School board: 'Leave the bikes at home'

AMA members and other active motorcyclists in Crisp County, Georgia, are working to reverse a policy that prevents students from riding motorcycles to the local high school.

The issue arose when the principal at Crisp County High School denied a student's request for a parking permit because he wanted to ride a motorcycle to school. The principal then went to the school board and the board passed a policy banning students from riding motorcycles to the high school, even though students have been allowed to do so in the past.

Also, the policy does not apply to faculty and staff, who can ride to the school.

The ban didn't seem right to AMA member James Musselwhite, himself a 1962 graduate of the same school.

"It kind of made my blood boil," he said.

Musselwhite and other motorcyclists in Crisp County are working to overturn the ban. One of those is Jim George, the president of ABATE of Georgia, who happens to live in Crisp County, a small, rural county in south-central Georgia. Both Musselwhite and George spoke against the ban at a subsequent school board meeting.

"The school principal made the statement that this policy was not discrimination," Musselwhite said. "A motorcycle in the state of Georgia is the same as a car, with all the same regulations. And we feel it is discrimination."

Musselwhite said he has talked personally to the members of the school board to try to convince them the policy should be reversed, but he's fighting an uphill battle, even though some of the board members ride motorcycles themselves. That other riders would go along with such a policy was the biggest surprise, and disappointment, to Musselwhite.

"In cases like this, the best approach is grassroots action," said Terry Lee Cook, the AMA Government Relations Department grassroots manager. "Local elected officials pay attention when their neighbors, the people who vote them in and out of office, let them know they're doing something wrong. And that's what motorcyclists in Crisp County are telling their school board."

The AMA will continue to work with local motorcyclists on the issue.

Source: American Motorcyclist Association

Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story