What came first, the A.B.A.T.E. acronym or the definition?
Given the wide range of A.B.A.T.E. definitions that vary from state-to-state, yer editor suspects that the term "abate" was adapted first, then justification was attempted by trying to make the letters stand for something.
After doing a web search on New Year's Day, Rot Path found that there is considerable inconsistency state-to-state and providence-to-providence in defining what the letters in "A.B.A.T.E." stand for. Here's a partial list:
A Brotherhood Active Towards Education - (Colorado)
A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments - (Easyrider, Florida, Maryland, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin)
A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education - (Illinois, Iowa, Nevada)
A Brotherhood Aiming Toward Education - (Oklahoma)
A Brotherhood for Awareness, Training and Education - (South Dakota)
Alaska Bikers Advocating Training and Education - (Alaska -- duh!)
Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education - (Delaware, Pennsylvania)
American Bikers Active Towards Education - (Georgia, Louisiana)
American Bikers Advocating Training and Education - (Virginia)
American Bikers Aim Toward Education - (Wyoming)
American Bikers Aimed Toward Education - (Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Washington)
American Bikers Aiming Towards Education - (North Dakota, Ohio, Utah)
American Bikers for Awareness, Training and Education - (Minnesota)
American Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education - (California)
Arkansas Bikers Aiming Towards Education - (any guesses?)
[Editor's note: Notice how Florida and Washington can't seem to make up their minds -- they each got two definitions.]
Now as interestin' as all this might be, it wasn't until a Canadian A.B.A.T.E. web site was visited that some of the background story began to emerge. Seems that the folks at Easyrider magazine decided in the 1960's that bikers, the public, and legislators needed educatin' about motorcyclin'. Easyrider were the ones who came up with the term "abate" and if you were paying attention as ya eyeballed the definitions you'll have noticed they defined it as "A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments", same as we use here in Oregon (which sure beats the one Rot Path won't use when we're at the Capitol).
A.B.A.T.E. is a not-for-profit organization. In Oregon, A.B.A.T.E. stands for A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments, which isn't nearly as subvesive as it sounds. It means that we act as legislative watchdogs to help ensure that any legislation affecting motorcycists is fair and that elected officials are fully informed regarding motorcycle issues.
* We are not a motorcycle club or gang. Instead, A.B.A.T.E. is a not-for-profit organization devoted to raising member and public awareness about motorcycle issues and safety through education and community involvement. We also raise money for organizations that represent motorcyclist's conerns such as BikePAC.
* It doesn't matter what brand of bike you ride on. We are not a manufacturer-specific organization. All are welcome: bikes, trikes, on-road or off, riders, passengers, or non-riders.
* You don't have to ride a motorcycle to belong to A.B.A.T.E. Many of our members just enjoy being around motorcyclists. (We're just that wonderful.) And they feel that the social and legislative issues we're working on are important to their community.
So scan through our newsletter. If you like what you read, check out the Chapter Meeting listing on the back cover. Drop in on a meeting and see what we're about. You just might find a new family in A.B.A.T.E. And as Melinda says: "Bikers give great hugs."
* with permission, from the February, 2002 ABATE of Oregon newsletter