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Oregon Motorcycle Riders Converge on CapitolBonnie King Salem-News.com
The rumbling of the bikes took the spotlight in Salem
(SALEM, Ore.) - Motorcycle club members, independent riders and even non-riders alike came together in solidarity Monday to protect rights specific to bikers.
The first “call to action” by the US Defenders motorcycle group brought out over 70 bikes to the Oregon State Capitol on Monday making a positive statement of unity between clubs and independent riders. Quiet Mike, the Information Officer for US Defenders said he was pleased with the show of bikes, “It was an excellent turnout, the most motorcyclists we’ve had here for a long time.”
US Defenders is a movement formed from within motorcycle clubs from every state to implement and support motorcycle rights.
The grass roots organization is made up of a nationwide Confederation of Clubs, composed of state “citizen biker manpower” from Motorcycle Clubs and Coalition of Independent Riders (C.O.I.R) representatives.
Quiet Mike, who also serves as Vice-Chairman for Confederation of Clubs said this was a well-planned event.
“We set up in room 150 in the capitol so people could come and meet with their state representative or state senator. Several people set up appointments in advance, and they were able to express their concerns about how bikers’ rights are being affected.”
Some of the issues important to Oregon bikers include Senate bill 603 which affected firearms allowed on ATVs and motorcycles. That bill went back to committee.
“It was a poorly written piece of legislation,” Quiet Mike said, “but it’s important that our reps know we’re paying attention.”
Many people were there to discuss helmet laws, others for civil rights where profiling motorcycle club members is concerned, and, some brought up that deaths by vehicles should be regarded as crimes across the board, and the responsible party should receive more than just a traffic fine.
“It needs to be vehicular manslaughter,” Mike said. “When someone gets killed whether they’re walking, driving a truck, or riding a bike, the traffic infraction is inequitable for everybody. Motorcycles are not the only issue. If your mother, your sister, or your brother gets killed at a red light, it’s not a crime, it’s just a traffic fine.”
The motorcycle riders showed up in unison, to make their voices heard by their elected officials. They were organized, polite, and made a not-so-subtle statement that they are a large contingency – over 17,000 strong - within the state that stands together on policies that affect motorcycle enthusiasts of all types, ranges and ages.
Citizens in Oregon showed how a well-intentioned group can make a positive difference for their community, even if that community doesn’t fall within the stereotypical mainstream.
Bonnie King has been with Salem-News.com since August '04, when she became Publisher. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers.
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