Stump’s Legislative News
Hello Concerned Motorcyclists,
The big topic this month is texting while driving. Thank you to Jeff Holt, Legislative Affairs Officer for D-2, for bringing this issue to my attention. On June 20th the Denver Post printed an article titled, “Hold the phone. Did Colorado just make it legal to text and drive?” The article claims that SB17-027: Concerning an Increase in the Penalty for Text Messaging While Operating a Motor Vehicle, now makes texting while driving legal in Colorado. The complete article can be found at www.denverpost.com/2017/06/20/colorado-law-texting-while-driving/. Channel 7 aired a similar segment on the nightly news on June 20th.
The bill, passed by the Colorado Legislature this year, states in section 1, subsection (3) “A person shall not use a wireless telephone for the purpose of engaging in text messaging or other similar forms of manual data entry or transmission while operating a motor vehicle.” The confusion comes in subsection (6) (b) which states,” An operator of a motor vehicle shall not be cited for a violation of subsection (3) of this section unless a law enforcement officer saw the operator use a wireless telephone for the purpose of engaging in text messaging or other similar forms of manual data entry or transmission in a manner that caused the operator to drive in a careless and imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and use of the streets and highways and all other attendant circumstances, as prohibited by section 42-4-1402.” This subsection is being interpreted as, as long as you aren’t careless while texting and don’t get “caught”, texting is legal while driving.
Upon further research on the issue, I was informed by the Chairman of the Transportation Legislative Review Committee (TLRC) that SB17-027 does not make texting while driving legal and is stated so in subsection (3). I also received the following reply from the TLRC Staff: “Senate Bill 17-027 does not make texting while driving legal in Colorado. Section 42-4-239 (3), C.R.S., still reads that “a person shall not use a wireless telephone for the purpose of engaging in text messaging or other similar forms of manual data entry or transmission while operating a motor vehicle.” The main difference is that before the Senate Bill 17-027, a law enforcement officer had to see the driver texting to issue a citation. Under the new law, the law enforcement officer has to see the driver texting and the driver has to be driving carelessly in order for law enforcement to issue a citation.”
While SB17-027 might seem to raise some confusion about texting while driving, the bill does increase the penalty from $50.00 to $300.00 and from 1 point to 4 points for a first time offense. The intent is that the increase will help curb texting while driving. Motorcyclists are especially concerned about the distraction caused by texting while driving.
ABATE’s legislative program monitors and lobbies against legislation that would negatively effect motorcyclists’ rights and safety at the State level, and partners with AMA & MRF at the Federal level. In addition ABATE supports and seeks out sponsors for legislation that would benefit motorcycling. ABATE’s Official Position Papers are located below. ABATE of Colorado has been fighting for our rights to ride since 1983.
Some of our legislative efforts:
Helmet Law: ABATE along with other involved motorcycle groups helped repeal the mandatory helmet law in Colorado.
Motorcycle Operators Safety Training: Members of ABATE were instrumental in starting a state training program, with funding coming from a self imposed additional tax on motorcycle registrations and licensing. This funding was to make training affordable and accessible to the citizens of Colorado. In 2007, ABATE proposed an amendment to the MOST statute to classify Military students to obtain the Colorado resident rate for the training.
EPA Proposed Emissions Standards: New emissions standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will cost thousands of jobs and businesses in the American motorcycling community. ABATE, along with The Motorcycle Riders Foundation and motorcyclists nationwide have repeatedly asked the EPA to consider establishing a reasonable, non-catalyst forcing emissions standard for highway motorcycles that even the smallest of bike makers can meet, while enabling motorcyclists to refine their machines to improve rideability and safety. In a nutshell, the EPA will impose rulings where you will no longer be able to modify your motorcycles, other than painting the tanks and adding chrome.
Health Care Issues and HIPAA: The federal government regulates all employer- and union-provided health care plans (with some important exceptions involving state regulatory authority). There is a provision in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which prohibits the mandate of benefits, has resulted in discrimination against motorcyclists. In short, insurers can now extend health care benefits to employees who have accidents while driving cars, while denying accident benefits to employees who ride motorcycles. It is unfair, it is discriminatory, and we are fighting it with innovations at the state and federal levels and in concert with the AMA. Colorado implemented a law against this discriminatory practice, however there remained a loophole. ABATE has worked with legislators to get this changed at a state level.
NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: The Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA) includes the federal government’s blueprint for motorcycle safety. By law,TEA is reauthorized by Congress every few years. This year, with the reauthorization of TEA looming on the horizon, ABATE and MRF have launched the most ambitious motorcycle safety agenda ever mounted in history, hence was born SAFETEA-LU. We begin by establishing accident prevention as the priority of government. That means safer riding, not safer crashing. SAFETEA-LU was passed in 2005 allowing monies to be allocated to states with certain criteria to be used solely for motorcycle safety and awareness.
COLORADO AGE BASED HELMET LAW: ABATE along with other motorcycle groups united in an effort to defeat this law. We were unsuccessful.
THREE WHEEL ENDORSEMENT: ABATE proposed a separate 3 wheel endorsement for riders unable to ride 2 wheels or chose not to. This bill was passed and became law.
ABATE’s Official Position
align=”center”>Noise issues (link to Excessive noiseâ€¦)
FREEDOM OF CHOICE ABATE supports the voluntary use of rider safety apparel and believes the right to decide belongs to the rider. ABATE does not, and will not, support mandatory universal helmet laws. The primary focus is on accident prevention, not safer crashing. Inferences that motorcycle accidents always result in head injuries are untrue. Assertions that motorcyclists generally lack insurance and therefore are a burden to the public, is also a falsehood. Motorcyclists participate in health and vehicle insurance plans and pay into the risk pools at a rate equal to, or better than, the public at-large. Motorcyclists are no more likely to rely on public funds than any other segment of the population engaged in a legal activity.
ABATE of Colorado does not condone drinking and riding. ABATE does neither sell nor serve alcohol. Over the past several years, the number of motorcyclists killed on our nation’s highways has increased. Some of these fatalities can be attributed to drinking and riding. Statistics show that the percentage of legally intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes is greater than the percentage of legally intoxicated drivers of passenger cars, SUV’s or pick-up trucks. Impaired riding is not just alcohol; drugs (even over the counter) can impair your ability to ride. ABATE urges all motorcycle riders to always ride smart and sober.
- Either an Assembly member or a Senator introduces the bill (The bill is given a number which is preceded by either ABÂ (Assembly author) or SB (Senate author).
- The bills begin in the house of origin and are heard by a policy committee (Some bills may get double referred. This means two separate policy committees will hear the bill.)
- If the bill passes policy committee, it is referred to the Appropriations committee if it has fiscal impact. If no fiscal impact, it is referred directly to the floor of the house of origin.
- Once the bill has passed all the committees, it is sent to the floor for vote by the whole membership of Assembly or Senate.
- If it passes off the floor it is sent to the other side of the house. (All Assembly bills will be heard by Senators and Senate bills will be heard by Assembly members).
- The bill will be heard by policy committees and if passed, referred to either the Appropriations committee or the floor.
- If the bill is amended in the house of non-origin and is passed off the floor, the bill will have to go back to the house of origin for the amendments to be concurred.
- Once the bill has passed both houses (and if applicable, amendments were concurred), it is sent to the Governor’s office for his signature. It is then law and will become enforceable on January 1 of the following year (unless the bill has an urgency clause which would make the bill enforceable as soon as the Governor signs it).
Know Your Legislature
This communication has no intention of being long-winded; rather it is a simple statement of what Joe Q. Citizen, who might also be a motorcyclist, can do to inform himself/herself. It’s learning a few things about the elected legislators who represent you, having them know what is important to you, as well as you knowing what is important to them.
A person might say “But I’m not political…” This isn’t about being political so much as about being informed, as opposed to being ignorant. It is very easy for a person to say among mixed company that “I don’t like this” or “I don’t want that”, and while your advocacy organization may already know this, in acting on your behalf, a more direct involvement on your part is recognized by your elected officials. The person, who inputs directly, especially as a constituent, has a great deal of personal power.
Since you are being represented by people whose job it is to establish, define, and re-define the policies that affect your daily life then it should also be a matter of course that you have some familiarity with that person’s background and the political agenda brought along with him/her.
This is Easy…
One of the best sources for finding who your legislators are and more about them is to go out on the ‘web’ to: www.vote-smart.org Based upon your state of residence in the country, the site will provide you the names and contact info of U.S. Senators and congressmen; also enter your zip code and you will then identify your local representatives. Almost all officials have a comprehensive biography you can examine. Once there, and with the contact info in front of you, why not take a next simple step by contacting them (in whatever mode you choose), state that you are constituent, and ask to be put on an e-mail contact or mailing list. Many legislators have them, and will be happy to oblige – they like to keep you informed of legislation, what they are doing, and providing commentary. You can read it on your computer in your own time at home, and can always send your thoughts by e-mail. Also, many times they will have local, informal public forums and appearances to tell you about, and you are invited to sit in and, if you choose, to input.
The point being established here, and to remember, is that legislators do take notice of who has interest. Proper and respectful communications are very important. Legislators are very busy people who try to make time to listen to their constituents; as such, they are constantly dealing with people who want something. Be also interested in them and what they are trying to accomplish (even if you don’t agree, be respectful) and you will find that they reciprocate.
Most of us are familiar with the Rolling Stones’ tune “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” You won’t get it if you don’t communicate for it, either. This is a truism in life. Choose to be a little more informed and involved…
- (55) “Motorcycle” means a motor vehicle that uses handlebars to steer and that is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground; except that the term does not include a farm tractor or low-power scooter.
- (56) Motor-driven cycle means every motorcycle, including every motorscooter, with a motor which produces not to exceed six brake-horsepower and every bicycle with motor attached, but not trail bikes, minibikes, go-carts, golf carts, and similar vehicles which are not designed for or approved by the department for use on the public roads or highways and not motorized bicycles as defined in paragraph (b) of subsection (59) of this section.
42-2-106. Instruction permits and temporary licenses
- 1 (a), who holds a valid Colorado driver’s license, and who occupies the front seat in close proximity to the driver, or in the case of a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, under the immediate proximate supervision of a licensed driver, who holds a valid Colorado driver’s license and is twenty-one years of age or older, authorized under this article to drive a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle. In addition, the parent, stepparent, grandparent with power of attorney, or guardian or foster parent, who is authorized pursuant to this section to supervise the minor driver while the minor is driving, may allow the minor, while having the permit in the applicant’s immediate possession, to drive with an individual who holds a valid driver’s license and is twenty-one years of age or older for additional driving experience, but such additional driving experience shall not count toward the requirement established in section 42-2-104. The permit shall expire three years after issuance. The department shall issue a permit entitling the applicant, who is eighteen years of age or older, while having the permit in the applicant’s immediate possession, to drive a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or motor-driven cycle upon the highways when accompanied by a driver, who holds a valid Colorado driver’s license and is twenty-one years of age or older, who occupies the front seat of the motor vehicle, or if the vehicle is a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, under the immediate proximate supervision of a driver, who is authorized under this article to drive a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle. The permit shall expire three years after issuance.
- (b) (I) A minor who is fifteen years of age or older and enrolled, attending, and participating in a driver education course that includes a minimum of six hours of driving-behind-the-wheel instruction with a certified driver education instructor and is approved by the department may apply for a minor’s instruction permit, pursuant to sections 42-2-107 and 42-2-108. Upon presentation of a written or printed statement signed by the parent, stepparent, grandparent with power of attorney, or guardian or foster parent and the instructor of the driver education course that the minor is enrolled, attending, and participating in an approved driver education course that includes a minimum of six hours of driving-behind-the-wheel instruction with a certified driver education instructor, the department shall issue the permit entitling the applicant, while having the permit in the applicant’s immediate possession, to drive a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, under the supervision of the parent, stepparent, grandparent with power of attorney, or guardian or foster parent, who cosigned the application for the minor’s instruction permit, if the parent, stepparent, grandparent with power of attorney, or guardian or foster parent holds a valid Colorado driver’s license and occupies the front seat of the motor vehicle, or if the vehicle is a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, is authorized under this article to drive a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle and is in close proximity to the driver while the minor is driving. In addition, the parent, stepparent, grandparent with power of attorney, or guardian or foster parent, who is authorized pursuant to this section to supervise the minor driver while the minor is driving, may allow the minor, while having the permit in the applicant’s immediate possession, to drive with an individual who holds a valid driver’s license and is twenty-one years of age or older for additional driving experience, but such additional driving experience shall not count toward the requirement established in section 42-2-104. The permit shall also entitle the applicant to drive a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle that is marked to indicate that it is a motor vehicle used for instruction and that is properly equipped for instruction upon the highways when accompanied by or under the supervision of an approved driver education instructor who holds a valid Colorado driver’s license. Driver education instructors giving instruction in motorcycle safety shall have a valid motorcycle driver’s license from Colorado and shall have successfully completed an instruction program in motorcycle safety approved by the department. The permit shall expire three years after issuance.
- (c) A person sixteen years of age or older who, except for his or her lack of instruction in operating a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, would otherwise be qualified to obtain a driver’s license under this article to drive a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, may apply for a temporary instruction permit, pursuant to sections 42-2-107 and 42-2-108. The department shall issue the permit entitling the applicant, while having the permit in the applicant’s immediate possession, to drive a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle upon the highways while under the immediate supervision of a licensed driver, who holds a valid Colorado driver’s license and is twenty-one years of age or older, authorized under this article to drive a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle. The permit shall expire three years after issuance.
42-2-114. License issued – fees – repeal.
- On and after July 1, 2006, there shall be a surcharge of two dollars added for issuance of a driver’s or provisional driver’s license for which a motorcycle endorsement is requested which shall be credited to the motorcycle operator safety training fund created in section 43-5-504, C.R.S.
42-4-1501. Traffic laws apply to persons operating motorcycles – special permits.
- 1. Every person operating a motorcycle shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this article, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of this article which by their nature can have no application.
- 2. For the purposes of a prearranged organized special event and upon a showing that safety will be reasonably maintained, the department of transportation may grant a special permit exempting the operation of a motorcycle from any requirement of this part 15.
42-4-1502. Riding on motorcycles.
- (1) A person operating a motorcycle shall ride only upon the permanent and regular seat attached thereto, and such operator shall not carry any other person nor shall any other person ride on a motorcycle unless such motorcycle is designed to carry more than one person, in which event a passenger may ride upon the permanent seat if designed for two persons or upon another seat firmly attached to the motorcycle at the rear or side of the operator.
- (2) A person shall ride upon a motorcycle only while sitting astride the seat, facing forward, with one leg on either side of the motorcycle.
- (3) No person shall operate a motorcycle while carrying packages, bundles, or other articles which prevent the person from keeping both hands on the handlebars.
- (4) No operator shall carry any person nor shall any person ride in a position that will interfere with the operation or control of the motorcycle or the view of the operator.
- (5) Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class A traffic infraction.
42-4-1503. Operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic.
- (1) All motorcycles are entitled to full use of a traffic lane, and no motor vehicle shall be driven in such a manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a traffic lane. This subsection (1) shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single lane.
- (2) The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake or pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.
- (3) No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.
- (4) Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.
- (5) Subsections (2) and (3) of this section shall not apply to police officers in the performance of their official duties.
- (6) Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class A traffic infraction
42-4-1012. High occupancy vehicle (HOV) and high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes.
- (1) A motorcycle may be operated upon high occupancy vehicle lanes pursuant to section 163 of Public Law 97-424 or upon high occupancy toll lanes, unless prohibited by official traffic control devices.
- 42-4-205. Head lamps on motor vehicles.
- (2) Every motorcycle and every motor-driven cycle shall be equipped with at least one and not more than two head lamps which shall comply with the requirements and limitations of sections 42-4-202 and 42-4-204 to 42-4-231 and part 3 of this article where applicable thereto.
- (3) Every head lamp upon every motor vehicle, including every motorcycle and motor-driven cycle, shall be located at a height measured from the center of the head lamp of not more than fifty-four inches nor less than twenty-four inches, to be measured as set forth in section 42-4-204 (3).
42-4-206. Tail lamps and reflectors.
- Every tail lamp upon every vehicle shall be located at a height of not more than seventy-two inches nor less than twenty inches, to be measured as set forth in section 42-4-204 (3).
- (3) Either a tail lamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate and render it clearly legible from a distance of fifty feet to the rear. Any tail lamp or tail lamps, together with any separate lamp for illuminating the rear registration plate, shall be so wired as to be lighted whenever the head lamps or auxiliary driving lamps are lighted. This subsection (3) shall not apply to neighborhood electric vehicles.
- Every new motor vehicle sold and operated on and after January 1, 1958, upon a highway shall carry on the rear, whether as a part of the tail lamps or separately, two red reflectors; except that every motorcycle and every motor-driven cycle shall carry at least one reflector meeting the requirements of this section, and vehicles of the type mentioned in section 42-4-207 shall be equipped with reflectors as required in those sections applicable thereto.
42-4-208. Stop lamps and turn signals.
- (1) Every motor vehicle or motor-drawn vehicle shall be equipped with a stop light in good working order at all times and shall meet the requirements of section 42-4-215 (1).
- (2) No person shall sell or offer for sale or operate on the highways any motor vehicle registered in this state and manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1958, unless it is equipped with at least two stop lamps meeting the requirements of section 42-4-215 (1); except that a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle manufactured or assembled after said date shall be equipped with at least one stop lamp meeting the requirements of section 42-4-215 (1).
- (2) No person shall sell or offer for sale or operate on the highways any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer registered in this state and manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1958, and no person shall operate any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer on the highways when the distance from the center of the top of the steering post to the left outside limit of the body, cab, or load of such motor vehicle exceeds twenty-four inches, unless it is equipped with electrical turn signals meeting the requirements of section 42-4-215 (2). This subsection (3) shall not apply to any motorcycle or motor-driven cycle
42-4-232. Minimum safety standards for motorcycles and motor-driven cycles.
- (1) No person shall operate any motorcycle or motor-driven cycle on any public highway in this state unless such person and any passenger thereon is wearing goggles or eyeglasses with lenses made of safety glass or plastic.
- (2) The department shall adopt standards and specifications for the design of goggles and eyeglasses.
- (3) Any motorcycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, shall be equipped with footrests for such passengers.
- Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class A traffic infraction.
42-4-503. Projecting loads on passenger vehicles.
- No passenger-type vehicle, except a motorcycle or a bicycle, shall be operated on any highway with any load carried thereon extending beyond the line of the fenders on the left side of such vehicle nor extending more than six inches beyond the line of the fenders on the right side thereof. Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class B traffic infraction
MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS SAFETY PROGRAM
- As used in this part 5, unless the context otherwise requires:
- (1) Director means the director of the office.
- (2) Fund means the motorcycle operator safety training fund created in section 43-5-504.
- (3) Instructor training specialist means a licensed motorcycle operator who meets the standards promulgated by the office to train and oversee instructors for the program.
- (4) Office means the office of transportation safety in the department of transportation.
- (5) Program means the motorcycle operator safety training program established pursuant to section 43-5-502.
43-5-502. Motorcycle operator safety training program.
- (1) (a) (I) The office shall establish a motorcycle operator safety training program which shall include courses to develop the knowledge, attitudes, habits, and skills necessary for the safe operation of a motorcycle. Such program shall include instruction relating to the effects of alcohol and drugs on the operation of motorcycles, and it shall include a course to train instructors. The office shall set standards for the certification of courses in the program. The office shall contract with vendors for the purpose of providing the program.
- (II) Any resident of the state who holds a current valid Colorado driver’s license, a minor driver’s license, or an instruction permit authorized by section 42-2-106, C.R.S., may enroll in a certified motorcycle operator safety training course.
- (b) The director may certify any person meeting the applicable standards as an instructor training specialist to assist in establishing motorcycle operator safety training courses throughout the state, in implementing the program, and in training and monitoring instructors.
- (c) The director shall designate a program coordinator to implement and administer the program. In no event shall the office expend more than fifteen percent of the total cost of the program for administrative costs.
- (d) The office shall adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the provisions of the program pursuant to article 4 of title 24, C.R.S.
- (2) The office shall begin implementation of this part 5 on November 1, 1990, or when the moneys in the fund are sufficient to pay for the costs of implementing the program, whichever is later. However, operation of courses in the program shall commence no later than July 1, 1991.
43-5-503. Instructor requirements and training
- (1) The office shall establish standards for an approved instructor training course. Successful completion of the course shall require the participant to demonstrate knowledge of course material, knowledge of safe motorcycle operating practices, and the necessary aptitude for instructing students.
- (2) Each applicant for an instructor certificate shall be at least twenty-one years of age and hold a valid Colorado driver’s license endorsed for motorcycles, which license has not been revoked or suspended within the three years preceding the date on which the application for certification is made.
- (3) No applicant shall be certified as an instructor if, within the three years preceding the date on which the application for certification is made:
- (a) The applicant was convicted for an offense which is assigned eight or more points in the point system schedule, as specified in section 42-2-127 (5), C.R.S., or its equivalent in another state; or
- (b) The applicant’s driver’s license from any other state was revoked or suspended.
- (4) The office shall prescribe the form for an approved instructor certificate and shall provide for verification that a certified instructor is currently active in the program. No instructor shall participate in the program without a current certificate
43-5-504. Motorcycle operator safety training fund
- There is hereby created in the state treasury a motorcycle operator safety training fund which shall consist of moneys collected pursuant to sections 42-2-114 (2) (b) and (4) (b), 42-2-118 (1) (b) (II), and 42-3-304 (4), C.R.S. The moneys in the fund shall be available immediately, without further appropriation, for allocation by the transportation commission to the office of transportation safety to be used for the implementation and administration of the program. Moneys credited to the fund shall remain therein at the end of each fiscal year and shall not be transferred to any other fund.
“Dedicated to Freedom of the Road” is one of our mottos; “Education instead of legislation” is another. We are not a social or riding club, although much camaraderie exits among our members.
Some people refer to us as the “anti-helmet law people” and, while that is true, it’s only one aspect of many issues we’re involved in concerning motorcycling and motorcycle rights. Motorcycling is no longer an activity that can be taken for granted. There are people, bureaucrats, politicians and organizations that have a plan for bikers/riders/motorcyclists, and we must continually be on guard. Education and knowledge about the issues is your friend; action is the key. We conduct motorcycle safety courses, educate legislators, the public and our members, fight unfair lobbying practices and work with other nations to ensure the safety of our chosen method of transportation as global harmonization materializes. We are a recognized political power! We ask you to put a value on what motorcycling means to you, and consider what you might do to keep it.
- Established a democratic organization for protection of biker rights
- Sponsored a state resolution in support of Colorado’s 10th Amendment Rights
- Opened lines of communication with freedom fighting motorcyclists both here in Colorado and on the national level
- Successfully lobbied in Washington, DC, on behalf of Colorado motorcyclists for repeal of Sec. 153 ISTEA penalties
- Helped defeat mandatory helmet legislation in Colorado
- Sponsors May as Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month
- Raised money and collected donations for nonprofit organizations
- Operates the larges MOST certified rider education program in Colorado
- Developed credibility with the community, law enforcement, media, legislators, CDOT and NHTSA
- Hosts regular seminars on motorcyclists rights in Colorado
- Supported legislation for self-funded rider education
- Works to educate riders on dangers of alcohol and drunk driving
- Worked to establish Motorcycle Veteran license plates
- Worked to ensure motorcyclists are not denied health care benefits
- Promoted a law for Military to have in-state status on rider education tuition
- Lobbied in Washington, DC for the passage of the SAFE-TEA LU bill
- Promoted and lobbied legislation for 3 wheel endorsement
- Promoted and obtained 3 wheel classes and testing
- Promotes and educates Operation Save A Life
- Promotes and educates Accident Scene Management
- Active in the NHTSA Colorado Motorcycle Assessment recommendations
- Involved in several Motorcycle Safety Committees within the Colorado Dept of Transportation
Call to Testify
(courtesy of the Colorado General Assembly)
Colorado has an open legislative process. All committee action on bills and amendments is conducted in open sessions. You may attend any of these meetings.
Once a bill has been introduced in the House (called “First Reading”), the Speaker assigns the bill to a committee for study and consideration. The committee chairman determines when a bill is to be scheduled for a hearing. Public testimony is permitted at most hearings. You can find out which committee will be hearing the bill in which you are interested by calling the Information Center (866-3055) or by inquiring in person. The Information Center and the Bill Room are located on the lower level in the Legislative Services Building. This building is across from the Capitol on 14th Street. Copies of original bills, the status of bills, and an index of bills are available in the Bill Room. The Sunday metropolitan newspapers carry listings of most of the bills scheduled for committee hearings.Hearings before the Colorado House Committees are generally informal but PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING:
Before the Hearing
- You should find out when and where your bill will be heard.
- Plan your testimony. It is helpful to have written copies of your comments available.
- If other citizens are testifying on your bill, try to work with them to coordinate testimony prior to the hearing to avoid duplication.
- At The Committee Meeting. BE ON TIME FOR THE HEARING.
- “Sign-up” sheets are usually available prior to hearings. To sign up, please see the sergeant-at-arms located in the hallway of the House Committee rooms or the committee staff in the scheduled hearing room.
- Usually, once a hearing is closed on a particular bill, no further testimony is heard. Sometimes there are large turnouts at a hearing and not everyone has a chance to speak. You may be asked if you favor or oppose the bill. You may always submit written testimony.
- Wait your turn. The chairman will announce the beginning of the hearing on a particular bill. The bill’s sponsor is usually the first speaker. After his testimony, the chairman then may ask for testimony from proponents and opponents.
- Begin testimony by addressing the chairman and committee members. Give your name and address and state why you are there. For example: “Mister, or Madam, Chairman and members of the committee, my name is John Q. Public from Lamar. I’m in favor of this bill because, etc.”
- Be courteous in your language and address.
- Be brief. Do not repeat what others have said. The hearings are informal, so be conversational.
- Do not be nervous or worried about doing something wrong. There is no right or wrong way to testify. Representatives are your friends and neighbors who are elected to represent you and they want to hear what you have to say.
- There may be questions from the committee members. Respond to the questions as well as you can. You need not be embarrassed because you do not have a specific answer.
- While sitting in the committee room, do not clap, boo, cheer or disrupt the hearing.
After The Testimony On The Bill Do not expect immediate committee action following a hearing. The bill may be laid over until another day. All committee votes are public. You may stay after the hearing on your bill and listen until the end of the committee meeting. If your bill or the vote on your bill is postponed and the chairman does not announce a date for further consideration, check with the Information Center for rescheduling of the bill.
Remember: Representatives want to hear what you have to say.
Contact Your Legislature
Many times, ABATE membership will be called upon to contact their legislators to state/voice their support for, or opposition to, legislation or bills that would affect our motorcycling interests, agenda, lifestyle, and choices. The following information is intended as your guide so that you may input and affect the legislative process by contacting your elected representatives.
How many times have you felt or thought that a proposed law or bill was unfair and detrimental to you in your life? How about a law or bill that is a positive to you? Either way, what is important is that you make your voice heard. We can talk and gripe among ourselves about things but that doesn’t take us anywhere; action is the key. In reality, your legislators want to hear from you and it is their job to listen, respond, and help you. This is not a difficult process and once you engage in it you will know how easy it is – the initial feeling of being unsure and of intimidation gives way to great satisfaction in knowing that you have done your part.
Remember: ABATE provides leadership, direction, and courses of action to our members. ABATE depends on you; you depend on ABATE – we work together to get things done.
1. Find out the names and contact information of your State senator and State representative:
- Call your county clerk’s elections office for your exact district numbers (these are higher population areas)
- Adams – 303-654-6030 El Paso – 719-575-8683
- Arapahoe – 303-795-4511 Jefferson – 303-271-8111 #5
- Boulder – 303-413-7740 Larimer – 970-498-7820
- Denver – 303-640-2351 Mesa – 970-244-1662
- Douglas – 303-660-7444 Pueblo – 719-583-6620
- Check: www.vote-smart.org (left side of the screen – enter 9-digit zip code, hit “Go”)
- Contact a political party:
- Colorado Democratic Party 303-623-4762
- Colorado Republican Party 303-758-3333
- Libertarian Party of Colorado 303-837-9393
- If you know who your State Representative in the House is, you may access them on the web (e-mail), General Assembly directory at:
- If you know who your State Senator is, access the directory at:
2. Write down their addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail addresses. Keep them handy and posted.
3. Write a letter or an e-mail (letters have more impact)
- Make it short – one page is plenty
- Address it to their home or to:
- The Honorable xxxxxxxx
- Colorado State Capitol
- 200 East Colfax
- Denver, CO 80203
- State that you live in the legislator’s district (you are a constituent)
- State your concern (pro or con, support or no)
- Give your reasoning (if you are inclined to do so); do not try to be an expert on the subject unless you are one
- Include return contact information
4. Make a phone call:
- Call legislators at their offices or homes
- Tell them your name and where you live
- Briefly say why you are calling (reference to legislation, bill #, etc.)
- Be polite – speak slowly – maintain composure
- Keep it short
- If you reach voice mail, leave a message using the same as above
- Thank them for their time
Find out who your House Representative
or State Senator is using the links below.
Find out more about the Bills and issues
facing the Colorado General Assembly
Government Sites of Interest