I joined American Bikers Active Toward Education (a/k/a A.B.A.T.E.) several years ago. I’m a biker first and practice motorcycle law to make a difference in the past time I love. As an attorney, I got sick of seeing motorcyclists killed, dismembered and seriously injured due to failure to yield the right of way . Then to add insult to injury, I would constantly see the negligent motorist get a mere no seat belt ticket after the motorists dismembered a motorcyclist’s leg or foot. This happened several times. The first time this happened, I asked myself in disbelief, how can this be? Further research showed that there was no law that provided for enhanced penalties when a motorcyclists is hit by an automobile when there is no stop or yield sign.
Why A.B.A.T.E is so important to all motorcyclists.
A.B.A.T.E is the only motorcycle organization in the state with a network of Advocates for reporting and advocating for motorcyclists with the district attorneys offices around the state of Louisiana. The A.B.A.T.E Advocacy Program It is effective and getting stronger. Members can go online to report cases at http://www.abateoflouisiana.org/advocate-crash-reports.html.
The Advocacy Program is working.
I just had an assistant district attorney ask me to stop the many emails they were getting from A.B.A.T.E. members in a fatal motorcycle crash. The motorists did a hit and run after the motorist cut across a marked divider failed to yield to a motorcyclist, killing the rider. I was told by the assistant district attorney, they know who A.B.A.T.E. is and appreciate their concern. They now get it. Hopefully A.B.A.T.E Advocacy program, and will be on the same level as the M.A.D.D. program. We need others to help us with our Advocacy program.
A.B.A.T.E. had worked for motorcyclists with tangible results.
I also found A.B.A.T.E. successfully passed legislation single handily that did provide for strict penalties and possible jail time for motorists who did disregard a yield or stop sign. I looked around for other groups that actually actively lobbied for motorcyclists. There are many motorcycle groups in Louisiana. Surely others are lobbying for protection for motorcyclists. But I was shocked to find that there are none that active lobby for motorcyclists other than A.B.A.T.E. of Louisiana. Others may talk the talk, but A.B.A.T.E. walks the walk. I joined and became an officer in the G.N.O. Chapter. I attend state A.B.A.T.E meetings to push for and help A.B.A.T.E to lobby for protection of all motorcyclists. A.B.A.T.E is growing, getting smarter and doing more for motorcyclists. I have attended other organizations meetings and joined several others but they are not actively taking concrete action on the state level. Most other organizations are basically riding/social and are complaining, but actually doing little concrete action to actively work toward change. Many of these look to A.B.A.T.E to carry the heavy loads of lobbying.
A.B.A.T.E. can do more for motorcyclists, but only with your help.
A.B.A.T.E. members as individuals are starting a separate entity the Louisiana Motorcyclists Safety Foundation PAC Inc. Political Action Committee to elect motorcyclists friendly legislators. This will be a huge step forward and will be like putting A.B.A.T.E. on steroids if other motorcyclists will contribute and put their money where their mouth is.
A.B.A.T.E. has not won all its legislative battles. But it has fought many battles for motorcyclists. It has many victories. Last year’s win on banning discrimatory checkpoints in Louisiana was a big one. A.B.A.T.E. gets and deserves the credit for it. Some in other motorcyclists groups may point out A.B.A.T.E.’s losses, like the mandatory helmet law defeat, as if that is a good excuse not to support A.B.A.T.E. of Louisiana.
Conclusion : A.B.A.T.E is the only motorcycle organization that actively fights for motorcyclists in Louisiana.
A.B.A.T.E. never backs down from a fight where motorcyclist’s safety and rights are at stake. Never has and never will. Every courageous warrior looses battles, but they never give up and live on to fight the next day. That is why I am an A.B.A.T.E. Life member. What’s your excuse not to join the good fight?
Glenn C. McGovern has raced motorcycles since 1973 and practiced law since 1977 with a Martindale-Hubbell AV rating and AVVO 9.4 Superb Rating, He is also a MSF Basic Rider Coach and La.DPS motorcycle Instructor. He handles motorcycle cases all over Louisiana and is Vice President of the G.N.O. Chapter of ABATE.