On May 21,2023, over 3,000 motorcyclists gathered at the California State Capitol in Sacramento to talk biker’s rights, and to send a message to the state legislature that a change in how California deals with issues important to riders is needed. Speakers from the Modified Motorcycle Association (MMA) of California, ABATE of California, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), the National Council of Clubs (NCOC) and other groups took to the podium to stress the importance of all riders – as well as other consumer advocates including those in the automotive industry – coming together to present a unified front. Rally organizer and MRF State Representative ‘Chappy’ Patrick Carver and his team of volunteers did yeoman’s work in organizing the event. Chappy is also the President and lobbyist for the MMA of California and works closely with the MRF on legislative issues being addressed in Congress. Numerous long-time California activists, including ABATE lobbyists Jim Lombardo and Bobby T, ABATE officers David ‘D-Man’ Seiler, Chuck Pedersen, and MMA/ABATE Liaison Dave Battles were on hand as well.
For California riders, a major concern continues to be the issue of being unfairly profiled by law enforcement. Following a concerted, years-long effort by motorcycle clubs from around the country, the NCOC, the MRF, state motorcyclists’ rights organizations and thousands of independent riders, anti-profiling resolutions have now been passed in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with bi-partisan support. On a local level, five states have passed standalone anti-profiling laws. California and other states are working to have similar legislation enacted.
Other topics of discussion at the rally included protecting the rights of consumers to repair their machines, the unrealistic rush to outlaw internal combustion engines in favor of electric vehicles, ongoing issues associated with unregulated self-driving autonomous vehicles, and the appropriate labeling and availability of E10 or lower petroleum fuels.
MRF Executive Director Mark Buckner addressed the rally, emphasizing the importance of the challenges and opportunities facing riders today. Buckner discussed MRF’s recent Bikers Inside the Beltway lobbying campaign in Washington, D.C., highlighting the issues discussed with members of Congress and their staff. Those issues included ongoing efforts to end unfair profiling; H.R. 906, the Repair Act, seeking to stop manufacturers from limiting the ability of consumers and independent shops to repair products; H.R, 1435, the Preserving Choices in Vehicle Purchases Act, seeking to amend the Clean Air Act to prevent a ban on internal combustion engines; ensuring that Congress and executive branch agencies including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provide appropriate oversight regarding self-driving vehicles; ensuring that consumers will continue to be able to purchase E10 and lower ethanol fuels at a reasonable price; and building strong, bi-partisan motorcycle caucuses made up of motorcycle-friendly legislators in Washington, D.C.
Overall, the California Unification Rally was a resounding success, with unity and opportunity the messages of the day.
About Motorcycle Riders Foundation: The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. Visit http://mrf.org/
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