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 .2 M a r c h /Ap r i l 2 0 11
WHAT’S INSIDE: Educate Not Legislate Page 2 Washington Update Page 3 PAC Post-It Notes Page 6 Meadowlark & Sage Page 8 What Do You Reps Guys Do Anyway? Page 17 Wherever We Go, We Are at Home Page 20 MRF Departmental Reports Page 27 California’s SB435 Page 29 The Car Turns Left Page 48 Heading Toward the Matrix Page 53 Remembering Wendy Moon Page 54
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Educate Not Legislate Kirk “Hardtail” Willard MRF President
Those of us who have been around the biker’s rights movement for awhile how many of you have a patch with the words in the title above still on your vest? How many of you recall the words “Educate not Legislate” as being a genuine rallying cry? Today I have concerns we have forgotten how important and meaningful these words and more importantly actions were to our movement. This is true both in protecting ourselves and our freedom. I see many States are pursuing mandatory right of way violation penalties, WHICH WE SHOULD IN MANY CASES, but at the same time are we fully invested in promoting rider education classes to new riders. How many of us as motorcyclists rights movement leaders have led by example and taken an experienced rider education course? Are we running an effective and far reaching Share the Road program? Are we leading by example and avoiding unimpaired riding situations? Are we riding and promoting riding within our limits? Is our “May is Motorcycle Awareness Month” more than a proclamation on a piece of paper? Are we holding awareness rallies? Have we been successful getting billboards up, literature widely distributed, and DOT signage converted? Most importantly, how many of us have taken an Accident Scene Management or Two Wheeled Trauma course? We need to lead by example and educate ourselves and not simply look to legislative answers, laws, and ultimately a solution from another entity outside our movement when many of the answers and solutions lie within. Years ago I wrote a column titled “With Freedom Comes Responsibility”. While we do have a responsibility to do whatever we
Advertising in the MRF Reports TheMRFReportsreachesapproximately5000 motorcyclistssixtimesayear.Evenmorevisit ourwebsite(www.mrf.org)everymonthandthis isaprimelocationtogetthewordoutabout yourproductorservicetomotorcyclists. ContactMargieFerrucciformoreinformation. firstname.lastname@example.org
can to protect ourselves and to maintain our freedom, others will not nor do we want them to even try a vast majority of the time. We can ask ourselves the same questions for example about insurance legislation. I see many of us spending time on insurance regulation, much of it unnecessarily. Some are even considering mandated insurance, a word that still makes many of us cringe. But at the same time when was the last time you sat through a class on how insurance works and what you should have in the way of coverage; how much uninsured, how much underinsured should we have and why? This used to be a staple in our movement. When we hold the proper amount and type of insurance, society has a difficult time labeling us as “burdens”. Again, this is a responsibility we should exercise if we want to maintain our freedoms without being imposed upon. A respected leader in this movement recently said to me, “we suck at making laws, we’re much better at fighting them”. That led to an introspective discussion about whether we are doing enough in educating and not legislating these days. We should never forget, it is a slippery slope to be mindful of our politicians seeing us imposing our will on others through mandated actions yet we tear the house down when someone wants to impose their will on us through something like a mandatory helmet law. I have presented things for each of us to ponder and strengthen our resolve in some way. Educate not Legislate.
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
Washington Update & the NTSB Jeff Hennie Government Relations and Public Affairs Both the House and Senate swore in the newest Members of Congress last month. With smiles on everyone’s faces, you know someone had to be up to no good. This time it was the House Republican Conference. They held their closed door meeting to discuss the new rules changes for the 112th Congress, something the majority does every two years. The House Republican leadership proposed a key change to the way the Highway Trust Fund is protected from borrowing or spending any money on non transportation projects. This protection makes perfect sense because the fund is generated from a federal fuel tax, so it’s money generated by road users for road
users. Republicans defeated an amendment to the rules package offered by Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), which would have preserved the linkage between incoming trust fund revenues and future federal investments. Under the LaTourette proposal the existing “point of order” protection against legislation that reduced spending below the supportable levels would have been retained, but any member would be allowed the opportunity to cut highway and transit spending through an amendment on the House floor. The LaTourette Amendment was voted on by secret ballot. As such, the votes of each Republican will not be made public and it is unclear at this time if the final vote tally will be released. While today’s developments are an obvious setback for the entire transportation community, the new rules package does not determine the outcome of subsequent legislation nor does it require spending cuts. The new rule, however, certainly strengthens continued page 4
It’s Worth Repeating Jay Jackson MRF Vice President Before you go blaming Eric for making a mistake, thinking that he re-printed a previous article, let me explain that I am being redundant. If you think you've seen some of this before, it's because you have. At some point I'll need to back off a little or the three people that actually read this column (that includes my wife and my mom) will tire of hearing the same old thing. However, I ain't quite done beatin' this drum yet. We need to stay true to motorcyclists' issues. I am reminded of an episode of M*A*S*H* where they pointed out that "the M means mobile". I'm sure you all know that the M in SMRO means motorcycle. There are countless worthwhile causes out there. If you believe strongly in them, you should support them. Just recognize that those other issues are not "our" (motorcyclists) issues. I am fortunate that I get to communicate with, and visit, riders from all over this great nation (and internationally). I have had several people tell me that they appreciate the message "what we're about" and trying to keep people focused. Unfortunately, some of those very people then lead right into a dialogue about something that is not our concern. Don't get me wrong. We're not going to tell any individual, or any organization, what they can or can't, or should or shouldn't say or do. We may suggest that you
be aware of what hat you're wearing when you speak about "other" issues. Be careful not to mis-represent something as part of the SMRO's agenda or yourself as a spokesperson unless it is appropriate. If we get too far off center it can dilute the significance of our real issue and may compromise our integrity and professionalism as grass roots lobbyists. Professional, grass roots lobbyist sounds a bit contradictory, but SMROs across the country have earned a reputation for understanding the system and doing things right. We have heard for years that there is strength in numbers. We need to continue our efforts to expand our circle of influence and increase our voice. Frequently, we (SMROs) are labeled as "Harley" organizations. Even if we get past that, most folks think of us as riding cruisers and wearing black leather. Of course a lot of our people fit that description and that's great. However, we've got members that have a bunch of different stuff. Sure, I own three HDs, but my primary ride right now is a Yamaha and I also ride dirt. Quite a few of the guys I ride with have a dual-sport parked in the garage next to their bagger. You may be surprised by the number of "our people" that like to go fast and have a sport bike to take out on track days. There are a lot of us that started out on dirt and still have a dirt bike or a 4-wheeler to take out on the trails. There has been much discussion with the OHV (off-highway vehicle) community the last couple years, specifically with regard to the CPSIA which basically outlaws kid's bikes related to lead content. We need to make sure that we continue to work with these riders and welcome them to "our" (as in all of us - OHV and street) community. Additionally, this should be expanded to continued page 7
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting and New Legislation Jeff Hennie Government Relations and Public Affairs This week in Washington, DC the Transportation Research Board (TRB) held its annual meeting which offered the opportunity for the Motorcycle and Moped committee to meet as well. The TRB is a group of academics, governments, and private organizations from around the world that meet to discuss essentially every aspect of transportation. The Motorcycle and Moped committee is an advisory committee to the TRB to review academic papers and share information. Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs is a sitting member of the committee and represents the MRF at each meeting. This year several topics were addressed that are worth mentioning. First it seems to be the year of the naturalistic study. The French government has done one and as previously reported here so is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation/Motorcycle Industry council. Both studies will or did use volunteers and their motorcycles outfitted with cameras, GPS and data recorders along with a slew of sensors to measure what the motorcycle does for a set amount of time, typically, 6 months to a year. Crash Study Update It has been determined that the federally funded motorcycle crash study will be only located in Orange County, CA and will in-
vestigate a high of 240 crashes. Results will be available 36 months after data collection ends. A scan of European motorcycle safety programs, laws and infrastructure was recently completed by a team of government types and private groups. The scan revealed some interesting results. They team found out that most of the countries in Europe that they visited all had very similar ratios with regards to motorcycles and fatalities. In this country motorcycles are about 3 percent of the vehicles on the road and average about 10 percent of the fatalities each year. In Europe they have nearly identical ratios, even though they have mandatory helmet laws and graduated licensing not to mention it costs about $1000.00 to just get a motorcycle license! Maybe Europe should learn from us and not the other way around. The Kids Just Want To Ride! Legislation recently introduced would allow just that. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) introduced HR 412 earlier this week. This bill would exempt youth motorcycles and ATV’s from the current lead ban on children's toys. “Here again, a law meant to improve children’s safety is actually being enforced in a way that puts kids in more danger than ever, while destroying jobs to boot,” said Rehberg. “It’s critical that we put to rest any confusion once and for all so kids can just get outside and ride. There’s no excuse for continued bungling that only stops kids from using the very youth-sized off-road vehicles that are intended to keep them safe.” Call your Member of Congress and ask them to join the bipartisan group and cosponsor HR 412. You can reach the Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121
Washington Update & the NTSB continued the hand of the House Appropriations Committee in setting highway and transit investment levels irrespective of Highway Trust Fund revenues. House Republicans have been clear that they will be pursuing significant cuts in domestic discretionary spending and the defeat of the LaTourette Amendment signals this could include highway and public transportation investment. Despite the outcome of today’s vote, Rep. LaTourette deserves the sincere appreciation of the entire transportation construction industry. Attempting to change a largely internal and leadershipdriven process to protect the Highway Trust Fund shows his great leadership and support for federal transportation investment. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Mica (R-Fla.) also deserves our thanks as he supported and helped defend the LaTourette Amendment. Special thanks goes out to MRF members and state motorcycle rights groups who aggressively weighed in on this issue over the last few days. While the outcome was not what we wanted, you
can be certain your voice was heard as many members of the House reported being inundated with calls from constituents. If anything, this situation reinforces the need to continue communicating with Congress We have faced these challenges before and rest assured we will continue to fight for the motorcyclists. Thank you again.
NTSB The NTSB has been quiet about motorcycles since adding the call for state helmet law to their “top ten most wanted list”. The NTSB has no regulatory or enforcement authority. They only have the power to make lists and try to recommend that the recipients of their advice, take it. The MRF will keep you updated on the NTSB and all actions affecting the motorcyclists of America.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Continuing to Dream of the Ride Carol Downs MRF Conference Director
Here we are in the middle of winter, the start of a new year. What that means in my household is there are maps spread across the dining room table. For many years this has been one of my favorite times of the year. Bruce and I do not use GPS (although I will admit to mapquest for distances and times on occasion). One of the fun parts of our rides has always been the planning. Where do we want/need to go? What is the most indirect route we can take to arrive on time? Can any of those routes keep us on two-lane roads? Are there any interesting spots of Americana along the routes? Of course, by the time we are actually on those rides we would often take off down a road not originally planned just to see what was there. But those days are gone; at least for me. The maps are still strewn across the table. Bruce is still poring over them looking for some interesting route and point of interest. But I no longer have the time to ride everywhere I need and/or want to go. This whole idea of working for a living has really cramped my style. When I was about thirty years old I made a decision to get out of the corporate world. My daughter was young; I wanted quality time with her. I never finished my education; I wanted that piece of paper. And there was a whole world out there calling to me. So I semi-retired; went back to school and started my own business. I did not get rich in money but so very rich in experiences. Yes, I got my piece of paper. Yes, I traveled the world. Yes, my daughter and I spent lots of time together doing things most of her friends would never get a chance to do. It was wonderful. Eventually though, I had to go back to work just to receive benefits like insurance and retirement. But I am here to tell you – the change in life style sucks! There is no other word for it. One of the things I was able to do during my semi-retirement was devote lots of time to motorcycle rights issues. I will be the first one to tell you I am not the legislative guy. Don’t come to me for answers to issues. My strong suit was organization, and putting the smart guys together in the same place at the same time for all of us to learn from. But even the time I have available to spend on that is strictly limited now. That is why I needed an Assistant to help me work Conferences. Several months ago I announced Mary Berger out of Minnesota had volunteered to step up. Unfortunately, her professional work commitment proved to be too great to do the job justice so she regrettably stepped down. Then I got lucky again. Teri Stobbs-Ricci agreed to step up. So once again I am announcing that I do have a new assistant; Teri Stobbs-Ricci. Many in the MRF know Teri well. She had previously sat on the MRF Board as the Communications Director. Then she needed a break, but is ready to come back. We,
on the board, are pleased to have her re-join us. And she is certainly taking the ball and running with it. She has already made great strides in working on agendas for the 2011 Conference year. Our year starts with BEAST of the East in Linthicum Heights, MD hosted by ABATE of MD. For those who are not familiar with Maryland, Linthicum Heights is a suburb of Baltimore. It happens to be the closest city to BWI airport. That means real convenience for those flying in for the Conference. For those riding in, it means not having to mess with downtown Baltimore. It also happens to be on the south end of the city making it more convenient to ride into DC for Bikers Inside the Beltway. The third annual Bikers Inside the Beltway will be held in conjunction with BEAST of the East this year. The date set is May 12, 2011. While the DC office is still finalizing our permits, parking area, meeting room and time what we do know is the date, and of course, the general location. A group will be riding together into DC from the BEAST host hotel early that morning. We will all gather in DC and then spread out to visit our respective Legislators that day. For those of us, myself included, who won’t get to ride to DC we will all take the train together in DC and join the riders. As specific start times and parking locations become known, we will post updates on the MRF website. Or even easier, just plan to be at the host hotel early on the morning of May 12. There are rooms available at the host hotel that Wednesday night. The MRF Board will begin its business later that day back at the hotel with committee meetings. On Friday we will have our annual Spring Board Meeting starting at 8:00AM. All are invited to sit in on the full Board meeting to see what we do and how we work. Friday evening at 7:00PM BEAST of the East officially begins. We will host our Meet and Greet session. This is the time that we all come together and see who is there. One representative from each state in attendance will be asked to stand, introduce themselves and let us know what is happening in their state. This is the best time to find out who is there, and more importantly who you need to talk to over the course of the weekend. Remember, if you have an issue in your state someone else probably has the same issue. Maybe they can give you some ideas how to address the situation. Or perhaps you can help them. While every state has different rules and requirements, there is never a need to reinvent the wheel, slight modifications usually work. Saturday will be filled with general sessions and workshops aimed at addressing issues we face as motorcyclists in this great nation of ours. While the MRF Board and the DC office set the Legislative agenda for the year in our nation’s capital, we cannot do it without input from the states as to what is most important, continued page 6
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
PAC Post-It Notes Steve Zimmer MRFPAC Director Hello from your MRF Political Action Committee. In an attempt to improve communication I want to see if there are those out there that might have questions regarding the PAC and how we operate so… If there are questions email me at Steve@mrf.org and I will write an answer in an article for the newsletter. That way everyone will get the information because we all know if one person has a question there are certainly others with the same question but haven’t asked. In the meantime, I will start by saying the 2010 was a good year for the PAC fund. We made a few contributions to candidates and I think Jeff said we were about 55-65 % successful with those we backed. Considering the political climate this past election that is a pretty good average. As for the fund itself we managed to maintain a good balance with the help of those individual contributions and the help we get from fundraisers. Our Federal Election Commission filings were made in a timely fashion all year thanks to the excellent work of our PAC Treasurer Chuc Coulter and Tiffany our MRF office manager. Tiffany does an amazing job getting those reports to the FEC in time. Next time you see her say thanks. So where do we start with the PAC fund, I think introductions are in order. The following people serve as your PAC Fund Committee: Steve Zimmer- Chairman, Chuc Coulter- Treasurer, Jeff Hennie as the MRF Vice President of Government Relations serves not only as a member of the PAC but also is our primary advisor regarding recommendations for donations (He’s our Boots on the Ground Guy in DC). Dave Dwyer, Larry Nielson and Jim “Legs” Korte round out the committee with an embarrassing tremendous number of years experience active in legislative and political involvement. Every member of the PAC has worked or continues to work in their home state in the legislative
capacity and/or political action committee. I said the number of years experience was embarrassing only because your PAC committee brings well over 100 years experience from their background to this committee. What that means to you is that the money donated and raised for the MRF PAC is in very knowledgeable hands, capable of making intelligent informed decisions on where the fund will have the greatest impact. As a basic reminder the MRF PAC can only solicit donations from our restricted class. Our restricted class is the MRF membership, employees and their families. We are not allowed to accept donations from state PACs. We cannot accept corporate checks from anyone, only personal checks are allowed. We can accept donations from other Federal PAC’s Donations can only be made to a Federal candidate, Presidential candidates, Senators and Representatives at the federal level. Every year we get questions about a really great person running for city council, or state assembly, or any number of other offices, and every year we have to turn people down. This is not because we think these people unworthy of our attention but because we are restricted by Federal Regulation. Trust me the Federal Election Commission has absolutely no sense of humor when it comes to their rules. Basically to them, to bend is to break, to break is to fine or send to jail! So, just a brief introduction, some of the basics regarding your Political Action Committee, and an invitation. At the MOTM’s there was a request made to have a breakout session to help people better understand the workings of the PAC. In an effort to make that happen we will be adding the PAC breakout to the regional conferences as well as the MOTM’s. The first of these will be at the BEAST of the East coming this May in Maryland. If you miss the BEAST, check back here and we will try to answer as many as we can of the mailbags full of questions you have regarding your MRF PAC. Steve Zimmer MRF PAC Chairman
Continuing to Dream of the Ride continued and how to achieve those goals. We will wrap up the weekend Saturday evening with our banquet and auction. There is always something being auctioned that you simply must have, so bring your plastic. Details for the BEAST of the East Conference, including the host hotel, can be found on the Conference information pages of the MRF website, www.mrf.org. About a month after Bikers Inside the Beltway and BEAST of the East we will be going to Ogden, UT for BEST of the West. Our hosts for this event will be ABATE of UT. The format will be the same as BEAST of the East with issues changing to address more of the western US. The Conference year will end in late September with the Meeting of the Minds hosted by ABATE of MI. All of the Conference infor-
mation and hotel info can be found on the MRF website. So now I go back to helping Bruce lay out his rides to get to the various Conferences this year. Dreaming again of the day when I can ride next to him instead of having to fly because my employer doesn’t understand I need 2 weeks every few months to do my “fun” job. But at least I can still do the planning end and attend the events. All in all it works out.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
It’s Worth Repeating continued reach out to the sport bike riders, urban riders, motorcycle dealers and shops, etc... This is not "selling out", this is learning how to best use the system to achieve our goals by working smarter. The more support we have, our voice becomes louder and we become stronger. We need to make sure there's room in tent for everyone. I am thrilled with the connections that our members have made in their states. Certainly it is essential to establish a rapport with legislators, but developing relationships with other organizations (bicyclists, OHV, etc...), agencies and some corporations can often prove to be beneficial for all parties involved. You will probably find that we have more similarities than we do differences. I'm not suggesting that we should simply jump into bed with everybody, but if we can utilize a contact to open a door, we should take advantage of it. We may not be able to agree 100% of the time, but we likely have numerous common issues.
recognition and exposure at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, August 26-28 has a great deal of potential. Spectators and participants from around the world will attend this spectacular weekend of excitement and fun and we will have the ability to advise them of their right to ride and why they should be in the fight to preserve it. This is yet another cross section of riders we need to be open to. I would be remiss if I did not express our concern for the well being of our friend, and Co-Chair of the US House Motorcycle Caucus, Gabrielle Giffords. Representative Giffords is a strong supporter of motorcyclists and has been instrumental in helping to develop Bikers Inside the Beltway. We look forward to seeing Gabby back on "the hill" soon. Ride Safe, Ride Free, Jay Jackson
A partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to gain
Views On Advanced Motorcycle Training Sweden Reprinted from www.righttoride.eu
to focus better on traffic situations as a result of advanced training.
In 2010 the Swedish riders’ organisation – Sveriges MotorCyklister (SMC) – commissioned a survey to find out the views of motorcyclists regarding advanced rider training.
The booklet “Full Control” that is sent out to SMC members with the MC magazine MC-Folket, was also considered to have improved their knowledge about motorcycling.
1733 Swedish motorcyclists responded to the website questionnaire which focused on their opinions about the impact of advanced motorcycle training. The survey was compiled and analyzed by Right To Ride’s Director of Research, Dr Elaine Hardy.
Less Motorcycle Accidents in Sweden
The results, which indicated a beneficial effect of the training lessons, was presented to the 1800 participants of the VTI (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute) Transport Forum, the biggest of its kind in Sweden. In the SMC survey about 70% of the respondents stated that they have participated in some sort of advanced training for motorcyclists. The responses clearly demonstrate that participants of advanced training courses feel more secure and confident about the handling of their bike.
“This is a very good rating for the courses we offer in the SMC School. The result also shows that motorcyclists are safety oriented” says Jesper Christensen, General Secretary of SMC. “Every year thousands of motorcyclists make huge investments of time and money to improve their own safety with motorcycle training courses. The results show a clear trend towards an increased safety consciousness among motorcyclists and today we are indeed observing a significant drop of killed and severely injured motorcyclists in accident statistics.” The study reveals that most people ride a motorcycle because it is fun or because it provides a sense of freedom. Participation in advanced training makes it even more fun to ride a bike.
Two thirds are of the opinion that the risk of accident involvement reduces after an advanced course.
The study also shows that the majority of the respondents considered renewing their skills through training on a regular basis to be helpful.
More than 70% say that advanced training gave them improved abilities to avoid critical situations.
For the SMC study in English: http://www.righttoride.eu/virtuallibrary/statistics/SurveySMCfullreport2011.pdf pdf 1.4mb
Almost 90% of the survey participants stated that their skills had improved after advanced training.
Right To Ride Ltd email@example.com www.righttoride.eu www.righttoride.co.uk
A high number also pointed out that they had gained important tools
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Meadowlark and Sage Graydon Wheeler State Rep Board Member Lex slowed as he came to the intersection of the small highway, eased into the turn and opened the throttle again as he followed the bike’s front wheel in the new direction. He still had a ways to go before he arrived at the location Dave wanted. He’d rather be riding somewhere else, for a different reason, but he had known that a day like this would come. And Lex knew that whatever Dave asked of him, he’d do it. He thought back to the first time he and Dave met, far too many years and miles ago. He had ridden his bicycle, loaded down with a tent and sleeping bag, nearly all day and his clothes stuck to him as he pulled into the driveway of the small motorcycle shop next to a small bungalow style house. The door to the shop was open and he saw three bikers inside. One on chair with a beer in his hand, another standing next to a Harley-Davidson chopper that was on a lift, pointing out something to a third man in greasy overalls holding a wrench. They all stopped what they were doing and watched as he stopped his bicycle. He tried hard not to feel nervous and intimidated, but wasn’t having much luck.
tell which. “I d-d-don’t know your name”. Lex couldn’t stop the stammer, and he was starting to sweat heavily again. Long painful silence, then a snort that might have been a laugh. "Name's Dave.” He returned to the Harley and started poking around the insides again. “There’s pop in the fridge if your thirsty, help yourself” Unsure what to do at first, thirst won out. Lex leaned his bicycle on the kickstand and walked into the shop where an old refrigerator sat humming in the back. He found a can of orange inside and took it out, briefly holding it to his forehead, enjoying the cool sensation. He stepped a little closer to the motorcycle that was being repaired. Hardtail frame, springer front end, king and queen seat, flamed paint on the tank, chrome pretty much everywhere else. I bet that would be fun to ride, he thought. Dave interrupted his daydreaming, “ By the way, this is Eddie’s bike we’re working on”. The man next to Dave nodded his head. “Howzitgoin’” “And”, continued Dave, “the gentleman on the couch we call Spook”.
The one with the wrench stood there a moment or two and just said, “Yeah?”
Lex looked over at bearded man. The man gave a slight twist of the lip as a way of greeting. Spook fits. He didn’t say anything the whole time he was there.
His throat went dry as he squeaked out, I..ah..heard you had a motorcycle for sale and I....”
“And you are...?” Dave let the question hang.
“Sold it.” was all the biker said as he turned his attention back to the chopper.
“My names A...a...a...lex”. His stammer was back. “Okay Lex.”
“Oh...uh...okay, thanks anyway”, said Lex pushing his bicycle back toward the road.
“No, it’s Alex”.
“Where’d you ride from?”, asked the mechanic without looking up.
“You just told me it was Lex.”
Lex paused for a moment, “Carver”.
“I meant Alex”.
The mechanic stopped trying to twist something in the engine, looked up with eyebrows raised, and glanced at the other two, who simply shrugged.
“Don’t you know your own name?”
“Carver? What on earth possessed you to ride a bicycle over sixty miles?” “A friend told me you had a motorcycle for sale that I might be able to buy.” “And without even knowing if I did or not you peddled your ass all the way here. Ever heard of a telephone?” “I d-d-didn’t have your number”, Lex stammered. “Got a phonebook?” The biker was upset, or amused. Lex couldn’t
“Yes but it’s not Lex”. “You just told me it was” “No I didn’t!”. “You calling me a liar, kid?” “No!” “Then Lex it is.” And ever since, everyone, with the exception of his parents, called him Lex.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Meadowlark and Sage continued Lex ducked to avoid an insect as he wondered once again why he took the windshield off of his bike. Sometimes you need to let comfort and practicality trump style. A ranch truck passed him in the opposite direction. The only other traffic he’s seen for miles. He knew why Dave wanted him out here. He continued reminiscing. “If you had called me, I could’ve told you that I didn’t have anything for sale.” Dave was talking as he led Lex to a truck in the backyard with something in the bed covered with a tarp. “But since you rode this far”, he paused, “You be willing to do a little wrenching? I picked this up last week but haven’t had time to start on it”. He pulled the tarp back revealing a Honda CL350 that had bad tires, a bit of rust, and was missing a muffler.
Somehow that fact had slipped by Lex. All the work and he hadn’t tried to start it. He turned the key on. The oil lamp and neutral indicator lights glowed. He thought about pushing the starter button, but decided to kick-start it first. It seemed like what a real biker would do. Reaching down, he pulled the starter pedal out and placed his right foot on it. He stood on the Honda’s left peg with his left, took a breath, and came down with his weight on his right leg. And then screamed in pain as the lever kicked back, nearly throwing him over the handlebars. After a few moments of holding his leg in agony, and a few tears (once he made certain no one was around), Lex hobbled back to the motorcycle, and pushed the starter button.
“I have the parts inside. I’ll let you borrow my tools and if you can get it up and running, we’ll work out a deal”.
The Honda sputtered and coughed but finally the engine caught, shaking and back-firing as it noisily filled the shop with a blue haze. Lex was revving the motor when he heard Dave screaming non-stop behind him.
Lex didn’t need to think about it at all. “Sure!” It wasn’t a Harley, but Lex knew he couldn’t afford something that big anyway. Eddie and Spook brought a ramp out and together they brought the little Honda into the shop and made a space for Lex to work. Dave carried over a box filled with gaskets, spark plugs, oils, and other assorted parts. He went out to the truck and returned with two new tires. “Have at it”, he said and then went back to finishing the job on Eddie’s ride. Lex stared at the project for a moment. Where to start? He peered in the box thinking the parts might suggest something. He had never worked on something like this. A lawnmower or two, yes. And working with his father on the family car, but never a motorcycle. He thought, “A motor’s a motor. They all take gas and burn it the same way, more or less”. It may take a while; Lex was willing to try. He took the gas tank off and cleaned it, did the same with the carburetor, put on new plug wires and new plugs, checked the wiring and fixed the lights once he installed the newly charged battery. He added fluids wherever they were needed, and tightened up hoses and gaskets wherever those fluids leaked. And he scraped his knuckles...often. He was so involved in fixing the bike that he never noticed how dark it had become outside, or that Eddie’s bike was no longer in the shop, nor was anyone else for that matter. When he stood and stretched his sore muscles, he saw he was alone. He wasn’t sure what he should do next. The only thing left was the wheels. New brakes and tires and the bike was good to go...if it will start.
“Jesus fucking Christ what the fuck you doing holy fucking shit you little...!” Lex jumped as Dave grabbed the keys from the bike shutting it down. All Lex could say was, “What?” “Eddie, turn the fan on. Spook, leave the pizzas outside, I don’t want to be tasting exhaust all night.” Dave grabbed Lex by the collar and pulled. “Outside”. “I just wanted to see if it would start”, Lex tried to explain. “And you didn’t bother to open a window or turn the ceiling vents on?” “I didn’t think...” “Exactly!” Dave let go of Lex and walked over to the picnic table near the house where the other two waited with a few unopened pizza boxes. “In case you’re hungry”. Lex limped over to the table and took out a slice of pepperoni. The other three watched his limp, Spook’s laugh almost shooting his pop through his nose. continued page 10
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Meadowlark and Sage continued “Someone tried to kick it”. Said Eddie.
“No, no, it’s okay! I’ll drink it black! And I don’t need breakfast.”
“Someone did indeed”, said Dave.
“Well tough titty. It’s already made and getting cold. So get inside”. Dave headed toward the door to his house calling over his shoulder, “There’s cream and sugar on the table”.
And that was all they said about it. The conversation turned to sports, and local politics. Lex didn’t say much. He just listened in, and ate as much as he dared without looking too obvious about how much he was eating. He hadn’t realized how hungry he was until then. But the others didn’t take notice, or pretended they didn’t. Soon after, Eddie and Spook left. Dave brought Lex back to the shop. “Here, sit down”, he said as he sniffed the air. “I guess it’s cleared out enough that you won’t be breathing fumes all night.” Lex sat, and leaned back in the soft cushions. He was still a bit sore. Dave looked the Honda over, nodding now and then.
Lex followed inside, not sure what he’d find. The smell of bacon drifted through the door making his mouth water. He stepped inside wondering what a hard-core biker’s house would look like. He wasn’t expecting to see a living room lined with bookshelves. He wandered over to read the titles. Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Robert Frost, books on science, books on psychology, books on religions, books on history; there were even a few written in French and German. Lex pulled a book down and was thumbing through it when Dave said from the doorway, “I like to read”. Lex nodded. “Me too”, he replied as he replaced the book back in it’s place.
“Thought we’d be back before you finished the motor. You seemed so intense at your work we didn’t want to mess with your rhythm. You definitely had a groove on”.
They sat at the kitchen table where a bacon and cheese omelet waited. As they ate, they talked a little about motorcycles, runs (something Lex wanted to try), sports, and other small talk. Lex was finding Dave to be an easy person to talk to. He talked of the places he wanted to travel, things he wanted to do now that he was no longer in highschool. He learned of the places Dave had been, both as civilian and while serving a short while in the army. He discovered that Dave had been
He checked the bike out some more, stroking his chin as he did so. “You can crash on the couch, there. Tomorrow I’ll show you how to use the timing light and we’ll get this running proper”. “I’m not sleepy”, said Lex, “I can finish the work tonight”. married twice. “We’ll do it tomorrow. When you’re tired you make mistakes. I don’t like mistakes”. “I’m not tired”, thought Lex. He was still thinking this when he noticed it was suddenly light and Dave was asking, “You want some coffee?” Lex sat up, blinking, seeing the early morning sunlight streaming through the windows. Sometime during the night he had acquired a heavy blanket and a pillow. He didn’t remember taking of his sneakers, but they were on the floor next to him. His bicycle was inside too, parked next to the Honda. “Your not a morning person, are ya?” Dave held out a mug, “And you’re a little deaf too it seems. Would...you...like...some...coffee?” he said loud and slowly.
Breakfast over, they went out to the shop, where Dave taught Lex how to time the bike properly, then Lex finished with the wheels and tires. The Honda was finished. “Time to discuss price”, Dave said as he wiped his hands on a rag near the dresser he was now tinkering with. Lex stood over the 350, feeling proud for bringing it back to roadworthiness. “What will you be asking for it?” “Well, I paid three hundred for it, plus about another two-fifty for the parts, I was going to ask six hundred for it, but I’ll let you have it for cost. Five-fifty”. “Oh”.
“Yes, please”, replied Lex. He sipped the steaming, black brew. And made a face. “Any chance I could get some cream and sugar?” Dave threw his hands in the air. What do I look like? A goddamn waitress? I suppose next you’ll be asking me to make you breakfast!”
Lex, felt like someone had punched him in the stomach, he knew a bike would cost him, but he hadn’t saved up that much, yet. It showed on his face. “What’s the problem? You don’t think it’s worth it?”
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Meadowlark and Sage continued “I do, I just don’t have the cash right now”.
“Man, if I let it go for that, I’d be losing money.” Dave looked away, shaking his head.
A month after buying the Honda, Dave called and invited Lex on a run to a barbecue camp-out for the weekend. Lex arrived at Dave’s place where Dave, Eddie, Spook and a few others were readying their rides for the trip. They all looked at Lex’s 350, loaded down with his sleeping bag, tent, and huge duffle bag containing anything and everything Lex thought he might need for the weekend. No one said a word about Lex’s cargo. Lex soon learned that his biker friends were different from his other friends.
“I’ll probably have enough saved up in a month. Could I come get it then?”
When Lex would make a mistake, other friends would ask, “Why are you doing that? What is that for? You sure that’s right?”.
“If I still have it. Someone else may come along with the cash on hand. You know what they say, ‘money talks, bullshit walks’”.
Biker friends would remain silent and let him learn on his own.
“How much do you have?” “Four hundred”.
“Yeah, I understand”. Lex rubbed his hand along the Honda’s gas tank. Maybe later. “Thanks for breakfast. I’ll try to call when I can get the rest of the money.” “Yeah, you do that” Lex took one last look at the motorcycle, then threw a leg over his bicycle and started pedaling for the road. He hadn’t reached the edge of the driveway when Dave yelled to him, “Hey Lex, hold on a minute”.
Lex had a great time that weekend, but the next run, he carried maybe half of what he brought the first time, and half the time after that. And now, Lex thought to himself, if it don’t fit in the saddlebag, it ain’t going. He crossed a bridge over a small dry creek and thought back to one ride in particular. A year or two had gone by and Lex, now on a Yamaha 650, arrived at the shop as Dave was locking the door. “Wanna go for a putt?” Dave asked as he threw a leg over his Harley.
Dave trotted up to him with an envelope in his hand. “You got that four hundred on you?” Lex was hoping against hope; maybe Dave will let him put a downpayment on the Honda and let him pay it off later. “Yeah, I got the cash with me, why?” “Let me see it”. Lex pulled the money out of his wallet and showed it to Dave. Dave wrote something on a piece of paper and gave it to Lex. “Here’s a bill of sale along with the title. And don’t you ever tell anyone I’m being this nice to you.” He took the four hundred from Lex, counted out, then handed fifty of it back to Lex.
By this time, Lex had learned that when Dave asked if you wanted to go for a putt, you could either be going to the local restaurant to get a burger, or a three day ride that hit six different states, and anything in between. No matter. Lex’s answer was always the same. “Sure”. This particular day, Dave led them out of town and seemed to be going nowhere, literally. Instead of heading for the canyon road that many liked to ride because of the curves, or the pine ridge that had lots of great scenery, Dave instead went toward the grassland, following the sort of road that one would not normally take unless absolutely necessary. After an hour or so, Dave pulled to the side of the road and shut his bike off, motioning Lex to do the same. Lex wondered what was up. “Problem?’ he asked. Dave merely shook his head. “Nah, I just like to come out here now and then to clear my head. Pretty, ain’t it?” Lex looked at his surroundings. “Yeah, if you say so”.
“I put three-fifty down as the price on the bill of sale. I figure you’ll need the fifty to get it registered and such”. Lex couldn’t believe it. He now owned a motorcycle. Dave was already walking back to his shop, yelling back as he went, “You better have that bike outta here in a week or else I’m going to charge you a storage fee”. How many bikes had Lex owned since then? How many runs? How many miles? More than he could remember. Good weather, bad weather, heat, cold, rain, snow, lightning, and even a tornado once. He continued riding and reminiscing.
Dave snorted, “I do say so! C’mere, let me show you something.” Dave walked about twenty feet off the road toward a cattle fence and sat down. He patted the ground next to him inviting Lex to take a seat. He waved his arm around and said, “Describe this place, as you see it.”
continued page 12
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Meadowlark and Sage continued Lex gazed around and said, “Nowhere. Smack dab in the middle of it.” Dave smiled and said, “That’s why I like it here. But look around, what do you see?”
never know.” When Lex decided he wanted to go to university, Dave was the only one beside his parents to offer encouragement. Most of his friends asked, “What do you want to do that for? What good will a degree do anyway? You think you can even afford it?”
Lex took another glance around. “Same shit as before.” Dave bowed his head as he shook it slowly. “Here’s what you’re missing. Rolling empty spaces relatively untouched by anyone, wildlife in abundance, fresh air, and no noise but the rustle of the wind passing through the sage.” A bird warbled nearby. “And the song of the meadowlark. Can’t forget them, they’re my little buddies. They sing to me when I’m here.” He pointed to a fencepost nearby where the bird sat, singing to the prairie and its visitors. “Some folks consider the robin to be the first sign that spring is here, not me. For myself, I get a good feeling inside when I hear the first meadowlark. When I hear that, I know that warm riding weather is almost here.” He nodded his head toward the plains in front of them. “Still see nothing?”
Dave had a motorcycle on a raised platform and worked on it as he spoke. “What do you intend to have as a major?” “I don’t know”, was Lex’s reply. Dave gave a snort, “If they are giving degrees in ‘I don’t know’, you should earn a PhD." He paused for a sip of coffee. "Charles Darwin once said, ‘A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life’, if you think college is what you want to do, do it. And don’t regret your decision. Too many people waste their time wishing they could change their past. The world has too many woulda, shoulda, coulda.”. He picked up a socket wrench and turned his attention to the bike in front of him. “Go to school, and don’t look back ”. It was Dave’s third heart attack that did him in. They were at a weekend camp-out/hog roast and Dave was dancing up a storm with a cute little redhead that was probably less than a third his age. He had a knack for attracting young women like that. They would see him as this harmless old man that was fun to dance with and easy to talk to. Later on they would find out he really wasn’t harmless, but by that point they wouldn’t
Lex looked again. This time he noticed the herd of pronghorn grazing a mile away, he saw the coyote jogging along near a gully off to the west, he became aware of all the birds and insects making their respective noises. He closed his eyes and sniffed the air, enjoying the sent of the sage riding in the breeze, feeling the warm sun on his face. He didn’t know how long he napped, but when he jerked awake, Dave was leaning back against his motorcycle seat, legs crossed at the ankles, with a grin on his face. “I told ya it was peaceful, didn’t I?” As Lex stood, Dave walked over to one of the fenceposts and pulled a small paper sack from his pocket. He poured the contents, which turned out to be birdseed, onto the top of the post. “I like to leave the meadowlark a little something when I visit.” “They eat that?” Lex asked. “Fuck if I know. Something eats it. One of these days I may look up what they really do eat.” He put the paper sack back in his pocket as he put a leg over his ride, turned the key and started the machine. “Meadowlark and sage. Why people pay good money for psychiatrists and therapy when all they need is meadowlark and sage I’ll
care. The band was playing good-time party music and much of the crowd in attendance either dancing in front of the stage or standing on the edge with drinks in hand. Dave was doing a little shimmy with the redhead when he suddenly went pasty white and grabbed his chest. He knew what was happening from the previous two attacks. All he could do was give the gal a weak smile as he said, “Ah crap!” Then he was gone. If Dave had any regrets in life, it would probably be that he didn’t get the redhead back to his tent before the final attack. Lex eased up on the throttle as he came over the slight rise in the road. Up ahead the road was an empty stretch of grass and sage and not much else. The air just warm enough to cause ripples in the distance as the road shimmered like water, and with each passing mile he drew closer to the place Dave told him to be. He looked around at the desolation, The type of place Dave loved.
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Meadowlark and Sage continued
He brought the Victory to a stop, and shut the engine off. There was a slight breeze in the air, carrying the scent of the sage. He looked at the scenery: open grassland, slight rise offering a view of open range for as far as one could see, and in the near distance, bluffs, with no sign of human habitation save for the fence posts running near the road. Lex closed his eyes and listened. The call of the meadowlark sang to him while he sat. He opened his eyes and walked to the fence.
Lex returned to the motorcycle and pushed the starter. Turning back the way he came, he rode for about a mile or so, then did a u-turn and quickly went through all gears as he accelerated until the needle was at the 100 mark. He reached inside his jacket for the leather pouch that waited there, and with a practiced motion held it over his head, the dust and ashes of Dave’s cremated remains leaving a trail behind him like a jet’s exhaust as he passed the spot he had set out the birdseed.
Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a small plastic bag containing birdseed, which he then poured on top of the post. He stared at the pile of seed and wondered, “What do meadowlark eat?” After all these years, he still hadn’t bothered to find out. And if Dave ever discovered the answer, he never told.
And when he felt the bag had emptied itself of its contents, he released it into the wind. And like his mentor, he never looked back..
SMROs in Action Oklahoma SMILE
John Pierce and an OK Member cutting up
ABATE of OK member, Solo
Magic Man & Caren
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Comments on Kiwis and Commitments Graydon Wheeler State Rep Board Member Spent the first two weeks of this year in New Zealand. Something I decided to do after my seniority as an engineer on the railroad gave me vacation time no one else wanted and the bank agreed to lend me several thousand dollars in return for holding my motorcycle's title. It was that or spend a couple of weeks staring out the window at snow. No, I didn't rent a bike while there, but next time... While traveling around with friends, I would occasionally see a bike pass by, and I'd whimper, wishing I was riding in the wind. New Zealand is a beautiful country and it offers many challenging rides. One thing I knew already is that they have a national helmet law for all, what I didn't know was that since 1994 bicycle riders are required to wear a helmet as well. I did a little research and discovered that since the compulsory law went into effect, cycling has declined. In October, 2008, New Zealand Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven acknowledged that "people may not be using bicycles because of the helmet law and wonders how many people would be cycling in New Zealand if they didn't have to wear one". Another interesting fact: "cycling numbers/distance travelled has almost halved since the helmet law was introduced yet there was no decline in cyclist deaths and hospital admissions in fact there are about 30% more fatalities/injuries, in line with other all-age mandatory helmet jurisdictions". Source: http://www.cycle-helmets.com/zealand_helmets.html The U.S. doesn't have a mandatory helmet law for bicycles...yet. There are many locations throughout the country where helmets are mandated for younger riders, yet some areas, particularly Washington state, has made the use of a helmet compulsory for bicyclists: http://www.helmets.org/mandator.htm I write about bicycle helmets not because I am anti-helmet, but because riding my 10-speed without a helmet is just something I take for granted, like so many other freedoms in my life. But as a member of MRF or any other MRO, you already understand that freedom is not something to be taken lightly (especially those of you that have served in our military). After our return to the States, we had a bit of a thaw so I took the Vic out for the first ride of the year, thinking about how living where I do, I can dress as I like, ride where I like, when I like. And I thought of how we in the U.S. are fighting for rights and
freedoms other countries have long since lost. I thought about how lucky we are to live in a nation whose government we have a chance to influence. I thought about how hard it is to get this fact across to other riders who don't have the ambition or desire to fight for what is theirs. I also though about how I was going to ride ten miles home with a broken clutch cable...dammit. If you are reading this, likely you already understand about the ongoing battles we motorcyclists endure. If you have the time and energy - I as a lazy person haven't done this yet - count the number of registered motorcycles in your state, then count how many belong to your state's MRO(s), of those count how many belong to MRF. Notice how the numbers continue to decrease? Now take it one step further: count how many in the MRF are State Reps or Assistants. Does your state even have a Rep? If you ever meet one, buy them a coffee or something. These are the folks that spend a lot of their free time dealing with local, state, and national issues on behalf of all motorcyclists in their respective states. One word of thanks will go a long way. Last December I attended Montana's State ABATE meeting in Billings driving seven hours through the snow (yeah, uphill both ways) just to let them know that we at MRF were thinking about them and to also thank my contact, Yendor, in person for all the help he has given me in that state. I mentioned to those in attendance about how we hoped that someday Montana would present us with Rep of their own. I was asked, "How much time and effort would be needed for the position?". My reply: It's as hard as you make it. It's also a job that gives you satisfaction in knowing that you are doing something for your fellow riders, even if they don't know who you are or what you are doing for them. You may give up a nice day's riding just to hang out at your Statehouse for a moment or two conversation with an elected official. But those moments of conversation can make a difference on what you as a rider will experience in the future. It also let's politicians know that we are citizens too. Tax-paying, motorcycle-riding, politically-attentive citizens. Take a moment to find your State Rep online: http://www.mrf.org/staterepresentatives.php If your state doesn't have one, well...what are you waiting for? If you've ever wondered what you can do to help, here's your chance.
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The View Past the Handlebars A Brotherhood of Bikers This past Christmas my wife, Mary, bought me a couple of books written by a gentleman (and I use the word loosely) who goes by the name of Bob Bitchin. Bob was a pretty big deal in the bikers’ rights movement back in the Seventies and early Eighties. He ran Biker Magazine, and was even one of the guys who helped get the original A.B.A.T.E. up and running in California. The first title in the two-book collection Mary bought me, “Biker,” is a series of autobiographical short stories detailing Bob’s many exploits as he rode across the U.S. to various events and rallies, covering them for various motorcycling-related magazines. The other book, “A Brotherhood of Outlaws”, is a fictional account of a biker named Treb LinBob Bitchin coln as he attempts to organize a national anti-helmet-law rally in Washington D.C. (I don’t think there’s much fiction in the tale, though, as I suspect Bob himself lived through most of Treb’s supposed adventures.) Both books describe a time that, in some ways, has passed. Bob writes about riding his chopper in an era when SMROs didn’t exist, the MRF was only a spark of an idea, and bikers, in general, were looked on by the general public as trash. But his stories also talk about brotherhood, about fighting for a cause and about always standing together. In Bob’s world, bikers help each other out. They get involved for a righteous cause. And yes, they raise hell. But they never lose sight of what’s important: brotherhood, camaraderie and never backing down when it comes to defending what is right. We could use a little of Bob’s world in our own, I think. We’re surrounded by forces that want to take away, or at the very least se-
verely cripple, what few rights we still have. Some state and federal legislators seem to think they know what’s best for us, despite the fact that most of them have never even touched a motorcycle, let along ridden one. And when you lump together everything we as motorcyclists are facing, from overly-restrictive emission standards to motorcycle-only checkpoints to national helmet laws and such, it’s as if we’re caught between the hammer and the anvil. At least to my way of thinking, it’s time we took that hammer away and did some striking of our own. Wouldn’t it be great if, like the fictional character of Treb Lincoln, we could inspire and organize all of this great country’s motorcyclists, get them all to stand up and in one unified voice, yell out, “We’re not gonna take it anymore!” I know people are busy. There are jobs to be worked, bills to be paid, kids to be shuttled around. In short, life will always have its demands. And trying to find time to fight for your rights may seem impossible. But if you think it’s difficult to fight to maintain your rights, imagine how much harder it’s going to be to fight to get them back once they’ve been stripped away. I actually met Bob Bitchin back when I lived “down island” in Key West. He now runs a pretty nifty sailing magazine, and I ran into him at his booth at the Miami Boat Show. He’s a big, hairy, heavily tattooed individual with an infectious smile that leaves you wondering what he’s up to next. But he’s the real deal. He lived the fight, and we could all learn something from him. Maybe the world he describes has past. But our world is now, and it’s not too late for our own “brotherhood” to stand up and be counted. The Ghostrider
SMROs in Action Wisconsin
ABATE of Wisconsin members attending fellow member Gov. Scott Walker's State of the State Address in Madison. These dedicated members traveled from Mondovi and Milwaukee during one of the biggest blizzards to hit the area in recent history.
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What Do You Reps Guys Do Anyway? Todd Riba State Reps Program Director
That is a question I get a lot, people wonder what the Reps Department Board members do in between MRF board meetings. Well don’t worry we keep busy. We have three voting Board members in the Reps Department, Grady Wheeler from Wyoming, Legs Korte from Illinois, and myself and all three of us are State Reps in our home state. So we do what other reps do, we are a conduit of information between our home states and the MRF. We also have an Assistant to the Reps Department from Massachusetts and his name is Dave Condon and he is an Assistant State Rep in his home state. The four of us also have held or currently hold positions in our SMRO like; Legislative Director, State President, Executive Direc-
tor, Chapter President, Chairman, the list goes on. When we are not doing all of that stuff we find some time to be MRF Board members. Lately we have been working on updating the Reps manual and all of you should have access to the new version before the issue of the Reports is printed. We have also been working on the State Reps reappointment process. Once a year the MRF asks our SSMRO partners to reappoint their current State Reps or appoint new ones. We also ask State Reps to reappoint their Assistant Reps or appoint new ones. We would like to have this entire process wrapped up by April 1st, so please do whatever you can to help move it along. Remember the question at the top, what do we do in between board meetings? We try to communicate with the State Reps and Assistant Reps so we can bring their opinions and views to the board meetings. We have a MRF board meeting coming up in May so we need some feed back from the Reps so we can do a better job of representing you. So let us hear what’s on your mind and feel free to call or email anytime.
Download this ad to run in your SMRO newsletter at www.mrf.org
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Club Rep Update “Still Ray” Fitzgerald Sustaining Member Motorcycle Club Representative All, The Motorcycle Riders Foundation's Club Committee is growing. We are getting the word out to our Confederations and their Member Clubs. Some of us have been traveling to neighboring states and presenting at COC Meetings. As usual, there is always something to bring me back down to Earth. I just got off the phone with the President of a National Club who is also an officer in his Confederation in a major metropolitan area in Southern California. When I brought up the MRF, he asked me what that was. Now I have both feet back on the ground and realize we aren't done yet. It will require a lot more people talking to a lot more people. On the plus side, we have been allotted time slots at Beast of the East, Best of the West, and I am working on Meeting of the Minds in Michigan. Beast will be in conjunction with Bikers on the Beltway in DC and I have spoke to several people who are going from NCOM in Albuquerque N.M. to DC. I am looking forward to it. Below are some emails from around the country to let you know what others are doing. Still Ray Pres JOURNEYMEN M/C Arizona Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs Chair ACMC PC Chair MRF Sustaining Member M/C Rep ========================= On January 15th I attended the Wisconsin Federation of Motorcycle Clubs winter meeting as a guest speaker to spread the word about MRF. Many of those present are somewhat familiar with the MRF; they post some of the MRF Alerts in the News
section of their website. Their Secretary, Frog, and I met when he was elected to the ABATE of Wisconsin BOD many years ago. His fight for biker’s rights has not slowed down over the years, and I thank him for the opportunity to try to recruit new MRF members from within the Federation. About half of the member clubs were represented on the snowy night; Central Wisconsin had been hit with snow storm that started the previous evening making travel a little more difficult than normal. I was impressed with and appreciative of the attention given my presentation. The MRF Legislative Agenda was covered, as well as a short history of the MRF and how to stay informed of what is going on in Washington DC. As always MRF membership was stressed as being an important investment for all in attendance. Many said they would take the information presented back to their club for discussion. For those clubs where their by-laws prohibit belonging to another organization, donations would be accepted to help the MRF. All present were invited to join us at Bikers inside the Beltway and at our Regional and National Conferences, especially the Sustaining Club session. The newsletters I brought were appreciated. The January/Feb issue was a good newsletter to have there because of the article by Still Ray and the inclusion of our Legislative Agenda. Dave Dwyer ABATE of Wisconsin MRF SSMRO Board Member ========================= Still Ray this is a email I received with a press release attached informing me of the successful change of a law in Chattanooga that required only one motorcycle in a parking space down town. Now we are allowed to park multiple bikes in a parking space! I know its a small deal but its our first success in TN. Even though the US defenders are not mentioned in the letter or press release we were instrumental in getting it changed with our phone calls from US defenders across the state. If you feel it would be something you can print in the news letter please feel free. Thanks Sid 1%er TN US Defenders Commander ******* CMT/ABATE, Inc. State Office Carol Simpson, Pr/Communications Director CHATTANOOGA SUCCESS Grassroots efforts bring about Ordinance Change for Motorcycle Parking. CMT/ABATE Legislative Director Scott McColpin leads the Charge.
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Club Rep Update continued On January 18, 2011 the Chattanooga City Council met and voted on several third readings of ordinance changes. One of them that received a favorable vote and is now a newly revised law in the City of Chattanooga, was an action to amend Chattanooga City Code, Part II, Chapter 24, Article X, Section 24-318. It now reads that multiple motorcycles, motorized bicycles and motor-driven cycles may park within one designated metered space. For several months, Scott McColpin, the Legislative Director of CMT/ABATE worked diligently on this effort, with the support of the Councilman who represents the district where Scott resides. Councilman Jack Benson commented today,”The City Counsel was more than happy to work out this reasonable request and recommendation because we need to free up more parking spaces for all of our visitors to Chattanooga, as well as making our city more attractive to motorcyclists.”
cle community. Citizen activism definitely works. This new ordinance change definitely shows Chattanooga’s interest in expanding tourism. I personally would like to thank everyone that took the time to call. It just goes to show how a little effort can effect a big change.” Anyone wanting to discuss the process so they can enact similar efforts in their communities can contact Scott McColpin at firstname.lastname@example.org. =========================
When Scott’s presentation before the Council received enthusiastic response a couple of months ago, but no official reaction, Scott sent out a Legislative Alert to CMT/ABATE members and supporters, asking for phone calls to the Chattanooga mayor’s office. The phones lines lit up!! And Scott diligently followed up with more visits and communications, building the momentum for the positive January 18 vote.
Great news from the State of Ohio. The Ohio Confederation of Clubs has put into place a "Call to Action" plan! Using the Defenders model the plan is set up to make sure that Ohio's federal legislators hear how our member clubs feel on issues that are important to them. The OHCOC kicked off their 1st "Call to Action" after the MRF asked that motorcyclist nationwide get their legislators on board with HR 412; the "Help Save Our Kids HOV" bill which was introduced to stop the federal nanny-crats of the EPA from prohibiting the sale of "mini" off road dirt bikes based on some arbitrary lead content numbers. The OHCOC group is a co-operative effort being led by "SOK" of the Combat Military Vets, "Preacherman" and Hairy George, OHCOC LA and Midwest Member of the MRFCC. A GREAT start to a new year!
Scott McColpin’s comments on the successful effort. “It is good to see the City of Chattanooga be so responsive to the motorcy-
peace Hairy George
SMROs in Action Pennsylvania’s L & L Seminar
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Wherever We Go, We Are at Home Cindy Hodges Member Representative Board Member The New Year has started out very productively. January 7 found me flying to Tulsa, Oklahoma where I spent the night with John and Chris Pierce. Besides being the MRF's Membership Director, John is ABATE of Oklahoma's Legislative Director. I'd been working with Garry "2Rs" Canaday, State Coordinator of ABATE of Oklahoma, on a program he wanted me to present at their in-house conference, the SMILE. The conference was very good. This is the first year Oklahoma has invited outside speakers. Sharon Stone Husmann of ABATE of Iowa presented Iowa's Share The Road program and did an excellent job. Oklahoma ABATE got legislation passed last year that will fund their first-ever statewide motorcycle safety program. Since they have no helmet law to fight, they are directing the majority of their energies towards making MSF training available everywhere in the state along with developing and implementing a Share the Road campaign. They also took advantage of having John Pierce within their membership and had him doing two different breakout sessions. Along with doing a breakout, I was also invited to sit in on their Executive Session board meeting and their regular board meeting. Over the past couple years, via e-mail and MOTM, I have gotten to know more of ABATE of Oklahoma's membership. Meeting some of them for the first time in person was such a wonderful opportunity for me personally, and the MRF. During the event, I believe 13 memberships <at least> were gained for the MRF. Way to go Garry, Carol, and John! ABATE of OK also indulged me in pulling a little joke on my very good friend, past state coordinator “Tiger” Mike Revere. He was unaware that I was coming to the event. They blindfolded him and I was the surprise! I wish ya'll could have seen his face! This was great street theater.
The conversations I had with the members there reflect the desire and determination to grow their organization, take on more legislation, and create their own awareness / share the road program. There is a lot of talent in this organization; keep your eyes and ears open because we are going to be seeing more good things coming from them in the very near future. Two weeks later I was on another plane headed for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Charles Umbenhauer had extended an invitation to me a few months earlier; to present the program on Social Networking that was unveiled first in Idaho at the Best of the West 2010. I helped a very little on this, the credit for creating the presentation really goes to Eric Hampton, our Communications Director. This was my first ABATE of Pennsylvania's L&L seminar and I was very impressed. They've been doing this for many years and have the right formula for a great conference. Friday, there was a speaker already addressing the general session when I arrived. Some fellow named Jeff Hennie <grin>. After Jeff, there was a panel discussion with some very impressive folks. Charles' own state legislator was a remarkable person, you wouldn't forget. And of course, anytime I can walk into a room and see our good friend Imre Sautzer of the AMA, is a good time. I want to publicly thank three gentlemen, once again, for saving my bacon. It seems I was missing a small part to my laptop power cord and could not use it for my presentation. Jeff provided a thumb drive and let me download the presentation using his laptop. Imre let me use his laptop, projector, and remote/laser pointer to do the presentation. And without the help of Mark, the outgoing state assistant coordinator, nothing would have worked at all so thank you guys so very much! As always, it was great to see so many of the folks in PA and make some new friends. It is an honor to be asked to attend and/or speak at an SMRO event. Each time I do it, I'm surrounded by family. We are truly a huge biker nation, a tribe of people bound together by our love of riding, our passion for maintaining our riding freedoms and for those who come after us. Wherever we go, we are at home.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
SMROs in Action South Dakota
Jeff Hennie, Senator Kelly Ayotte and Bob Letourneau in Washington, DC
Grady Wheeler met with Montana ABATE and not only stirred interest in the Reps Program, two members in attendance renewed their MRF membership. He said, “I think the fact I drove seven hours through the snow for the meeting and returned home afterward made an impression, especially since many of the Montana people couldn't make it.”
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
SMROs in Action North Carolina
Chatham County chapter members of CBA-ABATE of NC on Lobby Day, visiting with Senator Bob Atwater.
Neil, Mary, Jim, and Rich conduct the business of the CMRA.
Members of ABATE of MN join Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch on the floor of the Minnesota State Senate Chamber
ABATE of MN State Coordinator Mack Backlund addresses the crowd at this year’s Bikerday at the Capitol
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Elections and the Lack of Competition Lee McCubbin MRF Asst State Rep in Iowa
Okay – soapbox time. No don’t move on – you need to read this because WE are responsible for whatever results from our actions or inactions. What is so important? Elections…..ALL ELECTIONS. We all get tired of hearing the campaign ads for the state and national level elections but they do remind us to get out and vote. Problem is that all the hoopla there allows for local and organizational elections to kind of slip by unnoticed. I know we didn’t let them slip by on purpose – but they do get away from us and now we have to live with the results……whether we like them or not. Besides getting the voting done, I am noticing more unopposed races then ever before – especially in local government and on organizational levels. What do I mean by unopposed? I have been opposed to most of what they have said, half of what they have done and some of what they are proposing to do. So why am I letting them run for office unopposed? For the same reason most other people are – not enough time, not enough money, scared I might win and have to answer to all of you or maybe I didn’t know that I could run or even when the elections were actually held……… Well, gee whiz - now I have more than one thing to be responsible for. It looks like I have to be responsible to cast my vote and I must also be responsible to find out when the various elections are being held. I guess I don’t have to be responsible to run in opposition to the incumbent. I can just sit back and gripe for another entire election cycle and hope that someone else will find the guts to do what I won’t and haven’t. Does that solve anything? Does that fix anything that I think isn’t being done the way it should be? Okay, I don’t have to run myself, but I do have a responsibility (there is that duty thing again) to look for someone who will run and to back them and try my very best to help get them elected so things can finally start getting done right! What does that mean? That means I need to go to meetings, talk to people about my ideas (and theirs) in order to figure out whom that other person is (that can do the job that I want to see done but won’t do myself). It might even mean that I have to know the issues and the processes in order to get the other guy elected instead of whoever is there now – all so that I don’t have to run against them. It doesn’t matter what organization, club or party you belong to…..elections are held in all of them. General elections are held in November. Did you notice all the unopposed races that were occurring in your state? There were some on the Federal level too……..and in the Judiciary. Different SMROs hold elections at different times of the year. If
you weren’t there to cast your vote – it is your own fault. Fixing things might mean that you have to attend a meeting or two to get that done and to learn about the issues and the people running for office. Makes sense doesn’t it? Nobody votes for somebody they don’t know about, and if they don’t vote – they just let somebody else make the decision for them. How many unopposed races were there? Shut up and live with it if you didn’t vote, or help someone else run to provide a choice... This year there were 3 individuals seated on the MRF BOD, at their January 2011 BOD meeting. One of those seats was voted on by the State MRF Reps at MOTM. The other two positions were for Member Rep and SSMRO Rep. All of those positions were unopposed………………..Why? Hey – we MRF members get to vote for the Member Rep. Did you even vote or did you let a whole lot of other people (that you may or may not know or agree with) make that decision for you? Are you even a member anymore? You sure can’t make any difference if you aren’t a member, you know. You can’t even gripe until the next election cycle because you aren’t a member and don’t have the right to gripe. You can fix that part – join back up again so you can at least gripe until you can vote. The MRF SSMRO Rep is elected by the heads of the SMROs. How many of the SMRO leaders actually cast their vote in this unopposed race? There is still only one person who can win whether your SMRO leader votes or not……….in fact if only one SMRO Leader votes – that vote will determine the winner of the election because the person running was unopposed. That is what this is all about. There should never be an unopposed race anywhere. We should always have choices. Aren’t we the warriors for FREEDOM OF CHOICE????????? But we are not giving ourselves, or creating for ourselves, an opportunity to make a choice. How smart is that? Whether it is at home in your own SMRO or for the MRF or for your state or our country – we are responsible for what occurs and if we don’t like it – we need to change it and that doesn’t happen with unopposed races. We expect our Legislators and Congressmen to do what is right for us. How many unopposed races did you see last year? Maybe there were fewer then usual….maybe not. People were stepping up and speaking out that they did not like the way things were being done. Wasn’t that what the Tea Party was all about? Were they only speaking out for change or were they actively working to help accomplish change? If you want change; if you want growth and if you want things done differently, then you have to get involved to make that change. How bad does it have to get? How mad to you have to get? What is it going to take for people to step up to fight for their own freedom instead of letting somebody else do it for them? Casting your vote is not enough, unless you actually have the opportunity to make a choice with your vote.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
SMROs in Action Illinois
The MRF attended the ABATE of Illinois State Seminar. Pictured is Bob Myers, the new Legislative Coordinator for ABATE of IL handing out some awards at the annual ABATE of IL Seminar Awards Banquet.
MRF attends ABATE of WI Officers Training. SSMRO Rep to the Board Dave Dwyer speaking.
Nancy Glover receiving the "Rich Neb Award" ABATE of Illinois highest award, from State Coordinator Mike Myers, for her many years of dedicated work in the Safety an Education Department, presenting motorcycle awareness to high school students for over 15 yrs.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
CBA/ABATE of NC Lobby Day February 3: A Huge Success Approximately 70 CBA/ABATE members from around the State (a new record, at least in recent years) took time away from their families and jobs to come to Raleigh to lobby their respective members of the General Assembly. After a legislative issues briefing at the Clarion Hotel, members walked the three blocks to the Legislative Building where they discussed CBA/ABATE's leg-
islative agenda with their legislators. From the feedback we received, it was a huge success. We identified new friends among the 30 percent of legislators who are new to the General Assembly and strengthened relationships with friends from previous sessions. Many thanks to all who participated. YOU made a difference!
Join the MRF Group on Facebook! TheMRFhasbeenstrivingto becomemoreaccessibleonline andthisisthelatestthingtotake thenetbystorm. Getallthelatestmotorcyclenews outofWashington,D.C.andhook upwithsomeoldfriendswhile you’reatit. Seeyouthere.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Individual Approval of Bikes January, 18, 2011 The new European regulation on type approval of motorcycles currently discussed in European Parliament is also dealing with the individual approval of vehicles and could therefore affect amateur built or highly customized bikes. Aiming at protecting the freedom of riders to create individually designed bikes and to develop innovative technical solutions FEMA entered into a dialogue with the European Commission. The new Regulation on type approval of motorcycles defines what two and three wheeled vehicles have to comply with in order to allow its use on public roads in Europe. It still has to pass European Parliament and Council though it is assumed that type approval rules for manufacturers will become stricter, especially with regard to emissions, ABS brakes and electronic devices. Mass manufacturers are expected to be able to invest in research and to update their production lines in order to comply with tightened standards. For most of the amateur builders, customizers and manufacturers of small series compliance with the new type approval rules would simply become unaffordable. Via an Individual Vehicle Approval certificate (IVA) the European Commission is trying to account for the needs of individuals and small enterprises. Nevertheless many customizers have already expressed their concerns about the proposed legislative text. FEMA initialises taskforce group on individual approvals At the beginning of December 2010 FEMA members from Sweden and Finland met with Commission representatives to explain difficulties that may result from the interpretation of the legal wording. "It remains unclear how far national approval institutions can go in exempting amateur built motorcycles from strict technical requirements like ABS or compliance with the EURO 5 norm. The Commission will precise exemptions for IVA in a delegated act which means that we have to follow the process closely" stated Teemu Lindfors, the legal expert of FEMA member SMOTO from Finland.
Being responsive to FEMA at the last Motorcycle Working Group in January 2011, an important platform for exchange between the Commission, EU member states' representatives, industry representatives and riders, the Commission announced an IVA taskforce group. FEMA very much welcomes this initiative and will be actively involved in order to protect riders' freedom as well as the existing variety and individuality within the motorcycle community. The implications of IVA The challenge for IVA is to allow registration and use of selfbuilt vehicles, to customize mass produced bikes and to allow single or individual imports of motorcycles which do not comply with EU requirements. At the same time the Commission does not want IVA to "become an undesirable backdoor for manufacturers producing vehicles in high volumes, trying to circumnavigate base type approval requirements", a Commission official explains. Once a motorcycle is certificated with European IVA it can be used and sold throughout Europe. Of course a standardised EU IVA means watering down safety and environmental standards in some countries while in others individual approval would become stricter. "The IVA topic is currently being dealt with in the Council working group and there are a number of Member States who would like to re-introduce in addition to EU IVA individual approval on a national base" the Commission official continues. "This concept would allow each Member State to develop its own set of derogation of base rules". At the same time other countries could refuse the registration of such a nationally approved vehicle. The national member organisations of FEMA have already started to brief their national officials in order to reach a satisfying solution.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
MRF Departmental Reports The Financial Wizard Do not let the byline put you off, because there is no wizardry in finance - - there is only dollars and sense. Having said that, I sense there is a desire and a need for the members, especially those that do not attend Meeting Of The Minds, and other curious on-lookers to know just what the financial picture of the MRF looks like today. The following is a snapshot of how we ended our year on December 31, 2010 with comparison to the prior year: DECEMBER 31, 2010 2009 REVENUES: NEW MEMBERS 19,670 41,268 RENEWED MEMBERS 101,595 95,919 TOTAL MEMBERSHIP 121,265 137,187 SMRO DONATIONS 87,848 124,653 OTHER DONATIONS 8,580 10,930 CONFERENCES 31,202 45,090 AUCTIONS 16,177 18,923 PRODUCTS 10,509 10,925 OTHER 3,371 3,269 TOTAL REVENUE 278,952 350,977 EXPENSES: DC OFFICE, INCLUDING PERSONNEL 199,031 199,320 CONFERENCE EXPENSES 29,828 51,337 MRF REPORTS 34,534 27,577 OTHER 33,4380 28,010 TOTAL EXPENSES 296,831 306,244 NET INCOME (LOSS) (17,879) 44,733 If I sum this up in a few words, we did a very good job of retaining members but not so good attracting new members. Any of you ever heard that song before?
The bulk of 2009's income was the result of SMRO's stepping up to assist in a year where we were extremely close to running out of money; once again we thank all of you for your generous support. Our take from BEAST, BEST, and MOTM was off from the prior year, but the related expenses were also down; keep in mind that MOTM last year was one of the best attended conferences we have ever had so the decrease in revenue is not an indication of a decrease in interest. We made a very concerted effort to hold the DC costs to only necessities and the staff did one hell of a job. On the dollars side of the equation, we had just over $100,000 in the bank which represents about 4 months operating expenses. So was it a good year? To me, a loss is never good and if you don't believe me ask any NFL team that finished second out of 32 teams. But we held our own. The MRF Board and I will continue to monitor our financial progress and I will periodically let you know how we are doing as the year progresses. With your continued support and our ability to attract new members, we can continue to fight for our rights and ability to enjoy our life style. Ride safe my brothers and sisters. The first year of the life of an SSMRO Rep Ok, I will admit it, I really did not know what I was getting myself into when I applied to be the Representative for the Sustaining State Motorcycle Rights Organizations. After holding this position for a year I can share this much: The MRF BOD is a room full of dedicated individuals who simply frankly live motorcycle rights. Each has his/her own special talents and quirks. Finding a place to productively fit into this group has been an adventure…and I am not sure I have settled into a specialty yet… What I have discovered is that these individuals are all exceptional at what they do; and that the sum of all they do is good for motorcycling. The need I have been trying to serve is improving our interaction with the State leaders. Since almost all of the motorcycle rights community also holds a day job, often the last priority is housekeeping…especially reporting changes in officers to all the different organizations including us. I have focused on the problem of updating our contact list so we know who all the current officers are in each state organization. We have found that website officer lists are not always updated timely after elections are held, that elections are held all over the calendar year, and that methods of contact vary by individual…some use their personal phone and or email, some have a state office and contact mechanism, some do not wish to share their contact info, and some just have disappeared or been succeeded…but we never got the memo. The good news is we have succeeded in significant improvements in our contact list, (working with Dave, my fellow SSMRO continued page 28
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
MRF Departmental Reports continued Rep, and the entire Reps Department), and we thank all of you for assisting us in this effort and your willingness to accommodate us. We still are having trouble contacting a few state MRO’s, If you are a state CEO (President) and have not received a personal email from me it means you are not listed properly in our database. Please contact me at Larry@MRF.org with your officer list including email and phone information-and update me on your issues. Summarizing in advance, most state issues listed are internal vs National (and the MRF does not meddle in-state unless directly invited by that SSMRO ). We sent all a copy of the MRF Legislative Strategy Agenda and asked for their input. Each state has its own particular agenda and current focus. Here is a synopsis of concerns I received over the last few months: A state who does not work closely with MRF at this time is fighting its helmet law. Their concerns: a Public lands grab; the NTSB safety study; and Tea-Lu grants. An east coast organization feels we need to express more of a national level priority on Mandatory Helmet laws. A southwestern state is working on a State ROW bill and a Failure to Yield Amendment
Received an article from a Midwestern neighbor on the National Strategy on Highway Safety. A New England State is battling MC only checkpoints We spent a significant amount of time fixing both our own system of recording SSMRO renewals and also are reviewing the rules of what qualifies a motorcycle rights based organization to be eligible to be a SSMRO. Finally last but not least, while the issue was still pending we were in communication with California leadership last year regarding SB 435, were advised of their strategy, and are now printing their explanation of that issue in this newsletter. Please consider that article a must read by all MRO leadership. My analogy is they took a hit that I compare to an atomic bomb strike and turned it into (only)a train wreck…I don’t think anyone is happy but what they started with was exponentially worse…and an all or nothing stance was no longer possible in that particular time and place. This issue also proves the need for our motorcycle community to work together despite our differences, “they” outnumber us by a hundredfold, “we” cannot afford to fracture our movement, or we will lose the big battles.
A mid south state shared their contact info, is worried about EPA or muffler regulation -like the Ca muffler bill- spreading; the NTSB Helmet issue; and inquired about a Safety Lu grant extension.
Larry Nielson SSMRO Rep
A northern state wants action regarding NTSB.
The MRF Communications Committee has a few irons in the fire. Our biggest push needs to be rebuilding our media contact database. We had a good start on one, but lost it when a computer crashed. We would encourage Reps and members with motorcycle media contacts to send us that contact information so we can include them in the release of our email news reports.
A Southwest State has introduced a helmet repeal bill and request assistance-which by the way we have a library of. We made initial contact with a southern State we have not had good relations with for a while. A Northern State has an suggestion about working with the NHTSA and NTSB. A neighbor of mine forwarded a couple helmet related studies. A Southern State is working a ROW bill A Midwestern state proposed some MRF bylaw changes; we are reviewing their suggestions. A Southwestern State’s priority issue is: A no discrimination Statute prohibiting banning colors. A New England State feels their State Government is abusing the use of Motorcycle Safety Funding. A Western State requested assistance on their ROW bill.
We also have a new ad campaign that was debuted a few months ago – “Politicians Don’t See a Difference”. It features a typical Harley rider in black leather road gear and a sport bike rider in their matching leathers standing next to their bikes in Alaska. We hope to work with the Reps program to get similar high quality pictures taken all over the country in front of American landmarks – such as the Grand Canyon, the St. Louis Arch, Mt. Rushmore, etc. As editor of the MRF Reports, I get many (but not all) SMRO papers from all over the country. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this ad used by other SMRO paper editors – except in ABATE of AZ’s Masterlink… and that probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’m the editor of that paper as well. The ad is available for free download from the MRF web site (www.mrf.org). Please encourage your SMRO paper editors to publish this ad and we look forward to expanding on the campaign in the near future.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
MRF Departmental Reports continued Also – you may have noticed that a full year has passed since the MRF Board voted to allow attorney and insurance companies to advertise in the MRF Reports. You may also have noticed that there is still no advertising of any kind in the paper. We now have an Advertising Manager – Margie Ferrucci – in place and she has been working diligently to make contact with some prospective advertisers, but things are moving slowly. If you have some potential advertisers in mind from your home state, please send Margie their contact information. She can be reached at Margie@mrf.org. Potential advertisers are not just attorneys and insurance companies – we’re also looking for leather gear suppliers, campgrounds that cater to motorcyclists, motorcycle parts manufacturers and anything else that might fall into those general categories. Until next time, fight the good fight and COMMUNICATE. Eric Hampton MRF Director of Communications
From the Secretary’s Desk: Hope that everyone is up and running with the beginning of a new year. The MRF’s Secretary Job is pretty much the keeper of records, keeping contracts current, and making sure that every member’s connection with the Office Administrator is the best experience possible. This is made possible with the great Office Administrator we currently have in Tiffany Latimer. If at any time anyone has any questions of the Secretary please feel free to contact and I will get back with you to the best of my ability. At this time all contracts are up to date, minutes, Policy & Procedure, and By-laws of the MRF. See you all soon Paulette Korte MRF Corporate Secretary
ABATE of California: Clearing Up the Misconceptions on SB-435 Due to the many false reports and misconceptions about SB435, it looks like it is time to clear the misunderstandings and false impressions people have concerning SB-435 and ABATE of California’s role in shaping this bill. Contrary to all of the rumors, ABATE of California did not roll over on SB-435 and in fact, was the only major SMRO to oppose SB-435 until June 28, 2010 when it was heard in the Assembly Transportation Committee. At the hearing, last minute resistance was offered by other groups who showed up to testify in opposition, and a few other groups and individuals continued to oppose the bill as it made its way back to the Senate and Governor’s desk, where it was eventually signed. So let’s look at what happened with SB-435, and how things really transpired. SB-435 was first introduced on February 26, 2009, by State Senator Fran Pavley, (D), Agoura Hills as a bill to institute biennial smog checks for motorcycles. After vigorous opposition to SB-435 by Jim Lombardo, ABATE of California’s lobbyist, SB-435 was turned into a two-year bill and allowed to pass out of the Senate with the provision that Senator Pavley amend the bill and remove the smog check language. In Senator Pavley’s own words, “ABATE’s lobbyist killed my smog bill on the Senate floor.” Accordingly, the record reflects several amendments, which were offered by the bill author before she amended it from a smog check bill into an EPA noise label match-up bill. The bottom line here is that California’s motorcyclists will not be burdened with a unwarranted and restrictive smog check bill, thanks to the determined efforts of ABATE of California. Once again – NO SMOG CHECKS for motorcycles in California thanks to ABATE of California and Jim Lombardo. Moreover, in the final
version of the bill, which was signed into law, all motorcycles currently on the road up to model year 2013 are grand-fathered in. That is a huge concession that ABATE of California was able to achieve on behalf of the over 800,000-registered motorcycle owners in the state. Just guessing, I would estimate that this will save the average owner with after market pipes at least $600 to $1,000. On June 28, 2010, the version of SB-435 that passed out of the Assembly Transportation Committee is the one, which basically was signed into law by the Governor. With just a few weeks prior notice, ABATE of California was able to mobilize to meet the threat posed by the amended bill. The amended SB-435 called for imposition of the 1983 EPA noise label match-up language that has been in effect at the Federal level for 27 years. In addition, it called for a $300 fine, a moving violation, a point on a driving record, and it would have allowed any law enforcement officer, including meter maids to cite motorcyclists, even if the motorcycle was parked. One of the amendments ABATE of California was apprehensive would be offered was the imposition of SAE J2825, developed by the AMA & MIC. Incidentally, both the AMA and MIC were lobbying to get SAE J2825 introduced into SB-435, and that is a bullet that California’s motorcyclists were able to dodge. In a test performed by ABATE personnel certified in the J2825 testing procedure, virtually every after market set of pipes failed the test, which leads those of us in ABATE of California to have little faith in J2825’s objective standards. Moreover, J2825 would have led to road continued page 47
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Around the States Arkansas Connie Shepherd MRF State Rep On January 20, 2011, ABATE of Arkansas lost a Charter and Life Member. James "Stroker" Wiggs was instrumental in organizing ABATE of Arkansas. In the early days of motorcycle rights in Arkansas, there was several independent ABATEs, after a short time the state organization was formed. In his early years, Stroker was a racer, this led to ABATE of Arkansas hosting Drag Races with Stroker at the helm. He was an MSF Instructor and taught riding courses for 10 years. He was a retired Bandito and was a current member of the Christian Motorcycle Association and was the founder and Pastor of "Church of the Word". He was also a vetern of the U.S. Airforce and served in Vietnam. Thank you Stroker and ride free forever!! At this writing our Legislature is just getting underway. We feel that highway funding and prison funding are going to be the "hot topics" this session. Rodney Roberts, Tom and Sherry Wewers and possibly others will be making regular visits to the State House, to keep a watchful eye out for any legislation that could affect the way we ride here in Arkansas. I would like to say a HUGH and HEARTFELT THANK-YOU to the out going Board of Directors. Vice President Jim "Buckskin" Caldwell and seven year Treasurer Helen Wesson. A big THANK-YOU and congradulations to those that stayed on board, President Don "Cloud" Davis, Secretary Melli Sandmon, Eric Thurman moved into the Vice President position. Congradulations to Ginger Lewis who accepted the Treasurer position and Richard Gimmitt, the Sgt @ Arms. Again, ABATE of Arkansas will host a Freedom Ride to the Capitol on May 1, 2011. We hope the steps to the Capitol are packed for this event!! Mark you calenders NOW!!! I would also like to Welcome aboard as an Assistant Rep Helen Wesson!! As most of you know, Helen is involved in the MRF on several levels!! I appreciate her stepping up to the call!! Thanks Helen!! With the riding season about to be in full swing, everyone stay
alert, and RIDE SOBER!!! Ride Free, Ride Safe, Connie Arkansas MRF REP
Connecticut Ron Troia MRF State Rep It is mid January as this is being written and we are in the grips of one of the worst winters I can remember in a very long time. We must think positive that in due time all this snow that covers everything in sight and the sub zero temperatures will be a thing of the past and we will be on two wheels again. It sure seems light years away at this point. As of this date there have been no legislative proposals relating to motorcycles submitted for consideration. That is good news but it is most likely because our state is struggling with an unprecedented budgetary deficit. Connecticut has the distinction of have the most per capita debt of all 50 states. Scary stuff but at least it should keep them too busy to bother with us. Of course we are not out of the woods just yet and things could change in the twinkle of an eye so watch for information if anything should develop. The Progressive Insurance Motorcycle Show just ended in New York City and the CMRA did have a booth there along with several other SMRO’s thanks to the kindness and efforts of AIM. We sincerely appreciate the space and we owe those people a debt of gratitude. Working together as one united group we can prevail. Mary Stuart reports that plans have been finalized for the annual Legislative Dinner to be held March 19th at Aldarios’s in Milford. There will be the usual full course sit down family style dinner and entertainment again this year by the multi-talented Vincent Ingala. Jim Whitney is working on plans for a pig roast in September and that is still in the early stages but progressing nicely at this point. Please check the web site at www.thecmra.com for further details on these events and some upcoming poker runs.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Around the States That’s all for this month. All we can do now is pray for spring and when it gets here please ride defensively always watching out for the other guy Ron Troia Connecticut
Idaho Dave Cazel MRF State Rep The clock has started for the Idaho Legislature and by the time you read this these citizen legislators will have approximately thirty days left in their session. They have their hands full. With the passage of the congressional house rule 21, clause 3, I have been told that no new transportation projects will be started. Idaho will focus on their extensive maintenance stabilization program, provided our trust fund dollars continue to flow from D.C. The direction the MRO’s have taken and will continue to take this session will be to have legislation introduced that will be revenue neutral to the state government. During the next month the House will introduce a revenue neutral “covered loads” bill into committee. To date, the conceptual ideas have been well received by the various state legislators that have been approached, both in the house and the senate from both the north and the south. Idaho like many states in the west is a recreational destination for people from all walks of life and from all corners of the country and, as such, during the riding season there are many vehicles on the road for recreating. Trailered boats are full of water sports equipment and the campers pulling them are piled high with gear. These articles along trash, landscaping waste and items to be discarded are being hauled to the dumps. These are all obstacles that can cause accidents for any type of vehicle, and can more easily maim and kill motorcyclists. (Something coming off a truck and hitting you at 30 mph or faster will most likely kill you.) We’re asking our legislators to require the motoring public to secure these loads by covering them. Uncovered loads are the primary cause for the smattering of “junks” you see in the roadways and along the roadsides throughout America, whether you ride on two wheels or four. The MROs in Idaho are continuing to take a proactive approach
to motorcycle safety. There are many reasons, too numerous to list here, to explain why Idaho doesn’t have to deal with the proposed legislation that is occurring throughout the country as most of these issues have been resolved here. The thoughts and discussions that have occurred with designing and hopefully the successful adoption and implementation of such a law are truly an example of the dedication of the proactive motorcyclist rights advocates in Idaho. As you all know “its not over ’til its over” and “after the fat lady sings” but we hope we’re making a difference for all of you who come to ride and recreate in Idaho.
Illinois Jim “Legs” Korte MRF State Rep We have 5 HELMET BILLS introduced this last week. A bicycle Helmets/safety seats bill(SB0055) and a bill for HELMETS for skiers (SB0057). A YOUTH BAN on ATV's (HB0292) and (2) Helmet Bills (HB0285) for under 26 yrs of age and ( HB0290) a total Helmet Bill to cover everyone. To date these Bills have not been assigned to a committee. Legs Korte Illinois
Indiana Duane Morgan MRF State Rep The 117th Indiana General Assembly is currently is session. This is a long session, ending on or before April 29, 2011. Even with the legislation filing deadline over, the possibility of amendments exists all the way through the Conference Committee. Our ABATE Day at the Statehouse is March 10 this year. Our biggest issues this session include right-of-way legislation (HB1087 - Pelath) that provides for penalties if the actions of someone result in the death or serious injury of another, improving motorcycle licensing (SB528 - Merritt) and the future of
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Around the States the rider education program (SB127 - Holdman). We are in support of each of these three bills. SB127 has had a second reading, and a third reading could come at any time now and will send this bill to House. We are currently monitoring 89 pieces of legislation of the approximately 1109 that have been introduced. These include: (the following categories are grouped by our general subjects- the actual bill may vary slightly in content from the category)
Toxicology - SB431, HB1458 Traffic signals - SB337, HB1199
Bicycle helmets - SB353, HB1141
Our upcoming events are as follows: ABATE Awards banquet on Feb 19; Indiana Motorcycle Expo Feb 25-27 (this event is the start of 2011 Motorcycle Rider Education registrations, both in-person and online); ABATE Day at the Statehouse on Mar 10; AMA Supercross on Mar 12. Our ABATE counties and regions also have events starting. Anyone visiting Indiana can check www.abateonline.org for updates on our events and activities.
Brain injury - SB24, SB93, HB1021, HB1152
Antique motor vehicles SB120
Charity/Gaming - SB132, SB340, HB1092, HB1285, HB1390, HB1462, HB1545 Driver education - SB101, SB127, HB1110 Golf carts - HB1353 Ignition interlock - HB1556 Insurance - SB308, SB334, SB445 Lead content - HB1166 Licensing - SB528 Mini trucks - SB372 Motorcycle sales - SB108 Motorized bicycles - HB1125, HB1334, HB1426, HB1495 OHV (off-road) - SB154, HB1082, HB1090 Restraint systems - SB424, HB1044, HB1168 Right of way - HB1087 Texting - SB18, SB92, SB141, SB404, HB1050, HB1129, HB1158
Jodi Cain MRF State Rep The Iowa legislature went into session January 10th and wasted no time introducing legislation. There are identical bills working their way through our House (HF53) and Senate (SF78) to allow detachable stabilizing kits to be used on motorcycles without changing the definition of a motorcycle. Not changing the definition helps us keep vehicles that aren’t motorcycles from being lumped into our statistics. Section 1. NEW SECTION . 321.435 Motorcycles equipped with detachable stabilizing wheels. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a motor vehicle that is originally designed as a twowheeled motorcycle and is modified using conversion hardware which allows for the attachment and detachment of two stabilizing rear wheels may be operated on a highway with the stabilizing wheels attached in accordance with the provisions of this chapter applicable to motorcycles. A motorcycle shall not be determined to be reconstructed based on the sole fact that two stabilizing wheels have been added as described in this section. EXPLANATION This bill authorizes operation of motorcycles equipped with detachable stabilizing wheels on the rear of the motorcycle. The additional wheels are typically installed using an assembly mounted on brackets which are permanently attached to the frame of the motorcycle. The assembly contain-
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Around the States ing the wheels can be removed from the brackets to convert the motorcycle back to two-wheeled operation. Under current law, the term “motorcycle” is defined to include motor vehicles designed to travel on not more than three wheels. The bill does not change that definition, but allows a motorcycle designed to travel on two wheels but equipped with detachable stabilizing rear wheels to be operated on Iowa roads as a motorcycle. The bill states that a motorcycle is not considered “reconstructed” solely because of the addition of detachable stabilizing rear wheels. ABATE of Iowa has their Lobby Day set for February 17th. We will have a breakfast available for our legislators in the Rotunda of the Capitol where they can meet with their constituents and we can remind them where we stand. We will then gather in the gallery where we will be introduced and formally recognized at the start of session that day. March 25th through 27th is Heartland STEAM (Seminar To Educate And Motivate) in Shakopee, Minnesota. This is our region’s version of BEAST and BEST. Hopefully by then the snow will be gone and the ice will only be in our glasses instead of on the roads. April 2nd is Bike Day at Freedom Park. We will be getting our four mobile units and all of the bikes ready to start the Rider Education season two weeks later. Plans are being made for our annual lobby trip to Washington DC to coincide with Bikers Inside the Beltway in May. Respectfully Submitted, Jodi Cain Iowa MRF State Rep
Maine Joshua Herndon MRF State Rep The legislative season has started but things are really behind in Augusta (the capitol) because of the change in leadership - it has been a long time since the Republicans have had control of both houses of the legislature and the Governor’s office. This seems to have slowed down the whole process while they figure out their new leaders. For example, all bills are usually ready and posted for the public by the end of December, but this
year we are still waiting for more than half to be published at the end of January. We have seen no bills dealing with motorcycles as of yet, but know there are at least two in the system dealing with noise. Speaking of noise; the two working groups mandated by the last legislature have finished their work and the reports have been presented to the Standing Committee on Transportation. The reports were presented by Lt. Brian Scott, director of the Traffic Safety Unit, Maine State Police. The first report was on ‘Road Noise’ in general and it was reported that; “This Committee passed LD 1642 during the last session. This initiative clarified the statutory language in the hopes of making enforcement more practical. It is probably too soon to fully understand the impact of this change. As a result of this Committee’s deliberations and attention drawn to this topic, some law enforcement agencies conducted enforcement campaigns, and educational efforts were initiated. I am pleased to report that we have already received some encouraging feedback. The group feels that these efforts and recent legislative actions have already resulted in reducing road noise. The group has also considered other recent actions taken by this Committee to enact statute changes that will require motorcycles to display an inspection sticker effective January 1st, 2012. This may further help to reduce road noise caused by loud motorcycles. Since the law change is fairly recent and another law change is scheduled for next January, the Road Noise Working Group feels that we should continue to monitor the effectiveness of those changes before additional measures are taken. With your consent this group has agreed to reconvene if needed over the next two years and if necessary report back to the committee during the 126th Regular session with an update regarding issues surrounding road noise and any further recommendations at that time.” Keep in mind that this bill was for general road noise, not just motorcycles. The second report concerned motorcycle noise only. As previously reported that bill turned into a statute change requiring an inspection sticker be displayed on the rear of the motorcycle after 1 January, 2012. The working group report touched on the issues we discussed during the meetings and
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Around the States gave strong reasoning to reject EPA labeling for law enforcement purposes. I want to give a shout out to the folks at the New York Motorcycle & Scooter Task Force, the New York City Motorcycle Advocacy Group and Michelle Medina, the author, for the Power Point presentation of the 2008/2009 survey of stock motorcycles in dealerships in NYC. Thank you for your help. This presentation went a long way in convincing most working group members that EPA labeling was the wrong direction for law enforcement. The two recommendations from that report were; 1. Take a similar approach that the Road Noise Working Group did and wait and see if the recent changes in statute coupled with the educational and enforcement campaigns continue to further reduce motorcycle exhaust noise; or 2. Change Title 29-A Section 1912 to allow the SAE J2825 sound testing procedure to be used as an option for determining what "excessive or unusual noise" is, but not require that it be used exclusively. The reasoning for the use of the SAE J2825 sound pressure testing standard was that it could be used by a municipality as an option for enforcement if the municipality wanted to bear the cost of the equipment and training. This option was a result of concerns about out of state motorcyclists cruising the southern coastline of the state and the resulting noise in the small towns which they were passing through. Maine Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles (MECALM), a participant in the working group, while not trusting this standard’s effectiveness to curb exhaust noise, endorsed the recommendation as an option because they realized that the Maine inspection laws would have no effect on this group of riders. These are only recommendations to the Transportation committee and whether any of them will be implemented in legislation, only time will tell.
Maryland Lenny Holcomb MRF Asst. State Rep In Maryland, we have filed three bills this year. The first is to have the penalty for not wearing a helmit dropped from $100.00 to $25.00. This
would put it in line with the fine for not wearing a seatbelt. After all, they are both so called "safety" violations. Also, we feel that this is discriminatory The second bill has to do with modifing the Right of Way Law that we got passed a couple of years ago. We are now asking for a mandatory appearance in court. We feel that there is a better chance for a maximum sentence if the person has to face a judge and/or jury. Also, we recently found out that for some reason the maximum fine was somehow reduced from $1000.00 to $750.00, even though the bill we submitted and the law that was eventually signed said $1000.00. We are working on getting that corrected. The third bill has to do with equality at public parking facilities. We have found several lots / garages that discriminate against bikes. They either don't allow bikes or their equipment (mechanical arms, etc) interferes with the ability to enter / exit the facility. Any facility that uses or used public funds must allow ALL vehicles access. In closing we can use all the help we can get to get these bills through. Monday Night Lobbying is a great way to get involved and meet your legislators. If you can't make it on Monday's, then take a few minutes to write a letter. You wouldn't believe how much weight a letter carries. Just ask the riders in Texas. They lost their helmit freedom about 20 years ago due to THREE letters that were written. THREE!! (it has since been reversed) And last, you can always call. All of the legislators have aids that will gladly take you calls and pass on the messages. And almost every time you'll get back some kind of acknowledgement. Usually in the form of a letter. I'm sure you've all heard the expression "every vote counts". And that is true. In our case, every phone call, letter or face to face counts. And the more the better!! Lenny
Massachusetts Doc Derrico MRF State Rep MMA Announces 2011-2012 Legislative Agenda Doc D’Errico, MA State Representative, MRF Having celebrated its 35th anniversary, the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA) announced its Legislative Agenda
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Around the States for the 2011-2012 Legislative Session. As the nationally recognized Motorcycle Rights Organization in the Commonwealth, the MMA requested that 8 bills be filed for consideration during the 2011-2012 Massachusetts General Court. The Motorcycle Safety Fund Bill would create\restore a dedicated Motorcycle Safety Fund under direction of the State Treasurer and assure it is not destined for the General Fund. This bill seeks to restore the process that was driven by the MMA back in 1986 which established in Massachusetts General Law the existence of a Motorcycle Safety Fund and the Massachusetts Rider Education Program. A Helmet Choice for Adults Bill, which is simply Freedom of Choice for the Adult motorcyclist regarding Helmet usage. This bill can actually increase tourism dollars by attracting out-of-state riders who otherwise shun the state. Neighboring states including Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine, all offer Freedom of Choice and riders from MA will spend their money in those states and/or riders from out-of-state will bypass Massachusetts to spend their tourism money elsewhere. An Out-of-State Riders Bill would allow out-of-state riders to exercise their Adult Freedom of Choice regarding Helmets in the Commonwealth if their home state already allows such choice. This bill could increase tourist spending in the Commonwealth by eliminating the desire to bypass Massachusetts in favor of neighboring states who offer Freedom of Choice. A Sound Emissions Bill would require definitive Sound Testing in favor of subjective ticketing based on “Harsh and Objectionable” verbiage in the Massachusetts General Law (MGL 90-16). Current subjective testing is routinely defeated in court, resulting in wasted costs for the Commonwealth and the riders. The definitions for Sound Testing already exist in the MGL (MGL 90-7S, 7T, 7U and the MA Code of Massachusetts Regulations 5.40 CMR) and this bill merely seeks to assure that the subjective nature is no longer used to harass motorcyclists who ride with compliant exhaust systems.
A Malfunctioning Traffic Signal Bill details how an operator of a motorcycle or bicycle could legally go through a malfunctioning red light. Many traffic actuated signals do not always function when approached by lighter vehicles such as Motorcycles and Bicycles. This Safety-related bill would help protect a motorcyclists stuck in traffic at a malfunctioning signal, and in fact is not restricted to just Motorcycles. A Right of Way Bill would toughen penalties for Right of Way Violations by motorists who invade a riders travel lanes. Current penalties are little more that a “slap on the wrist” for motorists who violate a riders right-of-way causing injury and/or death. Because of the extremely lenient penalties, these existing MA General Laws are rarely enforced. Right-of-Way Violations are the most common cause of motor vehicle accidents between 2 vehicles in the Commonwealth, especially for Motorcyclists, and this bill would apply to ALL Roadway Users. A Motorcycle Safety Training Bill would provide a means to subsidize Junior Motorcycle Safety Training. The Massachusetts Rider Education Program reports that approximately 83% of younger riders involved in fatalities over the past 9 years had NO RIDER EDUCATION! This is a “No cost to the Commonwealth” initiative to help junior motorcycle operators receive important safety training by leveraging unused portions of the Motorcycle Safety Fund, could save lives, and sets a positive example for the future. And finally, a Safety Clothing Tax Exempt Bill. In Massachusetts, clothing is not taxable, but many Motorcycle-related articles are considered “luxury items” and are taxed, including leather jackets and helmets (which are currently mandated by law!). This bill would require the MA Department of Revenue (DOR) to add "any safety related clothing or equipment” to its list of tax exempt items. These bills have all been filed by primary sponsors and the MMA is actively pursuing co-sponsors for these bills. As of this writing, numerous legislators have already either signed-on to these bills or given verbal and/or written commitment to do so. Also importantly, the MMA will continue its vigilance once the bills
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Around the States are made public to review such legislation that the MMA feels we should support and/or oppose. In the past, the MMA has been very successful at assuring that motorcycle unfriendly legislation does not get passed! The MMA was proud to see one of its bills passed during the previous Legislative Session, and 2 others made it out of their respective committees with favorable recommendations. We look forward to working with our legislators this coming session towards very positive results for the riders of our Commonwealth. Ride Proudly, Ride Safely, Ride FREE! -- Doc
Minnesota Mike Berger MRF Asst. State Rep On Wednesday, Feb 2nd, Minnesota’s motorcyclists gathered at the State Capitol for Bikerday, our annual lobbying event. The main objective this year was to focus on three issues: passage of our increased penalties bill (House File 68 and Senate File 201), protection of our dedicated motorcycle safety funds and maintenance of Minnesota’s current freedom-of-choice helmet laws. We had lots of attendees (I’m guessing around 500) and lots of great speakers from both the State House and the State Senate, as well as Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom, and speakers from A.B.A.T.E. of MN, from the local district of the AMA and from the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Advisory Committee. HF68 is authored by Representatives Garofalo, Kiffmeyer, Shimanski and Smith and would impose a gross misdemeanor sentence on anyone who a vehicle in a careless fashion and thereby causes the death of another person. SF201 is the companion bill in the Senate, calling for the same penalties and is authored by Senators DeKruif, Thompson, Magnus, Gimse and Koch (who is also the Senate Majority Leader). Hard-working motorcyclists have been pushing for the passage of this legislation for seven years now, and we believe we have the backing and momentum to get this passed this year, but we need your help. Call your State Representative and ask that he or she sign onto and support HF68, and call your State Senator to ask for support of SF201. While you’re talking to them please ask them to maintain Min-
nesota’s current dedicated motorcycle safety funds, and remind them that we want our current helmet legislation to remain intact. Don’t know who represents you? Simply go to www.leg.state.mn.us, and type in your address in the “Who Represents Me” box. On other fronts, your Minnesota MRF team of Todd Riba, Mary Berger and myself (Mike Berger) will be again holding our now-annual MRF Ice Fishing Contest to raise money for all of the hard work that the MRF does. We’ll be out on Lake Waconia on Sunday, March 6th from Noon until 3:00, so if you feel like walking on water – albeit some very cold, frozen-solid water – come on out and help support the MRF. For more information about this fun event, contact me at email@example.com. And to you other states out there, let’s see who can beat Minnesota this year in fund raising. We won last year, we set the bar pretty high, and we think we’ll win this year too! But I challenge you to prove me wrong. Show your state’s worth and bring in those much-needed funds to the help keep the MRF’s freedom machine churning away. Respectfully, Mike Berger Asst. State Rep.
Missouri JR “Moose” DeGraffenreid MRF Asst. State Rep Howdy all and welcome to the "Show Me State:" "Moose" here, Missouri's newest MRF Asst-State Rep. If you did not know Wayne "TIp" Tipton is your State Rep, Kathy Garver is another Asst-State Rep, Jim "Duck" Duyck is another Asst-State Rep,and last but not least, Randy Atkinson is another Asst-State Rep. The 5 of us Represent on your behalf, all motorcyclists here in the Grand O'l State of Missouri, this includes the 2 SMRO's Freedom of Road Riders(r) and Abate for Missouri. And every motorcyclist that may not have even heard of us yet. FORR(r) has filed our helmet modifacation bill again this year. We have a newbie in the Senate that filed it for us and he is a DOCTOR! Thank ya Thank ya very Much Senator Dan Brown. And in the House of Representitives it was filed again by our very good friend David Day. Again this year the FORR(r) District 4 area has rented buses (YES I SAID BUSES) to take our members to the
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Around the States State Capitol Building February23rd and March 30th. This is great, we only went on one bus last year and for one month. We have other Legislation we are watching with the help of Katherine our State Legislative Chairperson and her/our trusty side kick Matt / FORR(r)'s Government Relations Speicalist. Folks if you’re reading this here article, I hope you are a member of the MRF, but if you are not and want to be please get ahold of me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would like to get our number of members here in Missouri back up, we can't just run off to Washington D.C. every time we need to, thats why we have the MRF and Jeff our Lobbist and Tiffany the office adminastrater in D.C. But to keep the office and these two people employeed we need members. Hell just kick that old habit of buying flowers for your spouse for a week, and you would have enough money to buy a one year membership to the MRF and gas for your bike! Spring and Summer are coming, really they are. Come join us in our Ozark Region it is some of the most COOLEST 2-wheelin you will ever wind-down. See me "Moose" " In serving each other we become free " King Arthur
Nevada John Bland President ABATE Northern Nevada MRF State Rep Long time Assemblyman and now Senator Don Gustavson, has introduced a Bill Draft Request (BDR 43-571) to give Nevada’s adult motorcyclists freedom of choice regarding helmet use. This is not Mr. Gustavson’s first time to introduce such a bill. Mr. Gustavson is very experienced with Nevada’s helmet law and has a long history of introducing bills to change the existing mandatory law for all ages to voluntary use for adults. Mr. Gustavson is well known and respected for his consistent conservative voting record upholding and respecting citizen’s rights, protecting liberty and freedom. Rick EckhartNorthern Confederation of Clubs, John Hobbs- ABATE of North-
ern Nevada and Constitutionalist, and me are scheduled to meet with Senator Gustavson this week to prepare for the upcoming legislative hearings. We will be working close with ABATE of Southern Nevada and Bolt who are strong allies and will be aggressively working to influence legislators in Southern Nevada to support freedom of choice. ABATE of Northern Nevada citizen lobbyist Janine Hansen will be talking to legislators and encouraging them to support passage of the helmet bill. ABATE of Northern Nevada member and first term Assemblymen, John Ellison will also be working with Senator Don Gustavson. With the overwhelming state debt and statistics that question the effectiveness of helmets, we want to believe this will be the year for freedom in Nevada.
New Mexico Annette Torrez MRF State Rep The state of New Mexico has been without a MRF Representative since February of 2010. We are pleased to announce that the State’s Motorcycle Rights Organizations (New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization, Southern New Mexico Bikers Coalition and ABATE) and the Confederation of Clubs have endorsed Annette Torrez as their state’s MRF representative. Annette has been a Radiographer for twenty three years, specializing in osteoporosis. She rides her own Harley, and is currently the chairperson for the New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization; representing on a state level for several years. She is a member of the ShadowRiders Ma and Pa Motorcycle Club, who benefit and assist in charitable events for the community. New Mexico is preparing for their 8th Annual Bike Day at the Capital, scheduled for February 19, 2011. The motorcycle community, SMRO’s and COC are currently supporting House Bill 68, along with the bicyclist community. House Bill 68, is a bill which will increase penalties for anyone who is cited for careless driving that results in death or great bodily harm. State Representative Rick Miera, who has always been a supporter of the motorcycle community in our state, is sponsoring the bill for us. Even though we are hoping this bill will bring stiffer penalties to the vulnerable user on our highways, the bill will also benefit anyone affected by
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2011 Legislative Priorities & Goals – Concerned Bikers Association/ABATE of North Carolina 1. SUPPORT FREEDOM OF CHOICE: N.C.G.S. § 20-140.4(A)(2) requires that motorcycle operators and passengers wear a safety helmet that complies with FMVSS 218. Legislation to be introduced in 2011 will provide that this requirement would not apply to operators and passengers who are 21 years of age or older. The bill will also provide that the penalty for violating the section is a fine of not more than $50.00 and that no drivers license points, insurance surcharges, or court costs shall be assessed.
liver Motorcycle Awareness messages. INCREASE the number of voter registrations in the motorcycling community Written by R. Paul Wilms Respectfully submitted by Cindy Hodges
2. INCREASE RIGHT-OF-WAY VIOLATION PENALTIES: Legislation will be introduced to increase the penalty for running a motorcyclist off the road (i.e., violating the biker’s “right-of-way”) to $200.00 for low-level offense up to $500.00 for violations involving personal injury or property damage. 3. SUPPORT CONTINUED FUNDING FOR DRIVERS EDUCATION: Drivers education is critical to ensuring the safety of young drivers and of the motoring public. NC CBA/ABATE works with drivers education providers to ensure that new drivers are more defensive and aware of other traffic on the road. Continuing and increasing the State’s support of driver education ($33 million in each of FY2009 and FY2010) is critical to this effort. 4. SUPPORT UNIFORM APPORTIONMENT OF TORT RESPONSIBILITY: Throughout the United States, there are four systems used in establishing damage awards: pure contributory negligence, pure comparative negligence, modified comparative negligence – 50% bar rule, and modified comparative negligence – 51% bar rule. Under the common law theory of contributory negligence, if two people are in an accident, the injured person can only recover for his/her injuries and damages if they did not contribute to the accident in any way. North Carolina is one of just four states where the pure contributory negligence system is still used. In the comparative negligence system in place in 46 states, the injured party may recover some of his or her damages even if he or she was partially to blame for causing the accident. Contributory negligence is outdated and unfair and should be replaced with uniform apportionment of tort responsibility. 5. DESIGNATE MAY AS “MOTORCYCLE AWARENESS MONTH”: Fully 72% of all motor vehicle accidents involving an automobile and a motorcycle are the fault of the automobile drivers. Legislation introduced in 2009 passed the House with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, but was not taken up in the Senate. Legislation will once again be introduced recognizing May as “Motorcycle Awareness Month” to encourage motorists to “Look Twice, Save a Life”. 6. SUPPORT legislation prohibiting discrimination against motorcyclists in all business and recreational establishments in NC. 7. OPPOSE anti-gang legislation that targets motorcyclists. 8. OPPOSE legislation targeting motorcycle noise emissions. 9. OPPOSE any other legislation adverse to motorcyclists. Administrative Goals: ·ENFORCE G.S. 20-141.5 to establish uniform, statewide "motorcyclepursuit" policy for all law enforcement officials. SUPPORT making highway barriers more motorcyclist-friendly SUPPORT the use of DOT electronic message signs (Amber Alert) to de-
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.
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
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Around the States a careless driver. Along with supporting and lobbying for this bill, we are also sponsoring A Tribute to Fallen Bikers in our state. We will display pictures and tell the story behind motorcyclist that have been injured or killed on the roads in our state. Statistics reported 39 motorcycle fatalities in New Mexico for 2011. This number is too high and our hope is to promote safety awareness to all who share the roads and create stiffer penalties so there are consequences for causing death to a biker, and bring the number of fatalities down in the future. Motorcyclists in our state have reported an increase in citations by law enforcement. It appears law enforcement is using check points and police stops to target motorcyclists for speeding, no insurance and no motorcycle endorsement. Many times the motorcycles are being towed if a violation has occurred. We have also experienced an increase in local businesses enforcing a NO COLORS policy. When we spoke with these business owners they reported that the police department is promoting a No colors policy, even though no incidents have occurred to explain this discrimination. When we spoke with some of these businesses and some didn’t understand the difference between a patch or colors. What is even worse is when Veteran MC’s are being turned away, when these are the persons who fought to secure our freedoms. Motorcyclists in our state have also reported an increase in accidents, and several near missed accidents due to distracted driving. ABATE of New Mexico will be hosting the 26th Annual NCOM Convention in the Albuquerque Downtown area, on May 5 May 7, 2011. For reservations information go to MySpace.com/abateofnm or www.aimncom.com. ABATE is also helping coordinate the RT66 Freedom Ride & Flight. This run is a salute to our Armed Forces and will be held on May 20 – May 21, 2011. For more information on either of these events go to MYSpace.com/abateofnm. Continue to achieve the possible and the impossible. Annette Torrez New Mexico MRF Representative
New York Prospector MRF State Rep On Jan 15th, 2011, ABATE of NY held its' annual business seminar. It was well-attended and many new faces were in evidence, always a good sign. Guest speaker was AIM Attorney Mitch Proner who gave a presentation on the class-action lawsuit he has filed against the motorcycle-only roadblocks. The case should be comming up in Federal Court very soon. In the Legislative Workshop there were quite a few first-time Chapter Legislative Coordinators, another good sign. Many were quite knowledgable and all were enthusiastic. The 2011 New York State Legislative Session opened on Jan 5th with 26 new Assembly Members and 13 new Senators, many more personnel changes than normal. We have already met with about half of these new legislators and currently have meetings scheduled with most of the rest. Our focus this session will be on the motorcycle confiscation bill that we have been working on for several years. We;ve always had support from the legislature, but DMV has been able to hold up the bill. Hopefully, with a new DMV Commissioner and aggressive sponsors, we will finally pass this bill in 2011. Prospector
Oklahoma Carol King MRF State Rep We’re SMILE-ing. On January 7, 2011, over 300 members of ABATE of Oklahoma gathered at Quartz Mountain Lodge outside of Lone Wolf Oklahoma for the ABATE of Oklahoma SMILE (State Motorcyclists Improving Legislative Effectiveness). For the 4th year in a row, the event was hosted by the Great Plains Chapter. On Friday evening, the 7th, folks gathered for a meet and greet, and later karaoke. There were many first timers so it was a time of making new friends as well as catching up with old ones. Saturday started with the State Board meeting, which included a
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Around the States meet the board for the members. Following the Board meeting was the introduction of 2 special guests, Cindy Hodges from North Carolina and MRF Board member and Sharon HoosmanStone from Iowa. Immediately after the conclusion of the Board meeting, Sharon presented the “Share the Road” program. This is Iowa’s very successful program that is presented in high schools throughout the state. Sharon presented it as if we were 15-year-old high school students, and her enthusiasm for the program was obvious. Following an incredible lunch provided by the Great Plains chapter, there were 2 sets of 4 breakout sessions. Ilka Hieskell of the Great Plains Chapter did an interactive, hands on session on Sisterhood in Motorcycling, Cindy Hodges presented on “Effective Leadership.” John Pierce presented “Gaining and Retaining Members” as well as “Magic Members/Toxic Members.” Sharon HoosmanStone had a Q&A session on the Share the Road program and there was an overview of CPR presented by the local Red Cross. All the breakouts were well attended and well received. A special thanks to Cindy and Sharon for making the trip to southwestern Oklahoma to share their knowledge. Saturday evening was the banquet. A huge thanks to Cathy “Mudflap” Champagne, who spent days cooking for us. The menu included pulled pork, deep fried turkey, baked potatoes, home cooked beans, and lots more. Many others brought food to help in the feeding of over 300 people. And, boy, was it good! State Sen. Tom Ivester was the keynote speaker. Sen. Ivester is also an officer in the Oklahoma National Guard and came directly from Oklahoma City where he’d overseen a function with the Guard, so he was dressed in his fatigues. He gave an inspiring speech, ending with this inspiring quote from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address: “The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe -the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.
“We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans -- born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty. “This much we pledge -- and more.” Sen. Ivester received a welldeserved standing ovation. And then came the awards, serious and humorous, emceed by Garry “2R” Canaday, State Coordinator of ABATE of OK. Among the serious awards were ABATE of OK’s Freedom Fighter Spur. To earn the Spur, an ABATE member must attend a number of prescribed events and participate in several ABATE activities. Among the events are participating in another chapter’s event, such as a Toy Run, and the State party in September. Among the activities are attending a State Board meeting and Legislative Day at the Capitol. It can take a year or more to complete the requirements. The recipient gets a special patch with a spur rowel attached. The program is overseen by the State Sgt-at-Arms, Jack “Shooter” Shelley. A record number of Spurs were awarded this year. Among the humorous was the Queen of Mass Quantities that was awarded to Cathy “Mudflap” Champagne for providing all the food for over 300 people this year and about 175 at the 2010 SMILE. Then there was the auction, both silent and live. Items for the auctions were provided by the various chapters; also auctioned were the contents of the Oklahoma Basket from the Mid-South M.I.L.E. Garry “2R” acted as very enthusiastic auctioneer. Music throughout the evening was provided by Paul “Jukebox” Champagne. Jukebox hauled his audio equipment to the Lodge
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Around the States to provide us with some great tunes. I’m not sure how late the party went on. I wandered off to my room shortly after midnight. Sunday morning, the 9th, Ray “Ray-Man” Heiskell led a memorial service and then it was time to say good-bye until next year. Many new friendships were made, and old ones strengthened with promises to visit in the year to come. Jack (my husband) and I had a quiet ride home to Tulsa. There was so much to digest. All in all, this was the most successful SMILE yet and it can only get better.
Oregon Allan Nichols MRF State Rep In Oregon we have what could turn out to be a statement year in our capitol, whether its a statement our legislators make to us , or a statement we make to them remains to be seen. For the first time in a long while we have a bill that addresses helmet laws and the freedom to choose. This is an opportunity that we can't let pass us by. There is also a bill that will waive the mandatory rider education rule for anyone applying for a limited three wheeled vehicle endorsement. This is against everything we have worked for to try and avoid crashes before they happen. Do we really want people on these machines to not have the benefit of what these classes can teach them? Lets face it, not only will it be dangerous for them, but for everyone else that shares the road. We also have a bill that looks like a good thing for us, the bill that will drop our endorsement fees. But here's the catch, Team Oregon uses that extra money we pay to help support the program. If we take that money away, where are they going to get the funding to continue teaching? Right now there is no place for them to get any more money. We need to keep this program alive to keep us all trained and educated. All riders from the 30 + year rider to the people that decide to try riding for the first time benefit from this program, and getting rid of it would be a recipe for disaster. Another bill is going to tell us what the proper age limit should be
to be a passenger on a motorcycle. Do they think that we as parents need to be told when our children are mature enough to ride with us ? By the time you read this Black Wednesday and S.T.E.A.M. will have passed and I hope that a few of you were able to make it, however, we need to make the showing at the Motorcycle Awareness Rally in May one that they won't soon forget. We need to send a message to our , we need to let them know that we are tired of being treated like a sub class of society, we are going to stand up and let our voices be heard. We need to let them know that not only are we motorcyclists, we are citizens and we vote! We need to be the ones that make the statement this year. We no longer are willing to sit idly by, and they need to respect our rights as riders or be replaced! This is our chance to get Oregon riders united again and start making a difference. Write your reps and get involved. Let your voice be heard. Let them know we are out here and we aren't going to go away! Respectfully Allan Nichols Motorcycle Riders Foundation representative for Oregon A.B.A.T.E. State Vice Coordinator North, Oregon
Pennsylvania Steve Zurl MRF Asst. State Rep ABATE of PA started 2011 with the announcement if its Legislative Agenda, the first Board Meeting of the year, and its 26th Annual Leadership & Legislative Seminar. It was a busy beginning, but I think a clear direction was established in PA for the months ahead. Legislatively, Charles Umbenhauer, BikePAC Lobbyist, met with the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee and his staff, going over our proposed agenda for this session. Among the legislation they discussed, is a bill dealing with providing an exemption from liability for property owners that allow their property to be used for the purposes of an approved motorcycle
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Around the States safety education program. This bill will be one of priorities for the session.
Assistant MRF Representative Pennsylvania
Another bill discussed will address traffic control signals that fail to operate when they do not detect the presence of a motorcycle. We’ll also be working to change the definition of a motorcycle to allow them to have additional stabilizing wheels on the real of the motor vehicle.
Charles discussed last year’s attempt to change the regulations that require a registration plate be mounted only in the horizontal position. He will again look at trying to add the words "or vertical position" to the regulation. He’ll be looking at Minnesota as an example of how we can make a change to the regulation in PA. With regard to motorcycle Safety and education, we learned that our “retiring” Operation Save A Life (OSAL) Director, Hal Hallock, accomplished getting the OSAL program introduced to all 1500 schools in the Commonwealth. Hal worked with the PA Department of Education, and demonstrated the benefits of the program. As a result, the program will be available to the schools in the Fall of 2011. Hal embraced this program, and gave OSAL presentations at many PA schools. And, he did it with a very small budget. “It’s been a really good experience bringing this about,” said Hallock. The OSAL program is one of ABATE of PA’s better efforts. It shows ABATE of PA is serious about motorcycle safety. Our volunteers believe so strongly in the program, that they give their time to reach out to the soon-to-be drivers to promote motorcycle safety. For more information on the Operation Save A Life program, visit the ABATE of PA web site at www.abatepa.org. As for the L&L Seminar that’s mentioned elsewhere in the MRF Reports, I want to thank the MRF folks that participated in the event – Frank Carbone, Jeff Hennie, Cindy Hodges, and John Pierce. The PA MRF Rep’s have been doing our best to stress the necessity of having representation in Washington, DC. The MRF’s involvement in the L&L workshops not only educates the SMRO members, but it strengthens the relationship between the MRF and ABATE of PA. Hopefully, this will translate in to a good showing by PA at Bikers Inside The Beltway! Steve Zurl
Lou Petrucci Jr. The General Assemby has just started at the beginning of this month. So far the only Bill introduced this session is on behalf of the Rhode Island Motorcycle Association. It is our parking bill which would require all public building to provide a single parking space for every thirty spaces for motorcycle parking. Each space would be allowed to accommodate three motorcycles. Its early yet but a second bill that increases fines for operators of all vehicles that fail to yield the right of way should also introduced on behalf of the RIMA.
South Dakota Larry Nielson MRF State Rep A.B.A.T.E. of South Dakota’s annual Legislative Days started Thursday, January 20 evening with an orientation session which then became a Meet and Greet with our Legislators. After introducing each esteemed guest, after some informative (and sometimes spirited discussion) the chairman would allow each legislator to escape the “hot seat” at the front of the group and a good evening was had by all. Before dawn leather began to fill the hallways of the Capitol building located in Pierre, South Dakota (pronounced like the ocean dock, not the French guy). We sponsored breakfast outside each legislative chamber and displayed photo boards of our activities throughout the year. Our member constituents then sought out their own representatives, sat in on the committee meetings that were being held, and visited with those involved in our legislative process. At 10am we took group photos. Members then had the opportunity to take a guided tour of the Capitol building. After lunch, which was sponsored by the Sioux Falls Chapter, we gathered in the galleries of both the House and Senate chambers to witness opening ceremonies and to be recognized by the legislators.
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ABATE of SD does not have an offensive legislative agenda in 2011, and to date no motorcycle specific adverse legislation is impacting us here in South Dakota. Our organization does note some serious concerns, especially regarding equipment violations of our guests who attend events like Sturgis in our state, but we need evidence of a problem to convince our legislators to change our current laws. If you or someone you know is ticketed, warned, or stopped by law enforcement in South Dakota regarding equipment on your bike that is legal in your own state, PLEASE get me a copy of the citation with as much explanation as possible (photos, what happened, and why) so I have some ammunition to show the legislators the problems we know exist ; but cannot prove. Tourism is a significant portion of our state’s livelihood and tax base, and most of the legislators do understand and appreciate that BIKERS are a significant portion of that income stream. Friday afternoon’s program was Slider Gilmore’s Accident Scene Management presentation. After a bit of organizational housekeeping, we enjoyed dinner cooked by the fine chefs of the Oahe chapter. An awards program followed. Auggie and Sunshine were given an award for their continued service to ABATE, as well as several chapters recognizing their own member’s achievement. The evening was concluded by a social. Saturday morning was our monthly committee and Board of Director’s meeting, where we updated our policy statement to reflect some legislation we wish to have a position on, and recognized a new chapter that wishes to start up: welcome South East Chapter ABATE of South Dakota, located between Beresford and Sioux City…now maybe some of you Iowa members that actually are residents of SD can participate at home! Next BOD Meeting is March 19.
Tennessee Carol Simpson MRF Asst. State Rep The 107th General Assembly of Tennessee convened on January 11 with a 64R -34D-1I balance of power in the House and a 19 R to 14 D balance in the Senate. Beth Harwell, a moderate Republican, was elected as Speaker of the House, with no nomi-
nee from the Democratic caucus. On January 15, Bill Haslam –Republican from Knoxville, was inaugurated as governor, following an 8 year term of Democrat Phil Bredesen. The spotlight of Conservatism shines brightly on Tennessee. This is the first time since the War Between the States that the conservative party has held both houses in the legislature as well as the governorship. Does this bode well for motorcyclists? Perhaps………. The new Speaker of the House has requested that members keep their bill filings to a minimum. Speaker Harwell wants to address the budget thoroughly, and streamline the legislative process to eliminate long, drawn-out debates over issues that clearly are frivolous, or not important to the interests of all Tennesseans. It remains to be seen how she will manage the flow of legislation. It will be VERY interesting. Already there are rumblings and rumors of “not good” legislation for motorcyclists in the Tennessee legislature. Gratefully, we are very connected to the grapevine and this gives the CMT/ABATE legislative team an opportunity to prepare for these machinations. We will once again be introducing legislation to modify the helmet law in Tennessee. Two different approaches are being planned. Since there are no bills introduced at this time it would be inappropriate to write about the details now. Please follow our efforts on the legislature’s website www.capitol.tn.gov and our website www.cmtabate.com. Also we have applied, for the fifth time, for our Safety and Awareness Grant from the Motorcycle Riders Education Program. This year we were allowed to apply for a 15% increase over last year. I have written many times about this grant program, and some of you have responded with inquiries. I believe we are the only state in the nation who receives a grant check directly from the Department of Safety Rider Education Program. This is NOT 2010 money. It is from the Rider Education Program fund which we established by statute in 1987. Contact me if you want more information.
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Around the States Thanks for your time and interest. Carol Simpson email@example.com 615 944 9797
Texas Rick Boland MRF State Rep I am starting this article with a great applause for our COC and TMRA2 and ABATE organizations and other organizations that where involved also. What happened at the Texas State Capitol on January 24 2011 should have let our Reps and Senators and the Governor know that the biker’s in Texas mean business. We had an abundant amount of biker’s show up at the Capital. It was a great turn out. This is according to reports we got. You can use this address to get more info. One talking point is to keep our SB1967 bill that passed in the 2009 session to stay closed, so they can’t add amendments to it. This bill is the most comprehensive motorcycle safety education bill in the nation. In 2009 there was a 15% reduction in serious injuries and a 20% reduction in deaths for the first time in Texas history. The Motorcycle Rider Training Fund also open for discussion. We want the rest of our Rider Training Fund., that was dedicated to be spent by the Motorcycle Safety Division of DPS for rider training. Currently out of 2 million 200,000 that was dedicated to date, only $ 997,775.28 has been released. We want to know why the entire amount has not been released from the state budget. Share the Road Money also is an issue. TxDot’s Traffic Safety Program is supposed to be implementing a motorcycle Share the Road campaign in the spring of 2011. This will be a state effort using tv, radio, outdoor advertising, interactive media, social media and other outreach. The current budget for the campaign will be approximately $1.5 million consisting of about $1million in federal funding and more the $500,000 in local match. Currently the bid for the PSA’s went to Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing. No other motorcycle groups or agencies were notified by
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Around the States right to Ride Free. Rick Boland Texas MRF Rep http://www.statesman.com/news/bikers-hold-legislative-day-atthe-capitol-1206887.html?cxtype=rss_ece_frontpage. Also use this for info also, http://www.myfoxaustin.com/dpp/news/local/bikers-head-to-capitol-to-talk-to-legislators-01242011-ktbcw. This will help to explain how many biker’s where there to talk to there Representatives and Senators. Oh what a site and a feeling you won’t forget. Or go to the TMRA2.org website and Texasabate.com website and Texas COC website to pull up the videos and articles on Legislative Day.
Wisconsin Dave Dwyer MRF State Rep In 2009 language was put into the state budget bill by the majority party that made motor vehicle insurance mandatory in Wisconsin. Up until then, even though vehicle insurance was optional, Wisconsin had one of the lowest rates of uninsured drivers in the country. Also included in the budget was an increase in the minimum amount of insurance that could be sold in Wisconsin, a provision that allowed stacking of Underinsured policies and a prohibition on reducing the payment levels for Underinsured based on the insurance or other payments made to the injured person. In November 2010 citizens of Wisconsin elected the other party to majorities in both houses of the Legislature and the Governor. In mid January ABATE of Wisconsin held its annual Officer Train-
ing Seminar. During the Sunday morning Legislative session we discussed a bill that been introduced 3 days earlier in the State Senate and Assembly that would modify the requirements for motor vehicle insurance in Wisconsin that were in the 2009 budget bill. Those bills would remove the ability to stack policies for better coverage, allow insurance companies to reduce the amount of Underinsured coverage they would have to pay based on payments from other sources and reduce the minimum amount of insurance required. Based on feedback from the 140 plus Regional Officers present the decision was made to oppose certain portions of the bill. Three days later the Senate Insurance and Housing Committee and Assembly Insurance Committee held a joint hearing on these bills. ABATE testified at the hearing opposed to the mandate to purchase insurance, against the removal of the stacking allowance and against the language that allowed the reducing clause against purchased coverage. It was very obvious early in the hearing that this bill was going to pass and we did not have much of a chance to swing the outcome over to our side. In the following days our main focus was to eliminate the portion of the bill that would allow the reducing of Underinsured coverage based on payments from others. The following week the Assembly Insurance Committee passed the bill out with the amendment that Underinsured coverage would not be a mandated part of a policy. At newsletter deadline time the full Assembly has not voted on the bill. I fully expect that this bill will pass the Assembly and Senate and be signed into law before our Feb. 22nd Lobby Day. I see our best hope to get the change we want in the Senate process. More to come as this unfolds.
Rider Assistance Systems Get the Spotlight from the BBC Jan 28, 2011 Where do you see yourself in ten years ? Though the question is more often asked at graduation ceremonies and job interviews, nowadays it is worth asking riders, especially with regard to their vehicles. Because looks count, many modern motorcycles look the same as their cousins from a decade ago, but what's underneath, be it brakes or ignition, is often radically different. What will the second decade of the 21st Century bring to your bike?
The BBC touched upon the subject this week, with an article focusing on the technological advances unveiled by the SAFERIDER research project. Jonathan Moore, from the MIRA innovation centre in the UK, explains the principles behind three new systems aimed at improving rider safety. Installed on a bike, the electronics can provide speed limit warnings, assistance in judging curve speed, and detection of vehicles in nearby lanes to help with lane changes. Developed within SAFERIDER, a pan-European research consortium, these functions represent a first attempt at integrating rider assistance and information technology on motorcycles, in order to improve comfort and safety. continued page 46
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Rider Assistance Systems Get the Spotlight from the BBC continued Does it work?
awareness, distraction or comfort.
In the end, after a lengthy engineering process, this is the main question riders are tempted to ask. Are these systems "roadproof"? Are they useful, reliable, practical - and above all, safe to use? Anyone who has even ridden a motorcycle knows how critical these questions are.
With limited data on user perception, acceptance and willingness to buy, it is hard to draw conclusions on whether these systems have a true potential in assisting riders.
These issues featured prominently in the rider survey held at the beginning of the project, but these concerns have not been fully taken into account during the research and development process. The doubts raised by riders and training experts would have to be dispelled - or confirmed - by real-life tests. Unfortunately, as a breakthrough project, SAFERIDER could not run tests deep and wide enough to fully assess the systems' effects on basic riding tasks. When performed, tests mainly involved simulators, which do not fully reflect real-life conditions. Testing on real motorcycles have only been performed on a small scale, which does not allow for proper evaluation of the impact on behaviour, decision-making,
In his comments to the BBC, Mr. Moore expressed optimistic views with regard to the deployment of the three specific functions speed alert, curve speed warning and lane change support, hoping they would be available on the market within 18 months to two years. Riders at FEMA point out that these products, seeing how they can affect a rider's relation to the surrounding traffic, will need to undergo testing on a larger scale, in depth and in length, before they can be released to the market. SAFERIDER, however, succeeded in creating an interest around intelligent transport technologies for two-wheelers, including a recognition of the need to investigate the link between technology and the riding task. This, in itself, represents a positive step for motorcycling.
ACEM Conference – Riders' Perspective Reprinted from www.righttoride.co.uk 2nd February 2011 On the 26th January 20011 Right To Ride’s Elaine Hardy attended the 7th ACEM Conference in Brussels. The topic was the EU Commission's proposal for framework regulations, COM 2010/542. As would be expected, the main thrust of the conference concentrated on the industry’s concerns. Stefan Pierer, President of ACEM and CEO of KTM said, “Market figures for 2010 actually show no sign of recovery for the EU market, compared to already negative results for 2009. Over 2008, 2009 and 2010, the market shrank by more than -25%. ACEM reminded policy-makers that the envisaged legislation falls during a particular harsh time for a sector that employs directly and indirectly 150.000 people in the EU. There was an intense debate between the manufacturers and the Commission during the conference and with a big audience of at least 160 participants, the conference was an important venue to discuss the issues. The Managing Directors of BMW and Ducati confirmed Stefan Pierer’s assessment of the situation and told Philippe Jean (Head of the DG Enterprise, Automotive sector) that the market still hasn't bottomed out, arguing that the regulations will put many companies out of business.
Right To Ride’s, Elaine Hardy asked Philippe Jean what was the rationale for reducing the production limits of small series manufacturers, (motorcycles and trikes from 200 to 50, motorcycle and sidecar combinations from 200 to 100 units).” The short answer was that they want to stop people abusing the system which implies that they aim to penalise legitimate small series manufacturers. However, Mr Jean stated that they are willing to discuss this. Tom Waterer MCIA also raised this question and explained that small series companies like Norton, CCM and Harris are producing new models and these limits would kill their business. Equally ACEM has commented that they are very unhappy about the proposed limits. Regarding the fitting of mandatory Advanced Braking Systems (ABS) ACEM has given the Commission a carrot by accepting mandatory ABS - (ABS Anti-lock Braking Systems and CBS Combined Braking Systems) on light motorcycles up to 125cc and ABS on motorcycles above 125cc from 1/1/2017 but have asked for more time to enable them to do it. Although the manufacturers have asked to include Enduros and Trail bikes in the regulations, they have made it clear that these motorcycles must not have ABS brakes because they are mainly for off-road riding conditions, requiring the possibility to lock the wheels and to use each brake independently. The ACEM representative told Mr Jean that ABS would be dangerous on these motorcycles.
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ACEM Conference – Riders' Perspective continued There was no direct discussion on anti-tampering due to the fact that the Commission is currently carrying out a study to identify whether there is a problem and if so to what extent, through TRL, a UK based company. However Jacques Compagne, ACEM Secretary General, in his presentation mentioned that the initial objective: to prevent the use of parts that pose significant safety or environmental risks (anti-tampering) would also prevent the sale of duly Type Approved spare parts, if used in racing activities - the sale of racing parts to individuals. ACEM's position is that there is no justification for prohibiting the sale of any product in compliance with Type Approval rules and proposes to delete this from the proposed regulation and have made themselves available to eventually contribute to the drafting of new proposals. Wim van de Camp MEP, IMCO/European Parliament rapporteur, gave his views which were that he represents parliament and that he did not intend to give the Commission an easy time – especially on the calendar of the proposals which includes presen-
tation to the IMCO for the final vote during the summer of 2011. You may ask “why should we at Right To Ride take an interest from our small outpost in Europe at a conference in Brussels which essentially presented the point of view of the Motorcycle Industry”? Well, we have our own opinions about the regulations coming from the EU Commission that affect all motorcycling and for this reason we have set up Right To Ride EU. Our opinions have been formulated from years of experience of campaigning for motorcyclists and motorcycling. Through Right To Ride EU, we aim to fill the void and provide the tools and knowledge to open up discussions about legislation from Europe, starting with the framework proposals from the European Commission. Issued by Trevor Baird www.righttoride.eu www.righttoride.co.uk
ABATE of California & SB435 continued side testing and every county and city with officers equipped with db meters would be pulling over and citing motorcyclists given the sorry state of the budget in California. ABATE of California urges all SMRO’s to take a hard look at J2825 before signing onto that program. ONE MORE TIME -- SAE J 2825 will lead to increased roadside checks! Is that really what we need or want? While we dodged a bullet with J2825, SB-435 as amended contained plenty of anti-motorcycling language and as written, the bill would have affected all motorcycles from model year 2000 forward. Through the efforts of ABATE of California through our lobbyist, Jim Lombardo, several concessions were achieved that removed the most unfriendly and anti-motorcycle language from the bill. Through the joint efforts of ABATE’s Jim Lombardo and John Paliwoda of the California Motorcycle Dealer’s Association, the effective date of imposition of SB-435 was rolled back to 2013, and all motorcycles currently on the road are grand-fathered in. Additionally, due to ABATE’s efforts, violations were changed from a moving violation to a fix-it-ticket, it was dropped to a $50 fine from $300, and it is a secondary violation, meaning that it can’t be the primary reason for an enforcement stop. As can be plainly seen, the final version of SB-435 was substantially altered by ABATE of California and while we would like to have seen the bill die in committee, we did not enjoy the same support against an anti-noise bill that we did against a smog check bill. Furthermore, the co-author of SB-435 was the Chairwoman of Assembly Transportation Committee, and we knew going into the bill hearing that we simply did not have the votes to kill this bill. While there were some in the ranks of the organi-
zation that wished to pursue a hard line stance, the vote from our Political Action Committee determined that we would pursue the course of seeking to modify the bill and in this we were successful given the concessions that were achieved. Had we followed a hard line approach and simply hoped we would defeat SB-435 in committee, we would today be facing a far different reality today than we are. While there is much Monday morning quarterbacking going on regarding SB-435, ABATE of California is confident that we achieved the best possible outcome for the California motorcycling community that was possible given the difficult circumstances we faced. Two last items on the topic of SB-435 are that this bill is likely to have the unintended consequence of driving up the fair market price for pre-2013 used motorcycles due to the fact that they are grand-fathered in. Another consequence that other states facing similar legislation should be aware of is the 2013 date, which was extended to allow the manufacturers to comply. While we still have two years before SB-435 goes into effect, other states facing similar legislation will not have the same grace period if this legislation should come up in their respective states after January 2013 since the manufacturers will already be in compliance. Sincerely, Anthony Jaime Executive Director ABATE of California
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So, the Car Turns Left in Front of You… NOW What? Stacey “Ax” Axmaker Recording Secretary for MRF A&E In the world of motorcycle safety, as well as in the world of motorcyclists’ rights, we often talk about the dreaded ‘left turning car violating our right-of-way.’ And justifiably so; it is a common multivehicle crash scenario, and in those crashes, we always take the lion’s share of the damage. Thinking about this rider-driver dynamic, I am reminded of the fable of the Frog and the Scorpion: A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, "Because if I do, I will die too." The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp "Why?" Replies the scorpion: "It’s my nature..." (www.aesopfables.com). We know that human nature leads drivers to be distracted; we know that drivers have a tendency to look for other cars (and not motorcycles); we know that motorcycles are harder to see in the traffic mix. So, in addition to our efforts in the area of motorist awareness, we need to face the reality that a rightof-way violation is likely to happen to us. We should not be surprised by this, we should not expect otherwise, and we should be prepared for it. I’m not saying its “right,” but neither is grand theft auto (and yet I bet you still lock your car). If and when it does happen, what do you do? Get on the brakes! Your first and best line of defense is to use your brakes hard (without skidding) while keeping the bike on its wheels. This is where the time you spent practicing your maximum braking skills pays off. If you don’t practice this skill, there is a good chance that when you need it, it’ll be rusty (or not there at all). Regular practice also gives you the confidence to tell yourself ‘Yes, I can get stopped before reaching that car.’ Remember - ‘laying the bike down’ is another way to say ‘crashing.’ Laying the bike down gives up all ability to brake, swerve, or accelerate. It also affects the speed at impact if you hit the car (sliding metal and plastic don’t slow you down nearly as well as gripping rubber).
“What about swerving?” you may ask. Yes, swerving to miss the car can be a great way to go. However, there are some things to keep in mind: * Do not swerve while you are still doing your hard braking. Braking and swerving are best done one at a time. * Where are you going to swerve to? Is the car going to keep going, or stop in your path when they see you? Is there more traffic coming behind the car? Before deciding to swerve, you want to be confident that the place you are swerving to is better than doing your maximum braking in a straight line. * How are your swerving skills? Unfortunately, very few riders practice swerving; and many riders ride with their arms straight (rather than bent) – this makes a successful swerve very difficult. Practice swerving regularly and keep your arms slightly bent when you ride so you are ready. * Follow your nose. If you have elected to swerve, point your nose and LOOK EXACTLY WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. “An ounce of prevention…” We all know that we can’t control the behavior of car drivers. But, we can stack the deck in our favor. Regardless of whose fault a crash is, none of us want to be in a crash, and if there is a crash, none of us wants to get hurt (or worse). There are no guarantees, but here are some tips: * Be visible. Dressing in all black makes you harder to see. Bright colors and retroreflective materials make a huge difference. Consider a HEADLIGHT MODULATOR. * Manage your speed. Evaluate where you are riding. Side streets – driveways – parking areas – any place a motor vehicle can access the roadway = opportunities for right-of-way violations. The faster you are going when it happens, the longer it takes to get slowed or stopped (and the higher your speed at impact). * Gear up. If there is a crash and you hit the car, the asphalt, or both – what you are wearing can make the difference between walking away and being hauled away. This is not news to anyone. Protect what’s important to you (Hands? Feet? Arms? Legs? Chest? Back? Head? Face? – you make the call). We will absolutely continue our work in motorist awareness and pursue ways to change driver behavior. However, we also want all of you to be ready to successfully avoid crashing when your right-of-way is violated. Ride safe, ride well, ride lots. Ax
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Motorcycle Safety: ABATE OF MICHIGAN STYLE Who, What, When, How, and Why did ABATE of Michigan get involved in Motorcycle Safety? It all started back in the late 70’s at a helmet law hearing. There were four of us from ABATE of Michigan to testify at this hearing: myself, the legislative coordinator, Carl Richardson, the statistician, Larry Katkowsky, our lawyer, and Jim Rhoades, the president. Our bill sponsor said not to bring a lot of people to the hearing. Of course our opposition packed the room. One of the opposition’s participants fell and hit their head. Our bill sponsor blurted out what we were thinking. He should have worn a helmet! Dr. Don Smith from Michigan State University spoke, and he commented that we did nothing for motorcycle safety. We all looked at each other and said, “What is motorcycle safety ?” Well, that was the start of it. It took a while to convince Dr. Smith to offer an Instructor Course for us. He agreed to do a course in Garden City. It was an interesting group. 9 ABATE board of directors, 3 cops, and 2 driver education teachers that didn’t know how to ride. Michigan, at that time was using federal funds to run the motorcycle safety programs. We found a public sponsor to offer the course and did the paperwork to make it happen. We trained 48 students the 1st year and 72 students the following year. Then we knew we had to get more instructors if we wanted to train more students. I was accepted into the Chief Instructor program at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) in Maryland. The ABATE Board, not trusting the MSF, didn’t endorse my going to Maryland. We left for Maryland, taking my wife, figuring it would be a vacation. Of course we rode there and left a week early. The course started with lunch, a knowledge test, and a riding test. All the other candidates were employed and sponsored by their state. The temperature was 90-100 degrees, with 90-100% humidity every day, for 2 weeks. Only 7 of the 12 candidates made it. I demanded equal time after watching and listening to the pro-helmet rhetoric. I gave out the ABATE of Michigan position paper and the great debate has never stopped. MSF provided start up funds to myself and Balls from ABATE of Indiana, to get us started. We were different from the college and university trainers. We were motorcyclists who wanted to teach people how to ride. The Detroit Metro Regional program was started in 1981 with
MSF start up funds, along with federal funds. We trained 300 students. The majority of the Instructors were ABATE members. Legislatively we were able to pass a rider education bill in 1982. The safety fund was created to fund tougher licensing and rider education. We incorporated the Alternate Most into our safety classes. We later adapted a combination of the Alternate Most and the Most II and called it the Michigan MOST, continuing to use this test today. $3.00 of the motorcycle license plate fee would go into the fund. 4 times since then ABATE of Michigan fought to increase funds and protect the fund. We adopted a class wavier for the licensing test in 1987. We put together a 1 day class for unlicensed riders and began offering it in 1986. In this class, the “Performance Based Course ,“ students rode their own bikes and is still in use today. It got ugly at one point when the Superintendent of Public Schools named me as the “titular” state coordinator. When I got the letter I had to check the dictionary to make sure I was correct on what was going on. I was able to initiate a change in the curriculum statewide, with help from Mark Reutter. Mark was sponsored by ABATE of Michigan to become a Chief Instructor. We got updated in the spring of 2001, retraining the Instructors, now calling them coaches, and by June we had trained over 1,000 students in the Beginning Rider Course (BRC) curriculum. Mark painted 20-30 ranges in record time. The rest of the state switched over in 2002. The governor attempted to take the public program money in 2004. ABATE of Michigan was instrumental in getting the program transferred to the Secretary of State and keeping the public program going. Since 1981, over 60,000 students have been trained in the public program in the Detroit-Metro area. We continue to support training motorcyclists on their own cycles. In 2011 we will replace the Experienced Rider Course with the MSF Advanced Rider Course. Coaches and students will use their bikes in this class. ABATE of Michigan, under Jim Rhoades legislative guidance, actively stopped 2 bills last session that would have drastically changed the motorcycle safety program. ABATE of Michigan will continue to support rider education, motorcycle licensing, and car driver awareness as an alternative to the mandatory motorcycle helmet law in Michigan. Vince Consiglio
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania Hosts the 26th Annual Leadership and Legislative Seminar Steve Zurl MRF Asst. State Rep The Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) hosted its annual Leadership and Legislative Seminar (L&L) on January 21 & 22 in Grantville, PA. The sold out event attracted 375 motorcyclists from Pennsylvania and the surrounding states, all with a common interest motorcyclists' rights. Attending the seminar were representatives from the American Motorcyclists Association (AMA), the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM), and Pennsylvania's Motorcycle Safety Program. Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations for the MRF, updated the attendees on the ongoing legislative agenda in Washington, DC. The AMA, represented by Imre Szauter of the Government Relations Department, hosted a workshop on motorcycle legislation around the USA. The L&L Seminar has been an effective way for ABATE of PA to prepare its members and officers to properly represent the organization, and update the members on current legislation affecting motorcyclists. It's a way to insure, as lobbyists, bikers are familiar with the details of proposed legislation and issues, and have the knowledge to support or oppose it. It's also the way ABATE trains the chapter officers, and future officers, to manage chapter business. To address the motorcycle issues in Pennsylvania, ABATE hosted a panel discussion with members of PennDOT, the Pennsylvania State Police, State Representatives Mark Keller and Frank Burns, and Imre Szauter from the American Motorcyclist Association. Also on the panel was Mayor Rick Gray of Lancaster, PA. Other Representatives that attended the seminar were Scott Perry and Daryl Metcalfe. The highlight of the weekend was the awards banquet. Speaking at the banquet was Mayor Rick Gray. Mayor Gray has served as the Chairman of the Board for the AMA and has been a long-time
rider and member of ABATE of PA. Highlighting the awards banquet was the presentation of the prestigious Ed Fruecht, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. Ed was a well-known motorcyclist and senior member of the ABATE of PA board of directors who suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle collision on May 2, 1998, while on his way to Harrisburg to attend the annual Rights Rally. Ed was an MSF certified motorcycle safety instructor, an active member of the Harley Owners Group, member of the American Motorcyclist Association and Motorcycle Riders Foundation, and a supporter and fundraiser for the Shriners Children's Hospital. This year, the award was proudly presented to Jay "Red Man" Little from the Mason Dixon Chapter for his tireless efforts and contributions to the motorcycling community, and to charity events in Adams County. Other awards that were presented include: Presidents Award - Dave Evans, Chinklacamoose Chapter Freedom Fighters Award - Tom Detrick, Blue Mountain Chapter Leadership Award - Debbie Schaffer, Greene County Chapter Safety and Awareness Award - Jim Foster, Highlanders Chapter Golden Quill Award - Deny Walk, Greene County Chapter Distinguished Service Award - Butch Rivera, Mason Dixon Chapter Humanitarian Award - Valerie Sankey-Flegal, Chinklacamoose Chapter Contributing Organization Award Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program Lifetime Humanitarian Award Delaware Valley Chapter By the end of the L&L seminar, over $32,000 was raised for BikePAC, the political action committee for Pennsylvania motorcyclists, thanks to the generous contributors of auction items, wagon of cheer, coin sales, and the chili cook-off. Since 1986, BikePAC has supported bikerfriendly candidates for the State Senate and the House of Representatives.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Saferider Saga Goes On And On! Reprinted from www.righttoride.eu The BBC article – “Motorbikes ‘to get safe driving aids’”, (which Right To Ride EU reported on recently, MIRA Is Your Co-Pilot regarding the press release from MIRA a UK company), has had a reaction from FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations), who were partners with MIRA in the SAFERIDER consortium. What the BBC report and the FEMA article failed to mention is that the very reason for our “No To Throttle Control” campaign was because of the development of the Force Feed back Throttle as well as the integration of warning functions by the SAFERIDER consortium, that would distract the rider. The “No To Throttle Control” campaign by Right To Ride to have the Consortium withdraw the Force Feedback Throttle was successful. The Consortium agreed to withdraw the device because it failed to prove to be a worthwhile product (although the pressure from riders and organisations such as FIM, must have influenced their decision). The warning devices were the brainchild of the SAFERIDER Consortium which put together a proposal to get funding from the EU Commission, basing their concepts on car technology. What they convinced the Commission was that they would be able to move this technology on to 2 wheeled vehicles. Unfortunately they did this without consulting expert riders. When the project started, the then FEMA representative requested that the consortium carry out a Europe wide survey and consult a focus group of experienced trainers from across Europe, which they did, but the trainers in the focus group told them that they believed the ARAS (Advanced Rider Assistance Systems) would most likely be unsuccessful because of the distractions and confusion that they would cause. The consensus of the focus group with regards to the OBIS (On Bike Information Systems) was more positive. They agreed that advice on traffic conditions, weather and so forth was useful, although it was pointed out to the representative of the Consortium that most of the systems they were developing in the project were already available or were being developed elsewhere. In the latest FEMA report it states that at the end of a lengthy engineering process in the Saferider project, “the main question riders are tempted to ask is. “Are these systems “roadproof”? Are they useful, reliable, practical – and above all, safe to use?” and quite correctly state that, “Anyone who has even ridden a motorcycle knows how critical these questions are.” While we welcome the development of systems that aid riders, our view is that any device must be complimentary. It should never aim to remove the concentration of the rider or replace their ability to react and definitely never in a critical situation. The criticism of the ARAS devices is that they are active warning sys-
tems that will distract, by the very nature of the HMI (Human Machine Interface) warnings – e.g. vibration, lights etc FEMA has pointed out that, “These products, seeing how they can affect a rider’s relation to the surrounding traffic, will need to undergo testing on a larger scale, in depth and in length, before they can be released to the market.” FEMA reports that riders’ concerns, “featured prominently in the rider survey held at the beginning of the project, but these concerns have not been fully taken into account during the research and development process.” The other interpretation of this comment is that in spite of carrying out the survey and a focus group of experts, it was too late, because the Consortium had already decided what they were going to develop. What they had hoped was that the survey respondents and trainers in the focus group would rubber stamp their concepts, when that didn’t happen they selected the results. What the MIRA and FEMA press releases fail to consider, is whether these devices would actually make a difference in reducing casualties. The expert trainers were adamant that they would not achieve this result, in part because there would not be sufficient time for the warning systems to kick in and because the overload of information would be so great that the rider would lose concentration and be distracted. The SAFERIDER project ended in November with the conclusion that the 5 million Euros spent was not sufficient because the devices need to be tested in real road conditions, therefore it appears that the Consortium will aim to ask for more funding. Indeed, FEMA has stated that “Unfortunately, as a breakthrough project, SAFERIDER could not run tests deep and wide enough to fully assess the systems’ effects on basic riding tasks. When performed, tests mainly involved simulators which do not fully reflect real-life conditions.” (well not really, because the bikes – not simulators – were tested at MIRA and Yamaha on test tracks). The FEMA press release concludes: ”SAFERIDER however, succeeded in creating an interest around intelligent transport technologies for two-wheelers, including recognition of the need to investigate the link between technology and the riding task. This, in itself, represents a positive step for motorcycling.” Or in plain speak, the SAFERIDER project was promoted throughout the scientific community as an example of HMI systems. On the other hand, it created consternation for many individual riders such as ourselves, who were ignored when we tried to have a dialogue with the Consortium about our concerns regarding the systems. Issued by Trevor Baird www.righttoride.co.uk
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Why the Push for Motorcycle Helmet Laws? Why the push for motorcycle helmet laws by the National Transportation Safety Board? Why are they not promoting voluntary helmet use if they believe helmets actually save lives? My understanding of their experience with on highway motorcycle accidents is that the NTSB has performed six (6) motorcycle crash investigations. This pales in comparison to the over 150,000 airline incident investigations, over 90,000 other surface transportation investigations, which does more than qualify them to issue such recommendations. But investigating just six motorcycle accidents and now they are the experts? In her article for the Wall Street Journal, dated November 17, 2010, Melanie Trottman states, “The monetary cost to society is another problem safety advocates cite. According to 2005 data, medical and other costs for unhelmeted riders involved in crashes averaged $310,000 per cyclist compared with $71,000 for cyclists wearing helmets, federal regulators say.” What data? What federal regulators? I have been studying the data provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) for years and have not seen those type of figures. The Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) and the Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES) that NHTSA relies on for their statistics has not shown those figures. In fact the CODES study performed on data collected here in Maine between 2003-2006 does not show helmet use versus non use at all. The only distinction made was for head injury versus no head injury. Then the study made the claim that,“Controlling for other crash factors, use of a motorcycle helmet reduced the risk of hospital care or death for any head injury by 41% (margin of error 23% - 55%) and reduced the risk of hospital care or death for a serious head injury by 53% (margin of error 29% - 69%)”. Those are some mighty high margins of error in that study. The study admits, “The current rate of helmet use in Maine is unknown”, And,“An informal (non sientific) observation study during September, 2008 estimated that 51% of Maine riders were wearing helmets.” This information alone should be enough to raise questions about its validity. As for the public burden that motorcyclists are supposed to represent, it is stated in the description of table 14 thusly. “ Private commercial insurance (including employer sponsored health plans) represented the largest number of riders, hospital charges and inpatient days; about 70% of the total. Riders with Medicade (MaineCare) and riders without health insurance accounted for most of the remaining charges and length of stay.” That doesn’t look like much of a public burden to me. http://codes.mhic.org/ppt/Motorcycle_Crash_Study_5-11-2009.pdf According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 1.16% of total U.S. Health costs are attributable to motor vehicle accidents, and the costs associated with the treatment of motorcyclist injuries account for less than 0.001% of total U.S. health care costs. Only a portion of that less-than-0.001% cost is attributable to un-helmeted motorcyclists, and the majority of that cost is paid by privately purchased health insurance. What remains, spread across the taxpayer base (which includes millions of taxpaying motorcyclists), is insignificant. http://www.sbumaui.org/helmet_law_facts.pdf
The NTSB also seems to dismiss the drop in fatalities in 2009 for motorcyclists as somehow related to the slow economy. No mention is made of the enormous effort that the motorcycle rights organizations (MROs) across the country have put into rider training and motorcycle safety & awareness programs for the non riding public. If NTSB is really intent on reducing motorcyclist deaths they should be promoting the funding of these types of campaigns instead of pushing a mandatory helmet law. MROs have long said that the focus should be on accident prevention, not on safer crashing. The best way to avoid injury is to not be involved in a crash and the answer to that is better training and awareness. Education not legislation is a motto of concerned, involved motorcyclists all over this country. I think it is about time NHTSA changed course and gave up trying to force safer crashing on the motorcycling community and joined the MROs in promoting accident prevention. I think that would be a much better way to
spend the funds provided to NHTSA, via my tax dollars, and would have a more positive outcome. I have one other tidbit for you to ponder on before I close. The 2008 NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts, a 230 page report; on page 129, table 92, Motorcyclists Killed by Person Type and Helmet Use states the following in the totals line. Helmet used 3002 – 56.7%; Helmet not used 2,146 – 40.6%; unknown use 142 – 2.7%. Those figures are for the whole country where there are 20 states and the District of Columbia that have universal use helmet laws and the remainder of the 30 states have either a helmet law for minors or no helmet law at all. A quick look shows that there is difference of 856 or 16.1% with the higher number in the helmeted group. Now I am not saying that helmets don’t help. Anyone with a little common sense will figure out that a helmet can prevent some injuries in some situations. What I am saying is that helmets don’t seem to make the striking difference NHTSA claims. I am all for someone deciding to wear a helmet if they choose to, but I do not think the government should mandate a person wears one. http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811170.PDF According to NHTSA’s own publications the percentage of motorcycle operators killed while wearing a helmet has steadily risen from 55.3% in 2004 to 59% in 2008. I don’t believe their claim that wearing a helmet is 37% effective in preventing death. http://wwwnrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/CATS/listpublications.aspx?Id=A&ShowBy=Do cType Why are we talking about putting mandates on 3% of the vehicular population to increase safety when the other 97% accounts for 87% of all vehicular fatalities and less than .001% of the total health care cost in this country? Joshua Herndon Maine State Rep. Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Heading Towards the Matrix For years now we have heard and talked about the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), in fact back in 1997 DOT was seeking comments for Intelligent Vehicle Initiative, to deal specifically with safety and efficiency of motor vehicle operations with regard to reducing the probability of vehicle crashes. Last year a car equipped with enough electronic devices to operate by it traveled safely from eighty miles North of San Francisco into the city and down some busy streets without any human control at all, detection systems, navigation systems and so on. Just a few weeks later I actually saw one drive by where I work. The technology is amazing and continues to improve as time marches on. Who would have thunk it back in 1997! Can you imagine getting into a robocar and putting in the address you want to go and then sit back and drink your coffee, read the paper or work on your laptop until you get to your destination were it spits you out and goes off to pick up someone else to deliver them to were ever they are allowed to go. No stress behind the wheel, no road rage, no human in control just computers. Kind of reminds me of the movie “The Matrix”, were humans are used to power the matrix controlled by computers and those computers control people’s thoughts so their minds are in a virtual world. Are we heading to that virtual world? Woo, scary thought. With government agencies goal of “Zero Fatalities”, where would you suspect they would like to see this go to? There are some troubling comments about these robocars like, “At some point it will be illegal for people to drive their own cars, it will be too dangerous.” “Robocars can save 35000 lives, 230 billion dollars of accident costs, 50 billion gallons of gas and 600 million less parking spaces for less urban land development.” “Human behavior is the main problem.” “Every year robocars are delayed from use, human driving will kill another 35000 people.” Doesn’t sound like they’re including motorcycles in any future plans! Any vehicle controlled by a human is a vehicle a risk of a crash. And computers
don’t ??? All this advanced technology stuff is coming at us faster than your internet connection! Some of it is cool,… But …. Should we all give up now jump into our pod and enter the Matrix? Not if you’re a freedom fighter! Morpheus is offering you a choice to take either the red or blue pill. Take the red pill!!!! Like Morpheus the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is offering you a choice. That choice is to be swallowed up by the machine and be its source of power or, become a Freedom Fighter, fighting to keep motorcycles included into any transportation plans, address health insurance issues, cut off funding for motorcycle only check points, continue the Motorcycle Advisory Council, the NHTSA lobby ban, promote crash avoidance verses safer crashing, oppose EPA mandatory exhaust system stamping, promote SAE roadside sound test, take a position against distracted driving, support right to repair, oppose any legislation that may discriminate against motorcyclists, work to exempt youth bikes from the lead ban. That’s a lot to fight for, but if we don’t the machine will suck the life out of motorcyclists and motorcycling. To fight all these battles we need an army and supporters. We ask you to join/support the MRF and our crew of free humans and get the unplugged humans from Zion to join as well. If not a soldier, then be a strong supporter of freedom. Remember what Neo said at the end of the Matrix, “anything is possible.” Help spread the word, Legs Korte Illinois MRF State Rep.
Ride Hard, Die Fast By Rick Gray Mayor, City of Lancaster, PA My bike begins to sputter when it’s running out of gas. Got to reach right down, put it on reserve, got to do it real fast. A biker’s life is much the same, except he’s always on reserve, And extra fuel to get him home is something he don’t conserve. Out on the road, right on the edge, we do it every day, And as our brothers and sisters run out, we turn and wheel away. I like to think that it will never, it will never happen to me, But yet I know that one day I will be forever free. I hope that when it happens, when I run out of gas,
I’m out there on the open road, and I’m moving real fast. I’d hate for it to be in a garage with a slow leak dripping on the floor. Running out of gas drop by drop would be something I’d abhor. So when I do run out, on that gasless day, Because some fool on a cell phone turned left into my way. And then my tank is empty and no station I can find, I only have one wish to satisfy my mind. That there is a bike in heaven for which I have the key, That the roads are smooth, the weather is right for all eternity. For my idea of heaven is out there on the road, And riding there forever, I’d be forever home.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Wendy Moon, You Will be Remembered Wendy Moon, staunch supporter of TEAM OREGON and outspoken critic of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) died suddenly at her home in St. Louis, Missouri on January 11, 2011 of a heart attack. She was 57. She is survived by her four children, Rose, Jessica, John and Daniel Leifeld. Private services have been held. Most of the motorcycle safety community knew Wendy as Moonrider, author of the thoughtful provocative and well-researched blog she established on Journalspace in 2005. She was unwavering in following her motto “Holding Powerful Interests Accountable”.Wendy-web.gif Before she appeared on the motorcycle safety scene, Wendy was a writer, columnist and author for more than 16 years. With a master’s degree in theology, she wrote for a wide variety of publications, including Screenline, National Catholic Reporter, The Family, and Star Observer. She was a columnist for New Covenant and Catholic Parent magazines and wrote two books on religion. She was also a founding editor of the International Journal of Motorcycle Studies. It’s easy to see what a complex, remarkable and engaging person Wendy was, when you contrast these with her carefully documented reports on motorcycle safety issues, her screenplay for the movie She-Devils on Wheels and her post as Assistant Lecturer at the University of Southern California. In 2004 David Hough, Fred Rau and Wendy researched and published a series of articles in Motorcycle Consumer News that sparked a national dialog examining the relationship between the MSF and the motorcycle manufacturers who finance and direct its activities. Wendy’s tireless and tenacious research exposed the motorcycle industry’s alleged plan for monopolizing motorcycle training. It also revealed a disturbing trend in fatalities and nearfatal injuries to students in MSF-approved rider training courses. Wendy and her readers suffered a terrible blow in 2009 when the Journalspace servers experienced a catastrophic failure. Her Moonrider blog vaporized along with hundreds of other blogs. Four
years of essays and commentary were gone. Even before that, Wendy was discouraged and ready to give up on her blog. She had invested thousands of dollars on her own, not to mention the countless hours of research and analysis. She was ready to quit, but she wrote: “I was very discouraged at the time – I felt I had worked very hard for years to little effect . . . and now it was gone forever . . . I thought about it a lot yesterday and decided there is a value in having an alternative view of the efficacy and safety of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider training curriculum available on the Internet . . . What was a disaster for Journalspace, then, gives me a chance to re-create a body of work that gives a non-industry and non-governmental perspective on rider training and motorcycle safety . . . So that’s what I’m going to do over time–I’m just going to do it a little differently. And I’ll continue to write on issues that have come up recently and those that will come up in the future.” So Moonrider became Moonrider Redux, rising from the ashes as Wendy re-established her blog at wordpress.com and took up the challenge again. She continued her quest for the truth until her death. Her selfless dedication to motorcycling and motorcycle safety created a priceless archive of data and history. Wendy was key in opening a conversation that continues to reverberate throughout the motorcycle safety community. It promises to forever change and improve motorcycle training. By questioning the “Sacred Truths” that many had accepted for years, she revealed the greasy underside of the motorcycle safety industry and inspired us to ask our own questions. Wendy was a personal friend to many of us. Even when we disagreed, I admired her tenacity and razor-sharp B.S. slicer. She loved motorcycling and motorcyclists. She was persistent, resourceful and brave. Wendy’s loss leaves a hole in our galaxy that will never be filled. Bob Reichenberg
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.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
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(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