What is an MRO and why should you consider joining?

What is an MRO?

MRO stands for Motorcyclists' Right Organization. There are federal level MROs like the MRF and the AMA and there are state level MROs (SMROs) like CBA/ABATE in North Carolina. Many riders either don't know about MROs, don't care about what happens to themselves, or have a biased, unrealistic opinion of the goals of an MRO.

The portrayal of motorcyclists in movies, a bias media, and the irresponsible actions of a very small percentage of riders has created an image of motorcyclists that is far from the truth. As a result, we are continually faced with prejudices and discrimination. Today, our government's answer to many issues is to impose more regulation and control over individuals.

Poorly informed legislators and insurance companies that don't want to pay claims, would like nothing more than to see a decrease in motorcycling. Off-road riding bans, denial of access to hotels, high insurance rates, prohibition of motorcycle modifications and senseless laws to inhibit your enjoyment of riding have, and will, continue to be a threat to motorcycling.

In order to protect your right to ride, it is necessary that you include yourself among the thousands of North Carolina motorcyclists who have formed the most effective grassroots motorcyclists' rights organization in the state. Someone in the motorcycling community must take the action to monitor legislators to make sure they do not pass laws that adversely effect motorcyclists. SMROs and MROs do that now for YOU.

Concerning brand or style of motorcycle:

MROs are brand neutral and will not tolerate brand bashing. They do not promote organizations that discriminate against a brand or a type of motorcycle. If you are a brand basher, please stop reading now and leave this site as you will not be welcomed in any MRO or SMRO.

Federal level MROs

The MRF (Motorcycle Riders Foundation) is a nationwide organization based in Washington, DC that lobbies full-time for our rights at the federal level. They are solely dedicated to street rider issues and legislation. They are currently lobbying to close a loophole in the HIPAA act that allows medical insurance companies to deny your medical claims when you are hurt on your bike. They also help out at the state level by working as a conduit between state MROs. They facilitate communications and help to share best practices between state MROs. To review their complete legislative agenda or become a member, please see their web site: http://www.MRF.org

The AMA (American Motorcycle Association) is focused on both street riders' rights, and off-road riders' rights. They too fight against discrimination, promote an unrestricted riding environment, and also lobby to make sure there are lands available for off-road riders to use. If you are an off-road rider, joining the AMA will keep you informed and educated on the issues that are important to off-road riders.

State level MROs (SMROs)

CBA/ABATE (Concerned Bikers Association / American Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments aka: American Bikers Aimed Towards Education) CBA promotes fair motorcycle legislation, motorcycle awareness in high school driving classes, and promotes motorcycle safety.

Since the 1970s, the CBA has taken on the responsibility of improving the image of motorcycling in North Carolina, supporting fair legislation and legislators, and increasing the level of public funds that go towards rider safety education. CBA / ABATE works to protect your rights at the state level. Many members of riding clubs and manufacturer sponsored clubs also complement their memberships in those riding clubs with a membership in the CBA. That keeps them informed and educated on issues important to them and expands their friendships and fun ride opportunities. CBA members have several goals. Riding more and sharing time with others with similar interests are some of them. With chapters in 21 North Carolina counties and almost 2000 members, the CBA is a family of riders who band together for group rides and events all across the state. See the state CBA web page for the location of the chapter nearest you: http://www.cba-abatenc.org

What is NC BikePAC?

NC BikePAC is a political action committee (PAC) created to help further the legislative goals of the motorcyclists of North Carolina. Most motorcycle rights organizationsí nonprofit tax status does not allow the organization to expend great amounts of its budget on lobbying activities, to make direct monetary donations to candidates or to write letters of endorsement for a particular candidate. A political action committee is allowed to participate in these activities. North Carolina BikePAC will assist motorcycle rights organization members and all interested motorcycle enthusiasts to educate and lobby government and the general public about motorcycling, the rights of motorcyclists, and the preservation of our American tradition of freedom.

"But I'm not a political person":

Almost all members of MROs start out without any knowledge of the legislative process or have an interest in politics. Many belong to MROs for years and never get involved legislatively. The point is that joining a MRO will help fund safety training, motorcycle awareness, and lobbying efforts on your behalf. If you would like to ride more, meet new friends, and contribute to the betterment of motorcycling in North Carolina, you should consider joining a state level MRO and a federal level MRO. Of course, you will receive newsletters, patches, pins, the opportunity to attend local chapter meetings and participate in local charity and fun rides.

NC Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (COC):

Just like MROs fight for fair legislation, the NC Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (COC) fights to support litigation against people who hurt or kill bikers. They are also involved in supporting litigation against establishments who discriminate against bikers. If you should wrongfully be hurt by a car driver, the COC has attorneys well versed in motorcycle related litigation who can help your club members. If you are a member of a motorcycle club, you should protect your OWN interests by talking to your club about joining the Confederation of Clubs in NC. http://www.carolinamcevents.com/articles/nccmc.html

Common MRO misconceptions:

"They are Harley people" - WRONG - MROs are brand neutral and have members who ride all brands of motorcycles.

"They are only interested in repealing the mandatory helmet law". The legislative agenda of an MRO is spread across many issues. I suggest that you check out their website if you think they are a one-issue organization. Insurance coverage and rates, safety related, right-of-way violation legislation and motorcycle awareness education are just a few of the goals of MROs. MROs are not anti helmet USE. They are anti helmet LAW. MROs strive for less governmental control over riders and believe helmet use should be the decision of the individual.

One last note:

Don't wait until you are laying in a hospital bed, or attending a friend's funeral before you start caring about bikers rights! The $25 you will spend on the membership fee will keep you educated and informed on local and federal issues that threaten your lifestyle.

"Hey Man, .... I just wanna Ride!" 

Copyright Vinny Neuman 2004