By: Steve Johnson Road Guardians
It is here once again – my favorite time of year, well, next to riding season. I really enjoy the holiday season, which kicks off with family gathering for Thanksgiving – a whole day of enjoying everyone’s company and a great meal. We all have our own traditions. The one thing I see in common for most people is that it’s spending that precious time with the ones we love.
That sharing of community continues through the month of December as everyone gathers for their Christmas parties. I always have several biker celebrations to attend as well; it just goes to show how much we care for each other as a community.
It is the similarity of the biker community and family that got me thinking this month. I know many of us feel they have two families – their birth family and their biker family. You often hear the message sent to the civilian populations that bikers raise the most money for charities, do the most for their communities and the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there is something wrong with this; however, what happened to “Charity begins at home”?
On a recent Saturday, I was out at the Road Guardians Compound when a couple of bikers stopped into to see what we were about. We talked for while about Road Guardians and our Accident Scene Management Classes. They shared that they have organized some fundraisers for downed bikers and for biker’s children that have medical needs and wanted to know if we would be interested in working with them. Now that got me thinking, I’m not saying raising money for a children’s hospital or a toy run is a bad thing, but why not support our own community – the biker community. Within our biker family, we have many people with great needs that we can have a great impact on a local level.
Along that same thought, we have many groups that give directly back to bikers. Road Guardians does this by supporting our Accident Scene Management Training to teach bikers to saves lives and reduce injuries at the scene of a crash. Rescue Riders is out on the front lines every weekend supporting riders and keeping everyone safe. Your local State Motorcycle Rights Organizations (SMRO’s) like ABATE are on the forefront directly benefiting bikers by activities such as fighting for motorcyclist’s rights to going in to driver education classrooms and teaching new drivers why bikers drive the way they do in traffic and asking them to share the road with motorcycles.
With the economy affecting every organization today we need to, as a community, support ourselves. Recently, I read a touching story in the newspaper. A motorist from Canada stopped and pulled his pickup truck to the side of the freeway to help two stranded women fix a flat tire. The story comments that, “Nowadays, nobody ever really stops to offer their help.” My thought was, ”Really? A biker would stop – you never leave someone stranded.” Granted, now you often stop to find out they just pulled over to make a cell phone call or check email but you stop and check if the person appears to need help. As a side note: gas stations are a good place to make calls and check emails – not the side of the road.
Anyway, back to the story in the paper. After he changed the tire for the women, they all got back on the road. Less than a quarter mile down the road, the pickup truck pulled to the side. The women, thinking he forgot something, pulled to side as the man’s wife was waving frantically saying,” I think he is having a heart attack.” The women, who were trained in CPR, jumped into action and saved his life. What a great story about doing the right things, isn’t it? I just had to share it. It also shows the value of getting the lifesaving skills our Certified Road Guardians possess, with being CPR certified they also have our Accident Scene Management Basic and Advanced training in motorcycle trauma. Not all Road Guardians currently have the training necessary to become certified but we hope all Road Guardians strive to reach that level some day.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that charities outside of the biker community are not worthwhile, they are. What I am saying is time and time again, I see great completely volunteer run organizations in our biker community struggle to keep their doors open and the lights on. Like any volunteer organization, I have seen ninety five percent of the work is done by five percent of the members and more and more often these days, it is that same five percent that are personally carrying the financial support of the organizations. It does not take a business major to see that this model cannot survive without the support of those they serve. It’s time for our community to change this trend by taking a moment to give back to their organizations. Road Guardians membership is only twenty dollars a year yet the benefits reach far beyond the discounts and recognition membership provides. Please take five minutes, right now, to be sure you are one of the bikers who puts community first. www.roadguardians.org. Go to Connect/Road Guardian Membership and join or renew your membership now.