(February 2013 "Hoosier Mototrcyclist" magazine) No, that's not a typo for a headline that was supposed to run for the holidays, it's a reminder that the Indiana General Assembly has begun. You know the old saying that neither man nor property are safe while the legislature is in session.
At the time of this writing, there are still some uncertainties, but we'll provide what information we can here. We advised before that things can happen quickly in the legislature, so the best way to stay updated is to check the website or watch our tweets. There are several things we will be monitoring closely. We continue to look for some accountability of motorized bicycles (mopeds) and understand that a couple bills may be introduced. There is also talk of a "dead red" (failure of a traffic signal to recognize a vehicle) bill that we be working on. Additionally, what we do most is play defense to make certain something is not passed that could be detrimental to motorcycling.
What we really need is for you to stay informed and be prepared to respond when there is a call to action. These will be posted on the website and through Twitter, but the phone trees through LINC, your Legislative Information Network Committee, remain a very effective method of rapid, efficient, personal, direct communication. A few phone calls can really make a difference on most of these issues.
With the number of new legislators (about half of the House has served one term or less), it is critical that we remain vigilant in making them aware of our positions on all issues. A couple years ago, everyone knew who we were and what we were about. We can't count on that now and must work aggressively to forge relationships with the new folks and educate them on our concerns.
ABATE Day at the Statehouse is a great event and a wonderful opportunity to meet with elected officials, but just a few hours of one day won't create the kind of relationships we are looking for. They must be cultivated and nurtured. Go to the local forums and third house meetings, talk to them at the county fair, visit the Statehouse again and consider offering to help on issues of importance to them.
This is a budget year and anything can happen. Pay attention, stay informed and be ready to act. We can continue to be successful in protecting the rights and interests of motorcyclists and insuring that motorcycling exists for future generations to enjoy, but... we are going to have to work harder than we have in the recent past.
Ride Safe, Ride Free,