If you love to ride motorcycles, you should consider becoming a volunteer in your national riders’ rights organization. FEMA’s Dolf Willigers explains why.
I’m one of the few professionals that work for you. As General Secretary of FEMA my work is advocating motorcyclist interests. Not exactly a nine-to-five job in the office. The money for my salary and expenses comes from the national motorcyclists’ organizations, FEMA has no other source of income.
The national organizations are very different in size, in the way they are organized and in their activities. Finances mostly come from contributions, although some organizations have other incomes too. But one thing they all have in common: the main part of the work is done by volunteers.
None of the organizations that are a member of FEMA, large or small, could even exist without the work of their volunteers. They are in the boards, they write articles, they give instructions on riding courses, they represent the organizations at meetings with municipalities or road authorities, they man the stands on motorcycle shows et cetera. The result is that we all do a pretty good job in advocating the rights of the riders. We’re still there, we are still a – be it small – part of the transport policy of many cities, countries, even of the European Union.
Thanks to the work of the national organizations and FEMA, roads are getting safer: motorcycle protection systems are installed on road site barriers, in many countries the feared cable barriers are banned, in many countries filtering is allowed these days, in some countries riders are allowed to use the bus lanes, road authorities pay attention to the grip resistance of road markings, potholes are repaired et cetera. All these things would not have been done, or at least to a lesser extent, without the work of the motorcyclists’ rights organizations.
Of course I can continue with all the threats and hazards that we motorcyclists have to deal with: bans to enter cities or use scenic roads, automatic driving vehicles, environmental demands, the – compared to cars – smaller decrease of road fatalities and serious injuries, costly mandatory technical inspections, just to name a few.
‘Become a volunteer and be part of that successful army of motorcyclists’ rights fighters.’
There is still a lot of work to do and then the question arises: who is going to do this? Most national organizations deal with decreasing membership numbers, which means less income and less possibilities to hire people to do the work.
At the same time these same organizations have less volunteers to rely on. The ones that are left over have to do more and more. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about: not only am I a professional, I have been a volunteer in motoryclists’ organizations for more than twenty years as well.
So next time you pay your yearly fee to your national organization, please do not only think about what your organization does for you, but also what you can do for your national organization and for your fellow riders and yourself: become a volunteer and be part of that successful army of motorcyclists’ rights fighters.
Click here to see an overview of our national organizations and links to their websites. Join the organization and/or become a volunteer!
Written by Dolf Willigers
Photography by Wim Taal