ABATE of Idaho
ABATE of Idaho is an Idaho SMRO (State Motorcyclist Rights Organization). Our objectives are:
- To join the general public together in an effort to stop unreasonable and unfair legislation and practices that diminish the rights of the motorcyclists of Idaho
- To end the discrimination experienced by motorcyclists
- To organize and conduct seminars, conferences, research, discussion groups, and publications on the subject of motorcycle rights
As found in our Bylaws,
“the purpose of the organization is to form a political, educational and charitable group, to promote motorcycle rights, awareness, education, freedom of choice legislation and to provide a more favorable environment for motorcycle riders and the communities in which they reside. ABATE seeks to eliminate laws and perceptions that infringe upon motorcyclist rights, and preclude proposed legislation that may infringe upon those rights …”
Although we attempt to work with other SMROs in Idaho, at times our objectives differ. As Bree says below, “There is a big difference between motorcycle rights and motorcycle safety, and many times the two don’t go together.”
ABATE of Idaho is dedicated to freedom of the road, just like it says on our logo. We embrace the original conception of ABATE: A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments. Over the years, ABATE groups in other parts of the country have watered this down to things like, American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education, American Bikers for Awareness, Training & Education, American Bikers Advocating Training & Education, and others — versions that detract from the original meaning in an attempt to be less “confrontational”. That’s not us.
History of ABATE in Idaho
ABATE in Idaho has a long and storied existence intertwined with other Idaho SMROs including ABATE of North Idaho, and much of this history record has been pieced together by old accounts and word-of-mouth tales. If anyone reading this has any other information or corrections that need to be made, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABATE of Idaho evidently came into being as an entity in 1977 in Blackfoot, Idaho, not long after the formation of the ABATE parent organization. According to incorporation records at the State of Idaho, it was listed as “inactive” as of November 31, 1981. It was re-activated as A.B.A.T.E. of Idaho April 21, 1989, but officially dissolved in 2006.
By the late 1980s, there were several chapters of ABATE of Idaho (called “districts” at the time). Evidently because of some differences of opinion in the mid-1990s ( ’94-’95), the ABATE chapter in Coeur d’Alene broke away and formed ABATE of North Idaho, taking along most of the other established chapters.
In early 2009 ABATE of Southern Idaho was formed (see the history below) and was incorporated as an LLC on September 21, 2009.
In 2015, because the original ABATE of Idaho organization was no longer, ABATE of Southern Idaho changed its name to ABATE of Idaho, and incorporated as an LLC on May, 18, 2015.
The History of ABATE of Southern Idaho
By Bree “Queen” Walker (from the May/June 2013 ABATE of Southern Idaho Desert Wheel newsletter, edited slightly)
Many have asked the question of how ABATE of Southern Idaho (ASI) started and why. With having the History of ABATE news article done last month by Ken, and the Jim Adams Memorial Rides happening in April and May, I felt it was a good time to answer the questions many have asked, or, at least some of them.
Jim Adams and I moved here to Idaho in 2006 from the Puget Sound area of Washington, south of Seattle area. While in Washington, we had been very active in the South King County Chapter of Washington ABATE for years, so one of the first things we did when we came to Idaho of course, was to get hooked up with an ABATE chapter here. We searched but found nothing in the Boise area, so, we continued our support with the Washington ABATE and settled in to our new life here.
During the first couple years, I was still doing real estate in Washington state, so my time was split going back and forth. The other thing I found missing in this area was a biker apparel shop. During the time I was back and forth to Washington, my Idaho friends started asking me to pick them up things from the leather shop in Washington, and then they started joking with me about opening up one here. My response was “I do Real Estate not retail, how about you open one up!” Well, as you all know, Cruisin’ Biker Wear came to pass, out of pressure, born in the garage at my home. Little did I know that ABATE of Southern Idaho would also be born in that same garage a short time later.
Shortly after opening Cruisin Biker Wear (CBW) people started asking about my ABATE patch and wanting to know where was the ABATE in Boise area. Then they started asking us to get one started here. Having just started the shop up, and working 18 hour days to get it going, I said I had no time to even think about it much less do any-thing about it. The questions started to turn to “please”. “We’d been involved in ABATE, we knew what it was all about, we had the connections, who better to get it going?” About that time Kimi Williams, who also was active in ABATE in Washington, moved here and so we started to do some research.
We found there had been an ABATE of Idaho, and still is in Eastern Idaho, but, it wasn’t really active. We did contact them about maybe “rebooting” it, and starting a chapter here off of theirs, but, there wasn’t much interest in doing that. We then located and contacted ABATE of Northern Idaho and had meetings with them. Our intent was really to just try to get a chapter going here for ones that were interested, and help guide them a little. Well, that plan never was able to happen as there were several things that were troublesome. One that really concerned me was the name.
As you read about the History of ABATE in the last month edition of Desert Wheel, the name ABATE stands for A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments. Some of the ABATE organizations decided to change that to American Bikers Aimed Towards Education. While education is always a good thing, it had nothing to do with, and still doesn’t, the reason ABATE came to be. We also wanted the focus to be legislation, and there was very little legislation going on at the Capitol here in Boise. We heard comments such as “well, we don’t need to worry about that because we don’t have a helmet law” and other excuses, but we know if one does not stay diligent and on top of legislation all kinds of laws, rules and rights violations can happen while one is asleep.
So, one night Kimi, Jim, Bryan Snider and I had a session out in the now “infamous” garage and ASI was born. The next few weeks, we worked until early morning hours getting Bylaws put into place, and obtaining a meeting place. Our first meeting took place in October of 2009, and we had our 50 charter members! Yes, not everyone was happy about us being here, but there obviously was and still is a need. There were attempts to stop us from starting the ABATE here, very aggressive ones, but we continued on knowing the numerous supporters there were for it and we couldn’t turn back now. Many times it would have been so much easier to just not do it, but, where was the protection for the community? Who would take it on? So, we stood strong and carried on.
There is a big difference between motorcycle rights and motorcycle safety, and many times the two don’t go together. Sometimes motorcycle safety does infringe on rights, and one has to be so careful to remember that. We knew we would never put the organization in a position to take money from federal funding either, as that always comes with a price, as we have seen. You take money for your cause, the payoff is sometimes to promote something that goes against your beliefs.
Jim was the ASI Coordinator, Kimi the Secretary, I was the Treasurer and we nominated and elected others to fill the other board positions. In May of 2010, tragically, the community lost one helluva man, ASI lost one helluva Coordinator, and I lost the love of my life, my partner, my everything. It was a devastating blow in so many ways, how does one go on and finish every-thing Jim had started out to do? I wondered if ASI would pull through, as much as I struggled, I had lost my will in so many things, and I couldn’t bring it back. Thankfully, Scott Ward our Deputy Coordinator stepped up to the plate to move into Jim’s position. It wasn’t an easy decision for him, but he did it because he knew how important it was to keep it going, all the hard work that had gone into it, and what it meant to Jim. Yes, we struggled for a time, but as we kept reminding each other, stay the course, remember the reason, and remember what we are accomplishing. We are a voice for the community, a presence at the Capitol, we have started a job that we need to keep doing. We did survive, we are strong, and we are a committed bunch.
Now every year, we stay on top of new legislation that comes up, and as we did this year, we bring up things that need to be addressed, i.e. the need to change motorcycle registration to staggered versus annual (bill S1007). We stay in touch with and work on having good rapport with our legislators and do our best to make sure we keep our community from having rights infringed on! It’s nice to walk into the Capitol every February, and have the recognition of who we are, the compliments of “Wish more people would take the time to talk to us about their issues like you folks do,” and the exhilarating feeling it is to talk one on one to our representatives. That is our Black Thursday Motorcycle Rights Day at the Capitol, and every year we get more leathered bikers to stand with us! Let’s not wait until there is a helmet bill, or a noise ordinance or some other freedom taking law, we need to let them know we are here, we care about our rights and we are watching!Below you will find links to additional information about the organization.