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SC Legislative Opportunities and Challenges
from a Biker's Perspective

Written by FastFred Ruddock, September 19, 2007

We are still looking forward to the second half of the current South Carolina Legislative Session. Opportunities and challenges await the bikers of South Carolina in the second half. Like many football games the second half can make all the difference. We need to stay focused while executing our best plays and watchful of the opposing team's best plays and special teams. Please use the two lists below to be come familar with our plays and their plays before the big game.

A glaring problem is lack of funding for South Carolina's Rider Education Program. Rather than a special tax for bikers I suggest we work our legislature and others for grants to cover the expense. Cage drivers pay no special tax for driver programs offered throughout the state and even in most if not all high schools; bikers should be treated no different.

Additionally we would be wise to watch the federal efforts underway to bring back federal mandates for all rider helmet laws. It would be prudent to consider supporting the MRF and joining the MRF's email alert list. We can overcome our obstacles provided we all work together.

Handicap License Plates for motorcycles have long been available in SC

Bills friendly to biker rights:

S605 a bill to allow for vertically mounted license plates for motorcycles. Sponsored by Grooms and currently in the Transportation Committee.

S732 a bill to amend current gambling laws in to allow non-profit organizations to using various games such as poker and dice for the purpose of fundraising. This bill is currently still stuck in a senate subcommittee and sponsored by McConnell. H3201 is a similar bill in the House but lacks the important protections to be granted by S732 to organizations such as ABATE.

S111 Reb’s bill to allow motorcyclists to treat defective traffic signals as stop signs. This is the second legislative session for this bill. Much as we would all like to pass this bill is currently an excellent tool to address defective traffic signals throughout South Carolina. This bill is currently stuck in a senate subcommittee and sponsored by Leventis and Knotts. North Carolina and Tennessee have passed similar bills.

S272 is a bill to instruct the Department of Transportation to design and erect along the state's highways traffic signs that promote motorcycle safety at locations where motorcycle fatalities have occurred within three years before the erection of the sign. This bill is on life support and is currently unlikely to pass because the lone sponsor has died.

H4145 is a bill to provide currently available special license plates for motorcycles in addition to just cages. Currently in the Education and Public Works Committee and sponsored by Brown, Alexander, and Battle

S493 is a bill that provides the Department of Motor Vehicles may issue Military Veterans Motorcycle special license plates to United States Armed Forces Veterans who own motorcycles registered in their names. The requirements for production and distribution of the plate are those set forth in Section 56-3-8100. The veteran owning the motorcycle must also present to the department a copy of his DD214. This bill has already passed both the house and senate and is now currently listed in conference committee.

S812 All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Act is a bill to provide reasonable ATV safety while respecting parental and property rights. Currently resides in the Transportation Committee and sponsored by Grooms, Campsen, Verdin, and Bryant.

S122 is a bill that provides a person driving a motor vehicle which is involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident must submit to a chemical test of his breath for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person is under the influence of alcohol to the extent the person's faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired. Currently in a Transportation Subcommittee and sponsored by Martin, Ryberg, Richardson, Vaughn, Mescher, Knotts, Cleary, and Fair

Bills unfriendly to biker rights:

S3092 is a bill to allow for the use of cameras at intersections and other locations for traffic enforcement. A similar law in Virginia greatly increased rear-end accidents and was repealed as a direct result. Motorcyclists are placed at great hazard to life and limb by rear-end accidents. Currently stuck in Judiciary Committee and sponsored by Hamilton.

S714 is a bill that may encumber ABATE with more red tape and fees; for example: "A political awareness organization which receives or expends more than two thousand five hundred dollars in the aggregate during a calendar year, within fifteen days of incorporation, shall register with the State Ethics Commission as provided in this section. Each political awareness organization registering shall pay a fee of one hundred dollars."

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