The rights, freedoms and lifestyle enjoyed by many have come about through the dedication, focus and persistence of advocates. Erosion of precious rights is insidious and requires vigilance, active participation and support of those who protect them. It’s easier to preserve rights than fight to get them back.
An erosion of rights which surfaces within the motorcycling world is often a harbinger of things to come for our larger society. Rider and industry associations such as the MCC (Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada), MMIC ( Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council – Canada), AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) and MIC ( Motorcycle Industry Council — US) are fierce advocates and protectors of our rights as motorcyclists – and citizens.
Although many of you are riders, the advice below is generic. Apply it to whatever your interest is. The energy you direct towards making our world better is always constructive.
9 Easy Ways to Advocate
- Participate. Get engaged in your community, whatever it is. It keeps you connected, informed and current. Sitting back and assuming others will go to bat for you is risky behavior. First of all, you need to live with the outcome, no matter how strongly you disagree. More importantly, you risk having irrevocable decisions made that affect your lifestyle and rights.
- Be a role model. If you’re a motorcyclist, this means riding responsibly, considering others on the road and in your neighborhood. Negative public opinion forms easily and is a challenge to over come. Better not to have to deal with it in the first place.
- Join an organization. There is strength in numbers. Decision makers are elected by voters and the more cohesive and larger the voice, the more likely it is to be heard.
- Get skills training. As well as keeping you proficient and safe, it provides a solid basis upon which to base your opinions. It breeds credibility and keeps you connected with like-minded others.
- Volunteer. It’s an eye-opener to realize how heavily our culture depends on the work of volunteers. There is no shortage of ways to do this, just start somewhere. The benefits extend well beyond altruism, to networking and growing relationships, gaining transferable skills and experience that are beneficial in your career. Plus it’s a lot of fun!
- Stay informed. Particularly on issues that directly affect you. Presenting research and evidence based information keeps you trustworthy. And attracts the ear of decision-makers.
- Speak up. Let your informed voice be heard both when you see positive action and when you disagree with what’s happening. Personal efforts, such as writing letters or speaking carry far more weight than passively signing a petition – which carries next to none.
- Respect others. Not everyone shares or even understands your interest, nor do they need to. What a boring world that would be. Show respect, even if it’s not reciprocated. You’re better for it. But don’t confuse respect with passivity.
- Follow your heart. If you’re going to get fired up about something, make it something you’re passionate about. You’ve got more skin in the game and are more likely to stay involved, make a difference – and enjoy it!
Do your part. A consistent, persistent and informed approach carries long-term benefits. It doesn’t take a lot and there’s lots of choice with how and where you can become involved – and make a difference.