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AMA News and Notes: September 2013

September 05, 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 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that demand for ethanol-related fuel probably isn't enough to meet the requirements of federal law and changes may need to be made next year. In a regulatory announcement released Aug. 6, "EPA Finalizes Renewable Fuel Standards," the agency said that for 2014 "the ability of the market to consume ethanol in higher blends such as E85 is highly constrained as a result of infrastructure- and market-related factors. EPA does not currently foresee a scenario in which the market could consume enough ethanol sold in blends greater than E10, and/or produce sufficient volumes of non-ethanol biofuels to meet the volumes of total renewable fuel and advanced biofuel as required by statute for 2014. Therefore, EPA anticipates that in the 2014 proposed rule we will propose adjustments to the 2014 volume requirements, including the advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel categories."

            The AMA has repeatedly expressed concerns to government officials and federal lawmakers about possible damage to motorcycle and ATV engines caused by the inadvertent use of a new ethanol fuel blend called E15, which is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline by volume. None of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in use is approved for E15, and its use can even void manufacturers' warranties.

            Ethanol is essentially grain alcohol produced from crops that is mixed with gasoline to produce an ethanol-gasoline blend motor fuel. In October 2010, the EPA approved the use of E15 in model year 2007 and newer light-duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). Then, in January 2011, the EPA added model year 2001-06 light-duty vehicles to the approved list. No motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles are approved for E15 use.

            El Centro, Calif.: User fees at Glamis will increase starting Oct. 1, the Bureau of Land Management recently announced. Costs of managing the site, officially known as the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, have climbed over the past decade, while visitors and revenues have fallen steadily since 2007, officials said. The fee hike will help fund emergency medical services, law enforcement, search and rescue, and facilities maintenance.

            Weekly fees will increase $10, to $35 for those purchased off-site and $50 for those purchased on-site; season permits will now cost $150, a $60 increase. The new fees will help close a $1.5 million budget gap, said Neil Hamada, the dunes manager. The agency already has cut non-emergency services, including clean-up days, off-highway vehicle registration events, outreach and education events, and safety courses.

            Irvine, Calif.: The new Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic eCourse is now available for $19.99 on the MSF’s homepage. The interactive three-hour eCourse is designed to promote lifelong learning in a convenient, informative online format and incorporates photos, graphics, video and more to provide participants with the basics of motorcycling with an emphasis on personal safety and responsibility.

            The eCourse can be completed on its own as a stand-alone program or taken in conjunction with the updated-for-2014, hands-on Basic RiderCourse. Designed to complement and reinforce the content in the updated 2014 BRC curriculum, the eCourse is beneficial for new and experienced riders alike. It helps new riders decide whether or not motorcycling is appropriate for them, and it prepares them for their first ride in the formal, hands-on training provided in the Basic RiderCourse.

            It also helps riders who are looking for a safety refresher to improve their current riding strategies. The eCourse outlines key safety concepts to promote responsible riding and risk-reducing behavior. It allows users to repeat segments at their convenience and provides end-of-segment knowledge checks that ensure the user understands the material addressed.

            Initial concept testing indicated the program communicates well to prospective riders, while also renewing fundamental safety strategies for experienced riders. Upon completion of the course, students receive a certificate.

Irvine, Calif.: David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will be the keynote speaker for the 2013 Motorcycle Safety Foundation/ifz International Motorcycle Safety Conference. Co-sponsored by MSF and the Germany-based Institute for Motorcycle Safety, the two-day event is scheduled for Oct. 16–17, 2013, and will be held in conjunction with the inaugural American International Motorcycle Expo in Orlando, Fla. 

In addition to Strickland’s address, MSF-specific presentations will include initial observations from the MSF 100 Motorcyclists Naturalistic Study, data from the MSF/NHTSA Discovery Project and details on the updated MSF Basic RiderCourse. Additional topics to be addressed include safety technology and initiatives, rider characteristics, crash analysis and personal protective equipment. Panel discussions will accompany the presentations.

            The MSF expects approximately 300 attendees at the conference, consisting primarily of the international traffic safety research community, representatives from traffic safety schools, as well as executives and engineers from the major motorcycle manufacturers, other academics, plus the motorcycle trade and enthusiast media.

            Sacramento, Calif.: Senate Bill 234 has been signed into law by Gov. Brown after being approved by the Senate on a concurrence vote of 38-0. Previous law established rules for the operation of OHVs (including specified requirements governing the operation of recreational OHVs), and prohibited a recreational OHV operator from allowing a passenger to occupy a separate seat location not designed and provided by the manufacturer for a passenger.

            The new law makes these provisions applicable only to recreational OHVs of model year of 2014 or later. For model year 2013 or earlier, the legislation allows seats that are installed in a separate seat location not designed and provided by the manufacturer for a passenger to be occupied if the occupant of the seat is fully contained inside of the vehicle’s rollover protection structure at all times while the vehicle is being operated.

            The new law, which takes effect immediately, also defines occupant handholds, and would require these handholds to be designed to allow the recreational off-highway vehicle passenger to exit the vehicle without interference.

            Twentynine Palms, Calif.: Rep. Paul Cook’s (R-Yucca Valley) plan to create the Johnson Valley National Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area picked up important support recently when the Twentynine Palms City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the plan. According to the resolution, “such a loss of land for recreation would be a catastrophic loss for a region that relies so heavily on tourism and recreation business.”
The City of Twentynine Palms joins a growing numbers of localities that have voiced their support for the measure. Among those passing resolutions in support of Rep. Cook’s proposal include the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors, the Town of Apple Valley, the City of Hesperia, the Town of Yucca Valley, San Bernardino Associated Governments, and the Homestead Valley Community Council. Originally introduced as a stand-alone bill, the legislation since passed the House of Representatives as part of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). The Senate will consider it this fall. 
            Rep. Cook’s proposal would withdraw the Johnson Valley OHV area for the purposes of recreation and designate it as the Johnson Valley National OHV Recreation Area. The withdrawn area would be designated specifically for recreational uses, including but not limited to off-highway vehicle use, camping, and hiking. U.S. Marine Corps activities would be permitted to take place twice annually and could not include any explosives that could be left behind without detonating. 
A member of the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps.


            Springfield, Ill.: House Bill 1539, championed by ABATE of Illinois and sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Dunkin (D-Chicago), creates a program administered by the secretary of state to set standards and establish training for volunteers to become certified motorcycle road guards. A motorcycle road guard would have the authority to stop and direct traffic during a motorcycle group ride if certain conditions were met. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill into law on August 16, with an effective date of January 1, 2014.

Trenton, N. J.: A piece of legislation named after Washington Township’s Nikki Kellenyi, who died in a 2012 crash, has been signed into law. Nikki’s Law, advocated by Kellenyi’s family, orders the installation of signs throughout the state to remind drivers not to text and drive. Kellenyi’s parents, Mike and Gina, recently started People Against Distracted Driving, or PADD.

            Pickerington, Ohio: Members of the AMA, the country's largest sanctioning body of amateur motorsports competition, now have access to a new online portal for amateur race results.
            AMA Race Center, available at http://results.americanmotorcyclist.com, offers a number of enhancements to previously available online motocross results. Although still in beta, the system features several exciting features, including results and advancement points for all classes, cross-linked results by rider or track; rider performance charts; upcoming events; speedy performance; a comprehensive search function; and an easier-to-navigate user interface.
            AMA Race Center includes results for all AMA-sanctioned motocross, Arenacross and ATV motocross races as soon as those results are delivered from the individual event promoters. The platform also includes enduro B-to-A class advancement points.
            AMA Race Center is accessible at http://results.americanmotorcyclist.com. Feedback can be provided by sending an email to amaracecenter@ama-cycle.org.

            Pickerington, Ohio: AMA Congress is the rule-making body for amateur motorsports and recreational events sanctioned by the AMA. It is made up of elected representatives from around the country. Each year, AMA Congressional Delegates meet to debate, modify and vote on rule proposals and changes for the AMA Rulebook.

            The 2013 AMA Congress Proposals are available online for viewing. AMA members are invited to review them and provide any feedback by contacting their AMA Congressional Delegate.

            Monticello, Utah: The Bureau of Land Management is seeking the public's input on a proposal by Monticello to host and guide the 2013 San Juan ATV Safari. This three-day adventure provides world-class riding and needs support. Riders in Utah are being asked to take the time to send the BLM an email supporting the Special Recreation Permit (SRP) for this annual event. The EA is available for public review and comment on the Environmental Notification Bulletin Board (ENBB) at: https://www.blm.gov/ut/enbb/index.php; search for project name "ATV Safari."

            Salt Lake City, Utah: Three roads in the Deep Creek Mountains in Utah's west desert will be re-opened under a settlement over disputed claims of road ownership across federal lands.

The agreement, which follows years of litigation, allows motorized traffic on three roads between June and November. Environmental groups had challenged the state, contending Utah was trying to claim every path or lane in the desert as a right of way.

            Under the recently announced settlement by officials for Utah and Juab County and a number of environmental groups, the federal government agreed to reopen Granite Canyon, Toms Creek and Trout Creek roads in the Deep Creek Mountains. Utah and Juab County took responsibility for removing downed trees to make the roads passable and agreed to help BLM rangers enforce other driving restrictions in the area.

            The final settlement agreement awaits approval by U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell in Salt Lake City.

            Wenatchee, Wash.: On September 13, trail advocates and recreation managers will gather at the Wenatchee Community Center for the Washington State Trails Caucus. The Washington State Trails Coalition will host the one-day meeting to provide an opportunity for networking and idea sharing among members of the state’s diverse trail community. 

The agenda features a panel presentation about trail efforts in the greater Wenatchee area, a fast-paced “show and tell” featuring short presentations about innovative trail projects, updates from Washington state agencies including the State Parks & Recreation Commission, the Department of Natural Resources and the Recreation and Conservation Office. In addition, participants will contribute to a brief strategic planning session for the future of Washington State Trails Coalition. 

            Individuals with a passion for trails are welcomed to participate. Participation fee is $15 and includes lunch. Registration ends September 10, details are available at http://washingtonstatetrailscoalition.org/2013-washington-state-trails-caucus/  

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