Federal lawmakers oppose state lobbying by safety agency

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and his colleagues introduced House Resolution 239 on May 2 to retain the ban on state and local lobbying by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

The bi-partisan resolution instead urges the agency to focus on motorcycle crash prevention as the first step in motorcycle safety. The date of the bill’s introduction is significant because May is traditionally recognized as Motorcycle Awareness Month. To date, others supporting the resolution include Reps. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Tom Petri (R-Wis.), Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) andBarney Frank (D-Mass.).

If approved, the resolution sends a clear message to the federal agency that it shouldn’t lobby state or local jurisdictions for mandatory helmet laws. The anti-lobbying language was originally written into the Transportation Equity Act approved by Congress in 1998. The resolution says the House “supports efforts to retain the ban on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) ability to lobby state legislators using federal tax dollars, encourages continued growth in the motorcyclist community, and encourages owners and riders to be responsible road users.”

The resolution also notes that the House “recognizes the importance of motorcycle crash prevention as the primary source of motorcycle safety [and] encourages NHTSA to focus on motorcycle crash prevention and rider education as the most significant priorities in motorcycle safety.” Sen. Brenner introduced a similar resolution last year.

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 visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.

 

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.

AMA Life Members Can Add Premiere Benefits for Less

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is recognizing the organization’s most loyal members with the option to add benefits at significant savings with the introduction of a new membership category: AMA Life Member Plus.

Available now by phone at (800) AMA-JOIN (262-5646), AMA Life Member Plus adds benefits that have not been part of the AMA Life Member package until now: AMA Roadside Assistance, a monthly subscription to American Motorcyclist magazine and a collectible AMA Life Member Plus membership card.

The existing AMA Life Member program is not changing. AMA members who reach 25 years of continuous membership will still achieve AMA Life Member status. These members, who no longer pay annual membership dues, receive discounts on products and services, the ability to participate in AMA-sanctioned events, and access to the Members Area of AmericanMotorcyclist.com — including the full digital edition of American Motorcyclist magazine.

The AMA Life Member Plus program includes all these benefits and adds AMA Roadside Assistance, a monthly subscription to the printed version of American Motorcyclist magazine and a new membership card every year. Including all the benefits of full AMA membership, AMA Life Member Plus is available for $29 — a $10 discount off the full membership price.

“Frankly, we haven’t done enough for our life members — the lifeblood of the AMA — and this optional program is our way of making up for the oversight and bringing Life Members new benefits in a cost-effective way,” said AMA Membership and Marketing Vice President Dan Stedman. “Life Member Plus also lays the groundwork to re-engage and reconnect with our Life Members in a very meaningful way going forward.”

Of course, for many AMA Life Member Plus participants, the top benefit of the new program will be the freedom to ride knowing they continue to financially support the organization that has been fighting for motorcyclists’ rights since 1924.

The AMA Life Member Plus program includes:

  • AMA Roadside Assistance that covers all of your motorcycles, cars, trucks and RVs.
  • 12 issues of American Motorcyclist magazine.
  • An exclusive AMA Life Member Plus Membership card, new every year.
  • An exclusive AMA Life Member Plus Pin And Decal.
  • All the benefits of AMA Membership, including money-saving discounts and a voice protecting motorcyclists’ rights at the federal, state and local levels.

There’s no obligation to join the AMA Life Member Plus program, and AMA Life Members who don’t want AMA Roadside Assistance can still subscribe to the print version of American Motorcyclistmagazine for just $10 a year. AMA Life Members who want neither AMA Roadside Assistance nor the printed version of American Motorcyclist magazine will continue to receive all other benefits of AMA Life Membership.

AMA Life Members who wish to enroll in the AMA Life Member Plus program should call AMA Member Services at (800) 262-5646. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Members Area > Life Member Plus.

 

Restrictive Federal Wild Lands Policy on Hold for This Fiscal Year

PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The funding measure that keeps the federal government operating throughSept. 30 includes language that bars the U.S. Interior Department from using any money to carry out the new Wild Lands land-use policy, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

The Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution – which was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on April 15 — specifically states that no federal money “may be used to implement, administer, or enforce Secretarial Order No. 3310 issued by the Secretary of the Interioron Dec. 22, 2010.”

“This is a major victory for responsible off-highway vehicle [OHV] riders and others concerned about appropriate access to public land,” said Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. “But we can’t let up. Anti-access groups will continue pushing for implementation of the Wild Lands policy for the next federal fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.”

Secretarial Order 3310 created the Wild Lands land-use policy. The policy essentially allows federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials to manage public land as if it had received a Wilderness designation from Congress, but without requiring congressional approval.

This new policy, if implemented, is widely expected to restrict or eliminate responsible OHV use in the affected areas.

A Wilderness designation is one of the most restrictive forms of public land management. Once Congress designates an area as Wilderness, nearly all forms of non-pedestrian recreation are illegal.

The AMA supports appropriate Wilderness designations that meet the criteria established by Congress in 1964, but anti-access advocates have been abusing the legislative process to ban responsible OHV recreation on public land.

U.S. lawmakers want agency to focus on motorcycle crash prevention

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — U.S. lawmakers want a federal traffic safety agency to concentrate on motorcycle crash prevention and rider education — instead of trying to lobby state lawmakers to enact mandatory helmet laws, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and his colleagues plan to introduce a resolution May 2 in support of continuing a ban on state and local lobbying by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The resolution urges the agency to focus on motorcycle crash prevention as the first step in motorcycle safety.

May is traditionally Motorcycle Awareness Month.

To date, others supporting the resolution include Reps. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Tom Petri (R-Wis.), Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Tim Walberg (R-Mich.).

If approved, the resolution would send a clear message to the NHTSA that it shouldn’t lobby state or local jurisdictions for mandatory helmet laws. The anti-lobbying language was originally written into the Transportation Equity Act approved by Congress in 1998.

The resolution states that the House “supports efforts to retain the ban on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) ability to lobby state legislators using federal tax dollars, encourages continued growth in the motorcyclist community, and encourages owners and riders to be responsible road users.”

The resolution also says that the House “recognizes the importance of motorcycle crash prevention as the primary source of motorcycle safety (and) encourages NHTSA to focus on motorcycle crash prevention and rider education as the most significant priorities in motorcycle safety.”

Sensenbrenner introduced a similar resolution during the previous Congress.

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 visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.

 

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!

 

Bill introduced to block motorcycle-only checkpoints

A federal lawmaker has introduced legislation to prevent the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) from giving money to states and local jurisdictions for motorcycle-only checkpoints, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

On March 3, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced the bill. The legislation, with original co-sponsors Reps. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), would prohibit the DOT “from providing grants or any funds to a state, county, town, or township, Indian tribe, municipal or other local government to be used for any program to check helmet usage or create checkpoints for a motorcycle driver or passenger.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is part of the Transportation Department, recently gave Georgia a $70,000 grant to conduct one or more roadside motorcycle-only checkpoints. New York state has operated a similar program using state funds. The AMA has been tracking this disturbing development of motorcycle-only checkpoints since it first appeared in New York several years ago.

50 lawmakers now support The Kids Just Want to Ride Act

Congress Needs to Clarify Lead Ban Provision in Bill

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Legislation that would exempt kids’ dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) from the “lead law” that effectively bans them at the end of the year is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

There are now 50 co-sponsors to H.R. 412: The Kids Just Want to Ride Act, which was introduced by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) The bill seeks to exempt kids’ off-highway vehicles (OHVs) from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, which is also known as the lead law.

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.

“As a motorcycling enthusiast myself for many years, I fully respect the importance of improving the safety of kids who ride off-highway motorcycles and ATVs,” said Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), one of the latest co-sponsors. “But this is just another example of regulations creating the exact opposite effect of their original intent. This law actually makes kids less safe by eliminating appropriately sized off-highway motorcycles and ATVs, and forces young riders onto larger and more powerful machines not designed for them.

“I’m proud to support the Kids Just Want to Ride Act and know that it will keep youth-sized motorcycles and ATVs available for safe and responsible use as they are intended,” Ribble said.

Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.), another co-sponsor, said: “The Kids Just Want to Ride Act will fix the illogical mandate of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and will once again allow our children to safely enjoy outdoor recreational vehicles. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this common-sense legislation to protect our youth while working to create jobs.”

Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations, thanked lawmakers for their bipartisan backing of the bill. He noted it’s important to get as many co-sponsors as possible to increase the bill’s chances of passage.

Moreland urged all concerned riders and parents to contact their federal lawmakers to ask for support.

The easiest way to contact lawmakers is through the Rights section of the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com.

In addition to Ribble and Landry, the latest co-sponsors of the Kids Just Want to Ride bill include Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Mark Critz (D-Pa.), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), John Kline (R-Minn.), Tom Latham (R-Iowa), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.), Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Joe Wilson (R-S.C.).

For more information, go to http://capwiz.com/amacycle/go/HR412

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.