Why should I care?   

(This article appears in the March 2005 issue of Southern Motorcycle Times magazine)

Why should I care about bikers rights? For that matter, what the heck are "bikers' rights" anyway? Well, bikers rights effect everyone who rides on two wheels. If you like the freedom that riding brings and you would like to be welcome in all public places while riding your bike, then you already care about bikers rights and you should take that next step and actually start supporting bikers rights. We do not want other citizens discriminating against us. We all know that bikers are no less educated or intelligent than any other group of citizens. However, off-road riders face public land use bans even though those riders pay taxes to use those lands. Street riders are not always welcome in all hotels, condos, and public places. Restaurants and bars have "no back patch" policies. If you would like to continue riding without more restrictions placed on you as a rider, then you already care about bikers' rights.

Now that we have concluded that you do care about bikers' rights, then the next question should be: How can I, as a motorcyclist get involved in the political process and be aware of political activities concerning riding? Here are some things you can do to help yourself and all the riders in your state: (1) Learn where candidates stand on motorcycle issues before voting and then vote. (2) Write letters to the legislators that represent you so they understand your position on current biker related legislation. (3) Arrange meetings and talk to your legislators in person. They will remember your meeting when considering biker legislation. Don't forget, they work for you. (4) Arrange your personal and work schedules so when there is a biker lobby day in your state, you can go in a show of support for biker legislation. Please understand that a bill must undergo three readings in each of the two chambers, pass several committee meeting votes, as well as be approved by the Governor before it becomes law. Biker representation at each committee meeting and chamber vote is important to get that legislation passed. (5) Join a state motorcyclists rights organization (SMRO) like the CBA (ABATE) and also join a federal MRO like the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) and/or the American Motorcyclists Association (AMA). They will help you get involved in bikers' rights and you will also expand your circle of friendships and riding opportunities. (6) Take the rider safety courses in your state for your own safety and to reduce injury stats. Fewer accidents equals more favorable statistics, which equals more legislative power for bikers. (7) Make it a priority to have motorcycle insurance and medical insurance. If you don't, you will be labeled a "public burden" and be part of the problem, not the solution. (8) Please don't ride impaired. It will eventually catch up with you in the way of a DUI, an accident, or you will kill yourself or someone else. It also sets a bad example for younger riders and causes all bikers to look irresponsible.

Getting involved in bikers' rights will help yourself and all bikers. That's why you should care!

Vinny Neuman
CBA/ABATE of NC
MRF
NC BikePAC

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