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AMA News and Notes: August 2013

September 04, 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.

Protect your right to ride! Volunteering is easy, and it’s rewarding. To learn how you can help, visit us online at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Get Involved.

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You can also sign up to receive the monthly electronic edition of AMA News & Notes. Plus, you can subscribe to our various e-newsletters: AMA Extra includes a summary of AMA news, ATVA Extra includes a summary of ATV-related news and Hall of Fame Insider focuses on the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Other event specific e-newsletters go out at various times of the year. 

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            Washington, D.C.: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has introduced an amendment to the fiscal 2014 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill to prohibit funds to the Transportation Alternatives Program, and instead redirect them for a different purpose in the bill. The Recreational Trails Program derives its funding from this program.

            The RTP was created on a bipartisan basis in 1991 to provide funds to states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. Funds for the RTP come from excise taxes generated by the purchase of fuel used for off-highway vehicle recreation -- by off-highway motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and off-highway light trucks.

            Throughout its history, the RTP has proven to be very successful in helping fulfill the needs of recreationists of all types. The program currently funds recreational trails across the country at a level of $85 million annually. Losing this program would be a big loss to both motorized and non-motorized recreationists.

            In addition, RTP-funded projects attract trail users region-wide, and bring added tourism revenues to local communities.

            To take action, an AMA Alert with a prewritten script and talking points is available. Insert the appropriate zip code in the "Call Now" box to obtain the correct senators’ phone numbers.

Downieville, Calif.: Single-track enthusiasts are encouraged to attend a volunteer work day to continue constructing the Butcher Ranch Single-Track Extension project on Monday, August 26, 2013.             Contact Joe Chavez, Tahoe National Forest Trails Program Coordinator, at (530) 478-6158 or joetchavez@fs.fed.us for additional information. To attend, RSVP as soon as possible to allow the Yuba River Trail Crew time to prepare for the day’s activities.


            El Centro, Calif.: Barring legal action, about 38,000 acres will be reopened to off-highway riding in late September in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in California, which is commonly known as Glamis.

            The federal Bureau of Land Management released a final Recreation Area Management Plan and Amendments to the California Desert Conservation Area in June to guide the management of more than 160,000 acres of public land in the recreation area and another 50,000 acres surrounding the recreation area in the California Desert Conservation Area. The entire area is 40 miles long and averages 5 miles wide.

            Once released, these final decisions started a 90-day countdown for the reopening of land for riding that had been closed under a court order. Opponents of off-highway riding have indicated they will go to court to block the reopening of the public land.

            If the decisions stand, riders will have access to about 180,000 acres for riding: 127,416 acres are designated as Open OHV area and 52,370 acres are designated as Limited OHV area, meaning the number of riders allowed is restricted. Another 35,144 acres are closed to OHVs.

            For more information, go to www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro/recreation/ohvs/isdra.html.


Sonora, Calif.: Congressman Tom McClintock will be the keynote speaker at a Congressional Field Hearing to discuss the serious implications of a proposal to designate more than 2,000,000 (million) acres as critical habitat listing for the yellow-legged frog (covering 14 counties in the Sierras).

            For more information, contact the congressman’s district director, Rocky Deal at Rocky.Deal@mail.house.gov or 916-786-5560. The meeting will be held on August 6, 2013 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the Sonora County Fairgrounds, 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora, CA 95370. The meeting is open to the public.

            Denver, Colo.: This summer, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) introduced H.R. 2552, the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2013 which would inappropriately designate nearly 750,000 acres as Wilderness in Colorado. This Wilderness designation would make the land off limits to off-highway vehicle enthusiasts.

Millions of acres of public lands are already designated as Wilderness in Colorado and by a stroke of a pen, this legislation proposes to increase Wilderness by another 750,000 acres – which is 10 percent of all the federal Bureau of Land Management land in Colorado – without the input of those who recreate responsibly on that land.

The AMA needs motorcyclists and OHV enthusiasts to help to stop H.R. 2552 in its tracks. A prewritten email is available for those who want to contact their federal representative and ask them to oppose H.R. 2552.

        Payette, Idaho: The Bureau of Land Management has announced new restrictions that apply to public land next to Big Willow Creek in Payette County in order to protect the Packard's Milkvetch. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the plant a candidate for Endangered Species Act protections. Under the new restrictions approx. 5,620 acres of land are closed to motorized travel and an additional 1,620 acres will allow motorized travel only on designated trails.

            Springfield, Ill.: House Bill 1539, sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Dunkin (D-Chicago), would permit persons authorized by local authority to direct, control or regulate traffic. Aimed at making processions and assemblages safer and more efficient, the ABATE of Illinois-requested bill passed with wide support in both chambers of the Illinois Legislature. HB-1539 was sent to Governor Pat Quinn on June 19.

            House Resolution 524, sponsored by Rep. Kay Hatcher (R-Yorkville), urges the U.S. Congress to pass H.R. 875 to scientifically determine the effects that E-15 will have on internal combustion engines of all types.


            Jefferson City, Mo.: Senate Bill 282, sponsored by Sen. Jay Wasson (R-Nixa), prohibits law enforcement agencies from establishing roadside checkpoints or road block patterns based upon a particular vehicle type, including the establishment of motorcycle-only checkpoints except for commercial motor vehicles. Signed into law June 27 by Governor Jay Nixon, the bill takes effect August 28.

            Butte, Mont.: A federal judge has rejected a legal challenge to a U.S. Forest Service plan to ban motorized and mechanized vehicles in 322,000 acres of newly recommended wilderness areas in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. The suit contended that the 2009 USFS revised forest plan unfairly restricted access to snowmobiles, off-road vehicles and mountain bikes in certain parts of the forest until Congress decides whether it should become a designated wilderness area.
            The judge also dismissed three other claims from numerous individuals and organizations interested in access to wilderness. The ruling stated that the agency had fulfilled its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act.

            Carson City, Nev.: Many OHV owners are still working through the process of registering their vehicles despite a new law requiring them to do so. In fact, according to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, most owners haven’t even begun the process,

            The requirement to register OHVs has been in place since July 2012 but the state allowed a grace period that ended on July 1, 2013. The majority of the money collected from these registration fees is going directly to the development and maintenance of trails statewide.

To register the vehicle the owner must pay a $20 fee at the DMV and get a VIN inspection on their vehicles at a local qualified OHV dealer. Riders’ are encouraged to visit: http://nvohv.com/registration/ for additional information.

            Pickerington, Ohio: With voting completed for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2013, the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation is pleased to announce the inductees who will be formally elevated to the Hall of Fame: multi-time AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross champion Ricky Carmichael, multi-time desert racing champion Danny Hamel, K&N co-founder Norm McDonald, multi-time roadracing champion Randy Renfrow and Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation founders Mike and Dianne Traynor.

            Potential AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers are considered in eight categories, each focused on a specific area of achievement: Ambassadors & Industry, Design & Engineering, Dirt Track, Leadership & Motorcycle Rights, Motocross & Supercross, Off-Road, Roadracing and Specialty Competition.

            The Class of 2013 was selected by a voting procedure that included ballots cast by living Hall of Fame members, members of the AMA and AMHF boards of directors, and members of, and advisers to, the Hall of Fame category committees. The current total number of eligible voters is more than 250.

            The class of 2013 will be officially inducted on Friday, Oct. 18, during the AMA Legends Weekend in a star-studded gala at Las Vegas' Green Valley Resort & Casino, with tickets available to the general public. Also featured at the induction ceremony are two Hall of Fame Legends -- existing members of the Hall of Fame whose lifetime accomplishments are highlighted. The 2013 Legends are: Mark Blackwell, a pioneering racer in American motocross, a six-time AMA championship race team manager and a well-respected executive in the motorcycle industry; and Torsten Hallman, a four-time FIM World Motocross champion who was instrumental in introducing the sport of motocross to America and founded the Thor brand.

The AMA Legends Weekend is a fundraiser for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which is overseen by the AMHF. Its mission is to celebrate, elucidate and preserve the rich tradition of motorcycling in America. For more information, please visit www.motorcyclemuseum.org.

This is a CONGRESSIONAL FIELD HEARING, and is open to the public..
            Providence, R.I.: House Bill 5061, sponsored by Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-North Providence), increases penalties for those convicted of, or pleading guilty to, a right-of-way violation that results in bodily injury, serious bodily injury, or death to another roadway user. Championed by the Rhode Island Motorcycle Association and signed into law July 15 by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, the bill implements greater financial and driver license suspension penalties for right-of-way violations at intersections with or without stop or yield signs, for vehicles turning at intersections or within rotaries, and those involving fire companies.

Senate Bill 275, sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-South Kingstown), permits a motorcyclist to use a headset installed in a helmet and worn so as to prevent the speakers from making direct contact with the user's ears so that the user can hear surrounding sounds. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Chafee on July 15 and takes effect immediately.


           El Paso, Texas: The El Paso Police Department is reminding residents about free motorcycle safety courses; they'll continue to be offered in 2013. The El Paso Police Department’s Safe Communities unit offers its free motorcycle safety course on the first Saturday of each month. The class runs from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The class will be held at Barnett Harley Davidson located at 8272 Gateway Blvd East. The sessions are free to the public.

            To sign up for the class, those interested in participating should call the El Paso Police Department’s Traffic Safety Coordinator, Margaret Petrozza at (915) 564 7352. The remaining dates for the safety courses in 2013 are: 8/3, 9/7, 10/5, 11/2 and 12/7.


Madison, Wis.: Recently Gov. Scott Walker signed Senate Bills 29 and 32 into law. SB 29 relates to the creation of an off-road vehicle council in the Department of Natural Resources. The council will consist of seven members appointed by the governor to serve three-year terms. Councilmembers must be state residents, a member of an OHV group and be knowledgeable about outdoor recreation issues and trails used by these groups. The duties of the council include providing advice and making recommendations to the Governor, the DNR, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and the Legislature regarding trails, routes, and grants for the landowner incentive program. If the DNR secretary determines the council has not convened once during the previous year, the council dissolves.

            Senate Bill 32 adjusts the age and speed restrictions in current law when specific safety precautions are taken while operating ATVs and utility terrain vehicles. Under Senate Bill 32, an individual younger than 12 years of age will be able to ride an ATV/UTV on land under the management and control of an individual, who consents to the operation of the ATV/UTV, and if the individual is accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other designated adult. An additional component of this bill is that individuals under than 18 years of age can operate an ATV/UTV at demonstration events if it is on a closed course, the individual wears protective headgear, and they are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or designated adult.


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