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
Washington DC 20590
MRF State Rep.