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Depth of Tread: Lane Triplett

By Susan Swan

It takes more than a little honesty to move through life with humility, to welcome grace when it appears. Lane Triplett has come by humility naturally. He suspects that for one to be humble, they have to have known humiliation. And in candor he told me, “I’ve had that.”

Perhaps it’s having a wealth of experience that leaves one better able to hear another’s truth, respecting opinions even when disagreeing. Such a thing would come in handy, particularly when negotiating with legislators who make regulatory policy for riders.

A fellow Boise resident, USN retiree Eddie Pinson nominated Triplett for Depth of Tread saying, “He can talk to a Senator or Representative in the Statehouse and they will both be just as cordial and friendly as can be. He’s comfortable among the 1%ers as well as a big handful of Goldwingers or law enforcements folks.”

Depth of Tread: Lane Triplett

Sixty-six-year-old Triplett began attending meetings with the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety in 1995. “I was interested in what was going on.” A union pipefitter by trade, Lane was teaching apprenticeship classes at the time so resisted stepping into a vacated seat when asked. By 1997 he was assured that becoming a board member would permit the occasional missed meeting. He would first be the rodeo/run coordinator, then the treasurer, then both treasurer and vice-chairman. In 2007 he became the chair, remaining in that role for 11 years. In ’15 he also became the government relations officer; a position he still holds, as well as assistant treasurer.

A member of the American Motorcyclist Association since 1996, he joined the Motorcycle Riders Foundation in 2002, becoming the vice chairman of that group’s Awareness and Education organization in 2014. Triplett has served on the Motorcycle Safety Committee since 2010 and have been on the “STAR” rider education advisory board since 2015.

Idaho law doesn’t require motorcyclists wear a helmet; it’s your call from age 18 onward. It’s also up to the individual how high the ape hangers. Personal freedoms are staunchly defended in Idaho, giving rise to the moniker “the Freedom State.”

Legislation currently in committee would, if enacted, make it unlawful for law enforcement to pull a rider over because of their conveyance or riding clothes, leather, etc., vs. pursuing a legitimate, a.k.a. lawful, purpose. Legislation to end rider profiling passed the Idaho State House unanimously in February 2017 but was stymied by the State Senate the following month. It will return to the legislative floor by 2019 but a lot of work will be done in committee to assure the bill sees a vote. Triplett believes having a seat at the committee table is more useful than complaining.

He’s had good mentors, learning from the people on all sides of rider issues. But the highest tribute goes out to mentor Chuc Coulter, whose efforts will forever be a benchmark in Idaho rider rights. Because of Coulter, a retired Boise attorney now in his 80s, Triplett has been able to more clearly see his own way forward in protecting individual freedoms.

Triplett first bike was a ’71 Harley Sprint. “I had it a month before I crashed; I wasn’t much a rider then.” A ’74 and ’76 Ironhead Sportster found a home with Triplett in the early ’90s. “One I sold; the other needed to be sold.” It would be several years before he found a keeper.

In ’94, a gently-used FLT Tour Glide was for sale in Salt Lake City. Demand for Harley-Davidson was outpacing production then, making it hard finding a Big Twin at all. So with a check and one-way ticket, as he left for the airport, wife Paula pointed at her bottom and said to her eastbound husband, “Just be sure it fits this.” Three years later Paula was riding her own ’86 FXRT. By the time the Utah find left the Triplett stable it had 146,000 miles on.

Depth of Tread: Lane Triplett

A 2013 Road Glide Ultra would follow, then a 2015 Road Glide CVO. Triplett somewhat steeled himself to tell the (then) sales manager at High Desert Harley-Davidson in Meridian, Idaho, his trade-in and sale terms. It took Triplett half by surprise when the sales manager agreed.

Triplett studies motorcycle accidents: how they occur, if the rider was non-resident or an Idahoan, if alcohol tipped the scale, age and sex, solo or two-up and if the rider(s) survived. He’s working with others to produce visitor tools that get down to the grit-on-road conditions, finding the best routes for cruisers or their more nimble cousins, giving the lowdown on free-range cattle and places where wildlife asks a higher vigilance. All this is, “To do something that makes that (mortality) better,” all while serving up the best possible experience of Idaho, the Freedom State.

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