HB 1926: Safety Instructor Gear
Apparel manufacturers lobby Olympia
Who are the gear Nazis now? The National
Motorcycle Apparel Coalition (NMAC) has fired a rocket into the
Washington State Legislature by authoring and introducing HB 1926,
titled the Safety Instructor Gear Requirements bill.
HB 1926 would essentially require all
Motorcycle Safety Instructors to teach all field training exercises
wearing full gear to impress upon students the need to be geared up
and to tear down the myth that protective motorcycle apparel is
uncomfortable. The policy would not only apply to the instructor
providing the demo on the range, but any other instructors providing
training at the site. A protective jacket with CE rated armor, along
with over-the-ankle boots would be required for each. Only the
instructor providing a demo would be required to wear gloves and a
full face modular helmet, which would allow the demo provider to
communicate with others more easily than a full face helmet.
John Chrison with Elbe Motorcycle Safety Training
demonstrates the newly required gear for instructors.
Joe Gericke, current president of NMAC put
it this way - "Allowing instructors to teach in blue jeans and a
half shell helmet does not impress the importance of full gear on
students. When all there is between you and the road is the gear you
wear, that concept has to be enforced throughout the entire training
A section disallowing any type of blue
jeans being worn by students was removed from the bill as it passed
from the senate to the house earlier in March. "While it's a great
bill, it was a bit harsh when it came to student wardrobe for a
field class," said Carl Map from the Quilcene Motorcycle Instruction
If the bill is passed, the requirements
would become effective within 60 days, allowing enough time for
instructors to purchase gear, or arrange to have it provided to them
from the contractor they are working for. "I already have the
necessary gear," said Hein Goldfine, who teaches at the Glenwood
Motorcycle Riding Center in Klickitat County. "The only thing I
might add is an evaporative cooling vest for hot days."
"This could be a real boon for our store,"
notes Clem Wicken, who owns Anatone Harley-Davidson near Clarkston.
"The days of selling a customer a stage three set of pipes as an
add-on during the initial sale are long gone, but the idea of
selling them a full set of riding gear will put more money in our
register and more profits into our pockets. It's a win-win scenario
for everyone because knowing my customer is better protected while
enjoying a ride gives them a better chance of surviving a crash.
get to keep my return customer instead of losing them to a head
Wicken's words were applauded by the
entire room during a recent meeting of the Northwest Harley-Davidson
Dealers Association held at the Slate Peak Ski Resort and Spa this
NMAC and retailers would obviously stand
to profit handsomely from the bill if the tactic works. "Taking the
under-dressed factor away from field training can only benefit the
new riders and the other businesses involved," said Gericke.
One group opposing the bill is the
Washington chapter of American Bikers For Freedom. Certain
individuals inside the organization believe the strategy is a
manipulative tactic designed to increase corporate
profits. ABFF chairmen, Joe Levi, who owns a western
wear store in Omak that caters to bikers, is more than unhappy.
"I've already purchased my year's supply of leather vests and chaps
and this is going to put a serious dent in my profits. Somebody is
going to lose here and I hope it's not me."
The bill is scheduled for final debate on
April 31st at 9 am in Olympia.
To read the bill in its entirety,
let us know what you think.