Black Thursday is coming

It’s that time of the year again, when the motorcycling community comes to Olympia to meet with their legislators to discuss motorcycling issues.  The annual “Black Thursday” event, hosted by ABATE of Washington and the Confederation of Clubs, will be this coming Thursday (January 22nd).

The issues identified to this point:

  1. Adult freedom of choice for helmet usage:  SB 5198 will allow adults 18 years of age and older to make their own choice as to whether they wear protective headgear.  While the Washington Road Riders Association does not advocate that riders eschew riding with quality protective gear, the WRRA firmly believes that that decision should lie with the rider, not the government and supports ABATE in their efforts.  For more information contact Brian Lange of ABATE.
  2. Addressing motorcycle rider liability for actions required of helmet manufacturers:  HB 1244 removes the burden from the consumer to prove the manufacturer complied with FMVSS 218.  In some areas law enforcement uses the inspection of a helmet as the primary reason to stop a rider, effectively initiating an encounter to require a citizen to prove their innocence, as well as opening the door to further investigation into the rider.
  3. Addressing lane sharing for motorcycles:  This bill would make lane sharing (splitting) legal during a strictly defined scenario.  The traffic can be going no greater than 25 mph, and the rider cannot exceed traffic speed by more than 10 mph.  There is a draft bill in circulation, but has yet to be formally introduced on the floor of the house.  For more information contact Brian Lange of ABATE.
  4. Addressing the scheduling of the Washington Motorcycle Safety Advisory Board:  This is an issue that has been brought to the WRRA by many concerned riders.  There has been a level of confusion at the DOL due to no formally established schedule for the Advisory Board.  This bill will codify the scheduling of the meetings as quarterly, on either the 1st or 2nd Friday of the 3rd month of each quarter, at 19:00.  In a nutshell, this puts the meetings in March, June, September, and December at 19:00.  The meetings of the board provides an excellent venue and avenue for riders to address the agency personnel who actually administer the Washington State Motorcycle Safety and Education Program.  Setting a consistent calendar schedule, and having the meetings after normal working hours provides the best opportunity for riders to attend without having to take time away from their “day jobs.”  The program is one that the riders pay for, and it is only proper that there is maximum transparency and access.

I’m quite sure that there is some issue that will ring with any rider, so it would be time well spent to get yourself to Olympia and make your voice known.

If you don’t know yet who your representatives are, follow this link.

Until next time,

Ride safely and legislate well,

“Texas” Larry

Government Relations

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