Archive for January 5th, 2009

oregon-legislatureIs a widely used reference to October 19, 1987, the day the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped a record 508 points, or nearly 23%. Disarray in the financial markets resulted from a combination of trade deficits, budget deficits, and potential government regulation of mergers and issuance of junk bonds.

My reference to Black Monday is not financial, but is in reference to the opening day of the Oregon legislative session.   

or_democratesIn a recent interview with Joe Maffei (Executive Director, BikePAC of Oregon) he hopes motorcycle enthusiasts will help raise motorcycle awareness and fill the Capitol in Salem on opening day with as many black-leather clad bikers as possible.  The goal is to meet and greet the new legislators and those who are returning to discuss the importance of two primary legislative goals during the 2009 session.

The 75th Oregon Legislative Assembly is set to reconvene on Monday, January 12, 2009. Mr. Maffei stated they are looking to first address the Vulnerable Roadway User act which will afford motorcyclists the same protections as that of other groups. The 2007 Oregon Legislature passed HB 3314, creating an enhanced penalty for careless diving if it contributes to serious physical injury or death to a “vulnerable user of a public way,” which went into effect January 1, 2008.  Prior to this law, no state had ever used the Vulnerable Roadway User concept as a legal term.  The act provides increased monetary penalties, jail sentences and educational requirements for someone that hits and injures pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters, equestrians, and even those riding some forms of farm equipment. What it does not include is motorcyclists. BikePAC and A.B.A.T.E are attempting to get this bill amended to include motorcyclists.  The political realities and difficulties will make this an uphill fight as key legislators have consistently been resistant to any effort to create new crimes and inmates for our already overburdened state court and corrections system.

or_republicansBikePAC will also be putting up a helmet bill in 2009, as usual, as these groups are holding fast on the position that helmets are a failure device. That they don’t help to prevent accidents and crashes and the best way to reduce the number of injuries is not through wearing a helmet but through rider education and motorist awareness programs. Once a helmet comes into play, many other things have already failed. Reducing these failures is the best way to reduce motorcycle crashes.

It’s safe to say that the Oregon legislators have a lot to deal with in this session and likely don’t take motorcyclists very serious and are quick to enact legislation which reduces or eliminates our freedoms. In fact, at the last opening session two years ago 23 motorcyclist showed up…there are over 200,000 motorcycle endorsements in the state!  So, this year let’s show them that they are wrong.  Independent of your views on HB 3314 or future helmet laws, motorcyclists need to let the Oregon legislators know we take our rights and our freedoms seriously. Showing them that we are indeed large in numbers, and that we are watching them, and that we have a great interest in what they are doing on our behalf is important.

See you at the Capitol on January 12th with BikePAC and A.B.A.T.E to get the word out to Oregon legislators!

More information on the House Democrats 2009 Roadmap HERE (pdf). The House Republicans Building a Better Oregon HERE (pdf).  Information on Oregon Blue Book.  More information on the Federal helmet law HERE.


Photo courtesy of Oregon State Legislature.


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