Motorcycles & Parks. Activism

Discussion in 'The Sandbox - AKA Flatistan' started by Visigoth, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Visigoth

    Visigoth Salty Pirate

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    Dear fellow ADV riders.
    A couple of years ago I rode a bicycle into Matheson Hammocks County Park down here in Miami. The girl at the gate check point told me I had to pay $5 to get in. Seeing a sign that read "Parking: Cars $5, Buses $15", I tried to argue with her to no avail and just paid. I later found out that bicycles are not supposed to pay for parking. Big surprise. A year later I drove my 12yo niece down to the park on my R1200GSA for her to experience a motorcycle and to take a nice route. Once again, a different attendant at the park told me I had to pay $5. I pointed out, in vain, that motorcycles were not listed as required to pay to park and I told her what had happened a year before. I stuck to my guns this time and she let us in so I could talk to the administrator. The park office informed me that motorcycles do have to pay even though it is for parking and not admission. I, not being a fool, nicely asked for an official fee schedule that stated this. They told me it existed but spent the next 10 days stalling or inventing excuses not to get me the fee schedule. I spent the greater part of 5 more days talking to bureaucrats within the county and hearing varying reasons why motorcycles "should" pay ranging from "they have license plates like cars" to "we have always charged them", but no official document to back anything up. I finally got to the regional director who provided me with a link to the actual fee schedule and of course there is not a single mention of motorcycles. I thanked him very much and asked him if he could please send a memorandum to all the county parks so that they stop inventing rules and fees and follow the official decree. He explained to me that it was "understood because motorcycles are the same as cars". I pointed out that bicycles and pedestrians are understood to not pay because they are not listed and the fee schedule actually says "Cars/Trucks/SUV". Trucks and SUV's could certainly be understood to be the same as cars yet are specifically listed. He did not budge. I explained that motorcycles are fundamentally different than cars in that they even require different laws and a different license. No luck. I explained that you can park 4 motorcycles in one parking spot. No luck. I am currently waiting for a meeting with the director of the county park services to try and sit down to resolve this amicably but I'm afraid I will get the same result. If this is the case I would like to gauge interest in staging a peaceful "educate your local bureaucrat" ride out to beautiful Matheson Hammocks Park. The trip is down Old Cutler road which is one of the most beautiful rides in Miami to a great park. The plan is to simply arrive en masse on the morning of the busiest weekend day. Pay the $5 parking fee and sweetly and nicely take up one parking spot per motorcycle. We can hang out, meet fellow Sand Box riders and enjoy the view. An hour or two later we can mount up and continue the ride down to homestead Key Largo via back roads and have a beer at the Caribbean Club. I am open to suggestions on the predicament as well as the ride/action. This is going to be my second "Respect Motorcycles" activity in Florida. My first one was a year's battle to get the state to recognize and "advertise" the fact that motorcyclists do not need to have a Sunpass transponder on the bike and just need to register their plate with Sunpass. These "little" fights are important to all of us because it forces bureaucrats to recognize that motorcyclists are not to be treated as some lesser form of citizen.

    Fee Schedule:

    http://www.miamidade.gov/aopdfdoc/aopdf/pdffiles/IO4-119.pdf

    The Park:

    http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en&t...50,d.eWU&fp=f35d4ee8feccaa2b&biw=1356&bih=764

    The scene of the crime:

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. tenfiddy

    tenfiddy Demotivational Poster Child

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    Well good for you standing up to the man. :1drink
    #2
  3. newcastleadam

    newcastleadam Artful Tagger

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    Had no idea I don't need the transponder on a bike.
    #3
  4. Visigoth

    Visigoth Salty Pirate

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    You sure don't:

    http://www.amasupercross.com/viewamanews.aspx?id=1282

    This article makes it sound like I called the AMA and they got their heads together with the head of Florida tolls one afternoon and hashed it all out. The reality is that I hounded Sunpass, MDX, Florida State Troopers, The State Attourney, The Florida Turnpike Authority, and the AMA for a year before anything got done. They kept telling me that I had to keep the transponder in the static bag while on 95 and then somehow remove it when transferring to the turnpike at 65mph! Never mind that this is what they are having car drivers do in an area of fast converging lanes!

    Now, all you need to do is have your plate registered with your account and leave the dumb ass transponder at home. A few benefits:

    - No more crazy death baggy fiddling at 65mph.
    - No more transponder messing with your bike's fine lines.
    - You must now be properly recognized by the plate reading software to be billed (not as accurate as a transponder read)
    - You can no longer be tracked by anyone that sets up an RFID reader next to any road
    - You are no longer billed when using an HOT (high occupancy toll road like the 95 express lanes). They need to see your photo and notice it is a bike. Bikes can ride HOV and HOT lanes on federally funded roads for free with only one passenger. With the transponder, it would bill you and you would have to dispute because they are not smart enough to put a checkbox on the software for "Motorcycle".

    PS. I am no longer an AMA member.
    #4
  5. Bobby Ginger

    Bobby Ginger Cat Herder

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    All this for 5 bucks? Not saying you are wrong, but without an income tax the state has to collect money to be able to have parks.

    On the other side of thinks, my local beach state park charges 130 for and annual pass and 5 for a daliy pass. So i would need to go 26 times to justify the cost :huh. I just pay the 5 and FIDO.
    #5
  6. Visigoth

    Visigoth Salty Pirate

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    Bobby,

    I'm not sure you understand what I'm doing here. This is not about five bucks. This is about getting bureaucrats who have massive power over many aspects of our daily lives to see motorcycles with a little more insight, respect and education and not as some afterthought. I'm not saying motorcycles should be free but if what you are charging for is parking then there should be a tiered price for bikes just like there is for buses. If we don't assert ourselves responsibly as a group we will be ignored at best and trampled at worst. I don't know if you know about the special laws they passed a few years ago where on the third offense of the garish crime of a motorcycle with a vertically mounted plate would net you $5000 and a towed bike. How do you think that came about? How do you think that law is now gone? Certainly not by just letting it go. Now you need to take a $300 two day course to get a motorcycle license but not to driver a car. Another example is tolls. If having an extra axle in your car means you weigh more and apply more wear and tear to the road and therefore should pay more. The inverse should be true for bikes but it's not. These are the things I, personally, take issue with as a motorcyclist. I'm also, not the type that just accepts things he considers unjust or wrong. I try to make a difference whenever I can. About 17 years ago motorcycles on Miami Beach would get a ticket if not parallel parked on Ocean Dr, one bike per spot. This was ridiculous since you can fit 7 or 8 bikes in one spot. But the cops would ticket all bikes even if the meter was paid. People just allowed this for many years until we organized a ride out on a Saturday morning and took every single spot on Ocean with a single bike per spot. After doing that I walked into City Hall and they changed the statute to allow up to 5 bikes per spot. Years later I found that they switched it back to one per spot and just added a few "motorcycle only" meters with skinny perpendicular spots as a reason. I'm sure nobody did anything when this change was done so it remains today. In this park's case, a set of fees was proposed, debated, amended, and agreed upon by the Board of County Commissioners then presented to the public for comment. After the comments where taken into consideration for our Park the fees where officially enacted. Motorcycles were not listed as having to pay for parking through that entire process. The guys working at the park have just decided to circumvent the entire process we and our elected officials undertook and charge bikes. Rights need to be flexed or, like muscles, they shrink and disappear. Just look around the next time you cross a TSA checkpoint. I do, however, respect your view and your right to give them as much money as you see fit.

    PS. Our lack of State income tax is covered by the taxes on rental cars, hotels, resorts, casinos etc. The parks in question are county parks and our county property taxes are quite high.

    #6
  7. jaydee1445

    jaydee1445 Footpeg Crash Tester

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    ++2 Seems to many other issues that would be better spent fighting.
    On the flip side your efforts could screw us, we argue tagged motorcycles must be allowed on public land where cars are allowed because they both are registered motor vehicles. If you are successful in getting motorcycles reclassified you just fucked us all. :deal
    Do every one a favor pay the FEE.
    #7
  8. Buzztail

    Buzztail Nomad

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    True. If bikes are reclassified that could screw us for riding the forest, open up additional fees for riding public land because now the plate won't cut it. Keep us out of areas plate or no plate because they are not classified as "vehicles" but as some other "no pay to park, but now you have to buy this sticker to ride this area"
    Be careful what you wish for because it may just screw us all.
    #8
  9. Mugwest

    Mugwest .

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    Guess i'll play the resident Moderate / See All Sides GuyTM.

    I get the activism and hat's off for speaking up.

    I also get (and frequently point out here and there) that the lack of income tax in FL means every Fee under the sun will levied wherever it can be until doomsday. No, i don't want a state income tax. Hello, Fees! :bluduh

    Lastly, i don't show up to any Government pay-point or toll gate (local/state/Fed) on a M/C expecting Zero fee/admission/parking/pissing charge. I've just never had that expectation. Hell, when the fee for bikes is reduced from the cage fee schedule, it feels like Bonus Plan. :lol3

    The park-in protest sounds a little lame to me. YMMV :dunno
    #9
  10. Visigoth

    Visigoth Salty Pirate

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    Jaydee,

    You believe that if I request that dade county park employees follow the fees passed by the county commissioners we elected instead of their own "invented" interpretation of the rules that somehow you will no longer be allowed to use public land you pay access to when you buy your tag? I'm not sure I understand how you expect that to happen at the state level but i'm open to being educated.
    Here is the pertinent fee extracted from the official fee schedule I posted above:

    Car/ Truck/ SUV, (Amelia Earhart, Crandon, Greynolds, Haulover , Homestead Bayfront , Matheson Hammock, Parks)
    $4.67

    Bus / RV (daily)
    $14.02

    These public lands you speak of. If some local bureaucrat or cop started stopping motorcycles at the entrance and telling you that bikes are either not allowed or must pay a fee when you know it is not correct, would you just leave, or pay the fee, or do something about it? If you thought that the only thing that may ultimately help to get you back into the areas you seem to care about was to ask your fellow Florida motorcyclists for help, would you do it or just roll over and take it?

    What I am trying to do here is have them follow our rules for our land, instead of assuming they can just make them up as they go along because they are in the government. Years ago, when I was forced to pay for a title (road use tax) on my Honda CRF450R (A red sticker race bike) I was told that it was for a fund that would be used to open up new trail ridding areas all around the state. That was in 2003, they have collected millions of dollars and not opened up a single new trail. I did nothing about it when I was a director in FTR years later hoping it would still change but nothing happened. I respect your choice to do nothing but I choose not to roll over and hope all will work out. Specially when government is involved.

    If the lands you are afraid you will get kicked out of are closed to you but not cars some day. Make sure and post it here on ADV, there is at least one fellow motorcyclist that will get on his bike and ride up to help in any way.
    #10
  11. Visigoth

    Visigoth Salty Pirate

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    Mug and Jaydee, as fellow gun owners in the process of slowly but surely getting our gun rights eroded I'm surprised you are not more sympathetic to my attempt to stop bureaucrats from circumventing our rules.
    Making flash suppressors and pistol grips illegal is small potatoes in the big scheme of gun ownership but you and I both know that if you don't stand up and stop it when it starts that it just emboldens them into doing more without our consent.
    #11
  12. jaydee1445

    jaydee1445 Footpeg Crash Tester

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    Fish and Wildlife already banned motorcycles from wildlife management areas.
    We get our dual sport motorcycles in those areas because they are regstered Motor Vehicles
    Reclassifying motorcycles as their own separate class could set a precedent To allow them to keep are dual sport motorcycles out of the areas that motorcycles are already banned from.
    #12
  13. Visigoth

    Visigoth Salty Pirate

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    I understand your point. I doubt, however, that me pushing Dade County to follow it's own rules will precipitate our exclusion from state wildlife preserves. If the state does in fact decide to ban us from preserves based on a whim and not science like they did with Personal Watercraft in Biscayne Bay national park, then let me know and I will help fight them.

    Furthermore, my issue is parking, not entry. There is no entry fee in Dade County Parks.
    #13
  14. jaydee1445

    jaydee1445 Footpeg Crash Tester

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    Sometimes you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. :huh
    #14
  15. Visigoth

    Visigoth Salty Pirate

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    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"
    #15
  16. Buzztail

    Buzztail Nomad

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    This is where we seem to differ. I am happy to pay a fee to enter a park in Florida and avoid State Tax. This way If I don't WANT to enter the park I don't HAVE to enter a park. If it was free admission then that revenue would have to come in the form of an income tax, and EVERYONE would pay to enter a park wether they entered a park or not. Sorry but I can not get behind a cause that I see the potential to do harm. :nah
    #16
  17. waybill

    waybill wayward

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    This is Ga. but they're the same as Fla, i.e, not all on the exact same page when it comes to motorcycles. This one made sure they got $5. from each motorcycle, but the one we stayed at the night before didn't charge us for each bike over and above the $25. camping fee. So one night's stay was $25. for six people and another was $55., I know it's a stretch for KLR riders but jeez. :rofl


    <IFRAME src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/1791887934_TKxpxQm?width=640&height=360&albumId=22415153&albumKey=mLPHtg" frameBorder=0 width=640 scrolling=no height=360></IFRAME>

    The point is 5 bucks is cheap, national and particularly state parks are a bargain, I wouldn't rock the boat. Sometimes not having all the facts or leaving rules open for interpretation can be a good thing.

    In the next photos the game warden was positive we weren't allowed to ride in this Fla. state forest but I argued that I'd called the posted ph. number (main ranger station) and got a reference no. and the gate code to do so. Then he gets out his (thick) handbook and eventually finds the section that says no motorcycles under 60" wheelbase are allowed in there. So then we convince him that some of our bikes are slightly less than 60" but some are definitely more than that. Finally we had had him laughing real good and he just said, go have some fun. :lol3

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    I'm with Buzztail and Jaydee, will gladly pay the $5. entry and hope they stay a little confused about the status of motorcycles, a lot worse could happen.

    I'm just glad the warden pulled up after you-know-who was done humping the gate. :D

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. ineptizoid

    ineptizoid I'm scared hold me

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    THIS.

    I like the fact that my DS bikes are seen the same way as cars/trucks for this very reason...the fact that all tagged/street-legal vehicles are classified in the same category is what keeps my local wildlife mgmt. area open for me to ride in. I have no doubt that reclassifying motorcycles would mean that these areas would be closed to us. If not immediately, it would just be a matter of time.

    Hey lookit, I'm a KLR rider and fit the cheap bastard KLR rider stereotype to a T--and even I wouldn't mind payin a $5 entry fee to a state park, if that's what the cage drivers are payin. I just don't wanna pay more than they do!
    #18
  19. Buzztail

    Buzztail Nomad

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    If Inept is willing to pay a fee hell ANYONE should.. He's the Official Organizer of the ADVrider Sandbox Hooligans Anti-FEE Movement:lol3
    #19
  20. Mugwest

    Mugwest .

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    Got busy today and didn't have time to add on to my "the Park-in protest sounds lame" comment, Visigoth

    You sound savvy enough to dig the perception from non-bikers to such a stunt-- while the proactive Civic Duty heart is acknowledged and honored, i can fully see you guys Occupying the park-lot and getting some cagers to start murmuring, "There oughta be a Law against those things! Harrumph!!"

    Not as far-fetched as it might seem. Up here on Federal/DoD land with full rights and permits we are hassled every damn season by hunters with fire in their bellies about how we bikers aren't legal to be there. We win every argument with a reg-map whipped out and some judicious Pointing, but i assure you those guys want us banned. And yes, Virginia, they make calls to every Ear they can to make that happen. :nod

    We must chose wisely the hills we want to die on. Figuratively and otherwise
    #20