"Hey Man, ........ I just wanna Ride."
This article appears in the June 2004 issue of Dixie Rider Magazine


That's the excuse we hear from many riders who don't want to get involved in bikers' rights. Another statement we hear is ... " I am not political and don't care about politics."

Being a biker and not wanting to support bikers' rights is like being a parent and not wanting to get involved in what your kids are doing. If we care about something, then we should get involved and learn about what we need to do to make it better. We nurture our children because we love them and want them to be safe and grow. If we love riding our motorcycle, then we should care about bikers rights and nurture our riding lifestyle. We should get involved in making sure that the future of motorcycling is brighter, more secure, and ultimately safer.

By being a rider and not caring about bikers' rights, you are making a statement. The statement you are making is that you are choosing ignorance. You are choosing to ignore the issues that affect your favorite endeavor. Next to spending time with my family, motorcycling is my favorite endeavor. I love it and I know if I ever have to give it up, I will be very sad. I know other riders love riding as much as I do. Yet they ignore bikers' rights issues. I cannot understand why they ignore something that they love so much?

I live in a state that has a mandatory helmet law. In my state, many riders say "I don't care about repealing the mandatory helmet law, so I don't care about bikers' rights."

Bikers' rights are not only about repealing mandatory helmet laws. Today in North Carolina, there are three bills that have been introduced by biker constituents. The helmet law is a small part of bikers' rights. Riders who scratch the surface will see that. They will see that there are many other issues that effect bikers. They will see that we are all at risk. Ignorance towards public affairs and legislation breeds a uniformed, ignorant riding community. I do not want to be ignorant concerning the issues that affect my favorite endeavor.

If you are not sure where to start, contact your local motorcyclists' rights organization (MRO). MRO members are happy to discuss how the state and federal legislature operates. They will be happy to guide you to an understanding of the issues. You can choose for yourself which issues and legislation to support, and which ones not to support. However, not knowing how your state and federal legislatures work, just means you are placing your future in the hands of people you don't know. Most legislators are honest, dedicated people who care about the future. They get paid very little for their time and they deserve our appreciation. They also deserve our involvement. Without our involvement, they don't know what we want. They don't know what fair laws to pass and which unfair laws to repeal. They look to us to help them make decisions on which bills to vote for and which bills to vote against. How can they do their job unless we tell them how we feel about issues that effect us? How do they know what is good for North Carolina's motorcyclists if North Carolina's motorcyclists don't tell them.

Only a very small percentage of legislators ride motorcycles. It is our job to communicate our needs to our state and federal legislators. If we don't, we lose our voice. We lose our ability to shape the future of motorcycling. I do not want non-riders deciding what is best for me.

There are approximately 1500 riders here in North Carolina who do the bulk of the work to shape the future of motorcycling in North Carolina. Considering that there are approximately 150,000 motorcyclists in North Carolina, that means about 1% of NC riders care about their future, and 99% don't care about their future. 99% of NC riders are uninformed. They allow non-riders to make decisions for them. By not being involved, they support current laws that allow car drivers to kill them without penalty. They support reductions in our ability to customize our motorcycles. They support reductions in safety training. By being unaware, 99% of NC riders support the reduction of motorcycling in North Carolina.

If you are one of the 99% of North Carolina riders who "Just wanna ride and don't care about politics!", then you are one of the people who are hurting motorcycling and increasing the risk of injury for all motorcyclists.

Get involved now, or suffer the consequences of ignorance. Being involved in bikers' rights doesn't cost a lot of money. It doesn't take a lot of time. It only takes a few minutes every week or so to read about what is going on, and communicate with your legislators on how you feel about motorcycling issues. You can start by joining a local MRO chapter and learning about how YOUR government works.

Deb Knox of the NC CBA reminds us that: "If you can't contribute time, a donation can go a long way towards supporting those that do have the time. If you forego one night out on the town and send the money you would have spent during that night to your local PAC fund or MRO, you will be supporting the bikers' rights organizations in your state so they can continue the legislative fight. The bikers of today are well funded. Just look at the line of $30,000 bikes at the next rally you attend. If more riders donated to the fight, additional funding would be available to increase recruiting, advertising, and safety programs."

Please don't wait until you are laying in a hospital bed, or attending a friend's funeral before you start caring about bikers rights! The $25 you will spend on the MRO membership fee will keep you educated and informed on local and federal issues that threaten your lifestyle and jeopardize your safety. It will also enable your state MRO to become a greater political force within your state legislature.

Copyright: Vinny Neuman 2004
CBA/ABATE of North Carolina: http://www.cba-abatenc.org
North Carolina BikePAC: http://www.ncrider.com/BikePAC-Page.htm
Motorcycle Riders Foundation: http://www.mrf.org
NC Rider web site: http://www.NCRider.com