written for Countyline Publications and printed in Wisconsin and Illinois Biker Information Guide by Dave “Chubby” Charlebois, Public Relations Director for A.B.A.T.E. of Wisconsin Inc. www.abatewis.org My name is Chubby and I’m the public relations director for ABATE of Wisconsin Inc. We are a state motorcyclists’ rights organization that has been protecting the rights and freedoms of Wisconsin motorcyclists since 1974. Recently Biker Information Guide asked me to introduce myself and ABATE of Wisconsin in my first of many articles providing riders information about important issues that affect you as riders in Wisconsin. Many people have become more politically active lately and I hope the trend continues. But to be effective you must be knowledgeable about your subject and that is one of the main reasons we’re still around, ABATE of Wisconsin is the motorcycle issue experts. I welcome opinions and comments to my articles and you are welcome to reach me at pubrel@abatewis.org. That being said, I’d like to teach you a little bit about all the acronyms you may see in the news and what they really mean. The issues we had with the NTSB actually go back to 2008, but it is something that we have been continually working on besides our other lobbying efforts and our work in awareness, education, and safety. Remember, knowledge is power. NTSB, NHTSA, FHWA, HIPAA, VMT,FMVSS 218, DOT, AMA, MRF, SMRO, ABATE are just a few of the acronyms you may come across if you regularly read anything to do with motorcyclists’ rights. Even if you aren’t a biker you should recognize at least a few of these. With the exception of ABATE, all of these acronyms mean the same thing in any state that you may travel in. All of them directly impact bikers, whether we know it or not. Knowing what these acronyms mean and how they affect our lives is one of the many benefits of being a member of a states motorcyclists’ rights organization (SMRO). In Wisconsin, ABATE stands for A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments. Quite a mouthful to swallow, but every part of it has deep roots. Recently, ABATE of WI sent a delegation to help the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) lobby our congressmen in DC to write letters to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) asking them to reconsider their recommendations to congress and use their crash analysis skills to really look into the root causes of motorcycle crashes and find ways to avoid crashes, not just crash safer.”Totalitarian” starts to make sense when you consider that almost all the data collected by the NTSB came from flawed National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics that fail to recognize the sharp rise in motorcycle registrations that go along with our rising fatality rate.  The data obviously didn’t come from the two day symposium they had with motorcyclists or the six motorcycle accidents that they actually investigated. I’m sure no one from the NTSB took the time to hop on a motorcycle and actually see some of the problems that confront many of us on a daily basis. Wearing a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 (FMVSS 218) compliant helmet is not the silver bullet to motorcycle safety. And, you have to wonder if a mandatory helmet law would happen nationwide and show no significant reductions in fatalities, what would be next? Airbags, seatbelts, training wheels, roll cages? Seems ridiculous now, but what’s next? I suppose that with all this talk about helmet laws most people that aren’t familiar with ABATE probably think that it’s the only issue we deal with. Simply not true. In Wisconsin, we run a motorcycle awareness program called Share the Road which teaches new drivers how to better interact with motorcyclists on our roadways. We have a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) endorsed rider education program called Safe Rider Inc that teaches several hundred students a year how to ride. We send delegates to Washington DC to work with not only the MRF, but also the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) on motorcycle related road safety, insurance, and discrimination issues. We are part of many conferences nationwide, most recently taking part in the Motorcycle Travel Symposium which discussed solutions to the meaningless Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) statistics that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) currently compiles. We’ve convinced all of our congressmen to sign on to fix a loophole in the Health Insurance Parity and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that allows motorcyclists to be denied health insurance while riding. And the list goes on. If you never knew what ABATE was about, I hope you have come away with a better understanding now. It may not be all about helmets, but it is all about freedom. If this article has sparked your curiosity, please go to our website at www.abatewis.org and learn more about the laws that affect our lifestyle. Vigilance is the eternal price of freedom.
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