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AMA News and Notes May 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012
American Motorcyclist Association
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Washington, D.C.: The U.S. Senate has approved a bill that extends the embattled Recreational Trails Program (RTP) that provides funding for trails, and the federal motorcyclist safety grant program, for nearly two more years.
 
On March 14, the full Senate approved S.1813, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century," known as MAP-21. This bill authorizes transportation funding through fiscal 2013, which ends Sept. 30, 2013, maintains the RTP and provides $6 million a year for funding state programs that focus on motorcyclist safety. The AMA has long promoted motorcycle rider education and motorist awareness programs as essential strategies to prevent motorcycle crashes.
 
As originally written, S. 1813 would have effectively ended the RTP by severing the program from its dedicated funding. But Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and several bipartisan cosponsors offered an amendment to S. 1813, which was approved by the full Senate, to continue the RTP.
 
On the House side, H.R. 7, the transportation bill titled the "American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012" included $85 million a year through fiscal 2016 for the RTP and funding for state motorcycle safety programs. After passing the House committees that shared jurisdiction of the subject matter in the bill, the House leadership is debating its options on what version of the transportation bill to consider.
 
Funds for the RTP come from the federal Highway Trust Fund and represent a portion of the federal motor fuel excise tax collected from non-highway recreational fuel use. In other words, taxes generated by fuel used for off-highway vehicle recreation -- by snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles and off-highway light trucks -- fund the RTP.
 
The program benefits hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, ATV riding, four-wheel driving, or using other off-road motorized vehicles.
 
Source and full story: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/News/12-03-14/U_S_Senate_votes_to_preserve_Recreational_Trails_Program.aspx  

Washington, D.C.: A new U.S. Forest Service (USFS) guide to help land managers maintain off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails contains derogatory, anti-OHV language, and OHV groups want to know why. In a letter dated March 9, seven organizations demanded answers from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, whose department oversees the USFS. The groups are the AMA, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association, the BlueRibbon Coalition, the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, the Colorado Snowmobile Association, Trails Preservation Alliance, and the Utah Shared Access Alliance.
 
The 318-page guide, "A Comprehensive Framework for Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Maintenance," was released in January in book form and was posted on the USFS website. But the document was quickly pulled off the website, apparently following protests from the OHV community about the offensive language.
 
In the letter to Vilsack, the seven organizations representing OHV interests ask questions concerning the planning and review process of the guide, the content of the initial guide, and whether there are plans to reissue the guide without the offending language.
 
To read the letter visit: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Libraries/Rights_Documents_Federal/USDA_OHV_letter_Final.sflb.ashx?download=true.  

Montgomery, Ala.: House Bill 487, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), would authorize the state director of public safety to suspend the license of a driver without a preliminary hearing if the licensee committed a right-of-way violation that resulted in serious bodily injury or death to another roadway user at an intersection controlled by a stop or yield sign.

Placerville, Calif.: Forty-two off-highway vehicle routes that cross meadows in the Eldorado National Forest may be closed to motor vehicle travel this recreation season while the Forest Service completes an environmental analysis. The potential travel prohibitions are the result of a February 2012 court order by U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton. The order said the Forest Service failed to comply with the National Forest Management Act in 2008 when it designated “open for public motor vehicle use” portions of 42 routes that cross meadows.
Source and full story: www.recordcourier.com/article/20120405/NEWS/120409951/1049&parentprofile=1049  

Springfield, Ill.: House Bill 930, sponsored by state Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton), would prohibit any law enforcement agency of the state or a political subdivision of the state from accepting federal funding for the establishment of motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints.

Carson City, Nev.: The AMA is pleased to announce the addition of more special-rate hotels for its upcoming AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference. The conference, which takes place July 26-29 in Carson City, Nev., is the country's premier event for women riders, featuring inspirational speakers, great roads, demo rides, product showcases and unmatched camaraderie.
 
The good news does not stop there. Through April 30, AMA members can rack up significant savings through member-only pre-registration, which offers a discounted price of $125 to attend the conference. After April 30, that fee increases to $175. Attendees can register now at: events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=vw9ldxbab&oeidk=a07e5b2rc65a3dc83f3  

Las Vegas, Nev.: On Nov. 16, 2012 at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, Nev., the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation (AMHF) will welcome a new class into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. This year, for the first time ever, the AMHF will announce not just the final class of inductees, but also will reveal the men and women who have been nominated for consideration of one of motorcycling's highest honors.
 
In the coming weeks, six new members representing the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2012 will be elected from the nominees recently announced -- three from the non-competition categories and three from the competition categories. The Hall of Fame class of 2012 will be announced this summer, and the new members will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame at a gala ceremony on Nov. 16, at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, Nev., during the AMA Legends Weekend.
For more information about the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame and the induction process, visit motorcyclemuseum.org/induction.

Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA is pleased to announce the Bay Area Riders Forum (BARF) as the association's first official "AMA O/MC," or Online Motorcycle Community.

The recognition comes on the occasion of the group's 10th anniversary as the San Francisco area's go-to internet gathering spot, and as BARF members have established a contribution fund in the group's name at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. You can find BARF online at bayarearidersforum.com/forums/
 
As part of its show of support, BARF has become the first AMA O/MC as an AMA-chartered Online Motorcycle Community, a move that helps carry eight decades of AMA club history into the future. As an AMA O/MC, BARF enjoys special branding on its site unique to members of this new program, and enjoys knowing its members are taking the extra step to help protect the future of motorcycling.

For information on how your website or web forum can become an AMA-recognized O/MC, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com/ClubsAndPromoters/OMC.aspx or email gparsons@ama-cycle.org.

Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA Board of Directors has announced the recipients of six national awards that recognize outstanding contributions to the world of motorcycling.
 
Motorcyclist rights activist Jerry Abboud was selected to receive the prestigious AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award for 2012. Other 2012 award recipients include: retired U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, AMA Bessie Stringfield Award; Bernie Bredbenner Jr., AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award; William Wollner, AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award; Jay Hall, AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award; and Robert Althoff, Friend of the AMA Award.
 
For more information about the AMA Awards Program, to see past recipients and learn how to nominate individuals for future consideration, visit: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/about/AMAAwardsProgram.aspx  

Pickerington, Ohio: Throughout the month of April, hundreds of thousands of AMA members will be enjoying the thrill of motorcycling during "AMA Get Out and Ride! Month."
 
AMA Get Out and Ride! Month highlights a different theme each week on the AMA's Facebook page. The theme for the first week of the promotion -- AMA Get Out and Ride Your Way! -- taps into the individualism of motorcycling and highlights solo riding on favorite trails and twisties.
 
AMA members and riders are encouraged to visit the AMA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AmericanMotorcyclist to share information about places to ride, learn fun facts and to enter the AMA Get Out and Ride! Month trivia contest.
 
As part of the contest, the AMA is very pleased to announce that valued partner and longtime AMA supporter Helmet House will reward one resourceful (and lucky) AMA member with a Tour Master Saber Series 3 riding jacket each week during the AMA Get Out and Ride! Month trivia contest. The weekly winner will be drawn at random from correct AMA member submissions in the contest, and his or her name will be posted each Friday on both the AMA Facebook page and website at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/GetOutAndRide.
 
AMA members are also encouraged to submit riding stories, photos and videos throughout AMA Get Out and Ride! Month to submissions@ama-cycle.org. The best stories will be featured on the AMA Get Out and Ride! Month blog.

Arlington, Va.: The 495 Express Lanes, High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes, are coming to northern Virginia in late 2012. Motorcycles will continue to have free access and won’t need an E-ZPass. Details about the project and free use for all motorcycles can be found at www.495expresslanes.com.  

Front Royal, Va.: Motorcycle enthusiasts in Virginia now have the opportunity to show their love of Shenandoah National Park whenever they ride. Similar in design to the popular Shenandoah motor vehicle plate, the Shenandoah National Park motorcycle tag sports a black bear, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Skyline Drive -- a popular destination for motorcycle riders. With only nine special interest plates available for motorcycles in Virginia, the new Shenandoah plate promises to be a highly desirable option.
 
Similar to the motor vehicle plate, every purchase of a Shenandoah motorcycle plate sends $15 to Shenandoah National Park Trust, the official non-profit “friends” group of the national park. The Trust directs these funds to help the park meet its most critical needs. For a list of the projects receiving support from the plates, visit www.snptrust.org/projects/current-projects. The $15 revenue-sharing portion of the plate is tax-deductible.
 
Order your Shenandoah plates at any Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles office or online at www.snptrust.org/donate/license-plate.  

United Kingdom: A petition to see at least one motorcycle-related question on the Driver Theory Test is already gathering momentum with more than 31,000 signatures as well as support from three industry organizations. The Motorcycle Industry Association, British Motorcycle Federation, and Motorcycle Action Group are supporting the Bennetts-launched campaign, which is urging the government to help increase awareness of motorcyclists by ensuring questions relating to bike-users are made compulsory in the driving test.

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