American Motorcyclist Association Wants Motorcycles Included in Study of Ethanol-Blended Fuel

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is asking a key U.S. House panel to include motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in any future study of ethanol-blended gasoline.

In a letter sent July 11 to the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee, the AMA, along with its partner organization, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), urged subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris (R-Md.) “that on- or off-highway motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) be part of any scientific study by the NAS” related to ethanol-blended gasoline. NAS stands for the National Academy of Sciences.

The subcommittee held a hearing on July 7 entitled “Hitting the Ethanol Blend Wall: Examining the Science on E15.” The hearing focused on E15, a new gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent alcohol by volume. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in October 2010 approved the use of E15 in model year 2007 and newer light-duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). In January 2011, the EPA added model year 2001-2006 light-duty vehicles to the approved list.

No on- or off-highway motorcycles or ATVs are currently approved.

At its hearing, the subcommittee indicated that it may require the EPA to arrange with the NAS to study a full range of issues related to E15.

In the letter, AMA Washington Representative Rick Podliska said the AMA and ATVA have concerns about: E15 being put in motorcycles or ATVs mistakenly and damaging engines; the continued availability of gasoline that has no ethanol, or gasoline with only a 10 percent blend that is safe for use in motorcycles and ATVs; the possibility that “blender pumps” — which dispense multiple grades of gasoline through a single hose — could introduce enough ethanol into gasoline to be used in a motorcycle or ATV to damage the vehicle; and that ethanol absorbs water, which could be harmful to motorcycles and ATVs.

“In conclusion, to address our concerns, the AMA and ATVA urge that on- or off-highway motorcycles and ATVs be part of any scientific study by NAS,” Podliska wrote. “Not only should the study focus on the short- and long-term impacts on vehicles and engines, but should consider financial implications of increased ethanol use in gasoline on consumers; fuel producers, distributors and retailers; vehicle and engine manufacturers, dealers and service facilities; and the environment.”

To read the letter, click here:http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Libraries/Rights_Documents_Federal/Harris_NAS_Ethanol_7-11-2011.sflb.ashx?download=true

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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

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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.

California Wants Quieter Motorcycles

California Wants All Exhaust to Be EPA Approved

It’s a trend that is quietly building momentum across the country.  States and Cities are enacting legislation to force motorcyclists to comply with federal noise emission standards as a way to quiet loud pipes.

On Monday August 30, California joined the growing number of states who passed legislation making it a crime to operate a motorcycle manufactured after Jan. 1, 2013, without a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency label certifying that the bike’s exhaust meets the federal standard.

The problem, say critics, is that most of the EPA stamps and labels on stock exhaust pipes are difficult if not impossible to find and as a result, many motorcyclists will be unfairly ticketed and harrassed.

The police chief of North Hampton Maine told lawmakers that clean stock pipes on the police department’s Harley-Davidson’s are easy to locate if you lay on the ground, but that would require two officers to check.  ”I would still need two people (present when checking a motorcycle for the EPA label),” Page was quoted on Seacoast online saying  that he would want one officer in position to watch the operator while the other checked for the label. “I’m not going to have anyone lie under the cycle with the rider (on it).”

New York and Denver have passed similar legislation this year.