Bikers Bravely Battle Boredom

Dozens of tattooed bikers showed up at the Capitol today to testify against a bill that would require minors riding motorcycles to wear helmets. Among the usual crowd of somber suits, men and women in leather vests and sleeveless Harley-Davidson t-shirts waited their turn to speak out against Rep. Dianne Primavera’s bill.

And they waited. It was nearly six hours after the start of the committee meeting at 1:30 p.m. before the hearing on HB 1117 got underway, and two of the first five bills were scrapped from the agenda.

Some of the bikers read, others hung out in the halls of the Capitol and still others learned more about cable television regulation than they (or any sane person) would ever care to know. The delay was caused by three hours of testimony about Rep. David Balmer’s bill HB 1222, which would make it easier for companies other than Comcast (read: Qwest) to enter cable television markets.

As representatives from both companies droned on and on, the bikers didn’t give up (note: this reporter gave up at 6 p.m.). No way were state lawmakers going to compromise the “freedom of the road.” That phrase is part of the motto of ABATE of Colorado, a motorcycle-rights organization that opposes the bill. ABATE representatives say they aren’t anti-helmet, but they object to government intrusion. They also say a bill geared towards minors is just a stepping stone to a law targeting all riders.

Brain-injury specialists and insurance lobbyists were scheduled to testify in support of the bill.

Balmer’s bill, by the way, was not given a vote in committee because it was missing a fiscal note.