Yes that part is true as well Kris, I wrote an article for the press register here in Mobile so perhaps it will get published. Here is the article in it's entirety
Motorcycle Legislation in Alabama
Happens by Accident
Motorcycles have always been popular in south Alabama and for good reason. They are inexpensive to a large degree, cheap to operate and fun to ride in a place where the riding season takes only the smallest of breaks. Our state government though believes in leaving motorcyclist alone when it comes to laws, no meaningful legislation regarding motorcycling has been passed since the early to mid nineties. That piece of legislation caused about 2 million drivers license holders in this state to earn a motorcycle endorsement even though they never intended to ride. This has the adverse affect of causing federal funds that may be directed to us to be lost because the motorcycle accident to licensed rider ratio is skewed since there are only about 126,000 registered motorcycles Alabama our neighbor to the southeast Florida have a little over 800,000 licensed riders and 650,000 registered motorcycles.
Speaking of licenses every driver in this state if they are new to driving must take both a written and a driving exam before you can be licensed, If they are a teen they must obtain a learners permit, unless you ride a motorcycle. If you ride a motorcycle you simply take a written test and ride off into the great intersection in the sky, oblivious to that truck that is about to run you over. A fellow rider friend of mine compared riding a motorcycle to flying a helicopter without leaving the ground, both hands and both feet must all function together, since he was an Army pilot during Vietnam, I figured he knew what he was taking about. Currently the state will accept course completion from a HS Drivers Ed course, but will not accept one from it’s own motorcycle safety program, even though the instructors are certified through a nationally recognized motorcycle safety organization. (MSF)
Helmet law in Alabama occurred in 1967 and has not progressed much more than that although there was new legislation passed in 1980 requiring motorcyclist to follow the code written in 1967 fun stuff huh? Oh yes the Director of Public Safety shall publish lists of all protective headgear which have been approved by him or her according to the code of Alabama and try as I may I can not find this.
Tax, tax, tax today we hear it more and more and we hear politicians promise no new taxes only to hide them in legislation in other ways or forms. If you own a motorcycle in Alabama thanks to legislation passed in the early 80’s you pay 5% higher rate for your tag than you do for your car, motorcycle owners who have been riding for any length of time know this and have tried unsuccessfully to get us placed into the same category as cars. Motorcycles after all take up less space on the road have a smaller footprint than most cars, pays the same amount of tax on gasoline at the pump as car drivers do.
The State Safety Coordinating Committee was established in 1965 the membership in this group is varied but has the Governor as chair, the Director of Public Safety, the Director of the State Department of Transportation among others and a person appointed by the Governor for a term of four years from the state at-large. These people could effect legislation for motorcyclist, but feel an antiquated helmet law is all we need. Things such as motorcycle rider education and Motorcycle Awareness campaigns have not been addressed or likely to be considering the groups current feeling for motorcyclist.
Dixie ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) of Alabama was formed in 2009 and is a motorcyclists' rights organization dedicated to preserving individual freedom and promoting safety. We fully support rider training, including safety and educational programs, as well as motorcycle awareness education for all automobile drivers for more info www.dixieabate.org
Is a Member of Dixie ABATE
MSF Rider Coach with the Alabama Motorcycle Safety Program