American Motorcyclist Association ramps up ‘Vote Like A Motorcyclist’ campaign

The AMA wants you to "Vote like a motorcyclist"

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has ramped up its “Vote Like a Motorcyclist” campaign with T-shirts, pins and posters to supplement its new 2010 AMA Voter Guide.

“The elections on Nov. 2 are some of the most important in many years for the future of motorcycling,” said Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. “It’s critical for motorcyclists to get out and vote to help protect their right to ride.”

A major tool available to AMA members this campaign season is the online 2010 AMA Voter Guide — the first national voter guide of its kind for the motorcycling community. It features a fuel-gauge rating for every federal and gubernatorial candidate of the major political parties who returned an AMA questionnaire. The rating shows how closely the candidates’ answers align with AMA positions.

The 2010 AMA Voter Guide is available to AMA members in the Members Area of the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com. Riders who wish to join the AMA and utilize the guide can do so at the AMA website. To join, click here.

Moreland noted that during this political season it’s important to remind fellow riders to think before they vote, and to vote like a motorcyclist. One way to do that is by wearing a “Vote Like A Motorcyclist” T-shirt while out for a ride, hanging with riding buddies or while picking up parts at a dealership.

It’s also a visible reminder to non-riders and candidates that motorcyclists vote.

“Vote Like A Motorcyclist” T-shirts cost just $21.95. Posters range in price from $11.20 to $22.45, depending on size, and pins are $2.20.

Gear up with “Vote Like A Motorcyclist” items at http://www.zazzle.com/americanmotorcyclist.

And don’t forget to vote on Nov. 2!


Hells Angels and Vagos In Shootout Near Prescott Arizona

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputies and SWAT members who responded to reports about gunfire on Saturday August 21st, around 12:15pm discovered the Hell’s Angels and Vagos Motorcycle clubs were involved in a altercation that resulted in over 50 shots being exchanged between members of the two clubs.

Police are not saying what prompted the shooting, which injured 5, and according to various reports at least one other club member was injured and fled the scene and has not been located.

photo from venicebeach.org

Observers say the altercation was unavoidable given the close proximity of the rival club member residences.

According to the website Clutch and Chrome, a member of the Hells Angels lives at 2640 Yuma Drive and a member of the Vagos gang lives at 2920 Yuma Drive.

Witnesses told police the Hells Angels were having a party at their members house when a group of the Vagos rode by and were fired upon.

A total of twenty-seven Vagos and Hells Angels club members were arrested on a variety of  charges such as  Aggravated Assault, Attempted Homicide, Endangerment, Participation in a Criminal Street Gang, and Unlawful Assembly.

The Vagos were formed in San Bernardino, California during the 1960′s. The club’s insignia is Loki, the Norse god of mischief, riding a motorcycle and members commonly wear green and are reported to have approximately 300 members among 24 chapters located in the American states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and three chapters located in Mexico.

The Hells Angels are incorporated as the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation. Their primary motto is “When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets”  Currently, Hells Angels

photo from NYDailyNews.com

claims 3000 to 3500 members and more than 230 chapters in 27 countries. Membership has increased by 10% annually during the past five years, according to law enforcement records.


NHTSA Funds Motorcycle Only Checkpoints

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — A federal traffic safety agency is offering law enforcement agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up checkpoints that target only motorcyclists, and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) wants to know why.

The AMA has asked the agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to suspend the grant program until questions raised by the motorcycling community are addressed.

“How do motorcycle-only checkpoints increase the safety of motorcyclists?” Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations, wrote in a letter to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland on Aug. 9. “Where do the selected states draw their authority to conduct” motorcycle-only safety checks?

“Will ‘probable cause’ be required to stop a motorcycle under the terms of this grant program?” Moreland asked. “If so, what will constitute probable cause?”

Under its Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration grant program, the NHTSA will award up to $350,000 in total to be divided among as many as five law enforcement agencies to set up traffic checkpoints that target motorcyclists.

The demonstration program is modeled after a controversial program in New York where the state police set up a series of checkpoints that targeted only motorcyclists, raising the ire of the AMA and motorcycling community. In 2008, for example, New York State Police announced plans to set up 15 checkpoints near motorcycling events that summer.

The AMA questioned the potential discriminatory and legal nature of the program and sent a list of questions for clarification to the New York State Police. To date, New York authorities have not responded.

Moreland said that if the NHTSA is truly interested in motorcyclist safety, it should fund proven programs that help prevent crashes — rather than checkpoints that single out motorcyclists.

“The primary source of motorcycle safety is in motorcycle crash prevention, and NHTSA should focus on decreasing the likelihood of crashes from occurring in the first place,” Moreland said.

The AMA urges all riders to contact Strickland and ask that the discriminatory Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration grant program be suspended until questions raised by the motorcycling community are addressed.

The easiest way to do that is to go to the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues & Legislation


Michigan Motorcyclists Stage Independence Day Protest Ride

Michigan Motorcyclists Protest Helmet Law

A group of 15 motorcyclists, comprised of members of the groups,  Bikers Of Lesser Tolerance, American Bikers Against Totalitarian Enactments, and general Patriots took off their helmets and participated in a 100 plus mile  motorcycle run July 4th 2010 to protest their dissatisfaction with what they say is “increasingly rampant government mandated elimination of our individual liberties.”

In the press release, the group said, “We all deemed an afternoon of civil disobedience on the 4th of July more important to us than a day at the beach, or a cooler of cold beers.”

The protest ride began at noon Remus Tavern in Remus Michigan, and traveled through the towns of Barryton, Evart, Reed City and  Big Rapids.

The group passed at least one unmarked police cruiser and rode by the Reed City State Police Post without any enforcement actions.

The group is making plans for another protest ride in the near future.


Motorcycle Rights Activist Sputnik Dies

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The Texas Motorcycle Rights Association is sad to announce that our great Leader, Sputnik, passed away suddenly at approximately 5:00 AM Thursday June 24, 2010.

“I woke up at 5:45AM to find him on the living floor at the state office. It appeared that he crossed over quickly and did not suffer, from a massive heart attack. I can not begin to even put into words how devastating the loss is to the biker community, to his family, and to us who live with him at the state office, for all TMRA2, and to all of his brothers and sisters who loved him dearly.”  Said Terri Williams, State Secretary for the Texas MotorcycleRoadriders Association 2

Sputnik will go down history as the greatest Motorcycle Rights Activist in the History of our Nation and we as his Task Force were truly blessed to be a part of this great Warriors life.God has a special place in Heaven for Sputnik and he told me yesterday that wanted all of us to continue the political work and to carry forward with his final Rally for the Birthday Bash in July. As soon as we know the Memorial Service information we will send out another broadcast.” Said Williams.

The Ride to Pleasure Island is schedule July 2-4. For more info visit TMRA2 website


U.S. House committee demands release of Wilderness-related internal papers

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — A key U.S. House committee has approved a measure to require the U.S. Interior Department to release internal documents related to a proposal that could close up to 13 million acres to off-highway riding, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

On June 16, the House Natural Resources Committee approved H. Res. 1406 — a Resolution of Inquiry — that directs the Interior Department to turn over to Congress the missing pages and related documents of an internal memo that discusses proposed national monument designations and other land uses of some 13 million acres in the West. National monument designations could lead to bans on off-highway riding on that land.

The measure — introduced by Natural Resources Ranking Member Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Ranking Member Rob Bishop (R-Utah) — was approved by a voice vote. It now goes to the full House for consideration.

“We now have a strong bipartisan agreement that the Interior Department needs to reveal to the public exactly what plans are under way to unilaterally lock up millions of acres of land across the country by designating them as national monuments,” Hastings said. “I hope the department takes today’s actions by the committee seriously and discloses the documents that we have requested promptly and without further delay.”

Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations, praised Hastings and Bishop for continuing to push the issue after the Interior Department earlier only released 383 out of more than 2,000 pages of documents related to the national monuments proposal.

“It is troubling that the Department of the Interior has not released the full draft document for the public to review and consider,” Moreland said. “We are eager to understand the full scope of the document and the rationale for seeking these designations, which would be done unilaterally without the approval of the people’s representatives in Congress.”

On May 5, the Natural Resources Committee refused to endorse a similar measure introduced by Hastings and Bishop. And then the Interior Department released only 383 pages of documents despite repeated requests for public disclosure, prompting Hastings and Bishop to introduce H. Res. 1406.

“AMA members and other concerned citizens played a major role in persuading members of the Natural Resources Committee to approve H. Res. 1406 when the committee failed to support a similar measure in the past,” Moreland said. “It’s important now for all concerned citizens across the nation to contact their House members and urge them to support H. Res. 1406 when it comes up for a vote on the House floor.”

The easiest way to contact federal lawmakers is to go to the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues & Legislation, then enter your zip code in the “Find Your Officials” box.

A pre-written e-mail is available for you to send to your representative immediately by following the “Take Action” option and entering your information. The AMA encourages riders to personalize their message by drawing on their own personal riding experiences.

Off-road rights advocate to be inducted into AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

Clark Collins: Photo from Sharetrails.org

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce the third member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2010: BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) founder Clark Collins. Collins, known for his tireless work on behalf of motorcyclists to keep trails open and build regional and national coalitions among all trail users, will be among the legends of motorcycling honored at the 2010 induction ceremony at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas on Nov. 19.

“Clark Collins represents an area that is so vitally important to all riders — motorcyclists’ rights — and he is a fitting inductee into the Hall of Fame,” said Jack Penton, AMA director of operations and a Hall of Famer himself. “Collins’ advocacy work is the reason why so many trails remain open today, and why motorcyclists across the country are better organized to protect the future of motorcycling.”

In 1987, Collins created the BRC, which is a national non-profit organization dedicated to protecting responsible recreational access to public lands and waters. He served as executive director of the organization until his retirement in 2004.

Collins formed the BRC after he was told by then Idaho Governor John Evans that recreationists were not politically significant, and implied that federal Wilderness was more important than responsible recreational access to public lands. In the years since, Clark and the BRC have come to be nationally recognized by public land agencies as authorities on responsible motorized recreation.

Today, Collins continues to serve the off-road recreation community in Idaho as president of the Idaho State ATV Association.

“Clark is a testament to one person’s belief in a cause truly making a difference,” says the Motorcycle Industry Council’s Kathy Van Kleeck, who is also chairwoman of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Leadership/Rights Committee. “Clark grew the BlueRibbon Coalition from a germ of an idea into the nation’s largest coalition of off-road access advocates, recognized across the country as an outspoken grassroots voice on behalf of off-highway vehicle recreation. His ability to organize motorized vehicle enthusiasts gave voice to a new movement of political activism, and made OHV riders politically significant.”

Collins said he’s humbled to be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

“I was really excited last year for Mona Ehnes being inducted as a rights representative, and I’m amazed to be inducted,” he said. “Looking at all the people in the Hall of Fame, I feel really honored to be on that list. A lot of the Hall of Famers got in for their skill in going fast on motorcycles, and I’m excited to see that folks like Mona and me, who have been involved in the advocacy role, get recognized as well. We’re not used to getting trophies, and we don’t get to stand up and be recognized for going fast, so this is really great.”

Collins joins previously announced members of the AMA Hall of Fame Class of 2010: championship team owner Mitch Payton and AMA 250cc Roadrace Champion David Emde. More inductees will be announced soon.

The Class of 2010 will officially be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Nov. 19 as part of the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend. In addition to the induction ceremony, the weekend includes the 2010 AMA Concours d’Elegance on Saturday, Nov. 20, featuring some of the country’s most impressive original and restored classic motorcycles. The AMA Racing Championship Banquet closes out the weekend on Sunday, Nov. 21, where AMA Racing amateur champions of all ages will be recognized for their 2010 accomplishments.

The event will be held at the Las Vegas Red Rock Resort, a world-class spa, hotel and casino, featuring a range of entertainment, dining and family-friendly attractions. The facility’s expansive ballrooms will provide a stunning backdrop for the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend, which is certain to be memorable for the 2010 inductees, champions, families, friends and fans. More information is available online at RedRockLasVegas.com.

Lodging reservations can be made now at AmericanMotorcyclist.com/Accommodations. An announcement regarding ticket information will be made in mid-June.

Located on the park-like campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made lasting contributions to protecting and promoting the motorcycle lifestyle. Its members include those who have excelled in racing, road- and off-road riding, pushed the envelope in motorcycle design, engineering and safety, and championed the rights of riders in both the halls of government and the court of public opinion.

The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Committee includes nine members in addition to the chairman. There are eight committees, each representing a different aspect of motorcycling.

More information about the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame can be found at MotorcycleMuseum.org.

About the American Motorcyclist Association

Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com


Congressional hearing may impact ban on selling off-highway vehicles for kids

Congress Needs to Clarify Lead Ban Provision in Bill

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — A U.S. House hearing scheduled for Thursday, April 29, will address the Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act (CPSEA) of 2010. The CPSEA would modify earlier legislation that effectively banned the sale of youth-model dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles due to onerous lead-content standards.

The CPSEA hearing — which will be held by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee under the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection — follows persistent pressure by American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) members and others to address the unintended consequences of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.

However, despite the importance of resolving problems with the earlier law, the AMA reports concerns with the particular language in the new bill.

While the CPSEA would provide the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) flexibility to issue exclusions to the lead-content standards of the CPSIA, it fails to define key concepts in the bill, which could water down its effectiveness, explained AMA Vice President for Government Relations Ed Moreland.

“There are important phrases in the new bill that must be clearly defined for this legislation to be objective,” Moreland said. “Otherwise, the bill is left open to interpretation and, potentially, litigation. Indeed, at least one lawsuit has already been filed with respect to one of these key concepts.”

The CPSEA does allow for exclusions related to products, materials or components that are not likely to be placed in the mouth under normal use — language that specifically addresses issues brought up by the motorized recreation community regarding the absence of any likelihood that children will put vehicle parts in their mouths. Without clarification, however, those exclusions are unlikely to have their intended consequence.

Two crucial examples are the phrases “not practicable” and “no measurable adverse effect.” The first refers to an exclusion petition having to prove that removing lead from production is neither practicable nor technologically feasible. The second allows for an exemption if there is no adverse effect on public health.

“Because the CPSEA is meant to cast a broad net over children’s products covered by the original CPSIA, sweeping language and undefined phrases do not remedy the specific needs of the youth-model off-road motorcycle and ATV community,” Moreland said. “AMA members and other motorcyclists need to contact their representatives and let them know that while we’re on the right track for finding a solution, that this particular bill does not quite get us there.”

Instead, Moreland advocated support for the U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.)-sponsored H.R. 1587. H.R. 1587 is separate legislation that would exempt youth-model motorcycles and ATVs from the lead-content limits in the CPSIA.

To contact members of Congress, go to AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Issues and Legislation > Rights (AmericanMotorcyclist.com/legisltn/rapidresponse.asp), and enter your zip code in the space provided. A pre-written letter also is available to send to your Representative.

More information on the CPSIA, H.R. 1587, the CPSEA and what the AMA has been doing to fight the ban on youth motorcycles and ATVs can be found at AmericanMotorcyclist.com/news/story.asp?id=629&s=banner

AMA Seeks Clarification About Helmets

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland

On March 25, Administrator David Strickland of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made comments about helmet use to U.S. Representative John Olver (D-Mass.). These comments were made at a Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations hearing regarding the fiscal year 2010 Budget Request for the NHTSA.

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) sent Administrator Strickland a letter, dated April 2, 2010, seeking clarification on his comments. It is the AMA’s understanding that Strickland stated the following: (1) safety grants are important and need to be continued; (2) the “core” of motorcycle safety programs is to instill helmet use; (3) helmet use has a direct correlation to motorcycle fatalities; and (4) anything Congress can do to get folks to wear helmets is welcomed, including possible penalties.

In our letter, the AMA asked, “What is meant by your reference to the “core” of a motorcycle safety program is to instill helmet use? Additionally, you advocated the use of possible penalties if adult riders choose not to wear protective gear. Does this mean administrative and/or legislative action towards states and/or individual riders if adults choose not to wear protective equipment?”

The AMA needs your help to seek clarification of Administrator Strickland’s comments. The fastest way to reach Strickland is to send a pre-written e-mail to him immediately by following the “Take Action” option and entering your information.

For more information about how to protect your right to ride, please visit the “Get Involved” section of the AMA web site.

We urge you to write Administrator Strickland today and ask him to clarify his comments made at the March 25 hearing. To send an email click here