Call to Action
Abate of Pennsylvania
July 27, 2008

Action Needed:  Although rather lengthy, please read the below to familiarize yourself with the situation.  We need the assistance of everyone who this e-mail reaches.  Our goal is to:

A:) Fill the Public Safety Committee meeting with as many bodies that will fit.  (If you can attend and/or are willing to testify, please confirm o above e-mail so we have an idea of what we are working with.).  The hearing on the proposed Social Burden Resolution will be held @ 4:00 pm

B,) Jam the County's communication system with e-mails, calls and faxes.  (Drozd is the bad guy, Burn is the GOOD guy and most all of the other Public Safety Committee members are with us, so please be nice to them.)  If your e-mail is returned, that means we have done well.  Please do keep resending until the hearing is over.

C.)  Nip this in the bud.  We want to end this at the Committee meeting.  Not only does that send a strong message locally, but a victory here does assist those who will have the fight after us.  We need numbers to do so.  The more, the merrier.

D.)  Ultimately, the supreme goal is to convince Council that if they really are interested in saving lives, then work with us.

E.)  Show what a force we can be when we present a united front.  Please take a few minutes and zap out an e-mail or two or fifteen.  Also, please pass this on to all in your address book.

F.)  Last, but not least, hit Drozd from all angles.  His personal e-mail is  And his home office telephone number is 412.364.1600.  On behalf of motorcyclists in Pittsburgh and in lands near and far, I wholeheartedly thank you.

Proposed resolution would deny publicly funded health care to motorcyclists.

On 13 June, a University of Pittsburgh press release announced the forthcoming publication of a new study claiming "Major Increase in Head Injuries Noted after Repeal of Pennsylvania's Motorcycle Helmet Law." in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The authors, Drs. Mertz and Weiss claimed, "Even after accounting for increases in motorcycle registrations that occurred during this period, a 32 percent increase in head injury deaths and a 42 percent increase in head injury-related hospitalizations, raising concerns about motorcyclists' safety and the impact of this trend on health care costs."  A full-blown public relations circus accompanied the release, resulting in sensationalist media coverage throughout the state and across the nation.

The curious timing of the release, two months before the study's publication, was revealed on 22 June, with the release of The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee's report, "Motorcycle Injuries and Fatalities since the 2003 Repeal of the Mandatory Helmet Law." The official government report found that the fatality rate has remained IDENTICAL and major and moderate injuries, along with the crash rate, have actually DECLINED! The state report also addressed the Pitt study, noting that "it did not determine incidences of helmet usage in motorcycle head injury deaths and hospitalizations," even though that data is available.

Disregarding the findings of the state report, Allegheny County Councilman Matt Drozd (who, not coincidentally, requested the Pitt study) introduced a resolution calling on the state to re-enact a mandatory helmet law. Meeting vocal opposition from motorcyclists, Drozd amended his resolution to maintain freedom of choice, but deny public health care funding to any motorcyclist involved in a  crash resulting in head trauma which could have been prevented by wearing an approved helmet. The Drozd resolution was referred to the Public Safety Committee, which will meet to discuss the measure on 31 July.

Committee Chair Jim Burn (one of the good guys) has gone above and beyond to encourage bikers' participation in the Committee's deliberations, scheduling the meeting to make sure it does not conflict with the Sturgis rally in August, and we plan to turn out in force. (Although these committee meetings are generally not open to public comment, he invited "as many as we care to bring" to speak in support of our position.)  In the meantime, Council--and especially Councilman Drozd--needs to hear from the broadest possible spectrum of motorcyclists. We request your assistance by letting Council know your thoughts on discriminatory government actions that penalize motorcyclists in the name of public safety while completely ignoring the widely recognized hazards which actually cause m otorcycle crashes and kill bikers every day.

You can contact Councilman Drozd at

The general email address for County Council is:

Council's phone number is (412) 350-6490, and faxes can be sent to (412) 350-6499.

Thanks in advance for you help, and
Live to be Free!

Lynn M. Wesley
Assistant State Legislative Coordinator, ABATE of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State Representative, Motorcycle Riders' Foundation

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