I’m not much of a joiner and I’m not big on the group ride thing, so the camaraderie part of HOG membership is not a huge selling point for me. And frankly I don’t ever anticipate riding into a strange city and tracking down a HOG meeting like an alcoholic looking for AA. Call me antisocial, but that’s not in my genes.
Sure there are other benefits such as the roadside assistance (which duplicates what I already have with CAA) and preferred rates for motorcycle shipping, but in reality the only value I’d get out of renewing is a few issues of a thinly disguised Harley marketing magazine and the odd pin when I do happen to attend a signature event (which ends up in a box in a drawer with all the other assorted pins and badges collected over decades of riding).
Then I got thinking about what HOG would have to do so rejoining was a no-brainer. In my opinion, the biggest benefit an organization like HOG can bring to its members is to be an advocate for motorcyclists with politicians and business leaders who all, at various times, take advantage of bikers because we are a small community who rarely speak with a common voice.
Places to start.
Motorcycle insurance is a largely unregulated business and consequently rates are often excessive, arbitrarily applied, and wildly inconsistent between companies. Having an organization like HOG use the power of its numbers to sort through the chaff and identify the true motorcycle-friendly insurance companies out there, and perhaps negotiate group rates, would have me back in the fold, pronto.
Legislators of all political stripes, and at all levels, seem to spend an inordinate amount of time coming up with creative ways to unfairly and unreasonably target the motorcycling community. Bill 117 here in Ontario that would prevent a parent from offering a ride to their under-14 son or daughter is but one example of many. An organization representing thousands of voices (and voters) has better access to the corridors of power than any single rider.
A very few jurisdictions take motorcycle awareness seriously. If HOG and others were more active in encouraging states and provinces to use (for example) electronic highway signage to increase motorcycle awareness among the driving public, or even to advise motorcyclists themselves of highway conditions that may be extra dangerous to two-wheelers, our safety would be improved significantly.Certainly there’s a place for rallies and social clubs, but in my opinion we, the riding public, would be better served if our organizations spent more time tackling issues that are limiting access to our sport and our safety on the roads.
So let’s see now… how much bling can I get for that $60 I just saved?