House Bill Approved To Exempt Kids’ Off-Highway Vehicles From Lead Law

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The U.S. House has approved legislation by a vote of 421-2 to exempt kids’ off-highway vehicles (OHVs) from the lead law that essentially bans the sale of those machines at the end of the year, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

On Aug. 1, Reps. Mary Mack Bono (R-Calif.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) introduced H.R. 2715 to grant the exemption. The measure earned House approval later in the day and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The Senate is considering similar legislation — S. 1448, the Consumer Product Safety Flexibility Act of 2011.

“This is excellent news for families around the nation who enjoy responsible motorized recreation,” said Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO. “Now the challenge will be to get our federal lawmakers to agree on one version of the bill and to send it to President Obama to be signed into law.

“It is vital that a lead-law exemption for OHVs be signed into law not only because it will once again allow families to enjoy riding together, but also so that children aren’t forced to ride adult-sized machines that they may not be able to operate safely,” Dingman said.

The legislation exempts OHVs — including kids’ dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) — from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.

The CPSIA bans the making, importing, distributing or selling of any product intended for children 12 and under that contains more than a specified amount of lead in any accessible part. It also requires all children’s products undergo periodic testing by independent laboratories approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is responsible for implementing the law.

The CPSC has delayed enforcing key portions of the law until after the end of the year. Unless the CPSIA is changed by then, the sale of child-sized dirtbikes and ATVs will effectively be banned.

The CPSIA was designed to ban small toys with high lead content. But because of broadly written language in the law, it has been interpreted to apply to all products for kids 12 and under, including dirtbikes, ATVs, bicycles, clothing and books.

The AMA has been at the forefront of the fight to exclude child-sized motorcycles and ATVs from the CPSIA for more than two years. The association has participated in news events to focus media attention on the issue, lobbied on Capitol Hill, and organized campaigns to encourage riders and parents to contact their federal lawmakers and key decision-makers to exempt kids’ OHVs from the CPSIA.

As a result, every single member of Congress, as well as members of the CPSC, has received powerful statements from members of the AMA and the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), which is a partner organization of the AMA.

The AMA continues these efforts through its “Kids Just Want to Ride” campaign. To get involved, and to see more of what the AMA has done for the past two years in its efforts to exempt kids’ OHVs from the CPSIA, go tohttp://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/KeepKidMotorcyclesAndATVsLegal.aspx

American Motorcyclist Association Raises Questions About New Federal Transportation Bill

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is asking some pointed questions related to motorcycling priorities following a news conference by a powerful U.S. House committee chairman.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, held a news conference on July 7 to roll out some of the priorities that he intends to include in his forthcoming proposed national transportation bill. If it is introduced, approved by the full Congress and signed into law by the president, the bill would guide federal transportation spending for the next six years.

Mica’s proposal would spend only $230 billion, far less than the $566 billion sought by President Obama’s administration.

In a letter to Mica dated July 11, AMA Washington Representative Rick Podliska outlined the AMA’s position on a variety of issues crucial to motorcyclists and asked several questions in light of the proposed spending cuts.

For example, Podliska asked whether Mica’s proposal would: bar states from using federal funds for motorcycle-only traffic checkpoints; continue to prohibit lobbying at the state level by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); continue to designate funds for motorcycle rider education and awareness programs; and continue the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) which uses a modest amount of the revenue collected from fuel taxes paid by off-highway riders to help pay for state trail projects.

AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman has previously stated that abolishing the RTP program would effectively create a tax increase on off-highway riders (OHV) because the RTP funds would no longer be designated for a program that benefits motorized users.

Podliska also noted that Mica, during his news conference, discussed “performance measures” as a way to improve state highway safety efforts. Podliska asked whether performance measures would be applied to states with high motorcycle crash rates so that those states would be required to spend more federal funding to reduce the number of crashes.

In addition, Podliska wrote that Mica appeared to be pushing for more public-private partnerships. Podliska asked whether Mica’s proposals would, for example, require private companies operating public roads to continue to allow motorcycles to use those roads.

To read the letter, click here:http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Libraries/Rights_Documents_Federal/7_11_11_Chairman_Mica_MC_Priorities_Letter.sflb.ashx?download=true

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American Motorcyclist Association appoints Vice President of Industry Relations and Corporate Member Programs

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce that industry veteran Jim Williams has joined the association as Vice President of Industry Relations & Corporate Member Programs. Williams will be responsible for directing the AMA’s outreach to the motorcycle industry as well as creating related membership programs for manufacturers, distributors and aftermarket companies.

With more than 25 years of industry involvement, Williams was most recently the Director, Sales Planning & Promotion for Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA and he concurrently served as Vice Chairman of the AMA Board of Directors. Williams also has trade association experience, having worked for the Motorcycle Industry Council from1986 to 1995, where he coordinated land-use efforts for the industry with the goal of preserving and expanding OHV riding opportunities across the U.S.

“I am very happy to report that Jim Williams has joined the AMA’s executive team,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “Jim has extensive knowledge of the motorcycling community and brings a wide variety of experience from his years at Kawasaki. He was a key member of the team responsible for the company’s increase in motorcycle market share, and he is well regarded throughout the motorcycle industry.

“In addition, as Vice Chairman of the AMA Board of Directors, Jim understands the needs and direction of the AMA, our clubs and our members. I can think of no one more qualified to lead our outreach to the industry as we grow the AMA into the future,” Dingman said.

“It’s a great feeling to be joining the AMA executive team,” added Williams. “For many years, I have been active in the motorcycling community’s struggle with the challenges to current and future riding opportunities, and have done what I could within the industry. By joining the AMA at this time, I can more effectively contribute to the reforms that Rob and the board have undertaken to strengthen and grow the membership of the AMA. There is no organization better positioned to protect our riding lifestyle and freedoms, and I look forward to the opportunities ahead.”

Williams is an avid motorcyclist and has been riding motorcycles since he was 7 years old. He is an AMA Charter Life member and enjoys long-distance adventures in the wide-open spaces of Baja, Nevada and the California desert. Formerly an active participant in AMA District 37 racing, he still competes on occasion.

Williams will be based in Southern California.

Every Day is Earth Day on Your Motorcycle

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — As conservation takes center stage on Earth Day 2011, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) notes the environmental benefits of commuting and traveling on a motorcycle.

“Regardless of how you use your motorcycle or scooter — commuting to work, riding down the block, across town, traveling across the country — your choice to ride instead of drive has a positive impact on the environment and results in a more enjoyable, less-congested experience for you as well as your fellow road users,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “For motorcyclists, every day is Earth Day.”

In the wake of skyrocketing gas prices, motorcyclists have emerged relatively unscathed. A typical motorcycle can provide fuel mileage that exceeds that of most fuel-efficient automobiles. Many motorcycles return more than 50 miles per gallon, and many scooters can deliver nearly twice that. In addition to using less gasoline, motorcycles require less oil and other chemicals to operate. And the recent introduction of electric motorcycles provides an added benefit for the environment.

Motorcycles take up less space than cars and trucks both during operation, and when parked. They reduce traffic congestion and, in so doing, help increase the efficiency of traffic flow on the road.

Significantly fewer raw materials are utilized to produce motorcycles and scooters compared to cars and trucks. By some measures, it requires thousands of pounds less metal and plastic per vehicle to produce a motorcycle. The environmental benefits are realized both during production, as well as at the end of the vehicle’s useful life.

Because motorcycles and scooters are so much more compact and lighter than cars and trucks, they cause far less wear and tear on the highways, reducing the cost and environmental impact of infrastructure repairs. In addition, because of their size, many more motorcycles can be transported from factory to consumer using the same or less energy.

“When you add it all up, there is no question: If everyone rode motorcycles, the planet would be a greener place,” Dingman said. “And just as important, more of us would experience the thrill and freedom that motorcycles provide. Riding is not just easy on your bank account and the planet, riding is a fun, and often a social activity that simply makes life more enjoyable.”

Those interesting in coming along for the ride are encouraged to visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Riding > Getting Started for more information about the benefits of motorcycling.

Get ready: Countdown to AMA Get Out and Ride! Month

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — AMA Get Out and Ride! Month kicks into high gear on April 1 by showcasing the riding activities of American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) members and other motorcyclists across the country. Plans are coming together quickly, on the East Coast, the West Coast and everywhere in between.

Rider Dean Mellor knows exactly what he’ll be doing: “Vegas, baby. A perfect ride across the desert on the KLT.”

Mellor is far from alone.

“Turned the VFR over 100K last year, now to set about doing it again!” wrote Neil Robert Pille on the AMA Facebook page.

Even new riders are feeling the itch to get back in the saddle. Kristine Frohning, who just began riding last season, can’t wait to throw a leg over her Yamaha. “I already miss it so much!” she said.

AMA Get Out and Ride! Month officially launches on April 1, when a special web page onAmericanMotorcyclist.com, plus Facebook and Twitter feeds, will provide daily details, including themes for each week:

  • April 4-10: AMA Get Out and Ride Your Way! Week highlights everything from AMA Grand Tours to solo riding on favorite trails and twisties.
  • April 11-17: AMA Get Out and Ride Together! Week features large iconic rallies and smaller local events, from dual-sport rides to AMA National Conventions to Gypsy Tours.
  • April 18-24: AMA Get Out and Ride for a Cause! Week showcases events and activities where motorcyclists use their love of riding to help others less fortunate, as well as advocate for the motorcycling lifestyle.
  • April 25-30: AMA Get Out and Ride Smart! Week focuses on rider training and awareness skills needed to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on every ride.

“We encourage all motorcyclists to join the AMA in celebrating the motorcycling lifestyle,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “There is a common bond that unites all of us, regardless of what or where we ride. AMA Get Out and Ride! Month connects motorcyclists from all over the country as we share our riding adventures.”

Throughout the month, AMA members will submit stories, photos and videos. A weekly winner will be selected for the best submission, and some great prizes will be awarded for the best stories — including a $100 gift card from AMA member benefit partner and corporate member BikeBandit.com, a gift certificate for a set of tires from corporate member Dunlop Tires, a Blinc Bluetooth Helmet Communications System and riding gear from Tourmaster.

One lucky motorcyclist will be featured in an upcoming issue of American Motorcyclist magazine and on AmericanMotorcyclist.com. Stay tuned to AmericanMotorcyclist.com for more details, and if you haven’t made your plans yet, get started now. AMA Get Out and Ride! Month begins on April 1!

 

Controversial Governor Selected Motorcyclist of 2010 by AMA

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) announced today its AMA Motorcyclist of the Year. Awarded annually, the AMA Motorcyclist of the Year designation recognizes the person(s) who has had the most profound impact on the world of motorcycling, for better or worse, in the previous 12 months.

For 2010, that distinction belongs to outgoing California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose signature on a controversial law will have far-reaching and potentially harmful effects on the motorcycling community nationwide.

With no fanfare, Schwarzenegger signed a poorly crafted bill on Sept. 28 that fundamentally changes how California will regulate motorcycle exhaust systems. The new law also maps a path for the rest of the country, as other state and local lawmakers look for their own answers to address excessive motorcycle sound. The full story is in the January 2011 issue of American Motorcyclist magazine, the journal of the AMA.

“Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a piece of legislation that has rocked the motorcycling world, and will impact motorcyclists in other states as well for years to come,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “This makes him the logical choice for the 2010 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year.”

The legislation, California Senate Bill 435, the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act, requires every new motorcycle or aftermarket exhaust system built starting in 2013 to carry a stamp on the exhaust certifying that it meets federal Environmental Protection Agency sound requirements. For most motorcycles, the law is a de-facto OEM (original equipment manufacturer) exhaust mandate because the federal standard was not designed for aftermarket manufacturers, and compliance for the scores of low-volume production models now on the market is extremely problematic.

The AMA has long advocated reasonable measures be adopted for the regulation of excessive motorcycle sound, and cites the Society of Automotive Engineers J2825 motorcycle sound testing procedure as the most fair, economical and practical solution to the problem vexing communities nationwide.

“The California law is a poorly crafted piece of legislation that’s discriminatory and does little to address the core problem of excessive sound from all sources, not just motorcycles,” Dingman said. “Rather than objectively regulate offensive noise, this law creates all sorts of problems for riders, law enforcement and aftermarket manufacturers.”

An EPA certification label is no guarantee of sound compliance, and the lack of a label is no guarantee that an exhaust is too loud. The only way to know if a motorcycle exhaust is compliant is to test its actual sound output, Dingman noted.

“As a motorcyclist, Gov. Schwarzenegger should have known better,” Dingman said. “Now California’s motorcyclists, as well as key segments of our industry, are going to be negatively impacted.”

Currently, only two aftermarket manufacturers offer EPA-sound-stamped exhaust systems for a handful of late-model Harley-Davidsons. The process of certification is complex and expensive. For the millions of owners whose motorcycle models were made in relatively small numbers, the requirement to replace an aging exhaust system with an expensive OEM system is onerous and discriminatory. Owners of automobiles and trucks don’t have to meet the same standard, and they can buy less expensive replacement exhaust systems at local muffler shops.

Schwarzenegger’s selection as AMA Motorcyclist of the Year was reinforced by California’s position as a role model for the rest of the country.

“In many cases, we’ve seen other states follow California’s legislative lead on a number of issues,” Dingman said. “There’s no reason to think that trend won’t continue with respect to S.B. 435. With the stroke of his pen, Gov. Schwarzenegger significantly altered the motorcycling landscape for motorcyclists everywhere, and this is the reason why his selection as AMA Motorcyclist of the Year is so impactful.”

The full story of Schwarzenegger’s involvement with motorcycling goes beyond S.B. 435, and is detailed in the January issue of American Motorcyclist. Schwarzenegger has, during his tenure, been an ally of motorcycling with key appointments to decision-making committees that deal with off-highway riding issues, as an example. In addition, as a known motorcyclist himself, Schwarzenegger has drawn attention to motorcycling and, after a high-profile crash in 2006, the need for proper motorcycle licensing.

“We will continue to work with municipal governments and state legislatures to implement reasonable measures, such as the SAE J2825 standard, to address excessive motorcycle sound,” said Dingman. “But we now have the added burden of showing how California’s new measure is not an effective solution, and we have Gov. Schwarzenegger to thank for that.”

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 its support of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visitAmericanMotorcyclist.com.