MROs MUST 'M'AKE 'R'OOM FOR 'O'THERS
The Uncertain Future of the Bikers' Rights Movement
July 2008 (Special Edition)
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A few weeks ago I asked you "HOW WILL RISING GAS PRICES IMPACT THE MOTORCYCLISTS' RIGHTS ARENA?", and offered
to pay $100.00 for the best answer:
This query inspired many thoughtful and appreciated responses, all of which are posted here...
...including the winning response submitted by ABATE of Pennsylvania State Public Relations Officer Steve Zurl...
...which reads as follows:
"Below are a couple paragraphs from my monthly PR column in ABATE of PA's Between The Lines:
I'm always looking for 'niches' to tap for support. I attend many events through the year. It's amazing to see the
diversity of motorcycle groups. These groups include touring, sport, and even owners groups connected by brand or
model loyalty. There are even groups that are purely social. They're each somewhat specialized with their own
issues and needs. When I talk with people in these groups, and discuss ABATE and our efforts in Harrisburg,
they may not care about all of our lobbying efforts, but they all agree we're losing a lot of our freedom.
That's when I jump on the opportunity to promote ABATE and Motorcyclists' Rights.
I bring this up because I see a new market for ABATE -- Scooters. Don't laugh! The price of gas is rising,
and the knee-jerk reaction is look for alternative transportation. Scooter dealers across the country pull
in significant sales each time the gas prices spike. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, Scooter
sales were up 64.5% over the previous quarter a year ago. Dealers are seeing more people stopping in to ask
about fuel economy. So I have to wonder, would scooter riders have the same issues as you and me?
Would they want to live with age restrictions on passengers? Would they want to park more than one scooter
in a metered parking space? Would they want the right to decide whether or not to wear a helmet when they
take a quick trip to a convenience store? And the BIG question, do they know about ABATE and our
accomplishments? This scooter thing could get big, and along with it bring an increase in collisions.
New, untrained riders could present us with challenges in Harrisburg and DC.
Just something to keep an eye on at the moment."
Soliciting scooter riders may be a bit of a reach for our grizzled old guard, but one thing is certain:
It is time for all MROs to 'M'ake 'R'oom for 'O'thers if they expect to survive. To be fully effective,
any organization purporting to defend motorcyclists' rights must include ALL motorcyclists in its political base:
sportbike and cruiser, young and old, geezer and geek, male and female, black and white, asian and hispanic, left
and right. As ABATE of Wyoming Vice President Russ Reddick sagely observed:
"With the rise in gas prices, Americans are not going to stop traveling. They will just find less expensive ways
of getting around, pushing a lot of folks toward motorcycles, trikes and sidecars. My only hope is to try to
bring some of these new riders into the motorcycle rights community. Especially the younger riders. I have seen
a trend of being in a room filled with greybeards, and we lose more and more of these people. They're getting
old and dying, or getting run over by idiots in cars. And with them we lose their years of experience and
know-how. If no one steps up [or gets recruited] to fill their place, what is going to become of the
Motorcycle Rights movement then?"
Food for thought. But for now...
HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND!
Author and Publisher, LdrLongDistanceRider.com
Co-Moderator, Bruce-n-Ray's Biker Forum
Mile Eater Gold Member, Iron Butt Association
Sustaining Member, Motorcycle Riders Foundation
2007 Chairman's Circle, American Motorcyclist Association
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