Why Motorcyclists Can’t Afford to Just Sit Back and Enjoy the Ride

There are many different things that draw people to motorcycling.  For some it is the sense of freedom.  For others it is a source of relaxation.  It can also be a source of exhilaration.  If you are like me, it is to some degree all of the above.  That being said, it is the ride that we crave regardless of what each of us gets from it.  This time of year the roads are packed with motorcyclists who are sitting back (or forward) and just enjoying the ride.  That begs the question; can we as avid motorcyclists afford to do that?

I had the privilege this month of riding to Frisco Colorado to attend the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) Best of the West Conference.  For those who have been to Colorado you know that it is some of the prettiest riding country you will ever encounter.  Yet on a gorgeous Saturday in June, I found myself not on my bike riding the Rockies, but in a room with motorcyclists from around the country discussing issues riders are facing all around the United States.  The following is a list of some of the issues that were being addressed by the participants:

  • Working to prevent motorcyclists from being excluded from public parking lots, roads, and parking garages.
  • Working to eliminate roadside checkpoints aimed only at motorcyclists.
  • Working to address the ever growing problem of distracted driving.
  • Working to prohibit the use of higher ethanol blends at the pump until the effects on motorcycle engines can be further studied.
  • Working for legislation allowing motorcyclists to safely and reasonably proceed when they are stuck at a traffic light that will not recognize them.
  • Working to prevent legislation which arbitrarily sets age restrictions for passengers on motorcycles.
  • Working with state and local governments to promote sensible motorcycle awareness campaigns.

All of these are real issues being faced by real riders.  As I took in everything being discussed I thought to myself, what would riding be like if there were no one addressing these issues on behalf of motorcyclists?   The answer was chilling.  It is easy to sit back, enjoy the ride, and count on everything being all right.  But can we afford to do that?  If we all did, we may soon find no ride left to sit back and enjoy.

So what can you do to protect yourself and the activity that we all love and cherish?  Take some simple steps to become involved in protecting the rights of fellow motorcyclists.  I am not suggesting that everyone start riding all over the country attending seminars (although it is a great excuse to ride all over the country).  You can get involved locally.  Start paying attention to the positions that your local, state and federal legislators take regarding issues affecting motorcyclists.  Share your thoughts in letters and emails.  Write letters to the editor of your local paper.  Go to City Council or County Board meetings.  Join a motorcycle rights organization and attend their lobby day, where motorcyclists go the State Capitol to discuss issues important to us with elected officials.  I would also encourage you to join the MRF.  This is an organization dedicated solely to protecting the rights of American motorcyclists.  You can learn more and join at mrf.org.

There are numerous ways to protect your rights as a motorcyclist.  The ways are limitless, bound only by your passion and imagination.  There is, however, a wrong way and that is to count on someone else to do it.  That someone else may be sitting back, enjoying the ride, and counting on you.

If you have any questions or comments concerning this article or any other matters concerning your rights as a motorcyclist, please feel free to contact me at 1-800-321-8968 or at matt@motorcyclelawgroup.com.

Matt Danielson
McGrath & Danielson
Tom McGrath’s Motorcycle Law Group