Biker Lifestyle

ABATE at work- Motorcyclists share concerns over profiling, autonomous vehicles and fuel with lawmakers-ABATE reminds drivers to look twice

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(SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Illinois News Network) — Bikers took to the capitol in Springfield on Wednesday to talk with their lawmakers about issues including their safety and their rights.

A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education, or ABATE, represents motorcyclists.

ABATE of Illinois Legislative Coordinator Josh Witkowski said one of their chief concerns is curbing profiling.

 “We’ve seen in other large bike events like Daytona Bike Week where law enforcement is instructed to stop, talk and potentially search anybody wearing a vest,” Witkowski said. “That’s a problem for us. It’s a civil liberties issue. It’s a First Amendment issue.”

Bobby Isaacs from West Frankfort, Illinois, said profiling bikers is a big problem.

“Just because we wear vests, we’re not gang members. We’re club members,” Isaacs said. “It’s bad when we have guys that stop at Walmart and people pick up their kids and hold them away from them just because they have a vest on. It’s not right.”

Witkowski said the group is working on legislation to ensure police don’t single out bikers based on what they wear.

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Another issue motorcyclists talked with legislators was autonomous vehicles.

Barbara Isaacs said as a small-statured woman who rides motorcycles, and as someone who survived being hit by a car while on her bike, she thinks the proliferation of self-driving cars would put bikers in danger.

“Having cars that don’t have a human being in it to watch for a motorcycle or even watch for pedestrians or bicyclists, that is very concerning,” she said.

Bikers also want access to low-ethanol fuel blends.

“We want to make sure that at least we have E10 available and even E-zero, which is really prefered by our motorcycles,” said Dianna Rebechini, of Northville.

Rebechini said motorcyclists always feel welcomed by their legislators.

Witkowski said the day is also important to remind other drivers on Illinois roads to watch out for bikers and not drive distracted.

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Source- Kokomo Perspective

 

 

Motorcycle season ramping up; Six-County Safety and Awareness Ride May 12

Editor’s note: This story ran as part of the Kokomo Perspective’s annual Motorcycle Awareness edition.

As the weather warms up, more and more motorcyclists will be hitting the roadways.

With drivers used to having the streets to themselves and bikers fresh out for the season, the risk of accidents increases. ABATE Howard County Representative Lynn Anderson is reminding drivers to “look twice, save a life.”

“That’s a big thing of ours: look twice, save a life. When you don’t think there’s one coming, there might be a motorcycle coming that you didn’t see. We’re small, and your mind’s eye is trained to look for cars, trucks, not motorcycles. So you don’t always see them,” said Anderson.

With a few warm days at the end of April, bikers took to the roadways, and Anderson said she already saw three bikes go down.

“I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. We’re out here, people. Look for us,” she said.

Bikers also must be vigilant in making sure they’re seen. A tip the ABATE rep always tells bikers is that if they’re coming up on an intersection and they’re not sure if they’re seen by other drivers to swerve a little bit.

She said to drive side to side in the lane because people are more apt to notice a “crazy driver” than a motorcyclist coming straight up.

Anderson also added that bikers also should be aware of farm equipment that’s out at this time and also potholes.

“There’s a lot that you have to be careful of in the spring when we first start to get out,” she said.

A tip Anderson has been sharing with others who don’t ride motorcycles came from a meme she saw on Facebook. It said instead of teaching children to play the “slug bug” game where they point out Volkswagen Beetles on the streets to teach them to point out motorcycles instead.

“I thought that was a great idea because even as an adult as I’m driving if I see a Volkswagen I still think in my head, ‘Oh, slug bug.’ You just spot them without realizing you’re spotting them, so start a little game of ‘slug motorcycle’ or whatever. Teach kids to look for them when they’re little, and they’ll continue to look for them as adults,” she said.

May is recognized as National Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month nationally, and as part of that, ABATE Region 3 is holding its annual Safety & Awareness Ride on Saturday, May 12, to help saturate the region with motorcycles and remind everyone that they are out.

The ride covers all six counties in ABATE Region 3 for a 106-mile ride. Though riders are encouraged to visit all six counties, riders can join at any time from the departure locations, which are at the courthouse of each county. This year’s departure schedule is as follows: Tipton County, 10:30 a.m.; Howard County, 11:30 a.m.; Miami County, 12:30 p.m.; lunch; Wabash County, 2 p.m.; Huntington County, 3 p.m.; and Grant County, 4 p.m. Bikers are encouraged to show up half an hour early, as the times listed above are when kickstands go up.

Riders can choose their own routes from courthouse to courthouse or use route sheets that will be provided.

“It’s to promote motorcycle safety and awareness, which is what ABATE stands for to begin with. We want to get us out there so we’re in a big group. People see us, and they realize, ‘Oh, yes. It’s springtime, and the motorcycles are on the road,’” she said.

In addition to promoting safety and awareness, ABATE also works year-round to protect the rights of motorcyclists by continually advocating and staying involved in legislation. Still, only 13 percent of registered motorcyclists in Indiana are members of the organization.

ABATE currently is a driving force in preventing new regulations for emissions from motorcycles.

“We’re the ones keeping that from happening because that would put 90 percent of bikers off the roads because that would mean no more modified pipes,” she said.

The nonprofit also strongly advocated in preventing the handlebar and helmet laws. In regards to the helmet law, Anderson said it’s not about ABATE being for or against bikers wearing helmets; rather, it’s about allowing motorcyclists to maintain their right to choose.

“I always say if you know someone or love someone who rides a motorcycle, you should be a member. You don’t have to ride to be a member; you’re just supporting that person that you know or love who does ride,” she said. “We’re here to stand up for all the bikers, not just a select few.”

The membership fee is $25 annually and helps support ABATE’s efforts to promote education, safety, and awareness. Anderson said the membership comes with several benefits, including a $3,500 accidental death life insurance policy.

For more information on how to become a member, visit www.abateonline.org and click the “membership” tab.

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