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AMA News & Notes: March 2020

National and Regional News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) introduced S. 3249, the Motorcyclist Advisory Council Reauthorization Act, which would refine the membership seats of the federal Motorcyclist Advisory Council to ensure more national motorcycle organizations are represented and authorizes the council for six years. The AMA worked closely with the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and Harley-Davidson Motor Co. on the legislation, which is the companion bill to H.R. 5234 introduced in late November. S. 3249 would require the MAC to include five highway engineering experts from state or local governments, one state or local traffic safety engineer who is a motorcyclist, one roadway safety data expert on crash testing and analysis and one representative from each of the following groups: a national association of state transportation officials, a national motorcyclist foundation, a national motorcyclist association, a national motorcycle manufacturing association and a national safety organization. The current MAC, chaired by Mike Sayre—AMA government relations manager for on-highway issues—was authorized in 2015 and is finalizing its report to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The MAC advises the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the administrator of the Federal Highway Administration on transportation issues of concern to motorcyclists, including barrier design; road design, construction, and maintenance practices; and the architecture and implementation of intelligent transportation system technologies.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has granted Nuro’s request for a temporary exemption from some low-speed vehicle standard requirements, so the company can test its electric delivery vehicle, the “R2.” This exemption marks the first time the U.S. government has approved a company’s request to deploy a vehicle that does not meet the standards for cars and trucks operated by humans. Unlike a conventional low-speed vehicle, the R2 is designed to have no human occupant and operates exclusively using an automated driving system. Nuro will be permitted to produce and deploy no more than 5,000 R2 vehicles during the two-year exemption period, and NHTSA will closely monitor Nuro’s operations during and after that time. Nuro intends to operate these vehicles as part of a local delivery service for restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses. The AMA opposes the use of public roadways for testing driverless vehicles—even low-speed delivery vehicles—because it increases the risk to motorcyclists and other road users.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Navy has released its final environmental impact statement for the planned expansion of the Fallon Range Training Complex in Nevada, making it available online.T The complex is a training area made up of 12,256 square nautical miles of airspace and about 232,000 acres of Navy-managed land. The facility modernization will include:

  • Renewal of the Navy’s current public land withdrawal
  • Land range expansion through the additional withdrawal of public lands and the acquisition of nonfederal land
  • Airspace expansion and modernization
  • Upgrades to range infrastructure

The AMA submitted comments on the draft EIS in January, conditionally supporting Alternative 3 as the least disruptive to continued OHV use. However, the AMA also supported local riders, calling for reconnection of cherry-stemmed routes created by the Alternative 3 as originally drafted, and the creation of a special recreation area, codifying OHV use as legitimate, outside the expansion area. The AMA was encouraged by the Navy’s agreement to continue the annual “Vegas to Reno” race and, possibly, other competition events near three sections of the training area. Also, taking the Sand Springs Range and Fairview Peak—the latter having many roads and OHV trails and the popular earthquake fault destination—out of the training area was a positive for the OHV community.

State News

TRACY, Calif. — Thirty-seven acres at the east end of the Carnegie SVRA reopened to off-highway vehicle recreation on Jan. 30. The area includes the 4×4 Play Area, Trials Bike area, and Motocross Practice Track. In January of 2019, this part of the park was closed due to litigation. Conclusion of the suit ends the closure of this popular part of the park and allows for recreation in these areas. The reopening re-establishes off-highway vehicle recreation opportunities that have historically been provided in the East Bay. Carnegie SVRA’s 1,300 acres serve California’s Bay Area communities with hill climbs, trail riding and track riding opportunities.

WILLOWS, Calif. — Mendocino National Forest Supervisor Ann Carlson issued an order that opens more trails and campgrounds for the Ranch Fire area, but continues the temporary closure of selected trails and campgrounds until more fire hazards can be removed. The new closure is effective until Dec. 31. Most of the road system and trails in the Ranch Fire area have been evaluated, and hazards have been removed. Forest Order No. 08-20-02 opens the majority of OHV trails on the Grindstone Ranger District as well as Pine Mountain Lookout and Bear Creek campground on the Upper Lake Ranger District. However, numerous hazards still exist within the general forest, along many roads and trails and in campgrounds. Forest Order 08-20-02, including the order, map and list of closed trails and facilities may be downloaded from the forest website: https://tinyurl.com/urx4jwu.

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. — The Town of South Windsor was unprepared for the overwhelming opposition it faced in February when Mayor Andrew Paterna proposed a ban on ATVs. Paterna said a small number of ATV riders had trespassed on and damaged some farms, and at least one resident complained about excessive sound from ATVs. But, when word got out that the ban would be considered, motorcycle and ATV enthusiasts packed the meeting chamber. A report from TV station WFSB stated that, “Every town resident who spoke at the Monday night meeting spoke out against the proposal.” Paterna later confirmed to the AMA that he will not raise the issue again.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — State Delegate Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore County, Hartford County) has reintroduced a bill that would allow lane splitting in Maryland, as well as require state agencies to create guidelines for safe lane splitting and ways to incorporate the practice into rider education. Szeliga’s H.B. 920 bill was referred to the House Environment and Transportation Committee. This is just the second time a lane splitting bill has been introduced in Maryland. This bill would require that the state agencies, including the Motor Vehicle Administration and State Highway Administration, develop guidelines for safe and appropriate lane splitting for motorcyclists and other road users.

CONCORD, N.H. — The decades-old tradition of riding motorcycles on a frozen Concord pond came to a halt this year, due to an obscure amendment to the state’s budget. Concord hired Suzi Pegg as its new economic development director in 2017, and she objected to the sound of motorcycles on the pond near her new home. So, she convinced the mayor to talk to state legislators, who included a ban on such riding in the $13 billion 2019 budget bill. Outraged motorcyclists visited the state capitol to urge lawmakers to reverse the ban. They caught the ear of state Rep. Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline), who proposed an amendment to House Bill 1316 that would reopen the pond for vehicular use on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. The AMA has supported the Flanagan amendment with letters to state Rep. Suzanne Smith, chair of the House Committee on Resources, Recreation and Development, which is investigating the change.

NEW YORK — The New York City Council is considering a law that would require side guards on trucks fulfilling contracts with the city, such as private garbage private trucks contracted by the city to plow snow. The side guards are designed to prevent motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists from accidently getting underneath the trucks in traffic. Sponsored by council members Ydannis Rodriguez and Ben Kallos, the bill would require these vehicles would need to be equipped with side guards by Jan. 1, 2021. A law signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in June 2015 already requires truck side guards on city-operated vehicles and private trash haulers fulfilling a contract with the city.

KANAB, Utah — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management developed new land use plans for the Bears Ears National Monument and for three units of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. The revised Bears Ears boundaries include two separate units, known as the Shash Jáa and Indian Creek units, that are reserved for the care and management of the objects of historic and scientific interest within their boundaries. The Shash Jáa Unit contains 97,393 acres of BLM-administered lands and 32,587 acres of U.S. Forest Service-administered lands. The Indian Creek Unit contains 71,896 acres of BLM-administered land. Lands that remain part of the 1 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are the Grand Staircase (209,993 acres), Kaiparowits (551,034 acres) and Escalante Canyons (242,836 acres) units. The BLM refers to lands that are now excluded from the national monument (861,974 acres) as the Kanab-Escalante Planning Area. The new management plans were prompted by a 2017 directive from the president, which called for “right-sized” boundaries for these public lands, while providing for the protection of objects consistent with the original intent of the Antiquities Act of 1906. The AMA and Utah officials have urged federal officials to adhere to the provision in the Antiquities Act that requires that monuments should be as small as possible, while still protecting artifacts and cultural resources. The boundary revision process included public meetings, collaboration with local, state and other federal agencies and participation by more than 30 American Indian tribes.

SELAH, Wash. — The Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance is asking OHV riders to attend a March 4 meeting with state officials regarding road management on state lands. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Department of Natural Resources will provide information and accept comments on the Green Dot program, which designates the roads in Yakima and Kittitas counties are open to public motorized use. The meeting is 6-8 p.m. March 4 at the Selah Civic Center, 216 S. First St., Selah. To view Green Dot maps or learn about the program, visit https://tinyurl.com/r5274lc.

Industry News

CARMEL, Calif. — The Quail Motorcycle Gathering will honor Roland Sands as 2020 Legend of the Sport at its May 16 event. Sands has set several track records around the world, and was the 1998 American Motorcyclist Association 250GP Champion. After 10 years of professional racing, Sands founded Roland Sands Design, a motorcycle, product and apparel. During the past five years, RSD has expanded into event promotion, with the Moto Beach Classic in Southern California and the Super Hooligan National Championship, a series that unites the custom-motorcycle scene with flat track racing.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Honda ADV150 may be coming to the United States, according to a report at Motorcycle.com, which said the California Air Resources Board certified the scooter for the 2021 model year. The “adventure scooter” features a 149cc overhead cam engine and an automatic transmission. The ABS model sold in Indonesia claims a curb weight of 293 pounds, while the non-ABS version is 291 pounds.

SHANGHAI — Switch Motorcycles has unveiled plans for its eScrambler electric motorcycle that is scheduled for sale in the 2022 model year. Switch is owned by New Zealand-born Matthew Waddick, who also produced electric conversion kits for the Honda Cub as part of Shanghai Customs. The eScrambler has a top speed of 93 mph, a 0-62 mph time of 3.2 seconds, and a range of 93 miles.

BERLIN — BMW Motorrad is developing a crumple zone for motorcycles, using a patented V-shaped component behind the front wheel. A report at Visordown.com says the device keeps the front wheel of the motorcycle from deflecting to the side in a front impact and holds the wheel straight, creating an impact zone that includes the wheel and forks.

NEW DELHI — Hero MotoCorp executives said they are willing to be Harley-Davidson’s partner to design and manufacture locally made, low-powered products, according to a report in The Times of India. Harley-Davidson and Hero have been in talks, but no agreement has been reached.

TÄBY, Sweden — MIPS AB, the Swedish-based developer of multi-directional helmet protection technology, announced that its design is being used in 583 models from 103 helmet brands in motorcycling, bicycling, snow sports, equestrian, hockey, rock climbing and construction. Professional motorcycle racers wearing MIPS-equipped helmets include Ryan Villopoto, Aaron Plessinger, Dean Wilson, Cole Seely, Romain Febvre, Clement Desalle, Taylor Robert and Ricky Brabec.

International News

MELBOURNE — A plan to create 151 on-street motorcycle parking spaces would open up sidewalks for pedestrians and increase pedestrian safety. The plan under consideration by the city would convert 36 car spaces to motorcycle-only use. “By introducing 151 new motorcycle bays we can divert motorcycles from parking in key congested footpath areas,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp told Motorbikewriter.com. “We are creating more space for people to walk while still accommodating our riders.”

JERUSALEM — Ride Vision has developed a collision-aversion technology for motorcycles that uses standard cameras as visual sensors that recognize and analyze relevant threats to safe operation. The company says its goal is to provide motorcyclists with an advanced driver assist system with off-the-shelf technology. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, Ride Vision sets up two small cameras on the front and back of the motorcycle. The motorcycle’s left- and right-side mirrors have LED lights that flash different colors, depending on the threat detected. Ride Vision also integrates with Bluetooth helmets for audio warnings.

AMA News

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — James Holter has been named the AMA’s Chief Operating Officer. Holter, most recently the AMA vice president of communications and marketing, assumes the responsibilities of Jeff Massey, who is leaving his position as AMA chief operations officer on March 6. As COO, Holter reports to Dingman. His direct reports are the department directors who execute the AMA’s mission in the areas of government relations, competition, recreational riding, finance, communications, membership and marketing, creative services, industry relations and business development, and all other aspects of operations. Holter has worked at the AMA for 15 years, with responsibilities in editorial, communications, marketing and membership. Massey served as AMA COO since September 2014. He will return to his hometown of Indianapolis and resume a career in education.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The AMA Board of Directors held its annual election of officers on Feb. 7. The board elected as chair Russ Ehnes, the member representative on the board from the Northwest Region. The board elected as vice chair Gary Pontius, the member representative from the North Central Region; as assistant treasurer Ken Ford, the member representative from the Southeast Region; and as executive committee members Jerry Abboud, an at-large director from Thornton, Colo., and Paul Vitrano, business member representative from Indian Motorcycle. Ehnes replaced outgoing chair Maggie McNally-Bradshaw, former member representative from the Northeast Region. McNally-Bradshaw had been AMA board chair since 2013 and served on the board since 2009. She exited her position due to term limits.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Get your tickets and make your plans to be at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, July 10-12 for 2020 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. AMA members can purchase discounted tickets now at www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com/tickets. AMA members save an additional $5 off the already discounted early bird pricing. AMA members can also call (614) 856-1900 to order their tickets. A fundraiser for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days showcases classic motorcycles of all makes and styles, and honors the riders who made them famous. Activities at the event include the AMA Vintage Grand Championship, which features road racing, motocross, hare scrambles, trials and flat-track racing. In addition, North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet is packed with parts, bikes and memorabilia from all eras. Bike shows feature some of history’s most beloved motorcycles. Attendees will be entertained by stunt shows, demo rides of current production bikes and live music, while seminars on numerous topics by noted motorcycling experts keep them informed. Non-AMA members and those reserving RV spaces must purchase tickets through Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. These tickets will be available in December online at midohio.com or by calling (419) 884-4000. AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is a family-friendly event. Admission is free for children under 12 accompanied by a ticketed adult. Free parking is also available on site.

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AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association. 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 Managing Editor Jim Witters at jwitters@amacycle.org.

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