Letter to the Editor: Bikers, a call to action

3 mins read

The Maine Legislature is attempting to pass a Motorcycle Helmet Law (LD453) that would require all motorcycle riders and passengers to wear helmets. This bill was presented by Rep. Beaudoin of Biddeford and sponsored by Senator Bowman of York and Representatives Briggs of Mexico, Casavant of Biddeford, Connor of Kennebunk, Goode of Bangor, Pratt of Eddington, Tuttle of Sandford and Valentino of Saco.

I bought my first motorcycle in 1958 and I have owned half dozen motorcycles since then. It is my experience that most motorcycle accidents result from one of three causes: a rider acting irresponsibly, an inexperience rider, or an automobile driver not paying attention to the motorcyclist – usually at an intersection.

The United Bikers of Maine and the Maine Motorcyclist Political Action Committee have addressed the first two causes by supporting legislations requiring motorcycle safety training for all new bikers. There are only five states in the country that require motorcycle training and Maine has led the way.

The results have been positive. In 1998 there were 25,000 licensed motorcyclists in Maine and that year there were 15 motorcycle fatalities. In 2008 there were 50,000 licensed motorcyclists in Maine and last year there were 16 fatalities. Statistically this is a 50 percent decrease per capita in motorcycle fatalities. Of these 16 fatalities we do not know how many were the results of head injuries, neck and spinal cord injuries, blunt trauma or internal injuries. The belief that motorcycle helmets prevent accidents is false, and the jury is still out on the question of helmets actually increasing the chance of neck and spinal cord injuries.

The United Bikers of Maine, the Motorcycle Political Action Committee and most all of the biker groups in the state believe that we should “EDUCATE NOT LEGISLATE.”

The motorcycle community can be a powerful voting block in this state. Most of us have influence with many non-riders, community organizations and commercial businesses that we support. We must all become politically active to protect our right from legislators who are philosophically opposed to bikers and wish to legislate against us. We must note these legislators and oppose them at their next election.

Riders and non-riders alike please immediately contact your state legislators and voice your opposition to LD453.


Spring is here and the start of our season on the road. Ride heads up bros – there are potholes, frost heaves and sand on the road. Slow down, ride safe.

William Gilliland
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