Several hundred motorcyclists in biker gear rolled into the statehouse Thursday. The men and women with the motorcycle activist group known as ABATE were in Des Moines for their annual lobbying day.
State coordinator Phil McCormack of Clear Lake says ABATE is fighting a bill that would license all-terrain vehicles as motorcycles and let ATVs on the road.
“We are against it. ATVs are not designed for highway use and they would throw ATVs in the statistics of motorcycle crashes if they were licensed that way,” McCormack said. This year, ABATE helped stop a bill to require helmets for cyclists under age 18.
The group is also lobbying for a bill to allow motorcycle dealers to display their wares at biker rallies. McCormack noted that most years it’s too cold to travel on motorcycles for lobbying day, but some bikers did brave the open air this year.
McCormack earned the nickname “Bullets” after an incident last year. “Evidently, you don’t carry bullets in your jacket in the capital,” McCormack said with a chuckle. “They caught it on the scanner, so they kind of threw that name on me last year. I took them out to my truck. I didn’t have my gun…just some extra bullets in my pocket.”
Governor Branstad signed a proclamation Thursday recognizing March as Motorcycle Safety Month.