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Posts Tagged ‘ABATE’

About a week ago in Josephine county it was time for the 7th annual Grants Pass Toy Run.

In case you are unfamiliar with toy runs, they are about bikers of all persuasion getting together to help disadvantage children during a bad time in their life.  Or another way to say it is these are children who would have a minimal or no Christmas had it not been for the direct effort of a toy run event.  Most if not all of the toy runs are supported by ABATE members and ABATE of Oregon exists to promote the rights and interests of all motorcyclists, both patch holders and independents alike.

But, there is an unfortunate pattern developing in law enforcement in some parts of the country which was visible in Grants Pass, Oregon on October 3rd.

Officials stated that police and fire personnel would not to take part in a charity “toy run” because members of the Vagos MC were in attendance.  Specifically Deputy Chief Bill Landis told the Daily Courier that the city considers the Vagos MC to be a criminal organization and took what amounts to a “there goes the neighborhood a’tude.”

Motorcycle clubs are often prominent at charity events, such as toy runs.  The non-motorcycle riding public might conclude from the city’s police and fire personnel actions that any motorcyclist attending a toy run is possibly affiliated with a criminal enterprise.  It’s true that the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has weighed in on the topic complaining of the bad publicity for motorcycling in general caused by so-called “outlaw” clubs.  They’ve previously stated that the presence of these clubs at charity events has actually harmed the needy by driving down public participation and reducing donations. The shootout’s between rival motorcycle clubs in the midst of a charity toy drive have not helped.  In fact, they have influenced authorities in some states to attempt a ban on certain clubs from charity events, or to restrict the wearing of colors at those events.  This in turn prompted litigation in Pennsylvania on the unfair exclusions.

Before you get the wrong idea… does giving presents to boys and girls make up for bad things that some of the motorcycle club members do?  No.  But, neither should we consider ALL cops bad because some of them instead of catching criminals ARE criminals?

I’ve participated in a number of toy runs and find this maneuvering and attempt to cast a guilt by association on what otherwise would be acts of kindness for kids very disappointing.

Previous posts about the Vagos MC in Grants Pass are HERE and “Operation Everywhere” HERE.

Photo courtesy of ABATE.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger


Recently California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, signed SB 435 into law (without comment).

Sure, I’ve got an opinion.  I’ve got thoughts, but I decided not to write anything at the time because I just wasn’t in the correct mood.  Content is important, but feel is key.  How do the words flow together, I’m I overly biased, is the reader gripped?

All good questions, but back to the main point… SB 435 requires all street motorcycles built after 2012 to have EPA-labeled exhausts and includes rising penalties for noncompliance.  Interestingly is that ABATE took a neutral position on this bill.

Isn’t this how it always happens.  You’re having a grand old time, enjoying the moment and then someone announces their child peed in the shallow end of the pool as you watch everyone exit the water and wonder about the level of chlorination.

The fact is that laws which regulate the motorcycle aftermarket have been in place for many years and specifically on aftermarket exhausts, the Feds mandate (in the Code of Federal Regulations Part 86, Subparts E and F) that new on-road motorcycles are required to meet limits on specific chemical emissions and that all motorcycles built after 1985 meet a stationary noise limit of 80dB. Furthermore, under Section 203 of the Clean Air Act, it is illegal for any person to remove or bypass (“tamper” with) any piece of equipment that helps a vehicle meet the above standards. To eliminate confusion, manufacturers are required to use matching standardized labels on both the frame and exhaust of any motorcycle to meet these requirements.

It’s true that the aftermarket exhaust manufacturers are quite adept at including detailed disclaimers with their products as being “closed-course-only” use and clearly stating that installation would violate federal law. But, I’m not aware of any dealer in the northwest who has discontinued selling and/or installing aftermarket performance exhaust/parts.  It seems there is this entire segment of the motorcycle industry operating in a gray area of the law that now have their days numbered.

Harley-Davidson 2012 models will launch in 10 months (August 2011) and this new law does not bode well for riders across the country.  Why? Historically, California emissions laws developed by the California Air Resources Board tend to become federal law (for example: EPA New Emissions Standards).

Laughing photo courtesy of Mr. Schwazenegger.

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The history of mandatory Helmet Laws in Oregon is a convoluted yet interesting journey back in time.

The year was 1966 and the Interstate Highway System was under construction with massive amounts of federal funds from gasoline taxes.  Each state had to pony up only 10% in matching funds to participate in this huge construction project and all the jobs it created.

Then in 1967, to increase motorcycle helmet use, the federal government required the states to enact helmet use laws in order to qualify for certain federal safety programs and the above highway construction funds.  The federal incentives or rather the threat of a reduction in construction funds worked!  State after state fell to the federal “blackmail” threat.  In Oregon the legislature first instated helmet use laws on January 1, 1968 where they remained in place until 1977.

As an aside, in 1971 the Easyriders Magazine Editor, Lou Kimsey started A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments (ABATE).  The acronym fit at the time as unelected federal bureaucrats were in fact using coercion on state legislators to have specific laws enacted within the states.

In 1976, states successfully lobbied Congress to stop the Department of Transportation from assessing financial penalties on states without helmet laws and shortly thereafter began a pattern of repeal, reenactment, and amendment of motorcycle helmet laws.  Specifically in Oregon, on October 4, 1977 the helmet law was repealed for age 18 and over.

Then twelve years later on June 16, 1989 the mandatory helmet law in Oregon was reinstated for all motorcyclists by voter referendum.   By all accounts this was one of the lowest turnout elections in Oregon history and it had become a fairly common trend in the state,  where-in off-season election years — which typically had low voter turnout — legislators worked to jam through bond measures, tax increases and other unpopular measures on residents.

Then in 1997 the federal government (NHTSA) reported that although helmets were the principal countermeasure for reducing crash-related head injuries and the leading cause of death among unhelmeted riders, motorcyclist deaths were at a record all time low.  Along the way a funny thing happened — any federal funding tied to state motorcycle helmet laws seemed to evaporate.

In the same year along came Oregon House Bill 2454 and the first real opportunity to change helmet laws.  The intent of HB 2454 was to repeal mandatory motorcycle and moped helmet requirements for operators and passengers over 21 years of age.  The measure required the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services to investigate whether the elimination of the helmet requirement for those 21 years and older increases the need for and feasibility of personal injury protection insurance for motorcyclists.  There was concern based on the cost of the Oregon Health Plan system that medical expenses would rise for un-helmeted motorcycle accidents and the state would foot the bill.  At the time failure to wear a motorcycle helmet was a Class D traffic infraction.  The violation was reduced from a Class C traffic infraction back in the 1995 legislature.

The House and Senate unanimously passed the HB 2454 bill, yet then Governor John Kitzhaber (D) on the last day (15 August 1997) before it would have automatically become law vetoed the adult pro-choice bill under the guise of it being a “threat to the health and safety of Oregonians.”  Below is the Governor’s Veto Message:

I am returning herewith HB 2454, unsigned and disapproved.

The bill would repeal the motorcycle helmet law for riders 21 years of age and older. While I respect motorcycle riders’ desire to choose whether to wear helmets, maintaining the current law is clearly in the best interests of the citizens of Oregon. This is consistent with the public position I have held on this issue for almost 20 years. I am vetoing this bill, based not only on my experience as an emergency room physician, but also because the research clearly demonstrates that motorcycle helmet laws save lives, prevent injuries, and save public dollars.

Helmeted riders have 28-73% lower death rates than un-helmeted riders and helmet usage reduces the incidence of severe head injury by 46-85%. States with helmet laws have death rates 20-40% lower than states without such laws. Helmet usage is 90-98% in states with mandatory laws, and only about 50% in those without. Un-helmeted riders have higher medical care costs

than helmeted riders in crashes, and the majority of the costs are paid by the public rather than by the injured motorcyclist. If our helmet law were to be repealed, Oregon Medical Assistance Program estimates an increased expenditure of over $6 million of public funds per biennium to pay for additional health care costs.

In addition, Oregonians showed strong support for mandatory motorcycle helmets when they overwhelmingly approved the 1988 referendum by a 2 – 1 margin. The measure passed in every county. A recent poll conducted by an independent research firm has shown that the people of this state continue to support the helmet law by a wide margin.

I will continue to oppose repealing the motorcycle helmet law based on my concern for the health of Oregon motorcyclists and my commitment to the judicious use of public funds. As I have stated in the past, the only way I would consider signing such a measure into law would be if those who are advocating freedom of choice for adult riders would also ensure that those exercising such a freedom also accept the full economic responsibility for their actions.

Now after seven years of being out of politics John Kitzhaber (62) wants a do-over and says he’ll be a better governor…this time.  I’m betting not for motorcyclists.  Disregard that as an emergency room physician he just knows what’s best for the people of the state.  Never mind that he voted so many times for higher taxes that it earned him the nickname “Taxhaber” or that he vetoed so many Republican bills that they called him “Dr. No” or that in his last term he publically announced in frustration that the state was “ungovernable.”  He was right.  He couldn’t.

In fairness, the ex-Gov. Kitzhaber did sign on June 11, 2001, the HB 3885 bill where motorcyclists won the right to pump their own gasoline.  Oregon and New Jersey are the only two states that prohibit self-serve gas pumps and after going into law motorcycles were the only class of vehicle allowed to dispense fuel into their tanks.  Prior to this law going into effect on January 1, 2002 it was an arm wrestling match with the local high-school pump jockey about who was the fuel expert for your specific brand of motorcycle.

There you have it.  The helmet law history in Oregon.

Full Disclosure:  I support the choice to wear a motorcycle helmet and do. However, I also have opinions on government intrusion in my personal freedom and my right as an adult to choose and make bad choices.

Sources: The Motorcycle Riders Foundation; Insurance Institute For Highway Safety; Oregon State Legislature; Oregon Catalyst; NHTSA; Oregon Watchdog

Photo’s courtesy of Internet.

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2009 Shriners Children Hospital Toy RunThis past Saturday was Portland’s annual Shriners Children Hospital Toy Run.

The major organizer and motorcycle advocacy group for the event is ABATE and this year marks 30 years.

The weather was dry, but it was cold.  In fact, the temp gauge registered a new low (28 degrees) on the motorcycle.  As I left the neighborhood I noticed leaving tire tracks on the frost covered asphalt.   I met up with the posse for breakfast and the main roads had already received a quick spray of glycol-based de-icers on the overpasses and bridges.  By the time we finished breakfast and drove toward the Tri-Met parking lot the frost had mostly evaporated.

This year’s turnout was nearly as large as last which brought out more than 6,000 riders.   But, more importantly it’s a lot of toys collected for sick kids.  The Toy Run brings together Harleys, Hondas, clubbers, and even the occasional Vespa.  The ABATE members held a motorcycle raffle to help raise money for the hospital and shortly after noon the police escorted riders followed a Tri-Met bus full of toys to the Shriners Hospital.

It was a great toy run and I want to provide a major shout out to the organizers and sponsors:  ABATE; Tri-Met; Paradise H-D; Latus H-D; Columbia H-D; Thunder Mountain MC Rescue; Star Rentals; Megan James Band; H.O.G.; Schulz Clearwater.

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The title is reference to the U2 song, but it’s fitting for the ABATE/Shriners Toy Run which is this Saturday, December 5, 2009.

Rider participation reached new highs last year with more than 6400 motorcycles participating in the toy run and bringing generous levels of donations for needy kids.

The weather looks like it will be most cooperative and I look forward to seeing you on the ride.  More information is available on the ABATE web HERE.

Photo courtesy of ABATE.

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Music_ToyRunThe 8th Annual Musician’s Toy Run Benefit is set for this Saturday, November 7th at Trails End Saloon.   The ABATE/Shriner’s Toy Run is a motorcycle event sponsored by ABATE of Oregon where hundreds of riders take toys to the children at Shriners Hospitals for Children.  The actual Toy Run will take place on December 6th.

Like previous years, all toys collected and funds raised during the Musicians Toy Run Benefit are donated to the ABATE Toy Run which benefits Shriner’s Kids.  Last year’s musical event was a huge success, raising over $5000 and 6 large bags of new toys for the ABATE/Shriners’ Toy Run.  The venue for this year’s event is at Trails End Saloon in Oregon City, 1320 Main Street. The party will start at 3pm and entertain you untill 1am.  More information is available on musicians and the schedule is located HERE.

Be there for some great entertainment!

Photo courtesy Francinewest.com

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protest

Two-hundred Washington state patch holders protest — peacefully and with style and grace?

If there is anything melding Government policies together these days, it is the proclivity to wage all kinds of wars within.  Thin as it is, “declaration of war” has been entreated frequently, from war on drugs, war against politics/graft, war against pay-day loans, war against street gangs, war on predatory lending, war against illegal immigration, war against drunk driving and yes, war against motorcycle “clubs” to name just a few.  We’ve been beseeched with so much war, for so long, that it seems to be a buoyant feeling of complacency.

This “declaration of war” prompts a national-security-at-all-cost rigidity and prejudice of sorts against the good men and women who are sniffing out the romance of the open road and freedom from slavery of monotony.   The mainstream media doesn’t help when they propagate faux-characterization with press reports like:

“testosterone raging men riding with intimidating speed on heavy-weight motorcycles terrorizing the easily spooked folks of our small town”

It’s no wonder that motorcycle groups are frustrated with the Hollywood attention grabbing headlines and broad brush paint applied to all motorcycle owners as this marauding group of misfits who need the thrilling risk of entangling with the law.

The rumor is true! Take a picture of this — last Saturday (Sept 12th) the CoC Run — Washington State Defender Run — mobilized about 200 patch holders from all parts of Washington state to protest the unconstitutional practice of discrimination against patch holders.  The protest run centered around two establishments (Foxy’s in Everett and First Class Bar & Grill in SeaTac) practicing the policy of discriminatory stereotyping and denying access.  The protest resulted in NO incidents.  NONE in terms of accidents, or by any individual and no law enforcement harassment!  The common ground of brotherhood and the freedom to ride outweigh any club differences.

Clearly the U.S. Defender program works and has sparked mobilization of patch holders in Washington state.  Hey, Oregon — 1999 called and said they want their fence back — join the call to action because together we secure our rights base.

Photo taken at ABATE Toy Run 2008

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