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Time to Ride
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7,572 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
not posting to start a debate on squids vs cruisers or anything, got this from my other forum from someone who was there for the hearing in florida, wheteher you like the sportie guys or not, just remember, it could be you next


COMMITTEE ON INFRASTRUCTURE - HEARING FOR HOUSE BILL 137
JANUARY 10, 2008
HOUSE BUILDING, RM 404
TALLAHASSEE, FL

HB 137 - Offenses Committed While Operating a Motorcycle

Here's a recap from this morning's hearing on HB 137. All quotes are as
I
remember them, as I did not have a tape recorder with me. All internet
links
and email addresses are listed at the bottom of this message.

I arrived at 8:30AM for the hearing, which was to begin at 9:00AM. The
room
was empty except for the committee secretary, who was more than happy
to
accept my request to speak. Out of perhaps 75 seats, only 25 were
filled by
the time the meeting started.

Representative Carlos Lopez-Cantera...

[
[email protected]
District Office:
Suite 111
2300 Coral Way
Miami, FL 33145-3511
Phone: (305) 442-6877
]

...the author of this bill, gave his intro
to the bill and stated that he had issued a "strike-through", meaning
he had
changed the wording, and the initial submission was no longer valid.
However, all he changed was the speed limit offense to more than 50
miles
per hour over the speed limit, up from 30mph. I was unaware of this
change
and therefore did not have a copy of this revised bill.

Mr. Lopez-Cantera then played a video created by a news team in Miami,
on
Sportbike riders pulling wheelies at high speed on public roadways. In
the
video, two tickets were given out. Riders were interviewed. Statements
like,
"it's like a drug to me, the need for speed," and, "I just pay the
ticket,
no big deal."

After the video, an officer from Miami spoke to the committee. Mostly
he
provided testimony on accident history. One in particular was about a
woman
who was killed in her SUV when a Sportbike rider slammed into her at a
high
rate of speed. His bike went through the driver's compartment. There
was no
mention of whether the woman violated his right-of-way. He spoke of how
the
woman's infant was not in the car seat, but underneath the passenger
seat on
the floor, gaining a considerable amount of sympathy from the
committee.

Questions for him from the committee members presented the first
indication
of where this hearing would lead.

Representative Susan Bucher felt the drag racing laws already covered
this
issue and wanted to know if this current law excluded motorcycles. Mr.
Lopez-Cantera did not know the answer and stated he had not researched
that
law. She clearly thought the bill was redundant with respect to
speeding.
She also wanted to know why they couldn't put a helmet law repeal into
the
whole package, as she feels helmets will save more lives, and is
needed. She
later stated that motorcyclists who did not wear helmets were just
organ
donors. Though she didn't like this bill, I didn't get any warm and
fuzzies
from her either.

Another Representative, Greg Evers, testified that he was dead set
against
this bill. He had received an email where the author described a
scenario by
which a motorcyclist could be arrested for erroneous reasons (by
harassment
or profiling). The author then stated at the end of the email, "I know
all
this, because I'm a cop". It struck a cord with him, Mr. Evers said. He
seemed to grasp the entire concept of why this bill is so
discriminating.

I was first up from the audience to speak in opposition to the bill. I
presented my case from the standpoint that the bill was discriminatory,
and
that confiscation of private property was unconstitutional, and from a
fairness standpoint as well (motorcyclists vs. all drivers). The bill,
I
said, should be written to include all drivers because, yes, I agreed,
stiffer penalties are needed for reckless driving.

The first question I was asked was, do I think permanently confiscating
a
motorcycle is too harsh of a punishment. To which I said, yes, without
a
doubt, not when right-of-way violators, DUI offenders and other
reckless
driving, kills without equal punishment.

The second question asked was how would I propose stopping these stunt
riders from violating speed laws. To which I replied, our tax money
would be
better spent finding a way to catch them. One suggestion made by Mr.
Lopez-Cantera was to make it a high fine punishment for not having your
license plate permanently affixed, so Sportbike riders could not take
them
off. This is how they get away; they can't later be identified by
video.

I also said, I don't like it when they do this either, but it happens
much
less often than reckless driving of auto drivers, and shouldn't we work
on
making stiffer punishment for all reckless drivers, instead of singling
out
motorcycles?

I was also asked if I thought more graduated punishment would be
acceptable,
and I said yes it would, but only if the bill is written to include all
motor vehicles, not just motorcycles.

Next up to speak was a representative from ABATE, who basically
repeated all
of the same points.

Last to speak was Winn Peeples, who represents motorcycle dealers in
Florida. He also said that most of what he wanted to say, had already
been
covered, but added that dealers are also 100% opposed to this bill. He
sited
the revenue netted in Florida by the sale of motorcycles. Financing
institutions would not finance a motorcycle in Florida if this bill
passes.

I believe that Greg Evers approached Mr. Lopez-Cantera privately and
offered
to defer the bill, rather than kill it, if Lopez-Cantera would agree. I
could not hear what was said, so this is purely speculation, but
shortly
after that private conversation, Evers approached the Chairman on the
side,
and the motion to vote on a deferment was issued. The committee
favorably
voted to defer the bill to a later date.

Final note: At first I was discouraged that I saw no local support from
area
Bikers. But Winn Peeples and I agreed that those of us who were there,
was
enough to work constructively in the time alotted, and push HB 137 back
to
the drawing board. That and Representative Greg Evers. Winn was there
on
behalf of Florida's dealers. I was there for myself, and for all of
Florida's freedom fighters who couldn't be there.

SO WHAT NOW? IT'S ALL GOOD RIGHT?

Sorry. Let's be clear. This bill is NOT dead. And it *could* come up on
the
agenda again, though it is less likely to now than before, not without
a
rewrite. Below is a summary of each Representative and my perceived
*opinion* of their position, based on what was heard today.

Representatives Richard Glorioso, Gary Aubuchon, Jimmy Patronis, Greg
Evers
and Nick Thomspon were all in favor of rewriting this bill to a broader
degree; to include ALL motorists, and for stiffer penalties for
reckless
driving, but with graduated punishments employed. Nick Thompson
initially
wanted to kill the bill, as did Greg Evers. They all need to hear we
support
them and appreciate their proposed vision.

Representative Ed Hooper wants to see offending Sportbike riders
punished
severely but conceded that a graduated punishment was better than none.
He
could be pushed over to our side, maybe. He also had a personal "story"
to
tell about a death on a motorcycle.

Representative Scott Randolph was sympathetic to our position, but felt
there was a need and agreed with a rewrite. He seems to be "on the
fence".
He needs to hear from us also.

Representative Susan Bucher I believe would have voted no, as she
seemed to
feel this bill was redundant, though she is no biker advocate. And
though
she bears watching, I believe she will not be a contender.

Representative Steve Precourt would have voted in favor of the bill as
it
stands. He needs to be inundated with emails and letters of opposition.
He
needs to see just how many of us vote here in Florida, and how many
supporters there for our cause in this country.

Representative Michael Scionti was not present due to a recall back to
active military duty.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

First order of business - send a thank you letter or email to
Representative
Greg Evers. What he did today was show 100% support in our favor. Let
him
know you were watching and waiting, and you appreciate his position. He
was
against "motorcycles only" and against the confiscation of personal
property.

Second order of business - email or call the rest.

The opportunity to rewrite this bill to be a huge benefit to all
motorcyclists and include all drivers is an enormous boon to come out
of
this. I have been asked to help draft the bill in the right way, for
all.
There is a lot of work left to be done here before anyone can breathe a
sigh
of relief.

There will be NO COMPROMISE on discriminatory wording, or confiscation.
The
bill will include all motorists or face strong opposition. Those on the
committee who want to see this happen have stated their position
clearly in
favor of this. Still, don't let your guard down, don't fall back, hold
the
line.
 

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Time to Ride
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7,572 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
yeah........I am 100% against the squid crap in the streets, but this bill borders on police state

and like they said, what about drivers of other vehicles, like people who constantly change lanes with no indicators.

or my favorite, weaving in and out of the carpool lane crossing over double yellow...........these to me are more dangerous.

a graduated punishment would be better, if by the time they aint learned when it raches a few thousand dollars......then nothing will teach someone
 

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I'm sure that once bike week 2008 results in a new record of dead motorcyclists we'll see the bill back up again.

I'm tellin ya... if we don't police ourselves ignorant anti motorcycling politicians are going to do it for us.
 

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03 ZX-12R
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609 Posts
That's ridiculous. If they think they have a problem now, what do they think would happen when riders KNOW if they are caught their bike would be confiscated? They'd have a dozen chases every day.
To go on further, sportbike riders are profiled by the police. In their eyes, everyone on a sportbike is a hooligan. Which is [email protected] I get pulled over for so many BS reasons every season. IMO, police are "looking" for chases. I don't know how many times I've heard, "It's a good thing you stopped...." and I'm thinking to myself, brother, if I didn't feel like stopping, you sure as he11 wouldn't have caught me; I'm on a 450lb 180hp machine and you're driving a tank. They just don't use common sense, and on top of that they try to intimidate you when you DO stop. I'm a canyon/mountain pass rider out in the Rockies, full gear 100% of the time. When I get pulled over in the mountain twisties and I know I'm in the wrong, I take it like a man. It just annoys the he11 out of me when I get pulled over on my way in or out of town because I had my brights on, or I didn't signal changing lanes, or you just wanted to see if I'd stop. I mean c'mon, I'm a 35yo man who just happens to love performance bikes, don't treat me like I'm some 19yo punk you just caught riding wheelies up your driveway.
(aaaah whew I feel better, I think I blacked out for a minute there ...) :)
 

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I agree with the profiling part.... I have been pulled over and told i was speeding (probably was a little bit) but cars are flying past me on the left. WTF.
 

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I would most definitely encourage our FLA riders to write in to their local representatives. As the author pointed out appropriately, it's not a question of sportbikers when all is said and done... it's a matter of reckless and dangerous DRIVERS and RIDERS. You cannot have a law that singles out riders anymore than there ought to be a law singling out drivers.
 

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Hmm, I think I should do that. The only problem is Not a single person in my lifetime of schooling, has ever told us how to do this. I mean its common sence to write a letter, but I have no idea where to send it. So if any other FLA members could help me out and give me the adress to send it to, I will gladly send a letter to my local rep.
 

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Official BTK Forum Pot Stirrer
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37,387 Posts
Hmm, I think I should do that. The only problem is Not a single person in my lifetime of schooling, has ever told us how to do this. I mean its common sence to write a letter, but I have no idea where to send it. So if any other FLA members could help me out and give me the adress to send it to, I will gladly send a letter to my local rep.
google.com

florida state legislature
 

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Time to Ride
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Discussion Starter #11
I've got them...................will try to remember to post when I get home
 
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