Wednesday, February 25, 1998


WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- The American Motorcyclist Association's (AMA) Board
of Trustees has voted to oppose any legislative initiatives that place
further government restrictions on motorcyclists in exchange for
loosening current state helmet-use requirements.

This action by the board, taken at its February 21 meeting, was in
response to a growing number of bills being considered by various state
legislatures, most notably in Kentucky, Florida and California, which
would require motorcyclists to obtain health insurance in order to
legally operate a motorcycle without a helmet. The trend of trading
additional governmental mandates for more relaxed state helmet laws
began last year, when motorcyclist rights advocates in Texas accepted
additional health insurance mandates in exchange for legislation
weakening that state's helmet law requirements.

The AMA believes that by accepting health insurance mandates in exchange
for the ability to ride helmetless, the supporters of these bills are
conceding--erroniously--that motorcyclists, and the costs related to
their potential injuries, are a drain on taxpayer dollars. In fact,
studies completed by the University of North Carolina's (UNC) Highway
Safety Research Center have shown these claims to be false.
UNC researchers examined health-care costs between helmeted and
unhelmeted riders, as well as motorcyclists and other motorists, and
found that motorcyclists are just as likely to be insured as other
motor-vehicle operators, and the costs of their injuries are actually
slightly lower than other accident victims. Additionally, the presence
or absence of a helmet was not shown to affect injury costs.

The AMA Board of Trustees resolution states: "The American Motorcyclist
Association reaffirms its position in support of voluntary helmet use.
The AMA opposes provisions conditioning rider choice on economic
criteria such as, but not limited to, additional insurance coverage,
which is based on the negative and incorrect view that motorcyclists are
a social burden. The AMA believes that accepting such requirements is
contrary to the long-term interests of motorcycling."

"We have supported, and will continue to support, helmet-law repeal
efforts that allow adult motorcyclists to evaluate safety issues for
themselves," notes Robert Rasor, vice president of AMA government

"But under no circumstances will we accept the notion that
motorcyclists, helmeted or unhelmeted, constitute a financial burden of
any sort on society. The facts don't support this claim, and we will
oppose any legislative provisions based on claims like these."

The American Motorcyclist Association is a 220,000-member non-profit
organization. Established in 1924, the Association's purpose is to
pursue, protect and promote the interests of motorcyclists, while
serving the needs of its members. For more information, visit the AMA
web site at
Chris Kallfelz
American Motorcyclist Association
Legal Affairs Editor


>Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 09:18:40 -0800
> ABATE of California, Local 12, Sonoma County
> Legislative Update and Newsletter, February 23, 1998


>If we can gain enough votes to clear that committee, we'll have a
>pretty good shot at clearing the Senate as well. We might still
>pull the bill if we decide we don't like the amendment(s), but it's
>too soon to do it yet. That would be like punting on second or
>third down. Each time we pass in committee, we get positive news
>coverage, which calls attention to our issue and our efforts. This
>is helpful in a number of ways. And we may still have opportunities
>to strip amendments from the bill between here and the Gov's desk.
>None of us like the insurance amendment, but it's to our advantage to
>keep the bill alive and advancing for the time being. We have a plan.
>Virgil Elliott, Legislative Liaison Officer, ABATE Local 12;
>ABATE of California Board of Directors; Deputy State Coordinator


Thursday, February 26, 1998


As Legislative Liason, Board member and DSC, could you please clarify these
points you make?

1) How does ABATE have a "pretty good shot" with the AMA and MRF in
so strong public opposition to insurance? Doesn't AMA represent
some 22,000 members in California alone?

2) To the lay, bigoted and misinformed mind, the propoganda has been
effective in establishing that helmets are good and bikers are a public
burden. The reason insurance was added to the bill in the assembly is
because some politicians believe we are a public burden and are un or
under-insured. We'ver heard some politicians publicly float numbers as high
has 75% in previous committees and floor votes. The misinformed don't know
anything more than this wrong executive summary. So... how does ABATE's
acceptance of the insurance amendment counter this general disinformation?
Doesn't it instead underscore and confirm once and for all that, "even
bikers agree that helmets are good, riding without one is bad, we are a
public burden and willing not to ride without a helmet without insurance."
How is this "positive news coverage"

3) Please define what "our advantage" is by advancing the bill and who
"our" refers to.

4) And finally what is "the plan"?

Steven Shmerler
ABATE of California

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