Freedom isn’t free. How many times have you heard this stated in conversations about our nation’s veterans, the military in general, our law enforcement and other patriotic settings and events? My Father was a WWII Veteran, and I have a great painting on my bike with “Freedom isn’t Free”, the American flag and an eagle as a tribute to him. Freedom in our country has been secured by millions of patriots like my Dad who proudly served our great nation.
In addition to these fine patriots, there are many others in society who fight for freedoms as well. The weekend of September 20th – 23rd was a celebration and exciting gathering of a group of freedom fighters from across the country who are passionate about motorcycles and the rights of those who ride. The 34th annual Meeting of the Minds conference put on by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver, CO with over 300 attendees. This conference, hosted by ABATE of Colorado with support from ABATE of Arizona, ABATE of Utah and the Nevada Soldiers for Jesus MC, provided a wealth of knowledge and information ranging from hearing about the successes and challenges facing motorcycle rights organizations across the country to honoring those who have given so much to the cause of protecting our rights as motorcyclists.
The MRF (Motorcycle Riders Foundation) provides the leadership and lobbying in the halls of Congress championing issues of importance to motorcyclists ranging from the dangers of E15 to motorcycle engines to the unconstitutional profiling of bikers of all stripes. Red lights that don’t change for motorcycles, lane splitting in congested traffic areas, highway construction and safety issues, and autonomous vehicles on the road that may not recognize motorcycles or other small profile road users are also hot topics that the MRF addresses at the federal level. The various state ABATE motorcycle rights organizations are concerned about similar issues but work on them at the state and local levels to convince the politicians that action is needed. The acronym ABATE has several different but similar meanings from: American Bikers Active Toward Education to the original: American Bikers Against Totalitarian Enactments.
The MRF and ABATE state organizations are the reason that there are many states that allow freedom of choice on what motorcyclists can wear while riding, states have passed laws against distracted driving, some have passed laws to allow motorcycles to proceed through a red light that will not change (with due caution), and banning the arbitrary profiling and stopping of motorcycles without probable cause. This annual conference highlighted all these issues and much more. The MRF and SMRO’s (State Motorcycle Rights Organizations) have much more clout with legislators when there are the numbers of members to put before them. Legislators react much more when larger numbers of their constituents contact them or show up to see them.
The annual event concluded Saturday night with a banquet and program to honor many from the MRF who have provided their time, leadership, money and expertise to further the rights of all motorcyclists. The freedom fighters honored embody the time-honored phrase: Freedom isn’t Free!
The Honorable Ken Buck, Congressman from Colorado’s 4th Congressional District was the keynote speaker. His remarks centered on freedom, having choices, and keeping government limited. He also fielded questions from the audience on a variety of topics. His participation was greatly appreciated and well received. After Congressman Buck and the awards were announced, the MRF held a silent and live auction to raise funds to support the MRF and its operations. There was also a parade of individuals, ABATE organizations and others who presented checks of support to the MRF.
All motorcyclists are urged to consider becoming freedom fighters by joining their state ABATE organization and the MRF to help support the cause of motorcyclist rights. The more numbers in these organizations, the more that can be accomplished in the state and federal legislative bodies. It’s easy to do: www.abateofcolo.org or www.mrf.org and join online. You are needed in the fight for motorcyclists’ rights.