Riding Free from DC: Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

By September 27, 2019General Posts

Meeting of the Minds

Last week the 35th Annual Meeting of the Minds was held in Bloomington, Minnesota. The gathering of so many dedicated and selfless motorcycle advocates in one place was powerful. We in D.C. are continually talking with lawmakers about our membership and the riding community but being in the same room with the people we represent further fueled our passion for advocating on your behalf.

Two full days of meetings and panels covered a wide range of issues including collaboration between SMRO’s and clubs, lobbying tips and tricks, our health, being a better brother and sister, the MRF PAC and the establishment of the 2020 MRF legislative priorities.

On Saturday night, we heard from two guest speakers. First Rep. Peter Stauber from the 8th Congressional district of Minnesota spent 20 minutes discussing many of the issues we face at the federal level in D.C. Congressman Stauber is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and pledged to work with the MRF to fight for our priorities in the upcoming transportation bill. Additionally, as a former law enforcement officer, he understood our concerns regarding motorcyclist profiling and was proud to be a cosponsor of H.Res. 255 since June. He offered to meet with the D.C. team in the coming weeks to follow up on our priorities.

Second, State Senator John Hoffman from the Minnesota State Senate addressed the group. He spoke about working with local motorcycle rights groups and the battles and victories that have been fought at the State Capitol in St. Paul.  

Having both a federal and a state elected officials speak to us demonstrates that motorcycle rights are a battle fought on different fronts.  State legislators and federal lawmakers each play a different but useful role in the fight for motorcycle rights. We want to thank ABATE of Minnesota for arranging the guest speakers.

We want to recognize representatives from the American Motorcyclist Association and Harley Davidson for making the trip from D.C. to be a part of Meeting of the Minds. Collaboration between our organizations has been improving for the last few years, and we appreciate their willingness to visit with our members and continue working together on areas of common interest. 

As always, the MRF board came to Minnesota a day early for a board meeting and overall review of the MRF as an organization. It goes without saying that these board members sacrifice their time, energy and money to sustain the MRF and the continued the fight for motorcyclist rights. Thank you to all the board members for their selfless efforts.  A special thanks to Fred Harrell, Director of Conferences & Events, for his work organizing the 35th Meeting of the Minds. 

Finally, none of this would have been possible without ABATE of Minnesota.  Our friends in Minnesota spent countless hours of their own time volunteering to ensure this edition of Meeting of the Minds went off without a hitch. We are grateful for their efforts and for setting a high standard for the 36th edition of Meeting of the Minds in Indiana in 2020.  Be sure to mark your calendars to join us next year on September 24-27th.

Do Your Homework:

As an advocate for motorcyclist rights, every member of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation should know one simple number, the number of motorcycles registered in your state. Whether you are meeting with a lawmaker, legislative staff or just having a dialogue with a non-rider, the ability to drop that number into a conversation is a powerful tool.

Being able to quantify how many riders are in a given state demonstrates that motorcyclists are not some minor part of the transportation world but rather a substantial part of the fabric that makes up our state and local communities.

Some states provide even more in-depth statistics including total driver licenses with motorcycle endorsements and motorcycle registrations by county. We encourage you to do your homework and gather as much data as possible. You never know when having motorcycle statistics at your fingertips will come in handy!

Do you know how many motorcyclists are registered in your state? If not, click here to see the most recent statistics from the Federal Highway Administration 2016 report.

Standing Update:

We are currently at 91 cosponsors from 36 states and one territory for H. Res 255, the motorcycle profiling resolution. An additional 6 new cosponsors since our last update. The map below shows which states have at least one lawmaker signed on as a cosponsor.  Is your state not filled in yet?  Check with the D.C.  team about how we can work together to secure cosponsors from your state.

As we continue to move the needle here on Capitol Hill,  we ask that you stand by for any future Calls to Action to help ensure that we can secure the passage of this resolution.

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