WASHINGTON, D.C.--Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month was officially launched with a news conference on Thursday, May 1, 2008 on the grounds of the nation's Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Speaking at the event were the co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Motorcycle Caucus, Rep. Michael C. Burgess M.D. (R-Texas) and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), along with Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters, Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) President Tim Buche and American Motorcyclist Association President and CEO Rob Dingman. The gathering of national leaders was organized by the MIC and called attention to the annual spring surge of motorcyclists on America's highways and encouraged responsible riding and driving by all roadway users.
"As a doctor, I've been in plenty of emergency rooms and trauma centers," said Rep. Burgess, who is a motorcyclist himself. "Take it from me, you don't want to be involved in a crash of any kind, especially one involving a motorcycle. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For riders, that means ride responsibly. For everyone else on the road, stay alert and don't let dangerous distractions divert your attention from the road."
Burgess added that he has introduced a bipartisan bill to fix a loophole in the HIPAA law that allows insurers to deny payment for injuries sustained while engaged in recreational activities like motorcycling.
"There are many other reasons why motorcycles are so popular, but one explanation is simple economics: the rising cost of gas," said Rep. Giffords. "Motorcycles offer a more fuel efficient and cheaper way of getting around. I am proud that, as a motorcyclist, I am leaving a smaller footprint on our earth by just riding my bike."
Burgess and Giffords have sponsored a House resolution (H. R. 339) that highlights Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Secretary Peters said, "As a biker myself, I know motorcycle safety begins and ends with riders taking personal responsibility. That means proper training, proper gear, and a DOT-certified helmet every time you ride."
Speaking on behalf of the AMA's 290,000 members, Dingman said, "I strongly encourage motorcyclists everywhere to re-familiarize themselves with the basics of safe and responsible riding to get the most out of every trip and arrive at their destinations safely. But it is not only motorcyclists who need to hear our safety message today. Far too many motorcycle crashes are caused by inattentive car drivers who pull into oncoming traffic, often turning into the right-of-way of approaching motorcyclists. With the popularity of motorcycling at an all-time high in America, these crashes often injure or take the life of a friend, family member or co-worker. We urge everyone, no matter what you ride or drive, to focus on the task at hand and be aware of traffic around you, in particular motorcyclists."
Dingman also encouraged Secretary Peters and the DOT to urge state highway safety offices to do more with federal 402 funds to educate motorists regarding the importance of watching out for motorcycles.
Prior to making their remarks, the leaders shrugged off raindrops from a passing shower to view a motorcycle riding simulator, several late model bikes and the latest protective riding gear. Flanking the assembled group was a detachment of the U.S. Capitol Police Department's motorcycle corps.
The American Motorcyclist Association: rights. riding. racing.
Founded in 1924, the AMA is a non-profit organization with 290,000 members. The Association's purpose is to protect and promote the interests of motorcyclists, while serving the needs of its members. For more information, visit the AMA website at www.AMADirectlink.com.
Mary Peters is referring to herself as a biker???? PUKE!
"Burgess added that he has introduced a bipartisan bill to fix a loophole in the HIPAA law that allows insurers to deny payment for injuries sustained while engaged in recreational activities like motorcycling."
And how long have they been dicking around with this. And how many real "Bikers", you know, the ones that do not consider it a recreational activity but a lifestyle, have unpaid medical bills because congress can't man up to the insurance companies. PUKE!!!
Where the hell is DRIVER DISTRACTION MONTH"??? Oh thats right, thats every month. They run over us every month. And because that is every month and all these quasi official talking heads ain't doing anything to protect our rights or our safety other than holler, helmet, helmet, helmet, it is incumbent upon those who ride to make cagers aware.
As a public service we have pictured below tools that been rumored to increase driver awareness? I don't know how they are used to do that however so I guess you will have to use your imagination.Add to Technorati Favorites
Saturday a number of us had the pleasure to ride to Thomasville, Ga. to Escort Richard Clark back to Tallahassee Where he was laid to rest. Thanks to all that showed to pay their respects and special thanks to those who put their plans to head to P.C. on hold to attend the mission.
Our prayers and Thanks go out to the families and loved ones of Mr. ClarkAdd to Technorati Favorites
Jacqueline Mitchell, 04.25.08, 6:00 PM ET
New Hampshire motorists who use drive time to chat on the phone, read the paper or apply makeup may want to focus on the road.
In that state, if you cause harm to another vehicle or a pedestrian while engaged in an activity behind the wheel, you face a maximum fine of $1,000 and lose your license for up to a year.
"This is a good deterrent to have on the books," says Peter M. Thomson, coordinator of New Hampshire's Highway State Agency. "I travel 65 miles to work, on Interstate 93, and I see a ton of distracted drivers. You name it, and I have seen it. It drives me crazy to see people trying to drive with a full plate of food on their lap while trying to steer with their knees."
New Hampshire's no-nonsense law carries the greatest fine and penalty of the nine states with the harshest laws for distracted drivers on our list.
In Depth: Toughest States On Distracted Drivers
Distraction Equals Accidents
Almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds of the event, according to the 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study, conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and released in April 2006.
The most common distraction cited was cellphone use (followed by drowsiness).
Bans on using a handheld cellphone while driving are in the works in several states, including California, which on July 1 will become the latest state to ban cellphone use, joining New York, Washington, D.C., Connecticut and New Jersey--though hands-free phones will still be permitted. This will be a primary offense, meaning police officers can ticket motorists talking on a handheld phone even if they haven't violated other traffic laws.
Connecticut bans the use of handheld cellphones, yet goes a step further by prohibiting the use of other electronic devices, such as personal digital assistants. New Jersey does the same and adds text messaging to its list of specific offenses. Washington State banned text messaging in January and, come July 1, will prohibit the use of handheld cellphones in general.
Ohio is the only state on the list that doesn't ban using cellphones while driving. But, in Ohio, it is a primary offense to drive while wearing earphones or earplugs for listening to devices such as iPods or CD players (though ear-in devices for cellphones are permitted). This law has been on the books since 1989. Violators are cited for committing a minor misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $1,000, says Bradley Shaw, a spokesman for the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The amount of the ticket varies by county and is determined by your driving record, prior convictions and other moving violations.
While other states are debating bans on cellphones, text messaging and other distractions, lawmakers and auto safety agencies continue to review the best ways to deal with people who insist on multitasking while driving.
Like New Hampshire, Utah prohibits multiple activities that it deems distracting, like smoking, eating, drinking and "physically attending to a passenger." The maximum fine is $50 on top of fines incurred for related moving violations, such as running a red light or causing an accident.
Rules For Hands-Free Phones
No state has entirely banned the use of cellphones while driving; you can still use hands-free wireless devices, but the rules aren't the same for all drivers. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have various levels of restrictions for all cellphone use, hands-free included, for teens age 18 and younger, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
For now, drivers over the age of 18 with full driving privileges can use hands-free communication devices, even in the states that ban handheld electronics. But this is something that Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington-based consumer watchdog for auto safety and quality founded by Ralph Nader in 1970, is fighting to change.
In March, the CAS filed a petition with the NHTSA, asking the agency to write rules prohibiting the use of interactive systems that allow drivers to have wireless access to e-mails and phone calls. "There is a false perception that hands-free phones are better," says Ditlow. "Your mind is still off the road and focused on the conversation."
When Washington's ban on text messaging goes into effect July 1, it will be a secondary offense; you'll only receive a ticket if you commit another moving violation, other than speeding. Though the same holds true for distracted-driver laws in several states, it pays to play it safe. In Connecticut and New Hampshire, for example, the fines and license-suspension terms go up with each offense.
However, you don't have to worry about inadvertently breaking the law when commuting across state lines: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( www.iihs.org) and AAA publish a state-by-state listing of cellphone bans and distracted-driving lawsAdd to Technorati Favorites
date Mon, May 5, 2008 at 10:52 AM
subject Refused admittance to public meeting
hide details 10:52 AM (5 minutes ago)
May 5, 2008
To: ABATE of Florida Board of Directors,
I wanted to wait until the legislative session was over before addressing the situation that occurred at your State meeting held in Montecello, Florida on April 13, 2008.
The situation referred to is my being refused entrance to your April state meeting which on your website and in your "flyers" advertised, "all" and "everyone" were welcome to attend. Apparently this wasn't true.
When I arrived at your meeting place, before I could get off my motorcycle I was flanked on on my left by your Sgt. of Arms, "Frenchie" and on my right by his assistant "mudder". I was told by "Frenchie" that their was no need to get off my "bike" as I would not be admitted to the meeting. When I asked why I was given no reason. When I reminded him that I was not refused entrance to the Pensacola State meeting and where you had Representative Evers present and caused no commotion, I was told none the less I would not be admitted to this one. Was the reason I was allowed into the Pensacola meeting because you were afraid of how it might look legislators with whom you wished to curry favor to ban taxpayers from the meeting of an organization that receives taxpayer dollars.
As the publisher of the most widely distributed motorcycle rights newsletter in the area ("Let Freedom Reign") which I began publishing at my own expense when the local ABATE chapter failed to publish as per your by-laws and an area "bikers rights" internet site I felt it important to cover the meeting prior to your annual Freedom Rights run. And as other non-members were allowed to attend the meeting and no others that I am aware of were denied entrance I feel an explanation is called for.
I will fully admit, as it is known, that I do not always agree with certain policies of the Board of Directors of ABATE of Florida. However I have not seen any policies or procedures that state that a person must be in total agreement with ABATE of Florida in order to gain entrance to was is advertised as a meeting open to the public.
One can only wonder if it is that ABATE of Florida wears one face when the politicians a looking and another when they are not.
I await your response.
This letter will be posted.
rcAdd to Technorati Favorites
(ABATE of Florida legislative representative)
Subject: white hanky dropped yesterday, legislative summary
Date: Sat, 3 May 2008 10:49:56 -0400
Very surprised no one tried to hijack us with helmet requirements, the close as we got were a couple of threats.
This is a summary of some legislation we have talked about, referred to and watch during the legislative session that closed yesterday
In regard to his bill Representative Evers shared with us at our State Mtg back in Penscacola,
“Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008”
he bill has not only been passed but was signed into law by Governor Crist on April 15
would have attempted to prevent children under 12 to ride on motorcycles, mopeds or ride with someone.
The sponsor withdrew this bill from consideration on March 12
Although Doc had stiffer penalties language attached to multiple bills, we did not succeed in getting any of it thru, including on SB1992
My hope is that some after session processing might occur so as determine why whatever strategy is being used continues to fail to accomplish anything of significance in this area.
Did pass but with several amendments (It passed without our stiffer penalties amendment)
This bill did pass with the amendments as noted in message sent out 4/9, please refer back to that for more details if necc.
To summarize, we removed the confiscation provision, we amended it to only apply if you are exceeding the speed limit by 50mph, and the bill includes language in regard to a wheel losing contact with ground briefly due to road surface not applying. All 3 initial offenses now reduced to progressive fines, i.e. 1st offense, 2nd offense, 3rd offense.
"WE" removed the confiscation provision??? Check the records my friends. The lobbyist for the motorcycle industry council (MIC) Dam/Dara and Myself also attended committee meetings to peak out against this bill. According to one representative a large number of E-mail was received in opposition to this bill. In fact the opposition letter Representative Evers chose to read in committee came from an out of state police officer.
NOTE: The Senate version SB 802 only passed thru committees and was one of several bills with stiffer penalties attached but this version did not survive as the final version of the bill and thus our stiffer penalties were not included).
and the violation of 316.1926 was changed to apply to all violators, not just people on motorcycles
Were not able to attach to anything to change existing provisions this session
CELL PHONES, etc while Driving. – no gains here, everything died
HB175 died in committee
HB193 died in council
HB357 died in committee
SB266 died in committee
S1314 died in committee
SB504 died in committee
S680 creates restrictions in school zones, died in committee
DRIVER’s ED – very good that a pair of bills were produced and resulted in them working toward a committee substitute
HB1299 died in council
SB2678 died in committee
SB1190 died in committee
HB1439 died in committee
SB2604 was pulled into 1992 and passed
Prohibits driving in any race, drag race, exhibition of speed, or exhibition of acceleration
Thanks to all who helped with phone calls and letters when asked and another special thanks to those who rode with us to the Capitol last month.
May is Motorcycle Safety month for a reason. All over the US there will be more motorcycles on the road and more of us being slaughtered. Don’t be one of them, Ride to Live
In other words legislatively this session was not very motorcycle friendly. As few are. This is reality that needs to be faced and addressed.
There is an old saying, "if you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always got!" How many motorcyclists die while we grovel at the feet of politicians?Add to Technorati Favorites