National and Regional News
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Communications Commission decided in November to divide the communications spectrum block allotted to vehicle safety, bending to demands from cable, telecom and content companies who want to expand their Wi-Fi services. The 5.9 GHz spectrum band had been reserved since 1999 for use by automakers and technology companies to develop dedicated short-range communications to connect vehicles with other vehicles and “smart” infrastructure. Few companies made use of the spectrum, though. Reuters reported that the technology has been offered on just one General Motors Co. vehicle. So the FCC plans to move the upper 30 megahertz from DSRC to a different vehicle-communications technology called Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything. The remaining 45 megahertz will be allocated to wireless use. “The move is not surprising, given the FCC’s statements about the spectrum in question,” said Mike Sayre, AMA government relations director. “But the AMA, automakers and the U.S. Department of Transportation think this will ultimately hurt road safety technology.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering changes to its warning labels on service station fuel pumps that will alert motorcyclists, and consumers in general, to the potential dangers of using E15 fuel in some vehicles. The AMA supports stronger warnings, especially for motorcyclists, about the engine and exhaust-system damage that could occur if using fuel that contains more than 10 percent ethanol. Current federal E15 labels warn of possible engine damage, but do not mention motorcycles specifically. But the ethanol industry has pressured the federal agency to relax the warning, saying the labels discourage the purchase of higher ethanol blends for use in vehicles certified by the EPA to use them.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking public comment on the development of principles to govern the safe behavior of automated driving systems. Automated driving systems hold potential to reduce crashes for motorcyclists. But the AMA is concerned about the ability of driver-assist and autonomous systems to detect nearby motorcycles and react appropriately to their presence. The advance notice of proposed rulemaking was submitted to the Federal Register on Nov. 19 and is available online at tinyurl.com/y6djebk5. “This rulemaking will help address legitimate public concerns about safety, security and privacy without hampering innovation in the development of automated driving systems,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The RPM Act (H.R. 5434 and S. 2602) has one more chance to pass both chambers of Congress before the end of the legislative session. Lawmakers must hear from supporters of the RPM Act before they decide which issues will be addressed in the final days of the year. The bipartisan RPM Act would ensure that converting motor vehicles into competition-only vehicles remains legal. Street-legal motorcycles are considered motor vehicles under the federal Clean Air Act. The AMA supports the bill and its protections for amateur and professional racing enthusiasts. Take action here: cqrcengage.com/amacycle/app/write-a-letter?2&engagementId=509917.
RANDOLPH, N.H. — The National Transportation Safety Board scheduled a public meeting for today, Dec. 1, to examine the probable cause, findings and any safety recommendations from its investigation of a 2019 crash that killed seven members of the Jar Heads Motorcycle Club. The other riders were injured in the crash, which occurred when a pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer went left of center and struck the riders, who were traveling the opposite direction. The pickup driver, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 24, of West Springfield, Mass., has been charged with reckless manslaughter, negligent homicide and negligent homicide/DUI, as well as single felony counts of aggravated driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs and reckless conduct. He pleaded not guilty and is being held in protective custody in Coos County Jail in West Stewartstown, N.H. A post-crash compliance report by the Federal Motors Carrier Safety Administration found 25 violations of regulations.
PHOENIX — The U.S. Forest Service Arizona Resource Advisory Council scheduled a public meeting for 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, Dec. 1 to receive updates on resource management and U.S. Bureau of Land Management projects, among other agenda items. Contact Dolores Garcia, public affairs specialist, (602) 417-9241 or email@example.com, for more information. Find more information at blm.gov/get-involved/resource-advisory-council/near-you/Arizona.
PLACERVILLE, Calif. — Nick Haris, AMA western states representative, was named to the recently reauthorized El Dorado County Resource Advisory Committee, which scheduled its first meeting for Dec. 17. The El Dorado County RAC is a federal advisory committee which was established in 2010 under the authority of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act. The purpose of a RAC is to improve collaborative relationships among the people who use and care for national forests and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning funding for conservation projects consistent with Title II of the Secure Rural Schools Act. The initial, two-hour orientation meeting will be held virtually at 4 p.m. PT Dec. 17. Those wishing to attend should visit usfs.zoomgov.com/j/16026278780 and use meeting ID 160 2627 8780 or call (669) 900-9128. All RAC meetings are open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less.
PAUL, Minn. — The state Department of Natural Resources needs residents to provide feedback about the Minnesota off-highway motorcycle trail system. The DNR worked with AMA District 23/Amateur Riders Motorcycle Association and Up! Outside to devise a survey (surveymonkey.com/r/vzvyxpy), the results of which will be used in the development of a master plan for the state. The master plan will be used to gauge current use and trends, the desires of the riders and current and proposed opportunities. It also will serve as a strategic tool to guide the department’s management of this recreation. The deadline for completing the survey is Dec. 20.
PARK COUNTY, Mont. — The Gallatin and Southern Montana Resource Advisory committees have scheduled virtual meetings on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9. These committees have scheduled virtual meetings on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9. These committees serve in an advisory capacity for issues related to land-use planning or the management of the public land resources in the Custer Gallatin National Forest. The Southern Montana Resource Advisory Committee meets at 9 a.m. Dec. 8. The Gallatin Resource Advisory Committee meets at 9 a.m. Dec. 9. Contact Lauren Oswald, staff officer, (406) 587-6743 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information and virtual meeting call-in information.
ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill (A. 5390B) that would have eliminated the need for autocycle drivers to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s licenses. Current law requires an endorsement and prohibits the taking of an autocycle on a road test. Autocycles, such as the Polaris Slingshot, are three-wheeled vehicles that have steering wheels, side-by-side seating and other features not typically associated with motorcycles.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced its changes to agency policies on ATV trails on state forest land. There has been a moratorium on new trails under the previous policy. The changes, developed to respond to increased demand for riding opportunities, include:
- Allowing the DCNR secretary to designate portions of the state forest road system as temporary, seasonal or permanent ATV trails.
- Allowing the department to request public comment for projects that have broader effects on the community or region.
- Supporting acquisition of lands specifically for motorized recreation use.
BREA, Calif. — Suzuki Motor of America Inc. will restructure its operations in the United States, including reorganizing the Suzuki Motorcycle/ATV and Marine Divisions into two separate companies. The new companies, which begin operation April 1, will focus on their specific industry “to give both new companies the best opportunity to optimize their success,” a company release stated. Suzuki Motor USA LLC will be based in Brea, Calif, Suzuki’s corporate home in the United States since 1981. Suzuki Marine USA LLC will be based in Tampa, Fla. Satoshi Uchida will serve as chairman, and Masami Haga will serve as president of the new motorcycle/ATV company.
IRVINE, Calif. — Robert Heilbron, lead administrator at Honda Rider Education, has joined the board of trustees of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The MSF is currently at work on expanding online course offerings, exploring opportunities in emerging markets and updating the RiderCourse catalog, as demand for RiderCourses and online information remains strong.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mark Buckner, an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer and former president of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, has been named MRF executive director. Buckner’s priorities will be the corporate strategic plan, membership retention and growth and operational efficiency. Also announced were MRF officers Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, who will serve his ninth term as president and board chairman, and Dave Cazel, who will serve his second term as treasurer. Former treasurer Frank Carbone was ratified as an ex-officio member of the MRF board.
INDIANA, Pa. — The organization formerly called the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators has changed its name to the State Motorcycle Safety Association. The association was organized to assist motorcycle safety programs implement comprehensive, data-driven motorcycle safety programs and countermeasures to achieve a significant reduction in motorcycle operator traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries.
MILWAUKEE — The Harley-Davidson Museum closed its campus Nov. 20 because of the coronavirus outbreak. Museum officials said the facility will remain closed at least until Jan. 3. Check h-dmuseum.com for updates.
MUMBAI, India — Billionaire Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group conglomerate, plans to revive the BSA motorcycle brand, with a goal of beginning to assemble bikes before the end of 2021. BSA was among the world leaders in motorcycle manufacturers in the 1950s, but ceased production in the 1970s after filing for bankruptcy protections. Mahindra received support from the U.K. government, which awarded the BSA Co. a $6.1 million grant to develop electric bikes.
KIRCHBERG, Luxembourg — The European Investment Bank and nine other multilateral development banks signed a joint statement on road safety in November, under the auspices of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration. The banks called for increased international cooperation and effort to improve road safety. “Millions suffer and succumb to road injuries and deaths every year. This needs to change,” said EIB Vice President Lilyana Pavlova, who is responsible for the bank’s transportation operations and serves as chair of the Multilateral Development Banks’ Road Safety Working Group. “I am convinced that bringing together the reach and impact of the world’s leading development banks and our continued joint commitment to safer roads can make a big difference—and help to save lives.” The complete press release is available at tinyurl.com/yye367m3.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Three inductees of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame—Bill Tuman, Carl Cranke and Everett Brashear—passed away recently. Mr. Tuman was a member of Indian Motocycle’s famous racing team dubbed the “Indian Wrecking Crew” and winner of five AMA Grand Nationals during a professional racing career that spanned from 1947 to 1955. The Indian Wrecking Crew was a group of top racers in the late 1940s and early ’50s that included Mr. Tuman, Bobby Hill and Ernie Beckman. Mr. Cranke was a 10-time member of the U.S. International Six Days Trials (now known as the International Six Days Enduro) team and a 2000 inductee to the Hall of Fame. Mr. Cranke earned seven gold medals and two silvers in ISDT competition aboard Penton, KTM and Yamaha motorcycles. Mr. Brashear was one of the top AMA flat-track racers in the 1950s. Between 1952 and 1960, Mr. Brashear won 15 AMA flat-track nationals and dozens of regional races. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.
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