The "Texas Compromise" is certainly alarming, but... many of us have been treading a thin line from the gate. How many states have the wording "safety helmet" in their helmet laws? What does this imply and perpetuate? AND more importantly, how many of us have argued that helmets are dangerous and then supported "adult" helmet modification bills which force teens and young adults to wear them? Mixed message? Dangerous for adults, but safe for kids?

I fully understand the behind the scenes "politics" of these bills, but we must be realistic of how such compromises begat other problems and compromises down the road and be prepared for them.

Regardless of our intentions to take helmet laws out in stages, the interim message to the opposition and lay community (that they want to see and believe) is: "even bikers believe there is safety value in helmets. Why else would bikers support use by teens and under 21's?"

The lay community isn't focused on our ultimate helmet law removal staging strategies or the politics. In general, many simply think riding without a helmet is very dangerous, crazy and costs them money.

Their logic goes: "Riding is dangerous, but we'll (lay community) give adults freedom of choice, but we need to protect young adults". And their logic from here is: "Since riding is dangerous and helmets reduce the risk and associated medical costs that we (lay community) pay, then make those without helmets have insurance..."

No surprise, it's unfortunately very "logical"... albeit untrue...

While this "logic" is in pervasive, hopefully this kind of compromise can be "abated" and if not, then at least be isolated to the Lone Star State.

Ride Safe, Ride Free

Steven Shmerler

At 3:45 PM -0400 5/23/97, wrote:


On the age issue I believe it is about the rights of adults versus minors. Whether we like it or not the precendents in this country give governments many rights over minors that they do not have over adults. To say adults should not have a right because the governemnt has the right or legal authority to deny it to minors is not in the best interest of adults. wtc

Wayne Curtin

At Fri, May 23, 1997 @ 1:18 PM Steven Shmerler wrote:


Good point. It was not my intention to suggest this. Focusing on age or rights of government over minors will only serve to distract from the larger picture. Your commentary on Texas is dead on target, but we must all be wary of how our opponents are interpreting and "using" our platforms against us and the cause and effects of our platforms.

Nothing in my reply was meant to undermine or curtail concern. On the contrary, I believe we've created an undercurrent of problems just beginning to surface. As you know we have Dick Floyd pushing a misdemeanor bill through the Cal Assembly as we email.

I'm hopeful that both mandatory insurance and misdemeanor bills will have tremendous problems in reality. Take reciprocity for one. If Texas passes this modification law, will uninsured bikers be restricted from riding through Texas? Will insurance be available at the border? What about uninsured auto drivers? What about discrimination? And, will Bell helmets be cited for a misdemeanor for their full faced helmet that is in store being sold when it fails only the labeling part of the FMVSS-218 spec? Interesting stuff...

Steven Shmerler

Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 22:14:13 -0800
From: don blanscet

Subject: AMA Eagles Seminar Sacramento March 20, 1998


It is with interest that I read that according to Sputnik the President of the Texas riders who bought into the Insurance Comprimise that surprise!, Surprise! Texas law enforcement is ignoring the Law as written in Texas and now Sputnik has to sue the State of Texas to abide by the very law that they the State of Texas demanded ?? Perhaps now we will refer to the Texas Comprimise as the Texas Sellout. Sputnik's report of the sideways law enforcement also forces me to question the accuracy and truth to statements made by one Joe Lester of AIM/NCOM at an ABATE meeting in Concord , Calif. on Febuary 17 , 1998.

Mr. Lester stated to a room full of "bikers" that the insurance comprimise in Texas was not causing any problems for Texas bikers and that the law was so vague that Texas Dept. of Public Safety " just threw their hands up and quit enforcing the law " Since AIM/NCOM is so closley connected to the Texas Sell Out according to Sputnik one would think that Mr. Lester would be more in tune with the state of events in Texas. This apparent misrepresentation of the facts, either Sputnik is wrong or Mr. Lester is wrong causes me to pause as I ponder the fate of Calif. Will we let our axiousness to do something about a helmet law lead us down another path that may threaten our motorcycles to an even greater degree?

Turning to more encouraging things I want to briefly tell you about an AMA Eagles Seminar I attended March 20-21 in Sacramento, California. During the weekend I had more questions answered than I could ask. I learned a great deal about the AMA, its history and heritage. I know you will want to hear their position regarding AB-1412 and I am glad to report to you that Ed Youngblood, AMA President, along with Dana Bell, AMA west coast representative, conducted this Eagles workshop. I was impressed with how well Dana interacted with everybody including me along with her overall professionalism and her passion for not only riding, but her desire to preserve motorcycling for future generations of Americans. Bikes are for girls too. Mr. Youngblood proved to be the thoughtful, deliberate, committed person I have heard that he was. Ed did tell us that the AMA had over 30,000 in California and that to serve their members' interests, the AMA was not only oposed to AB-1412 as amended, but that the AMA would be taking steps to oppose the "Insurance Sell Out" [within AB-1412] with more than just lip service. Naturally he didn't elaborate at that time, but he did assure all those present that action would be forth coming, soon.

The evironment was friendly, supportive, informative and just down right fun. Ed and Dana know what they are doing and it shows from the moment they greet you until the moment you say good-bye. Please encourage everyone to attend an AMA Eagles workshop [and to join AMA]. It's two days and well worth it . Feel free to post.

Don Blanscet


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