. Shown below in the order raised by our SSMRO’s is our upcoming Federal Legislative Strategy Agenda followed by the recorded votes on each. Where “consent” is listed it is on legislative issues that were brought up by those in attendance from SMRO or MRF Leadership and once initial discussion was held and a position explained no further discussion ensued regarding stated position and no vote was called for. - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Reintroduce bill, stay the course, build on HR1253 which requires health insurance companies to disclose the list of “source of injury” exclusions in the policies they issue 80% Favor, 0% Oppose - NHTSA Checkpoint Grant Program MRF to carry out a full effort to cut off specified use funding for this motorcycle based discriminatory practice, work with States to exchange information on passing anti-checkpoint laws
90% Favor, 0% Oppose - 2010 Motorcycle Grant Funding MRF to pursue continuation in upcoming highway bill and work to tighten up language for qualification and use 90% Favor, 0% Oppose - Motorcycle Advisory Council (MAC) MRF to pursue continuation of MAC in upcoming highway bill 100% Favor - NHTSA to States Lobby Ban MRF to work to maintain current NHTSA Ban with an attempt to expand it to the Federal Department of Transportation, to date no members of Congress from any state has been willing to include NTSB in this ban, until such time the MRF will continue to closely monitor the activity of the agency and respond accordingly 100% Favor - Crash Causation Study MRF to allow the current study to take its’ course and respond accordingly, disappointed with the reduced scope, pursue no additional funding - Monitor MSF alternate Naturalistic Study Consent - House Resolution 1498 MRF to promote our theme of Crash Avoidance versus Safer Crashing using HR1498 which “supports efforts to retain the ban on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) ability to lobby state legislatures using federal tax dollars and urging NHTSA to focus on crash prevention and rider education”
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The MRF Legislative Strategy Agenda for 2010-2011 continued Consent - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-Motorcycle Sound -MRF to “fiercely” oppose EPA Federal Certification mandatory exhaust system stamping if proposed
MRF to take a position against distracted driving however strongly oppose any federal blackmail or withholding of funds for it as related to motorcycles 100% Favor - Right to Repair
-MRF to oppose any federal legislation following California SB435 -MRF to encourage State and Local motorcycle sound activities, not considered a federal issue at this time, if it becomes one we’ll reconvene on it -MRF to oppose any suggested decrease in allowable decibels -MRF to oppose federal agencies encouraging state activity, leave up to states 80% Favor, 5% Oppose (opposition sought decibel increase) - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-Motorcycle Emissions MRF to monitor any future proposals or activity, none at this time Consent - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-Exhaust Study MRF to continue to investigate EPA exhaust manufacturer study request initiative Consent - SAE Motorcycle Roadside Sound Test MRF to promote adoption of the SAE Sound Test as a National Enforcement Standard 0% Favor, 30% Oppose, 55% No Opinion (at this time, revisit if it becomes a federal issue) - Distracted Driving Laws
MRF to continue current course of action 95% Favor, 0% Oppose - Definition of a Motorcycle MRF to pursue current course of action in Washington D.C. to enhance and further clarify the definition of a motorcycle Consent - Motorcycle and Motorcyclists Discrimination MRF to continue to watchdog all federally proposed “gang” legislation to prohibit any impact on motorcyclists for non criminal activity 75% Favor, 0% Oppose - Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) MRF to work to pass legislation to exempt youth bikes and ATV’s from CPSC Lead Ban, support Rehberg HR1587 95% Favor, 0% Oppose - European Union and United Nations Activity -MRF to continue presence and working relationships Internationally -MRF to share costs of European Lobbying/Meeting attendance as needed and within budget 95% Favor, 0% Oppose, 5% to Increase Activity MRF LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Dave Dwyer, Jeff Hennie, Cindy Hodges, Jay Jackson, Jim “Legs” Korte, Boyd McFail, Larry Nielson, John Pierce, Todd Riba, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
ABATE of Minnesota is Proud to Host the 22nd Annual Heartland STEAM March 25th - 27th, 2011 Canterbury Inn, Shakopee, MN Heartland STEAM is a regional seminar for motorcyclists. STEAM stands for “Seminar To Educate And Motivate.” Its purpose is to educate motorcyclists on motorcycle rights and safety issues. All profits benefit the Motorcycle Rider’s Foundation (MRF).
weekend long. Friday March 25th – 5:00 pm – Registration begins, followed by a social time and entertaining fundraisers. Saturday March 26th – 8:00 am – Registration table opens. 9:00 am – General Session. Followed by break out seminars, live and silent auctions, and the banquet. Heartland STEAM registration is $50 per person before February 28th and $60 after February 28th. Registration fee includes full access to all seminars, break out sessions, and lunch and dinner on Saturday.
The Heartland STEAM region consists of motorcycle rights organizations from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois and Nebraska. All motorcyclists are welcome to attend. The Heartland STEAM conference will feature seminars to assist motorcyclists in defending, building and strengthening our grassroots organizations. Attendees will also enjoy true “Minnesota Nice” hospitality all
For more information: Call ABATE of Minnesota at 1800-224-6570 Check out our website at abatemn.org Or e-mail email@example.com
US House Resolution 1498 Copied below is the summary and status of US House Resolution 1498. This resolution strongly supports the ban on NHTSA lobbying and tells NHTSA to focus on safer driving. After face to face discussion, my US Representative gladly signed on earlier this week. I urge every politically active biker to ask their US Representative to sign on to this resolution. It will re-enforce our position to the returning representatives and be a springboard for discussion to the newly elected members when the 112th Congress convenes in January. Note: This is a resolution not a bill and should be referred to as H Res1498 (not HR1498). Thanks and keep throwing those punches, Mack Backlund Asst Rep - Minnesota H.RES.1498 Title: Supporting efforts to retain the ban on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) ability to lobby State legislators using Federal tax dollars and urging the NHTSA to focus on crash prevention and rider education and training.
Sponsor: Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] (introduced 7/1/2010) Cosponsors (12) Latest Major Action: 7/2/2010 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. COSPONSORS(12), BY DATE Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5] 7/1/2010 Rep Rehberg, Denny [MT] 7/1/2010 Rep Petri, Thomas E. [WI-6] 7/1/2010 Rep Ryan, Paul [WI-1] 7/1/2010 Rep Biggert, Judy [IL-13] 7/15/2010 Rep Marshall, Jim [GA-8] 7/20/2010 Rep Schock, Aaron [IL-18] 9/15/2010 Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] - 9/15/2010 Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] - 11/16/2010 Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] - 11/16/2010 Rep Hare, Phil [IL-17] - 11/16/2010 Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] - 11/29/2010
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The View Past the Handlebars The Upstream Threat I want to tell you a short story I heard on the radio the other day. Seems that two couples got together one day for a hike. They drove to a local park and, as they were taking a stroll along a stream, they heard a sharp cry for help. Down the stream came a small child, caught in the current and obviously unable to swim well. One of the husbands quickly jumped into the current and swam out to the child. He latched on and began pulling her to safety, but just as they neared the shore, they all heard another cry for help. Amazingly, another child came drifting down the stream, also in danger of drowning. This time one of the wives jumped into the water and swam out to the second child, but just as she reached her, yet a third cry for help was heard. Acting quickly, the other husband jumped into the stream and swam to the aid of the third child. As shocking as it may seem, one more terrified cry for help came from upriver. But rather than dive into the stream, the remaining wife took off at a sprint upstream. Her husband yelled at her, “What are you doing? Can’t you see that there’s another child in
the water?” She yelled back, “Of course I can see that.” “Well then,” the husband fired back, “why are you running away?” She shot back, “I’m going upstream to stop whoever is throwing the children in the water!” The moral of this story? You can’t wait until the crisis comes to you – you have to act proactively to get to the cause of the crisis. For us motorcyclists, it’s not good enough to rally together once a helmet bill or other such nonsense legislation is floated our way. Think about it – the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced its intentions to wage war on the freedoms of motorcyclists. In other words, they’ve started throwing children in the water. But instead of waiting for the children to float downstream, or in this case for the draft of mandatory helmet legislation to be introduced, we have to run upstream and stop the cause of the problem. Work proactively. Get involved. Get in the faces of your politicians before the crisis hits and let them know how you feel. For if you don’t, it may be you that’s thrown downstream. I only hope there’s someone there to save you. The Ghostrider
Lawrence of Arabia and the Helmet Law Reprinted from http://motorcycleminds.org By Elaine Hardy, PhD United Kingdom - 11th October 2010: “Boa and I took the Newark road for the last hour of daylight. He ambles at forty-five and when roaring his utmost, surpasses the hundred. A skittish motor-bike with a touch of blood in it is better than all the riding animals on earth, because of its logical extension of our faculties, and the hint, the provocation, to excess conferred by its honeyed untiring smoothness. Because Boa loves me, he gives me five more miles of speed than a stranger would get from him”. This 1000cc motorcycle was the prized possession of T E Lawrence, better known as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, and the machine on which he was killed in May of 1935. Lawrence’s Brough Superior was tailor-made by George Brough himself and cost 170 pounds in 1932. This was the seventh Brough that Lawrence had owned. He named each in succession ‘George 1′ to ‘George VII’, and also referred to some of them, including this model, as ‘Boanerges’ or ‘Boa’ (Son of Thunder). His seventh motorcycle is on display at
the Imperial War Museum. The Brough Superior was the fastest and most expensive machine on the road at the time. It easily reached speeds of over 100 mph and was at the cutting edge of 1930′s design. The motorcycle was Lawrence’s constant companion on the deserted country roads of pre-war Britain. Long distance visits to friends such as Winston Churchill or Lady Astor were achieved in record time. ‘It is the silkiest thing I have ever ridden…’ Lawrence would famously say. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO (16 August 1888 – 19 May 1935), was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18. The extraordinary breadth and variety of his activities and associations, and his ability to describe them vividly in writing, earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia, a title popularised by the 1962 film based on his life. At the age of 46, two months after leaving the service, Lawrence continued page 17
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Lawrence of Arabia and the Helmet Law continued was fatally injured in an accident on his Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle in Dorset, close to his cottage, Clouds Hill, near Wareham. A dip in the road obstructed his view of two boys on their bicycles; he swerved to avoid them, lost control and was thrown over the handlebars. He died six days later on 19 May 1935. The spot is marked by a small memorial at the side of the road. One of the several doctors attending him was a young neurosurgeon, Hugh Cairns. He was moved by the tragedy in a way that was to have farreaching consequences. At the beginning of the Second World War, he highlighted the unnecessary loss of life among army motorcycle dispatch riders as a result of head injuries. His research concluded that the adoption of crash helmets as standard by both military and civilian motorcyclists would result in considerable saving of life. It was 32 years later, however, that motorcycle crash helmets were made compulsory in the United Kingdom. As a consequence of treating T.E. Lawrence and through his research at Oxford, Sir Hugh Cairns’ work largely pioneered legislation for protective headgear by motorcyclists and subsequently in the workplace and for many sports worldwide. (…).
It is ironic that Lawrence, a man so passionate about motorcycling was, through the manner in which he died, responsible for the Helmet Law. Fred Hill and the Helmet Law A former army dispatch rider during WW2, Fred worked for many years as a mathematics teacher before leaving to enjoy what he doubtless expected would be a quiet retirement. Incensed by the compulsory helmet law, Fred rode everywhere in an old beret and collected hundreds of tickets, which he stored in a large suitcase. Fred’s refusal to pay the fines for helmet-less riding constituted ‘Contempt of Court’ for which he was given thirty one custodial sentences. With the passage of time, police in Fred’s neighbourhood frequently turned a blind eye to his indiscretions, though when he went further afield he would invariably be stopped. In order to cover the necessary distances Fred replaced his Honda 50 with a 250 and on one occasion, he battled all the way to the Gower Peninsula in Wales and back, a distance of about 500 miles in one day despite appalling weather. Fred Hill was seventy four years old when in 1984 he died from a heart attack suffered whilst in custody in London’s Pentonville
Download this ad to run in your SMRO newsletter at www.mrf.org
continued page 18
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Lawrence of Arabia and the Helmet Law continued Prison. His final sentence of 60 days, proving too much to take, was half completed. The prison governor had warned Fred that the harsh prison environment could be the death of him, to which Fred replied that, ‘it didn’t matter where a man died but how.’ In 2010, the wearing of a helmet is considered a normal state of affairs in Europe and in most other countries throughout the world, with the exception of the USA where the helmet law is decided by state legislators and not all states have legislation making motorcycle helmets mandatory. Within Europe there is however one organisation that still adheres to the principle of free choice. Ian Mutch, President of the Motorcycle Action Group and editor of The Road, MAG UK’s members’ magazine explains the founding principle of this Riders’ Rights organisation in an interview in 2003. “What MAG started out as was something extremely simple, it was a bunch of people who didn’t like being told what to wear and the helmet law was really the founding issue. Up till then – I’d been riding bikes for four years then in 1973 and the helmet law came out. Now I wasn’t aware of any anti biker problems whatsoever, or there may have been some prejudice but I wasn’t aware of it. But when that came out it seemed to me like the end of the world, it was certainly a dramatic change in the world. I used to wear a helmet probably 70% of the time, but on a day like today if I was riding around in the sunshine, slow old bike that I had then, I wouldn’t wear one and I still wouldn’t today even though I’ve got a much faster bike – although I don’t go that fast but this isn’t really the point. The point is that what had been challenged was a fundamental civil liberty. Because what the government was saying was “We have the right to make you do what we think is right for your own good” but to neglect that proportion which we’re advocating is not going to harm anybody else and I couldn’t think at that time of another law which in the same way fundamentally attacked the civil liberties of an individual – not in quite the same way. My feeling was then as it is now, for a law to be legitimate it really has to satisfy a number of criteria. Number one it has to be necessary and if you took a look at the situation just prior to the hel-
met law about 88% of people were wearing helmets voluntarily, so the number of people being affected was very small”. Trevor Baird, General Secretary of MAG UK resigned in 2008 and in his farewell speech to the Annual General Conference said: “We talk about helmets and whether this debate still has a purpose for MAG. The way I see it, helmets keep out the cold; they keep out insects and the occasional pigeon. Whether helmets save lives or not, I don’t know, I ride because it gives me pleasure, and I don’t waste my time worrying about the consequences. The principle of MAG’s objection to the helmet law is not an umbilical attachment, but a philosophy that underpins MAG’s existence. Thus, every action we have taken, every action we should take, centres around this one fundamental principle. It’s not about whether you wear a helmet or in fact any form of protection, it’s about whether you choose to do so. It’s a way of life that I share with my friends and fellow riders. The culture of safety and security eats away at everything we do and dinosaurs like myself, find it harder to explain that each of us must stand up and be counted. Helmets, protective clothing, leg protectors, electronic safety devices may or may not save us. Our wits and God’s favour might. But in the end, we must have the right to live our lives as we see fit, respecting our fellow man, but in freedom”. The death of Lawrence was a catalyst that had profound consequences for motorcycling throughout the world. From Lawrence’s death and over the years, doctors, policy makers, insurers and more recently, motorcyclists themselves, have decreed that safety legislation should now replace the freedom to choose whether we wear a helmet, how we ride our motorcycles and even what motorcycles we should ride: we must be saved from ourselves and consequently, we may see in the not too distant future that all that remains are our dreams. “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible”. (T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars Of Wisdom)
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Massachusetts Motorcycle Association Turns 35! Doc D’Errico, MA State Rep Dateline – November 14, 1975… Incorporation papers are filed for the Modified Motorcycle Association as a business entity in Massachusetts. With Bob Doiron as the first Chairman, the small band of riders had a mission – to stop the harassment of riders by law enforcement and to re-establish the freedoms of the open road. Fast forward to 2002 – by a sweeping majority, the entire membership voted to change the name from Modified Motorcycle Association to Massachusetts Motorcycle Association to reflect its broader scope and reach. On July 31, 2003, then MMA Chairman Jimi Ricci and ABATE of MA Chair, Dave Condon, signed merger documents joining these two prestigious organizations together. A logical step given significant overlap in membership and a completely aligned vision. With the power of one voice in Massachusetts, the MMA has accomplished a lot in its 35 years thanks in no small part to its leadership, but mostly the strength and dedication of its membership. Indeed, many of those members are still voices within the MMA today and continue the fight they started. One highlight for me, personally, is the MMA annual “Storm the Statehouse” where riders from across the Commonwealth converge on our State House in Boston to discuss our Legislative Agenda and meet with our State Senators and Representatives. The events before the ride and afterwards are almost always attended by MMA members sporting old patches and regaling stories of those early days. One story, shared by current MMA chairman Dave Condon, told of his first interest in merging the MMA and ABATE. Dave talked about fighting a long series of tickets being issued by a law enforcement officer on the north shore of Massachusetts. Dave commented, “we had both ABATE of MA and MMA members written up so we joined forces to beat the tickets. It was the first time I realized that working together and staying united what a bunch of riders could do while standing up for their rights. Convinced me the system works if you work the system.”
The strength of the power of all those riders wasn’t just a flash in the pan, either. Dave continued, “the second time I really realized this was the first Storm the State House in 2003 of which the former ABATE members helped organize and coordinate -- it was very impressive seeing riders all go to the State House to bring their agenda in front of the legislators. They really can't ignore you when you show up with 100 or so other people all dressed funny in leather. Although my State Senator shut his door in my face when I walked into his office as he didn't want to be disturbed while he ate lunch. This sparked me even more to stay involved and I work to this day to vote him out of office.” While the MMA has yet to successfully defeat the mandatory Helmet Law in Massachusetts, we’ve come close several times – the last time at the end of the Legislative Session in 2008 when the bill was only pending a vote in the House. But while we’ve not yet won that war, we’ve won many battles along the way, including: · The right to choose NOT to wear a helmet during a permitted parade. · Defeated legislation mandating full-face helmets · Defeated legislation mandating horsepower limitations · Defeated legislation mandating passenger age minimum limits · Convincing every Governor since 1990 to declare a statewide Motorcycle Safety Awareness Period ·
Establish Veteran and Handicap Motorcycle License Plates
Allow more than one Motorcycle per Parking Space
· Overturned the “Brockton D. Fields Park” Motorcycle Ban through the Massachusetts Supreme Court, a victory that set a National precedent! continued page 21
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Is it Magic? Cindy Hodges Member Representative Board Member Where do you invest? And what do you invest? With the economy in the state it has been in the past few years, those questions seem to be pretty moot where I'm concerned. All financial investments have gone the way of the do-do bird. And if you get that reference you are getting up there in years, like me. At my age, its a sad thing to realize. Ever the optimist, I have been casting about trying to find something to feel good about. What have I invested in that is going to yield a positive result? I have no children. I have no savings. I have no retirement. I no longer own a big nice house. So what do I have to show for the years of my life? The answer wasn't long in coming. If you are reading this, you are part of that answer. Like you, I've invested in my future and the future of those who come after me, by trying to keep this one corner of my freedoms and liberties where they should be. Some things in life are not in our control but we can stand up and be counted. We can resolve to never quit trying to make a difference. That costs something that has no price... time. Our time. Our time is the most precious commodity we have. You can spend it but you cannot get it back. You cannot earn more. You get what you get. Some folks might find us odd, if not out right crazy, to spend so much of our lives heavily involved in the motorcyclists' rights movement. When you look around at your brothers and sisters who are likewise engaged, you see people whose passions run deep about the same things. And if you stay
involved long enough you really come to appreciate that they are in there with you. There are no “stars” in the motorcyclists rights movement... not really. There are those who give more than others or achieve more than others, but the truth is, anyone who stays involved for more than a nanosecond is giving of their life. They are making an investment in their prosperity and there is no greater value or cost. It is the motorcyclists' rights movement that taught me civics. In this “life”, I learned how a bill becomes law, how committees work, how bureaucracy works, how taxes work, how government works, what my role as a citizen is and more to the point, what my responsibilities as a citizen are. It is the motorcyclists' rights movement that has birthed my friends and the family that I select as my own. More importantly, the family that selected ME as their own. They sent me to school, put me to work, gave me focus. They keep me from falling and if I do fall, they pick me up. As we start a new year, I'm recommending we all look around us. Your SMRO or your club, or both; is giving you something. Think about what that is. For so long I thought I was there to give the organization something. It was only when I got older that I realized that I was the one on the receiving end. Having hundreds of people in your state, and thousands across the nation stand with you as you continuously step up, speak up, and move forward to maintain the pursuit of happiness and liberties accorded us as American citizens isn't a right. It isn't a job, and it isn't a one-man/woman show. It's a gift. An invaluable gift with various intricacies and meanings. In this one thing, I've made the right investment. So have you. Thank you.
European Commission Proposes New Type Approval Rules for Motorcycles The proposal defines the technical provisions new motorcycles have to fulfill in future in order to be used legally on public roads. Following the suggestions of FEMA, the Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations, the Commission proposes the abolishment of the 100hp limit as well as the introduction of strong durability requirements for emissions. But the proposal also includes harsh restrictions regarding engine modifications and mandatory ABS. Last week the European Commission proposed the so-called Regulation on the Approval and Market Surveillance of Two- or Three-Wheel Vehicles. The regulation aims at improving the safety as well as the environmental performance of these vehicles and has now to be approved by the European Parliament as well as by the Council before coming into force. While many of the proposed changes are favouring the position of riders, FEMA also hopes to disarm the few elements which jeopardise riders' rights and consumers' freedom of choice.
A first point to be highlighted is that the Commission finally acknowledges what FEMA for many years has been campaigning for: the anticipated correlation between safety and maximum power limitation is misleading. Therefore the Commission proposes to no longer allow member states to ban motorcycles with a maximum power of 74 kW (the 100 hp limit). The only EU country which is still restricting motorcycles to 74 kW is France. Stricter emission rules and stricter liability The emission limits for motorcycles and scooters will become stricter. The Commission suggests a stepped approach to make new bikes comply with the Euro 5 and Euro 6 norms until 2020. FEMA was pushing for the early introduction of these steps as well as for making the manufacturers responsible for the durability of the required emission level. Indeed the Commission continued page 23
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
MMA Turns 35! continued · MMA fought to pass legislation for State-Funded Rider Education and Motorist Awareness Programs. Later, the MMA also successfully appealed to the Governor to transfer the Massachusetts Rider Education Program to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. ·
Obtain discounts on Motorcycle Insurance
With great pride, the MMA was honored to receive two awards for our accomplishments over the past year at this year’s MRF “Meeting of the Minds”. The first was for the MMA's continued support of the MRF’s national agenda and the second was a State Legislative Award for defeating local noise ordinances across the state –
· Helped eliminate "motorcycle" and "motorcyclist" references from U.S. Senate Bill 339, The Outlaw Street and Motorcycle Gang Control Act of 1991. · In 1982, began the “Check Twice – Save a Life” awareness program led by then Chairman, Bob Doiron. · Established Motorcycle Parking in the city of Boston and Town of Plymouth · Worked with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office to help restore over $21 Million in Motorcycle Insurance Premium overpayments to Motorcyclists to date
To be recognized nationally by our fellow motorcycle rights organizations is quite an accomplishment and we are extremely proud of our membership, their vigilance, team effort, and their commitment to Motorcycle Rights. On December 4th, the MMA Celebrated its 35th Anniversary during an annual holiday event in Chicopee MA. Nearly 200 people including fellow activists from the CMRA and NHMRO enjoyed a night of laughter, entertainment, and reminiscing. Numerous life members were in attendance including several who have been with the MMA during the entire 35 year journey.
· Worked with local towns to establish voluntary sound testing programs and the MMA’s “When in Town, Throttle Down” campaign. Over the last 2 years the MMA has also been hard at work fighting sound ordinances at both the State and Local levels – in numerous towns and cities around the Commonwealth this has become an increasingly challenging issue, but the MMA has defeated all of them with the exception of Boston which was passed without comment by Motorcyclists. In one case, the MMA fought a Motorcycle-only checkpoint and defended all riders who were issued tickets, defeating 100% of those which were fought in court.
Dave Condon, current MMA chairman, presented several awards for achievement and read commemorative notes from past chairmen Bob Doiron and Kevin Griffin thanking the current board and membership for their continued dedication to the mission. As we celebrate our 35th Anniversary, the MMA today is thousands of riders organized into 4 districts across the Commonwealth. All with an eye to the future, a commitment to carry the torch of the past, but all with a singular mission: to be vigilant in order to protect the rights of the Motorcyclist. Ride Proud, Ride Safely, Ride FREE!
As a result, the MMA has increased our membership by 71% over the last two years and retention is at an all-time high!
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
SMROs in Action Iowa
Santa’s Little Helper Sandra Clark arrives at the CMRA toy run. Walt Rogers, the 1st candidate ABATE of Iowa has endorsed along with 4 folks from ABATE District 16 which is in his legislative district. l-r: Mike (Mohawk) Stone, Dawn (Lips) Wessels, Walt Rogers, Theresa Swingen & James (Bulldog) Will
Some of the participants from the 2010 ABATEof Wisconsin Lobby Day
Today (10-29-10) as a representative of NHMRO and MRF, Bob Letourneau presented a check to US Senate Candidate Kelly Ayotte from the MRF PAC. The MRF believes that Ms Ayotte is a freedom loving patriot and will defend our freedom in the US Senate. (She has won her election and is now the US Senator Elect from NH)
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Mid-South M.I.L.E. - Texas, 2010 I had always heard that things were bigger in Texas, but being a dude from the Show-Me State, you have to “show me” to make me a believer. Guess what? Texas showed me, and this past October, in Texas, the biggest Mid-South M.I.L.E. in the 19- year history of the conference became reality. Over 200 motorcyclists from 5 states and Europe were in attendance, in Sherman, Texas to rejuvenate their noggins on the finer points of motorcyclist rights. The conference kicked off on Saturday morning with Slider Gilmore presenting his new seminar: LESSONS OF LIFE. This was not the usual “Two-Wheel Trauma” type seminar that we are used to from Slider; rather some key points that will help you attain happiness and success in your life, from lessons Slider has learned over the years and thru research. Well worth the time. We were given updates about this past year’s legislative sessions and what we can look forward to in the upcoming year from the 5 states (Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri) as well as the MRF, AMA, NCOM, and our friends in Europe. The folks in Texas provided a great luncheon and then it was down to the nitty gritty of the conference. Presentations were made by the MRF (Thank you Hardtail), AMA (Imre Szauter), NCOM (South Dakota State Senator Jim “Putter” Putnam) Theo Beeldens and Bart Cocquet (MAG Belgium) gave us some insight to what is going on in Europe as it eventually gets to this
side of the Atlantic and affects us as bikers. Other seminars included: Share the Road (Wayne Wierson, ABATE of IOWA), Women in Motorcycling (Connie Thompson, ABATE of Texas), Civics 101 and Effective Leadership (Terry Cook, FORR, Missouri), Magic and Toxic Members (John Pierce, ABATE of Oklahoma and MRF Board Member), Letter Writing (Andy Stoody, ABATE of Texas) and more. The day’s business concluded with the banquet and auction of State Baskets (not of your Easter variety). Then it was off to the hospitality room and what happens in Texas stays in Texas. The Texans set the bar and as we make plans for the 2011 Mid-South M.I.L.E. in Missouri we anticipate it being bigger and better than the one just concluded. If all goes well, be looking in the MRF Reports for information inviting you to attend the 20th Annual MILE, in Missouri in mid-October. The Mission Statement: the Goal of the MidSouth M.I.L.E. (Motorcyclists Improving Legislative Effectiveness) is to share ideas, techniques, strategies, and enthusiasm using the format of an annual educational conference. The MILE has been meeting that goal for the past 19 years and it is our hope and belief we will be here for the long term. Submitted by Wayne “Tip” Tipton Vice-Chairman, Mid-South MILE
European Commission Proposes New Type Approval Rules for Motorcycles continued proposes a durability requirement of 50.000 km for motorcycles that will comply with Euro 6. This means that for the first time the manufacturer can be held liable in case emission values degrade over time.
tronics? Commission wants to prevent or at least to strictly hamper any private technical modification of the "powertrain" aimed at improving torque, power or maximum speed of road legal bikes. Before the development of any detailed measures, a study will be conducted in order to clarify whether modifications have been representing any significant danger to the environment or to the safety of riders so far. FEMA claims that the responsibility to ensure that a machine is appropriate to a given driving licence status should remain to the rider which would maintain the possibility to modify any part of the bike. The Commission agreed to consult delegates of FEMA once again regarding this issue.
Starting from 2017 all powered two-wheelers will be equipped with on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems to monitor failure and deterioration of engine and vehicle management systems. FEMA made clear that OBD could represent a benefit for the consumers only if the information provided would be freely accessible. So far the Commission promises "reasonable and proportionate fees for access to vehicle repair and maintenance information" for dealers and repairers. FEMA already advised the Commission that "repairers" must include individuals which would not have an additional cost. Commission officials have signalled their support.
Disregarding FEMA's objection, the Commission decided to introduce mandatory anti-lock brakes for all new motorcycles with an
No more engine modification, no more braking without elec-
continued page 43
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Why All Bikers Need the MRF Wayne Wierson Member Representative Board Member Everyone is talking about the NTSB report that puts motorcycles on their “Most Wanted” list. This is quite a change from how the NTSB usually conducts business. Whenever a plane goes down, a train derails or a bus leaves the road they send a highly trained crew to analyze and evaluate every aspect of what happened. This is the signature of how the NTSB works. They study data, documents and hold interviews to determine what happened, why and how to prevent this crash from ever happening again. With motorcycles they just say “Wear a helmet”. This is equivalent to having a person stand on a three story building ready to jump off and the NTSB says “Go ahead and jump, you’re wearing a helmet”. (I got that from John Pierce). Some of you might remember that I actually got to testify at an NTSB hearing on Motorcycle Safety In 2006. The presentation can be found at: http://www.ntsb.gov/events/symp_motorcycle_safety/Public%20E ducation%20and%20Awareness%20Panel/Wayne%20Wierson%20-%20ABATE%20of%20Iowa/Wayne%20Wierson%20%20ABATE%20of%20Iowa.pdf They didn’t listen when I talked about how awareness programs like Share The Road can make a difference by talking to drivers and soon to be drivers about being aware of motorcycles, they didn’t listen when I told them about how rider education can make a difference in riding skills, they didn’t listen when I talked about “Riding Straight”. All of these programs and efforts on the
part of individual states to make riding safer fell on deaf ears. Their answer is to wear a helmet. This is a prime example of why we need the MRF. The MRF is not only our voice in Washington D.C., but a united voice across the nation. We need people to make a commitment not only to their state motorcycle rights organization but to step up and be heard at a national level. We need to talk about how the figures that are thrown out to make their case are bogus. Facts like: More than 12 motorcyclists die in crashes in the USA each day, and the leading cause of death in those fatalities is head injuries, NTSB Vice Chairman Christopher Hart said Tuesday in urging states without laws covering all riders to adopt them. The only way the NTSB Vice Chairman could know that the cause of death was head injuries was if autopsies were performed on all motorcycle fatalities and those autopsies were made known to the NTSB. What are the chances of that? This is a statement without substance but because someone in a government positions says it the public just swallows it whole. We have become a society of instant solutions, have a headache, take a pill, need to lose weight, take a pill, stop motorcycle fatalities, wear a helmet. How do we stop this from continuing? Join your state’s motorcycle rights group; attend the meetings get involved on a state and local level. Join the MRF your voice in Washington and your voice to all of the politicos in DC. Make a commitment that we will not go quietly into the night, they will not force us to wear a helmet simply because the NTSB thinks it’s a good idea.
Join the MRF Group on Facebook! TheMRFhasbeenstrivingto becomemoreaccessibleonline andthisisthelatestthingtotake thenetbystorm. Getallthelatestmotorcyclenews outofWashington,D.C.andhook upwithsomeoldfriendswhile you’reatit. Seeyouthere.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Why Did They Hang Horse Thieves? Is Forfeiting a Right Worth $6.28; Or Worse: $3.68?? Larry Nielson SSMRO Board Member “A man coveted his possessions in the west in this order: first his horse, second his rifle, third his dog, and fourth his wife. Steal his wife but beware of the wrath rendered if one was to steal his horse.” (Ellis County Texas History). That oft repeated quote placed the “right” to transportation equal with survival. Fast forward: If you do a search on the internet today using the words “right to drive” the first selections you will find are all about the exact opposite, that driving is a “privilege”. Interesting how public perception changes depending on your current environment, isn’t it? What is the value of a life? What is the value of freedom? What cost (or inconvenience) are you willing to pay to travel, which is still a requirement for most citizens in this country (to at least prosper if not survive)? The usage or value of safety equipment is not the point of this discussion, rather the actions of government to impose its will on its citizens. As an example, I will use a non motorcycle related example, not necessarily to advocate that issue; but because the process used in that example could very likely be used against our motorcycling community in the very near future: The following is a brief synopsis of the history of the nationwide push for seatbelt laws, condensed from the National Motorists Association website: In the 1980s auto manufacturers were faced with a federal mandate to install “passive restraint” devices known as the “air bag mandate”. Problem was, airbags at the time were not perfected, and needed additional safety equipment to prevent even more injury to the passengers resulting from the actual airbag deployment itself..i.e. seatbelts… as required by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 208 (49 C.F.R.571.208). Today 31 states have primary enforcement laws (19 states do not) (GHSA report on seat belt laws). Today, automobile related fatalities AND fatality rates are both down significantly compared to 1980 (US DOT FHA Trends in Highway Fatality Rates, 1980-2006). Not satisfied, to further “encourage” compliance, a variety of campaigns funded by groups such as NHTSA and the insurance industry continue to this day to further “persuade” and “encourage” motorists to wear seatbelts…i.e. advocating 100% primary enforcement seatbelt laws and perpetuating a “nagging public relations campaign”.
The aforementioned push resulted in South Dakota statute 3238-1, a seatbelt requirement with adult secondary enforcement, which was a compromise but agreed by both parties to be good enough at that time. Then, no longer contented with that, proponents reneged on their deal and have continually tried to strengthen the law in SD, the latest attempt being in the 2010 legislative session: HB 1256 attempted to tighten that state’s seatbelt enforcement from a secondary to a primary offense….and the current proponent’s primary argument (besides lives hypothetically saved of course) was $5.1 million onetime money from a Safety-Lu grant program (SD House Transportation Committee testimony). House Floor testimony later reduced the promised amount to only just over $3 million. What is the value of a right? Or more importantly, a right lost? If that bill had passed, in South Dakota the right of otherwise law abiding adults to not be stopped for choosing to not wear a seatbelt would have been lost, for a payment equal to- at most- $6.28 per resident. Thankfully, our legislators once again resisted the temptation of forfeiting another right for temporary (and paltry) monetary gain…but in 2010, 8 legislators were willing to sell out South Dakota’s 812,000 residents for a sum of up to 5.1 million dollars-“pieces of silver”- or 6 dollars and 28 cents per person, in truth adjusted down to actually only $3.68/head useable funding (considering House floor testimony). We have already been warned to expect similar activity this year…what price is your freedom worth today? But seatbelts are an automotive issue, not motorcycle related! Well, yes, but the same people (organizations) that advocated that issue are now focusing their sights on motorcyclists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has long been advocating mandatory helmet laws, but is by law forbidden from lobbying in any given state unless invited. A troubling new development has surfaced, however. The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB), the “independent” agency that usually investigates aviation, railroad, marine, pipeline, and general highway design concerns, but until very recently never individual motorcycle crashes, recently announced a new recommendation for mandatory state helmet laws…despite their lack of expertise in the arena of motorcycling. Coincidentally (or not?); the NTSB is not governed by the same rules as the NHTSA so their representatives COULD enter a state, without invitation, to lobby for their positions advocating a mandate. Yes, each agency is technically separate, but the NTSB website itself has a direct link to the NHTSA site, so decide for yourself if any collusion could exist in this instance?? The government has already demonstrated its desire to exercise more control over its citizens, with multiple specific issues that continued page 27
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Technical Inspections for Motorcycles All Over Europe In some countries in the EU, motorcycles have to be presented periodically to technical inspections. Even though there is no clear evidence of the safety benefit of periodical technical inspections (PTI) for motorcycles the EU plans to harmonise PTI in Europe also in consideration of motorcycles. Motorcyclists in Europe would therefore have to invest over one and a half billion Euros for inspections biannually. Protest among riders is growing continuously. In order to improve road safety the European Commission is preparing a proposal to harmonise PTI in Europe. The Commission's Road Safety Action Plan already indicates that there will be a call to include motorcycles into the PTI regime. In countries where motorcycles have to be inspected regularly already the tests are likely to become stricter and therefore more expensive for the consumer. FEMA is campaigning for the Commission to leave the decision, if and how to test motorcycles, to the member states. There is no proven safety benefit of PTI. An independent study by the two scholars Peter Christensen and Rune Elvik(1) showed that tighter inspection rules for cars in Norway did indeed result in an improvement of the technical conditions of the car but, opposite to expected, the desired effect of lowering accident rates was not observed. Since riders tend to maintain their motorcycles frequently the effectiveness of PTI for motorcycles can be expected to be even less than for cars, particularly when all PTI guarantees is that the vehicle conforms on a set date, but not for the intervening period. Evolution in the number of motorcycles, killed motorcyclists and total road deaths
killed motorcyclists, total road deaths and the evolution in the number of motorcycles from 2000 to 2009. The countries marked do not require PTI for motorcycles. The table shows for example that in Great Britain between 2000 and 2009 the rate of motorcycle fatalities fell by 23% while at the same time the number of motorcycles on British roads increased by 42%. The numbers for the Netherlands are similar: 24% decrease of motorcycle fatalities while the number of motorcycles increased by 41%. Unlike in the UK, in the Netherlands motorcycles do not have to be inspected. A similar comparison can be made between the Germany and Norway. Both countries show a similar decrease in motorcycle fatalities around 32% but in Norway the number of motorcycles rose by 59% compared to merely 7% in Germany. Germany has a long lasting tradition of severe testing while Norway still excludes motorcycles from its PTI regime. Of course, based on this exercise it would be oversimplified to conclude that PTI is useless. But it can be taken as a clear indicator that the presumed positive effect of PTI on motorcycle accidents is far from striking. Other factors must play a more prominent role. Why is the introduction of PTI for motorcycles a European issue? The reason why PTI does not have a significant impact on motorcycle safety is that technical defects hardly contribute to motorcycle accidents. Additionally DEKRA, the leading vehicle testing organization in Europe, finds in its Motorcycle Road Safety Report 2011(2) that inaccurate tyre pressure is the most common defect of relevance to an accident. But tyre pressure is not part of the technical inspections carried out by DEKRA members which is due to the fact that the pressure of tyres should be checked at least biweekly instead of biannually. According to the European Commission there are more than 32 million powered two wheelers registered in Europe. Assuming a low estimate of average cost of around €50 per inspection, riders would end up paying at least €1.6 billion every two years in case PTI became mandatory for all kinds of powered two wheelers. This might be the main reason why testing organizations like DEKRA, TUEV or CITA persistently promote PTI for motorcycles as an indispensible safety measure. The mentioned €1.6 billion still exclude the costs of the expenditure of time arising from presenting the vehicle to an inspection or for possibly unnecessary remedial work.
Source: OECD. The pictured table provides numbers from the OECD about
Riders' protest grows steadily continued page 28
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Why Did They Hang Horse Thieves? continued affect the motorcycling community. In several states motorcyclespecific roadblocks are being implemented even though such police actions are known to be a violation of civil rights. Discriminatory noise regulations continue to be pushed in many locales. Our vehicle designs are becoming less and less owner friendly (also aggravated by government mandate) making it more difficult to try to even perform our own basic maintenance, much less repairs. “Livability” proposals have been put forth with the naïve concept of making travel more difficult to force people back into crowded inner cities closer to their jobs under the guise of reducing pollution but also restricting what type of vehicle we could drive. When these programs are tied to funding legislation legislators are faced with a no win situation-a budget shortfall; or forfeiting a right; and moving toward that socialism powered vacuum which seems to have begun to overwhelm our country of late. How does this apply to you and what if anything can be done about it? The recent election once again expressed the public’s outrage at government action, for the second time in consecutive
election cycles; hopefully the legislators will now begin to heed the call for reform. ABATE and MRF have been in the trenches trying to turn this behemoth, and both have achieved several notable victories; but we continue to need all the help we can get. We need your membership and participation; and your friend’s membership and involvement also, to add strength to our voice. We also need your support, if possible more than just your membership dues. Please consider additional contributions and participation in our political fundraising activities. We HAVE had significant success stopping and even reversing the horde of government intrusions in our world, but we are also on the eve of perhaps our worst battles to date….and the threat is very real. "Erosions of liberty do not come in giant leaps, they come in miniscule encroachments often hidden to the trained and educated mind. Like a thief in the night, language can steal a liberty deeply ingrained in the fabric of the American way of life. I am afraid of each little encroachment on the liberty of my fellow Americans on the highway." (former South Dakota Supreme Court Justice Henderson)
A Letter from Chopper Charlie, Recipient of the 2010 John “Farmer” Eggers Award at MOTM in Peoria, Illinois
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
A.B.A.T.E. of Michigan, Inc. 2010 Legislative Candidate Survey 1. Would you support “Adult Choice” on the issue of voluntary motorcycle helmet use? YES__________ NO__________ 2. In a recent Legislative session, funds were diverted from the SELF-FUNDED Motorcycle Safety Program while, at the same time, classes for the program were cut in many areas of Michigan. Would you support legislative action to protect this Program? YES__________ NO__________ 3. Would you support legislation for penalties similar to “Construction Zone Penalties” for FATAL pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle accidents? YES__________ NO__________ 4. Would you favor adding a “motorcycle awareness” section to drivers education courses to make new car drivers more aware of motorcyclists? YES__________ NO__________
6. Have you ever ridden or been a passenger on a motorcycle? YES__________ NO__________ 7. If “YES”, have you ever had formal training on a motorcycle? YES__________ NO__________ Would you seek an endorsement letter from ABATE? YES__________ NO__________ ************************************************************************** Name_________________________________ Present Legislative Position________________________ (Please Print Candidate Info) (Rep., Senator, County, “None”, etc.) What office will you be seeking in the 2010 General Elections?__________________________________ Which Legislative District?___________________ Party affiliation?____________________________ (Optional: Dem., Rep., Libertarian, etc.)
5. Would you support action to limit local jurisdictions (cities, townships, etc.) from prohibiting motor- cycles from accessing public roads in their areas? YES__________ NO__________
Technical Inspections for Motorcycles All Over Europe continued FEMA is campaigning for the European Commission to leave the decision about how and whether or not to inspect motorcycles to the member states. Speed limits, differing riding styles and road conditions do not justify the implementation of German testing standards all across Europe. Instead of making riders pay billions of Euros for inspection engineers, just to let them know that their headlamp may not be working once every two years, more financial resources should be dedicated to rider training and motorcycle friendly crash barriers.
A facebook group, originally created by FEMA to invite riders to participate to the Commission's internet consultation on PTI, already exceeds 2,600 concerned motorcyclists. The public consultation has been closed since September 24 and besides the upload of contributions to the consultation (click here and access the folders at the bottom of the page) the publication of its final result is still pending.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Questionnaires and Election Strategies (Kind of!!) For the first ten years of ABATE of Michigan’s activity, we believed that we knew how to get things done in the political arena. Being “involved” was simply having the vast majority of our membership VOTE in the election cycle and contacting legislators was all we needed. We would have some legislator sponsor a bill for us. We would have an annual rally at the capital, burn a helmet on the capital steps, several calls to various representatives, miscellaneous meetings with a bill’s sponsor and POOF, we would convince the legislature that we should have our way. I remember when “WE” as representatives of ABATE and the motorcycling community were given our first major “epiphany” (or RUDE AWAKENING if you will) as to how we should be involved in the political system and “process”. At some point, members of the legislature asked us if we were involved in “party politics” – did we participate in the individual party organizations. Were any of our members active in the congressional districts? Were we “Precinct Delegates”? Are we working with the “party” in power? Did we really understand how legislation gets passed? WOW! What was this all about? So, we set up meetings with people in power who would explain the whole thing to us. We researched EVERYTHING. We asked questions. We went “head-first” into to becoming Precinct Delegates, the most basic and important positions for any organization to become relevant in the political arena. Fiz became one of the first delegates followed by hundreds of other ABATE members. We went on from there to become RELEVANT in the political process. From this we developed a grass roots involvement that we are very proud of today. Over a decade ago, we developed a legislative questionnaire to help us find out who supported us on the various issues including rider’s education, insurance concerns, safety issues, and the mandatory helmet law. This questionnaire originally went to the legislators in office to help us generate a “supporters” list. Later, this would lead to our first “Legislative Survey” for candidates running for state office during the election cycle and into our first “Motorcycle Riders Voters Guide”. The latest guide was posted on our ABATE website and was available on-line to ALL motorcyclists. During the Primary and General Election cycles, we had dozens of “would be” public officials requesting that they get a copy of our survey to fill out and asking for our support and endorsement.
Throughout the years we have had between 80-85% of these surveys returned from candidates. Of those surveys returned we have had between 80-85% of the candidates we support actually WIN an election. That’s a pretty good success rate. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the same success rate in choosing a gubernatorial candidate. We have based our support for candidates on this “survey” and our endorsement is now greatly sought after. We have been told that we are one of the most successful grass roots organizations in the state and a model for how grass roots politics should work. But, alas, we still have a mandatory helmet law! So much for having a good Governor. And NO, legislators didn’t offer their support just because they knew that the Governor wouldn’t support us. Once we have a commitment from a legislator, how can they back out! Well, now that the latest election cycle rhetoric, propagandizing, advertising, posturing and etceteras have ceased and the smoke from the process has subsided, we have an opportunity to review what happened and where we as motorcycle riders stand for the next session. Over the past decade we have taken an active role in becoming “relevant” to the political process. We have developed relationships with the legislative body that are coming to fruition. This is our time!! Former freshman candidates that we helped over the years are now in leadership positions. Candidates who ran for Governor and LOST are now in positions of legislative authority. Legislators who we have worked with in the past are now in a position to help us and they want to. I sincerely believe in my heart that the relationships from the past will help us to reach our goals of adult choice on the helmet law, car driver awareness programs, and motorcycle rider education and that our voice is relevant. This all started with a simple questionnaire. With the appointments of our new Lt. Governor, the new Governor’s Legislative Director, and many of the new leadership members in both the House and Senate (all of whom have been past supporters) and the efforts of our membership, THIS IS OUR YEAR. To repeat what is tattooed on me, “LIVE FREE OR DIE”, Jim Rhoades – Legislative Director – ABATE of Michigan
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Around the States Arkansas Connie Shepherd MRF State Rep The 2010 United States Senate election in Arkansas took place on November 2, 2010 alongside other elections to the United States Senate in other states, as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln ran unsuccessfully for re-election against Republican John Boozman. Arkansas had previously only elected one Republican senator since the Reconstruction, who was defeated after his first term in 2002 by Mark Pryor. Lincoln faced Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter and narrowly won the primary contest. U S Congress Distrist 1, 2, and 3 seats were termed out and all three were replaced with the Republican candidates. In the state house elections, Senator Shelby (D), who introduced a helmet bill in the last session was defeated by Bill Sample (R) who had termed out as a Representative. We did lose a few "friends" on the Democrats side, but hopefully the replacements will become our new "friends". If you didn't get to know your candidates during the elections, NOW is the time!! Discuss with them the issues that affect you as a motorcyclist, your concerns and your visions. Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!! Ride Safe, Ride Free, Connie
Connecticut Ron Troia MRF State Rep Election season is finally behind us and the results for Connecticut were pretty much the same old thing. On the Federal level our entire delegation of 2 Senators and 5 Congressmen are members of the Democratic Party. Although that in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing none of them has ever proven to be motorcycle friendly. The only national candidate that the Connecticut Motorcycle Riders Association BikePAC endorsed was popular news anchor Janet
Peckinpaugh and even she could not fight off the Democratic machine that runs our state. Unfortunately we in Connecticut will have to continue to depend our counterparts in the rest of the country to try to keep a lid on unjust federal legislation. Of course we will do all we can to keep up the pressure from our position but it will be an uphill battle to say the least. In the state races we lost some good friends to defeat and also were able to retain some allies through the election process. Although early reports reported him to be the winner, our close friend David Pia from the 22nd Senatorial District was declared on the wrong end of the vote after the fiasco in Bridgeport was “resolved”. It is difficult at best to make any comment on that situation but it sure does make you wonder! The good news is we still have solid friends and riders in the Connecticut General Assembly who we know we can always count on when the chips are down. Reports circulating that State Republican Chairman Chris Healy is being considered for the national chairmanship is certainly good news as he has proven to be a friend of freedom loving riders. We will have to stay tuned to see how that plays out. Finally on November 12th the CMRA sent 8 representatives to the debt retirement party for our very close friend and ally Jim Amann who early on made a run for Governor. He is a great asset to the CMRA and we look forward to working with him again in the future. Since it appears there is a strong possibility that the helmet law issue will be heating up in Connecticut the CMRA will be updating its position papers to include more current statistics so that we will be prepared to do the battle once again. Several CMRA board members and area reps are making preliminary plans to attend the MRF’s BEAST of the East this coming May. That is a wonderful seminar and the investment in our time and money is well worth it. We will also be discussing sending some to the Meeting of the Minds in September. Of course that is a long way off so there is still more than ample time to square that away. The annual Legislative Dinner is in the works again this year and will be held on March 19th at Aldario’s in Milford so watch the
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Around the States newsletter and the web site at www.thecmra.com for further details as we get closer to springtime!!! On November 14th the CMRA Board and Area Reps held nomination proceedings for officers for the upcoming two years. Running for co-chairman are Mary Stuart, Jim Whitney, and Dave Hutchins. Elections will be at the all important December meeting. The nominees for the other officer positions are running unopposed so it looks like our new secretary will be Jeff Hill, our Sergeant at Arms will continue to be Neil Clark, and membership coordinator will as always be the illustrious Mike Joyce. I personally want to thank all of the nominees for stepping up to the plate to tackle the issues that are coming our way. It is a tough and basically thankless job but without people like you it would not get done. Enjoy the holidays and God Bless America Ron Troia Connecticut
Idaho Dave Cazel MRF State Rep Here we are in the New Year and all the states and the feds have a new group of legislators. In about a week or so they will all meet, many for the first time and get down to the basics of glad handing and back slapping. Most of them will eventually go along to get along and turn to the bureaucrats whom hold the professional government jobs. Most of the newly elected will not rock the boat and upset the bureaucracies. Here in Idaho, the head of the State Highway Safety Office blames Idaho’s fatality rate on a lax seatbelt law, inappropriate child booster safety seats, lack of anti-texting laws and of course, no motorcycle helmet law for those over 18. As I have mentioned in prior articles, Idaho is a special place regarding individual freedoms and personal responsibilities. However the bureaucrats never give up and we as MRO members must maintain the constant vigilance because no matter how well the battles are going the war is
never over. Everyday, every week, every month and every year we must continue to monitor the bureaucrats and elected officials who want to protect us from ourselves. Idaho has a headstrong state legislature but it isn’t enough to rely on this to maintain the status quo. The coming pressures from Washington D.C. through the Department of Transportation and its underlying agencies can be tremendous and we must maintain an equally strong position regarding choice. Idaho like all the other states is under enormous financial pressure and Idaho, constitutionally, has to have a balanced budget. The legislature meets for only 90 days beginning early January and they will be looking for all sources of revenue to help balance this budget and to maintain the services expected by the citizens of Idaho. Transportation infrastructure is a very big portion of these services that are provided to Idahoans so we can expect tremendous pressure. On a lighter note, Idaho’s nationally acclaimed Motorcycle Education and Safety Program, Skills Training Advantage for Riders (STAR) is amending its curriculum in 2011 with an additional skills course with a precision clinic. This is for experienced riders with many miles in the saddle and will be the most extensive of the courses offered through the program. I will write more about this course as time progresses. First we have to get through the dormant riding season of snow. In the meantime keep the shiny side up and your powder dry. Dave Cazel MRF Rep-Idaho
Illinois Jim Conley MRF Asst. State Rep The last Saturday in September for some unknown reason I answered a phone call from a number that I did not recognize, something I never do. A shaking female voice asks, “Is this Conley with ABATE?”” Yes, can I help you?” “I hope so my brother, J.R. Clay, was killed yesterday in a motorcycle crash“…….……That was enough, she had my full attention. That sinking feeling came over me, you know the one, with it’s own distinct taste, giving you that hard swallow? I think it comes from knowing the instant pain family
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Around the States and friends felt at the moment they were delicately informed or rudely made aware of their loss. How the news reaches you doesn’t seem to matter. It’s the pain that may haunt them for days and or years, at times lying dormant then erupting at the most inopportune of times for no apparent reason, or knowingly as in the case of this writer with the simple hand full of words over the phone from a young girl. Surely few in this organization have escaped it. She went on to explained that the family wanted to get the word out about seeing motorcycles and asked if I knew where she could acquire ABATE “ Start Seeing Motorcycles” bumper stickers for the funeral procession. Not a problem, that night she picked up a number of stickers and told me more about her brother and some of her father’s plans for the funeral. I mentioned that Southern Freedom and Shawnee Hills Chapters had 20 foot long “ Start Seeing Motorcycles” banners they could borrow if they wanted to increase their visibility and impact. She called back later and said “yes, that is what we want,” and in a few days I delivered them to Richard Clay, JR’s father. He spoke fondly of his son, a Cowboy, Trucker, and a Biker and inquired about a banner to faithfully display each riding season, and one was donated by chapter members. Mr. Clay asked that we use the passing of his son to help with our message of motorcycle safety, in hopes of saving other riders from injury or death. “ Life is so valuable and it can be gone in an instant. Slow down! Pay attention! Please, start seeing motorcycles!” JR’s father Richard, said.
depending on the candidates answers. We publish the results of the survey and ask our membership to get informed and vote for the candidate of their choice. During the last session we had a Representative in Des Moines introduce a bill that would have made it illegal for anyone under the age of six to be a passenger on a motorcycle. Although the bill died, that is not the representation we want in the Statehouse. Fortunately her opponent shared our views and we made the decision to not only support him with PAC funds but to endorse him as well. I am happy to report that he won the election and we will have another friend in Des Moines when they go into session in January. ABATE of Iowa Seminar To Motive And Educate (STEAM) was held November 10-12. The breakout sessions covered Leadership, Share the Road, Legislative Involvement, Treasury, Membership and Rider Education. All were well attended and a lot of knowledge was shared. Featured speakers included newly elected Walt Rogers and former Senate candidate Bill Salier. This year the Steven B. Rector “Heart” Award was presented to Wayne Wierson. This award is given to an individual who has given their heart and soul going above and beyond the call of duty in furthering the goals of ABATE of Iowa. Congratulations Wayne! Although the handlebar height restriction was removed in Iowa Code several years ago, the Administrative Rules had never been changed and still reflected a restriction on custom bikes. That has now been corrected. I wish all of you a great holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the New Year.
Make sure you are known in your community as an ABATE member and are there to help,
Respectfully submitted, Jodi Cain Iowa State Rep
Conley Shawnee Hills Chapter ABATE of Illinois MRF ASR
Iowa Jodi Cain MRF State Rep This year, for the first time, ABATE of Iowa endorsed a candidate running for office. Every year we send out a survey and donate through our PAC funds
Joshua Herndon MRF State Rep The elections are a done deal and the state of Maine has The Democrats lost the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Governor’s office. In my opinion the health of the state is suspect, but it is great news for motorcyclist’s rights. The republicans have always been more likely to respect our freedom
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Around the States of choice. The current working groups for the two noise bills have just about wrapped up their proceedings. A third meeting for LD 1675 was held in November. During discussion on EPA labeling a power point presentation of a survey done in New York City was shown to illustrate that the EPA label was not readily visible on a large number of new motorcycles right on a dealership’s showroom floor. This presentation was obtained from the New York City Motorcycle Advocacy Group with the help of the New York Motorcycle & Scooter Task Force. A motion was made to not recommend EPA labeling as an enforcement tool. The motion passed by an overwhelming majority so EPA labeling will not be one of the recommendations to the legislature when the working group reports to the Transportation committee in January 2011. The SAE J2825 noise standard was explored with different ideas suggested for implementation ranging from an enforcement tool to an inspection requirement to an affirmative defense. The one idea that got a lot of attention was the voluntary use of the standard for enforcement purposes by local municipalities with the cost of equipment and training to be borne by the municipality. In fact, draft language is being drawn up by the group chairman that could be added to the existing law. This will be discussed at the final working group meeting in December and voted on whether to use it as a recommendation to the Transportation committee. The temperature is consistently in the thirties here now, but there have been a few hearty souls seen getting in that last late ride before winterizing the machine. Until next spring and another riding season, be well.
Maryland Lenny Holcomb MRF Asst. State Rep Well, the election here in Maryland was pretty uneventful. All of our incumbents kept their seats - as expected. Unfortunately, the wave of displeasure wasn't enough to change things here. Even our liberal governor was able to retain his seat, dispite a very close and hard fought fight. Couple that with a some very anti-biker state legislators that were able to keep their seats and it looks like were in for another up hill battle in the upcoming legislative session that begins in January.
A couple of the isues on slate for us are the helmet modification bill & the stop & proceed red light bill. This bill will allow bikes to proceed through red lights when they won't turn green after a period of time. This has already passed in a few states across the country. We put it in last year for the first time and got a mixed response. So, we'll refine it and try again. Also during the session, we'll be focusing on next years BEAST of the East, being held in Baltimore next May. As many of you know, we were able to coordinate this with the Bikers Inside the Beltway. So, it should prove to be a very productive, educational & hopefully fun weekend. We'll start working with Carol & co. soon after the holidays to iron out the details. We look forward to a BIG crowd. That's it for now. Hope everyone has a great holiday season and hope to see ya in May. Lenny Holcomb Maryland State Rep.
Minnesota Mike Berger MRF Asst. State Rep Now that the National Transportation Safety Board has declared war on the freedoms that all Minnesota motorcyclists enjoy, it’s absolutely essential that every one of our motorcycling citizens gets involved to protect our way of life and our rights. And the best way to do that is to attend Minnesota’s Bikerday at the Capitol. Held this coming February 2, Bikerday at the Capitol is the best opportunity that Minnesota’s motorcyclists have to be heard in one strong, unified voice. If you’ve never attended this event before, here are the basics: the day begins with registration at 8:30 in the Great Hall of the Minnesota State Capitol Building in St. Paul. If you pre-register for the event (which you can do at www.abatemn.org), you’ll have prearranged meetings set up for you with your state representative and your state senator. Everyone in attendance from your district will go together in group to those meetings to state our positions. Our first issue is that the Minnesota Legislature needs
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Around the States to leave our right to choose whether or not to wear a helmet intact, despite the bullying from the National level. Our second issue is that the Minnesota Legislature needs to establish increased penalties that would properly punish those who harm or kill others through inattentive or distracted driving. Each year, motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicle drivers and passengers are killed by other motorists who enter the roadway into their path, turn left into their path, or otherwise cause accidents by failing to yield right of way. Currently these are misdemeanor citations if the vehicle operator is found to be sober and licensed. ABATE of Minnesota feels that Minnesota should strengthen the penalties for those who kill others while driving in a negligent manner, when not alcohol or drug related, and raise the offense to the level of gross misdemeanor. Additionally, we’re asking the Minnesota Legislature to safeguard the Motorcycle Safety Funds which are used for motorcycle safety training, motorcycle safety promotion, and public awareness campaigns. This program is funded with the money motorcyclists pay when they apply for or renew their motorcycle endorsement. Since this money is paid solely by motorcyclists for motorcycle safety, ABATE of Minnesota opposes any efforts to "raid" the Motorcycle Safety Fund to balance the state budget. Politicians pay attention when large groups of black leather-clad freedom-loving citizens stride the Capitol hallways, and we need every motorcyclist in Minnesota to attend. We want a sea of leather, a thunder of boots, an overwhelming chorus of voices all demanding that freedoms be protected, that motorcyclists be treated with respect. For more information on Bikerday at the Capitol, go to www.abatemn.org or call 800-224-6570 Respectfully, Mike Berger Asst. State Rep
Missouri Tip Tipton MRF State Rep Freedom of Road Riders and ABATE for Missouri are gearing up for what hopes to be a successful legislative season. Elections are over and motorcyclist will have to be in the Capitol making new friends and getting reacquainted with the old. Bills will be getting pre-
filed in early December. Once again we will be working on a helmet modification bill for those 21 years of age and older. Governor Nixon vetoed this bill in 2009 and it will take a lot of hard work by the bikers to get it to his office then convince him we want the freedom to choose. This year we are going to be looking at ways to fund motorcycle awareness in classrooms and within the Department of Revenue. Lots of ideas being tossed around and we will let everyone know what we were able to come up with and how we got it done as well as the stumbling blocks along the way. Until next time, hope you have a happy and successful New Year, support the MRF and we hope to see ya on the road!! Tip MRF State Rep
Nevada John Bland President ABATE Northern Nevada MRF State Rep Elections have come and gone. We’re very disappointed here in Nevada that Senate candidate Sharron Angle lost to incumbent Harry Reid. Sharron was endorsed by the Tea Party, is a staunch constitutionalist and has a long history of supporting motorcycle rights issues. Northern ABATE member Janine Hansen lost to ABATE member John Ellison for Assembly 33. Having two ABATE members running for the same office caused some tension between candidates and ABATE. John Ellison may be disappointed that ABATE did not endorse him during the election. Hopefully John understands the situation of two members running for the same office. ABATE will introduce a helmet repeal bill again next legislative session. We expect John Ellison will introduce bills, and support bills, that uphold our state and US Constitution. We will be working with John Ellison during the upcoming legislative session and we believe Mr. Ellison will uphold and protect our personal rights and freedoms in Nevada. ABATE member, Ken Wellington ran for Elko County Sheriff and lost to Jim Pitts. Unfortunately not enough voters attended the open debates that were held between Mr. Wellington
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Around the States and Mr. Pitts. Wellington beat Pitts hands down; there was no comparison in knowledge, professionalism and presentation. Unfortunately, name recognition and the good-ole-Boy network swayed the vote to Pitts. Thank you Northern ABATE members Janine Hansen, Dale Andrus and Ken Wellington for running for office; you have our deepest admiration and respect. We have some serious freedom fighters in Southern Nevada. ABATE member David Stillwell is one of the most aggressive and persistent. David is challenging law enforcement in the courts over helmet enforcement, David has started a website called Guerilla Lawfare to educate the public about their rights when being encountered or detained by an officer and how to know the difference. Tiger Lily is a writer for the magazine “Quick Throttle”. Tiger Lily uses her writing skills to expose the injustices that are all too common against motorcyclists in the Las Vegas area and throughout the state. Mike Davis “Bones” president of Southern ABATE is committed to changing Nevada’s mandatory helmet law as well, no matter what it takes. These are the types of people that will fight inappropriate and unjust laws in Nevada. We who fight for freedoms appreciate those who devote themselves to the never ending battle.
New Hampshire Bob Letourneau MRF State Rep Breaking News: Also we are once again under attack on the sound issue. The people from North Hampton have decided to sue in US District court on the issue of the stamp on the exhaust system of your motorcycle. This could have serious consequences for us if they were to succeed as it is a federal court. This issue has been an on-going battle between the state and this town for a number of years. North Hampton is a seacoast town and many motorcyclists travel there in the warmer months for a nice ride up the seacoast. Some of these folks like to make noise at all hours of the day and night bringing the wrath of the community upon all motorcyclists. There is a large Harley Davidson dealer there that has many events during the year attracting motorcyclists from the surrounding three states, NH, MA and ME. This
dealership has been fighting alongside NHMRO and others. History tells us that this goes back many years with bills being filed at the state house to change our law. When all this failed, they decided to implement a local ordinancethat would have allowed local police to ticket a bike that didn't have a sticker or EPA stamp on its muffler system even if it was parked. We checked with attorneys and found that local law could not trump state law over vehicle inspection requirements. Imagine the confusion if that was allowed. The ordinance passed by a large margin, (of course) who doesn't like noise? The H-D dealers and other got together and began opposition, the local police chief said he would not enforce the law at the advice of his attorney, (state law trumps local ordinance) the town could be setting itself up for a lawsuit. This brings us to the present. Last week the newspaper reported that they were going to federal court and the local newspaper website has an ad for donations to help pay for the action. They are going to federal court because they believe that because it is a federal requirement to have the stamp on the pipes that the feds can enforce it. I do not believe they will have a successful outcome, but it is federal court and all kinds of things can happen. Plus, all of the controversy will attract others to join in. Remember we are a minority when it comes to vehicle ownership. Other bad things can result from the federal lawsuit action such as a suggestion to the congress that they act, while I still believe that the 10th amendment applies here (states rights), when was the last time you saw congress worry about a little thing like the constitution? Folks, the moral of this story is one that I have been talking about for years. The sound issue will not go away and it is our responsibility to fix this before they fix it for us. If you or a friend has extremely load pipes it needs to be unacceptable at all of our events, it needs to be unacceptable period. I know these are harsh words and I have been trashed because of this view, but the fact remains this is one of the largest issues we will face. It affects our ability to customize our machines, it affects the dealerships from doing the same, it affects the ability for dealerships to inspect motorcycles, it will certainly affect the aftermarket manufacture of exhaust systems,
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Around the States it could also affect our ability to ride in residential areas. It would also have an effect on our events. One of the largest complaints we hear about our Laconia Rally each year is the "loud motorcycles" coming into town. Think about it. Would you like to have a neighbor who has a load stereo blasting at all hours? Would you want to live next to a rock crushing plant? Noise is a serious problem and has led people to do all kinds of crazy things. Police use it as a method to keep criminals awake during stand offs, the military use it for interrogation. What is driving these folks in North Hampton to follow this up is the basic feeling of being safe in their own homes, in the end it is a quality of life issue... As individuals, we need to be proactive...or lose our right to ride.
week later the owner was arrested on felony tampering charges. The case went to trial, he was found 'not guilty', and DMV was ordered to return the bike. DMV's response was to sue the judge. The case then went to Supreme Court where the judges decision was upheld, and DMV finally returned the bike after defacing the VIN themselves and issuing a new VIN. This of course devalues the vehicle. DMV officials are now facing contempt charges and are due in court shortly. The owner of the bike is now filing a class-action suit on behalf of several motorcycle owners who have lost their bikes. If you or anyone you know has had a motorcycle confiscated in New York, please contact Prospector at 518-239-4560 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We need to bring these incidents to light.
Bob Letourneau NHMRO BOD MRF State Rep AMA
New York Prospector MRF State Rep Here in New York the harassment continues, but we're fighting back. In our class-action lawsuit against motorcycle-only roadblocks, our AIM attorney, Mitch Proner (representing bikers probono) informed me on 10/22/10 that we have been granted class status which gives us standing to proceed. Mitch is hopeful the case will be heard in court in Manhattan by spring. We have had some confiscations of note: in May 2009 an individual was stopped at a motorcycle-only check while pulling a closed trailer. He was intimidated into opening the trailer and 2 of the 4 bikes inside were taken for 'investigation'. He was told repeatedly for the next 14 months that he was still under investigation, although no charges were ever filed nor any tickets issued, only to learn that his bikes had been auctioned off by DMV less than a year after they were taken because the VIN numbers were found to be 'unidentifiable'. It took letters from an attorney and a State Assemblyman to DMV to finally learn the fate of the bikes. In another case, a motorcycle was seized for alleged VIN tampering (the VIN had been painted over by a previous owner). A
Pennsylvania Steve Zurl MRF Asst. State Rep New Beginnings! That’s the way I look at each New Year. It’s a time to spend a few hours cleaning my desk, organizing what I’ve chaotically saved on my PC, and thinking of what I need to accomplish over the next twelve months. Naturally, this includes planning long rides for the warmer weather! Looking ahead at the next 12 months, and even at the next 5 years, I wonder about the “business” of the Motorcycle Rights effort. There are some challenges ahead – Motorcyclists made the NTSB’s Most Wanted List! Translated, this simply means the NTSB and others in DC are frustrated by the effectiveness of the SMRO’s commonsense approach to motorcycle safety and helmet laws, and want to crush the states at the federal level. We need to let them know they just poked a stick in a hornets’ nest! With regard to my comment about the “business” of the motorcycle rights effort, I thought about management and funding. At a recent ABATE of PA Board Meeting, one of our Members, Diane Shaw, gave an update on her investigation of funding through grants. ABATE of PA got its first grant! It will be used by one of our chapters for a special project. Diane also reported that after a year’s work, she managed to get enough information to formulate a blanket proposal to seek funding for ABATE of PA’s Operation Save A Life (OSAL) initiatives. In my opinion, OSAL is the best program initi-
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Around the States ated by ABATE of PA, promoting motorcycle awareness and safety. It’s also underfunded. I began to think about what grants actually mean to an organization, and how they would affect the current accounting system and the required reporting. Even the timing of the money received would affect many decisions. There’s funding available for non-profit organizations such as ABATE of PA, but you have to be prepared to manage the funding once it’s received. As a “business”, are we ready? Do we have the office systems in place? Will the grant initiative be dependent on only one person’s knowledge and expertise (and commitment)? If we succeed in our goals of receiving state or federal funds to revise our OSAL program, and even get our OSAL program approved by the Department of Education, ABATE of PA would accomplish a couple things. It would allow us to “catch up to the times”, and have an interactive and interesting program to present to elementary, high school, and adult audiences. It would reinforce ABATE of PA’s commitment to motorcycle safety, and galvanize the relationship with PennDOT to achieve a team-approach to motorcycle safety and education. Diane noted that there’s grant availability for impaired driving prevention education from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. She’s exploring the opportunities to work with them to get funding to promote ABATE of PA’s position on impaired driving. The requirements are a bit more complex with regard to funding, but not impossible. The major significance of pursuing grants is that it raises the level of expertise necessary to support the organization. It complements our traditional fundraising methods, and makes our organization more reliant on paperwork and office systems. It forces us to “think” harder than we “work”. In the long run, the grant application process will open new doors, and allow us to work WITH government to promote motorcycle safety. Personally, I like being a member-supported group. In the perfect world, everyone in the MRF and in SMRO’s would simply write a check for a hundred bucks to each organization, annually,
and shift their efforts from fundraising to lobbying and riding. But, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t need MRO’s at all. Until we perfect things, we have some work to do, and some bills to pay. Wishing US a successful 2011, Steve Zurl Assistant MRF Representative Pennsylvania
Texas Rick Boland MRF State Reps Well this is my second report from the great state of Texas. I have just gotten back from a great toy and food drive run and thought, how much it really means to us bikers. You get to talk to riders that don’t know what ABATE is and get to tell them what we are about. Of course you get to meet the ones you have not seen in years also. The ride also gives us a chance to discuss issues to motorcyclists. What a great feeling it gives you to donate food and toys and all the thanks you receive. Well in January we are starting our next legislative session in Austin. We go every two years and just getting started on the new session by the time you read this. January 24 2011, all of the state of Texas riders plan on being at the Capital.. TMRA2 and ABATE and COC are planning on getting 10,000 bikers in Austin for Legislative Day. Now that would make an interesting session to start with and would send a great point to our representatives of our issues. Legislative Update for the 82nd Session, 2011 Basically TMRA2 met all of our goals last session after 19 years with the help of all the Texas Motorcycle Rights Groups. More than likely we will be in defensive mode and killing bills instead of introducing them. We were told at the Capitol the changes from the election are not good. Not only did it take out a lot of experienced representatives that know the system, it took out their experienced Aids, Chief of Staff, etc.. It will be like starting all over again. The house is expected to grid lock this session over redistricting again, budget problems, and Voter ID, just to mention a few. So many bills are continued page 39
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National Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law
Motorcycle Riders Foundation Aw Awareness & Education (MRFA&E) was established to promote motorcycle awareness and education due to an everincreasing rider population. No one is more concerned with rider safety than riders themselves, and obviously those best suited to educate newer riders are veteran riders.
In a hearing in July held by the United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) repeatedly called for a national mandatory helmet law. The hearing entitled “Opportunities to Improve Highway Safety,” focused on just that, places that need improvement when it comes to the landscape of highway injuries and fatalities. In his opening statement Lautenberg said that there should be a mandatory motorcycle helmet law for all riders in America. This is typical for the eighty six year old senator. He has routinely attempted to put a mandatory helmet law in place before. Lautenberg currently chairs or sits on every single senate committee that has jurisdiction over roads and road safety.
Promote awareness and education in the motorcycle community to improve riders’ safety. Please donate, we are a 501C3 Corporation. Your donation is tax deductible. To donate go to our web site listed at the bottom.
Motorcycle Motor cycle Riders Foundation Awar A wareness & Education (MRFA&E) (MRFA&E) 236 Massachusetts Avenue NE, #510 Washington, D.C. 20002 Washington, (202) 546-0983
However, Lautenberg was not alone in his quest for all rider helmet law, as expected the spokesperson for the Advocates for Highway Safety also voiced their opinion that a national helmet law was a good idea. The hearing didn’t only focus on helmet debate, in fact very little of it did. There were other issues covered such as impaired driving, distracted driving, and big trucks to name a few. The MRF will keep you informed on this issue and any other effecting motorcyclists from Washington DC.
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Around the States expected to be delayed and killed due to time restraints. TMRA2 will be opposing: Road Blocks/Alcohol check points (illegal and bills introduced), discriminatory Gang Laws, Motorcycle Insurance law changes (The Department of Insurance is up for Sunset Review), any helmet bill, and anti-gun laws. Law SB1967: Needs to stay intact without having it re-opened for amendments. SB1967 is working. For 2009 according to TXDOT, the motorcycle injuries were reduced for the first time by 15%, and deaths were reduced by 20%. So we don't want this bill touched for any reason. Most of the money allotted for PSA’s and radio ads won’t kick in until the spring of 2011. When it does, we expect the numbers to drop significantly. We are currently tracking the rest of the DPS rider training fund and the TXDOT PSA money allotted for SB1967 to be sure it is spent as agreed. Budget: We went to a press conference with Senator Kirk Watson last Monday. Below is what the senator’s plans are to clean up the budget. This directly effect’s our motorcycle safety bill because we already experienced problems now and in the past with dedicated funds being allocated, then taken for other uses without the biker community knowing. Texas Budget by Kirk Watson: The agenda will include a series of "accountability" reforms to rebuild trust with Texans by opening the state’s appropriations and finances to the public and requiring real transparency for those in control of the budget. I’ll also offer a “stability” package of reforms that will modernize government and restore it so legislators, and voters, can have faith in major policy and budget decisions that will set the course of the state and its future. And I’ll fight to make sure that those in charge set out a path for cleaning up this fiscal mess and building a responsible, truthful, truly moral state budget by taking the time (more than just the five months of a session) and getting the expertise (including some folks from outside the Capitol) to rebuild the budget from the ground up, implementing the values that Texans hold dear. Houston Noise Ordinance: Below is the plan of action to deal
with the Houston Noise Ordinance problem. Topic: NOISE ORDINANCE VIOLATIONS, Houston, TX Current Situation: Officer Holtsclaw unfairly profiles motorcyclists by pulling over and issuing an inordinate amount of tickets to riders. The majority of tickets are for so-called ‘noise violations‘, city code 30-3 and 1400, and primarily on Hwy 6 in between I-10 and Westheimer. Main Objectives/Issues: A. Rewrite City of Houston Noise Ordinance Code 1. City is liable for lawsuits since city code pre-empts state law. 2. Code is too vague, needs clarification and a means for application to all Vehicles. B. Have Officer Holtsclaw relieved of his duties in a patrol car. 1. Establish and document his harassment and profiling of Motorcyclist’s. 2. Establish and document that he is no longer able to carry out the duties of his Position as a patrol car officer in a rational, fair, and unbiased manner. Suggested Protocol to Achieve Objectives: 1. File formal complaints (incident reports) with Houston Police Department. Contact Officer Holtsclaws supervisor. NOTE: If you get pulled over, immediately request that a superior officer be called on the scene and present before proceeding. Also, do not pay the fine. Request a trial by jury. 2. Contact HPD Citizens Review Committee 713-308-8933 [note - will have to confirm that this is the correct entity to contact, i.e., that they monitor police behavior]. Find out who is in charge and file a formal letter/complaint with that person. 3. Contact the City Attorney, David Feldman City of Houston Legal Department 900 Bagby, 3rd Floor Houston, TX 77002 PHONE: 832.393.6491 E-Mail the City Attorney: email@example.com 4. Contact Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker Mayor Annise D. Parker City of Houston P.O. Box 1562 Houston, TX 77251 Phone: 3-1-1, or 713.837.0311 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com 5. Contact ACLU 6. Get letters written from business owners whose businesses
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Around the States are suffering financially because of Officer Holtsclaw’s actions, in particular, The Dam Ice House. 7. Generate a record/list of tickets issued that includes names, dates, incidents, violations. 8. Try to capture on video the officer in the act of issuing tickets to bikers only. 9. Contact the State Representative for that area and inform him of the situation. Texas U.S. Representative Congressional District 7--Congressman John Culberson 10. Create contact list of main people involved. After these steps have been taken and documented we can then submit to Paul a request for a US Defenders CTA (Call to Action) For more info about TMRA2 go to our web site tmra2.org, or contact us at the state office, Terri Williams, 512-9711377 or Paul Landers 512-276-0681. So we are going to be pretty busy in our next legislative session and we will all work together to stay Free. Everyone enjoy the holiday season and ride safely. Rick Boland Texas MRF Rep
Wisconsin Dave Dwyer MRF State Rep ABATE of Wisconsin Readies for Lobby Day 2011 The Legislative Committee and the Board of Directors along with the Region Reps and Members are gearing up for ABATE Lobby Day, February 22, 2011. We have had over 500 participants in each of the last three years and are expecting over 500 again this year. Members will be meeting with their state legislators to get a bill passed to fix the problems we are seeing with the enforcement of our Right of Way law. Under Act 466 that took effect October 1, 2006 any driver that violates the right of way of another roadway user and causes injury or death should see an increased fine, have their drivers license suspended by the court and be required to attend a Share the Road class if they injured a motorcyclist, pedestrian or bicyclist.
Unfortunately the police are not writing the tickets for the enhanced penalties, judges are not ordering the suspensions or Share the Road classes. The bill that is being drafted closes the loopholes in the court system by making the suspensions and Share the Road requirements a function of the Department of Transportation when a conviction notice is received by the DOT. That will still leave us with the problem of the police not writing the ticket for the higher fines. We are working with both the Courts system and the DOT to find ways to better inform the police that there is a higher penalty for causing injury or death. We will also be asking our legislators for more money for the DOT Motorcycle Safety Program. Over the last 20 years the motorcyclists of Wisconsin have agreed to $5 in increases in their biennial motorcycle registration fees. Currently that increase is putting in excess of $2 million into the Registration Fee Trust fund and only $1.4 million is being spent in the two year budget. That leaves over $600,000 that is being siphoned off for other uses, uses not agreed to by those the money is being taken from. ABATE of Wisconsin has a new Executive Director, Deputy Director and 7 new BOD members. It was apparent at our first meeting after the election that all the new officers and BOD members are ready and able to take on the task of maintaining and growing ABATE of Wisconsin. One of our first orders of business was approving a lobby trip to Washington DC to go along with the MRF Bikers Inside the Beltway and National Motorcyclist Lobby Day on May 12, 2011. ABATE will be sending 6 members on their motorcycles to Washington DC for this event and to spend two days lobbying their members of congress. We have one new Senator and two new House members to bring up to speed on motorcycle related issues. With the team that has been picked I have no doubt that there will be a positive impact. Following the National Lobby Day all 6 citizen lobbyists will be attending the BEAST of the East conference that weekend before riding home Sunday.
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Get Involved Anonymous "What should I do?" Get involved! "How should I do this?" Join a motorcycle rights organization. "Why should I do this?" Ummm...because you should? Like many in this organization, I find it difficult to get riders to take an interest in their rights as a motorcyclist. And one of the hardest questions to answer is, "Why?" "Because you should" is the best answer, but when the person you’re speaking with asks you to explain, this is where we have trouble. Why? Because no two people are alike. One may want you to go into great detail about what is happening on the motorcycle rights front, asking questions and taking notes as you answer the best you can. Another person may be the product of today’s sound-bite/Twitter/brief text/instant messaging/want it NOW! generation, and as such you may have to convince this individual within one sentence. There is no one-size-fits-all response that works, but here’s a couple that may help. First, the long version for those that appreciate a detailed explanation: We live in a nation that proudly calls itself "The Land of the Free", yet with every passing day new restrictions are added to how we go about our daily business. Not just those involving the motorcyclist’s lifestyle, restrictions seem to be affecting all of us, everywhere. Every day the media has information about new laws and regulations designed to protect us, the citizen. Think about it, when you were a child, were there as many restrictions in place? I grew up in a world where I could ride my bicycle without a helmet. I could play unsupervised on metal playground equipment located on a concrete pad. I could ride with my dad in his car in the front seat without a seat-belt, or ride on the rear dashboard and wait for him to hit the brakes hard so that I would go flying through the air and maybe land on something not too hard. And occasionally, I would get bruised. I survived. It was part of growing up.
But when I got older, I knew no one would tell me what to do. Except, they do. Even more so now. In addition to all the regulations and testing I must endure at work, I was notified today that the federal agency that governs my job has issued an emergency authorization allowing for the testing of synthetic marijuana in my saliva. I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs, yet I have to put up with this because at some point, someone must have screwed up, which in the authorities’ eyes means we are all doing something wrong. Understand, I am all for safety. If you are operating heavy machinery while under the influence of something that affects your judgement and physical capability, then you are an idiot. And worse, you may harm an innocent as well because of your actions. But because you are a jerk doesn’t mean I or anyone else is. And that’s why motorcyclists will balk at most bills that will restrict our freedom. We are out there every day on our machines. We understand the dangers. We make our choices. And most of all, we fully understand personal responsibility; we accept it. We have many in our organization that wear their helmets at all times when riding. That is their choice. Tell them they have to wear it, though, and you’ll get an argument. We are adults, we can make our informed decisions without the help of lawmakers. You’ve seen how it works. The ones that would restrict our lifestyle come out and say, "We aren’t demanding you do this, but we would like you to do that little thing. And once you accept the fact that that is here to stay, then they come back and say, "Since we’ve had success with that, how about we now try this?" Every inch of ground you give up is near impossible to get back. Here’s a bit of paranoia as an example: The nannies will say, "We just want helmets on minors. Okay we just want helmets on novice riders as well. Okay we just want helmets on everyone. Okay we just want minors not to ride as passengers. Okay we just don’t want novice riders having passengers. Okay we just don’t think motorcycle passengers are safe. Okay many accidents happen with large bikes so we just want graduated licenses. Okay many accidents happen with large bikes so we just want to allow 1000cc and less on the roads. Okay 750cc and continued page 42
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Get Involved continued less. Okay 500cc and less. Okay we’ve decided that if we don’t allow motorcycles on the road, then there will be no more accidents. It’s for your safety, you understand". We hear the fallacy of, "Why should my taxes support you because you weren’t responsible enough to wear a helmet?" First off, most of us carry plenty of insurance should such a tragedy occur, because we know that even though we accept responsibility for our actions and are vulnerable when we ride, that car that just pulled out in front of us may not be as disciplined. Another answer I offer is that it’s our taxes too. Plus, as columnist Steve Chapman has pointed out, the same argument could be made about why should my taxes pay for a smoker’s oxygen, an alcoholic’s medical issues, a meth addict’s rehab. I don’t push these issues because those folks made their own choices and have to live with them. Also, I’m compassionate. Sometimes we make a bad choice we can’t handle on our own, and it’s good to know you can get help. If you are okay with the way things are, then you don’t need to join your local MRO. If you believe that what your lawmakers are doing is in your best interest, then you don’t need to join your local MRO. If you don’t feel you need a voice in proposals that will affect you, then you don’t need to join your local MRO. If you just don’t care, then you don’t need to join your local MRO. But when the Government of the People, for the People, and by the People forgets that it answers to and is controlled by the People, that is when we need an advocate in our Capitals reminding the players how the game is played and who makes the rules. That is when belonging to a motorcycle rights organization makes sense. And by belonging to an established MRO, you already have taken a step in getting yourself heard by your representatives in office. Two things get a politicians attention: money and numbers. We may not have much cash as individuals, but together we are able to pool our resources to purchase the needed advertisements and air time to get our views across. And together we are a large number of voters, passionate voters. Many a candi-
date has learned this. Which candidate to promote can be a difficult choice. One may share your views as a motorcyclist, but oppose your opinion on labor, taxes, health care and so on. This is one of those times when we have to make our choices and accept the responsibility of whether or not it was a wise choice. Here’s something else to consider: Since 1972 the average number of eligible voters participating in presidential elections has been around 55% and 37% during the non-presidential elections. Got that? During the last few decades, respectively 45% and 63% of voters were willing to allow someone else to select the candidates. In 2008 the estimated U.S. population was according to my research was just over 300,000,000, voter turnout was roughly 132,000,000. 44% of the population selected the next four years of government for the other 56%. Ask yourself if you are satisfied with the results. Only you know that answer. Ask yourself that every election. But there is something we can emphasize to our politicians: As motorcyclists we are not all one group with one mind, we are Republicans and Democrats; we are business owners and union labor; we are from the cities, suburbs and farms; we are young and old; we are male and female. And we are every race. In short: We are their constituents, their employer; we expect to be treated with respect. If you wish to be part of this political experiment that has been going on for the past two hundred and thirty-four years and make sure your motorcycle rights and lifestyle do not disappear, then heed these two words: Get involved! Here’s the short version for the today’s sound-bite/Twitter/brief text/instant messaging/want it NOW! generation: Guv wants UR ride - GET INVOLVED!
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European Commission Proposes New Type Approval Rules for Motorcycles continued engine bigger than 125cc being sold from 2017 onwards. Scooters and light motorcycles between 50cc and 125cc will have to be equipped with combined braking systems or anti-lock brakes. ABS has many advantages and FEMA believes that manufacturers should provide optional ABS for every model they are offering. However, there are still questions to be clarified regarding additional costs for purchase and maintenance of the bike as well as durabililty and reliablity requirements. In any case, there must be an on/off button for rides on non-paved roads. Eco-labelling, automatic headlights and exemptions for small series Manufacturers will have to clearly indicate fuel consumption as well as the amount of CO2 produced by the models they are of-
fering as campaigned for by FEMA. Another new provision is that the headlights of new bikes will have to switch on automatically. The measure has been suggested by the major manufacturers and has been implemented already. FEMA advised the Commission to link the mechanism to the start of the engine instead of being switched on by the ignition. FEMA has always supported the individual riders and businesses engaged in the well established tradition of customizers and producers of small batch series of motorcycles. The Commission took notice of the special requirements of such niche products and included exemptions for small series into the proposed regulation as well as the perpetuation of single vehicle approval schemes.
Shooting the Messenger! Reprinted from http://www.righttoride.co.uk As many of our supporters and fellow riders know, we at Right To Ride have carried out a campaign to raise awareness about the development of an ITS product named the “Force Feedback Throttle” in the project SAFERIDER. Our concerns were shared by many throughout the world including well known experts and riders that have been in the “business” of promoting and protecting our interests over many years. Trainers who were initially involved in the project raised their objections, not because of any “Luddite” mentality. That was never the aims or objectives of our campaign. After all, riders use technology of sorts on motorcycles and generally welcome any device that makes riding easier and more comfortable. Even so, any motorcyclist, car or truck driver is fully entitled to raise concerns about ITS devices being developed in any given project, that in their view, may “take control”, “restrict riding”, or “enhance visibility for big brother’s eye”. In fact the former Federation of European Motorcyclists, Federation (FEMA) President Hans Petter Strifeldt made FEMA’s views clear to the Consortium at the SAFERIDER User Forum in 2008. “The purpose of FEMA’s involvement in the project was to ensure that any device developed in the project would not take control away from the rider”. We argued in our correspondence to the Consortium and to the EU Project Officers that the Force Feedback Throttle would do exactly that. We and those who supported us objected to the “Force Feedback Throttle” for one simple reason. Because we argued that any restriction on the throttle is dangerous and we gave well constructed reasons for our objections. SAFERIDER Consortium The SAFERIDER consortium published a number of articles about
their project and given that these documents were in the public domain, we felt that it was appropriate to open a dialogue with the Consortium and EU Project Officer. Therefore to learn of comments about so called individual riders attacking the project is in our view, short sighted and suggests that the consortium had no interest in the views of expert riders who may tell them something different to their own opinions. The trainers involved in the project provided their opinions and expert comments on the devices that the project consortium aimed to develop in early 2008 and overall, they were somewhat sceptical about some of the devices and gave their reasons. We also raised our concerns about the time required for the devices to signal a warning of a potential crash scenario, we did this in the knowledge that the average crash scenario occurs within 2 seconds. In this case, all considered, we felt that this was reasonable and accordingly, we published an article of that very topic. Spending 5 million Euros What that comment suggests is that the 5 million Euros spent on the project was a waste of time and money. That is regrettable, because Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) can and do play an important part for motorcycles and motorcycling. ITS have a place in terms of providing support and information. Whether the Consortium’s inability to produce a viable and workable device of any kind summarizes its own shortcomings is a moot point. What it does suggest however, is that for the next time, before embarking on a project to develop “life saving” devices for motorcyclists, perhaps they may wish to heed a word of advice: speak to trainers and “real” experts before putting together a proposal. Nobody likes to say “I told you so”, but in this case, if the hat fits, then in our view, the SAFERIDER Consortium should well and truly wear it.
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2010 IFZ Conference in Cologne "Safety, environment, future" - for its 8th International Motorcycle Conference, the German Institute for Motorcycle Safety (IFZ) chose to set ambitious objectives. Aimed at scientists, researchers and practitioners, the event was held on the premises of Intermot in Cologne, Germany, just before the official opening of the famous motorcycle fair; a great setting to discuss hot motorcycling topics. With a strong emphasis on research, both in vehicle technology and human factors, the conference touched upon many issues surrounding motorcycle safety. The variety of topics and fields of research showed the active involvement of the research community in promoting motorcycle safety. However, most of these developments are still very theoretical, requiring further testing to properly assess their potential in saving riders' lives. The most successful trend, showcased by the advances of the PISa project (Powered two-wheeler Integreated Safety), promotes an integrated approach where all active and passive safety systems are integrated with assistance and information systems, maximising efficiency and comfort while reducing the risk of interference with the riding task. Hopefully, more advanced innovations in this field will be developed in the coming years.
But the more traditional technology was in the spotlight too, and no less advanced either. Critical advances in suspension, dampers and brake-by-wire technology showed a glimpse of the next big things to hit the motorcycle market. The core of all safety strategies, the human factor, was also largely addressed. In particular, training and human factors and experience affecting riding test results received a detailed coverage with a dedicated presentation of the work of the Ottawa Safety Council in Canada. Accident research, offering an international perspective with a study on single motorcycle crashes in the United States and the work on Australian accident victims. While some factors could be isolated and related to similar situations in Europe, at first glance some differences between the continents remain. A more detailed analysis was presented, focusing on accidents caused by infrastructure, looking at road defects - potholes, cracks and ridges. The detailed video-based experiments underlined the problems raised by bad infrastructure design and maintenance, underlining the need for further improvements.
Delegation from the United States Seeks FEMA's Input on Road Safety FEMA representatives met with a delegation of road safety experts and infrastructure managers from the United States to discuss the state of motorcycle safety in Europe and gather best practices in the field. Held on September 17th, the meeting was part of the Motorcycle Safety Scanning Tour, where a delegation of high-level administrators and researchers from the United States met with their European counterparts to discuss applicable experience and data on two-wheeler safety. American roads have experienced a rise in motorcycle accidents in the past few years, in part due to an increasing motorcycling population. As a result, the Federal and State governments have been looking abroad for solutions, looking into ideas from Eu-
rope. The tour included meetings in Norway, France, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Each stop included demonstrations, presentations and discussions with local and national officials, researchers and members of riders' rights organisations. Biker Union in Germany and NMCU in Norway, in particular, provided the point of view of the users as well as a showcase of their own initiatives to better understand and promote motorcycle safety. The meeting in Brussels focused on initiatives and issues at European level, providing an overview of current activities from the continued page 46
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MRF “Club Dude” Update “Still Ray” Fitzgerald Sustaining Member Motorcycle Club Representative The Motorcycle Riders Foundation Sustaining Members Club Committee has been busy across the country. Not surprising, we have good news and some not so god news. Here in Arizona I am very proud to say we have hired a professional lobbyist to work for our Confederation on Club related issues ie;, equal access, criminal street gang legislation, profiling, etc.Dave Kopp has agreed to represent us at the Capitol on these issues while our designated lobbyist ,Sky Pilot, works in conjunction with the MROs. Rick ’Animal’ Henry has done a great job setting up our web site and BTW was recently elected to ABATE of Az Board of Directors. I am also pleased to announce the Patch Holders of Yavapai County have stood up and filled the officer’s positions in that ABATE Chapter. I attended the Region IX NCOM in Salt Lake City, it was disappointing in that no one showed up. There were a few people from AZ, no one from the three COCs in Nevada, no one from Colorado’s CoC, nobody from New Mexico, none from California. Friday night my bike was the only one in the parking lot. Saturday by the time they got to the time set aside for the Clubs, they sent everyone home. Utah did give a report, there were some Utah Clubs there, but not enough to hold a meeting. Rather than me going on about how we are doing, I’m going to share a couple of emails I’ve received from other regions .Feel free to send me anything of interest for this spot in the paper. It is another tool for sharing what works and what doesn’t ,as well as letting folks know we aren’t goofing off. Lynn Wesley -Pennsylvania Some great news! The Ohio Confederation of Clubs has decided to become a sustaining member of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. The OHCOC met recently and, after a presentation by Hairy George, the OHCOC Legislative Agent and Midwestern representative of the MRF Club Committee, determined it was in their best interest to become a supporter of MRF. In November Hairy George attended the Mid-West Regional NCOM conference with clubs attending from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and West Virginia. During his presentation he discussed with participants the benefits for the individual clubs and state COC's on becoming a Sustaining Member of the MRF; more informal discussions were held, as they always are, after the presentation with representatives of several clubs that were very promising. And some not-so-great news. At it's November meeting, the
A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania Board of Directors reaffirmed a de facto “no colors” policy for Hazen, A.B.A.T.E.'s annual state party. The policy is based on Article X, Section D of the organization's Corporate Operating Procedures, which reads: “For the general good, it is requested that personal relationships and personality conflicts with other members, etc., be left at the door when attending A.B.A.T.E. of PA functions. Participants should recognize A.B.A.T.E. of PA functions as neutral grounds and it is requested that colors not be flown at A.B.A.T.E. of PA functions.” In discussion at the Board's July meeting, it was stated that “Hazen has been a 'no colors' event for about 27-28 years,” and that the policy was a response to one incident involving a few members of one club. Many long-term activist members expressed surprise at this. As a two-term former state coordinator, whose years in office account for a fair portion of those 27-28 years, said: “I have no recollection of that particular policy, but as I read it, all we're doing is making a 'request.' My version of the English language doesn't suggest to me that this policy means 'absolutely forbidden.' Asking someone to do something does not require compliance on their part if they are otherwise so inclined.” In line with this, Hazen has never been advertised as a “no colors” event. However, in spite of the Board's “no colors” vote, this will continue, since a majority also voted down a motion to put “No Colors” on Hazen advertising. Proponents say that “no colors” is the reason there have been no incidents involving club members at Hazen since that first and only one almost 30 years ago. But, when asked to define “colors,” the Board was unable to do so. Quiet Mike Gypsy Jokers M/C From the Oregon CoC also wrote, Still Ray, We had a OCOC meeting Sunday and the new Oregon MRF rep came and gave his sales pitch. He will need some guidance as he was pretty nervous. We will help him get established and ask him to come to the meetings. Washington did not bring up the MRF at their last meeting, so I asked Michael Campbell, the MRF rep there, to go to the next one and I will contact the board and make sure they get a move on this. I sent out a link to the MRF website to some of the club reps to get them motivated. The In Country Vets M/C issued a challenge at the meeting to sign up and I am sure they will. Another club signed up as I am writing this. I will continue to press the rest till they get tired of my shit and sign up. The OCOC also signed up as a member of the Advisory Board with Bike Pac of Oregon. Some thing else I have been going after and am very proud that we did. Bike Pac has acted as the leader for us this past year where Abate has let us down. I am shaming Abate at their state meeting to either get incontinued page 46
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
MRF “Club Dude” Update continued volved or quit calling the organization a MRO. I think it's working. We had a Town Hall in Portland, to move forward with a study on lane sharing and over two hundred motorcyclist's showed up. Every different kind of rider was there, people from travels from around the globe. Pretty cool and it actually galvanized the motorcycle community. We did not put out a Call to Action as we do not want to show our hand or alienate people with a massive show of Patch Holders. Had twenty OCOC members show up and six of them came incognito. We are working with Kevin Starrett of the Oregon Firearms Federation on a couple of gun issues. One to get rid of CHL like Arizona did. Our new governor is our old one from eight years ago and is a piece of work. I have spent a lot of time with Kevin at the Capitol and we are fortunate to have him working with us. He attended our OCOC meeting and everyone thought that was great as he is the man when it comes to gun rights. No Compromise. I will keep you up to speed as we move on. Legislative session
begins in January and I hope we are on the offensive, but that can turn the other way in a heartbeat. We gave a real nice plaque to Tim and Bonnie King of Salem News.com for all that they have done for us over the past years. They got us a lot of national exposure and we are good friends of theirs. Our best to you and yours during this Holiday Season along with the members of the MRFCC. Quiet, Gypsy Joker M/C Thanks again for all that you do Still Ray, JOURNEYMEN M/C Chair, AzCMC MRF Ass’t State Rep MRF Club Dude
Delegation from the United States Seeks FEMA's Input on Road Safety continued organisations most involved in motorcycle policies: the European Commission, FEMA, the motorcycle industry (ACEM) and the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC). Officials in the US delegation included the Director of the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Safety Design, in charge of safe infrastructure and guardrail design; representatives of the Federal Highway Administration and State Administrations from Tennessee, Virginia and Mississippi; members of motorcyclists' associations as well as senior
researchers from transportation institutes and universities. The series of discussions highlighted the needs for heightened exchange between the two sides of the Atlantic, while showing the discrepancies existing in user culture and demographics, geography, climate, road infrastructure design or traffic patterns. But the tour underlined the potential in establishing regular talks to share findings in research, results of positive actions or feedback on successful awareness campaigns.
Sign Up for MRF News Releases at www.mrf.org 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.
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Motorcycle Riders Foundation Board of Directors PRESIDENT Kirk “Hardtail” Willard 715-421-0717 firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Downs Conference Director 303-204-6939 email@example.com
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“Still Ray” Fitzgerald Sustaining Member Motorcycle Club Representative email@example.com
MRF Reports EDITOR
Eric Hampton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send in writing to:
236 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Suite 510
Send all submissions for publication to:
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Washington, DC 20002-4980
236 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20002-4980
DEADLINE The FIRST of every even-numbered month
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
Mission Statement 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.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation 236 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Suite 510 Washington, DC 20002-4980
NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID SPICER, MN. Permit No. 3
MRFâ€ˆCommittees ALCOHOL AWARENESS: Steve Zimmer
Mark Buckner, Still Ray Fitzgerald, Cindy
RESEARCH & STATISTICS: Jay Jackson
RON SHEPARD SAFETY RECOGNITION:
(Chair), Frank Carbone, Jeff Hennie, Jay
Hodges, Jim â€œLegsâ€? Korte, John Pierce,
(Chair), Jeff Hennie, Paulette Korte, David
Jay Jackson (Chair), Chuc Coulter, Carol
Jackson, Lynn Oldenburg, Carol Simpson,
Tuschel, Thomas J. â€œDoc Skiâ€? Wasileski,
Downs, Paulette Korte, John Pierce, Wayne
Graydon Wheeler, Kirk â€œHardtailâ€? Willard,
Graydon Wheeler, Wayne Wierson LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE- Kirk â€œHard-
Steve Zimmer THOMAS PAINE: Kirk â€œHardtailâ€? Willard
BY-LAWS: Kirk â€œHardtailâ€? Willard (Chair),
tailâ€? Willard (Chair), Dave Dwyer, Jeff Hen-
Carol Downs, Paulette Korte, Jay Jackson,
nie, Cindy Hodges, Jay Jackson, Jim
STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE
(Chair), Eric Hampton, Tiffany Latimer, Sarah
Larry Nielson, Todd Riba
â€œLegsâ€? Korte, Boyd McFail, Larry Nielson,
Muckenhoupt, Graydon Wheeler
STATE & FEDERAL: Dave Dwyer (Chair),
MRF CHAMPS: Dave Dwyer (Chair), Kirk
Jeff Hennie, Larry Nielson, Todd Riba
â€œHardtailâ€? Willard, Jeff Hennie, Larry Nielson,
John Pierce, Todd Riba COMMUNICATIONS: Eric Hampton (Chair), Jeff Hennie, John Pierce, Cindy
MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE: John
Hodges, Tiffany Latimer, Deborah Butitta,
Pierce (Chair), Mike Berger, Still Ray
Mike Berger, Michael McGuire, Graydon
Fitzgerald, Eric Hampton, Cindy Hodges,
Wheeler, Margie Ferrucci
Paulette Korte, Tiffany Latimer, Sarah
FARMERS: Kirk â€œHardtailâ€? Willard (Chair),
Muckenhoupt, Polly Schoeller, Todd Riba,
Mark Buckner, Deborah Butitta
ELECTIONS: Dave Dwyer (Chair), Cindy
MRF REPS & GROWTH: Grady Wheeler
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Kirk â€œHardtailâ€?
Hodges, Jim â€œLegsâ€? Korte, Larry Nielson,
(Chair), Dave Condon, Cindy Hodges, Jim
Willard (Chair), Deborah Butitta, Paulette
Graydon Wheeler, Wayne Wierson
â€œLegsâ€? Korte, Tiffany Latimer, John Pierce,
Korte, Steve Zimmer
Polly Schoeller, Todd Riba, Wayne Wierson
MRFPAC: Steve Zimmer (Chair), Dave
Carbone, Chuc Coulter, Paulette Korte,
City, State, Zip