For the next few months I will be going over the MRF legislative agenda for 2016. In this way it makes it easier for the reader to understand in depth our goals. Last month I spoke about the national anti-profiling bill. This month I will discuss the definition of a motorcycle. Currently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines the term "motorcycle" for the purpose of the statute and regulations it administers, as "a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with ground". (49 CFR 571.3). This has not been revised or amended since initially defined back in 1967,
Given the fact that vehicles are now emerging that are classified as motorcycles but have little resemblance or operational characteristics to that of a motorcycle, generally termed as autocycles, the MRF encourages NHTSA to carefully review and update the definition of a motorcycle. We support terms such as: operated with handlebars; having a single up front seat or saddle for the operator; hand or foot controls; having not more than three wheels; as originally designed.
Currently autocycles have no motorcycle safety training course required or available to learn to operate these vehicles. Additionally, it is the MRF's concern that crashes involving these vehicles will be classified for the purposes of Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) as motorcycles, which will dilute this important data from leading to responsible strategies and funding to reduce motorcycle crashes.
Please contact the Secretary of the National Highway Safety Administration along with Phillip J. Weiser, Chief, Safety Countermeasures Division, and request they work with motorcyclist rights, safety and education organizations to review and revise the current federal definition of a motorcycle.
Phillip J. Weiser - Chief - Safety Countermeasure Division U.S. Department of Transportation-National Highway Safety Administration 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE W44-303 Washington DC 20590
Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway
Your Motorcycle Riders Foundation team in Washington, D.C. is pleased to provide our members with the latest information and updates on issues that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. Count on your MRF to keep you informed about a range of matters that are critical to the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. Published weekly when the U.S. Congress is in session.
Progress Made On RPM Act
Over the last several weeks, the MRF has become increasingly active in its new role as a member of the RPM Working Group and it appears that we’ve made some progress on the issue.
For those who participated in the Washington, DC lobby day back in May, (also known as Michael ‘Boz’ Kerr Bikers Inside the Beltway) you know that one of our key issues that we advocated for was support and passage of the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act or “RPM Act.” The RPM Act aims to correct a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that would effectively ban any conversion of street automobiles or motorcycles into racing vehicles. As if this provision wasn’t alarming enough, the language pertaining to race-modified street vehicles and motorcycles was buried in a 600+ page proposal having to do with cutting emissions from heavy- and medium-duty trucks pertaining to greenhouse gases! Though it was only one sentence, it would effectively outlaw part of the amateur car and motorcycle racing industry. As a solution, the RPM Act was introduced and we’ve been working tirelessly to rally support. The bill recently enjoyed a big influx of co-sponsors that was directly related to your work during Bikers Inside the Beltway.
Since then, the MRF has been collaborating with a Working Group which recently sent a letter to leadership in both the House and Senate asking for progress on the bill. Your MRF was a signatory on the letter along with Harley Davidson, the Motorcycle Industry Council, the American Motorcycle Association and others.
This week we were informed that as a temporary fix, a Member of Congress from North Carolina had offered some immediate relief to address our concerns. Yesterday, Rep. McHenry (R-NC) offered an amendment to a bill that funds the EPA. The amendment would require a one-year suspension of EPA’s authority to enforce the “tampering” prohibition against motor vehicle and motorcycle conversions. Though the solution is temporary, it buys the RPM Working Group more time to achieve a bigger and more permanent fix, ensuring the EPA doesn’t continue its creep into regulating motorcycles.
A Motorcycle ‘Friendly’ Looks Towards to a New Role in the Senate
Many of our members, friends, and allies are familiar with Representative Todd Young, a Republican Member of Congress from Indiana. ABATE of Indiana is especially familiar with the Congressman as he has always been a champion for motorcycle rights both in the state and federally. Some of you may remember Rep. Young who, from what I am told, spoke at a previous Bikers Inside the Beltway Event.
Elected to the U.S. Congress in 2011, Congressman Young was intent on making the government smaller and less intrusive to its citizens and small businesses. Big on the concept of self-governance, Young earned himself a reputation as a standout among the freshman Members of Congress. Last year, Rep. Young announced he would be running for a Senate seat opened up by the retirement of Republican Dan Coats. Recently, I was lucky enough to have dinner with Congressman Young and was impressed with not only his tenacity, but his knowledge and appreciation of motorcycling as well as the activities of ABATE of Indiana. The Congressman also made reference to Mitch Daniels, the former Governor of Indiana and his affiliation for riding. I asked the Congressman if he had any interest in taking up motorcycling, he didn’t hesitate with his quick response of YES! but quickly followed it by saying I’d have to take it up with his wife!
The Congressman’s outlook for a Senate run is looking good for November. If he is elected, I feel strongly that he will continue to be an ally of motorcycling and a champion to rely on in the Senate. At that point I’ll likely solicit volunteers to have the conversation with Todd Young’s wife about getting him on a bike!
Megan’s Take: New Digs in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area
Though this doesn’t fit quite underneath the policy and government relations umbrella, we wanted our members and partners to know that we are undergoing some changes to our office space in Washington, DC. As we are constantly looking to get more bang for your buck, the decision was recently made to peruse other office locations in the D.C. area. We’ve secured a new space in Crystal City which is in Arlington, VA and about three miles from our current office location. The rent is significantly less expensive, but close enough to the U.S. Capitol to continue to be a regular presence. Plus, we will have the space to host everyone at our office during next year’s Bikers Inside the Beltway Event! We’ll be transitioning over the next few months so look for more from us concerning a new mailing address. In the meantime, you can still reach us at our D.C. address on G Street and our phone numbers will remain the same.
Your Friend in Washington,
Vice-President of Government Affairs & Public Relations
A great experience for all kids whose parents are active members. We will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the IHOP located at 1031 Assembly Street across from the statehouse. Breakfast will be provided for the kids by attorney Chad Fuller with The Motorcycle Law Group. After breakfast the kids will take part in a guided tour of the statehouse at 10:30 a.m. then go with ABATE members to help pass out our monthly newsletter to our legislators in the House, Senate and Governors office.
Bipartisan congressional letter aims to prevent E15-related engine damage Did your representative signed the letter? See if your Rep. signed! On June 8, U.S. Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.) sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to “…express concern about the lack of consumer awareness surrounding the inappropriate use of E15 gasoline and… how it [the EPA] plans to mitigate consumer misfuelings… .”
With your help, 45 representatives have agreed to support motorcyclists in their effort to ensure that safe fuels remain available and the risk of misfueling with E15 is reduced.
The bipartisan letter comes in response to the EPA’s Renewable Volume Obligations rule for 2014, 2015 and 2016. The EPA proposal would increase the amount of ethanol from all sources in the nation’s fuel supply to 17.4 billion gallons in 2016, up from 15.93 billion gallons in 2014.
Those increases come despite the EPA’s acknowledgement that the current market cannot absorb these higher ethanol production rates without substantially increasing the amount of ethanol in our nation’s gasoline supply. The practical effect of the EPA’s action is more unsafe E15 (15 percent ethanol by volume), less E10 and virtually no E0 for older and vintage machines.
As the American Motorcyclist Association has repeatedly warned, more E15 will inevitably lead to inadvertent misfueling, which can damage motorcycle and all-terrain-vehicle fuel systems and engines not designed for its use. Moreover, the use of E15 may void the manufacturer’s warranty.
With a high probability of inadvertent misfueling, the letter urges the EPA to “…act to raise consumer awareness of the consequences of misfueling with E15.” Currently, the effort to bring awareness is left up to the AMA and other consumer-oriented and industry groups.
The urgency of EPA action to address misfueling is supported by a recent study from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. The study indicates only 5 percent of consumers are aware that E15 is prohibited for use in certain engines and that 60 percent of consumers assume that any gas sold at a pump must be safe for all of their engines.
This letter will help protect the 22 million motorcycles and ATVs currently in use and the riders who depend on their safe operation.
Now more than ever, it is crucial that you and your riding friends become members of the AMA to help protect our riding freedoms. More members mean more clout against the opponents of motorcycling. That support will help fight for your rights – on the road, trail, racetrack, and in the halls of government. If you are a motorcycle rider, join the AMA at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/membership/join. See if your Rep. signed!
WASHINGTON, DC– Next Monday will mark the 25th anniversary of “Ride to Work Day,” an annual event that promotes the motorcycle as an option for commuting to work. Since 1992, this event has been organized by the Ride to Work organization aiming to increase public awareness of motorcyclists; promote the use of motorcycles as a method of transportation; and increase motorcycle safety. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, an estimated 150,000 (approximately) commuters ride their motorcycle to work. This is a very minor portion of all commuters, though figures show these numbers are on the rise. It may be surprising that the numbers are not higher given data that supports that traveling by motorcycle can shorten journey times by as much as 33 minutes of every hour for city travel. Additional benefits can include more parking options, fuel savings and the undeniable advantage of enjoying the environment and the open air preparing yourself for a long day of work, or better yet, decompressing post-work! The Motorcycle Riders Foundation encourages its members and partners to participate in this year’s event on June 20th to help demonstrate just how many motorcyclists are on the road and that the use of motorcycles as an alternative to commuting can help alleviate traffic and parking congestion. Another important message that the event sends is that, despite a sometimes less than flattering portrayal of motorcyclists by Hollywood and even the media and naysayers, motorcyclists are our neighbors, doctors, family, lawyers and friends and they deserve to have their voices heard.
For more information, visit: http://www.ridetowork.org/ About Motorcycle Riders Foundation The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. The MRF is chiefly concerned with issues at the national and international levels that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. The MRF is committed to being a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle and works in conjunction with its partners to help educate elected officials and policymakers in Washington and beyond. All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. Motorcycle Riders Foundation. All rights reserved. Ride With The Leaders ™ by joining the MRF at http://motorcycleridersfoundation.wildapricot.org/page-1654836 or call (202) 546-0983