MRF JANUARY 2021 Update
By Andy Kelly
Recently while straightening up, I came across an article written by Jeff Henie (a former MRF lobbyist) published in American Iron Magazine (AIM) in 2012, titled "Is This the End Of Motorcycling as We Know It?". AIM folded up in the middle of the shut down this past spring, so I hope I donít hear anything from them but it was a pretty good magazine.
In the article, Jeff talked about the diminishing number of members belonging to motorcycle rights organizations. You can look at almost any chapter in the state to see what he is talking about. And this reduced membership holds true for the MRF as well. In his article, Jeff states that the number of motorcycle riders in the United States is only about 7 Million out of about 300 Million total citizens, which is just over 2%. And out of those 7 million motorcyclists, only 250,000 belong to a motorcycle rights organization. That works out to be 3% of 2% and puts all of us in an exclusive group.
Now, letís go back to the title of Jeff's article ďIs this the End...Ē Most people, which includes most politicians, donít ride a motorcycle. This is 98% of the general public. They think itís dangerous and dirty, and that anyone who would ride a motorcycle has a death wish and that he or she is not as smart as the average American. Thatís just the way it is. Most people in this country think we're just plain stupid.
The name "ABATE" in the state of Pennsylvania stands for "Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education." The education piece includes educating sitting politicians at every level of government about every aspect of motorcycling. Just recently, the Mayor of Philadelphia started running his mouth off about Vision Zero ďstopping deaths and injuries on his cityís streets and highways."
Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. It was first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s. What mode of transportation is the first to pop into a politician or bureaucratís head? Google it and see what the safetycrats are talking about.
I am not saying the sky is falling, but we have to be ready to defend our choices of transportation. We also need to be ready for an attempt by the EPA to increase ethanol to 15% in every pump and be sure we donít allow our federal tax dollars to go to motorcycle only roadside checkpoints or lobbying in Harrisburg. These are issues I bring up frequently and just a few things coming up in the highway bill due to be voted on in 2021.
Recently Mark Buckner sent out a different kind of call to action. He noted how great it would be if every member of the MRF could get just one motorcyclist to join. Remember: our strength is in numbers. The more members we have and the more motorcyclists that get involved, the more support we'll have in defending our rights.