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AMA News and Notes September 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011
American Motorcyclist Association
Protect your right to ride! Volunteering is easier than you think, and it’s the right thing to do. To learn how you can help, visit us online at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Get Involved.

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Washington, D.C.: Bill to exempt kids' off-highway vehicles from lead law sent to the president. The U.S. Senate has approved a House bill to exempt kids' off-highway vehicles (OHVs) from the lead law that essentially bans the sale of those machines at the end of the year. The bill, H.R. 2715 introduced by Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), cleared the full House by a 421-2 vote on Aug. 1, and then earned approval in the Senate the same day. The bill now goes to President Obama to be signed into law.
 
The legislation exempts OHVs -- including kids' dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) -- from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.
 
The CPSIA bans the making, importing, distributing or selling of any product intended for children 12 and under that contains more than a specified amount of lead in any accessible part. It also requires all children's products undergo periodic testing by independent laboratories approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is responsible for implementing the law. The CPSIA was designed to ban small toys with high lead content. However, because of broadly written language in the law, it has been interpreted to apply to all products for children 12 and under, including dirtbikes, ATVs, bicycles, clothing and books.
 
The AMA has been at the forefront of the fight to exclude child-sized motorcycles and ATVs from the CPSIA. The association has participated in news events to focus media attention on the issue, lobbied on Capitol Hill, and organized campaigns to encourage riders and parents to contact their federal lawmakers and key decision-makers to exempt kids' OHVs from the CPSIA.
To read more of what the AMA has done to exempt kids' OHVs from the CPSIA, visit: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/KeepKidMotorcyclesAndATVsLegal.aspx.  

Washington, D.C.: On July 27, the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, chaired by Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), held a hearing on reauthorizing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
At the hearing, Administrator David Strickland testified before the subcommittee, stating that “the most important step we can take to reduce the deaths of motorcyclists on our roads and highways is to assure that all riders wear a DOT compliant helmet.” He added, “A grant program emphasizing the use of motorcycle helmets would be effective in reducing fatalities.” Strickland also stated that “NHTSA estimates that the use of motorcycle helmets by motorcyclists reduces the likelihood of a motorcycle crash fatality by 37 percent for operators and 41 percent for passengers.”
For more information and to view the testimony and an archive webcast of the hearing, go to http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/News/RightsNews/11-07-27/Archive_Webcast_Senate_hearing_to_reauthorize_NHTSA.aspx.  


Phoenix, Ariz.: The OHV Ambassador Program is seeking to train volunteers who wish to enhance OHV riding opportunities by working cooperatively with land managers. Becoming an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Ambassador provides a means for private citizens to work with federal, state, and local land managers and public safety officials to promote responsible OHV recreation on public and private lands.
Volunteers contribute their time, experience, and local knowledge of OHV areas in Arizona by monitoring public lands in groups of two or more on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), utility vehicles (UTVs), or 4x4 vehicles. OHV Ambassadors also participate in special projects to enhance OHV areas throughout Arizona.
Anyone who has off-highway vehicle experience and is able to provide their own OHV that is licensed/street legal can volunteer as an OHV Ambassador, provided they agree to abide by the OHV Ambassador Code of Conduct.
Source and full story: http://azstateparks.com/ohv/ambassadors.html  


San Benito, Calif.: The California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Commission has officially urged the federal government to reopen Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA) while including recommendations for strategies to minimize health risks.
The commission recently sent a letter, which urged reopening of the 63,000-acre CCMA in southern San Benito County. In the summer of 2008 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) closed the CCMA, which was largely used by OHV enthusiasts, contending that asbestos levels there are dangerous. The BLM cited an Environmental Protection Agency study in issuing the emergency closure order and is going through the process of potentially permanently closing it to the general public.
This debate has underscored differing perspectives from varying levels of government. County officials have long urged the BLM to reopen the CCMA. Now the OHMVR commission, part of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, has indicated the state has a concern about the long-term fate of the CCMA.
Source and full story: http://hollisterfreelance.com/news/277554-state-commission-urges-feds-to-reopen-clear-creek  


Longmont, Colo.: More than a month after the Maxwell Fire was contained, Forest Service officials have reopened the Lefthand Off-Highway Vehicle area to recreational use. The area was closed for safety reasons after the fire burned approximately 60 acres.
The wildfire left hot spots and unstable soils prone to erosion and falling rocks. Workers from the Boulder Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest monitored the burn area, assessed the stability of the soils and did mitigation work to reduce the risks. Rolling rocks and falling debris continue to be a threat in the area, and high winds or heavy rain may increase that risk. Visitors are asked to be aware of weather conditions and personal safety.
Source and full story: http://www.coloradodaily.com/ci_18593319?source=most_viewed#axzz1TzQsok5T  

Colorado: The Colorado Divisions of Parks and Wildlife will hold several meetings through the end of the year that could shape access for off-highway recreation and sporting in the state. All off-highway recreationists are encouraged to attend a meeting and present the perspective of responsible motorized recreation. Details on the meetings can be found on the Colorado Division of Wildlife Commission page.

Boston, Mass.: Under the Land & Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCF), states work closely with the National Park Service to analyze recreation needs, set priorities for funding, and supervise and coordinate the selection of projects. In order to remain eligible for funding from the Land & Water Conservation Fund grant program, the National Parks Service requires every state to complete a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) every five years. The SCORP is the state's Open Space and Recreation Plan, and provides regional data for the state.
To help inform the SCORP process and guide future use of LWCF funds, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is conducting a survey to gather data about Commonwealth residents’ preferences for recreational activities. To participate in the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BL79V26  


Red River, N. M.: The town of Red River and The New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance (NMOHVA) have co-signed and submitted Travel Management Comments to the Carson National Forest. These comments are the formal response to the Carson's proposed action that would eliminate motorized use on some of the roads and trails currently used in the Questa Ranger District. Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Carson National Forest must provide a detailed scientific analysis showing the current conditions in the forest and justify closures. The comments show the Carson has failed to comply with NEPA.
Source and full story: http://www.nmohva.org/main/issues.php?id=65&archive=0  


Columbus, Ohio: Be sure to utilize AMA public service announcements (PSA) featuring AMA Board of Directors member and actor Perry King. The print, video and audio PSAs are available free to the media and the public to distribute and promote. The PSAs address impaired riding, excessive motorcycle exhaust sound, the importance of the proper safety gear, responsible and safe off- highway riding, and deliver an important message to drivers to watch out for motorcyclists on the road. To access the PSA messages, visit: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/Resources/PublicServiceAnnouncements.aspx  

Also, recently updated on the AMA’s website, the on and off-highway motorcycle sound resources page. This includes information about Sound Advice, a document that addresses the excessive motorcycle sound issue, as well as links to additional information and model legislation. Efforts by regulators around the nation to rein in excessive motorcycle sound often miss the mark by singling out motorcyclists with laws that are unfair, impractical and unenforceable.
Since its inception in 1924, the AMA has maintained a position of strong opposition to excessive motorcycle sound. The AMA has funded information and public relations campaigns in support of quieter motorcycle use, and was the world’s first motorsports sanctioning body to regulate and reduce the sound level of racing vehicles.
Source and full story: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/SoundAdvice.aspx  


Harrisburg, Pa.: House Bill 563, sponsored by Rep. Richard A. Geist (R-Altoona), would provide property owners protection from civil liable for any injury or death to persons or damage to property that may occur during an approved motorcycle safety education program course of instruction or training. The Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (http://www.pamsp.com) would benefit from additional training sites around the state.


Olympia, Wash.: The Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) is seeking five volunteers to evaluate grant applications for backcountry trail projects in Washington. Volunteers will serve on the Nonhighway and Off-road Vehicle Activities (NOVA) program advisory committee, and should represent at least one of the following points of view: back-road recreationists, fishers and hunters, 4x4 vehicle riders, mountain bicyclists or pedestrians (including hikers, backpackers, cross-country skiers and snowshoers).
The NOVA program provides grants to local, state and federal agencies, and tribal governments to help plan, acquire, develop, and maintain facilities for motorized and nonmotorized recreation.
Appointed members will serve from January 2012 through December 2015 and advise RCO on trail issues, including grant funding and policies. Generally, members attend four to five weekday meetings in even numbered years to evaluate grant applications and prepare funding recommendations.
Source and full story: http://www.rco.wa.gov/grants/vol_eval_cmte.shtml  


Bath, England: Motorcycle helmets protect riders but they may also contribute to hearing loss, say researchers at the University of Bath and Bath Spa University in England. The study, Aeroacoustic Sources of Motorcycle Helmet Noise, revealed the biggest source of noise for helmeted motorcyclists is generated by airflow over the riders' helmets. Even at legal speeds, the sound can exceed safe levels, more than enough to cause serious hearing damage. The study has been accepted for publication in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.
Source: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2011/07/29/Motorcycle-helmets-may-be-hard-on-hearing/UPI-40831311994179/  
 

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