Thursday, September 27, 2007

PA's Response to NTSB


On 9-11 the NTSB issued recommendations to states to require all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear Department of Transportation federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) 218-compliant helmets.

A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania, the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education, has expressed their opposition to the NTSB safety recommendations. Accident prevention saves lives, not federal mandates. Greater penalties for right-of-way violations and stricter laws for inattentive driving would be more effective. Motorist need to pay greater attention to the action of driving. Being behind a wheel of an automobile is NO time to multi-task.

Pennsylvania already has a helmet law. The General Assembly passed Senate Bill 259 in 2003. That legislation modified the existing mandatory motorcycle helmet law to provide qualified adult motorcycle operators and passengers with the option to decide what is best for themselves. Pennsylvania Senators and Representatives supported a minimum of two year riding experience or successful completion of an approved motorcycle rider education program as condition for optional helmet use by motorcycle operators 21 years of age or older.

While the law does allow freedom of choice in the use of helmets it also contains safeguards for those not yet trained or skilled enough to make an informed decision on helmet safety. Enactment of the freedom of choice bill on helmets represents what our founding fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution….that government works best with the consent of the governed.

Facts not fiction…

Since the helmet modification Pennsylvania has experienced a sharp rise in motorcycle sales and a dramatic increase in biker tourism. In 2003 there were 263,696 registered motorcycles. In 2006 that number increased to 335,720. In 2005 there were 205 motorcycle fatalities.

In 2006 the fatality rate decreased to 187.

Between 2000 (before helmets were made optional) and 2005 (after), motorcycle registrations in Pennsylvania increased 48.3%. Fatalities in motorcycle crashes also increased, but only 36%.

A study by the State Legislative Budget and Finance Committee in 2006 found an 8.6% decrease in motorcycle fatalities, per 10,000 registrations, from 2000 to 2005.

Most motorcycle fatalities in 2005 involved bikers who wore helmets. Only 42.6% involved known non-helmeted motorcyclists, and the report does not say what portion of them died of something other than head trauma.

Conclusion: The NTSB implies in its recommendation that thirty state governments have somehow "got it wrong" when it comes to the validity of universal mandatory helmet laws. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most of these states have had, at one time or another, a universal mandatory helmet law, yet considered the results and modified their laws accordingly.

A.B.A.T.E. of PA believes that state legislators have more intelligence than the NTSB gives them credit for. A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania states, “Nothing illustrates individual freedom more than bare-headed bikers, and many federal authorities detest freedom. We believe they will do anything to suppress it. “ The NTSB reached its recommendations with little or no input from the motorcycle community. This is just another incident of bureaucrats in Washington trying to ram regulations down the throats of all fifty states. We’ll have none of it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hospitals Kill Over 100,000 Patients Yearly

Hey Docs, nurses, et al... before you come after the bikers who want freedom of choice, maybe you should clean up your own house! Hospitals cause over 100 times the deaths that supposedly couild be saved if all bikers wore helmets, and we don't accept NTSB or NHTSA's numbers on that!

New Medicare Regulations Adopted to Reduce Certain Hospital Infections and Medical ErrorsMedicare Will Withhold Payments To Hospitals For Failing To Keep Patients

SafeWASHINGTON, D.C. – Under new Medicare regulations, hospitals will no longer receive higher payments for the additional costs associated with treating patients for certain hospital-acquired infections and medical errors. The new rules will give hospitals a powerful new incentive to improve patient care, according to Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.“Every year, millions of Americans suffer needlessly from preventable hospital infections and medical errors,” said Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union’s Stop Hospital Infection’s campaign (

“These new rules are a good beginning for Medicare to use its clout to mobilize hospitals to improve care and keep patients safe.”Under the rules adopted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), payments will be withheld from hospitals for care associated with treating certain catheter-associated urinary tract infections, vascular catheter-associated infections, mediastinitis after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, and five other medical errors unrelated to infections (bed sores, objects left in patients’ bodies, blood incompatibility, air embolism, and falls).

The new rules will go into effect in October 2008.To comply with a 2005 law passed by Congress, CMS evaluated a number of serious, preventable health care acquired conditions and identified these eight for the first round of non-payment due to the high volume of patients affected, the high cost of treating patients, and the existence of prevention guidelines. The agency intends to consider other hospital acquired infections and medical errors for non-payment in future years.

The new Medicare regulations include protections to prevent hospitals from billing patients when payments are withheld and to minimize avoidance of patients perceived to be at risk for infections. “We are pleased that the rules clearly state that hospitals cannot bill patients for the amount that Medicare refuses to pay,” said McGiffert. “CMS will need to make sure these protections are enforced so patients are treated fairly. And the agency should be on the lookout for hospitals that try to game the system by falsifying codes to avoid nonpayment.”Catheter-associated urinary tract infections are the most common infection developed by patients in hospitals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that there are 561,667 catheter-associated urinary tract infections per year. According to a study in the American Journal of Medicine, the annual cost of urinary tract infections in hospitals is as much as $451 million.Bloodstream infections are high in volume and cost, and are preventable.

The CDC has reported that there are 248,678 cases of central line associated bloodstream infections every year. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement estimates that approximately 14,000 people die every year from central line-related bloodstream infections.CMS failed to address the incidence of infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a virulent antibiotic resistant bacterium.

According to CMS, over 95,000 Medicare patients had MRSA infections in 2005, running up hospital charges of almost $3 billion. MRSA was not selected for nonpayment because of coding issues and because CMS does “not believe there is a consensus among public health experts that MRSA [infection] is preventable.”“CMS needs to take strong action to curb the spread of this powerful superbug,” said McGiffert. “Many hospitals do not share the attitude that MRSA infections cannot be prevented and CMS should be on the front lines with them fighting this deadly and costly problem.”

Hospital acquired infections are a leading cause of death in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 2 million patients suffer from hospital infections every year and nearly 100,000 of them die.

Research shows that hospitals could prevent many infections through stricter adherence to proven infection control practices.The financial costs associated with hospital infections are equally staggering. Dr. John A. Jernigan, Chief of Interventions and Evaluations at the CDC, has said that hospital acquired infections result in up to $27.5 billion in additional health care expenses annually. Medicare foots the bill for a big portion of infection-related health care costs. A 2005 report by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council found that Medicare was billed for 67 percent of the total number of patient infections reported by the state’s hospitals.

“Taxpayers spend billions of dollars every year covering the cost of patient infections,” said McGiffert. “Restricting Medicare payments for medical errors like patient infections will help ensure that the health care taxpayers pay for is safe and effective.”A copy of the new CMS regulations can be found here (begin at page 290):

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

CMT/ABATE Wins Awards at Meeting of the Minds


Tennessee Motorcyclist’s Rights Group Wins Legislative Awards
Honored by Motorcycle Riders Foundation and American Motorcyclists Association

CMT/ABATE, Tennessee’s State Motorcyclist’s Rights Organization was honored by the MRF (Motorcycle Riders Foundation) and the AMA (American Motorcyclists Association) at the recent MRF Meeting of the Minds in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The MRF presented a “State Legislative Award” to CMT/ABATE’s Legislative Director, Mike Hays, for the organization’s work in protecting the rights of parents to determine the age at which a child is allowed to ride as a passenger on motorcycles. This was the second year in succession that Tennessee legislators brought bills to restrict children under a certain age from being a passenger on a motorcycle and the second year these bills have died even before a committee hearing.

The AMA recognized CMT/ABATE for it’s initiation of and success in getting right of way violation legislation (HR 1335 and SB794) passed by the Tennessee General Assembly. These bills were signed into law and became affective July 1, 2007 and increase the penalties for drivers who violate another’s right of way and cause serious injury or death in a collision. Tennessee law now calls for substantially higher financial penalties and up to a one year loss of license for violators. The bill was consistent with the AMA’s “Justice for All” campaign.

CMT/ABATE, Inc. is a non-profit, political organization that was formed to preserve freedom and safety for all Tennesseans who enjoy motorcycling. Our major goals are to modify existing laws that are detrimental to motorcycle safety and enjoyment, and to enact new legislation in support of all motorcyclists who ride in Tennessee. If you are concerned about preserving personal freedom and motorcycle safety,

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Response to NTSB "Motorcycle Safety Report"

CMT/ABATE Response to NTSB Mandatory Helmet Recommendation

For those who haven’t heard, the NTSB held a dog and pony show on September 11, supposedly to address motorcycle safety. The ONLY thing really addressed was helmet use, as if that is the silver bullet that will save all motorcyclists from impending death.

The problem as we see it is not helmets! Many factors need to be considered when looking at deaths and injury stats, not the least of which are the huge numbers of increased registrations, lack of training, sober riding and most of all, driver distraction. Over 50% of fatalities are caused by a car or truck violating the right of way of motorcyclists.

The NTSB says helmets are 16 percent effective in saving us from ourselves. THAT, my friends, is typical government baloney. The FACT is, helmets are 84 percent INEFFECTIVE! There is also enough evidence, like declining injury trends over the last 7 years that show helmets are not the answer. Furthermore, a recent report by NHTSA actually shows that many states without helmet laws have much lower fatality to accident ratios than states like Tennessee with mandatory use requirements.

Folks, IT IS NOT about helmets for those opposed to freedom. One look at the organizations like AHAS and III, which both released statements supporting NTSB’s recommendations, and you’ll see they are funded and supported by the insurance industry, the same folks who would love to see motorcycles banned from our highways.

Anyone hoping to be riding several years from now needs to wake up and step up by supporting organizations like the MRF, AMA and CMT/ABATE. These organizations and many others will continue the fight to protect your right to ride!

Keep up to date with the government’s attempts to legislate motorcycling at or

Feel free to contact Legislative Director Mike Hays legislative at (at=@)

Friday, September 14, 2007

CMT/ABATE Legislative Retreat


October 20, 2007
11AM Until…

2226 Rocky Springs Rd
Nolensville, TN 37135

Join fellow CMT/ABATE members, guest legislators and others for a day of brainstorming and planning for the upcoming legislative session. We are 75% of the way to having freedom of choice in Tennessee.




RSVP: Mike Hays 615 469-2567

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Safety Nannies Coming on Strong

MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation
236 Massachusetts Ave. NE
Suite 510
Washington, DC 20002-4980
202-546-0983 (voice)
202-546-0986 (fax) (website)

Contact: Boz Kerr, MRF Vice-President (e-mail)
Motorcycle Riders Foundation Opposes NTSB Helmet Law Recommendations

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) would like to express extreme disappointment with the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) recommendations on motorcycle safety, which they issued at their public meeting on September 11, 2007.

The NTSB's recommendations may have as well have been copied directly from a 1960's era federal bureaucratic handbook.

Vice President of Government Relations Jeff Hennie had this to say initially on the report: "A few things you should know. NTSB recommended that the three states that do not have helmet laws (IL, IA and NH) should enact universal helmet laws. Also, they recommended that the states that have modified laws enact universal laws."
Since the NTSB issued their safety recommendations, our Washington office has been deluged with requests for comments. Jeff Hennie has given interviews to major media outlets such as NBC News and CNN just to name a few. Jeff is giving priority to handling such requests. He will be issuing a detailed statement concerning the NTSB recommendations soon.

Our State Motorcyclist Rights Organization partners report giving interviews to the New York Times and the Associated Press.

Rest assured that the Motorcycle Riders Foundation will be working everyday to see that the NTSB recommendations on mandatory helmet laws do not become a reality.

The NTSB had this to say on helmet laws:
"To the three states without motorcycle helmet laws:
Require that all persons shall wear a Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218-compliant motorcycle helmet while riding (operating), or as a passenger on any motorcycle.

To the 27 states and 1 territory with partial helmet laws: Amend current laws to require that all persons shall wear a Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218-compliant motorcycle helmet while riding (operating), or as a passenger on any motorcycle.

To the 8 states, the District of Columbia, and the 4 territories that have universal motorcycle helmet laws but do not specifically require FMVSS 218-compliant helmets: Amend current laws to specify that all persons shall wear a Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218-compliant motorcycle helmet while riding (operating), or as a passenger on any motorcycle."

The full list of NTSB recommendations may be obtained at:

Michael Kerr
MRF Vice President

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bikes Blues & BBQ

Below is an article on the Bikes Blues & BBQ motorcycle rally in Fayetteville, AR which attracts around 300,000 visitors over 4 days. The year before they repealed the helmet law in Arkansas they had a few hundred people attend, look at it NOW!

The biggest event in Tennessee for 2007 was likely the HOG National Rally in KNoxville, drawing maybe 30,000 for a one time event. The Honda Hoot brings in about 15K for the weekend. Add all the Tennessee rallies together and you won't get 300K attendance combined.

What kind of economic impact is 300K? ON the conservative side we'll say each biker spends $200, that makes about $60 million being spent, and like I say, that's real conservative.

Bikes, Blues & BBQ Revs Up Events Giveaways, Barbecue Contest Add New Flavors To Festival This article was published on Saturday, September 8, 2007 4:05 PM CDT in Our Town By Marla Hinkle THE MORNING NEWS FAYETTEVILLE -- People notice them. Businesses want them. Sponsors are proud to be a part of them.

The eighth annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ is expected to bring 300,000 plus bikers to Northwest Arkansas and surrounding areas as part of a four-day festival.

Nelson Driver, event coordinator, said several new attractions have been added. They include:

* People's Choice barbecue tasting in addition to the Arkansas National Bank Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned barbecue championship.

* Three factory-direct semi tractor-trailers showcasing all Harley-Davidson/Buell, Kawasaki and Yamaha company products.

* 2007 Honda Metropolitan Scooter giveaway worth $2,500 donated by Heartland Honda Powerhouse in Springdale.

* 2007 Harley-Davidson Street Glide giveaway worth $19,000 donated by Cycle Connection. It comes with a $2,000 custom pin-striping job by legend Mike Robins of O's Custom Paints in Memphis, Tenn.

* Handmade Gibson "Blues King" acoustic guitar giveaway worth more than $2,000 donated by Janet Davis Music of Bella Vista.

* Gibson Guitar Bus and Trailer featuring dozens of Gibson acoustic guitars, mandolins, dobros and banjos.

Community support includes the following:

* Free parking and bottled water for motorcyclists at Central United Methodist Church of Fayetteville.

* Official Bikes, Blues & BBQ campgrounds of the Washington County Fairgrounds.

* A daily $5 Biker Breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. at any of the five senior centers in Elkins, Farmington, Fayetteville and Springdale.

Driver and other organizers, including Greg Mack of TaylorMack Advertising, joked about the "Please ride quietly" signs when asked about excessive noise levels.

"Someone stole all the signs last year and they are probably in someone's garage right now," Mack said.

Driver added that the event is not something that should alarm residents.

"This is a family festival and the board of directors will maintain that, or there will be not be an event."

Proceeds from the festival are contributed to more than 30 charities in the two-county area, including the Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girls Club in Fayetteville. It has generated more than $275,000 for Benton County and Washington County charities since 2005.

Business owners have demonstrated support by agreeing to sponsor the event. Many special activities would not be possible without the donations, Mack said.

So far, organizers count 120 sponsors and are still accepting applications.

Although it's impossible to release exact numbers, Driver said the festival is in the top five motorcycle rallies. Top rallies include Daytona, Sturgis and Laconia.

Driver recently traveled to Laconia, N.H., for the Motorcycle Week there, which is in its 84th year and 30 to 40 percent larger than Bikes, Blues and BBQ.

Motorcycle companies are impressed with the Northwest Arkansas event because of the diverse crowd it attracts, Driver said.

"Harley Davidson likes to come here because it's not just Harley customers out there. There are several people who don't even own bikes, so there are a lot of potential customers out there," Mack said.

Residents also cater to bikers and rent their houses out for the festival. Mack has rented his house and said the guests left it cleaner than it was before.

Driver said he doesn't fear the event running out of room, although measures have been taken to ease traffic. The parade route has been changed to begin at the stage and end at the track in a continuous loop.

Most events will take place around the track and Dickson Street, but several regional businesses will host special events like the Pied Piper Pub & Inn in Eureka Springs.

"Let's face it. People don't come to motorcycle rallies to park their bikes and walk. They come to ride," Driver said.


The eighth annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ will be Oct. 3-6. More than 200 vendors will be showcased at the Randal Tyson Track Center area. The event's main focus will be the Track Center, the site for the barbecue tasting, Arkansas National Bank Financial Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned BBQ State Championship, the Stokes Air Battle of the Bikes, factory direct trailers, stunt riders and the starting point for the RSC Rental Equipment Company Parade of Power.

Dickson Street will be the site for giveaways at the Best Western Main Stage in the Coors Light Beer Garden.

For more information, contact Nelson Driver, event coordinator, at 527-9993, Liz Boch at 409-7682 or visit the Web site at

Source: Bikes Blues & BBQ

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice-President of Government Relations (e-mail)
HIPAA Call to Action

With Congress poised to return today from a sleepy month off fromWashington, it's a great time to call or e-mail your federal legislators and remind them to support HR 1076 and S 616, the two pieces oflegislation filed on behalf of motorcyclists to fix the discriminatory loopholes in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These two pieces of legislation are currently sitting in committee before both bodies of Congress. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) encourages you to contact your Senators and Representatives this week.
The HIPAA loophole mentioned above allows employer-sponsored health insurance plans to deny payments for particular injuries that stem from any risky recreational behavior. Another wrinkle is that the employer can determine what behaviors they want to define as risky. Some have refused payment of hospital bills for injuries as common as sprained ankles resulting from jogging. And although it is a legal form of transportation subject to taxes, tolls and licensing fees, for some reason motorcycling is specifically mentioned in HIPAA as a hazardous recreational activity.

Support for HR 1076 and S 616 has been growing recently, and we have the State Motorcyclists' Rights Groups (SMROs) to thank. Grassroots activism on this issue has been growing, and this spring saw a swell of SMROs visiting Washington DC to lobby for this issue directly. A quick glance of the congressional supporters reveals that those states that visited DC are responsible for the bulk of the co-sponsors on the House bill.

Writing, phoning and e-mailing your elected officials is important, but of course nothing drives an issue home better than a face-to-face visit with your elected officials. Can't make it to Washington? Not enough vacation time or extra cash for airfare? Why not schedule a visit with your federal elected officials on their home turf in their district offices. If you can't meet directly with an official, ask to meet with an aide.

Not sure what to say when you contact your legislator? There is a wealth of information about this issue on the MRF website going back several years, and you can always call the MRF office in DC to discuss federal motorcyclists' rights issues before meeting with a legislator. And of course, you should also contact your SMRO for guidance and assistance before visiting your legislators.

Congress is flipping over the closed sign and resuming business this week, so make it a point to contact your legislators in the very near future. They have a lengthy (for Washington) work period with no more formal breaks until target adjournment at the end of October. With continuing support from motorcyclists and SMROs nationwide, as well as our partners in DC, we can get this discriminatory loophole fixed.

You can reach the US Captiol Switchboard and your Member of Congress at 202 224 3121.