MRF November 2019 Update
By Andy Kelly
The “Meeting of the Minds” annual conference was held in Bloomington, Minnesota this year, on September 19-22. Prior to the start of the conference the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) board meets to discuss various topics.
I had the pleasure of being able to attend a few of the meetings. Discussion included the budget and dollars and at the end of the discussion cuts are made so the board can balance the budget. With memberships in the MRF dropping off along with the state motorcycle rights organizations (SMRO) all having issues, the MRF is having some financial issues for this coming year. Hopefully, the Meeting of the Minds helped some financially but they stated they will still be in the red after the conference. Kirk (Hardtail) Williard, the MRF President, told me we need to increase membership and find other streams of income to stay viable in Washington D.C. defending motorcycle rights and freedoms.
There are many cuts being talked about such as cutting the board meeting by one day, stopping a paper edition of the Biker’s Journal and just having an online edition. Time will tell what happens but it is unknown what the turnout will be. No one is saying that the MRF is turning off the lights but the MRF cannot run in the red forever.
The things we can do as an SMRO to help keep the MRF viable in Washington D.C is to first and most important become a member of the MRF. Please don’t say your chapter or district is a member and that’s good enough. There are nearly 6000 members of ABATE of PA and only 122 individuals are members of the MRF. That means that only 122 people are doing all of the heavy lifting to help keep our freedom in Washington D.C. There are an additional 38 sustaining chapters, districts and Clubs that see the importance of the MRF. I am not saying the MRF is closing down but without some help the future may not have blue skies. So please, if your chapter or district is not a sustaining member please ask them to become one and if you are not a member please become one.
An example of one fight is the highway bill that will expire in 2020. We need to ensure that the following provisions stay in the new highway bill:
Preserve the motorcycle education and awareness program grant funding
Preserve the ban on federal funding for motorcycle only checkpoints
Preserve the NHTSA lobbying ban and expand to other federal agencies
Preserve the Motorcycle Advisory Council (MAC) to advise the FHWA
reserve motorcycles are not considered single-occupancy vehicles for HOV lane access
These are all issues that we all fought for and we need someone in Washington D.C. to continue to protect our freedom.
Maybe try doing some kind of fundraiser in your chapter for the MRF or even a 50/50 at your meetings to benefit the MRF, anything you, your chapter, or district can do will help the MRF. Everything is getting more expensive in Washington D.C. and membership and donations are dropping off we need the MRF to keep a watchful eye on our elected officials.