The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

In the Year Two Thousand and One

Senate Bill 1266


Helmet Repeal Bill "Ought to Pass"saysPublic Safety Committee

Tuesday April 2, 2002 - 3:00PM EST

Salem, MA - In a landmark action today, the Joint Committee for Public Safety (JCPS) voted a favorable ought to pass recommendation for Massachusetts Senate Bill 1266 (SB 1266); a bill written to give back to adult motorcyclists, the freedom to choose whether they wish to wear a helmet while operating their motorcycles within the state. Just to get this Bill voted out of committee is a major accomplishment notes ABATEs Executive Director, Dave Condon. There were many people, including legislators, who said this bill would never get even this far.

Passing with a single dissenting vote, the 16-member bi-partisan JCPS committee voted favorably, recommending that Senate Bill 1266 ought to pass a general legislative vote. Todays action permits the Bill to move forward towards another committee before appearing at the Senate floor where a simple majority from the 39 State Senators is needed to move the bill to the house.

JCPS, which has the duty to consider all matters concerning the safety of the public, including motor vehicle laws, has had SB 1266 in study for approximately 15 months now, to determine the correct course of action their recommendation should take. This study period has included hearings from the public (March 2001) as well as follow-up meetings with officers from both of this states Motorcycle Rights Organizations (MROs). Concluding this extensive period of study with its ought to pass recommendation sends the message that its time to change the existing, costly, mandatory legislation. The Committee Members have taken the time to intelligently assess and analyze the studies and data provided by ABATE and others, to reach their recommendation says Rick Gleason, ABATEs Secretary. They have become the experts in this matter, they have weighed the pros and the cons, and they have voted their recommendation. Since they are the experts with the experience and the background, legislators should heed their recommendation in future voting, Gleason adds.

Dedicated to Freedom of Choice for Massachusetts motorcyclists, ABATE has been extremely active with lobbying efforts for passage of SB 1266. While noting that efforts to modify Massachusetts existing helmet law has its origins back to the late 1960s, it was during the Autumn of 2000 that ABATEs Officers actually authored the language that would become known today as SB 1266. Sponsored by Senator Michael W. Morrissey (D-Quincy), this bill has strong constituent and legislative support, as evidenced by this vote from the 16-member committee. In January 2002, sensing that State Legislators may not be aware of the strength of this constituent support, ABATE initiated an aggressive letter-writing campaign crafted to draw attention to this support. As noted in their February 15 Press Release, ABATE Officers collected more than 1,500 letters from constituents that was personally delivered to state legislators. This campaign, which quickly generated many responses, produced letters for every single State Senator and 85% of the States Representatives states Mary Carleton, ABATEs Legislative Director. Even we were surprised at the breadth of support throughout the state. We feel that we could have repeated this response every other weekend if we chose to, the support was that strong from the voting public, Carleton adds.

Massachusetts motorcyclists hope to join the 30 other states within the United States of America that already allow adult motorcyclists the freedom to choose when to wear a helmet while operating their motorcycles.

Anyone wishing further information should contact me via e-mail at RickGleason@ABATEofMA.COM, mail at: PO Box 8552, Salem, MA 01971-8552, or our Web Site at:

More information to follow as it becomes available. Please be sure to check ABATE's Web Site for important updates.

Please circulate this notice to all who have an interest in motorcycling in general and Freedom of Choice in particular.

ABATE of Massachusetts -
Dedicated to Freedom of Choice

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