Sunday, February 26, 2017

Biker Rally Packs the Roundhouse

One of the main points of the rally was driver accountability
Illustration from the NMMRO Facebook page
Once again, both motorized and human powered two-wheeler aficionados packed the Roundhouse yesterday. I would like to thank Annette Torrez and the Board and members of the New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization for making room for us in the tent, Jennifer Buntz for her work getting us invited, and to the various bicycling individuals and organizations who worked hard to make yesterday a success. These included Diane Albert and her law firm who bought the goodies, Tim Rogers who hosted a bicycling Community Cruise de Santa Fe, Tony Farrar and New Mexico Bike N Sport for hosting us, and the Bicycle Coalition and Bike ABQ for their efforts at getting people there. My apologies to anyone I forgot so far.

Following the color guard, national anthem, and invocation was the Reading of the Names of the Fallen.  Then NMMRO Chair Annette Torrez welcomed us and NMMRO Vice-Chair Raymond Gallegos discussed ongoing legislative efforts. Rick Miera, former Democratic House Floor leader, gave a guest speech followed by an excellent discussion of distracted driving by NMMRO's Tom Newell. I gave the speech for the bicycling community, discussing rider safety, SB 55 to increase penalties to distracted drivers who kill or injure, and the Complete Streets Memorials. I threw in a few caustic remarks about how the Legislature is consumed with gun bills but ignores the carnage on the streets, where NM is competing for top honors in per capita killing of bicyclists and pedestrians. Ann Overstreet followed me for BikeABQ adding key information. There were then awards to motorcyclists and clubs of the year followed by honors to fallen riders and survivors of crashes.

My wife and I were witnesses to this crash 
just east of the NM-4/NM502 junction. 
Two motorcyclists were killed in a head-on
crash with an elderly wrong-way driver on a 
55 mph divided highway 
 Bicyclists feel vulnerable and certainly we are, but on a sombre note, we must remember all those names of fallen riders that were called out by the NMMRO folks. Motorcyclists bear the brunt of two wheeled death on the streets, something I am acutely aware of when I am on the K1100RS. The combination of higher motorcycle speeds and the fact that a motorcycle is not a steel cage means when things go wrong, they can go wrong badly. If you want a bicycling example, recall the high speed crash that killed Fabio Casartelli in the Tour de France (warning: video is graphic). So Annette finally got my NMMRO membership letter yesterday. 

Thanks to all who organized and helped, and thanks to all who showed up. Yeah, its tough getting anything done at the Legislature, but unless you show up, nothing gets done at all.Here are some pics, courtesy of the NMMRO and BCNM Facebook pages.

I rode down on the big BMW, so my kit included leathers and a pretty thick wool sweater. Halfway to Santa Fe my leather jacket unzipped from the bottom because I had not fully seated the zipper around the bulky warm clothing. Not a good thing in sub-40 degree weather at 70 mph. Had to stop and deal with my own "wardrobe malfunction". That just reminds us to sweat the details when one is on two wheels rather than thinking one is safe in a two ton cage (and when you let down your guard in a two ton cage it is other people who are at risk). Stay safe out there.
The author in full rant.

Former Dem House Leader and longtime motorcycle advocate Rick Miera to the right of the mike
NMMRO Board Chair Annette Torrez on his left

Me in the sweater (lower right) figuring out what to say
Jennifer in the pinkish hat and Duke City kit (center right)
Tom Newell discussing distracted driving science

Diane Albert took this pic from the balcony, with me speaking.

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