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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

Do you remember the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977?  Designed by the “beltway” no-goodnics which encouraged leaned on financial institutions to lend dollars to people with lower-incomes.  And then under the Clinton administration it was toughened-up with legislation to force Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to give out mortgages to people who would clearly have difficulty paying them – obviously not all federal legislation has the desired effect as witnessed by the current housing and financial crisis.

So being a bit of a skeptic along comes the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration proposal (NHTSA-2008-0157 (.pdf)) for a national helmet law.  Certainly the issue of motorcycle safety surrounds the Helmet Debate.  This debate (often heated and emotional!) revolves around whether federal law should require motorcyclists to wear helmets at all times when riding, or whether the decision to wear or not to wear a helmet should be left up to the individual rider.  We’ve all heard the paternalistic arguments and how the federal government is attempting to regulate an area that should be left to personal choice or left to the states to decide.  On the other hand, helmet law proponents argue that helmets save lives and reduce the risk of injury. 

63% Of Fatalities From 14 States

63% Of Fatalities From 14 States

It’s important to note that in 1975, 47 states required all motorcycle riders to wear helmets; now only 20 do.  Today it’s a real patch-work of helmet laws intermixed with a wide variety of licensing requirements, training courses and safety measures different in every state across the U.S.  It’s a bit of a mess and a motorcycle safety “state-of-the-state” is available HERE (.pdf).  The NHTSA has produced studies showing that death rates jump when helmet laws are repealed, but the laws are state statutes, and the agency is barred by Congress from lobbying states on safety issues.  Likely explains the attempt at a federal mandate.  In addition, there are groups like the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) who do great work advocating motorcycle education and training, but in some states they have persuaded legislatures to relax helmet laws.

I’m not on a mission to try and restrict the freedom of free-wheeling spirits who argue that it’s their heads at risk and their choice to make. This topic is a challenging area to navigate through and difficult to measure the greater value: a small sacrifice of choice, or the lives saved?  My intent is to make you aware of the proposal, provide links and information for you to make an informed decision on whether to support or oppose the national helmet law.  Supply any comments on the proposal HERE.

Chart courtesy of NHTSA.

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Most everyone has heard of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall.

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall

The chorus got up the nose of England’s establishment as they viewed it a protest or anti-education song. It was a political knee-jerk reaction to a song that had little to do with the education system… it was about a much bigger topic of reminding people not to conform.

And speaking of non-conformance, if you’ve followed previous post/comments on this blog you’re already aware of the intimidation “rain clouds” creeping into the northwest.

But, did you know about the state-wide efforts this Saturday, October 25th as ‘Free the Colors’ Day? It’s a grassroots state-wide show of support for the Oregon Veteran’s Motorcycle Association’s (OVMA).  Riders from every corner of the state, regardless of affiliation are planning to support OVMA’s stand against intimidation.  You may recall that at the heart of Pink Floyd’s ‘Brick Wall’ story is how a group of school children from north London came to sing and express freedom on one of the music’s most iconic records… we’re not kids anymore so understand this freedom issue is bigger than just the OVMA.

Hopefully freedom to associate resonates with you and you’re planning to participate on October 25th.  For any non-OVMA biker friends, if you do ride on ‘Free the Colors Day’ on behalf of the OVMA, you can show your support by flying America flags and/or tying a twist of blue ribbon and gold ribbon on your bike or around your right arm (the colors of the OVMA) as a sign of support.  The support will help send a message.  For those riders who plan to join the OVMA West Valley Chapter sponsored ride:

  1. Join the ride at the beginning in McMinnville.  They will leave Sharis parking lot at 11:00AM SHARP!  Be there early.
  2. Or join the ride at the first scheduled stop.  They will be leaving the parking lot of K-Mart on Hwy 22 in South Salem at 12:10PM SHARP!  Be there early.
  3. Or join the ride at the only other scheduled stop.  I-5 Northbound Rest Area (near Wilsonville).  Time will be contingent upon the time it takes to ride from South Salem to the rest area.  Riders need to be there by 12:20PM SHARP!
  4. The ride route will be determined by the OVMA State Road Captain and approved by their State President.

OVMA member ‘Pappy’ has assigned the following statement to the run which represents what they would like to make known: ‘For Those Who Fought For It – Freedom Has a Flavor The Protected Will Never Know’

UPDATE: September 27, 2008 – The ride results are HERE.

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