Motorcyclists share concerns over profiling, autonomous vehicles and fuel with lawmakers

(SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Illinois News Network) — Bikers took to the capitol in Springfield on Wednesday to talk with their lawmakers about issues including their safety and their rights.

A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education, or ABATE, represents motorcyclists.

ABATE of Illinois Legislative Coordinator Josh Witkowski said one of their chief concerns is curbing profiling.

 “We’ve seen in other large bike events like Daytona Bike Week where law enforcement is instructed to stop, talk and potentially search anybody wearing a vest,” Witkowski said. “That’s a problem for us. It’s a civil liberties issue. It’s a First Amendment issue.”

Bobby Isaacs from West Frankfort, Illinois, said profiling bikers is a big problem.

“Just because we wear vests, we’re not gang members. We’re club members,” Isaacs said. “It’s bad when we have guys that stop at Walmart and people pick up their kids and hold them away from them just because they have a vest on. It’s not right.”

Witkowski said the group is working on legislation to ensure police don’t single out bikers based on what they wear.

Another issue motorcyclists talked with legislators was autonomous vehicles.

Barbara Isaacs said as a small-statured woman who rides motorcycles, and as someone who survived being hit by a car while on her bike, she thinks the proliferation of self-driving cars would put bikers in danger.

“Having cars that don’t have a human being in it to watch for a motorcycle or even watch for pedestrians or bicyclists, that is very concerning,” she said.

Bikers also want access to low-ethanol fuel blends.

“We want to make sure that at least we have E10 available and even E-zero, which is really prefered by our motorcycles,” said Dianna Rebechini, of Northville.

Rebechini said motorcyclists always feel welcomed by their legislators.

Witkowski said the day is also important to remind other drivers on Illinois roads to watch out for bikers and not drive distracted.