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ABATE of SC August 2007 Coordinator’s Report

by FastFred Ruddock

Frankie, Jeff, and Ralph are doing a fine job representing ABATE on the Motorcycle Safety Task Force. This is important because the Motorcycle Safety Task Force has been spearheaded by SCDPS. This committee is tasked with reducing motorcycle fatalities in SC and as you can easily imagine there is a lot of talk about helmets and even helmet laws within the committee. However the biggest missing piece from the motorcycle safety puzzle is adequate training classes and locations. Apparently due to the cost of providing adequate training some on the committee would prefer to focus on quick legislative fixes. This situation bears watching and registering more bikers to vote in the event of a future all rider helmet bill.

We now have a healthy and rapidly growing chapter in the Spartanburg area; just during the past month our Northwest chapter has gained over two dozen new members. Michael, Lee, and all the chapter members are doing an excellent job organizing a grassroots presence for bikers in Spartanburg County.

Several members of ABATE visited High Falls in Pickens County on a hot Saturday in June. The ride to the waterfall was nice and scenic. The waterfall cooled the air and many interesting plants and animals were present in the nearby area. We enjoyed pleasant and safe rides.

Hot Springs Motorcycle Weekend is a ten year old annual event hosted by Buncombe County CBA/ABATE of NC. All proceeds benefit motorcycle rights in North Carolina and the nation. Attending this event is a fun way to help fight the current helmet law in North Carolina as well as help stop bad federal legislation. This year many members of ABATE of SC were present from chapters across our state. Our Northwest chapter had the greatest number present despite being less than a month old. However members from Lowcountry, Midlands, and Upstate were also present. This year the organizers added people games on Friday afternoon. You can view photos to see what you missed or perhaps your photo if you attended.

July 3rd I learned the high mileage on my 2003 FLHT from attending to ABATE's business has taken a toll on my bikes drive train. After just over 103,000 the guts in the cam cover were severely worn in addition to wear in the primary drive. Fortunately I bought an extended warranty so most of the work and a rental bike are covered. I don't own a cage and my FXR needs some TLC too. Apparently the tried and true gear driven cam system has been replaced with a flawed chain driven design in order to meet EPA noise guidelines. I have exceeded 100,000 miles on several of the older gear drive models with no problems. Now I just wonder how many other forms of backward engineering the EPA and Harley will thrust upon the bikers of America.

While riding incognito on the loaner bike from Low Country Harley Davidson I was stopped by a State Trooper on a back road in Polk County. Apparently the trooper felt that my "safety helmet" did not meet the dress code he was intent upon enforcing. I reckon it is time to dust off my old court brief and add a new chapter regarding Article I, Section 17 of the Constitution of North Carolina.

Although our legislature is in recess the North Carolina Legislature is still in session. Our sister SMROs in NC won two victories during the week of July 9th. Language to further tighten NC's current helmet law was removed from HB 563*. Additionally NC bikers succeeded in sending a bill to the governor that will allow bikers to turn left at red lights with defective traffic sensors after waiting three minutes. The vote was close but if Governor Easley signs the bill into law it may help our efforts to do the same here in SC.

You may obtain more information and photos at regarding the subjects of this report. Great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people.

Have I done all that I can to fight for biker rights? HELL NO but I am still trying!

* Shortly after the publishing of this article the FMVSS 218 language was snuck back into the bill.

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