Lawmakers Back Ban on Funding for Motorcycle-Only Checkpoints, Want Focus on Motorcycle Crash Prevention

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Federal lawmakers have sent a bipartisan letter to the leadership of a key U.S. House committee to urge support for a bill that prohibits federal funding for motorcycle-only traffic checkpoints, the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA) reports.

The lawmakers are also urging support for a measure to retain a ban on lobbying at the state level by a federal traffic safety agency.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and his colleagues sent the letter on May 25 to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as well as to the panel’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

The letter asks the panels to include H.R. 904 and H.Res. 239 in the surface transportation reauthorization bill now being considered by Congress.

H.R. 904 would prohibit the U.S. Transportation secretary from providing grants or any funds to a state or local government to be used for programs to check helmet usage or to create motorcycle-only checkpoints.

H.Res. 239 would support efforts to retain a ban on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) ability to lobbystate legislators using federal tax dollars and urges the agency to focus on motorcycle crash prevention and rider education and training.

“These important pieces of legislation would ensure that the Department of Transportation (DOT) and NHTSA focus on proven methods of motorcycle safety,” the letter said. “NHTSA’s Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration Program has not proven to be an effective use of taxpayer dollars.

“Through this program, the state of Georgia was provided a $70,000 grant to create motorcycle-only checkpoints to inspect rider compliance with DOT-compliant helmet regulations,” the letter said. “The checkpoints are not a proven method of ensuring motorcyclist safety, and have certainly not been an effective use of limited federal taxpayer dollars.

“We take motorcycle safety seriously and want NHTSA to focus its safety efforts on proven lifesaving methods,” the letter said. “Including H.R. 904 and H.Res. 239 in the surface transportation reauthorization bill would set the record straight, that the House of Representatives supports rider education, driver awareness, training and proper licensing as the best methods of preventing motorcycle crashes, not mandatory federal helmet laws.”

In addition to Sensenbrenner, others who signed the letter include Reps. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.),Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.)

To see the letter, go to:www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Libraries/Rights_Documents_Federal/5_25_2011_Sensenbrenner_TransportationComm.sflb.ashx?download=true

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.

 

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.