Latest News and Press Releases affecting Motorcyclists in Tennessee and across the Country

MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation
236 Massachusetts Ave. NE | Suite 204 | Washington, DC 20002-4980
202-546-0983 (voice) | 202-546-0986 (fax) |

14NR03 - MRF News Release - EPA Proposed Ethanol Rule Comment Period

22 Jan. 2014

Contact:Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs

EPA Proposed Ethanol Rule Comment Period
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering altering the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to lower the amount of ethanol produced in 2014. The proposed drop in ethanol production is a result of the Obama administration acknowledging that the biofuel law, RFS, is not working as well as expected. The proposal would require almost three billion gallons less be sold at market in 2014.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, Jeff Hennie, testified at a hearing held by the EPA on this proposed rule in December 2013.

The higher blends, such as E15, have not been tested on motorcycles, and the extent of the damage is just beginning to be realized by those who have used the blend. Of particular concern to motorcyclists is that many manufactures are voiding warranties in cases where E15 is used in the motorcycle and causing damage.

Demand for the higher blends of ethanol, such as E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol to 85 percent traditional fuel, has been lower than expected. This shrinking of the marketplace has the EPA rethinking the future of biofuels.

The EPA is requesting comments on the proposal to drop the amount of ethanol produced in the U.S. in 2014. You can add your thoughts to the proposal by visiting and searching for Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0479.

The deadline for comments is January 28th, 2014. The MRF encourages you to let the EPA know how you feel about lowering the amount of ethanol to be produced.

MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation
236 Massachusetts Ave. NE | Suite 204 | Washington, DC 20002-4980
202-546-0983 (voice) | 202-546-0986 (fax) |

14NR02 - MRF News Release - Black Box Bill

21 Jan. 2014

Contact:Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs

Black Box Bill
The United States Senate is addressing privacy concerns surrounding data event recorders in automobiles. Event Data Recorders (EDRs), commonly known as “black boxes” are almost standard equipment in all new cars and trucks. They record everything the vehicle is doing, or not doing at the time of a collision or other on road mishap. The boxes can record everything from speed and vehicle angle, to seat-belt use.

U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have introduced legislation, S.1925, to make the data recorder the sole property of the vehicle owner. Anyone else would need a subpoena to access the data. The data would also be available should the vehicle owner consent to data retrieval or for traffic safety research.

“Technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace and that poses new risks to personal privacy and new concerns for the public,” Hoeven said. “While EDRs can serve a useful function by helping to make cars and streets safer, access to the data should be treated as personal except under very specific circumstances. Our bill makes clear what those circumstances are and helps to ensure that government and other entities respect the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans.”

The Senate legislation is similar to the bill currently being worked on by the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2414. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation supports both pieces of legislation and encourages you to contact your elected officials in the House and Senate and ask them to cosponsor these important bills.

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

U.S. Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI), a member of the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus, has sent a letter to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) demanding answers concerning a recent CDC report that aims to discourage motorcycle use while ignoring the positive economic benefits for motorcycle riding.
“As an avid and experienced motorcycle rider, I believe government should be in the business of promoting the recreational, economic and environmental benefits of responsible motorcycle riding – not discouraging it,” stated Congressman Walberg in the letter. “During difficult fiscal times, the American people would be better served by your continued efforts to address widespread societal health matters such as virus prevention, cancer and heart disease.”
Rep. Walberg was prompted to action by a presentation given by the Helmet Law Review Team of the Community Preventative Services Task Force in late October 2013 which concluded that mandatory helmet laws would “produce substantial economic benefits.”
Walberg is troubled by the fact that potential negative impacts on nationwide motorcycling are not addressed and questions whether the CDC should be tasked with researching and making recommendations regarding transportation safety. The Michigan Representative has also been prompted to ask CDC Director Thomas Frieden; “is it the goal or strategy of the CDC to reduce the use of motorcycles - a legal mode of transportation - by recommending and pursing a federal helmet law?”

The Global Motorcycle Industry is projected to reach $93.67 Billion by 2017, according to Lucintel, a leading global management consulting and market research firm. Lucintel has analyzed the top five global motorcycle companies and offers its findings in a comprehensive research report in “Top Five Global Motorcycle Companies: Performance, Strategies, and Competitive Analysis.” Lucintel observes the evolving of the global motorcycle industry, competitive landscape, and corporate and marketing strategies adopted by the motorcycle companies as some of the factors to have remarkably impacted the global motorcycle industry dynamics.
The market witnessed splendid growth during 2006-2011 but is likely to grow with reduced pace to reach an estimated $93.67 billion by 2017. The competitive landscape of the global motorcycle industry has had fluctuations over the last five years which affected the top five companies.
Lucintel found that the market size or revenue, average operating profit, average net profit, and annual growth rate are some of the driving forces of these companies. Buyers power, degree of competition, and threats of new entrants and substitutes also affect this market.
Following are the top five companies of the global motorcycle industry: Honda Motor Company Limited; Yamaha Motor Company Limited; Hero MotoCorp Limited; Bajaj Auto Limited; and Harley–Davidson Incorporation.
Developing regions, such as Asia and Latin America, which perceive two-wheelers as a basic mode of transportation, are expected to remain the most promising markets for scooters, light motorcycles, and mopeds. A combination of factors such as demographic condition, economic condition, and environmental regulations is seen to have important impact on market dynamics.
For a detailed table of contents and pricing information on these insightful industry reports, contact Lucintel at (972) 636-5056 or visit

For six years through 2011, highway accidents and related fatalities declined each year. Improvements in vehicles and other safety education efforts were credited for that downward trend. But for the first time since 2005, that streak ran out, according to figures released recently by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Last year, 33,561 people were killed in highway accidents, up 3.3% from 2011. The increase was reflected across many of the categories that researchers follow, but motorcycle and pedestrian fatalities reflected the highest increases, up 7% and 6% respectively. There are currently more motorcycles in use in the U.S. than ever before, and 452,386 new on- and off-road motorcycles were sold nationwide in 2012 according to the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), up 2.6% over 2011.
In addition to the deaths, the NHTSA data showed that nearly 2.4 million people were injured in crashes last year, a 6.5% increase from 2011, although miles driven remained about the same.
Despite these increases, the new numbers are still far below the accident rates of the 1970s and 1980s.
NHTSA preliminary data for the first six months of 2013 show that 15,470 people have died in crashes so far this year, a decrease of 4.2% compared with the same period last year.

Evidence suggests that roads would be safer if more drivers rode motorcycles, as motorcyclists are safer behind the wheel of a car than non-motorcyclists, according to a leading U.K. insurer.
Equity Red Star compared car drivers to car users who also have an insured motorcycle, and found the latter 23% less likely on average to make a claim on their car policy.
The firm also adjusted the figures to take into account the different typical ages of car drivers and motorcyclists, and still found the riders to be 21% better behind the wheel. The results showed motorcyclists were 20% less likely to make a bodily injury claim on their car policy.
The insurer examined 200 million policies between 2007 and 2012.
Rob Clark, Equity Red Star’s Head of Retail Motor, said: “A motorcyclist could, behind the wheel of a car, be said to be 23% better.”
Clark presented the data during a conference organized by the Motorcycle Industry Association at the Department for Transport in London to examine evidence that increasing the number of motorcyclists on the road could actually improve safety.

Your motorcycle could be stolen in a New York minute, especially if you live in NYC which is the nation's capital of motorcycle thievery (903 thefts), followed by swingin' Las Vegas (757), the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports. Next comes San Diego (633), Indianapolis (584) and Miami (535).
Overall, just like when it comes to car thefts, motorcycle thefts have been dropping. In 2012, the year in which the NICB bases its analysis, they amounted to 46,061 ripped-off bikes, down 1% from the year before.
Based on National Crime Information Center (NCIC) motorcycle theft data for 2012, Honda was the motorcycle brand stolen most often, with 9,082 for the year (representing 20% of all motorcycles stolen). It was followed by Yamaha (7,517=16%), Suzuki (7,017=15%), Kawasaki (4,839=11%) and Harley-Davidson (3,755=8%), rounding out the top five makes.
When it comes to states, thieves appear to prefer warm weather -- just like all motorcycle riders. California was first (6,082 thefts), followed by Florida (4,110), Texas (3,400), North Carolina (2,574) and Indiana (2,334), and more than twice as many bikes were stolen during summer months than in the winter.
Unfortunately, fewer stolen motorcycles are recovered than cars. While 53.9% of stolen cars were returned to their owners, only 39% of motorcycles found their way back. The NICB says that's because it’s easier to "chop" bikes for their parts, hide them in barns or garages, or ship them out of the country in giant containers.

Federal contractors have been setting up roadblocks in cities across the country with the purpose of collecting DNA samples from passing motorists. The multi-million dollar federal program has been disturbing drivers and alarming civil libertarians. The checkpoints consist of uniformed agents blocking a public road and flagging drivers into a testing area or a parking lot. There, the drivers are requested to submit a saliva or blood sample to the federal government. The roadblocks were part of a study orchestrated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The program costs taxpayers $7.9 million over 3 years, according to NBC News Dallas-Fort Worth. The agency confirmed that the operation is currently being launched in 30 different U.S. cities.
“How voluntary is it when you have a police officer in uniform flagging you down?” asked Susan Watson, executive director of the Alabama chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. “Are you going to stop? Yes, you’re going to stop.”
“Although this was voluntary it was not voluntary that you stop and hear the DNA for CASH pitch,” said one Alabama resident after experiencing a checkpoint in June. Drivers are offered cash for surrendering DNA samples. The going rate is $10 for a cheek-swab and $50 for blood drawn from the vein. The goal, according to the NHTSA, is to decrease impaired-driving accidents by analyzing raw bodily fluids fresh off the street.

The Los Angeles City Council has agreed to pay nearly $6 million to a group of police officers who accused their superiors of imposing a secret traffic ticket quota system.
The $5.9 million settlement resolves a pair of lawsuits filed in 2010 by 11 LAPD officers assigned to a motorcycle unit. In the lawsuits, the officers detailed what they claimed were strict demands to write at least 18 traffic tickets each shift and that 80% of the citations be for major violations.
Officers who failed to meet the alleged ticket minimums or raised concerns about them were reprimanded, denied overtime assignments, given undesirable work schedules, and subjected to other forms of harassment, including being kicked out of the motorcycle unit, according to the L.A. Times.
The settlement, approved unanimously, brings to more than $10 million the amount of taxpayer money spent on payouts and legal fees from the ticket quota cases. But that number could grow because one more officer's case is still pending.
The ticket controversy has been a black eye for the Los Angeles Police Department, because ticket quotas are against state law.

Recreational motorcyclists are protesting across Australia to show solidarity against Queensland's tough new anti-bikie laws. Queensland organizer Gabriel Buckley told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that the new laws, aimed at criminal “bikie” gangs, have resulted in the harassment of law-abiding motorcyclists.
Rallies were planned in major capital cities, with the biggest rally in Brisbane where over a thousand independent riders rallied with patch-wearing bikers at parliament house. According to Buckley, a primary concern is that the laws reverse the onus on proof for people accused of links to prescribed criminal gangs. "Some people are being pulled over three times on their way to work,'' he told AAP.
Freedom Riders Victoria spokesman Dale Maggs said Queensland's anti-association laws unfairly affected all motorcyclists and scooter riders, allowing police to stop and question groups of three or more riders.
Harley Owners Group (HOG) member Stuart told the Leader newspaper that anti-bikie laws targeted 0.3% of Australian crime, referring to research presented by Victoria University Adjunct Professor, Dr Arthur Veno. "Every time you want to ride with three people it's a gang? That's ridiculous. There's the Ulysses clubs, there's HOG clubs, there's Christian movement clubs, there's even scooter clubs and we're all tarred with the same brush and it's just not right.”
Police and the Newman Government have previously asked recreational riders for patience amid the bikie crackdown, but concede there will be disruptions for law-abiding motorcyclists.

QUOTABLE QUOTE: "A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury." ~ John Stuart Mill, (1806-1873) philosopher and economist.

MRF News
12 Dec. 2013

Contact:Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs

Motorcycle Riders Foundation Testifies Before Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a field hearing on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in northern Virginia where the MRF had the opportunity to testify. There were over 140 panelists that represented a variety of concerned parties. The majority of the panelists were very pro-ethanol, with most of them coming from corn growers and biofuel associations. There were only a handful of people from vehicle-based associations. The hearing was open to general public.

The reason for the hearing was unclear, as the EPA does not have to adhere to any of the panelist’s suggestions. One possible reason for the hearing could be to give the pro-ethanol types a forum to vent after the EPA announced that it is considering lowering the amount of ethanol to be produced according to the RFS in 2014. The EPA specifically said that one of the reasons for the drop in production is a shrinking market place and customer base for the higher blends of ethanol, like E-15.

MRF Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, Jeff Hennie, had this to say, “Our message to the EPA is simple, first halt the sale of E-15 then conduct a comprehensive, independent, scientific study on the full effects of E-15 on all types of vehicles.”

To date the only study that has been conducted by the EPA on E-15 is on the tail pipe emissions. The purpose of the study was to make sure the higher ethanol blend did not pollute more than E-10. Prior to October 2010 the EPA had not allowed the sale of the higher blend according to the Clean Air Act (CAA).

When they issued the waiver the motorcycling community at large approached the EPA and told them we are opposed to E-15 for various reasons, one of which is the possibility of voiding any warranty work if the higher blend was used in the motorcycle. They tried to make various assurances that the pumps would be clearly labeled and that new pump technology will reduce the in line fuel from the previous customer. Currently blender pumps can hold 2-3 gallons and the new technology will reduce this to just a fraction of a gallon. The proprietor of the gas station must purchase the new pumps so that solution seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.

This is the perfect time to contact your Federal Representatives and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 875, a bill that would stop the sale of E-15 until a trustworthy study of E-15 is complete.

You can reach the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and if you need help finding your Federal Representative you can use this website

The MRF will keep you informed on this issue.

November 21, 2013
Washington, D.C. -
Today, Rep. Walberg sent a letter to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) demanding answers concerning an October 23 CDC report that aims to discourage motorcycle use while ignoring the positive economic benefits for motorcycle riding.

"As an avid and experienced motorcycle rider, I believe government should be in the business of promoting the recreational, economic and environmental benefits of responsible motorcycle riding – not discouraging it,” stated Rep. Walberg in the letter. "During difficult fiscal times, the American people would be better served by your continued efforts to address widespread societal health matters such as virus prevention, cancer and heart disease.”

FYI - Rep. Tim Walberg is from Michigan and is part of the motorcycle caucus in DC.

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

A task force operating under the auspices of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that all states have a mandatory helmet law in place to require motorcycle riders of all ages to wear a helmet.

Citing reduced injuries and fatalities, as well as economic benefits, the Community Preventive Services Task Force, appointed by the director of the CDC, will make its recommendations to the federal agency and report its findings to the U.S. Congress in early December.

The CDC, whose primary mission is to fight disease, issued a report last summer recommending that all 50 states enact universal helmet laws in response to a sharp increase in motorcyclist fatalities; but ignoring the fact that the number of motorcycles in use nationwide has increased substantially over the past decade, and that costs associated with un-helmeted cyclists involved in fatal accidents represent a tiny fraction of overall U.S. healthcare expenditures.

In the meantime, U.S. Representative Tom Petri (R-WI) has authored a joint letter from members of Congress calling for the CDC to stop investigating motorcycling issues such as helmet laws, which they have no experience or expertise with, and "…to direct your attention and resources to areas that are not currently already being addressed elsewhere in the government.”

The US Defenders ( issued a Call To Action on October 26, 2013 calling for support of House Resolution 1462 "to Stop the Sale of Ethanol 15 (E15).”

The bipartisan RFS Reform Act would "eliminate the corn-based ethanol mandate currently required by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), reduce the overall requirements of cellulosic ethanol not filled by other advanced bio-fuels, and rescind the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waivers allowing gasoline blends containing up to 15-percent of ethanol.”

Introduced by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Steve Womack (R-AR), and Peter Welch (D-VT), H.R. 1462 would effectively overhaul the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which mandates that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be part of our nation's fuel supply by 2022, almost all of which being fulfilled by corn ethanol which in turn diverts nearly 40% of our nation’s corn crop from food and feed.

Congress created the RFS program in 2005 to promote the ethanol industry by setting the minimum amount of renewable fuel that must be blended into motor fuels annually.  E10 (10% ethanol blend) has become widely accepted and helped kickstart the ethanol industry, but in 2010 the EPA approved E15 for use in newer vehicles even though many automobile manufacturers claim its use can damage engines and void warranties, and no motorcycles or ATVs are currently approved to use the alcohol-laden fuel.

Rep. Goodlatte has also introduced the RFS Elimination Act (H.R.1461), "which eliminates the RFS altogether and makes ethanol compete in a free market.”  Both the RFS Elimination Act and the RFS Reform Act have been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Meanwhile, on November 15, the EPA recommended reducing the total amount of ethanol required by the RFS to be blended into U.S. transportation fuel nationwide in 2014 from 18.15 billion gallons down to 15.21 bg, though the move to reduce the minimum volume of renewable fuel next year does not provide a permanent solution to the inflexible short-term mandates nor the long-term diversion of feed stocks to fuel.

An attorney representing the Confederation of Clubs of Minnesota claims that Rochester bars and restaurants illegally deny access to people wearing clothing that displays affiliations to certain motorcycle clubs and that the Rochester Police Department advises the establishments to do so.

In a letter dated October 31, 2013 to Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson and City Attorney Terry Adkins, A.I.M. Attorney Michael M. Bader of St. Paul, MN states that by denying access to people displaying affiliations to these clubs, the establishments are violating Minnesota Statute 604.12. The statute, the first and only biker anti-discrimination law in the country, says that access cannot be denied to "a person who operates a motorcycle or is wearing clothing that displays the name of an organization or association," unless the person's behavior is endangering other people or property, or the person's clothing "is obscene or includes the name or symbol of a criminal gang."

Bader's letter states that he has been provided "irrefutable evidence" that Rochester restaurants and bars violate the law by practicing "discrimination" against members of motorcycle clubs, and told the Post-Bulletin newspaper that the evidence includes taped recordings of conversations with bar owners who say police advised them to deny access to people wearing jackets or other clothing with certain motorcycle club colors and insignias. "The reason given by police, as evidenced in recordings, is: 'that these groups have a history of violence,'" but Minnesota Statute 609.229, which pertains to gang crime, requires a gang or club to have a "pattern of criminal activity" before establishments can deny access to its members.

"Our suggestion would be for Chief Peterson to send a memo to all licensed clubs and restaurants in Rochester with a copy of Minn. Stat. 604.12, advising the license holders that discrimination upon dress alone violates the statute and makes each establishment liable for damages and attorney fees for each person who suffers the discrimination," Bader wrote in his letter.

Peterson told the paper he has no plans to send the type of memo Bader suggested because the police department is not violating any statute, saying it is well-known and well-established that the motorcycle clubs Bader represents have histories of violence in the Rochester area and the police department has advised bars and restaurants to deny access to people wearing any kind of gang colors or insignias, and that includes those of motorcycle clubs with violent histories.

If Peterson refuses to do so, "the next step is litigation," Bader said in a recent interview. "And then it would be incumbent upon the city to prove this pattern of criminal activity." According to Minnesota Statute 609.902, it requires at least three separate criminal acts within 10 years of the beginning of the criminal proceeding.

The Michigan legislature has approved a bill to change the state’s motorcycle laws to allow Elio Motors to sell a three-wheeled car in the state without buyers being required to get a motorcycle endorsement.

The "Elio" (pronounced EE-lee-oh) is considered a "motorcycle” under federal and state safety regulations because it has three wheels and weighs less than 1,600 pounds. Nonetheless, it handles like a car according to inventor Paul Elio, who says Michigan's old law would have required buyers of the Elio to take a motorcycle safety test that teaches things like, "the throttle is on the right handlebar" and you should "lean into a curve."

The company is banking on other states with similar laws to have them modified by the time Elio Motors plans to start production of the Elio in late 2014, but their main concern is the five states that require drivers of three-wheeled vehicles to wear a helmet.

Joel Sheltrown of Elio Motors says those laws must be changed by the time the Elio is for sale, because wearing a helmet in a car obscures the person's vision and hearing, and the weight of the helmet also has the potential to cause severe neck damage in an accident.

Such laws could also hinder sales of the three-wheeler, which will be manufactured in Shreveport, Louisiana, where the state recently amended their laws to allow Elio occupants to ride without a helmet and operators won’t have to get a special "M'' endorsement on their driver's license as required of motorcyclists.

The worldwide market for tires is projected to grow at a 5% annual rate for the period 2014-2015, and motorcycles will be a key driver.

According to an industry report, the increasing demand for motorcycles positively influences the demand for tires and hence leads to the growth of the Global Tire market. The demand for motorcycles comes from developing and under-developed countries where the penetration rate of cars is low.

Also, it is expected that the adoption of tubeless tires in the Global Motorcycle market will increase and will have a positive impact on the Global Tire market.

Texting while driving used to be an offense identified with younger vehicle operators, but a new poll shows how it has spread to older drivers as well. The poll also found that one in four drivers are now accessing the Web while driving, yet another dangerous distraction, and the increase is driven by older drivers using smartphones.

The number of drivers who report using their cell phones to access the Internet while behind the wheel continues to rise, to a point where nearly one of four drivers are going online while driving, according to a national survey that has tracked the potentially deadly practice over the past five years.  There were also jumps in the percentages of people who read or respond to e-mail, and who read or update social media networks while driving, according to an article appearing on the front page of USA TODAY on Tuesday, November 12th.

Insurer State Farm began asking drivers in 2009 whether they went online while driving. The percentage of drivers who said they do so has nearly doubled, from 13% in 2009 to 24% this year. Among drivers ages 18-29, that number rose from 29% to 49%.

Most research on distracted driving -- and most laws against it -- has focused on texting while driving, which creates a crash risk 23 times greater than not doing so, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  But the rise in ownership of smartphones, which allow users to surf the Web, access social media and send and receive e-mail, means there are more opportunities than ever for driver distraction, and over the past three years the sharpest increases in smartphone ownership were among drivers 40 and over. For drivers ages 40-49, the percentage that owns smartphones rose from 47% in 2011 to 82% in 2013; for those 50-64, it went from 44% to 64%, and for those 65 and older, from 23% to 39%.

Perhaps reflecting the nation's sustained campaign against texting while driving, that problem is growing much more slowly than surfing the Web. The percentage of people who report texting while driving rose slightly over the past five years, from 31% to 35% of all drivers. Among those 18-29, the number who report doing so has actually decreased, from 71% to 69%.

Chris Mullen, State Farm's director of technology research says, "We need to keep an eye on social media, reading e-mail, all these other functions folks can use. … That could be legislation, it could be enforcement, it could be education and awareness."

A new survey finds that one in five Americans would never take the wheel again if a self-driving, or autonomous, car were available. asked 2,000 drivers whether they would buy an autonomous car if it meant they never had to drive again, and 20% of them said yes. That number soars if cheaper car insurance is part of the deal.

While 1 in 5 licensed drivers surveyed said they would gladly turn over the keys and let computers do the driving, more than a third of those surveyed said an 80% discount on car insurance rates would make purchase of an autonomous vehicle "very likely,” and 90% of respondents said they would at least consider the idea.

Cars that park themselves, navigate stop-and-go-traffic or avert an impending collision are already on U.S. roads today, and Nissan has promised to deliver a fully autonomous vehicle -- one that allows a computer to assume control under the right conditions -- to showrooms by 2020. A fully automated vehicle that doesn’t need a human operator could someday follow.

"Our survey shows cheaper insurance will greatly influence consumer acceptance,” said managing editor Des Toups. "Some of the liability of operating a car will doubtless be assumed by the manufacturer,” Toups said. "But a lot of the decrease in rates could come simply because there would be many fewer accidents.”

Trust will be a big hurdle, the survey results show, as 64% said computers were not capable of the same quality of decision-making that human drivers exhibit, and 75% said they can drive a car better than a computer could. Asked what they would do with their additional free time, 26% responded that they’d text/talk with friends, 21% would read, while 10% would sleep and 7% would work.

QUOTABLE QUOTE:  "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American poet and practical philosopher

13NR38 - MRF News Release - CDC Task Force to Recommend Mandatory Helmet Laws
13 Nov. 2013
Contact:Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs

CDC Task Force to Recommend Mandatory Helmet Laws

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports that the rumors are true. A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) task force is set to issue a report calling on all 50 States to enact mandatory helmet law.

The task force, known as the Community Preventative Services Task Force, is a 15 member, non-federal, independent group that utilizes CDC staff and resources to develop "Findings and Rationale Statements". These statements make recommendations that run the gamut of topics from asthma control to work place safety. The past recommendations have included motor vehicles, focusing on seat belts, child seats and alcohol use. This is the first time the task force has recommended anything to do with motorcycling. Task force members are appointed by the Director of the CDC and serve a five-year term. All current members are doctors, with one exception.

The report claims that mandatory helmet laws will save lives and money. This is the same tired, lopsided theme used by the CDC in their last report about motorcycle safety. According to the CDC website the six main safety tips for riders are: always wear a DOT helmet, never drink and ride, don't let friends drink and ride, avoid tailgating, wear bright colored protective clothing, and don't ride fast on gravel. There is not one mention of rider education or licensing. It is not a surprise that the CDC's answer to motorcycle safety are helmet laws, it is their go to answer. The new report was drafted by associates of the individuals that issued the last CDC motorcycle safety report. The repetition is to be expected. In conversations with the MRF, the CDC clearly expressed their opinion that rider education does not work. Strangely lacking from the long list of prior recommendations of the task force was distracted driving.

One would think that a group of highly educated individuals may appreciate that education should play a role in motorcycle safety. The motorcycle safety community has proven that rider education works. Over the first 10 years of the New Hampshire State motorcycle safety rider education program, more than 23,000 motorcyclists were trained and since then only one person from the 23,000 has been in a fatal crash.

In addition, the CDC asserts that fatalities have nearly doubled since 2000 while failing to take into account the increase in registered motorcycles. In fact, in 2000 there were 2,862 fatal crashes for 4.9 million registered motorcycles. This means in 2000 .058 percent of all registered motorcycles were involved in a fatal crash. In 2010 there were 4,502 fatalities for 8.4 million registered motorcycles, which puts just .053 percent of registered motorcycles in a fatal crash. A slight decrease in the ratio of registered motorcycles to fatalities with 3.5 million more motorcycles on the road. These are just some of the facts presented from the CDC research that have been presented at all four MRF conferences going back to fall of 2012.

The CDC solution to motorcycle safety is safer crashing. We at the MRF have been urging the government to shift the focus of motorcycle safety to crash avoidance, not safer crashing. The best crash is the one that does not happen.

The task force report will try to convince their reader that states with choice helmet laws experience a higher amount of health care costs. That's just not true. In 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a study of inpatient hospital expenses by state. Of the 12 most expensive states for daily inpatient hospital expenses, seven had mandatory helmet laws. The 12 least expensive states for daily inpatient hospital expenses, four had mandatory helmet laws. Mandatory helmet laws do not save money.

Members of Congress recently sent a letter at the request of the MRF, asking the CDC to discontinue this sort of research. The letter asks the CDC director to focus on such issues as heart disease and not motorcycle safety. The letter was authored by Mr. Tom Petri (WI) and was publicized and promoted on Capitol Hill by the MRF. The MRF sent numerous releases asking the motorcyclists to help get congressional support. The CDC Director's response is sure to be weak, but will be reported on.

The MRF learned from CDC staff that the task force report is expected to become public sometime the first week of December. The MRF is working on obtaining an embargoed copy of the report. This is certain to be national news. Even the staff members at the CDC are aware of this and are calling the report "controversial".

Use the MRF's latest "Fact or Fiction" piece, which was made public at the most recent Bikers Inside the Beltway event in Washington D.C. in May of 2013 to educate your legislators. The one page document has information about the CDC and the misconception related to the effectiveness of helmet laws. The MRF encourages you to use this information and contact your friends in Congress to let them know this is coming.

You can view the "Fact or Fiction" piece here: Fact or Fiction

Be armed with the facts, its likely that you will be contacted by media reporters, friends and family members asking you why you support helmet law choice. Be informed and vigilant. We need to stand up for our rights. You have to defend yourself because no one else will.

Should you need any documentation or information do not hesitate to contact the MRF D.C. office.

28 Oct. 2013

Contact:Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs

Illinois State Legislature Puts the Heat on Congress

Both the Illinois State House and Senate have resolutions before them urging the United States Congress to pass H.R 875, a bill to require scientific testing of the fuel blend E-15. At the specific request of ABATE of Illinois, Senators Mike Jacobs and Linda Holmes have sponsored Senate Resolution 634 along with Representatives Kay Hatcher and Tomas Morrison who sponsored identical legislation known as House Resolution 524.

The measures are non-binding but send a clear message to Washington D.C. that something needs to be done to address the problematic issues associated with the new, higher level of ethanol blends. This is resounding especially coming from a State like Illinois where the local economy highly depends on the sale of corn.

H.R. 524 and S.R. 634 are great examples of what can be done at the State level to combat the effects of a nationwide problem.

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the waiver that allowed for the sale of E-15 they did no testing on the power train of the motor, only the tailpipe emissions. Failing to test the effects of the blend on nothing else has resulted in manufactures refusing to do any warranty repair on any motorcycle that has run E-15 though it.

H.R. 875, the Sensenbrenner bill, would force the EPA to conduct an independent study on all of the effects of the E-15 blend on internal combustion engines and at the same time halt the sale of the blend to avoid any further damage to the fleet.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation would like to thank ABATE of Illinois for their support in working to get H.R. 875 passed.


Harley-Davidson recalls 2014 motorcycles for safety risks

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13NR34 - MRF News Release - Congress Limps Back to Work


22 Oct. 2013

Contact:Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs

Congress Limps Back to Work

With the shutdown over, Congress is literally limping back to work. The House of Representatives is working on the other side of the Hill and the U.S. Senate has decided to give themselves one more week of vacation. During the government shutdown both bodies of Congress missed a recess period. The House opted to stick to the schedule, but the Senate decided it needs the missed recess week so they are adjourned until next week.

Representative Tom Petri (WI) has drafted a letter to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) asking them to cease their meddling with motorcycle safety. As previously reported here, the CDC did a weak reconfiguring of some other tired studies done by other government agencies.

The letter is being held until November 1st when it will be sent to the CDC director. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is asking you to contact your Member of the House of Representatives to ask them to cosign the Petri CDC motorcycle letter.

The text of the letter is below and the CDC response will be printed here when it is received.

Dr. Thomas Frieden
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333

Dear Dr. Frieden:

We are writing to express our concern about activities of the CDC regarding motorcycle safety, in particular the Motorcycle Safety report, which focuses on pressuring states to pass universal helmet laws.

The issue of transportation and motorcycle safety has been studied extensively by agencies within the Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board. These agencies have transportation professionals who are experienced in this area. The extensively footnoted report seems to be little more than a compilation of work that other agencies have done, and with questionable conclusions.

For example, the report states that motorcycle-related deaths have increased by 55 percent since 2000. But nowhere in the report is it mentioned that motorcycle registrations have also increased substantially since 2000. The report also notes that 41 percent of motorcycle operators and 50 percent of motorcycle passengers who died in 2010 were not wearing a helmet - which seems to indicate there were more deaths with helmets than without. It would seem to follow that 59 percent of motorcycle operators and 50 percent of passengers who died in 2010 were wearing a helmet. Interesting, but what is the conclusion we should reasonably draw from these figures?

Given the demands on your budget and the unique ability of the CDC to address such pressing issues as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimers and a host of other conditions and issues which afflict millions of Americans and others around the globe, we encourage you to direct your attention and resources to areas that are not currently already being addressed elsewhere in the government.

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