Play By The Rules Senator Lautenberg

Power. n. “The energy or motive force by which a physical system or machine is operated;” or “A person, group, or nation having great influence or control over others.”

In 1887 the English Catholic historian Lord Acton said, ““Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

I wonder if Senator Frank Lautenberg, has ever heard of Lord Acton. By all measure, Senator Lautenberg is a great man. Serving in his 5th term in the US Senate, he is firmly entrenched in the D.C. power base.

I don’t know the distinguished Gentleman from New Jersey. Aside from his relentless attack on personal liberty and individual choice, I know very little about his politics in general.

However, yesterday, December 12, 2011 Sen. Lautenberg used his position and influence in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to introduce legislation which (if successful) will eventually allow the Federal government to mandate motorcycle safety gear and punish the states who do not comply. All in the name of “The government knows what’s best for you.”

Politicians such as Lautenberg believe people do not own themselves. They believe that people, in whole or in part, are the property of the U.S. Congress, or owned by God, who has given divine power to the U.S. Congress to manage them.

They believe an election affirmed their moral and mental superiority above the ordinary men and women who elected them.

The great irony is even as they Lord over us, they go to great lengths to highlight their humble beginnings and lowly economic childhood, constantly polishing it as a beauty queen would her crown.

Sen. Lautenberg, whose parents came through Ellis Island as immigrants, and who after high school, served in the Army, finished college on the GI Bill and became mega wealthy after a successful business startup, is a bona-fide rags to riches success story. I’m not diminishing his accomplishments.

What’s got my drawers in a wad is how easily Sen. Lautenberg brushes aside the Constitution and it’s fragile guarantees of individual and personal liberty.

Since I’m a trusting person, I’m going to assume that Lautenberg believes that what he’s doing is the best thing for me. I’m going to assume that he has the best of intentions.

But someone should remind the Senator that the road to Hell is paved with “good intentions.”

I suggest he re-read the Senate Oath. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

I don’t read any exceptions for “good intentions.”

On his Senate website Lautenberg is described this way, “In a place that is often plagued with gridlock and inertia, Senator Lautenberg has always been someone who bucked the rules, stood up for what he believed, and persisted in making a difference.”

That may be true Senator, but I’d like to challenge you to take a step back, put aside your personal beliefs, and play this one by the rules.

The rules as written by our Founding Fathers, the ones you took an oath to defend.

Tell us what you think

Lawmakers Back Ban on Funding for Motorcycle-Only Checkpoints, Want Focus on Motorcycle Crash Prevention

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Federal lawmakers have sent a bipartisan letter to the leadership of a key U.S. House committee to urge support for a bill that prohibits federal funding for motorcycle-only traffic checkpoints, the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA) reports.

The lawmakers are also urging support for a measure to retain a ban on lobbying at the state level by a federal traffic safety agency.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and his colleagues sent the letter on May 25 to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as well as to the panel’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

The letter asks the panels to include H.R. 904 and H.Res. 239 in the surface transportation reauthorization bill now being considered by Congress.

H.R. 904 would prohibit the U.S. Transportation secretary from providing grants or any funds to a state or local government to be used for programs to check helmet usage or to create motorcycle-only checkpoints.

H.Res. 239 would support efforts to retain a ban on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) ability to lobbystate legislators using federal tax dollars and urges the agency to focus on motorcycle crash prevention and rider education and training.

“These important pieces of legislation would ensure that the Department of Transportation (DOT) and NHTSA focus on proven methods of motorcycle safety,” the letter said. “NHTSA’s Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration Program has not proven to be an effective use of taxpayer dollars.

“Through this program, the state of Georgia was provided a $70,000 grant to create motorcycle-only checkpoints to inspect rider compliance with DOT-compliant helmet regulations,” the letter said. “The checkpoints are not a proven method of ensuring motorcyclist safety, and have certainly not been an effective use of limited federal taxpayer dollars.

“We take motorcycle safety seriously and want NHTSA to focus its safety efforts on proven lifesaving methods,” the letter said. “Including H.R. 904 and H.Res. 239 in the surface transportation reauthorization bill would set the record straight, that the House of Representatives supports rider education, driver awareness, training and proper licensing as the best methods of preventing motorcycle crashes, not mandatory federal helmet laws.”

In addition to Sensenbrenner, others who signed the letter include Reps. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.),Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.)

To see the letter, go to:www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Libraries/Rights_Documents_Federal/5_25_2011_Sensenbrenner_TransportationComm.sflb.ashx?download=true

Florida Governor Rick Scott Proclaims May 2011 as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month


Tallahassee, FL,  April 26, 2011 – ABATE of Florida, Inc., Florida’s largest Motorcycle Rights Organization,thanks Rick Scott, Florida’s newest  Governor, for recognizing  the  large  volume of motorcycles operating in Florida, and the safety and awareness concerns surrounding the dangers of motorists sharing the roadways with motorcycles. As has been the case over the last few decades, Florida’s Governor has again proclaimed this May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness month.

The 2011 Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Proclamation states:

WHEREAS, Florida’s climate and scenery make motorcycle riding an attraction in the Sunshine State, and riders consider our roadways to be some of the nation’s best for riding.

WHEREAS, motorcycles are increasingly used as a regular means of transportation; and

WHEREAS, the motorcycle is an energy-efficient vehicle that reduces fuel consumption, traffic and parking congestion; and

WHEREAS, the motorcycle is an important form of transportation for commuting, touring and recreation; and

WHEREAS, as a matter of safety, it is necessary to develop appropriate driving habits to handle these vehicles on Florida roadways; and

WHEREAS, more than a million drivers in Florida have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver license; and

WHEREAS, to prevent injuries and deaths on Florida’s roadways, motorcyclists and motorists must be vigilant in their efforts to share the road and ensure the safety of everyone; and

WHEREAS, Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month raises public awareness for  a lifetime of safe motorcycle riding

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Scott, Governor of the State of Florida, do hereby extend greetings and best wishes to all observing May 2011 as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

”We welcome you to visit our website and see the many 2011 and past Proclamations from the State of Florida and many cities, towns, and counties throughout Florida.  We hope the  proclamation of May as  Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month will continue to heighten motorists’ awareness of motorcycles on Florida’s roadways.”

Arizona Congresswoman Part of Motorcycle Fraternity

photo from Hell for Leather.com

By now you probably know more about Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords than you do about your own Congressman or woman but there’s one fact that only a few of the mainstream media is reporting.  Representative Giffords is an avid motorcyclist.  A freedom of choice advocate, and was the chair of the Congressional Motorcycle Safety Caucus.   She’s been riding motorcycles in her home state for the past 20 years.   There is a good report in the NY Times about her background.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Thumbs Nose at Congress and Discriminates Against Motorcycles

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has learned from a source at the US Department of Transportation

Troopers in Georgia to set up "motorcycle only checkpoints"

that they have funded the motorcycle only roadside checkpoints.

NHTSA decided to fund the program despite being asked by Congress not to fund the program until the merits were explained. In a letter sent by James Sensenbrenner, along with ten other Members of the House of Representatives last month, Sensenbrenner and his colleagues specifically asked NHTSA to respond to the letter before funding the program, they did not. Read the letter here.

The recipient of the money for the demo project was the Georgia Department of Public Safety, which oversees the day-to-day operation of the Georgia State Patrol.  The Georgia State Patrol will conduct a series of roadside motorcycle safety checks in accordance with what was outlined in the Request for Applications.  The amount of NHTSA funding is $70,000.00.

“Not only is this an injustice to the motorcyclists of America its a complete waste of taxpayer money.” said Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the MRF.

The MRF will keep you informed on this issue and any actions you can take to defend your freedoms, at stake in Washington.


Motorcycle Deaths Decrease in 2009

Fewer Motorcyclists Die in 2009

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — In what can only be considered good news for motorcyclists, federal officials have reported that motorcycling deaths on the nation’s roads dropped by 16 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year, according to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).

“The death of any motorcyclist is one too many, so this news that fatalities are down is encouraging,” said Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. “While we are pleased that the number of motorcycling fatalities dropped dramatically in 2009, a one-year drop isn’t a trend. We need to determine why, and ensure that the decline continues.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported on Sept. 9 that motorcycling fatalities in 2009 decreased for the first time in more than a decade — dropping to 4,462 in 2009 from 5,312 in 2008. (Click here to read the press release from NHTSA.)

Federal officials said traffic deaths involving all vehicles nationwide fell 9.7 percent in 2009 — from 37,423 in 2008 to 33,808. The figure is the lowest since 1950. Traffic safety officials said that the decrease may be due to increased seat belt use, tougher enforcement of drunk driving laws and improved vehicle safety features.

According to NHTSA figures, motorcycling fatalities have decreased in the past — from 1980 to 1997 — but then fatalities increased steadily for 11 years. 2,294 motorcyclists were killed in 1998, and the number of fatalities rose each subsequent year, reaching 5,312 in 2008.

Moreland cautioned that there will be speculation about why motorcycling fatalities are down so significantly in 2009, and noted that there aren’t any solid answers.

“The motorcycling community looks forward to receiving some real answers about motorcycle crashes and what causes them from the new federal crash causation study that is under way at Oklahoma State University (OSU) through the Oklahoma Transportation Center in Stillwater,” Moreland said. “Then we can put our heads together to find solutions, reduce crashes and save more lives.”

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is overseeing the just-begun, four-year, $3 million OSU study, which is the first major research on the subject in 30 years.

The last major study into the causes of motorcycle crashes was issued in January 1981. Called “Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures Volume I: Technical Report,” the study became known as the “Hurt Report,” named after lead researcher Hugh “Harry” Hurt of the University of Southern California. Hurt was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2007 for his pioneering work.

That study provided a wealth of data that has been used by organizations and individual motorcyclists to help keep riders safer on the road. But the traffic environment has changed enormously in the decades since, prompting the AMA to begin campaigning for a new study several years ago.

About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.


Too Much Too Drink? Park in a POD

Motorcyclists in Colorado who feel they’ve have too much to drink can lock up their bike in a metal storage shed called a POD.  It’s a program that started in Wisconsin and is expanding to other states.   The Colorado program is partly funded by the Ride Smart Foothills Motorcycle Safety Coalition and CDOT.


NHTSA Funds Motorcycle Only Checkpoints

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — A federal traffic safety agency is offering law enforcement agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up checkpoints that target only motorcyclists, and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) wants to know why.

The AMA has asked the agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to suspend the grant program until questions raised by the motorcycling community are addressed.

“How do motorcycle-only checkpoints increase the safety of motorcyclists?” Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations, wrote in a letter to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland on Aug. 9. “Where do the selected states draw their authority to conduct” motorcycle-only safety checks?

“Will ‘probable cause’ be required to stop a motorcycle under the terms of this grant program?” Moreland asked. “If so, what will constitute probable cause?”

Under its Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration grant program, the NHTSA will award up to $350,000 in total to be divided among as many as five law enforcement agencies to set up traffic checkpoints that target motorcyclists.

The demonstration program is modeled after a controversial program in New York where the state police set up a series of checkpoints that targeted only motorcyclists, raising the ire of the AMA and motorcycling community. In 2008, for example, New York State Police announced plans to set up 15 checkpoints near motorcycling events that summer.

The AMA questioned the potential discriminatory and legal nature of the program and sent a list of questions for clarification to the New York State Police. To date, New York authorities have not responded.

Moreland said that if the NHTSA is truly interested in motorcyclist safety, it should fund proven programs that help prevent crashes — rather than checkpoints that single out motorcyclists.

“The primary source of motorcycle safety is in motorcycle crash prevention, and NHTSA should focus on decreasing the likelihood of crashes from occurring in the first place,” Moreland said.

The AMA urges all riders to contact Strickland and ask that the discriminatory Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration grant program be suspended until questions raised by the motorcycling community are addressed.

The easiest way to do that is to go to the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues & Legislation