INTRODUCTION to the MRF White Papers Volume 3
by Teresa Hepker, Editor
At last year’s Meeting of the Minds, Rick Gray facilitated a White Papers Workshop with several goals in mind: get feedback on how the White Papers project was being received by “the folks in the trenches,” generate ideas for the next issue, and stimulate attendees to get involved in submitting articles for publication.
Rick explained that the intent of the White Papers is to provide MOTM participants with a publication to take home that would be useful on several levels. It is clear now that back issues are in demand throughout the year, by people involved at all levels of the motorcyclists’ rights movement. Copies of the White Papers are available through the MRF office in Washington, DC, and back issues are available for purchase at this year’s MOTM.
Workshop participants were enthusiastic and encouraged continuation of the project. When it came to the brainstorming part, the ideas started flying. We ended up with a list of subjects three pages long. As editor, I found the discussions to be extremely helpful in determining what direction to take with Volume 3, and I left the conference with renewed energy.
All of the articles in this volume address, in some way, the requests and opinions that surfaced during that session. To lead off, “Crazy Paul” Ecochard sets the stage with a historical prelude in “Motorcycling and Political Involvement: The Early Years.” Charlie Williams takes up the tale where Paul left off, with his saga, “The Next Era: A Helmet Law History.” Their views down Memory Lane will prove nostalgic for some, and an eye opener for others. (Paul’s contribution was inspired by the MOTM workshop; Charlie had already published a slightly different version of his article in the MRO newsletter in his home state of Oklahoma, and revised it for this publication.)
Further on, Drew Avery gives us a list — “A Bibliography of Helmet and Motorcycle Safety Studies.” We hear about “The Studies” in newspaper articles, legislative hearings, rumors and TV reports. Anyone who has tried to track them down knows what a job it can be. Drew is into Studies. He’s been collecting them and cataloging them for quite a while, and this summer he’s been working with the MRF office in Washington, DC to establish a research library. Drew’s bibliography is a major piece of work, since he not only researched authors and titles, but has taken the time to acquire a copy of each of the articles that are listed. (Drew contacted us after reading about the White Papers project in the MRF Reports.)
Next, in “Head Injury with Helmet Use,” Greg “Doc” Trojan discusses the anatomy of the brain, mechanisms of head injury, and how helmets can and cannot protect a person from harm. He explains some of the medical terminology in layman’s terms, and adds to the store of knowledge we need to address the attacks we endure from a medical community that suffers from tunnel vision when it comes to motorcycling. (Doc’s contribution materialized on my fax machine one day.)
That same tunnel vision is being chipped away at from another angle. Many of us are familiar with Slider Gilmore’s “Two Wheel Trauma” presentation, which has been offered at a number of national and regional gatherings of motorcyclists. Anita Bailey contributes her article, “Donorcycles? Changing Stereotypes Through Two Wheel Trauma: Educating Riders, EMSs, and the Public.” She, Slider, and Frank Prowant have been working together for a number of years to not only better prepare motorcyclists to save lives in emergencies, but to educate the medical community about the unique conditions they will encounter in a motorcycle crash situation. Check out her article for the details. (I asked Slider during the last MOTM if he would provide an article, and he delegated the task to Anita. Nice work!)
In the White Papers Volume 2: Mike Lewis, author of “General Research,” should be credited as a member of ABATE of Maryland.