Palm Bay Resident To Be Inducted Into
Motorcycle Hall Of Fame
Palm Bay resident John “ROGUE” Herlihy is going to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota this August like he has numerous times in the past.
The difference this year is that while there he is going to be inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall Of Fame. This will be done at the annual Induction Breakfast, Wednesday, August 10, 2005 which starts at 9:00 A.M. at the Holiday Inn, Spearfish South Dakota.
The breakfast is attended by numerous important and well known people in the industry such as Willie G Davidson of the Harley-Davidson factory, Arlen Ness and other custom bike builders, Editors and representatives of the major motorcycle publications and media services, Movie & television stars, and others involved in the world of motorcycling.
Members of his family, friends and business associates will also be in attendance to see him receive the award.
ROGUE as he prefers to be called is being Inducted into the Freedom Fighters section of the Hall of Fame due to his commitment and dedication to protect the rights of those who ride motorcycles, something he has been doing for almost 40 years.
Originally from Bridgeport Connecticut he became involved in motorcycle rights when the city attempted to ban motorcycles from the city parks. He joined the Fairfield County Motorcycle Association when invited to do so by the owner of the local Harley-Davidson dealership.
The Association was successful in overturning the ban.
It was in the early 1970s when the National Highway Transportation Administration tried to Blackmail States into passing 5 laws with the threat of withholding highway funds if they did not pass 1 of the following laws a year.
The 5 laws were a Mandatory 55 Mile per Hour Speed Limit, Mandatory Seat Belt Usage, Uniform 1.4 Blood-Alcohol content, Licensing School Bus Drivers and of course the Mandatory Helmet Law for motorcyclist.
The 55 Mile Per Hour law was tried and the citizens of this country were just not going for it so then they tried the seat belt law and that did not go over to big either. Well they finally got around to the motorcycle people figuring that was going to be an easy law to pass and enforce.
Well they were wrong. Motorcyclist from all over the country started to band together to fight he law.
The Connecticut Motorcycle Rights Association was formed and Rogue joined that organization.
The organization was run by Donald “Pappy” Pittsley with the sponsorship of the Connecticut Motorcycle Dealers Association. Rogue became good friends with Pappy. Pappy’s job was to work through the legislature. Rogue’s was to put on Helmet Law Protests. He became very good at doing that and was soon assisting other states in doing the same.
Lou Kimzey the editor of “Easyriders” motorcycle magazine contacted Rogue and asked him to start writing about what was going on around the country.
Lou Kimzey and “Easyriders” editor Keith Ball got together with motorcycle rights leaders through out the country and started the organization ABATE. Rogue was one of the founding members of that organization. There are now 2 chapters in Brevard County.
The motorcyclist in Connecticut were successful in getting a Mandatory Helmet Law Repeal bill passed by their House and Senate. The Governor at that time was Ella Grosso. She stated to Rogue, that she was afraid of loosing Federal Highway Funds if she signed the bill and if he could remove that threat she would sign the repeal.
Rogue and others appeared before the Federal Transportation Sub-committee in the Nations Capitol and when Rogue explained he was from the Constitution State and he wanted to know when the Federal Government started condoning Blackmail and Extortion you could have heard a pin drop.
The chairman told Rogue you better have a good reason for asking that kind of question to which Rogue told him what Ella said. He also stated he had seen the letter to her from the Federal Government. The chairman wanted to see a copy of the letter and one was there the next morning and presented to the committee. Rogue was talking away until the chairman told him he could stop. There is No Sense Beating A Dead Horse he was told. We had WON. Money would not be withheld from states not passing these laws. This allowed all the states with pending legislation to repeal the mandatory helmet laws. Ella was good to her word and signed Connecticut’s Repeal Bill. The State to this day does not have a Mandatory helmet law for those over 21.
Shortly after repealing Connecticut’s Helmet Law Rogue moved to Melbourne and opened a motorcycle shop on US1 with his friend Ted Hinman who was already living here. He, Ted & Connie, Big Mac & Judy, Jerry Perkins, John Dean and a host of others started Spacecoast ABATE. That organization was successful in getting a repeal bill through the House and Senate of the Florida Legislature only to be Vetoed by Governor Bob Graham who had previously given his word to Not Veto The Bill . Many years later the state of Florida decide to give motorcyclist over 21 the right to decide what was best for them providing the had medical coverage.
Rogue is still very active in fighting for motorcycle rights and is a lifetime member of the American Motorcycle Association (AMA), ABATE of Florida, and Harley Owners Group (HOG). It should be noted that HOG is not a legislative group but Harley-Davidson does suggest its members join the AMA. He is also a member of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and BRO. He is a past certified motorcycle safety instructor with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
After working many years as a motorcycle mechanic, Director of Research and Development for Melbourne motorcycle manufacturer American Motor Works and later supervisor of numerous departments in another local motorcycle manufacturing company American Quantum. He now is on Social Security and stays busy with his company Rogue Motorcycle and Event Photography in Palm Bay. He also does product testing and research and development for numerous companies in the motorcycle field.
Rogue will be riding his 2004 Harley-Davidson motorcycle to Sturgis, South Dakota this year. He has 2 other motorcycles that he assembled himself He laughs when he says “I may be good at a lot of things but I can still only ride one motorcycle at a time”.
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