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Biker Rally for Safety Legislation at the State Capitol

April 10th, 2017 by Jake Stofan

One hundred motorcyclists revved their engines in the State Capitol plaza to remember their fallen and lobby legislators. As Jake Stofan tells us, safety legislation is at the heart of the annual tradition.

Bikers roll up each year looking for resolutions to problems they consider unjust.

Above all else they want to see stricter penalties for drivers that injure or kill bikers on the road.

 

“It’s not just an accident. You’re killing somebody that has a family,” said James “Doc” Reichenbach, President of  American Bikers Aiming Towards Education (ABATE), “It may be the bread winner of the family, it may be one of the kids.”

As it stands now, motorists often are only issued traffic tickets for fatal accidents.

 

“What’s a human life worth to you… it”s hard to say, but at least more than like a $98 ticket,” said ABATE member, Roy Steel.

To put a spotlight on the issue each year,  the names of fallen bikers are read aloud on the Old Capitol steps.

A bell is struck for each name called.

This year, 54 bikers were recognized.

According to a 2016 survey published by AAA, Florida leads the nations with the highest number of traffic fatalities involving motorcycles.

Along with stricter penalties, ABATE is also asking lawmakers to ramp up public information campaigns on motorcycle awareness.

“It’s important to be aware, be around of your surroundings and let other people, motorists know that we’re out here and to be careful,” said Steel.

Bikes say progress on their agenda has been slow, they believe their voices are being heard, but not soon enough for the 54 bikers who died this past year.

There are  currently bills in both the House and the Senate that would give motorcyclists a protected status on the road.

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