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LATEST NEWS

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

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently published a notice that they intend to move forward with selecting participants for the newly reestablished Motorcyclist Advisory Council or "MAC". The MAC is designed to allow motorcyclists the opportunity to discuss how they are affected by roadway design, barriers, construction, and the emergence of intelligent transportation systems like driverless vehicles.

Shockingly, the FHWA is only requiring that ONE member of the Council be from a motorcycle organization! How is the Council supposed to advise federal authorities on motorcycling issues when only ONE of its TEN members actually ride?!?!

Congress needs to get involved! Write a letter to your Member of Congress asking them to intervene on behalf of the motorcycle community.

Take Action


This just in from the MRF!

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is in the process of re-establishing the Motorcyclist Advisory Council, which will advise the FHWA on issues critical to motorcyclists across the nation. This advisory council was disbanded 2009, and re-establishing it is a very good step. Unfortunately, the FHWA has changed the composition of the council. In the past, there were four motorcyclists on the ten-person council, now there will be only one representative from a motorcycle association. That does not provide adequate input from the motorcycling community. The MRF is encouraging interested motorcyclists to write to their US Representatives and Senators, asking them to intervene on our behalf to increase the number of representatives from motorcyclist’s organization on the council. For an easy way to do this, there is a pre-written letter on the MRF web site. All you have to do is fill in your name and address, and the MRF will e-mail the letter for you. The letter is in the Legislative Action Center of the MRF web-site, at www.mrf.org/federal-legislative-issues.

Please either use this link to send an e-mail to your representatives in Washington, or call them directly (I've already sent mine). And forward this request to anyone else that is concerned about the future of motorcycling.

Thanks,
Ride Free,
- - Ed

Ed Domine
MRF State Rep - CMT/ABATE
931-774-9413
ed.d@juno.com

-----------------------------------
From: Megan Ekstrom
To: MRF Reps
Cc: Executive Directors <exec@mrf.org>
Subject: Call to Action - Motorcyclist Advisory Council
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 15:40:03 +0000

MRF Reps:

Hopefully on Monday you received a notice from the MRF asking you to contact your Member of Congress and Senators concerning the reestablished Motorcyclist Advisory Council or “MAC.” As you know, the MAC is the only formalized dialogue between the motorcycle community and DoT officials. The purpose of the “MAC” is to share rider experience with the Federal Highway Administration specifically focusing on areas like roadway deigns and construction, barriers and other emerging issues like the effects of ITS and autonomous vehicles on motorcyclists across the nation.

On Monday of this week, the Federal Highway Administration announced that they were moving forward with the MAC and they were calling for nominations to serve on the Council. HOWEVER, if you look at the notice they are only calling for ONE of the TEN spots to be served by an actual motorcyclist. This is completely unacceptable. How can the government established a Council that’s supposed to be a dialogue between the motorcycle community and the federal authorities, but only have 1 motorcyclist represented? This is unfair, incredibly unbalanced and is truly contrary to the mission of the Council itself.

As such, we are asking you to contact your Member of Congress and Senators to intervene by contacting the Federal Highway Administration. Please visit the link below to submit a prewritten letter that will go directly to your elected officials. We must make our voices heard on this issue!
http://mrf.org/federal-legislative-issues/

Please also feel free to post on social media and forward this to your fellow riders and local MRO members – the more voices, the better!

Contact me with any questions.

Megan J. Ekstrom
Vice-President, Government Affairs & Public Relations
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
1325 G Street N.W. Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: (202) 725-5471
Fax: (202) 546-0986
www.mrf.org

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Megan Ekstrom <megan@mrf.org>
To: MRF Reps <reps@mrf.org>
Cc: Executive Directors <exec@mrf.org>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 15:40:03 +0000
Subject: Call to Action - Motorcyclist Advisory Council

MRF Reps:

Hopefully on Monday you received a notice from the MRF asking you to contact your Member of Congress and Senators concerning the reestablished Motorcyclist Advisory Council or “MAC.” As you know, the MAC is the only formalized dialogue between the motorcycle community and DoT officials. The purpose of the “MAC” is to share rider experience with the Federal Highway Administration specifically focusing on areas like roadway deigns and construction, barriers and other emerging issues like the effects of ITS and autonomous vehicles on motorcyclists across the nation.

On Monday of this week, the Federal Highway Administration announced that they were moving forward with the MAC and they were calling for nominations to serve on the Council. HOWEVER, if you look at the notice they are only calling for ONE of the TEN spots to be served by an actual motorcyclist. This is completely unacceptable. How can the government established a Council that’s supposed to be a dialogue between the motorcycle community and the federal authorities, but only have 1 motorcyclist represented? This is unfair, incredibly unbalanced and is truly contrary to the mission of the Council itself.

As such, we are asking you to contact your Member of Congress and Senators to intervene by contacting the Federal Highway Administration. Please visit the link below to submit a prewritten letter that will go directly to your elected officials. We must make our voices heard on this issue!

http://mrf.org/federal-legislative-issues/

Please also feel free to post on social media and forward this to your fellow riders and local MRO members – the more voices, the better!

Contact me with any questions.

Megan J. Ekstrom

Vice-President, Government Affairs & Public Relations

Motorcycle Riders Foundation

1325 G Street N.W. Suite 500

Washington, D.C. 20005

Phone: (202) 725-5471

Fax: (202) 546-0986

www.mrf.org


For Immediate Release

September 16, 2016

State Legislator in Fatal Motorcycle Crash; Details Raise Questions About Strategies to Address Motorcycle Safety

WASHINGTON, DC This week, Pete Pettalia, a lawmaker who served in the Michigan State Legislature was fatally injured when a pickup truck turned directly into his lane. It is important to note that, Pettalia, was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident. State Representative Pettalia was an avid motorcyclist rights defender and advocate playing a key role in what would eventually become the repeal of the helmet law in Michigan state in 2012. News sources like CNN quickly tried to appeal to the irony that a critic of a universal helmet law was killed in a motorcycle accident. CNNs headline read, Lawmaker Who Opposed Universal Helmet Law Dies in Motorcycle Crash. You would expect CNN to be more professional, the headline infers that the lack of a helmet was the reason for the fatality. This biased headline and notion is completely false as reports confirmed that the lawmaker was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident. This particular occurrence is, very unfortunately, one that has been repeated in the past. Despite helmet use, drivers of the four-wheeled variety often fail to see motorcyclists for a multitude of reasons that can include distracted or reckless driving, or simply the failure to be aware of their surroundings. It is for reasons like what caused the crash involving Mr. Pettalia and others like him, that groups such as the Motorcycle Riders Foundation emphasize the concept of crash prevention rather than safer crashing. The reality is, even if riders choose to wear and helmet and all the protective gear available, it is often not enough to stand up to reckless and distracted driving by motorists who fail to adhere to the oft-repeated biker adage. Look Twice, Save a Life. Biker Rights activists including SMROs (State Motorcyclist Rights Organizations) are doing their part to emphasize rider education for motorcyclists and driver awareness for the majority of the population behind the wheel. The battle is likely to mount, as referenced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations recent Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) report which showed that crashes due to human choice errors, specifically distracted driving, increased in 2015 by almost nine percent. Though its not clear what caused the pickup truck driver to drive into Mr. Petallias lane, a safe assumption is that it could have been prevented and that, in this instance, a helmet did not make any difference in keeping the lawmaker safe. Yet, there are many, many groups across the nation that point to helmet use as the cure all problems. However, the tragedy that occurred this week speaks to what many bikers have been saying for years; lets work together on a meaningful campaign to enhance motorcycle safety to adopt a strategy that focuses on avoiding motorcycle crashes and not merely surviving them.


For Immediate Release

September 1, 2016

2015 Motor Vehicle Crash Data Released; Increase in Motorcyclist Fatalities

WASHINGTON, DC This week, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) released 2015 data concerning motor vehicle crashes and fatalities. This data also included information on motorcyclist fatalities. The data comes from NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) as well as the National Automotive Sampling System and General Estimates System. The information provides an overall measure of highway safety, and aids in guiding policy solutions for federal and state lawmakers as well as provides a basis to evaluate the effectiveness of motor vehicle safety standards and highway safety programs.

In 2015, the nation saw an overall upward trend in vehicle crashes and fatalities across all segments of the population. Overall, there was a 7.2 percent increase which is the largest percentage increase in almost 50 years. Increases in fatalities were seen in all types of vehicles and roadway users including SUVs, vans, trucks, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Specifically, motorcyclists' fatalities in 2015 had an increase of 8.3%, the largest since 2012.

There were other statistics, specific to motorcycles that are of note:

  • While the proportion of people killed inside the vehicle' (which includes drivers and passengers of cars, trucks, etc.) has declined by roughly 15% over the last decade, the proportion of people killed outside the vehicle' (which includes motorcyclists, pedestrians, etc.) has increased by roughly 15% over the last ten years.
  • There were increases in motorcyclist fatalities in every age group except those 19 and under which saw fewer fatalities in 2015 than in 2014.
  • Though not specific to motorcycles, the most common fatal crash type in 2015 was multi-vehicle rollovers.
  • Data showed that crashes due to human choice' specifically distracted driving, increased by almost 9%.
  • Other human choice' factors included alcohol impaired drivers in which fatalities increased overall by 3%.
  • Interestingly, there was a half percentage point drop in motorcyclists who had been involved in fatal crashes due to alcohol-impairment. This may suggest that some of the recent motorcycle and alcohol awareness programs could be starting to take effect.

The NHTSA release offered some possible explanation for the overall upward trend in fatal crashes. Specifically, it linked economic trends like a recovering economy and lower gas prices as reasons more people were on the road, likely due to work travel and increased recreational travel. Warmer weather and milder winters which some of the nation saw in 2015 were also contributing factors.

Though no specific policy solutions were offered with the NHTSA release, it was noted that, in States without universal helmet laws, 58 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2015 were not wearing helmets, as compared to 8% in States with universal helmet laws. This is likely an indicator that NHTSA will continue its position in viewing universal helmet laws as a solution for highway safety. This emphasizes safer crashing' rather than crash prevention; of which many motorcyclists find fault.

In response to the release of the data, The White House and Department of Transportation are issuing a call to action to involve a wide range of stakeholders in helping determine the causes of the increases seen in the 2015 crash and fatality data.  NHTSA announced plans to share the information with its safety partners, state and local officials, technologists, data scientists, and policy experts. States and the nation as a whole are likely to see policy solutions offered and initiatives brokered over the following weeks and months as a result of the newly released data.

The motorcyclist community is also in the process of responding to the recently released data through reviewing and confirming the information and preparing to work with the federal agencies to ensure that policy solutions are achieved through the lens of crash avoidance and do not infringe upon their personal rights. These activities will complement the already existing efforts being achieved at the federal and state levels like emphasis on rider education, alcohol awareness programs, share the road initiatives, motorcyclist awareness programs and reduced distraction efforts.

The raw data can be accessed via NHTSA's website: ftp://ftp.nhtsa.dot.gov/fars/ 2015/


For Immediate Release

August 30, 2016

Government Study Announced on Motorcycle Conspicuity

WASHINGTON, DC The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) held its annual meeting this week in Seattle, WA. The theme for this years event emphasized the importance of safe driving behavior in an era of rapid technological advancement. More than 500 state highway safety officials and advocates were in attendance including government officials from the Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as representatives from State Motorcycle Rights Organizations and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. During the course of the conference, plans regarding an upcoming motorcycle study, funded by money in the highway bill passed by Congress late last year, were announced. Though in the early planning stages, the study is aiming to address motorcycle crash prevention. This is a pivot from previous positions from government officials whose sole focus appeared to be geared towards safer crashing through the practice of universal helmet laws. Though details of the upcoming study remain limited, it appears that it will examine the impact of high-visibility clothing and effects on motorcycle crashes. The project is in the solicitation process but the details suggest a hypothesis aiming to prove high visibility clothing can prevent motorcycle accidents. Details including available data, the entities or contractors conducting the study and when the study will be released will be available in the coming months. Depending on the outcome and findings of the study, legislative and regulatory activity by states and the federal government could follow.

August 11, 2016

MRF's Jay Jackson Elected to Serve on Executive Committee for State Motorcycle Safety Administrators Association

WASHINGTON, DC -- This week, the State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA) announced the results of its recent elections. Notably, Jay Jackson, Vice-President of the Board of Directors for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, was elected to serve on the SMSA Executive Committee as the Individual Members' Representative.

The SMSA is an Association representing State Motorcycle Safety Administrators from across the country. The purpose of the group includes goals to influence national policy and standards affecting motorcyclists, provide guidance on state policies or standards, as well as allow for communication, collaboration and partnerships between Motorcycle Safety Administrators across the U.S. The SMSA's recent elections resulted in a number of new appointees to the Executive Committee which leads the organization. Jay Jackson is one of those recently elected.

"The SMSA really can serve a valuable purpose," stated Jackson who indicated his excitement about rider education programs. "The previous and incoming Executive Committees members are dynamic individuals and have the enthusiasm to make things happen," he went on to say.

According to Jackson's SMSA nominee biography, he became a certified motorcycle instructor in 1986 and a decade later became State Director of the Motorcycle Safety Division for ABATE of Indiana where he is still working today. Under his leadership, ABATE of Indiana's rider education program expanded exponentially and he started to develop an extensive network of motorcycle safety professionals. In 2000, Jackson received his designation as a Chief Instructor by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. He has conducted and assisted in numerous training courses across several states.

As the Individual Members Representative to the SMSA Executive Committee, Jackson is hopeful he can help "cross pollinate" in getting motorcycle rights enthusiasts and motorcycle safety administrators to work together. Given his extensive background in motorcycle rights, his work with the MRF and ABATE of Indiana, and his strong interest and success in rider training and education programs, Jackson may be just the guy to do the job.


For Immediate Release

June 9, 2016

EPA Holds Public Hearing on Renewable Fuel Standard; MRF Testifies


WASHINGTON, DC Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public hearing in Kansas City, MO concerning the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), also referred to as ethanol mandates, and allowed interested parties the opportunity to testify regarding how the regulation affects them.

A variety of stakeholders testified; many of which expressed concern about ethanol mandates forcing increased amounts of biofuels into the U.S. fuel supply and possible effects. However, the majority of speaking slots were filled with pro-biofuel individuals which support higher blends of ethanol in fuel. They spoke passionately citing frustration that a recent EPA proposed rule published in May would increase renewable fuel volume obligations but not at levels they deem high enough.

On the other side of the spectrum, oil producers and others expressed concerns over higher ethanol blends citing negative effects on the environment, food supply, costs to taxpayers and deleted resources. Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation's renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil.  As a result, the EPA is required to set annual RFS volume requirements for four categories of biofuels. One of these categories, Renewable Fuel accounts for corn-based ethanol. Recently, the EPA announced a proposal for their recommended level of corn-based ethanol renewable energy to be blended into gasoline for 2017 which is
18.8 billion gallons, an increase from 2016 levels.

Concern over E15

Several individuals expressed concern in both written and oral testimony specifically focused on blended fuel containing 15 percent ethanol (E15) and its potential to wreak havoc on engines by causing corrosion, rubber swelling and other damages. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) was represented through the Freedom of Road Riders (FORR) which also delivered testimony. Encouraging new research, specifically targeted towards motorcycle engines as well as the effects on internal combustion, could help alleviate the concerns of motorcycle riders, as well as motorcycle manufacturers, stated Amy Allmon, MRF Rep and Member of FORR. Allmon went on to also tout the importance of consumer education asking the EPA to, help ensure that consumers have a comprehensive understanding of the risks associated with using fuel with a higher blend of ethanol.

Working Together

A major coalition, known as Smarter Fuel Future has been active in addressing concerns over ethanol mandates. It brings together major associations, companies, environmental groups and others in order to reform the current mandates. Recently, the MRF became engaged with the Coalition and began participating in supportive activities. This outlet can serve as an opportunity to voice the position of the MRF and its members to learn more about the effects on motorcycles and higher blends of ethanol. This week the Smarter Fuel Future coalition sent a congressional letter to the EPA encouraging increased consumer awareness on E15's potential to cause damage and cited concern over the lack of public knowledge on this fact and related federal laws. The coalition website can be accessed here at http://smarterfuelfuture.org/

In its entirety, the hearing lasted for several hours, allowing over 120 people the opportunity to speak. Interestingly, while motorcyclists' rights groups had a presence during the hearing, manufacturers of motorcycles were not present on the witness list.


For Immediate Release


May 25, 2016

GHSA REPORT ADVOCATES FOR UNIVERSAL HELMET LAWAGAIN

WASHINGTON, DC Last week, the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released its preliminary data and findings regarding motorcycle fatalities in 2015. The GHSA represents the state and territorial highway safety offices that implement programs to address highway safety. Although GHSA's primary mission is to improve traffic safety, their latest report appears to be more focused on thinly veiled demands for nationwide universal helmet laws despite their failure to provide real data demonstrating the effectiveness of such laws.

 While the report highlights that the preliminary data suggests a 10% increase in motorcycle fatalities in 2015, it fails to connect the presence or lack of universal helmet laws to the projected increase.  In fact, there are a number of other factors that may explain the projected increase, including the climate, education and experience of the motorists involved, and the inclusion of faulty data in the making of this report.

Climate Affects

In 2015 many parts of the country enjoyed a longer riding season than in previous years. Warmer and dryer weather leads to additional time and riding hours on the road. While the report does address this possible explanation, it does not conclude that it has the same influence as the absence of a universal helmet laws.

Education & Experience

Another issue that GHSA barley addresses is the consideration of education and experience. For example, one of the most populace states that experienced a decrease in motorcycle related fatalities was California. While the state has not had any changes to their helmet law, the state did engage in a motorcycle awareness campaign for motorists. This suggests that perhaps other factors, such as motorist education and awareness initiatives, impact fatalities. Further, the report identifies a connection between riding experience and increases in fatalities.  It states that roughly 25% of all motorcycle fatalities are the result of invalid motorcycle licensure. These statistics underscore the belief long held by the Motorcycle Rider's Foundation that training and education is a crucial component to motorcycle safety.


Flawed Data

Perhaps one of the biggest questions raised from reading the report is the data itself and specifically, what counts as a motorcycle. According to federal statute, a motorcycle is defined as, a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground. With the rise of autocycles, a new class of vehicle that has attributes of both a car and motorcycle, it raises the question if this type of vehicle was included in the data supporting the statistics in the GHSA report. As this type of vehicle continues to emerge as a form of transportation, it will be critical that they are addressed independently, and not unfairly categorized with motorcycles or any other form as transportation so as not to skew the data. It is not clear from the report that this consideration is given.


Failure to Connect the Projected Increase to the Lack of Universal Helmet Laws

Despite the report's effort to relate the projected increase in motorcycle fatalities to the lack of universal helmet laws, it fails to provide any data suggesting a connection between those who were wearing helmets versus those who were not wearing helmets when the fatality occurred. Of the nineteen states that currently have a universal helmet law in place; twelve experienced an increase in motorcycle fatalities between 2014 and 2015.  Of the sixteen states that saw a decrease in motorcycle fatalities in 2015, only six have a universal helmet law.  The other ten either allow adults to make their own choice or have no law at all. 

 The report also suggests that the increase in motorcycle fatalities in Michigan is due to the state's modification of its helmet law in 2012, which allowed adult riders to choose whether to wear a helmet.  The report suggests that the 2015 increase in motorcycle fatalities in Michigan is due to fewer riders wearing a motorcycle helmet but have not provided any data to support this claim.  However, the report fails to explain the 18.8% decrease in motorcycle fatalities between 2013 and 2014.  According to the National Highway Transportation & Safety Administration (NHTSA), Michigan motorcycle fatalities dropped from 138 to 112 in 2014 despite the change to the state's motorcycle helmet law.

 In conclusion, despite its best efforts, the GHSA report fails to make any connection between the rise in motorcycle fatalities in 2015 and the implementation of universal helmet laws. It is unfortunate that entities such as the GHSA continue to hold such a myopic view when it comes to motorcycle safety.  The Motorcycle Rider's Foundation encourages the GHSA and other groups interested in a meaningful campaign to enhance motorcycle safety to adopt a strategy that focuses on avoiding motorcycle crashes and not merely surviving them. 


For Immediate Release

May 24, 2016

MARYLAND BECOMES SECOND STATE TO PASS MOTORCYCLIST ANTI-PROFILING LAW

WASHINGTON, DC The motorcyclists of Maryland counted a major victory last week when Governor Larry Hogan signed a bill into law that would expressly prohibit the profiling of motorcyclists within the state.  At the signing ceremony were members of ABATE of Maryland, the Maryland Confederation of Clubs, and Motorcycle Riders Foundation. The teamwork, cooperation and hard work by these organizations ensured swift passage of the measure.

"The unanimous passage of this legislation through both chambers is a direct result of well thought out strategic positioning, thorough lobbying and a truly unified motorcycle community, stated Bill Colt Kaitz from the Maryland Confederation of Clubs and Co-Founder of the Motorcycle Profiling Project. We had tremendous support in both chambers and all committees.  Our community hopes that this will serve as an example to any state with well documented profiling incidents that with a unified community and intelligent, concentrated effort, this legislation is possible and stands to better the lives of all motorcyclists."

Maryland is now the second state to pass a motorcycle anti-profiling law. Washington state passed related legislation in 2011. Similar activities and advocacy efforts are underway in several other states across the U.S.  Federally, the issue has been gaining traction due to the recent Michael Boz' Kerr Bikers Inside the Beltway event where it was raised before elected officials in Washington, D.C. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation and affiliated individuals and organizations will continue to mount pressure to ensure that unjust motorcycle discrimination is not tolerated.


RIDING FREE FROM DC:

Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

Bikers Inside the Beltway Helps to Add Co-Sponsors on the RPM Act

During the days surrounding the Michael Boz' Kerr Bikers Inside the Beltway (BITB) lobby event, a plethora of co-sponsors were added to The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (RPM Act) in both the House and the Senate. Lawmakers from Louisiana, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Florida, Oklahoma, and Michigan have all lent their name as co-sponsors to the bill increasing its chances of advancement. Currently, the Senate bill has 12 co-sponsors and the House bill has 84 co-sponsors. This a direct result of the work done last week by our SMROs, sustaining club members and partners. As a reminder, the bill would ensure that converting any motor vehicle (including street motorcycles) remains legal and motorcyclists have the right to modify their bikes as they see fit. Legislation like this is imperative as the EPA continues its efforts to play a role in regulating motorcycles. 

Ethanol Bills Thrive in Washington

Last week saw the introduction of yet another legislative proposal addressing the use of ethanol blends in fuel. Introduced by Congressman Bill Flores from Texas, the proposal would institute a cap on the ethanol content in fuel. Presumably the bill would stop what many are concerned about; an uncomfortable creep towards a higher content of ethanol in gasoline which could have the effect of voiding many motorcycle warranties. The bill introduced last week marks the 16 th bill concerning ethanol in the 114 th Congress alone, and the issue remains as controversial as ever.

Rather than pick a side, the MRF position on ethanol seeks to achieve a federal policy that emphasizes research on ethanol blends. Encouraging new research, specifically targeted towards engines in motorcycles and the effects on internal combustion, could help to alleviate the concerns of motorcycle riders as well as motorcycle manufacturers.

Megan's Take

As some of you may have heard me say, last week's indoctrination to the MRF and our members was akin to drinking from a fire hose. The BITB event was fast-paced, eye opening and even a bit crazy at moments, but most of all it was FUN. What I saw during my time with our membership far surpassed my expectations. Every single one of our SMRO reps, sustaining club members and partners that were in Washington last week were engaged, dedicated and, perhaps most importantly, well-connected to their elected officials. I can say with authority that this is rare to see in D.C. and you all should be so proud of what you have accomplished. While it certainly makes my job easier, I hope we can continue to count on the grassroots to pound the pavement; meeting with your officials in your home state and continuing to build champions for our cause. Of course if I or anyone at the MRF can help you in these conversations, either by providing talking points, background information or just a friendly ear, I hope you will not hesitate to contact us. As many have said in the conversations I have had over the course of the last 10 dayswe are all in this together.

Your Friend in Washington,

Megan Ekstrom
Vice-President of Government Affairs & Public Relations
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation


May 17, 2016

MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION HOLDS SUCCESSFUL
WASHINGTON, DC ADVOCACY DAY

WASHINGTON, DC -- Last week over 100 members of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) made the trip to Washington, DC to connect with elected officials from across the country in support of motorcyclists' rights. Twenty-four states were represented this year and more than 300 meetings with members of Congress and their staff took place over the course of May 10th, 11th, and 12th.

Members of the MRF brought their bikes, as well as their personal stories from back home, to Capitol Hill and discussed issues critical to the 2016 MRF's legislative agenda. Among these included opposing the REFUEL Act; supporting the Motorsports Act, as well as recommendations of the charter for the newly re-established Motorcycle Advisory Council. In addition, legislators heard about updating the definition of a motorcycle, as well as concerns over the profiling of motorcyclists.

Every meeting attended by MRF members marked another critical step forward in building and maintaining relationships with congressional offices. Each meeting provided the opportunity to communicate directly with a wide array of lawmakers who are currently considering legislation that would affect the rights of motorcyclists. The MRF staff in Washington, DC will begin the process of follow-up with many of the offices that were targeted. However, it is imperative that local groups and clubs continue to advocate in your home states to ensure that progress continues. A s constituents, the visits in the home district are extremely impactful. The talking points used on Capitol Hill can be found on the MRF website. 

A genuine thank you goes out to everyone who participated in this year's Bikers Inside the Beltway event!

May 12, 2016

MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION APPOINTS MEGAN EKSTROM AS VICE-PRESIDENT
OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS & PUBLIC RELATIONS

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation announced the hiring of Megan Ekstrom as Vice-President of Governmental Affairs & Public Relations effective immediately. Ekstrom comes to the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) from the International Fragrance Association where she served as the head of government affairs.

"After a rigorous search process with a number of promising candidates, Megan established herself as the clear leader. Her professional background includes work in both the public and private sectors, as well as a unique skill set that will deliver value in continuing to develop the MRF as a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle," said Kirk "Hardtail" Willard, President of the MRF Board of Directors.

A native of Arizona, Megan has resided in Washington, DC for almost 15 years, getting her start working in Congress as well as several prominent government and public affairs firms whose clients included national trade associations and other transportation related clients. For the last 4 years Megan directed the advocacy program and activities for the International Fragrance Association advising them on legislative and regulatory activity for issues affecting the environment, international trade and transport as well as occupational health and safety. Complimenting her Capitol Hill and policy background. Megan is also active with a number of influential organizations in Washington, DC including Women in Government Relations. Last year Megan was also nominated for an Excellence in Advocacy Award.

"We are excited to put Megan's energy and passion for advocacy and building out a Washington presence to use for the MRF and its members. Her past experience and skill set will be extremely beneficial to the MRF as she overseas our relationships with key government officials, agencies and allied trade associations," said Willard.

May 6, 2016

Bikers Inside the Beltway is Around the Corner

In less than a week, riders from around the country will be traveling to Washington D.C. for Bikers Inside the Beltway on May 12, 2016. This will be the 8th Annual Michael "Boz" Kerr Bikers Inside The Beltway, National Lobby Day. Free motorcycle parking has been secured by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation just steps from the U.S. Capitol Building. An event prep session has been planned for the evening before lobby day. Please plan on attending to receive your lobbying packets, review material in packets, and prepare for the day ahead. 

If you have not already contacted the MRF Office and are planning on attending, have not registered and will need lobby packets before Wednesday prep session, please contact the office 202.546.0983 .

Wednesday May 11, 2016 - Event Prep Session - 7pm - 9pm
The Governor House Inn
6650 Arlington Boulevard
Falls Church, VA 22042
Phone:  (703) 532-8900

The Prep Session will be an opportunity to review and discuss the talking points, to get all attendees up to speed and on the same page. It will also be a good opportunity for new attendees to get information and have any questions they may have answered. Please plan on attending.

Thursday May 12, 2016 - Bikers Inside The Beltway
7am Sharp
Kickstands up at 7am . A group ride will be lead by ABATE of Wisconsin. For ease of entering the boulevard as a group, the Motorcycles will gather in the parking lot of the Best Western Falls Church (across the street from The Governor House Inn)
Best Western Falls Church - 6633 Arlington Blvd - Falls Church, VA 22042

8am - 5pm
The MRF has secured free parking from 8am until 5pm just steps from the U.S. Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings. The exact location of the parking is on 3rd street SW and NW between Madison and Jefferson drives. A map can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/ motorcycleparking

3pm - ???
An informal debrief session will held at the American Legion - Kenneth H Nash Post #8, beginning at 3pm
Address: 224 D St SE, Washington, DC 20003
Phone: (202) 543-9163

We look forward to seeing everyone next week - Ride With The Leaders

Motorcyclists Unite

March 27, 2017

Motorcyclists Unite on Anti-Profiling Bill Language

Consistent with the Motorcycle Riders Foundation's (MRF) 2016 Legislative Agenda as voted on by its Sustaining State Motorcyclists Rights Organizations, the MRF has aligned with other national motorcyclists' rights organizations on proposed federal anti-profiling language. (The full version of the language can be read on our website at www.mrf.org.)

The MRF recognizes the importance to all motorcyclists of this much-needed language, and we applaud the hard work of organizations that are addressing this issue legislatively on the state level. The time has come, however, to address profiling on a national level. There is a public misconception that profiling is strictly an issue that affects only motorcycle clubs; in reality, nothing could be further from the truth, as profiling injustices continue to happen across the country to all types of motorcyclists. This issue is a matter of civil liberties, and now is the time to roll up the sleeves and get to work.

To that end, at the most recent Anti-Profiling Action Group meeting in Las Vegas, ranking members from many motorcycling organizations all agreed to support anti-profiling language, including James "Doc" Reichenbach II, Chairman of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM), Frank Ernst, Chairman of the NCOM Legislative Task Force, and David "Double D" Devereaux, representing the Council of Clubs and author of this anti-profiling language. Other members of the Anti-Profiling Action Group include the Committee Lead Russell Radke, MRF President Kirk "Hardtail" Willard, Committee Secretary Shelly Holcomb, MRF PAC Treasurer Lenny Holcomb, and nationally known motorcyclists' advocate Dick "Slider" Gilmore.

As the true "boots on the ground" of motorcycling rights, the MRF is asking each of you to reach out to your federal legislators and ask them to support anti-profiling language. Time is of the essence--we need to know who will support us and who will not by May 1, two weeks prior to our "Bikers Inside the Beltway" national biker lobby day on May 12, 2016.

Please send all responses from your legislators--both those that are in favor and those that are against--to Russell Radke at Russell@MRF.org. Russell will then forward all the compiled information to the MRF's analyst to compile into a list of talking points for the MRF's national biker lobby day known as Bikers Inside the Beltway to be held in Washington D.C. on May 12th.

Anti-Profiling Victory at the State Level

Maryland recently passed an Anti-Profiling bill through both the House and Senate. Public Safety-Motorcycle Profiling-Training passed the Senate with a 47-0 vote and the House of Delegates with a 136-0 vote. Maryland would be the second state in the union joining Washington to pass an Anti-Profiling bill after a procedural vote across both bodies and a signature by the Governor.


MAC Membership and NHTSA Ban Targets on the MRF Radar

As previously reported by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), the U.S. Senate approved the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act within a few hours of the U.S. House voting in favor of the same legislation. Now that the bill is in front of the President for his signature, it’s important to note two very important issues on which the MRF will be working vigorously.

The language within the FAST Act that reestablishes the Motorcycle Advisory Council (MAC) to advise the U.S. Department of Transportation on motorcycling infrastructure issues does not, unfortunately, spell out the motorcycling organizations that will make up the membership of the Council. Instead, organizations that wish to be included now need to lobby the Secretary of Transportation to be a member. The MRF had been a member of the original incarnation of the MAC, and we will be actively lobbying to be once again included in the MAC membership. The MRF already has the commitment of several members of Congress to support our efforts of inclusion, and we will work diligently to ensure that the voice of motorcyclists is included in the Council’s makeup.

While the MRF was not successful in our effort to include language within the FAST Act to expand the ban on lobbying States (without invitation) using taxpayer dollars to all of the DOT, the ban that prohibits NHTSA from doing so remains intact. The MRF will continue to closely monitor NHTSA to ensure that they adhere to the limits of the ban and that your tax dollars are not used against you, and we will be working to expand the ban to include all of the DOT.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation would like to thank our supporters within Congress for their upcoming efforts to have the MRF included as a member of the MAC, and our members who tirelessly support the cause to defend motorcyclists’ rights.


Federal Highway Bill headed to the President's Desk
December 4, 2015

The U.S. Senate approved the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act by an 83-16 vote within a few hours of the U.S. House voting 359-65 in favor of the highway bill compromise - one day before the current funding extension was set to expire.

It now heads to the President’s desk for signing. Indications are that he will sign it; giving us the first highway bill spanning longer than two years since 2005.

  • The 5-year bill is a $305 billion dollar fully funded reauthorization of federal highway and transit programs.
  • Re-establishing the Motorcycle Advisory Council to advise the U.S. Department of Transportation on motorcycling infrastructure issues
  • Continuation of the funding of motorcycle safety grants
  • Funding distracted driving grant programs
  • Language titled Share-The-Road Model Language that requires the Secretary within 1 year of passage of the FAST Act to provide to the states model Share the Road language on the importance of sharing the road safely with motorcyclists
  • Stops Motorcycle Checkpoint federal grant funding for any program to check helmet usage or to create checkpoints that specifically target motorcycle operators or motorcycle passengers
  • Limitations and owner definition on data retrieval from vehicle event data recorders

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation would like to thank our former lobbyist, Jeff Hennie, for the tremendous effort he put into the positive measures of this highway bill. Additionally, the MRF would like to recognize in appreciation our membership who worked tirelessly for several years in Washington D.C. and back in their home states to further this important bill.

Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, MRF President


CONGRESS BUYS MORE TIME TO PASS HIGHWAY BILL
November 21, 2015

In an effort to allow more time to pass a long-term highway bill, Congress has passed an extension that allows for more negotiation time for this important piece of legislation. The extension, signed by President Obama via autopen on Friday, November 20, renews the government's authority to keep highway and transit funding flowing to states through December 4 and gives Congress until then to iron out any differences in the long-term spending bill.

As previously reported by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), the highway bill contains key issues of vital concern to motorcyclists. First, the bill ends the federal funding of motorcycle-only checkpoints. It re-convenes the National Motorcycle Advisory Council (NMAC), a group that advises the Secretary of Transportation on how infrastructure issues affect motorcyclists. It maintains the ban that prohibits the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from lobbying states to pass mandatory helmet legislation, and it allows for funding of a study to determine the best ways to prevent motorcycle crashes.

Both the House and Senate have already passed separate versions of the bill. The House version calls for spending $261 billion on highways and $55 billion on transit over six years, but only if Congress can find a way to pay for the final three years. In contrast, the Senate's version contains only three years of funding, with the extra three years as conditional.

In order to maximize funding for roads and transit projects, transportation groups and some lawmakers are urging the highway bill's conference committee to allow for more money over fewer years. As you begin conference negotiations to reconcile House and Senate proposals for a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill, wrote a group of 26 senators in a letter to members of the conference committee, we urge you to consider the urgent need for an increase in infrastructure investment around the country, and report a final proposal that can best address these needs by maximizing annual investment levels for all surface transportation programs over a shorter authorization period.

The MRF will keep you apprised of developments as the conference committee continues its work on the highway bill.


US House Passes Long-Term Highway Bill
November 9, 2015

The United States House of Representatives finished up work on a long-term highway bill and approved its passage by a vote of 363-64. The bill—the first long-term highway bill passed by the US House in decades—is matched by a similar bill passed earlier this year by the Senate.

“This bill is absolutely critical to America and our economy,” said Rep. Bill Shuster, R-PA, Chairman to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

This bill has several provisions important to motorcyclists. First and most importantly, the bill ends the federal funding of motorcycle-only checkpoints, a top priority of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.

The bill also re-convenes the National Motorcycle Advisory Council (NMAC), an advisory council that advises the Secretary of Transportation on how infrastructure issues affect motorcyclists in ways that are vastly different than for four-wheeled vehicles.

Lastly, the bill commissions a study to determine the best ways to prevent motorcycle crashes. Because it focuses only on prevention rather than on helmet use, this study would be the first of its kind.

The House and Senate will next form a conference committee to iron out the slight differences between the two versions of legislation before sending it the President for his signature, a process that is expected to be fast-tracked for quick approval.

The MRF thanks every motorcyclist who came to DC to lobby, as well as every motorcyclist who communicated with their members of Congress on this important issue.

As always, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation will keep you updated and informed on this issue.


Transportation Committee Passes
Long Term Highway Legislation
October 23, 2015

United States House of Representatives Transportation Committee
Passes Long Term Highway Legislation.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is pleased to report that the US House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has passed a six-year highway bill. The bill, H.R. 3763, otherwise known as the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRRA) of 2015, was passed unanimously by the committee chaired by Representative Bill Schuster (R-PA).

The committee termed the measure, “a bipartisan, multi-year surface transportation bill to reauthorize and reform federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs,” and described it as proposal that is “fiscally responsible, provides greater flexibility and more certainty for states and local governments to address their priorities, and accelerates project delivery.”

The bill contains a few provisions near and dear to the motorcyclists of America. Most importantly, it ends the federal funding of the highly unpopular motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints. “Ending the checkpoints was, and is, ‘Priority Number One’ for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation,” said Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the MRF. “We are knocking on the doorstep of accomplishing this because similar language is already in the Senate highway bill.”

Additionally, the bill re-launches the much-needed Federal Motorcycle Advisory Council (FMAC). The FMAC was initially set up under a previous highway bill and served the country well, but because of some bureaucratic red tape the council was done away with. This bill revives the FMAC for the purpose of developing recommendations to the sitting Secretary of Transportation on all things regarding motorcycles and motorcycle-related infrastructure. In its first incarnation, the FMAC made some very worthwhile efforts on issues such as cable barriers, signage, and pavement conditions. The MRF, AMA, MIC, state motorcycle rights organizations (SMROs), state DOT officials, and highway engineers all have seats on the council. The only caveat? Every council member must ride a motorcycle.

Lastly, H.R. 3763 commissions a study to be conducted by the National Academy of Sciences on the best practices for preventing motorcycle crashes. While it will be a while before the study is begun and the results analyzed, it will be very significant as it will be the first study ever that is totally about crash prevention and not about helmets.

“This bill improves the everyday lives of motorcyclists in a very profound way,” added Hennie. “Living in a world where we can be pulled over for just riding a motorcycle has been an unacceptable practice. Ending those unwarranted stops has been the focal point of the MRF legislative agenda since they began, and we thank the Congress for hearing our demands and serving justice.”

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation would like to thank those members of the House Transportation Committee who were of particular help with this bill, including but not limited to, Representatives Reid Ribble (WI), Barbara Comstock (VA), James Sensenbrenner (WI) and Chairman Schuster (PA). The full support of these elected officials was instrumental to this incredible success.

The MRF thanks all of the SMROs and the individuals who are dedicated to fighting government tyranny and control of motorcyclists.

Read the text of the bill and the amendments here: http://docs.house.gov/Committee/Calendar/ByEvent.aspx?EventID=104111


URGENT CALL TO ACTION
June 2, 2015

The United States House of Representatives will vote on a measure that could be detrimental to motorcyclists. H.R. 2577 is an appropriations bill that funds the Department of Transportation, among other things. Especially concerning is section 102. Section 102 would allow the Secretary of Transportation or his designee to engage in activities with States and State legislators to consider proposals related to the reduction of motorcycle fatalities. This seemingly innocent provision is a direct attack on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lobby ban.

Congressman Tim Walberg (MI) and Jim Sensenbrenner (WI) have filed an amendment that would strike this language. Call your Congressman and ask that they support the Walberg/Sensenbrenner amendment to strike section 102 from H.R. 2577.

H.R. 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) act will be voted on as early as Wednesday June 3rd. We need to call every Congressman immediately. The House floor schedules are hectic and subject to change so please make your calls soon.

You can find your Representative here: www.house.gov/representatives/ find/

Find the full list of United States House of Representatives and their phone numbers at www.house.gov/representatives/

You can also use the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

This is an urgent and important phone call. Remember, you are the guardians of motorcycling.  Please answer the call to action.


Bikers Inside The Beltway - National Lobby Day
April 22, 2015


The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is pleased to report that the 7th annual Michael Boz Kerr Bikers Inside The Beltway will be held Thursday, May 14th, 2015 in the nation's capital, Washington D.C. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will have secure, free parking for motorcycles just steps from the U.S. Capitol building. This is the most important day of the year for motorcyclists.

Last year's event drew hundreds of motorcyclists from across the country. Don't miss out on the greatest gathering of politically active motorcyclists in Washington, D.C.

From 8:30 -11:00 am is arrival, registration, instruction and lobby material pick up; we will meet at motorcycle parking area on 3rd Street (map below). This year's Congressional program will be held from 3:00 - 4:00 pm in Rayburn 2253.

The MRF encourages you to schedule appointments with your Representative and Senators' offices.

Plan your appointments according to your arrival time. If you plan to arrive promptly at 8:30 am , you can schedule meetings anytime from 9:00 am on. If you plan on arriving at 11:00 at the latest, then you can schedule meetings from 11:30 am until 3:15 pm , and of course, after the Congressional program.

Should you not be able to get an appointment, plan on dropping by as many offices from your state as you can during that time. Feel free to contact the MRF office with any questions about scheduling or otherwise.

Visit the event's Facebook page to chat with your fellow attendees prior to event and to stay updated on new additions. https://www.facebook.com/ events/1660874934142885/

The MRF has secure, free parking from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm just steps from the US Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings. The exact location of the parking is on 3rd street SW and NW, between Madison and Jefferson drives. A map can be found HERE:    https://maps.google.com/ maps?saddr=3rd+St+SW&daddr= 3rd+St+NW&hl=en&sll=38.890302, -77.015195&sspn=0.003148,0. 008256&geocode=FW5lUQIdU9do-w% 3BFTBsUQIdbddo-w&mra=dme&mrsp= 1&sz=18&t=m&z=18

An event flyer for Bikers Inside The Beltway National Lobby day is also available on the website HERE: http:// motorcycleridersfoundation. wildapricot.org/Default.aspx? pageId=1654837&eventId=798760& EventViewMode=EventDetails

Please be sure to register so we can prepare for the proper amount of attendees. Feel free to call the MRF should you need anything to make attending this year's lobby day great.


Keep Our Interstates Toll-Free
April 14, 2015

How would you like to see the number of tolls on America’s interstates multiply like rabbits? That’s just around the corner unless we make our voices heard.

You may think the interstate in your backyard is safe from having tolls slapped on it by politicians and bureaucrats, but the interstate tolling murmur is growing in Washington DC, and it’s coming from both sides of the aisle.

Under current law, States are prohibited from tolling any roads that were built since the inception of the Federal Interstate Highway System in 1956.

Last spring, President Obama proposed eliminating the longstanding ban on tolling existing interstates and giving every state the option of tolling them to raise transportation revenue. That means continuing to pay for roads with the current gas tax and then tacking on an additional toll for each interstate you use.

How bad can it get? Have you ever traveled through New Jersey and New York? Imagine suffering that tolling nightmare everywhere across the country. We’re talking about the possibility of hundreds of dollars in tolls for a single long trip.

But it’s not just Democrats who want to toll our existing interstates. Powerful Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently voiced strong support for letting states toll any interstate they’d like. If this idea continues to get traction and the interstate tolling levee breaks, expect riding on interstates to get a lot more expensive, unsafe, and inconvenient.

The new highway bill could be up for debate at the end of May, and we need to fight hard against interstate tolls. One step the Motorcycle Riders Foundation has taken is joining the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates, a broad coalition of interstate users and businesses who want to see our interstates protected from new tolls.

ATFI is building momentum through a national petition to keep our interstates toll-free. Please take 30 seconds to sign the petition today. You can also spread the word and help make tolling impossible for politicians by liking ATFI on Facebook and following them on Twitter. They put out a lot of good content, and the wider it gets circulated, the more public opposition there will be.

It is important to visit www.TollFreeInterstates.com to learn more about ATFI and sign the petition today. Help spread the word by directing your riding friends to also sign the petition.


Obama Transportation Blueprint and US Senate Privacy Bill
April 4, 2015

Transportation

President Obama released his ideal transportation bill this week, reports the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF). Known as the GROW AMERICA 2.0 act, this blueprint is essentially the same draft he has circulated before that has fallen on deaf ears in Congress. It’s widely accepted that this bill is dead on arrival in Congress. Obama’s bill idea would spend $478 billion over six years, which is where we need to be. However, he never suggests how to pay for the legislation, a major sticking point in the highway funding process. Certainly we do need a long term bill, just not this one.

The President's bill idea again contains the language to circumnavigate the lobby ban placed on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Currently, the administration is banned from using taxpayer money to lobby state legislatures. President Obama's bill would "allow the Secretary (of Transportation) or his designee to engage in activities with States and State legislators to consider proposals related to motorcycle helmet laws."

This ambiguous language dissolves the ban and allows for President Obama to not come out for helmet laws. According to a high ranking Department of Transportation (DOT) official, as told to the MRF, the language may be interpreted by the DOT to "work with states to relax helmet use laws, because it doesn't say that the designee would work to enact laws, just proposals. Perhaps some of those proposals could be to allow for adult choice of helmet use; you never know."

The fact is we do know. Never in the history of the MRF has an official from DOT ever even considered relaxing helmet laws. It doesn't stop there; the draft also has a provision to fund states that want to have graduated licensing standards. This bill is unlikely to gather any support on Capitol Hill, but it is telling of what the President really wants.

Privacy
The United States Senate has addressed the event data recorder (EDR) data ownership issue. Currently the ownership of the information captured on an EDR is not clear. This S. 766, sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Hoeven (R-ND), would make the data the property of the vehicle owner or lessee. Not many motorcycles have EDRs currently, but some do, and certainly more are coming as technology creeps into motorcycling. The MRF asks that you contact your senators and ask them to cosponsor this legislation. Similar legislation is forthcoming in the House of Representatives.


NTSB Board Members &
National Motorcycle Lobby Day
March 25, 2015

The Senate recently confirmed two National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) members this week: Chris Hart, and Dr. Bella Dihn-Zarr. Hart will serve as chairman of the board, while Dihn-Zarr will serve as a board member. Hart has currently been the acting chair for almost a year. Hart is a natural choice as he has served on and off the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since 1990. Dihn-Zarr, a public health and transportation scientist, has served at NHTSA, AAA, and her last post was heading up the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA Foundation). The Motorcycle Riders Foundation looks forward to working with the new NTSB members on motorcycle safety where we can agree.

Bikers Inside The Beltway
If you have not already done so, save the date for the 7th Annual Michael “Boz” Kerr Bikers Inside The Beltway. This year's event will be held in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, May 14th, 2015. Come to D.C. and participate in the only national motorcycle lobby day. You likely do this at your own state capitol so why not come to D.C.? The laws made in D.C. can effect you just as much as the ones that come from your state capitol. The MRF will provide free secure motorcycle parking close to the Capitol building, lobby materials and anything you need to effectively lobby your federal elected officials. Do contact the MRF office if you plan on attending or if you have questions about the event.


Congress Addresses
Three-wheeled Vehicles
March 19, 2015

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced legislation that would create a new class of vehicle, reports the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. S. 685 would create a new class of vehicles known as autocycles, to accommodate a growing trend in vehicle design. An emerging vehicle style, three wheeled enclosed vehicles equipped with a steering wheel are growing in popularity. These types of vehicles have been lumped in with motorcycles and therefore tagged and registered as motorcycles. Clearly these vehicles are not motorcycles and they do need their own category. It is easy to see why the efficient, affordable transportation would catch on so quickly.

U.S. Senate file 685 would require the new class to meet both motorcycle safety standards as well as passenger vehicle standards in vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds. These standards include seating systems, belted occupant protection, child restraints, roof crush resistance, and flammability protections.

There are many new three-wheeled vehicles coming into the marketplace. Some examples are the Polaris Slingshot and Toyota i-Road (built by Elio Motors). Elio is based out of Senator Vitters home state of Louisiana. Senator Vitter is the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

It remains to be seen whether this is the answer to this growing vehicle class, but with numbers climbing something is going to have to happen with government vehicle classes. According to the Elio webpage over 40,000 of the enclosed three-wheeled vehicles have been reserved.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will keep you updated on this issue.


Congress looks at Vision Zero
March 11, 2015

Vision Zero is the concept that it is possible to drop the fatalities within the road transportation community to zero and that it should be done at all cost. Vision Zero plans are lofty and admirable, but the approach is just not plausible.

At the core of Vision Zeros philosophy, life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within the society, rather than the more conventional comparison between costs and benefits, where a monetary value is placed on life and health, and then that value is used to decide how much money to spend on a road network towards the benefit of decreasing how much risk.

The plan also places human life and health as a priority over mobility and other objectives of the traffic system. It also describes how we should build roads with no possibility of a side or frontal impact, and prohibition to use those roads on more vulnerable road users.

Another part of plan is speed limits; should the plan be adopted in full American speed limits would plummet to 19 miles per hour in areas where there is contact between pedestrians and cars, and 43 mph for all other roads. The creators envisioned a slow moving, padded fantasyland right at home in a Disney movie, not the real world.

Vision Zero began in Sweden in 1997 and has since been adopted in some part at least by Netherlands and United Kingdom. In the United States some major cities are also adopting the concept; so far New York, Portland, and San Francisco are all on board. A lawyer in Boston gives out a law school scholarship in the attempt to get the city to take look at considering the idea.

Last week Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced H.R. 1274, a bill that would make money available to local governments to develop and implement Vision Zero plans. A mandatory national helmet law would just be the jumping off point. Make no mistake that the full implementation of Vision Zero in America would eliminate motorcycling as its known now.

Of course it is everyone’s wish that no one would become injured or killed on our roads. Every life is precious and every American should do all in their power to reduce bloodshed on the roads. But simply slowing every vehicle and prohibiting other “vulnerable” vehicles from the traffic mix, all while padding the roadways and interior of vehicles and installing cameras everywhere to find the scofflaws, is the stuff of science fiction, not the real world. Vision Zero has a blind spot; it does not take into account any budget, financing or the effects on the economy by slowing traffic. Zero fatalities is always the goal, however when you have moving parts operated by human beings traffic safety will always have a component that will never be a control for: human behavior.
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will keep you informed on this issue.


The WiFi Innovation Act of 2015
March 9, 2015

Congress wants more wi-fi available to the general public, and in order to do so, both the U.S. House and Senate have legislation to explore one possibility of getting you a new way to access a wireless signal. Congressmen Bob Latta (R-OH) has introduced H.R. 861 and Senator Marco Rubio has introduced S 424, and both do the same thing. They order a test to see if a wi-fi signal can coexist with the incumbent licensee on the 5850-5925 megahertz (MGh) band. Currently the most popular band for wi-fi is 2.4 and the incumbent licensee for the 5805-5925 MGh is vehicles. The license was dedicated for use by vehicles in 1999 by the FCC, before wi-fi was even available for public use. What that means is the Federal Communications Commission set aside that particular spectrum specifically for anything related to your vehicle communicating with other vehicles (v2v) or the infrastructure, also known as telematics. They saw the day when your vehicle will communicate with the red light or approaching toll booth to alert you of the upcoming need to brake. The FCC did that so that the frequency would be free from outside interference and avoid any hiccups with the technology that could result in injuries and fatalities. It was a great idea at the time. However, the technology that has been developed since 1999 has changed the way that the frequency spectrum is used and it has been proven that parts of the spectrum can accommodate both wifi and another use in the same frequency. Since the spectrum is only so big, we must develop technology to accommodate multiple uses on one spectrum.

This bill tasks the National Telecommunications and InformationAdministration (NTIA) to publish a test plan to see if wi-fi can coexist with the vehicle technology. NTIA is an agency within the Department of Commerce that oversees spectrum management. Should the bill be passed into law, NTIA would have six months to issue the plan to conduct the test; then they have 15 months to actually conduct the test and gather information, along with the FCC and DOT, and issue a report. Should they find that it is possible for the multiple uses to occur with out harmful interference, then the FCC will have to approve the matter. Should the testing fail, then the idea will be abandoned.

It is not certain if this bill would allow for complete coverage of wi-fi only indoors or out of doors as well. That depends on the test results. This is not referring to the internet you may be able to generate from your car, smartphone or hot spot. This would be a new type of wi-fi on a totally different spectrum and would generate a blanket signal available to all who are within coverage, much like many college campuses and municipalities are doing, but on a different frequency.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is tracking this issue because like all driver assist technology, we fear that this will reduce the amount time drivers spend watching the road. “Technologies that take the actual operators out of the equation are always worrisome; this is no different. If operators become accustomed to not needing to pay attention for red lights and stop signs, we all know that will pose problem for motorcyclists,” said Jeff Hennie Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.

The MRF does not currently have a position on this issue. The distracted driving portion of this issue is completely separate from this legislation. This legislation simply conducts a technical test to see what's possible with modern technology. The distracted driving issue will always be part of the discussion as more and more technology is employed by vehicles.

The FCC would have ultimate sign off on the use of the frequency for a wireless source. Should they see any foreseeable problems, they will not allow for the use.


New Mexico Accomplishments
March 9, 2015

A recent release went out about the great work being done by the motorcyclists in New Mexico to defeat two helmet law attempts. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation would like to apologize for failing to give credit to multiple organizations in New Mexico. The organizations who did the work, and do deserve the credit are, New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization, Coalition of Clubs, US Defenders, National Coalition of Motorcyclists, and many independent riders.

S.B. 327 would have simply mandated helmets for all motorcycle operators and passengers. Current law states that motorcyclists seventeen and under must wear a helmet. The second bill, S.B. 308, would have allowed both operator and passenger to ride helmet-less after purchasing a $697 license plate sticker to offset the burden that some believe comes with helmet-less riding. Both bills were killed in the New Mexico Senate Public Affairs Committee by a vote of 4-3.

Congratulations to the freedom fighting motorcyclists of New Mexico for the hard work and dedication to defeat these two bills.


New Mexico and South Dakota
2015 Legislative Accomplishments
February 4, 2015

South Dakota passed S.B. 85 to remove the restrictions on handle bar heights for motorcycles. Current law dictates that handle bar height must be at or below shoulder height. The new law removes the restriction, and as ABATE of South Dakota State Coordinator Jiggs Creasy put it, "There actually is still one restriction, interstate overpasses." The MRF salutes the fine work done by ABATE of South Dakota. Sturgis attendees will no longer be harassed by the police for handlebars. South Dakota joins thirteen other states that have no handlebar height restrictions of any kind.

New Mexico is celebrating the demise of not one, but two helmet law attempts. S.B. 327 would have simply mandated helmets for all motorcycle operators and passengers. Current law states that motorcyclists seventeen and under must wear a helmet. The second bill, S.B. 308, would have allowed both operator and passenger to ride helmet-less after purchasing a $697 license plate sticker to offset the burden that some believe comes with helmetless riding. Both bills were killed in the New Mexico Senate Public Affairs Committee by a vote of 4-3. ABATE of New Mexico faced some tough opposition with lots of health care professionals and doctors in the committee room. ABATE of New Mexico was ready. They had over 700 motorcyclists at their State Capitol Bike Day and handily defeated the legislation.

Both of these are perfect examples of education, organizing, and executing at the state capitol. The MRF commends both South Dakota and New Mexico for their legislative savvy and professionalism.


United States House of Representatives
Address Motorcycle Checkpoints

February 13, 2015

For Immediate Release - Action Needed

Today, February 12th, Congressman James F Sensenbrenner (R-WI) circulated a "dear colleague" letter to inform his fellow members of the House of Representatives that he will be soon introducing legislation to end the federal funding of motorcycle only roadside checkpoints.

Currently the federal government can and has supplied cash to states to conduct mandatory motorcycle only checkpoints. This legislation, which will be known as H.R. 1861, would put an end to that. In the letter Sensenbrenner states, "I will be reintroducing H.R. 1861, the Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act, to protect motorcyclists' rights and promote crash prevention as the most effective use of taxpayer money to save motorcyclists' lives."

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), along with ABATE of Wisconsin met with Sensenbrenner earlier this week to discuss this important matter. The MRF obviously strongly opposes this sort of motorcyclist discrimination. "Pulling law abiding motorcyclists off the road does not make anyone safer is a waste of taxpayer money and is law enforcement harassment at its worst," said Jeff Hennie, Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs for the MRF.

The MRF urges you to contact your Representative in Congress and ask them to join in support of this important legislation as an original cosponsor. You can reach the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and you can find the name of your Representative here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ . It is important to gather as many cosponsors as possible to ensure passage of H.R. 1861.

The MRF will keep you informed on this matter so you can engage your member of congress on this important matter impacting motorcyclists on a national level. 


Bipartisan Senate Bill would Ban Federal Funding for Motorcycle-Only Checkpoints

January 8, 2015

MRF media contact: Jeff Hennie Phone: 202-725-5471

E-mail: Jeff@MRF.org

AMA media contact: James Holter Phone: (614) 856-1900, ext. 1280

E-mail: jholter@amacycle.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan bill introduced today by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Joe Manchin (D- W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) would prohibit the use of federal funds in establishing motorcycle-only checkpoints.

Specifically, the “Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act” would restrict the Secretary of Transportation from granting funds to any government entity for a program to check helmet use or to create checkpoints for an operator of a motorcycle or a passenger on a motorcycle. The American Motorcyclist Association and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation fully support the bill.

“Motorcycle-only checkpoints are discriminatory, forcing riders and their passengers to do something not asked of other citizens, simply because we choose to travel on two wheels, or three, instead of four,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. “The AMA believes the money used for these operations could be better spent supporting programs that conduct rider education, reduce distracted driving and encourage motorist awareness of motorcycles.”

“We are excited to work on this most important issue,” said Jeff Hennie, vice president of government relations and public affairs for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. “It is imperative that we end the discriminatory act of motorcycle only checkpoints.”

Motorcycle riders already are subject to state registration, inspection, licensing and helmet laws and must stop at sobriety check points like all other motorists.

The MRF and AMA have fought motorcycle-only checkpoints since the state of New York announced plans to set up 15 of them in 2008 to stop riders on their way summer motorcycling events.

“Evidence suggests that motorcycle-only checkpoints do not effectively reduce motorcycle injuries or fatalities and do not address the factors that are the main contributors to motorcycle accidents,” the senators wrote in a press release about the bill. “Accordingly, NHTSA does not list the practice in its own 2013 Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide for State Highway Offices, which details policies and activities that the agency considers effective at reducing crash injuries and fatalities.”

States use funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to pay for the checkpoints, so federal legislation can halt the practice.

If passed, this federal bill will cut off NHTSA funding and ensure that riders across the country are safeguarded from these ineffective and discriminatory stops.

“Using motorcyclists tax dollars to discriminate and harass them with mandatory roadside checkpoints in the name of safety is offensive and just plain wrong. No one is more aware of the condition of the motorcycle than the person riding it,” Hennie said.

“If the NHTSA truly is interested in motorcyclists’ safety, it would fund proven programs that help prevent crashes, rather than these checkpoints,” Allard said.

California, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Illinois, New Hampshire and Virginia have passed legislation curbing motorcycle-only checkpoints.


NHTSA Chief confirmed by U.S. Senate December 19, 2014

For Immediate Release

The United States Senate has confirmed President Barack Obama's nominee to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In a late night Senate session, the confirmation was part of a large package of other non-controversial nominees. Mark Rosekind was nominated nearly a year after former NHTSA boss, David Strickland, stepped down. Rosekind was a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) board member.

Rosekind, sleep scientist by training, has been on the NTSB's board since 2010. Before that, he spent 13 years as the president of Alertness Solutions and also worked for NASA for several years. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called Rosekind a "leader ready-made for this critical responsibility," adding it would be his job not only to hold automakers accountable, but "raise the bar on safety." According to the NTSB website, Rosekind is a leading expert in human fatigue.

Rosekind has his work cut out for him; NHTSA has suffered amid harsh criticism that the agency has sat on the sidelines concerning recent auto part failure recall, such as the GM ignition switch and the Takata Corp airbag recall. A troubled website and a botched attempt to alert the public about the potentially fatal airbags have left NHTSA reeling. To put things in perspective, Joan Claybrok, a former NHTSA administrator, and hater of all things motorcycle, called the current state of affairs at the safety administration "a total meltdown, a royal embarrassment and calls into question the trustworthiness of the agency." These are harsh words from a longtime and very loyal supporter of NHTSA.

Still pending is the Senate confirmation of Presidents Obamas pick to head the National Transportation Safety Board, Christopher Hart.


2015 MRF  Legislative Strategy Agenda


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

10 November 2014

Contact: Kirk "Hardtail" Willard, MRF President, kirk@mrf.org

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation Releases its Legislative Strategy Agenda for 2015

At the 2014 Motorcycle Riders Foundation's (MRF) 30th Anniversary Meeting of the Minds Conference held in September in Kansas City, Missouri, a Legislative Strategy Session was hosted by the MRF's Legislative Committee. As has been done for the past several years, the MRF requested that it be attended by Sustaining State Motorcyclists' Rights Organizations (SSMRO) Legislative and/or Executive Officers. We welcomed several representatives from our Sustaining Motorcycle Clubs and Organizations as well. The goal was to set the MRF's Federal Legislative Agenda for the 2014 Meeting of the Minds to the 2015 Meeting of the Minds annual cycle.

The MRF's SSMRO partners responded once again with a majority attendance that resulted in a healthy dialogue focused on motorcycling. The MRF Legislative Committee remains extremely pleased at the aligned and clear direction we experienced again this year from our SSMRO partners. This level of agreement continues to allow for solid action plans to be developed by our Legislative Committee and our Board of Directors that can be effectively employed by our Government Relations Department and our SSMRO partners while in Washington D.C. and in working federal issues in their home states. Additionally, we continue to see productive gains in state legislative activities that support our federal efforts when it comes to protecting on-road motorcyclists, motorcycling, and its associated lifestyle.

The MRF Legislative Committee continued the practice instituted four years ago of recording one vote per SSMRO in attendance. A full breakdown of each vote can be seen in the upcoming issue of the MRF Reports. The session this year was moderated by MRF Vice President, Jay Jackson, with support from MRF Vice President of Government Relations & Public Affairs, Jeff Hennie, and MRF President, Kirk "Hardtail" Willard.


  • MAP 21 upcoming reauthorization (the Highway Bill) To include Motorcycle 2010 type Grant Funding (the MRF to pursue the current levels of funding along with a request to tighten up language for qualification and use), continuation of the NHTSA Lobbying Ban, pursue reinstatement of the Motorcycle Advisory Council (MAC) to advise the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration), oppose any motorcycling related federal blackmails or federal sanctions contained in the highway bill; closely monitor for any action that would negatively impact motorcycles, motorcycling, and motorcyclists; seek to include HR1861 type language to ban motorcycle specific roadblock grant funding

  • SAE Motorcycle Roadside Sound Test The MRF to NOT promote the use of the SAE Sound Test as a National enforcement standard, majority considered this a state issue

  • NHTSA motorcycle-specific checkpoint grant program MRF to carry out a full effort to cut off specified use of funding for this motorcycle-based discriminatory practice, work with SMRO's to exchange information on passing anti-checkpoint laws within the state, work to get new HR1861 like resolution language written and introduced

  • Continue monitoring the Federal Crash Causation study and the MSF Naturalistic study

  • Strongly oppose any federal standard proposing stamping and certifying of motorcycle exhaust systems

  • Continue to oppose federal agency activity regarding EPA Sound Emission User studies and the encouragement of state activity with federal resources - again deemed to be a state issue

  • Work to discourage ALL forms of distracted driving, and oppose all forms of funding blackmails or withholding of funds as related to motorcyclists, watch this issue closely for motorcycle specific discriminatory language

  • Continue participation at the federal level where the definition of a motorcycle is under review taking advantage of any opportunity available to enhance and further clarify

  • MRF will oppose any motorcycling, motorcycle, or motorcyclist-based discriminatory legislation or rules proposed by the U.S. Congress or by a federal agency

  • MRF to seek a legislative vehicle to include motorcyclist anti-profiling language this upcoming session

  • Continue participation in motorcycle related activity in the European Union, United Nations and Canada

  • MRF to fiercely oppose any mandatory helmet or apparel standards

  • MRF directed by our SSMRO's to not support the use of ethanol fuels higher than E10 or any other newly developed fuel blends including alternative renewable fuels without further testing on motorcycle engines and obtaining specific recommendations from motorcycle manufacturers approving their use, MRF and SSMRO's to continue to pursue passage of HR875 type language

  • MRF to continue to insure the inclusion of motorcycles in ongoing Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) emerging technologies

  • Pursue safer roadway design strategies at the federal level, include safer cable barrier research similar to European improvements in the discussion

  • Continue to promote our theme of crash avoidance versus safer crashing, using the principles of HR1498 urging NHTSA to focus on crash prevention and rider education

  • MRF to pursue limiting funding of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for their increasing involvement in motorcycling safety issues

  • MRF to pursue limiting of funding of CDC on their involvement in motorcycling safety issues through a relevant appropriations bill, pursue CDC lobby ban and seek to remove language where CDC suggests motorcycle crashes are preventable injury events. MRF to continue to support efforts to refocus the CDC on their mission as stated in the letter from Congressman Petri to the CDC on September 27th, 2013

  • MRF to monitor private organizations that oppose the legislative agenda or mission of the MRF and investigate their funding sources to make certain they are not receiving federal tax dollars

  • MRF to monitor public organizations for funding sources when in opposition to our legislative agenda or mission and respond appropriately if they receive federal tax dollars

  • MRF to monitor and report on transportation entities that are active in motorcycling but by their charters or mission statements are or should be non-relevant to motorcycles

  • MRF to monitor and report on non-transportation federal agencies becoming increasingly involved in motorcycling such as the Government Accountability Office (GAO)

  • MRF to continue to closely monitor the federally mandated Affordable Health Care Act for potential motorcyclist and motorcycling discrimination

  • MRF to fully engage the EPA on upcoming activity on motorcycle emission regulations and motorcycle drive train mandates

  • MRF to support the Black Box Protection Act, currently HR2414, seek introduction of similar language in the upcoming Congress to regulate black boxes in motorcycles, seek to clarify the rights of the vehicle owner to ownership of the recorded data

  • MRF to research fair tolling concepts on federally funded roads and roads supported by federal bonds

  • Federal Agency Motorcycle Design Standards MRF to oppose non-motorcycle manufacturer mandated specific design standards

  • There was agreement that while the handling of non-motorcycle powered two and three wheelers such and mopeds, scooters, and the various cabin based steering wheel type vehicles was considered a state by state issue that there would be an effort to get these removed from motorcycle crash statistics if they do not have to follow the existing motorcycle licensing program in the state.

With the current U.S. Congress, combined with our comprehensive and aggressive legislative agenda, the MRF Legislative Committee strongly encourages our SSMRO partners and our MRF members to actively engage in a lively motorcycling dialogue with their U.S. House of Representative and U.S. Senate Members as an immediate priority. We will need a strong presence going into the new 114th Congress as well. If your SSMRO needs any assistance in planning a trip to Washington D.C. to begin or strengthen the dialogue with your members of Congress, contact Jeff Hennie in the MRF office at 202-546-0983 or Jeff@mrf.org . We would also like to encourage you to finalize your plans to attend our national biker lobby day event in Washington D.C., Bikers Inside the Beltway, on Thursday May 14th, 2015 . See our website at www.mrf.org for more details.

MRF Legislative Committee Members:

Dave "DAD" Dwyer, George Gorman, Jeff Hennie, Lenny Holcomb, Jay Jackson, Jim "Legs" Korte, Boyd McFail, Bob Myers, Todd Riba, Kirk "Hardtail" Willard (Chair)

2014 Elections and Beyond
November 6, 2014
For Immediate Release

From: Jeff Hennie, Motorcycle Riders Foundation Vice President
Government Relations and Public Affairs

Now that the dust has settled on the 2014 election ,the Motorcycle Riders Foundation issues its reflections on what just happened. As you probably already know, it was a good night for Republican candidates with the pick up of some unlikely Gubernatorial, Senate and House seats. The election ultimately gave the Republicans a Senate majority and the largest Republican House majority since 1929.

Some say that the Republicans received a mandate from the country on their conservative platform: that is a little far fetched, considering the President's dismal approval ratings and the tradition of a second term president's party receiving a walloping at the polls in the midterm elections. President Obama has also inserted himself and his policies into the fabric of peoples daily lives, and that has not had the desired effect-just the opposite actually.

The Republicans managed to capture seven additional Senate seats and possibly more, as Virginia is still too close to call. The Louisiana Senate race, according to state election law, must go to a run off in the coming weeks with polls identifying the Republican candidate with a healthy lead over the incumbent. The Republicans will have a slight majority with less than the 60 votes needed for full control. Mitch McConnell is apparently the heir to the Majority Leader position after handily defending his seat against a worthy adversary.

The Republicans also held onto and even expanded their robust control of the U.S. House of Representatives. They padded their majority, elected the first black Republican woman, and are set to re-elect speaker Boehner. Speaking of women, this Congress is now the first to elect 100 women to the House and Senate.

Longtime motorcycle champion and House transportation committee member Nick Nicky Joe Rahall (D-WV) lost his bid for a 20th term in the House. We are sad to see him go, and his loyalty to the motorcycling community will be missed.

Republicans also won some very unforeseen Governors races, most notably in Massachusetts and Maryland: both were stunning upsets in solid blue states. Whether the Republicans had a great midterm because of there policies, President Obama's unpopularity, or if the Democrats just had bad candidates is up to you to decide.

Now Congress must come back to work and finish the must pass spending bill,s as well as any last minute business that the lame duck session will accommodate. After that, anything is possible. The next Congress will see lots of veto threats from the White House and lots of complaining from the Republicans. We will also see how the Republicans run the Senate with razor thin majority. Expect lots of partisan theatre, showdowns, and maybe even another government shut down.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will keep you informed on this issue, and every other matter affecting motorcyclists in Washington, D.C.


Representative John Tidwell fights for TN riders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tennessee State Representative John Tidwell
Rep.john.tidwell@capitol.tn.gov
615-741-1098

Clarksville, Tenn. - Monday, September 8, 2014 - State Representative John Tidwell has entered into a battle with Tennessee state troopers that unfairly ticketed motorcyclists while incorrectly citing a law that Tidwell authored.

A group of riders complained to Tidwell about a recent incident in which they were pulled over by a state trooper for allegedly not wearing Department of Transportation-approved helmets. The trooper then made the riders wait on the shoulder of the interstate for 45 minutes, while a friend brought the appropriate helmets from Nashville.

Tennessee law does not require a DOT-approved helmet in all cases. For riders over the age of 21 meeting certain requirements, helmets with other certifications may be legal for wear.

Tidwell visited the Clarksville clubhouse of the Bikers Who Care organization on the campaign trail with US congressional candidate Dan Cramer on August 23, in order to get in touch with bikers and learn their experiences on this issue.

“Many bikers I have spoken to have expressed annoyance at the way troopers have been enforcing the helmet law,” Tidwell explained. “As a member of the transportation committee, I helped write these laws and I know that the narrow standard that some troopers have been enforcing is not written in the law. I can understand why someone would be upset about being pulled over for no reason.”

Cramer said that the helmet law was a hot topic among the riders.

“As we met people and asked them what issues were important to them, the treatment of veterans and low wages were mentioned quite a bit” said Cramer. “But almost as many people wanted to speak with John about the helmet law issue. ”

Tidwell contacted Lt Colonel Dereck Stewart of the Tennessee Department of Safety Highway Patrol to find out why the law was not being enforced correctly, and also why a state trooper was imposing a punishment rather than just writing citations. The CMT/ABATE, Inc (Concerned Motorcyclists of Tennessee/ American Bikers Active Towards Education) legislative team has been instrumental in bringing all interested parties together for the meeting between Rep. John Tidwell and the Department of Safety.  CMT/ABATE, Inc. Legislative Director Tony Dabbs commented: “This law enforcement concern is being addressed properly by all involved.  Rep. John Tidwell has been a champion for motorcyclists’ rights for over a decade.  So far, the “Education not Legislation” model is working well in this retraining of troopers’ efforts in enforcing the helmet law, TCA 55-9-302.

Tidwell received a letter from Stewart stating that all troopers will be retrained on the specifics of Tennessee’s helmet law and the appropriate way to enforce those laws. All state troopers will be required to read the letter from the chief about the helmet laws.

“I hope this will be the end of this issue, but I will keep in touch with the Bikers Who Care and other riders to make sure bikers who follow the law aren’t unfairly targeted,” Tidwell said.

Reference: Tennessee Motorcycle Law


MRF E-MAIL NEWS

Motorcycle Riders Foundation

1325 G Street NW Suite 500 | Washington, DC 20005

202-546-0983 (voice) | 202-546-0986 (fax) | http://www.mrf.org

14NR37 - EPA sends ethanol regulations to White House

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

28 August 2014

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

EPA sends ethanol regulations to White House The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its final regulations to the White House for Presidential approval, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports. This is the final step in the approval process before the mandate can be revealed.

Last year, the EPA proposed that the amount of ethanol to be produced by refiners actually be reduced over previous years. This plan to reduce the amount of ethanol to be produced by refiners sent shockwaves through the energy community. Petroleum users lauded the proposal as a step in the right direction. The MRF testified at an EPA hearing on the proposal in favor of more study on the effects that E-15 can have on the components of a motorcycle. The MRF is also actively supporting legislation to end the sale of E-15 fuels until a comprehensive, scientific study is conducted by an independent agency. To date the EPA has only tested the higher ethanol blend's tail pipe exhaust emissions, no testing was done on the power train of a motorcycle itself before the blend was approved.

The proposal was by far one the most controversial ever put forth by the EPA and received over 340,000 public comments.

While the EPA announced the White House review they did not release whether any changes were made to last year's proposal to lower the amount of ethanol that needs to be produced. The EPA will release the final rule after the White House and other federal agencies weigh in. The White House has 90 days to review the proposal and issue a response.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will keep you informed on this issue


MRF E-MAIL NEWS

Motorcycle Riders Foundation

1325 G Street NW Suite 500 | Washington, DC 20005 202-546-0983 (voice) | 202-546-0986 (fax) | http://www.mrf.org

14NR36 - EPA Sends Ethanol Regulations to White House

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27 August 2014

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

EPA Sends Ethanol Regulations to White House The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its final regulations to the White House for Presidential approval, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports. This is the final step in the approval process before the mandate can be revealed.

Last year, the EPA proposed that the amount of ethanol to be produced by refiners actually be reduced over previous years. This plan to reduce the amount of ethanol being produced sent shockwaves through the energy community. Petroleum users lauded the proposal as a step in the right direction. The MRF testified at a hearing on the proposal in favor of lowering the amount of ethanol and in favor of doing away with the sale E-15. The MRF is also actively supporting legislation to halt the sale of E-15 fuels until further testing can be done.

The proposal was by far one the most controversial ever put forth by the EPA and received over 340,000 public comments.

While the EPA announced the White House review, they did not release whether any changes were made to last year's proposal to lower the amount of ethanol to be produced. The EPA will release the final rule after the White House and other federal agencies weigh in. The White House has 90 days to review the proposal and issue a response.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will keep you informed on this issue.


MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation
1325 G Street NW Suite 500 | Washington, DC 20005
202-546-0983 (voice) | 202-546-0986 (fax) | http://www.mrf.org

14NR34 - MRF News Release - Highway Funding Bill Clears Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1 August 2014

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

Highway Funding Bill Clears Congress

The United States Congress has agreed on a temporary patch for the highway trust fund, reports the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. The Senate agreed to the House version of the temporary funding fix for the highway trust fund.

The fix came just hours before the United States Department of Transportation would have had to cut off payments for highway construction projects and mass transit programs. The quick fix will keep the trust fund solvent through mid May of 2015.

The final Senate vote ended a week of legislative ping ponging between the House and Senate. The Senate wanted to modify the legislation so it would expire in December of 2014, thus forcing a vote on a larger highway bill that would address the trust fund issues before the end of this year. The House defeated that legislation, sending its own version to be passed by the Senate, that will run through May and spends $10.8 billion.

The temporary patch kicks the larger issues into the next Congress to be sworn in next year.


MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation
1325 G Street NW Suite 500 | Washington, DC 20005
202-546-0983 (voice) | 202-546-0986 (fax) | http://www.mrf.org
14NR33 - MRF News Release - Fact or Fiction?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
25 July 2014
Contact:Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs

Fact or Fiction?

There is a safety community in Washington D.C. that is trying to destroy motorcycling as we know it with lies and half truths. This group is a quasi mixture of government and private safety driven organizations including The Center for Auto Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Governors Highway Safety Association to name a few. All of these groups work to influence the government to enact stricter and stricter safety standards and laws. They all do this slightly differently from each other but they do have one common core; they hate motorcycles. If they thought it was remotely possible for one minute that they could eliminate all forms of power driven two wheelers from the traffic landscape, they would try. They try to alarm the general public with misinformation or partial information. They claim that motorcyclist fatalities have been on the rise since 2005 and that is true. Some years see a dip but for the most part motorcyclist fatalities have risen. There was an increase of 36 more fatalities between from 2005 to 2011, 4,576 to 4,612 respectively. However, bike sales and registration numbers are up and that tells a very different story. One that they don't want you to hear.

A closer look at the numbers reveals the bulk of the story. They tell us that motorcyclists fatalities are on the rise but they never mention the number of motorcycles on the road, which is also increasing. When we look at the numbers, they show the exact opposite of what the media, the government and the safety-crats are telling us. In fact, motorcycle fatalities are occurring on a much less frequent basis year after year. Since 2005, fatalities have dropped from 73.5 motorcyclists per one hundred thousand registered motorcycles to 54.7. That is an almost 30% drop in fatalities in the exact same time period in which the fear mongers tell you fatalities are a growing problem. All of the numbers used here are directly from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) website. Separating fact from fiction reveals the truth. Over six years 2.2 million motorcycles were added to the roads and we essentially kept the number of fatalities at a near static number. This is not exactly the end of the world, deathtrap-riding scenario that the powers that be would have you believe. All this considering that the only difference is the Motorcycle Riders Foundation created a federal grant program to send money to the states to assist with rider education and share the road type campaigns. We have also relaxed mandatory helmet laws which goes directly against what they would have you believe.

Year Registrations Fatalities Fatalities per 100,000 Registrations
2005 6,227,146 4,576 73.48
2006 6,678,958 4,837 72.43
2007 7,138,476 5,174 72.48
2008 7,706,464 5,312 68.39
2009 7,883,446 4,469 56.69
2010 8,212,267 4,518 55.01
2011 8,437,502 4,612 54.66

During the August congressional recess remind your elected officials that since 2005, we have had states repeal helmet laws and have watched fatalities drop. The only significant change to the motorcycle safety world other than more motorcycles, is the National Highway Traffic Administrations motorcycle safety grant program. The same program that was supported by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. This fund has dispensed money to every state and is used for motorcycle rider education and share the road campaigns. In order to continue the fund we need Congress to pass another transportation bill. Please take advantage of the upcoming congressional recess by contacting your member of congress, attending events and town hall type meetings. Urge them to get to work on the highway bill.


MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation
1325 G Street NW Suite 500 | Washington, DC 20005
202-546-0983 (voice) | 202-546-0986 (fax) | http://www.mrf.org

14NR28 - From Hardtail

13 June 2014

Contact:Kirk "Hardtail" Willard, President

From Hardtail

Gone. Done. Thanks!

That is the short and sweet of it.

In 1998, the bikers of this nation wrapped up a two-year lobbying effort with the signing of the TEA 21 (Intermodal Surface Transportation Equity Act reauthorization bill which became Transportation Equity Act for the Twenty First Century). In this bill was the work of the collective "we". A ban on NHTSA lobbying states to enact laws. The prohibition of motorcycle bans on highways and roads that use federal monies. A change in NHTSA's mission statement to include "accident PREVENTION". Also, the inclusion of motorcycles in the development of the Intelligent Transportation System.

Each time some of this hard-gained ground has been threatened, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has rallied constitutionally-minded motorcyclists to contact their legislators.

The MRF issued a Call to Action on Saturday, June 7 regarding an imminent vote on an appropriations bill, Monday, June 9. With not even 48 hours with which to work,we saw a swift surgical strike by the bikers of our nation once again.

Thank you - to the constituent bikers who called U.S. Congressional House members and let them know that Section 102 of HR 4745 was inappropriate; that you considered it a violation of previous agreements, and an infringement upon the 10th Amendment of our U.S. Constitution.

Thank you - to U.S. Congressmen Walberg (MI) and Sensenbrenner (WI) for offering up an amendment to the bill language.

Thank you - to the bikers of Michigan and Wisconsin for cultivating and maintaining relationships with your U.S. Congressional Reps and Senators so that quick resolution, when needed, is possible.

We are small, but we are mighty. You are why. Thank you.


MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation
1325 G Street NW Suite 500 | Washington, DC 20005
202-546-0983 (voice) | 202-546-0986 (fax) | http://www.mrf.org

14NR27 - MRF News Release - HR 4745 Walberg Amendment Passes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10 June 2014

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

HR 4745 Walberg Amendment Passes

On June 9th the United States House of Representatives agreed on the Walberg Amendment to the 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill by voice vote on the House floor, reports the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.

The Amendment offered by Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) along with Mr. Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Mr. Ribble (R-WI), eliminates a provision in the 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations act that would have allowed the Secretary of Transportation to discuss motorcycle safety initiatives with state legislators.

In 1998 Congress passed a law that made it illegal for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to lobby state legislatures. Prior to 1998, according to the Government Accountability Office, NHTSA had spent tens of thousands of dollars traveling to states whenever a state debated changing their own state helmet law. Seeing this as a waste of taxpayer money, the congress prohibited anyone from NHTSA to lobby states uninvited.

Mr. Walberg had this to say "This money should go to fund eliminating distracted driving, motorcycle rider education, and motorist-motorcycle awareness campaigns."

"Put simply this is a states rights issue", said Jeff Hennie Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the Motorcycle Rider Foundation. He added "With such limited, precious funds they need to be used in areas of safety that are proven, not for bureaucratic waste."

The amendment was opposed on the floor by Ed Pastor (D-AZ).

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) thanks everyone who made calls on this important issue, your participation was key in getting this amendment to pass.

The full bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives the evening of June 10th with the Walberg amendment enacted.


MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation

1325 G Street NW Suite 500 | Washington, DC 20005 202-546-0983 (voice) | 202-546-0986 (fax) | http://www.mrf.org

14NR26 - URGENT Call to Action H.R. 4745

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7

June 2014 Contact:Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs URGENT Call to Action H.R. 4745 On Monday, June 9th the United States House of Representatives will vote on a measure that could be detrimental to motorcyclists. H.R. 4745 is an Appropriations bill, that contains language in section 102, that would allow the Secretary of Transportation or his designee to lobby states to consider proposals to reduce motorcycle fatalities.

Section 102 of H.R. 4745 contains this language and Congressman Walberg (MI) and Congressman Sensenbrenner (WI) have an amendment filed that would strike this language. Call your Congressman and ask that they support the Walberg/Sensenbrenner amendment to strike section 102 from H.R. 4745.

Legislative business begins at 2:00 pm on June 9th, with votes scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm. H.R. 4745 will be voted on sometime on June 9th. We have to call every congressman repeatedly on this Monday June 9, 2014.

You can find who your representative is here: www.house.gov/representative/find You can find a full list of United States House of Representatives and their phone numbers at www.house.gov/representatives You can also use the Capitol Switchboard: 202 224 3121

This is an urgent and important phone call. Please answer the call to action.


MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation
14NR23 - 6th Annual Michael Boz Kerr Bikers Inside the Beltway Success

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
17 May 2014

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


6th Annual Michael Boz Kerr Bikers Inside the Beltway Success

This year was another highly successful Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) event in our Nation's Capital. We were blessed with perfect weather and a robust number of citizen motorcycle lobbyists on the most important day of the year for motorcyclists.

Motorcyclists from Connecticut, Maryland, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, South Carolina, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, and Minnesota were in attendance.

This year's event resulted in nearly 250 individual meetings with Senate and House offices to advance the MRF agenda in Washington D.C. The event also coincided with the introduction of a portion of the highway legislation that expires at the end the fiscal year, September 30th . The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee introduced their portion of the highway bill, which does not affect us. What this does show, is that Congress has begun in earnest to work on the much needed highway bill.

This year's attendees lobbied their members of Congress to advance the following bills;

  • H.R. 1861 - to prohibit the Federal funding of motorcycle only roadside checkpoints
  • S 2078 - to prohibit the Federal funding of motorcycle only roadside checkpoints
  • H.R. 875 - to require the EPA to halt the sale of E15 gasoline and conduct an independent study on the effect of the blend of internal combustion engines.
  • H.R. 2414 - to enact black Box privacy legislation
  • S 1925 - to enact black Box privacy legislation

Another topic at the event was a push back on President Obama's transportation proposal, GROW AMERICA which is calling for mandatory helmet laws. The Obama proposal is not very popular with Congress according to members of Congress and the staff.

This year's Congressional program was held on the Senate side of Capitol Hill. The attendees heard from Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), author of S. 2078, the Senate bill to end the funding of motorcycle only roadside checkpoints. Senator Shaheen told the group how happy she was to help end this unnecessary discrimination of motorcyclists. The group of motorcycle lobbyists also heard from Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) the lead republican on S. 2078, who gave an impassioned speech about how important it is to fight for freedom and reminded the group that they are part of a small group of Americans who actually fight for their freedoms.

This year's Bikers Inside the Beltway was a tremendous success. The MRF thanks all of those who attended from near and far to defend liberty.


14NR22 - MRF News Release - Bikers Inside The Beltway National Lobby Day - The Most Important Day of the Year for motorcyclists.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
14 May 2014

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


Bikers Inside The Beltway National Lobby Day - The Most Important Day of the Year for motorcyclists.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is pleased to report that the 6th annual Michael "Boz" Kerr Bikers Inside The Beltway will be held Thursday, May 15th in the Nation's Capital, Washington D.C. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will have secure, free motorcycle parking just steps from the U.S. Capitol Building.

Last year's event drew hundreds of motorcyclists from across the country. Don't miss out on the greatest gathering of politically active motorcyclists in Washington, D.C. This really is the most important day of the year for motorcyclists. With the Obama administration angling for mandatory helmet laws, this year's event could not be more integral to preserving motorcycling, as we know it.

From 9:00 am to 11:00 am is arrival, registration, instruction and lobby material pickup meet at the motorcycle parking on 3rd street (a link to the map is below).

This year's Congressional speakers are Senator Jean Shaheeen of New Hampshire and Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Senator Shaheen is the sponsor of S 2078 the bill to end the funding of motorcycle checkpoints. Senator Johnson is the number one co-sponsor of this important legislation.

The Senators will be addressing our group at 2:45 in Senate Russell Building, room SR-188. Please arrive early to ensure a prompt start.

The MRF encourages you to schedule appointments with your Representative and Senators offices.

Plan your appointments according to your arrival time. If you plan to arrive promptly at 9:00 am, you can schedule meetings anytime from 9:30 am on. If you plan on arriving at 11:00 am at the latest, then you can schedule meetings from 11:30 am until 2:00 pm, and of course after the Congressional Program.

Should you not be able to get an appointment, plan on dropping by as many offices from your State as you can during that time. Feel free to contact the MRF office with any questions about scheduling or otherwise.

Unfortunately the House of Representatives will not be in session the day of our event. The meetings with staff still carry significant importance. The Senate will be in session that day.

The MRF has secure, free parking from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm just steps from the U.S. Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings. The exact location of the parking is on 3rd Street SW and NW between Madison and Jefferson Drives. A map can be found HERE:

https://maps.google.com/maps? saddr=3rd+St+SW&daddr=3rd+St+ NW&hl=en&sll=38.890302,-77. 015195&sspn=0.003148,0.008256& geocode=FW5lUQIdU9do-w% 3BFTBsUQIdbddo-w&mra=dme&mrsp= 1&sz=18&t=m&z=18

An event flyer for "Bikers Inside The Beltway National Lobby Day" is also available on the website HERE:

http:// motorcycleridersfoundation. wildapricot.org/Default.aspx? pageId=1654837&eventId=798760& EventViewMode=EventDetails

If you plan on attending, please register for the event via the website or by calling the MRF D.C. office. www.mrf.org (202) 546-0983


14NR22 - MRF News Release - Bikers Inside The Beltway National Lobby Day - The Most Important Day of the Year for motorcyclists.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- 8 May 2014
Contact:Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs

Bikers Inside The Beltway National Lobby Day - The Most Important Day of the Year for motorcyclists.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is pleased to report that the 6th annual Michael Boz Kerr Bikers Inside The Beltway will be held Thursday, May 15th in the Nations Capital, Washington D.C. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will have secure, free motorcycle parking just steps from the U.S. Capitol Building.

Last years event drew hundreds of motorcyclists from across the country. Don't miss out on the greatest gathering of politically active motorcyclists in Washington, D.C. This really is the most important day of the year for motorcyclists. With the Obama administration angling for mandatory helmet laws, this years event could not be more integral to preserving motorcycling, as we know it.

From 9:00 am to11:00 am is arrival, registration, instruction and lobby material pickup meet at the motorcycle parking on 3rd street (a link to the map is below).

This years Congressional speakers are Senator Jean Shaheeen of New Hampshire and Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Senator Shaheen is the sponsor of S 2078 the bill to end the funding of motorcycle checkpoints. Senator Johnson is the number one co-sponsor of this important legislation.

The Senators will be addressing our group at 2:45 in Senate Russell Building, room SR-188. Please arrive early to ensure a prompt start.

The MRF encourages you to schedule appointments with your Representative and Senators offices.

Plan your appointments according to your arrival time. If you plan to arrive promptly at 9:00 am, you can schedule meetings anytime from 9:30 am on. If you plan on arriving at 11:00 am at the latest, then you can schedule meetings from 11:30 am until 2:00 pm, and of course after the Congressional Program.

Should you not be able to get an appointment, plan on dropping by as many offices from your State as you can during that time. Feel free to contact the MRF office with any questions about scheduling or otherwise.

Unfortunately the House of Representatives will not be in session the day of our event. The meetings with staff still carry significant importance. The Senate will be in session that day.

The MRF has secure, free parking from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm just steps from the U.S. Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings. The exact location of the parking is on 3rd Street SW and NW between Madison and Jefferson Drives. A map can be found HERE: https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=3rd+St+SW&daddr=3rd+St+NW&hl=en&sll=38.890302,-77.015195&sspn=0.003148,0.008256&geocode=FW5lUQIdU9do-w%3BFTBsUQIdbddo-w&mra=dme&mrsp=1&sz=18&t=m&z=18

An event flyer for Bikers Inside The Beltway National Lobby Day is also available on the website HERE: http://motorcycleridersfoundation.wildapricot.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1654837&eventId=798760&EventViewMode=EventDetails

If you plan on attending, please register for the event via the website or by calling the MRF D.C. office. www.mrf.org (202) 546-0983
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- 2 May 2014

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

Obama Calls for Helmet Laws

This week President Obama released his ideal version of a transportation bill. The proposal has a specific provision that would allow the federal government to push a mandatory helmet law, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports.

Buried in the 350 page document is language that would amend current United States code, which provides the motorcycle safety money that would allow the Secretary [of transportation] or the Secretarys designee [to] engage in activities with States and State legislators to consider proposals related to motorcycle helmet use laws.

This provision is unacceptable to the MRF, and its safe to say, the United States House of Representatives. Labeled as Support Activity in the draft legislation, its a thinly veiled stab at a mandatory national helmet law.

The draft is titled Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America, or GROW AMERICA Act. You can read the whole document here.

The draft legislation also has incentive grants for graduated auto licensing.

The MRF urges you to contact your Representative in the House and both of your Senators. You can reach the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. In addition, the MRF asks that you contact the White House directly and let them know you are not pleased with the helmet use provisions of President Obamas GROW AMERICA Act. You can reach the White House several different ways from this website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation urges you to join your fellow freedom fighters in Washington on May 15th to lobby Congress and help stop this legislation. Please register for the event on the MRF website. If you have any questions about attending this most important day for motorcyclists, please call the MRF Washington D.C. office.

The MRF is committed to preserving your freedoms in every possible way.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
29 April 2014

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

Feds to include motorcycles in intelligent transportation systems research

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) informed the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) recently that they do in fact intend to include motorcycles in the research they will be doing about vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology.

V2V technology, in theory, allows for individual vehicles to communicate with each other on the road. The conversation would let the individual vehicles inform other vehicles as to how fast it is moving, where it is moving to, and how far away it is from other vehicles. The theory goes on to assume that using this technology will reduce crashes and therefore injury and loss of life.

The technology works something like this: if a vehicle is approaching another vehicle at a greater rate of speed and a collision is imminent, the vehicle can brake itself to slow down and avoid the collision. Or if a distracted driver is bearing into your vehicle's space, it will automatically employ evasive actions such as hard braking or swerving.

"Vehicle-to-vehicle technology represents the next generation of auto safety improvements, building on the life-saving achievements we've already seen with safety belts and air bags, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "By helping drivers avoid crashes, this technology will play a key role in improving the way people get where they need to go while ensuring that the U.S. remains the leader in the global automotive industry.

When NHTSA announced that it was going to begin taking steps to enable V2V communications technology for light vehicles, the MRF was concerned that motorcycles would be negatively affected by not being included in the discussion. It was revealed to the MRF that the initial research will focus on passenger cars, but motorcycles will be included eventually.

NHTSA plans on equipping motorcycles with V2V technology so that the vehicle can transmit signals to other vehicles on the road to provide a warning of potential vehicle collision and avoid it.

Technology changes to motorcycles are certainly beginning to rise. Liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, touch screen equipped Harley Davidsons are just the first wave. What comes next is anyone's guess. Some of it is certain to be helpful, like GPS, but taking full control of a motorcycle away from the motorcyclist is one of the worst possible ideas in the universe taking any controls away from the rider is not acceptable. The MRF will work to make sure that never happens.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
28 April 2014


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

NTSB Chair Steps Down

Deborah Hersman announced that she would be vacating her role as chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Hersman has commanded the board since 2009 and has been a board member since 2004. Hersman was also considered as a replacement for secretary of transportation Ray LaHood when her retired.

The NTSB was created as an independent federal agency in 1967; it has investigated more than 132,000 accidents and made more than 13,500 safety recommendations. The NTSB is recognized internationally as a preeminent accident investigation organization. Hersman serves as the chief executive of the agency, which has 400+ employees and an annual budget of more than $100 million.

She was the board member behind the two-day motorcycle safety symposium conducted in October 2007, which led to the issuing of calls for mandatory helmet laws. She did, however, make good on a promise to the Motorcycle Riders Foundation to personally take the Basic Rider Course. She passed the class, but never got her license.

Hersman was first appointed as a Board Member by President Bush in 2004 and was reappointed to two additional five-year terms by President Obama in 2009 and 2013. President Obama appointed her Chairman in 2009, 2011 and 2013 with unanimous Senate confirmation votes.

Hersman is not going far though. In her new role, the 43-year-old will be heading the National Safety Council. The safety council, a non-profit organization headquartered in suburban Chicago, describes its mission as "to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads."

There is no word on the replacement chairperson of the NTSB.


14NR14 - MRF News Release - The Most Important Day to Bikers on the Federal level.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
21 April 2014

Contact:Kirk 'Hardtail" Willard, President

The Most Important Day to Bikers on the Federal level.

Thursday, May 15, 2014 – Bikers Inside the Beltway
The Schedule is as follows:

Parking: 3rd Street between Madison Drive NW and Jefferson Drive SW directly in front of the Capitol building.

Arrival & Registration: 9:00 am to 11:00 am Attendees will receive lobbying materials and general instructions to help with their day.

The MRF encourages you to schedule appointments with your Representative and Senator’s offices. Plan your appointments according to your arrival time. If you plan to arrive promptly at 9:00 am, you can schedule meetings anytime from 9:45 am on. If you plan on arriving at 11:00 am at the latest then you can schedule meetings from 11:30 am until 1:15 pm or after the Congressional Program. Should you be unable to get an appointment, plan on dropping by as many offices from your State as you can during that time. Feel free to contact the MRF office with any questions about scheduling or otherwise.

Debrief – Strategy Session
Time to be announced – We will gather to discuss the events of the day and collect information from attendees to move forward with the MRF Legislative agenda.

Friday, May 16th, 2014
Motorcycle Riders Foundation Grass-Roots day, Follow Up, Follow Through session has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

We do encourage all attendees of our Lobby day, Bikers Inside the Beltway, to visit the new MRF office location and continue any additional lobbying efforts with the help of Jeff Hennie. Jeff will be available to go to Congressional Offices with you on Friday if you so desire. Please contact Jeff to schedule times.


14NR15 - MRF News Release - U.S. EPA to FTC: Ethanol Harmful To Motorcycles

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
21 April 2014

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

U.S. EPA to FTC: Ethanol Harmful To Motorcycles

Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a new rule regarding the labeling of ethanol blended fuels in order to “help fuel purchasers identify the correct fuel for their vehicles.” Ironically, the new rule would exempt any fuel meeting the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) E15 waiver from the proposed labeling requirements.

In the record section of the proposed rule, the EPA provides information under the “objections to the proposed labels” section openly stating that ethanol is harmful to motor vehicles, and specifically mentions that ethanol is damaging to motorcycles.

The EPA indicates two major ways that ethanol affects vehicles. First, ethanol enleans the air to fuel ratio by increasing the proportion of oxygen relative to hydrocarbons. This can lead to higher exhaust temperatures and can possibly cause catalyst failure by gradually deteriorating emission control equipment. Next, other component failures can occur due to materials compatibility issues with ethanol use.

The EPA also found, that ethanol can damage older conventional cars, heavy-duty engines, motorcycles, and non-road engines, explaining: “Older motor vehicles, heavy-duty gasoline engines and vehicles, motorcycles, and especially non-road products cannot fully compensate for the change in the stoichiometric air-to-fuel ratio as ethanol concentration increases. Over time, this enleanment caused by ethanol may lead to thermal degradation of the emissions control hardware and ultimately catalyst failure. Higher ethanol concentration will exacerbate the enleanment effect in these vehicles, engines, and equipment and therefore increase the potential of thermal degradation and risk of catalyst failure. In addition to enleanment, ethanol can cause materials compatibility issues, which may lead to other component failure and ultimately exhaust and/or evaporative emission increases. For older motor vehicles, heavy-duty gasoline engines and vehicles, motorcycles, and non-road products, the potential for materials compatibility issues increases with higher ethanol concentration.”

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has been attempting to block the widespread sale of E15 and higher blends until they have been fully studied. The MRF supports U.S. House of Representatives bill H.R. 875, a bill that would halt the sale of E15 and commission an independent scientific study to determine all of the effects of E15 on an internal combustion motor.

The lack of demand for E15 has the EPA proposing that ethanol manufactures produce less ethanol than they have for the past few years.

Additionally a study done by the University of Nebraska, the third highest corn producing state in the country, found that using corn crop residue (considered a ready source for ethanol production) is harmful to the environment by generating more greenhouse gasses than traditional gasoline.

The Federal Trade Commission is still taking public comments on the labeling requirements. Simply slapping another label on a fuel pump is not the best way to prevent misfueling. Separate pumps, like diesel, need to be developed and installed. Let the FTC know that you don’t like the fact that fuels meeting the E15 EPA waiver are exempted, and more labels are not going to lead to less misfuels. The deadline is June 2nd and you can leave your polite public comments here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FTC-2014-0088-0001

More important than the labeling changes is the fact that the EPA is publicly admitting that ethanol is harmful to motorcycles, something the MRF has been stating for years. This revelation by the EPA is the sort of push we can use to rollback the sale of E15.

University of Nebraska study:
http://newsroom.unl.edu/releases/2014/04/20/Study+casts+doubt+on+climate+benefit+of+biofuels+from+corn+residue


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
14 April 2014


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

United Nations General Assembly Calls For Global Mandatory Helmet Law

Recently the 68th session of the United Nations voted to approve a non-binding resolution entitled "Improving Global Road Safety," which sounds innocent enough, but when closely examined, has some very disturbing ideas concerning motorcyclists, motorcycles, and helmet laws.

The most disturbing directive is "to encourage Member States (countries participating in the UN) to enact comprehensive legislation on key risk factors for road traffic injuries including the non-use of helmets." Or in other words, universal mandatory global helmet law. Keep in mind this is a non-binding resolution, but many countries and legislative bodies take the UN's suggestions very seriously. This is the warning shot across the bow. The United Nations is coming for motorcyclists.

That is why it is so unfortunate that Americas own Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and a member of President Obama's Cabinet voted in support of the resolution. She even spoke to the General Assembly in strong support of the resolution.

The non-binding resolution has some other very troubling issues with regards to motorcyclists. For instance, one of the directives claims that there are insufficient policies in place to protect motorcyclists. The idea that one type of policy would work for every country in the United Nations is beyond fantasy. Our diverse global motorcycle community cannot exist under a one-size fit all approach.

Another section of the resolution recognizes and commends The UN Economic Commission for Europe and the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations to modify vehicle regulations to increase safety. This is essential in the UN calling for global harmonization of policy that could include helmet laws and universal vehicle anti-tampering measures. Both of these would devastate the motorcycle community and aftermarket industry in America.

It is a clear picture of the mindset of the UN to support such an over-reaching resolution. By muddying the waters with controversial policies, the UN loses support for some very good ideas concerning distracted driving and Good Samaritan policies.

The MRF is engaged on this and will keep you informed about this issue.


MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation

Bikers Inside The Beltway National Lobby Day

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is pleased to report that the 6th annual Michael "Boz" Kerr Bikers Inside The Beltway will be held Thursday, May 15th in the nation’s capitol, Washington D.C. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will have secure free parking for motorcycles just steps from the U.S. Capitol Building.

Last year this event drew hundreds of motorcyclists from across the country. Don't miss out on the greatest gathering of politically active motorcyclists in Washington, D.C.

9:00 am to 11:00 am is arrival, registration, instruction and lobby material pickup. Meet at the motorcycle parking area on 3rd street, map below.

The MRF encourages you to schedule appointments with your Representative and Senator’s offices.

Plan your appointments according to your arrival time. If you plan to arrive promptly at 9:00 am, you can schedule meetings anytime from 9:45 am on. If you plan on arriving at 11:00 am at the latest then you can schedule meetings from 11:30 am until 1:15 pm and of course after the Congressional Program.

Should you not be able to get an appointment, plan on dropping by as many offices from your State as you can during that time. Feel free to contact the MRF office with any questions about scheduling or otherwise.

Unfortunately the House of Representatives will not be in session the day of our event. The meetings with staff still carry significant importance. The Senate will be in session that day.

The MRF has secured free parking from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm just steps from the U.S. Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings. The exact location of the parking is on 3rd street SW and NW between Madison and Jefferson drives. A map can be found here:
https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=3rd+St+SW&daddr=3rd+St+NW&hl=en&sll=38.890302,-77.015195&sspn=0.003148,0.008256&geocode=FW5lUQIdU9do-w%3BFTBsUQIdbddo-w&mra=dme&mrsp=1&sz=18&t=m&z=18

An event flyer for Bikers Inside The Beltway National Lobby day is also available on the website here: http://motorcycleridersfoundation.wildapricot.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1654837&eventId=798760&EventViewMode=EventDetails

This year we will feature something new! Bikers Inside the Beltway Follow Up - Follow Through Seminar. It is going to be a one-day event on Friday, May 16th at the Baltimore Doubletree BWI Airport, 890 Elkridge Landing Road Linthicum, Maryland, 21090. There is no charge for this event. Please be sure to register via the MRF website. An event flyer can be found here: http://motorcycleridersfoundation.wildapricot.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1654837&eventId=798755&EventViewMode=EventDetails


14NR10 - MRF News Release - CDC Task Force Pushes Universal Mandatory Helmet Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
13 March 2014


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

CDC Task Force Pushes Universal Mandatory Helmet Law
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports that a task force that is funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued its findings statement for motorcycle safety, with the singular solution being universal mandatory helmet laws.

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." The statements make recommendations that run the gamut of topics from asthma control to work place safety. The recommendations have included motor vehicles in the past 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 five-year terms. All current members are doctors, with one exception.

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. That means in 2000 .058% 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% of registered motorcycles, 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 about the CDC research that have been presented in all four MRF conferences going back to fall of 2012.

The Task Force report claims that they used data from 69 studies, but only lists seven in the reference section of the finding statement. The MRF is investigating this and is in talks with the Task Force staff about how they came to the conclusion that enacting universal mandatory helmet laws is the only way to save lives.

"It is deeply troubling that some of our brightest researchers refuse to acknowledge rider education and awareness campaigns as effective means to saving lives," said Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relation and Public Affairs for the MRF.

Also of note is why the CDC would only focus on head injury. J. Lee Annest, the Director of Statistics and Programing for the CDC, informed the motorcycle community that the CDC does not keep information on motorcycle fatality by body part and that in motorcycle fatalities there are usually multiple injuries, with the primary body part affected difficult to determine. Yet the only solution that the CDC has ever presented in its history is universal mandatory helmet law..

The MRF worked with the House of Representatives to send a letter to the CDC asking them to not focus on motorcycle safety, but rather leave that to the relevant transportation agencies. The CDC's response was that they needed to be involved in all preventable injuries, because they have the newest research available.

Use the MRF's latest "Fact or Fiction" piece, which was made public at this past year's "Bikers Inside the Beltway" event in 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.

You can view the "Fact or Fiction" piece here:
http://www.mrf.org/pdf/MRF_ FactOrFiction2013.pdf


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 www.regualtions.gov 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.


14NR02 - MRF News Release - Black Box Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.
 


NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
http://onabike.com/motorcycle-news/

CONGRESSMAN DEMANDS ANTI-MOTORCYCLE EXPLANATION FROM CDC
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?"

GLOBAL MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY PROJECTED EXPANSION
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 www.lucintel.com.

U.S. TRAFFIC DEATHS RISE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2005
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.

MOTORCYCLISTS SAFER BEHIND THE WHEEL
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.

MOTORCYCLE THEFTS DECLINE SLIGHTLY
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.

FEDS SET UP ROADBLOCKS TO HARVEST DNA SAMPLES
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.

LAPD TO PAY $10 MILLION IN TICKET QUOTA CONTROVERSY
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 ACROSS AUSTRALIA PROTEST ANTI-BIKIE LAWS
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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

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.


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

CDC TASK FORCE CALLS FOR HELMET LAWS
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."

URGE CONGRESSIONAL ACTION TO BAR E15 GAS
The US Defenders (www.usdefenders.org) 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.

ROCHESTER, MINN ACCUSED OF DISCRIMINATING AGAINST BIKERS
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.

THREE-WHEELERS EXEMPTED FROM MOTORCYCLE LICENSING & HELMET LAWS
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.

GLOBAL TIRE MARKET PROJECTED TO GROW, DRIVEN BY MOTORCYCLES
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.

1 IN 4 DRIVERS ADMIT SURFING THE WEB WHILE BEHIND THE WHEEL
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."

DRIVERS WOULD OPT TO LOSE CONTROL
A new survey finds that one in five Americans would never take the wheel again if a self-driving, or autonomous, car were available. CarInsurance.com 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 CarInsurance.com 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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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. www.mrf.org


MRF NEWS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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
Director
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.