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The American Motorcyclist's Association, Washington State and YOU!

How Individuals and Clubs Benefit

If you or your club are not members of the AMA, you are missing out on some good benefits and more importantly, legal protection as it relates to your club events. Read on and get versed in the values AMA provides both nationally and locally.

But first let's look at a scenario that could happen to any club in the state. In this case it's the imaginary Puget Riders (or your club) right here in Washington.

It's a beautiful August day and the Puget Riders are out for their annual ride around Mt. St. Helen's. The group of fifteen riders have just come down the southeast side of the volcano on FR25. The group is riding tight together and enters into a signed 15mph turn at 25 mph. While the first four riders successfully execute the turn, Newbie Neal leans into the turn head first and unsure of himself, grabs the brakes and immediately feels his bike slide out from under him. The bike sails across the road and 25 feet down into a ditch where it's totaled. Neal slides into the nearest tree, tailbone first and is now paralyzed from the waist down. The two riders behind Neil go down as well. Neal's family now files a lawsuit against the club, i's officers and attempts to put leins on anything they can get their hands on. One of the other downed riders is preparing a lawsuit against the club as well. One of two results could occur here.

a) The Puget Riders have been together for 3 years and just ride for fun. No one ever took the club seriously even though they have a full on website, officers, and collect membership dues to make T-shirts and other fun stuff. But now the legal bills and headaches are mounting, their attorney is under qualified to deal with a motorcycle related lawsuit, but since he's a friend of the club vice president he's been enlisted. Things are looking grim in the courtroom and on the members' home fronts.

b) The Puget Riders formed three years ago. At that time they chartered the club with the AMA. For this ride they took out the regular one day event insurance policy, like they do with each scheduled ride. AMA has assigned the club a professional attorney who is skilled in motorcycle lawsuits. Because the club had all its legal ducks in a row before the ride and the lawyer was well versed in these cases, the case was dropped, the club lost nothing and the legal fees were paid through an AMA event insurance fund.

Which do you choose? A or B? My money is on B and I'm sure yours would be to.

Chartering A Club

The reality is that of the100 plus clubs in the state, 85% are not currently chartered with the AMA and are operating at a high level of risk that is not worth the trouble should something disastrous happen. Is your club in this category? Over the years we've seen a number of clubs develop in the area with full websites, officers, membership fees, fund raising events and so forth. These activities make that club a living breathing entity in the eyes of the law, but many don't take out event insurance and have little resourse in the event of a disastrous incident.

To charter a club with AMA it's fairly simple and inexpensive. Here's a simple cost break down for a cruiser or sportbike club of 50 members. Under this scenario we assume you'll have 6 rides during the year.

table BORDER CELLSPACING="1" CELLPADDING="7" WIDTH="443"> Expense Cost AMA National Charter $35 AMA District 27 Charter (Washington State) $20 Event Chartering $120 AMA Insurance Policy (6 one day events at $117 each) $702

TOTAL COST $887

Annual Cost Per Member (based on 50 members) $17.74

Rates vary by event types and depending if your club is on-road or off-road and specifically what the event is.

To charter your club with AMA you have two options. You must charter nationally and for an extra twenty bucks you can charter it locally too. National chartering means all your events are included in the AMA calendar listings on their website and in their monthly magazine. Chartering locally means your events are listed in the local Calendar book and you have a pool of other local clubs to draw from for wisdom and support.

One of the critical parts of chartering your club is that you will have the opportunity to take their risk management workshop held every November. Its here you'll learn the protocol for running your events in a safe and fun manner and how to keep the legal beagles at bay.

Getting an individual membership

In order for a club to be chartered by AMA, ten of your members must be individual AMA members. Chances are there are people in your club that already are. To become an individual member you simply visit www.ama-cycle.org or call 1-800-504-6262 (1-800-JOIN AMA). The annual fee is $39 and comes with a host of discounts that will easily pay for the $39 if you utilize them.

Some of the benefits include:

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  • Local dealer discounts
  • Vision care discounts at Pearle and Cole Vision Centers
  • Car Rental discounts with Hertz, National, Alamo and Avis
  • Motorcycle insurance discounts through Progressive
  • Towing through AMA's MOWTOW service
  • Lodging discounts at Red Roof and Super 8
  • Motorcycle Rental discounts at Eagle Rider and Cruise America
  • Discounts on the International Motorcycle Show and many AMA events including superbike and off-road races.
  • You also get a subscription to American Motorcyclist Magazine which provides not only information about places to ride and upcoming models, but puts a spotlight on state legal issues involving local motorcycling laws.

    There are many other benefits to an AMA membership to mention here, but you can find them all listed on the national website.

    District 27 - Washington State

    AMA's local chapter, District 27, is made up solely of volunteers. They have been very good people to work with over the last few months as we've been preparing for Sportbike Northwest. They also put on some great events like the Highland Fling which is an annual Poker Run through the South Sound area and Dinosaur Days which is done in conjunction with the Tacoma Ducks. These events are very well run, with locally chartered clubs helping out. The Fling has been a staple since 1985 and raises the money the district needs to operate each year.

    In addition they run a number of competitive off-road events state wide. More information is available through their website (linked below).

    Some of the clubs chartered locally with AMA include CMA, The Tacoma Ducks, Royal Checkmates, the Vintage Motorcycle Enthusiasts and the Skagit Motorcycle Club.

    Will yours be next?

    TM/Spring 03


    To learn more about the AMA visit these links:

    AMA National http://www.amadirectlink.com

    AMA, Washington State www.amadist27.org


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