Every year various governmental bodies come up with more and more ways to make the motorcycling lifestyle go away. From traffic safety plans that include doing away with motorcycles to creating fuel blends that motorcycles can’t use, the Feds continually find more ways to chip away at motorcycling freedoms.
That’s where motorcycle rights groups come into play. They work at the state and federal levels to ensure that motorcyclists are fairly represented, legally treated, and continue to have a seat at the decision-making table.
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), along with seven Midwest states, recently put on the Heartland STEAM conference in Sioux City, Iowa, and CycleSoup.com was there to bring you the dirt on what’s happening in the world of motorcycling rights.
After the opening ceremonies, the conference kicked off with a presentation by David “Double D” Devereaux on motorcycle profiling. “Double D” (shown above) is the spokesperson for the Washington State Council of Clubs, founder of the Motorcycle Profiling Project, and works with motorcyclists at the national level. As he reported, motorcycling profiling is unfortunately alive and well in the United States. Motorcycle riders are continually pulled over the pretense of a “traffic stop,” whereupon they are searched, photographed or otherwise documented. Some states such as Washington and Maryland have passed laws that prohibit such behavior on the part of law enforcement; sadly, most states do not have such legislation, and motorcyclists from all walks of life continue to be singled out and treated as criminals.
After the Key Note address by Double D, attendees had the choice of a wide variety of break-out sessions, including:
- MC/MRO – Knowing the Difference
- Building Political Capitol
- What Motorcyclists Should Know About Accidents
- Influencing Your Legislators
Of particular importance was a presentation by famed speaker Dick “Slider” Gilmore entitled, “The Golden Hour.” Slider (shown above in his "Golden Hour" class) has in excess of thirty years of experience. He has been an EMS provider and instructor since 1978 and currently serves on the Regional EMS Council for northwest Iowa, is a member of the Royal Fire Department and Rescue Department, and has taught across the country. He was inducted into the National Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame in the Leadership Category in 1997. In his class, Slider taught riders what they need to know if they come across a motorcycle wreck, how to help the victims during the precious “golden hour” that could help save lives, and how to manage the accident scene.
As well, throughout the weekend, participants had the opportunity to experience the SMART Trainer (seen above), a motorcycle-riding simulator that helps new and returning riders prepare for real-world scenarios by immersing them in virtual traffic and hazard situations. The simulator measures reactions and rider decisions, and then provides analysis on the “rider’s” decisions and behaviors.
It is through seminars such as Heartland STEAM that motorcycle riders best learn how to defend and maintain their riding rights, how to be a better motorcyclist, and how to train and educate others in regards to the unique needs of the motorcycling community.