Whether it is leading 150 motorcyclists to Helping Hands dressed as Santa Claus to deliver Christmas presents to needy children, or escorting the Vietnam Wall traveling memorial from Columbia to Aiken with more than 1,000 riders, Jim "Deuce" Bronder, president of ABATE Dixie Thunder of Aiken, is there on his 2004 Honda Valkyrie Rune, joining in with the escort.
"Getting people to change their opinions of how motorcyclists are looked at is very important to me," says Mr. Bronder. "Throughout the years we have all been looked at as people looking for trouble and now this opinion is changing." With more than a half a century of riding under his belt, the "Deuce" has seen firsthand how the public and government perceive those who ride motorcycles.
Mr. Bronder is fighting to bring motorcycle safety awareness not only to those who ride motorcycles but also to automobile drivers who need to understand how to share the road with bikers. He said one of the biggest problems is automobile drivers who fail to yield the right of way, or even worse, run over motorcyclists from behind and have minimal charges brought against them. This is just one problem Mr. Bronder is trying to bring to the attention of lawmakers.
Another issue Mr. Bronder is working on through South Carolina legislators is how unbalanced the property taxes are on motorcycles in South Carolina.
For example, taxes are 10.5 percent for motorcycles versus 4 percent for airplanes. The Deuce is also an advocate for education to help riders avoid problems such as alcohol and speeding and encourages learning the proper ways to safely ride a motorcycle.
But, as for Christmas, "seeing the faces of those children when we drove up 150 bikers strong to deliver Christmas presents and $1,350 we raised is a feeling I just can't express," Mr. Bronder says with a smile as he smooths his long white beard, just waiting for the chance to make those who are needy happy next year with a great Christmas.
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