ABATE Boycotts Pooler

A motorcycle mix-up is pitting bikers against the City of Pooler. And the bikers say they're done for good. The American Bikers Active Towards Education--or ABATE--had hoped to have a rally this past weekend. When Pooler officials said they didn't have the proper permits, the bikers found another place to rally.

But yesterday, they informed the city that from here on out, bikers will be boycotting Pooler businesses and functions.

A couple dozen people turned out Monday at city hall to show Pooler they're not kidding. Junkyard Jackson and other ABATE members put Pooler on notice they're not doing business there any more.

And they're spreading word online that other motorcycle groups shouldn't either. "They probably don't think they'll notice it, but area businesses will," said Jackson.

The problems started last week when Pooler notified ABATE that it didn't have the permits it needed to run its annual Run to the Sun rally for bikers bound for Daytona's Bike Week.

"Their poor planning becomes Pooler's problem," said Mayor Mike Lamb. "I think we did everything we could, we could not do what they wanted us to do at this time without breaking the rules ourselves."

ABATE had asked the city to hold a special council meeting to give them the permit, but the city didn't want to set a bad precedent. "Our city attorney said, 'You open the door this time, you will open the door on every item that comes up, no matter who they are and what kind of event or item is,'" Mayor Lamb told us.

The bikers don't buy that excuse, though, and say they're being unfairly profiled as a gang. "Bikers are not a bunch of scumbags riding Harleys," said Jackson. "We are business people, family people."

ABATE members were able to scramble and hold a rally on private property this weekend, but organizers say they didn't have nearly as many people show up as they would have if they'd been able to hold it at the Oglethorpe Speedway as planned.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com