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

National Helmet Law Proposed in Senate Hearing

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) issued a press release that alerted its members that during recent hearings conducted by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) repeatedly called for a national mandatory helmet law. The hearing, entitled “Opportunities to Improve Highway Safety,” focused on areas that need improvement when it comes to the landscape of highway injuries and fatalities.

In his opening statement, Lautenberg said that there should be a mandatory motorcycle helmet law for all riders in America. This is typical for the 86-year-old senator. He has routinely attempted to put a federal mandatory helmet law in place before. Lautenberg currently chairs or sits on every single senate committee that has jurisdiction over roads and road safety.

During this hearing, Lautenberg was not alone in his quest for an all-rider federal helmet law. As expected, the spokesperson for the Advocates for Highway Safety also voiced their opinion that a national helmet law is a good idea.

According to the release,  the focus of the hearing was not a national helmet law, or the helmet debate.  Most of the hearing centered on other issues such as impaired driving, distracted driving, and big trucks.

For more info on the MRF, see their website here

Concerned Bikers Protest Motorcycle Only Roadblocks

The Concerned Biker Association of North Carolina sent out a press release letter to its members and the press stating their objection to law enforcement’s use of “motorcycle only” roadblocks.   In the unsigned press release, CBA states, “During the late summer of 2009 there were two separate law enforcement license/vehicle checks in North Carolina that targeted only motorcycles.  Other vehicles were allowed through without being checked.  These checks were in Newport, NC and Jacksonville, NC.  Both of these are military towns.  We believe that these roadblocks are not legal and that they are discriminatory due to profiling based upon mode of transportation.  Contacts regarding this have been made to legislators, the law enforcement agencies involved, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program and other governmental officials by our organization and others.  Law enforcement seems to think that these enforcement tactics are a great idea.  We do not.  We have started a fund to help combat these roadblocks in the future”

The group is asking North Carolina motorcyclists to inform them of any such roadblocks and to take pictures and video if possible.  For more info email ncroadblocks@gmail.com or visit www.cba-abatenc.org