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

Zero Motorcycles Recall Brake Foundation Components

Vehicle Make / Model: Zero / Zero DS
Zero / Zero S

Manufacturer: Zero Motorcycles Inc.

NHTSA Campaign ID Number: 11V282000

Component: Service Brakes, Hydraulic: Foundation Components:Disc:Pads

Potential Number of Units Affected: 160

Summary:
Zero Motorcycle is recalling certain model year 2009 Zero Motorcycles built from Sept. 2, 2009 through Dec. 22, 2009; Model Year 2009 Zero DS Motorcycles built from July 27,2010 through Dec. 28, 2009; Model Year 2010 Zero Motorcycles built from Feb. 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011; and model year 2010 Zero DS Motorcycles built from Jan. 20, 2010 through March 31, 2011. The front brake caliper bracket may experience permanent deformation when subjected to high braking loads; the condition could induce misalignment of the front brake pads with respect to the front brake rotor.

Remedy:
Dealers will replace the front brake caliper bracket with a re-designed component, and replace the front brake pads in case the existing pads experienced abnormal wear. The front brake fluid will also be inspected and, if signs of overheating are noted, it will be replaced and the system will be flushed. This service will be performed free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin during May 2011. Owners may contact Zero Motorcycles at 1-888-786-9376 EXT 45

Notes:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to Safercar.gov

Triumph Recalls Mudguard Bolts

Vehicle Make/ Model : Triumph/ ThunderBird                                         Model Year(s): 2010

Manufacture: Triumph Motorcycles America LTD                                  Mfr’s Report Date: May 09, 2011

NHTSA Campaign ID Number: 11V277000                                               NHTSA Action Number: N/A

Component:  Equipment

Potential Number of Units Affected: 1,955

Summary:
Triumph is recalling certain model year 2010 ThunderBird and ThunderBird ABS motorcycle manufactured from Sept. 2009 through August 2010. These motorcycles were built with an incompatible thread locker/screw combination at the front fender mounting.

Consequence:
The screws may work loose and the screww heads can contact the side of the front tire, leading to tire deflation, increasing the risk of a crash.

Remedy:
Dealers will install new screws, free of charge. The manufactuer has not yet provided an owner notification schedule. Owners may contact Triumph Customer Service Department at 1-678-539-8782

Notes:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4263 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to  HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV

Ducati Recalls Steering Component

Vehicle Make/ Model: Ducati  / Diavel                                                                                                      Model Year(s): 2011
Ducati / MTS 1200                                                                                                                                                                             2010-2011

Manufacturer: Ducati North America                                                                                                        Mfr’s Report Date: APR 21, 2011

NHTSA Campaign ID Number: 11V253000                                                                                             NHTSA Action Number: N/A

Component: Steering

Potential Number of Units Affected: 1,051

Summery:
Ducati is recalling certain model year 2010-2011 Multistrada 1200, and model year 2011, Diavel Motorcycles, the electronic steering lock may fail to disengage during the motorcycle “key-on” process. This has been linked directly to a certain revision of the hands free device software. It could result in a situation where the motorcycle’s engine might start while the steering lock is still engaged.  A rider could start the motorcycle and attempy to ride away while steering is still locked.

Consequence:
The rider could experience the inability to steer increasing the risk of low speed tip-over or collision, thus increasing the potential for injury to the rider.

Remedy:
The dealer will update the software of the hands free control unit free of charge. The recall is expected to begin during May 2011. Owners may contact Ducati at 1-800-231-6696

Notes:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to SaferCar.gov

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.

 

Pimping the Georgia State Patrol

It was my intention to write this editorial AFTER I returned from Daytona Bike Week.

You know what they say about “good intentions” right?  There’s a road paved to you-know-where with them, and sometimes in this business I feel like I’m headed there in the express lane with the throttle wide open.

Since the schedule won’t cooperate, I’m writing this a few hours before leaving for the annual spring motorcycle migration.  I fully expect this year’s event to be well attended, despite the lingering economic uncertainty.

I believe most of you are as tired of winter as I am.  Hopefully the lower hotel/motel rates (than in years past) should offset the higher gasoline prices and lure you down to spend a few days basking in the early spring Florida sunshine.

For some of you that will mean passing through my home state of Georgia.  If you take I-75 or I-95,  I apologize for the discrimination you will likely experience on the ride through.
Normally Georgia is considered motorcycle friendly.

However,  we have pimped out our troopers to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  for a measly $70,000.

Let’s put this into perspective.  For less than the cost of two patrol cars and a motorcycle, the Georgia Highway Patrol allowed itself to be hired out to perform discriminatory traffic profiling, under the guise of “safety checkpoints.”

In their press release the GSP said they were focusing on high speed motorcycles and reckless riding and would be checking for non-DOT approved helmets, valid tags and motorcycle endorsements.

I’m all for safety but how does a check point deter high speed motorcycle riders.   And when did an improper tag become unsafe?

What’s worse is the GSP spokesperson had the audacity to claim the stop should only take about a minute for the rider who has all  the proper paperwork.

I don’t know about you but it takes me more than a minute to stop, get off the bike, take off my helmet and gloves and get my wallet, find my insurance card and license and then suit back up.
The brain trust who wrote that press release obviously never rode a motorcycle.

What chaps my ass the most isn’t the “safety spin” or “it’s not really an inconvenience” spin the Georgia State Patrol is putting on this.  What chaps me the most is how eager they are to participate in blatant discrimination for a little overtime pay.

Is there nobody in a position of authority in the State Patrol that has the moral turpitude to stand up and say, “This is wrong and we should not participate in it, regardless of how much money the Federal Government is throwing at us.

Not to mention these checkpoints will be conducted on interstate weigh stations.  The same brain trust who wrote the GSP press release must have thought it would be a good idea to mix motorcycles and 18 wheelers.

I don’t know about your state, but Georgia has made some deep cuts to the State Patrol budget.  I’ve got a good source inside the department who told me that troopers have been instructed to stay in one spot during the bulk of their shift and not drive any more than they absolutely have to.

As a former law enforcement officer I can tell you that sitting in one spot for a long period of time makes for a boring shift.    I can’t really blame them for filling their time with checkpoints, but I do blame them for participating in “discriminatory” checkpoints.

In a perfect world individual State Patrol officers would step up and complain about this type of enforcement and refuse to condone it.

In this world we’ll have to rely on legislation that has been introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) to block the Department of Transportation (who funds NHTSA) from giving grants that target motorcycles only.   Not only would it stop the Georgia checkpoints it would also stop the checkpoints that New York State has been doing. (corrected 03-04-2011 – The New York checkpoints are State funded, not with NHTSA grants.)

I’m trying my best not to Chicken Little this issue and cry “foul” at every perceived injustice to motorcyclists, so if there’s someone out there who can justify these checkpoints, I’d love to hear your argument for their validity.

Until next month, ride safe and always take the road less traveled.

 

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.

Ducati Recalls MTS 1200S for Fuel Injection Problems

Ducati North America IS RECALLING 1,196 model year 2010 MTS 1200S motorcycles due to a problem with the fuel injection system. In the event the operator should downshift or maneuver with the clutch disengaged and the engine at idle the vehicle could stall, increasing the odds of a crash.  Dealers will re-flash the electronic control  unit free of charge.  Ducati Safety recall #RCL-10-004 .  If needed owners may contact DUCATI 800-231-6696 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to http://www.safecar.gov

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Thumbs Nose at Congress and Discriminates Against Motorcycles

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has learned from a source at the US Department of Transportation

Troopers in Georgia to set up "motorcycle only checkpoints"

that they have funded the motorcycle only roadside checkpoints.

NHTSA decided to fund the program despite being asked by Congress not to fund the program until the merits were explained. In a letter sent by James Sensenbrenner, along with ten other Members of the House of Representatives last month, Sensenbrenner and his colleagues specifically asked NHTSA to respond to the letter before funding the program, they did not. Read the letter here.

The recipient of the money for the demo project was the Georgia Department of Public Safety, which oversees the day-to-day operation of the Georgia State Patrol.  The Georgia State Patrol will conduct a series of roadside motorcycle safety checks in accordance with what was outlined in the Request for Applications.  The amount of NHTSA funding is $70,000.00.

“Not only is this an injustice to the motorcyclists of America its a complete waste of taxpayer money.” said Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the MRF.

The MRF will keep you informed on this issue and any actions you can take to defend your freedoms, at stake in Washington.