Colorado Helmet Bill News for 2004
By Tiger, RFJ, Denver Metro Area
January 17, 2004, was a memorial day for bikers in the state of Colorado. On that day at 7:30 in the morning, at McCoy’s Morning Glory Restaurant in Fort Collins a group of hard working freedom fighters had a meeting with Representative Angie Paccione. As most of you have read she was thinking about writing a helmet bill for under 18yr old motorcyclists. This group had found out from Lucky the Eastern Vice President of Riders for Justice (who was persistent in trying to get ahold of her through email, phone calls, etc), that Representative Angie Paccione holds a breakfast every Saturday at this restaurant from 8-10am. The news quickly spread and key people were invited to attend the meeting in the best interest of motorcyclist. Attending this meeting were: for Riders for Justice – Darrin (President), Lucky (Eastern VP), Tiger (Denver Metro VP), Lilias and her daughter, for ABATE – Duke (District 5 Rep), for the Confederation of Clubs – Valiant Diablo (Liaison Officer) and his wife SideTrack, for the Tyranny Response Team – Duncan, along with some just Ol’Biker folks (note that the new ABATE State Coordinator did not attend due to meetings later in the day and Maggot of BikePac also did not attend – even though both were invited to attend). The two cent tour of the meeting was that everyone there handled themselves professionally, with knowledge, informative, courteous, and with respect.
From the conversations that were going on while we ate our breakfast we (the group) concluded that: 1) Representative Angie Paccione started to think about this issue after watching kids on crotch-rockets in Fort Collins acting silly/dangerously riding down the streets, 2) she approached motorcycle riders in that area with her concerns that this may be dangerous and was there a need for a helmet law, 3) the word got out to the state motorcycle rights groups because she had not knowingly asked a member of Riders for Justice, 4) there are three reasons before the meeting that she was not going to introduce this bill: surveying motorcyclist did not show a need, after speaking to Children’s Hospital it was found that there was not a strong need for this bill, and she had written her 5 bills which meant that this would have to be a “late bill”, 5) statistics, facts, and information were given to Representative Angie Paccione to review at her convenience, 6) Representative Angie Paccione asked downtown about a helmet bill and heard that there would be a large group of motorcyclist to testify against such a bill, and that the motorcyclist here in Colorado keep up with all issues that concern them at the Capital, 7) Representative Angie Paccione stated that in her college days she had ridden a motorcycle and that she would be willing to take the Riders Ed course to get first hand experience what is being taught to riders (this will be done at her convenience through Tiger and ABATE), 8) Representative Angie Paccione stated toward the end of our meeting that she would not move forward with a helmet bill.
Before leaving the restaurant I (Tiger) had invited Representative Angie Paccione to attend the Motorcycle Show n Swap in Denver as a guest of Riders for Justice. On Sunday February 1st at 1pm I meant Representative Angie Paccione at the front door for her “taste of the biker world”. I made sure that Representative Angie Paccione was introduced to all the key people in both the motorcycle rights organizations and motorcycle clubs that were represented at the swap meet. Representative Angie Paccione stated that she was impressed with the knowledge that the people had on issues which are so dear to their hearts. Some of these issues she had no idea were issues that the motorcyclists in Colorado had to deal with, such as discrimination, right of way accidents, health/insurance coverage, police harassment, just to name a few. Even though Sunday was a smaller crowd than that of Saturday, there were enough attendees that she was impressed by the numbers. She looked at all the motorcycles in the show and had many questions which Duke and I answered. Christian Clubs were presented to her, where they too had a chance to explain their missions. The 2.5 hours that Representative Angie Paccione was at the show were some of the most productive that motorcyclist have had with a member of the Colorado Legislature in quite some time. It is of my opinion that we as motorcyclist have made a new friend in Representative Angie Paccione, she stated many times during the day that she would be willing to listen to our needs, to help with our causes, and hopefully in the future introduce legislation that would be beneficial to all motorcyclist. I know that I felt good about her being there at the swap meet, I only wish more people (in all areas of the government) would take time to learn what we are all about like Representative Angie Paccione is willing to do.
In fact on Friday before the swap meet Representative Angie Paccione left me a message on my home phone about another Legislator who is talking about writing a helmet bill – McCluskey from Fort Collins. Apparently Representative Angie Paccione told McCluskey that there is no need to write a bill. I know that Riders for Justice members have read in the Fort Collins paper that this person has said that he would write a helmet bill. Between Darrin, Lucky and me, we have been trying to set up a meeting with McCluskey to discuss this matter as we did with Representative Angie Paccione, BUT he has not returned our emails, or calls. If anyone in his area can get him in contact with us we would really like to discuss matters with him before he begins to write a helmet bill.
It is good to see that without intimidation, rudeness, and threats that we as a unified group can accomplish what we have to win over someone in the Legislature. We in Colorado are some of the luckiest motorcyclist in the nation; we have had a good ride due to the work of a few dedicated freedom fighters. It is in the best interest that everyone who rides a motorcycle educates themselves with the laws and issues that govern our way of life. If you are not a member of a rights organization, think about it, or at least educate yourself. Between those in Colorado government who want to take our freedoms away and those in the Federal government it looks like there will be great changes at least in 2006. Beware that we freedom fighters are out there looking out for your best interests!