Monday, October 26, 2009

NHMRO: A Force To Be Reckoned With

Well, I'm back on track. I've landed back in New England, and I've settled in NH. Time to turn my attention to keeping legislators in line.

First on my agenda was to attend the state's motorcycle rights organization general meeting, held in Hookset, NH at the Deerhead Sportsmans' Club. After living two years in Florida and watching their MRO flounder around with power hungry individuals, instead of focusing on drawing in the masses of bikers that Florida has, anything else had to be better.

You see, my idea of an effective MRO is one that can incite bikers to stand up and fight for their freedoms; one that encourages letters writing to legislators, in your own words, and from all bikers, not just locally; one who keeps you informed; and one who asks for and expects a united front at committee hearings.

New Hampshire Motorcycle Rights Organization (NHMRO) has a pretty good record. They have successfully kept the helmet law out of NH since 1977. NHMRO also has one of the best Rider Training programs I've ever gone through. Those are two biggies in my book. It was time for me to see if my agenda is the same as theirs, and join forces.

New Hampshire's state motto is "Live Free or Die". To me, that means: No compromise, no surrender. And I needed to know if NHMRO saw it that way too. It's why I chose NH above the other New England states, and I was prepared to ask pointed questions along those lines if needed.

Walking into the meeting, however, I had to concentrate on not letting my jaw hang open. The place was packed! And although the Deerhead Sportsmans' Club is essentially a bar, it was clear that these bikers were not here to party down. Hmmm, good start.

The meeting was called to order, and the usual reports were given. Then the impending state bills were brought out on the table. Hmmm, priorities are right....

Two house bills filed, regarding motorcycle exhaust noise, and helmets. No details yet but here's the gist...

A state rep in the coastal region, Judith Day, is pushing for a noise ordinance law that would likely take 60% of motorcycles off the road, including mine. Typical scenario I'm sure; coastal residents can't get LEO to enforce existing noise laws, and their whining has escalated into a discriminatory motorcycle noise bill. (Personally, I think the whining is far louder than any motorcyclist.) Greenwich, RI has enacted an emergency ordinance requiring motorcycles to have OEM exhaust. Who knows what Representative Day has come up with. Does it matter at this point?

The bottom line is, my bike and/or my riding style (and most likely yours too) does not cause unwarranted noise, or violate any noise level law currently on the books. So why am I/you being targeted? That's the million dollar question....

Once I know the bill's text, it'll get posted and you'll know too.

Representative Day is also dredging up the usual helmet law. She must feel secure enough to take two pot-shots at us.

I had gone online the night before and looked at Representative Day's record, and I found the usual for politicians like her; petty redundant laws and nothing that benefits all. She likes to come up with committees to do studies (and we're paying her, why?) We shall see if she can withstand the unification of New Hampshire's bikers. I think not. And depending on whether she can become a bit more reasonable in her thinking, we'll see if I decide to campaign to get her un-elected at election time.

What is it about motorcyclists that makes people attack us as a whole? Is it the leather? The fact that we have fun riding our scooters? What? Oh wait, maybe it's because we have *gasp* exhaust systems that actually have sound, kinda like the 4-wheeled vehicles out there on the roads. Ya think?

Here's a News Flash for coastal residents: if you don't like the tourist noise, you can choose to move to a quieter area.

Yes, it's true. America, land of the free, home of the brave. You too, can live anywhere you wish. If you live in the north, and you don't like snow, you can move south. If you live by a busy Fire Station and don't like sirens, you can move somewhere else. If you live in a popular coastal area, and don't like the tourists, YOU CAN MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE.

I would love to live on the coast. Instead, I choose to live in a quieter area, and go to the coast when I get the urge. What a friggin' concept!

I can appreciate wanting reasonable quiet, based on where you live and the time of day, but we already have laws that govern excessive noise of any type. Instead, Judith Day wants to take away my right to ride the beautiful seacoast on my motorcycle, or force me to change my exhaust system when it already complies with the law. Which, incidentally, has the same decibel level as the exhaust on my car (also not OEM). So, one is OK, and the other is not?

OK, so back to the NHMRO meeting. I managed to sit down without making a spectacle of myself, and I started taking notes for this blog. Then the next "OMG" hit me; NHMRO promises to publish, on a public internet page (
NHMRO on Facebook), any news on the bills, as soon as it is available. Could it be any easier for any biker to stay up on this? Coming from a state where one had to pry information out of the MRO, I was delighted to say the least.

And the "OMG's" kept coming. Speakers asked for help writing letters from everyone - and their brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends, in state, and out of state. And write the letters in your own words; tell them how you feel about this legislative attempt to deny human rights.

This is how an MRO is supposed to be, folks.

NHMRO is not one or two self-proclaimed "super-human" board members doing all the work. It is a large organization comprised of state clubs, and a whole lotta desire to fight to keep the right to choose; what we wear, and where we ride. Any and all help is welcomed. WOW, no one is going to tell me what, when, who or how, restrict or censor me. It's never stopped me before, but it's always nice to be on the same page.

(Representative Day, are you listening? I don't tell you what you can wear in your car, or what kind of car to buy. I have a mother already, thank you. My taxes pay your wages, and I'd like you to put them to better use than trying cram another discriminatory law down my throat.)

So, I'm sitting in this NHMRO meeting trying not to grin like a Cheshire Cat, when someone in the room brings up Florida's helmet law (small world), and how $10k of medical insurance is required to ride without a helmet, and wouldn't a compromise like that convince legislators to forego a mandatory helmet law?

Suddenly I could hear a loud rushing in my ears, and in my head I'm screaming, "No way! No how! No Compromise, no surrender!", for history shows, if you give an inch, they take a mile. In reality, I just held my breath and waited. The room was very quiet. The response from NHMRO President, Bob Wyman, went something like this, "I view that as a compromise, and we don't compromise".

Woohoo! A biker after my own heart! What a relief that I would not have a differing opinion with NHMRO about such things as.... compromise. At this point, I didn't need anymore convincing. Where do I sign up?

It's all about riding free, and keeping the right to choose - everywhere. One thing I heard in that meeting, over and over; freedom isn't free. Music to my ears. Anything worth having is worth fighting for.

If you care about the basic right to be free, whether you ride or not, please send your objections to NH state reps. Tell them you don't like being discriminated against, or having rights taken away. Tell them you don't need the government to tell you what's best for you.

Below are links to pertinent websites with the information you need.

NHMRO:
http://www.nhmro.org/

NHMRO Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/pages/New-Hampshire-Motorcyclists-Rights-Organization-NHMRO/154820009712?ref=nf

Representative Judith Day -
jed1226@earthlink.net

If you live in NH, please find your Representatives and email them too.
NH Legislative Emails:
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/housemembersemail.aspx

Ride long, ride hard, ride free.

~ Sam

"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."
~ Abraham Lincoln

2 comments:

PatnWilton said...

Welcome to NH! And lets not forget Bob Letourneau and Sherm Packard who do more for us than anyone with their presence as NH Legislators.
http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/magazine/viewmag.asp

And since we are both in NH maybe we'll connect sometime. Ride Safe!

Sam said...

Yes, you are correct, Bob and Sherm are certainly worthy of noting. I know them better now and can actually remember names! LOL I'm sure we'll cross paths eventually, especially in the spring when the scooters come out of storage!