But where'd they all park?
Nearly 500 motorcycles converged on Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and the riders rallied inside the capitol building to push for motorcyclists’ rights, as they have done annually for sixteen years running.
Say what you will about A.B.A.T.E. (Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education), but getting motorcyclists together in the guise of a party (free patches to the first 800 attendees!) to show lawmakers that motorcyclists exist, we vote, and we are politically active, is an amazing accomplishment. I know that there are A.B.A.T.E. chapters in every state, but I also know that many are not nearly as active as Pennsylvania’s chapter.
It’s difficult to get people out of their house and involved in politics of any stripe, but this is how we make change happen. In this case, this year’s cause was mostly Pennsylvania’s motor vehicle lemon law, which did not cover the purchase of motorcycles. This, they argued, would drive Pennsylvania residents to purchase motorcycles out of state so that they are covered if the machine turns out to be a lemon. It can certainly damage in-state sales numbers, but at its core, it is a protection for the state’s resident motorcycle purchasers and a correction of the oversight that does not include motorcycles in the “motor vehicle” lemon law. Attendees were encouraged to bring lemons with them (no word on whether they tossed them at the legislators).
This year’s rally also showed support for a bill which would allow motorcyclists involved in a charity or honor ride, to follow the same rules as a funeral procession. This would help prevent cars and other vehicles from cutting between the motorcycles and creating dangerous havoc.
The rally initially focused on Pennsylvania’s helmet law, which in 2003 changed away from mandatory helmet use and now remains optional for riders over the age of 21. It continues annually to this day, to keep motorcyclists’ rights on the minds of PA state legislators.
Some riders attend to bring attention to issues like distracted driving and police profiling. All attend for the event and the camaraderie.
Are you involved in any motorcyclist rights organizations in your state? If so, how do you encourage political action and attendance at these events? Do you think it helps to gather a convergence of motorcyclists in front of lawmakers to make sure they keep our issues and our safety in mind?