From Mike Donohoe Tallahassee Road Captain- Mark your calendars
Another Florida hero has fallen. The family of Specialist Charles Andrew Jankowski has invited the Patriot Guard Riders to stand in silent honor of their hero at services for him in Panama City, FL on April 7th.
Specialist Charles Andrew Jankowski, 24, of Panama City, died while on active duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq on Friday, March 28, 2008. The service will be held in the Wilson Funeral Home Chapel, 214 Airport Rd. Interment will follow with full military honors conducted at the graveside.
Specialist Jankowski did not hesitate to stand for us in Iraq. It is now our turn to stand in honor of him. This mission will consist of flag lines at the funeral service and an escort to the cemetery.
Sr. Ride Captain, FL, PGR
Staging info regarding below email previously sent:
Monday, 4/7; 11:00a EST staging at Texaco corner of Blountstown Hwy and Capital Circle, Tallahassee; 11:15a KSU; we will ride to Panama City down Hwy 20 to Hwy 231, make one stop, and continue on to the Funeral Home.
Staging in PC: 12:30 PM CST - Wilson Funeral Home parking lot.
Mission Briefing: 12:45 PM CST
Flag Line: 1:00 PM CST
Service begins: 2:00 PM CST
After the service, we will join the escort procession to Callaway Cemetery (please fly your bike mounted flag(s) if you have one). At the cemetery we will again form a flag line around or near the interment ceremony. He will be receiving full military honors at the cemetery.Add to Technorati Favorites
By Jeff Hennie From the Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Government officials will tell you that motorcyclists make up 2% of the vehicles on the road and 10% of the fatalities, and they would be correct. That sounds like a major problem. But what they don't tell you paints a very different scenario.
Motorcycle registrations have more than doubled since 1997, and new motorcycle sales have quadrupled since then. Surely, when the population is increased one must expect the crash numbers to climb as well. Simple statistics.
The last time motorcycle deaths were as high as they are now was in 1986, when motorcycle registrations were slightly more than 5 million. In 2006, almost 6.5 million motorcycles were registered in this country. That's an additional 1.5 million motorcycles and the same number of fatalities. Maybe the isn't as out of control as some would like you to believe.
When motorcycle safety is addressed, it almost always revolves around one controversial issue: helmet laws. All but three states have a version of a helmet law on the books. Twenty-seven states allow riders to exercise choice when donning personal protective equipment, and the remaining 20 require all riders to wear a helmet of some sort. If helmet laws worked, there would be a sharp contrast concerning crash data between states that require universal helmet use and those that don't. That isn't the case.
According to a August 2007 publication, two of the three states that had the largest increase in fatalities from 2005 to 2006 have universal helmet laws (Alabama and ). Of the three states with the largest decrease in motorcycle fatalities over that period, two ( and ) have no helmet requirement, and the third ( ) allows experienced riders to ride without a helmet.
The bottom line is that helmet laws don't prevent accidents. The best case scenario is to avoid the crash in the first place. How? Through proper, affordable rider education and widespread motorist awareness campaigns to educate the general motoring public to be aware of motorcycles.
Motorcycle safety requires a comprehensive approach, or we risk losing even more lives. Simply relying on a helmet law to reduce the number of fatalities has proved to fail time and time again.Jeff Hennie is vice president of government affairs for the
No-wheelie bill irks real hog riders
Discussion over a Senate bill aimed at motorcycle and moped riders brought out the jeans-and-boots, ponytailed Harley Davidson-riding kind of bikers.
At issue was a bill to require any motorcycle or moped rider to keep both wheels on the ground at all times, and to allow police to arrest, not just ticket, any motorcyclist charged with reckless driving.
Robert Conroy wore eyeglasses on his face and sunglasses on his head. Baring his tattooed forearms, he grabbed hold of the podium in the Senate committee meeting and called the bill "nothing more than a thinly disguised attempt to discriminate against motorcycles and their riders."
As for those "young and dumb" riders zipping around on mopeds and popping wheelies on their motorcycles, Conroy, who represented a motorcyclist-rights organization, said: "You can’t legislate against stupidity."
Sen. Larcenia Bullard, D-Miami, admitted that when she first got elected, she thought motorcyclists were "really bad people."
But after a few years in office, she said she learned that motorcyclists are actually "regular people" who deliver toys to people during the holidays and bring food to the hungry.
Later, there was a video. It showed riders of sporty motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic on Florida highways and zooming through toll booths at 130mph. "It’s another form of getting high," one rider explained.
The bill, filed by Sen. Rudy Garcia, R-Hialeah, passed the committee. But not before Garcia clarified for the bikers in the audience just what his legislation is about.
"This bill is about reckless driving," Garcia said, "not about good people."
-- Carol Lee
I and others have spent much time defending/fighting for sportbikers. Despite the fact that we ride a Harley or some other cruiser. I have not been one of the ones that berates them and have in fact corrected folk when they use the term "crotch rockets". I personally have sent messages out to numbers of them attempting to alert them to the erosion of theirs and our rights. I have pleaded with them to get involved. Hell I even wave to em if they wave when passing on the rode.
So where are they when we are down at the Capital fighting for "their" rights. No where! What is that all about? You all want to be bad ass bikers by showing off your skills on a motorcycle but apparently you have missed something. It isn't in the instructions that come with your brand new Kawasaki. Being a "Biker" is about more than being able to ride a motorcycle. Any one who can walk and talk at the same time can ride a motorcycle.
Being a biker is about standing up for yourself and respecting yourself and others. So where is the respect you may hope to gain by doing a super wheelie? Lost by your failure to stand up and fight for yourself and your lifestyle.
It's not just the sport bikers that need to learn a little about standing up for rights, however HB137 and SB802 are aimed primarily at YOU!
Now I and a few others will continue to fight your battles for you. Primarily because we can see past our front tire and understand the implications of not fighting (um are you listening "HOG" members).
So I offer you a challenge if you have the balls. Join a couple of us on the front lines. If there are none among you in the Local Sport Bike population with the intestinal fortitude stand up for themselves then quit whimpering about how you are disrespected by other riders. You either earn respect or you earn disrespect, it's on you. Feel free to holler at us when your ready (hopefully before they take your bike away).Add to Technorati Favorites
Below is the summary, as I saw it, at the Hearing for SB 802, companion bill
to HB 137. This comes late because I was busy doing work (ya, I have a day
job) this afternoon that I should have been doing this morning while I was
at the Senate building with RC attending the hearing.
In a room about 3/4 full, there were THREE bikers present to support our
position opposing this bill. THREE BIKERS; Florida Abate President, RC and
myself. The Abate President arrives with a companion, but it is not known if
she is a biker or not. Either way, not one Sport Biker stepped forward to
state his or her position. There were none in the room that I could see.
From my perspective, it appears Sport Bikers are just not concerned about
having their bikes confiscated, and their licenses taken from them for ten
years. As a rider of 30+ years, I find that very distasteful. My bike has
two wheels, so does yours. How dare you diminish my right to ride free by
As most of you know, this bill started out discriminatory against all
bikers, outlined a severe penalty for infractions, and is largely redundant,
given the laws on the books already for reckless driving.
And as things progressed, amendments were made to HB 137 and text was
changed to include all drivers. However, HB 137 still called out motorcycles
specifically, and defines somewhat specifically what constitutes non-stunt
riding; i.e. two wheels on the ground at all times, one leg on both sides of
the bike, etc.
Legislators are adamant that those who pull wheelies at high speeds, weave
in and out of traffic at high speeds, or simply ride their bikes at high
speed, will pay the consequences. Even if they didn't add the text to
[lamely] exclude those of us who ride motorcycles that won't perform these
types of stunts, I'd still know they meant Sport Bike riders. Legislators
were VERY specific about who is targeted by this bill. My fear, and that of
others, is law enforcement won't bother to distinguish between the two.
At the first hearing, I and others, protested that, among other things, this
bill is one-sided. Their aim, they said, is to prevent senseless death of
these Sport Bike riders. While we pointed out they were ignoring the
senseless death of many more riders that happen daily at the hands of
distracted drivers who go unpunished.
So, late last night, an amendment was added to SB 802, to stiffen the
penalties of drivers who cause death or injury to another through a traffic
violation. For whatever reason - a dangling carrot, an honest concern,
whatever - it was added to this bill. However, and far more importantly,
SEIZURE is still very much alive in this bill. Fine me $1000, give me jail
time, take away my endorsement for a period of time, but the government does
not have the right to confiscate my motorcycle. Period. The Forfeiture law
was enacted to prevent the continuation of drug manufacture and sale after
the dealer was convicted. Confiscating cars and/or motorcycles for driving
violations is out of those bounds and unconstitutional.
Sadly, many Senators who are fairly new to this bill, are so focused on the
Sport Bike issue that they immediately shot down this amendment that might
have done some good. So once again, we are back at square one, and this bill
is still very much alive! And again, where the hell was the support?? Where
are all the Sport Bike riders who oppose this bill? I can almost understand
the biker community who does not ride the sport bikes not having a concern,
but this bill seriously targets Sport bikers. Do you not care? Or are you
merely waiting for those of us who are willing to fight for our freedom to
do it for you?
Once the new amendment was read, the only opposing comment from the
Transportation Committee was how much of a fiscal "burden" it might be for
the state to fork up room and board (jail time) for a driver who kills in
the process of a traffic violation! This was Senator Paula Dockery I
believe. (Without a seating chart and "name tags" I can't be sure.) From my
point of view, she didn't care one iota whether bikers died on the road at
the hands of incompetent drivers. She couldn't get this amendment killed
fast enough. In fact, I didn't get the impression that she, or several
others, cared one bit about any death of a motorcyclist. (Senator Dockery
goes up on the political candidate do-not-vote-for Wall-of-Shame). And this
leads me to believe that the motive for this bill and HB 137, from the
beginning, is not to stop any deaths, but to catch the culprits and make
some money from it. I'll be writing to Senator Dockery to express my
distaste over her obvious lack of concern for those who die at the hands of
distracted and incompetent drivers.
It should be noted that Senator Baker spoke very much in favor of the
stiffer penalty amendment, as did Senator Garcia. They both seem to "get it"
about ROWV causing so many motorcycle deaths.
The Florida Abate President spoke in support of the amendment and expressed
disappointment in this action to strike. RC and I declined to speak on
behalf of the amendment, stating we would speak on the bill itself.
The bill was brought to the table and Senator Garcia, the sponsor of the
bill, declined to speak until all were heard. Again, the Florida Abate
president informed the committee that his organization opposed the bill in
it's entirety. He testified that confiscation of property costs the state
Next was RC, who covered several points; penalties covered in this bill for
stunt riding far exceed those of incompetent auto drivers who kill and maim
riders, the redundancy of the bill to existing laws, and discrimination of
I was last to speak, as no others stepped forward. I expressed extreme
disappointment in the attitude of the committee of placing a fiscal value on
the death of another and refusing to entertain the amendment put forth by
Senator Garcia. I also spoke of the unconstitutionality of property seizure,
and that civil seizure does not provide for Due Process; that 80% of
forfeitures are seized from those who are never charged with a crime.
Senator Alex Villalobos challenged my comments on forfeiture, and I pointed
out that the bill is littered with text that says the officer "shall arrest
the perpetrator, throw him in jail, and seize the property", and that a
court "official" shall determine the outcome. That sounded to me like the
officer can make the decision of guilt on the fly, and your property seized
without proof of the crime. Only one line in the bill said that forfeiture
would occur "if" convicted.
For those who are unaware of what Civil Forfeiture might mean to you, here's
a few highlights. You are NOT entitled to a trial by jury. You are NOT
entitled to an Attorney (except if you want to pay a $10k retainer yourself
to regain $4000 worth of personal property). You are guilty until proven
innocent and the burden of proving your innocence is on YOU, at your
expense. Even if you are acquitted or found not guilty of any charges, THEY
CAN STILL KEEP YOUR MOTORCYCLE.
It goes without saying that once motorcycles are targeted in any way for
confiscation, by law, law enforcement will add that to their list of revenue
generation. This happens daily already. Bikers are pulled over and cited for
minor infractions, such as handlebar height, and their bikes are
confiscated. Even if the citation is invalid and proven so, the owner must
still pay very high fees to release his/her property from impoundment. If
the process takes too long, the property may be sold, and the owner will
never recover the property at all, or the money it was sold for.
John L. Worrall, Department of Criminal Justice, California State University
at San Bernardino, said it very aptly, "A conflict of interest between
effective crime control and creative fiscal management will persist so long
as law enforcement agencies remain dependent on civil asset forfeiture."
Furthermore, 80% of property forfeited to US government agencies in the last
decade was seized from owners who were never charged with a crime! Over $7
Billion has been forfeited to the government since 1985. Florida is about to
add motorcycles to that equation.
Senator Garcia presented the same video that was shown at the first hearing
on HB 137. And again, it elicited gasps and outrage from the committee
members, and many in the audience.
Following the video, Senator Larcenia Bullard spoke on the attributes of
motorcyclists. She said she used to think we were all bad people. Then she
discovered that we are people just like anyone else, and she learned of the
charities we contribute to, and the selfless acts of kindness bikers are
But hard on the heels of these very kind words, she stated that those who
ride Sport Bikes in the manner depicted on the video deserve this severe
punishment and she supported this bill 100%.
The committee vote was unanimous. To those of you who didn't show up to
oppose this bill, at any of the three hearings so far, thank you very much
for helping to push through one of the most damaging and nebulous bills I've
I want to thank all of you who put forth so much effort in sending your
views through mail, email and phone calls. I know it has helped to get text
changes in this bill. Please continue to write to the committee members and
express your extreme opposition to forfeiture.
However, Sport Bike riders be forewarned, if and when this law goes into
effect in October, you WILL be targeted by law enforcement, profiled, and
falsely accused even if you ride safe and sane, and never do any of these
stunts. I am sure that law enforcement will make it a priority to help you
rack up your offences so they can confiscate your bike. And since you have
made no effort whatsoever to represent yourselves at these hearings, you
will have no one to blame but the man/woman in the mirror. I wish you luck,
you'll need it. This bill is well on its way to becoming law in October, in
spite of our best efforts.
I'll end with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, "They that can give up
to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
aka SamAdd to Technorati Favorites