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June 2007 ABATE of SC Coordinator Report

Written by FastFred Ruddock May 15, 2007

The past month since my last report has been busy as our legislature makes a final push to pass bills prior to recessing until January. As reported in last month’s newsletter issue we are working the Gang Bill S141 and trying to find common ground. Ralph Bell has been taking point on this issue in recent weeks. Cliff Dalton and Roach have also been working with Ralph and helping him with research concerning gang legislation and preventative programs.

Efforts to from a new chapter near Spartanburg are in high gear. I recently spent a Saturday riding with Michael “High Roller” Crew and his lovely lady Lee in Landrum and Lake Bowen before joining them for a ride to Cherokee County to attend a Coalition function there. The clubs of the upper state are interested and concerned about legislation impacting motorcyclists beyond just the current gang bill. I was asked to address those present at the function with the latest details concerning the current legislative session. Michael was busy rubbing elbows and recruiting new members.

Along my return route back I took a hike in Graveyard Fields along the Blue Ridge Parkway before arriving at a member’s home near Pickens. When I ride I decide; this trip was no different and I rode in open defiance of the helmet law I believe to be unconstitutional. However I was not stopped by any of the many North Carolina police officers I passed along my lidless ride. The landscape of Graveyard Fields is unlike any other in the Blue Ridge Mountains; I strongly recommend you visit Graveyard Fields whether you wear a helmet or not to get there.

The City of Charleston has once again imposed motorcycle apartheid upon tax paying citizens. Motorcyclists including struggling college students have recently found themselves locked out of all city owned parking garages. Our friendly NCOM attorney John Daugs has drafted a letter to the city seeking an official response. Additionally the Charleston City Paper is now showing some interest in covering this story. This story and battle are far from over.

Our May Legislative Meeting was well attended by many concerned ABATE members. We worked hard drafting the final language to be submitted to the House Judiciary Committee as we were requested to do so during the recent public meeting held in Columbia. That language has been since delivered to the committee’s lawyer. The following day we all rode in a parade to the state house to promote motorcycle awareness. If you missed the parade this year make plans now to attend next year. After the rally we rode to Bobby’s in West Columbia for free food and good times. Dean, Pickle, and the entire Lexington ABATE Team did a fine job organizing this event!

The National Coalition of Motorcyclists held their annual convention in Charlotte this year. Several ABATE of SC members took advantage of this opportunity to attend a national biker rights event close to home. Jessie McDugald apparently has been reading the biker ezine and did some interesting research regarding North Carolina’s helmet law as well as the helmet laws in Georgia and Tennessee. Jessie’s constitutional workshop was even more interesting and engaging than in past years. Jessie gave me some more homework to do and I expect to have a really fun summer this year as a direct result. Jessie has informed me that those riding bitch without a helmet in North Carolina face a maximum fine of only $10 and no court costs.

NCOM really fires the troops up. I am no different and thus I was determined to show my respects. I rode lidless to what maybe the most holy ground in America: the Kings Mountain Battlefield. The blood of a few Patriots and many Tories stained this ground. I found the visit very moving. I urge you to join the free Biker Ezine info list if you have not yet done so.

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