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Safety Note for February 2017

I sincerely believe that every motorcyclist in the USA should belong to the AMA or MRF – that’s the American Motorcyclist Association and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. (AmericanMotorcyclist.com and mrf.org)

“What the heck does that have to do with safety, Mike? – you might be asking. If you can’t ride your motorcycle, how are you going to get the pleasure, excitement, and wind in your face? How are you going to capture the enjoyment you get from belonging to Crossroads HOG? What am I going to do with this huge collection of motorcycle safety stuff?

Neither of these organizations costs a lot to join. Both publish a monthly newsletter/magazine intended to benefit those who ride motorcycles. Both are actively involved in monitoring and influencing legislation that is important to motorcyclists. Both need a large membership in order to be influential in their efforts.

We, in the United States, benefit from a representative form of government that has grown to become intertwined in virtually every part of every citizen’s life. In that role government seems to see itself as the ‘parent’ or ‘guardian’ of every one of us. Our representatives and those who work within the halls of government often seem to think they know, better than we, what is good for us. To that end they write and enact a myriad of guidelines (called laws) to keep us behaving as they see fit. Their intentions are noble but, in my opinion, often misguided and off-target.

For example, when the new, huge transportation funding bill was passed last year it included the reestablishment of a council to advise highway planners on transportation needs of motorcyclists. That council was disbanded sometime over the last 8 years and both the MRF and AMA have been trying to get it back. Now that group will be contributing to not only transportation infrastructure design but also to the new “driverless” vehicle developments.

The good news is that the council is back. The bad news is that it is required to have only one motorcyclist as part of the council!??! How does that make sense? The politicians think it does. They need to hear from us and AMA and MRF provide a way for us to make them aware of how wrong that is.

In another instance, I just read about a law passed in Louisiana that prohibits motorcyclists from wearing anything that covers their face while riding. At the same time, Louisiana is a mandatory helmet state. Think about that for a minute ………. The AMA is bringing that ‘conflict’ to their legislature’s awareness.

My primary point is, we could be legislated off the road very easily – with good intentions on the legislators’ part – if we don’t pay attention to what our legislators – State and Federal – are doing.

None of us can watch, study, and react to everything that might affect our freedom to ride. But membership in one of (or both of) these organizations goes a long way toward alerting us to such threats.

I have asked our officers to rejoin the AMA (Crossroads was a member in the past). And I ask you to consider doing the same.

Mike Hoffman, Safety Officer