Why I Refuse to Join The American Motorcyle Association (AMA)
I have been riding motorcycles on and off for 37 year and have never joined the AMA. At this point I have no plans to ever join the AMA. Why would I want to join an organization that spends a good deal of its time and resources in making the practice of riding a motorcycle more dangerous? Why would I support a group that considers it a job well done when the aftermath of one of their major concerns results in the death of more motorcycle riders?
Spend some time on the AMA site and their rhetoric regarding helmets will remind you of your favorite, or least favorite, politician. They are masters of the double message: "The AMA believes riders should wear all the safety gear all the time" sounds like a pretty strong endorsement for helmet use, doesn't it? Especially when you consider the results of pretty much any study of helmet use demonstrates that they reduce death rates, reduce serious injury rates and thereby reduce the costs associated with motorcycle accidents. But then the AMA gets all wishy-washy by saying they "are in favor of voluntary helmet use" and do not want "the government making the decision".
I am not aware of any auto related club that espouses the use of seat belts and at the same time works to make their use voluntary.
The AMA argues that mandatory helmet use doesn't do anything to prevent crashes. Neither does mandatory seat belt use or having a car with air bags - but both increase your chances of surviving an accident with little to no injuries and/or a fatality.
I live in Michigan. Two years ago, we changed our helmet law after years of lobbying. During the time when our elected officials were considering the helmet question, there were numerous quotes from ABATE spokespeople in various media. Now that the stats are showing the rise in motorcycle fatalities, it seems no one from ABATE has any comment.
Does any other club actually expend time, money and effort to make it easier for their members to die? Does the National Corvette Owners Club, the Porsche Owners Club, or the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) spend time and membership dues trying to get laws passed so that more of their members can be killed while driving their cars? I am not aware of any such efforts, but please correct me if I am wrong.
Why on earth would I want to join a club that wants to thin the ranks of its members?