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     Are you an invisible biker? While riding your scoot, I hope you practice this simple technique. Assume that you are invisible to drivers on the road because you are invisible to many of them. How do you think that so many of us get cut off, run down, and turned in front of? You’re invisible to multi-task drivers that are changing the CD or tuning their radio. They may be doing anything from putting on makeup or eating a burger while driving, and it doesn’t really matter because so many drivers are on autopilot and you and your bike are the last thing they are looking for. “I didn’t see the motorcycle officer”. Defensive driving be damned, many drivers drive like they are the only one on the road. So assume that you are invisible to them, it’s up to you to be the defensive rider and stay out of trouble. There is another type of invisible biker. I am talking about the motorcycle owner that blindly ignores new laws that restrict motorcyclists, their machines and discrimination against the motorcycling community. The amazing invisible biker that goes with the flow and figures that someone else will take care of a discriminating law or that a new EPA restriction on our bikes “Oh, that will never get passed”. Well guess again!

     There are forces, from individuals that want all bikes off of the road, to organizations that want to get laws passed in order to “improve America”. Think the EPA, NHTSA, Patriot Act or the Memphis motorcycle inspection program and how different people in power interpret it. These people, without regard to the overall biking community and their comments, are suggesting ideas for passage of new laws to our Representatives every day. New groups are constantly being formed with dollars from the insurance and health care institutions that want to make our preferred mode of transportation a thing of the past. If they can’t ban motorcycles completely, why not make it as uncomfortable and cumbersome as possible in order to reduce the number of us riding?

     ABATE was formed in 1971 to fight, (using a ‘70’s saying), “Big Brothers” intrusion against modified motorcycles and discrimination of bikers by police, the public and business owners that didn’t like the way many of us looked or our mode of transportation. The idea was to educate about motorcycling and to repeal, enact and lobby for laws that concern all motorcyclists in order to promote and grow together as one motorcycling community. The idea grew and motorcycle rights organizations were being formed in state after state. CMT/ABATE was formed in Tennessee just over 20 years ago and has members from every walk of life and lifestyle. They ride every type of motorcycle and are working with past successes, harder than ever toward the same goals that were stated in 1971. If not for the Biker Nation that ABATE created, sit back for a few moments and try to imagine what path motorcycling would have taken since 1971 if the it was never organized.

     If you see in your minds eye, no small motorcycle shops because modifications to your ride are prohibited. That certain highways and streets would have signs that say “NO MOTORCYCLES PERMITED”. Do you see being denied dinner or a room because you have on chaps and a leather jacket? I won’t go on, but because of motorcycle owners that decided not to be invisible. Riders that cared to do something, anything, to help advance the liberties and rights of everyone that rides a motorcycle joined ABATE and got involved, many of these fights were won. There are many more in the future.

     I stated in the beginning of this rant that you should try to assume yourself invisible to other highway users in order to ride safe, but don’t be an invisible motorcycle owner that allows the non-riding public to dictate how, when and where you can ride you motorcycle. The coalitions that work to restrict motorcycling as a legal mode of transportation are stronger and larger than ever. Many have agendas to promote their issues, just like ABATE has motorcycling as its issue, but they see motorcycles as a roadblock to their efforts and will fight our lifestyle and preferred mode of transportation for their gain.

     Only about 1% of all registered Tennessee motorcyclists are members of CMT/ABATE. So much more could be accomplished if more of Tennessee’s invisible motorcycle owners would stand up for their rights and freedoms by joining their state motorcycle rights organization, CMT/ABATE and becoming involved in the future of motorcycling. Please get involved by joining and help us accomplish those same 1971 goals that still hold true today.


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