Deputy Director

Awareness Rallies and Crashes
By John Reblin 

Wow the summer is in full swing, the Hummer is done for the year and all those that planned and coordinated that event are taking a couple days off and starting to think about next year. I am sure if you have any comments or questions most of these people will be found at your land keeping it trimmed up and ready to use for the membership. Thank them when you see them. As for the 4th of July, celebrating the original "we just want to be left alone" people. It was a great day in the city where I live. Huge parade, everyone patriotic, giving the veterans the welcome home they deserve. Makes me proud of this area and the support we show.

If you have ever gone to ABATE of Wisconsin's Officers' Training or any of our State Events or talked to an ABATE Officer we always recognize that the Region Rep is probably one of the hardest working people in our organization. It takes a special person to guide anywhere from 4 to 30 plus people at a meeting: informing them, motivate them and making sure everything is done within our bylaws and procedures. Throw in some regional events, membership drives and raffles (you know the money stuff) and that person that accepted the Regional rep job is now a "small business" manager. He/she is looking at some responsibilities that s/he may have not considered when they agreed to step up for the position. Hopefully he has some great help to get though some of these things, people he can trust and help him with the hard decisions. Sometimes, depending on the region size and help available the region rep is alone like trying to herd cats and directing members to achieve a goal. A small business owner and the region rep are paid about the same: a few zeros on a check but that is all. They are doing it all for something they believe in. Please support your Regional Rep when you can - they are doing much more work behind the scenes than you think.

Following a recent crash, I got an email from a person asking a couple different things starting with how to get people to drive paying attention not with their heads not in their butts. Let's start off with the awareness part, any member that has been around a while has heard about or participated in our awareness rallies. Sure, some regions don't have the time or manpower maybe to set one up. But that does not mean the tools aren't there for membership to do it. We make available yard signs, banners, and bumper stickers to raise this awareness. Pick a day create some signs and pick a corner and stand raising awareness at a busy intersection. Write a letter to the editor or a filler article for the local paper. About motorcycle awareness. All these are fairly easy to do and take a short amount of time and effort. If you want to spend a little more time or effort become a Share the Road instructor: it's probably one of the more rewarding things you can do, if you have the slightest skill and ability to walk into a classroom with a bunch of kids and teach one of these classes. Take our Share the Road course "on the road" to local business or community groups and show the older drivers how to watch out. Share the experience within the region and maybe get another one or two people interested willing to help out reaching more students.

As far as following a right of way crash, some are comfortable with doing it - others not so much. I do get emails asking for help or if I can check out something. I can help as much as I can, unfortunately most are some distance away so my help is usually by email. Therefore my first response back is, did you talk with your District Director? If a right-of-way crash happens in the region bring it up at a meeting or talk with your rep and see what they think, feel them out. If they don't feel comfortable or don't have the time offer to talk to the police and check into it. Get copies of the crash reports, they cost a couple of dollars and see what they have to say. Look at the site at about the same time of day and see what you think happened. Take time, make an appointment with the Chief or someone at the Police or Sheriff department and talk to them about the case and ask questions and explain our right of way bill. After the 11 years or so I still hear of police not having heard of our right of way bill (ACT 466) and the importance of this ticket being written.

Do not interfere with the police investigation but get a feel for it. Watch to see what charges are brought up, and if you don't think they fit call or send an email to the authorities and ask, can change the charges. Again, the educational factor of Share the Road training being used. By no means are we investigators or police but we can offer experience that can influence a decision. Some of these cases take time to complete. The same as the region rep the police seem shorthanded and have many things going on. A good investigation takes time by the time the math and site information is completed. Share the information you have heard with the region and explain why you feel it is important to you and gather more interest. Take the time if you have it to go to the court case showing support for the rider. Wear your ABATE of Wisconsin gear and let them know that if you hit a rider they are being watched that the consideration or punishment is equal.

The region gets stronger by members giving back to it in an informative way. Conversations and participation is a big start.

Reblin, John. "Awareness Rallies and Crashes." ABATE of Wisconsin Newsletter Aug. 2017.

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