Saturday, February 21, 2015

Can You See Us Now? Not If You're Not There

Not if you are a no-show...

Excellent bike rally at the Roundhouse today. Biggest turnout on record. Two parking lots full of of mostly Milwaukee Iron. Some sport bikes and some tourers. The Roundhouse Rotunda was packed to the gills and overflowed into both entryways and the second floor. Thanks so much to the New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization, Duke City Wheelmen, and retired Rep. Rick Miera, who was honored at the rally, for tireless, hard work in advocating for two wheeled riding and trying to make those roads safer out there through greater motorist accountability.

Not to sound too negative, but Jennifer Buntz and I were the only folks I could see who were from the bicycling community, albeit I showed up courtesy of Bavarian Iron with a yellow BikeABQ hat topping off my leathers. Maybe a few more from the human power side were there, but not enough to clearly notice. This in spite of plenty of advertising and the fact that the New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization and Duke City Wheelmen (aka, Jennifer) have been carrying our water with enhanced penalty bills for the last few years. There is one enhanced penalty bill in the hopper this year as well, SB 651.

To me, it is insane that cyclists who cry foul due to traffic safety issues don't show up in droves when the people doing the hard work are trying to get some face time at the Legislature. One would think at least the Santa Fe folks would be out in force. Well, next time you bitch about shitty laws, lousy infrastructure, or worse drivers, make sure you bitch to the guy or gal in the mirror.

Two bills are in play this year that cyclists should oppose, both having to do with mandatory helmet laws for motorcyclists. One is SB308 and the other SB327. Why? Because bicyclists could easily be next. One bill mandates helmets, one bill provides for a high priced sticker to exempt riders from helmet wearing, i.e. a bribe. Mandatory helmet laws are generally opposed by both the bicycle and motorcycle community. Helmets don't keep you from being smattered to oblivion by a badly driven car, but the gist of helmet laws is they transfer the responsibility for your safety from safer streets to a bit of styrofoam on your head. Plus, in many situations, the lack of a helmet puts the implicit blame on the rider for his injury, even if the injury is caused by someone else's negligent or careless behavior. It is, as we all know, more complicated than wearing a helmet. These bills are both scheduled for 2/24 in Senate Public Affairs.  The irony is the penalties for not having a helmet are likely to be higher than for careless drivers who kill. Contact the committee and oppose these bills.  Here are their emails.
Scene outside
scene inside


Vere Nekoninda said...

While I think that it is valuable to keep trying to get something out of the legislature, bikers, both motor and self-powered, have been screwed or ignored by the legislature almost every session for the forty years I've been paying attention. So I can understand some people getting tired of showing up for no apparent gain.

I particularly disagree with the moral altitude that the author adopts, to say anyone who doesn't waste their time at the legislature has no right to expect the rights of a citizen. We get kicked in the teeth at the legislature and away from it, but that doesn't eliminate our rights. I'm disappointed that a biker is saying we should lose our rights, and don't deserve them, if we don't join in this particular charade.

Khal said...

With all due respect to Ms. Nekoninda, cyclists and motorcyclists have been kicked to the curb often enough. If we want to change that paradigm, it will take a shitload of work. Our work.