A few days ago I was at a public bike event and witnessed an ABATE member wearing an enlarged spread-eagle ABATE logo in the center of the back of his vest. Above that, a large rocker proclaimed “ABATE”, and one below said “Ohio”. He told me that just the day before, his wife used a computer program that navigates a high-tech sewing machine to embroidery it. He was a relatively new rider who was also new to anything concerning this lifestyle, and thankfully I caught it in time to tell him what I’m about to tell y’all...
ABATE of Ohio is NOT an “MC”, meaning that it is NOT a Motorcycle “Club” of any kind. But it IS a motorcyclist’s organization, and a “Not for Profit” corporation which IS respected and honored by individuals, other organizations, and motorcycle clubs nationwide. Most clubs even allow their members to have “dual” membership in ABATE in addition to their club membership, simply because we are NOT a club and our legislative efforts directly benefit everyone. And clubs who have been around a while also know that we are not in any kind of competition on any level. We are in fact, non-biased towards clubs in every sense of the word, and recognized as being such. ABATE is (as a group) even a member of a separate organization called NCOM (National Coalition of Motorcyclists) that is a nationwide umbrella organization bringing together motorcycle groups, clubs and associations to work together. We’re also (as a group) a member of the MRF (Motorcycle Riders Foundation). In fact, we’re hosting their national “Meeting of the Minds” this September. We have also worked closely with, and shared information with, the COC (Confederation of Clubs) and we were invited to be a member of THAT organization, but declined simply because we are not a club and would never want to be regarded as one. In short, ABATE is accepted by everyone, and considered by all to be completely neutral. All that being said (and bear with me here), our ABATE patches, our name, our logos and/or our graphics of any kind, are to be worn proudly, but never to be displayed improperly (specifically, in the center of the back).
As an explanation to WHY I’m saying all this, and as more or less a cautionary warning to anyone who might not realize it: Protocol and tradition dictates many things regarding patches, pins, and symbols on motorcycle clothing. It’s VERY important to MCs (Motorcycle Clubs) that only patches of motorcycle clubs are EVER worn as a “center” patch on the back of a vest, jacket, or “cut-off” (a denim jacket with the sleeves cut off worn over top a bike jacket primarily to display patches, pins, and awards). This insures that there is no confusion about our NOT being a club. And the only “rockers” ever to be used regarding ABATE are the small “points” chevron type rocker patches usually worn on the front, sides, or sleeves representing awards from our “Points Program”, NOT a larger rocker stretching across the back above and/or below a “center” patch.
Trying to word this as tactfully as I can for the sake of those who never knew this, and these days there are MANY people who though they may have ridden for a long time, simply might not have: These traditions are held to be VERY important and almost sacred to members of clubs, not only to show pride in who they are, but to proclaim “turf”. Breaking them could initiate a confrontation that might become very dangerous to a person’s health under certain circumstances (this is NOT a laughing matter, so stop it).
There might also be a few younger or newer riders who ARE members of MCs who have never even heard of ABATE simply because the world of “clubs” is constantly evolving. Therefore, let’s not add to any confusion THEY might have by inadvertently and/or wrongfully giving the false impression to anyone that we ARE a club by displaying our patches and name improperly according to “MC Code”. And I don’t even want to talk about those “Sons of Anarchy” shirts! THAT is none of MY business LOL.
But ABATE and its members are. I just don’t want to see anybody hassled or hurt because of a simple mistake in customary biker “decorum” that could have been avoided if someone would have only told them about it. So, that being said... for this month,
There are many newly fromed organizations that do not understand the rules and methods let alone the obligatory meeting with the coalition for recognition.
With new members coming in it's important to keep them informed.