Happy New Year everybody!!!
I hope everyone’s Christmas was spectacular, and their Thanksgiving as well! If you went out for New Year’s Eve and woke up in jail on New Year’s morning, just try to remember that’s surely better than waking up in the hospital... or not waking up at all. See? There can be a bright side to EVERYTHING... usually, LOL!
Maybe this year we can start being the UNITED States like we were meant to be. I’m not pointing the finger at, nor am I giving the finger TO, anybody by saying this... It’s just that we’ve shown that we have so much potential as a people, yet recently we seem to be wasting SO much time and energy on lies, divisiveness, and discord. Makes me think of junkies who use up all of their energy on scoring dope instead of getting their acts together and actually accomplishing anything! And that’s all the preaching I’m gonna do on THAT subject for this month... but now I AM gonna yap at ya about this thing we call ABATE for a few minutes.
Hopefully 2019 will be a banner year for us. As individuals and as a group, maybe we can all focus more of our attention on turning around our formerly declining membership rosters so we can continue doing even more for biker’s rights, and recently we’ve been making some progress with that!
Whoever thought up how we could decrease our dues to ten bucks a year for new members certainly got THAT right. That solitary suggestion has shown to help us grow for the first time in a while. I don’t know how long the yearly dues will stay that way, but it seems to be working... and although that’s a great thing, I DO hope that the “Outspokin’” (in magazine form) can return to being sent out to everyone’s mailboxes monthly for many different reasons.
We can also pat ourselves on the back for doing so many other things regarding our mission lately. For instance: I think I’ve mentioned this before, but right here in my home region (Zero) we’ve impacted our collective rights in many ways, but most directly by urging a local politician (a state representative) to write a bill that would make it legal to park a motorcycle backwards into any diagonal parking space! Of course a car is too wide to do this safely in all practicality (THAT’S why it was against the law.) Now, that bill has been written, introduced, voted on, and PASSED! What follows explains what this means and what it accomplished...
In many towns across Ohio, instead of normal “parallel” parking spaces, “diagonal” (slanted) spaces are used, which in the past (whether you knew this or not), could not be backed into legally. This meant that either you broke the law, which is never a good idea if avoidable (especially if an accident occurs when you’re backing out), or you HAD to pull into the space forward (the only legal way back then) with your front wheel butting up against the curb. This also meant that when exiting the space, you had to push your bike manually backwards UP hill (roads are nearly always “crested”) and out into traffic which would be dangerous under any circumstances, particularly if you were blindly parked beside a van, a big-ass pick-up, (or anything similar) blocking your view of oncoming traffic.
Now, to the public all this might not be earth-shattering, but in OUR world it could be! And it shows that ABATE’S concentration on what is safe, AND at the same time convenient for the motorcyclist, might literally save someone’s life by preventing a nasty little accident if a car or truck came whipping down the road while you’re backing out. Pulling out forward a little and taking a peak is a lot different than blindly heaving out a fully-loaded eight hundred-plus pound bike uphill and ass-backwards! This also shows that when we have our act together we can accomplish so much.
Progress is being made by ABATE in many other ways too!
For instance: How many times have you stopped and waited at an automatically governed red light on your motorcycle only to find the damned thing is completely ignoring the fact that you’re even sitting there?
That kind of red light uses a magnetically activated devise imbedded in the road that tells the light when to change. If that sensor in the road doesn’t feel the “mass” of the metal in your bike because it needs to be properly calibrated, the light doesn’t change! So there you sit, until you take it upon yourself to do what? That’s right, break the law and go on through it.
Well, ABATE has been working to have a stipulation legally adopted in Ohio that allows anyone on a bike to go ahead and pass on through the intersection... IF they’ve waited for an appropriate amount of time and there is no opposing traffic (of course).
In the distant past when these “governed” stop lights were first introduced, I thought that some kind of weight scale thing was imbedded in the road! LOL! I’ve even bounced up and down on my scoot a FEW times waiting at a stop trying to make the damned light change before breaking the law by pulling on through! LMAO! Who knows what anyone seeing this would have thought (particularly a cop!)
Now, my point here is that WE in ABATE know what motorcyclists’ concerns are. We have the knowledge of how to use the tools we’ve accumulated to accomplish addressing those concerns. We certainly know our way around the state and federal capitol buildings. We know the processes necessary to accomplish what we set out to do regarding biker’s concerns. The only thing we really NEED is the wherewithal... the NUMBERS! We NEED to expand our rosters!! We NEED to increase our membership to the point that we have the “weight” and the “clout” to influence politicians! Ya see THEY are the ones who decide which are and which are not the laws, regulations, and restrictions concerning motorcycling... and the best way to get them to work with us, to do what we need or to get them to even pay attention to us, is to show them that we have plenty of MEMBERS!
So let’s do what we can to recruit new memberships! The best recruiters we can ever have are y’all... you members out there! Wear your ABATE hats and shirts often! Slap ABATE patches on your leathers! Talk it up! Volunteer to set up and work an ABATE table at swap meets and other venues (most pro swap organizers and even other organizations usually offer us a free space at their events!) Tell everyone what a righteous organization this is! Reach out to the younger riders no matter what type of bike they ride or whether or not they wear a helmet! I’ve always said that legislation that affects any of us, affects ALL of us.
I used to be amazed that so many bikers have never even heard of ABATE, and sadly it’s STILL that way. But now there are even MORE scooter people out there, and plenty of them are young (as WE used to be!) Most of these younger folk who HAVE heard of us probably think that this organization is made-up entirely of gray-bearded old men and gray-haired old women who spend all their time smoking doobies and riding to bingo halls! (Actually, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea! Maybe THAT’S where all the lonely old ladies are! LOL!)
One of the things I’ve learned in my lifetime is that ANYTHING is possible. If we work just a little harder, we might be able to return to the days when we had many times the number of members we now have. Once again politicians all across Ohio will not only know of us, they’ll seek out our counseling regarding any proposed motorcycle legislation like they have in the past.
We might even be able to return to the days when we had thousands of people come to our annual state “Jam” like we did when folks from all over the country would travel each year to Bellefontaine, Ohio when we held it in Logan County at “Blue Jacket Campground” (named for the great Shawnee war chieftain who once had a village there). There were cabins, canoeing, caverns to tour, a large stage area, a pool, plenty of room for vendors (I remember when we rented a HUGE circus tent just for the vendors!) Overall it was just a REALLY a cool place and a humongous event benefitting ABATE (ask an old-timer about it!)
Hell, due to budget cuts because of member-loss and the resulting lack of participation, we don’t even HAVE a “Jam” any longer! But that can change!
Now, some of you might say that all this sounds so negative because I’m going on and on about how great ABATE used to be. Well... if you’re paying attention, that’s NOT what I’m saying.
SOME things, (particularly our roster) WERE in better shape back then. Over the years we’ve had some set-backs regarding finances and restructuring (all above the board and innocent). Oddly enough, for the most part, those set-backs have been the direct result of membership decline as a consequence of our continued SUCCESS in keeping Ohio free from completely mandatory helmet law for so long! Talk about ironies!!
But due to the dedication and experience of the members that have remained, we’ve managed to keep this organization solvent, and in doing so we’ve continued to do the job we committed ourselves to do while recovering somewhat from all those losses in membership. NOW is the time to really push forward and GROW again if for no other reason than to be ready for whatever the “powers-that-be” have in store for us in the future!
Let’s make 2019 a year that sees growth like we’ve never known before! For instance: Every region and county could hire airplanes that pull trailing banners proclaiming “ABATE!” We could get the Goodyear blimp to flash “JOIN ABATE” over
huge sporting events... WITH FIREWORKS!! Or we could just kidnap complete strangers and tattoo “ABATE of Ohio” on their foreheads (THAT would certainly get us plenty of attention!) We could go door to door dressed in “church” clothes and give out pamphlets! We could start using a “robo-call” service annoying non-members repeatedly until they join! Oh oh oh, I know... We could get Yoko Ono to write a promotional song for us... AND SHE CAN SING IT ON THE PHONE IN THOSE ROBO-CALLS!!
Uhh... sorry folks. I sorta lost it there for a moment.
But hopefully those of you who didn’t already know about my overwhelming enthusiasm for this wonderful organization will understand and you’ll forgive me.
Once again, Happy New Year!
Be talkin’ at ya in the next issue,