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AMA News and Notes: June 2013

June 12, 2013

AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association Government Relations Department. Designed to inform motorcyclists of rights-related issues and events in the United States and around the world, AMA News & Notes welcomes your input. Suggestions and editorial contributions can be sent to AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris at nharis@ama-cycle.org.

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            Washington, D.C.: The AMA is inviting all motorcyclists to take part in a “Fuel for Thought” lobbying day on Wednesday, June 19, at the nation’s Capitol to educate lawmakers about the need to research the possible harmful effects of E15 fuel on motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle engines.

            E15 is a gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent ethanol by volume that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t approved for use in motorcycles or ATVs. Currently, E15 is approved for use in model year 2001-and-newer automobiles, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles.

           The event will begin with a motorcycle parade around the Capitol building, followed by a rally on the West Lawn. Participants will then visit their congressional delegations’ offices to ask for support for H.R. 875, which calls for new independent research.

            “It’s very important for motorcyclists who will be attending the “AMA Fuel for Thought” lobbying day to let us know that they are coming so that we can help arrange meetings with their lawmakers,” says Danielle Fowles, AMA grassroots coordinator. “That will also help us get needed information to participants, from the theoretical to the practical, such as the major concerns related to E15 for motorcyclists and where to park at the Capitol.”

            For more information about the E15 issue and to sign up for the "AMA Fuel for Thought" lobbying day on Capitol Hill, contact grassroots@ama-cycle.org or go to www.americanmotorcyclist.com.

 

           Washington, D.C.:  On May 7, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced H.R. 1861 to prohibit the U.S. Transportation Department from providing funds to state and local authorities for motorcycle-only checkpoints. The bill, called the Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act, also has language to force U.S. transportation officials to focus motorcycle safety efforts on crash prevention programs rather than national helmet mandates.

           "Current law states that highway safety plans must prevent accidents and reduce injuries," Sensenbrenner said. "The Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act would require highway safety plans to include programs that prevent accidents in order to reduce injuries and deaths resulting from accidents involving motor vehicles and motorcycles.

           "This small change will make a significant impact because it highlights that preventing accidents is the best way to save motorcyclists' lives," he said.

 

            Washington, D.C.: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute on May 30 petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to upgrade the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 122 Motorcycle brake systems (49 CFR 571.122) to require anti-lock brakes on new streetbikes in the United States. The current standard allows manufacturers to install antilock braking systems and specifies performance standards specific to ABS.

 

           Washington, D.C.: U.S. Reps. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) are serving as co-chairmen of the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus for the new 113th Congress.

           The House of Representatives formally recognized the bi-partisan caucus, which has existed for many years, for the new Congress. Official caucuses must register and be recognized at the start of every two-year Congress. The caucus is made up of members of Congress who are passionate about motorcycling and who work to promote the interests of motorcyclists.

           Caucus Member and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Vice Chairman John Duncan said, "Motorcycling is important to my district and to me personally. I look forward to continuing to work with the co-chairs and other members to highlight the need for motorcycle safety and to promote the use of motorcycles and scooters as fun, fuel efficient transportation options for many Americans."

           The CMC includes members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who are committed to advancing motorcycling and improving the safety of motorcyclists. At the start of each Congress, all caucuses must be reestablished and recognized formally by the House. This is the fourth consecutive congressional session that the CMC has been organized.

 

           Northbrook, Ill - Allstate Insurance Company’s new Facebook mapping application lets riders report road hazards. This year, the company's motorcycle safety campaign is reaching out to riders with the Rider Risk Map, an application on the Allstate Motorcycle Facebook page that lets viewers flag potential road hazards, including posting photos and comments. The interactive map of North America also lets riders plan their routes and see the road hazards other users have posted.

           In addition, through its Once is Never Enough motorcycle safety awareness program, the company has -- for each of the last five years -- donated standardized warning signs to be placed at intersections around the nation that have high motorcycle crash rates.

           The ONE program includes plans to install signs reminding motorists to watch for motorcycles in 20 U.S. cities this year, starting with the first installation in Strongsville, Ohio, outside of Cleveland. Sites of existing installations are on the Facebook app.

 

           Springfield, Ill.: House Resolution 312, introduced by Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton), urges Congress to suspend the sale of gasoline blended with ethanol at levels above E10 until motorists are better protected. The resolution cites numerous problems with gasoline containing greater than 10 percent ethanol by volume, including the potential of fueling unapproved vehicles and engines, and voiding manufacturer warranties.

 

           Topeka, Kan.: A new law that takes effect July 1 specifically authorizes the use of FMVSS-compliant motorcycle headlamp modulation systems and permits the addition and use of body or wheel lamps of any color that are visible from the sides of the motorcycle but not the front or rear. The new law is the result of the passage of House Bill 2318 that was offered by the House Transportation Committee.

 

           Proctor, Minn.: Look for more motorcycles and scooters this year on June 17th. It will be the twenty-second annual worldwide 'Ride to Work Day'. An estimated one million riders become two-wheeled commuters to help demonstrate that riding is an efficient, economical and beneficial form of personal transportation. Participant-riders are of all ages, occupations and from all walks of life.

           Over 100 American cities recognize Ride to Work Day by proclamation. According to the Ride to Work non-profit organization, commuting showcases the positive value of motorcycles and scooters for transportation. For hundreds of thousands of workers, motorcycles and scooters are an economical, efficient and socially responsible form of mobility that saves energy, protects the environment and provides a broad range of other public benefits. Motorcycling and scootering clubs around the world encourage their members to ride to work, especially on this annual day.

 

           Lexington, Ohio: AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Craig Vetter is pleased that his one-off, experimental high-mileage bike can go a long way on a small amount of fuel, but he knows it can do even better. So, on July 19, at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, Vetter will host his Fuel Economy Challenge, designed to push the energy-conserving limits of even the most fuel-efficient motorcycles.

           In the Craig Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge, competitors ride their motorcycles under real-world conditions while attempting to consume the least amount of fuel. This year, the route takes participants from the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio and back.

           The winning challenger at 2012 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days was Fred Hayes who averaged 143.6 miles per gallon on his custom bio-diesel motorcycle. His fuel cost was 1.93 cents per mile.

           Awards will be available for the overall winner, the best electric bike, the best alternative fuel challenger and the best traditional fuel challenger. Details are available at www.craigvetter.com/pages/2013-Challenges/2013-Vintage-Days-Challenge.html.

 

           Nelsonville, Ohio: The Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio now has new prohibitions meant to increase safety and protect natural resources. Forest Supervisor Anne Carey signed the prohibitions on April 30. They regulate a number of activities, including off-highway vehicle operation, campfires, camping, hunting and boating.

           For OHVs, the rules include a requirement for a spark arrester, sound limit of 99 decibels, no passengers allowed unless the vehicle is designed for passengers, no riding on Forest Service roads unless the vehicle is street legal and no shortcutting a switchback on any designated trail.

           A complete list of all the prohibitions listed under Forest Order Number WNF-14-01-2013 can be found on the Wayne National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/wayne/alerts-notices

 

           Salem, Ore.: House Bill 3310, sponsored by Rep. Brian Clem (D-Salem) and Senate Bill 541, sponsored by Sen. Larry George (R-Sherwood), would permit a motorcycle or moped to lane split if traffic is stopped or moving at less than 10 miles per hour and the motorcycle or moped operator is moving at a speed of 20 miles per hour or less.

 

           Providence, R. I.: Senate Bill 886, sponsored by Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Coventry), would provide civil immunity to landowners who allow their private property to be used for a certified motorcycle safety education program.

 

           Charleston, W. Va.: House Bill 2689, recently signed into law by Gov. Earl Tomblin, includes a provision that allows the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority to promulgate rules relating to use of the area, and is expected to result in additional types of vehicles being granted access to certain trails and areas. Some trails, which were previously restricted to ATVs, dune buggy-type vehicles and motorcycles may now allow the use of off-road vehicles, which are defined as motor vehicles that do not have low-pressure tires that are constructed, manufactured or modified for off-road driving. Under the new law, licensed off-road vehicle operators will be required to be in possession of their registration and a valid driver’s license.

 

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