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AMA News and Notes August 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
American Motorcyclist Association
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Washington, D.C.: Some 50 U.S. House members have signed onto a bill that would bar the U.S. transportation secretary from providing funds for motorcycle-only checkpoints.

The measure, H.R. 904 authored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), would prohibit the transportation secretary from providing grants or any funds to a state, county, town, township, Indian tribe, municipality or other local government for use by any program to check safety equipment use or create arbitrary checkpoints for motorcycle riders or passengers.
 
At the same time, Sensenbrenner and Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), along with 29 other members of Congress, have sent a letter to the leadership of the House-Senate Surface Transportation Reauthorization Conference Committee requesting the inclusion of language in the conference report that would prohibit the transportation secretary from providing funds for motorcycle-only checkpoints.

Three states have since outlawed motorcycle-only checkpoints -- Virginia, North Carolina and New Hampshire -- and legislation to prohibit them has been introduced in Illinois, California, Missouri and New Jersey.

Washington, D.C.: The Recreational Trails Program (RTP), which had faced possible extinction, has been saved in a congressionally approved transportation bill. The spending authorization bill, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century," known as Map-21, includes $85 million a year through fiscal 2014 for the trails program, which provides funds to the states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.

The RTP is an assistance program of the U.S. Transportation Department's Federal Highway Administration. 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. The measure now goes to President Obama to be signed into law.

Washington, D.C.: On June 19, the U.S. House passed H.R. 2578, the “Conservation and Economic Growth Act,” a bill containing a provision to return recreation access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (H.R. 4094). With little time left in the legislative calendar before the election season begins, it’s important to let your senators know that you support the Cape Hatteras measure.
 
H.R. 2578 contains additional provisions on which the AMA is either neutral or hasn’t taken a position, but did incorporate H.R. 4094 language to return pedestrian and motorized recreation to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area. H.R. 2578 passed by a vote of 232-188. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Source and full story: capwiz.com/amacycle/issues/alert/?alertid=61488971  

Fountain Hills, Ariz.: The Call for Presentations is now open for the 2013 American Trails International Trails Symposium. To help develop an exciting and motivating program for the symposium, submit ideas for presentations that support the symposium's theme, "Trails Lead Everywhere," as well as embody at least one of the topic areas of interest.
 
This biennial symposium is a gathering of trail enthusiasts and professionals representing all types of trail users. The symposium includes numerous educational sessions covering the broad range of trail issues, nationally and internationally prominent speakers, a state-of-the-art exhibit hall, informative and interactive mobile workshops and much more.
If you have any questions regarding the Call for Presentations or about the program for the 2013 symposium, send an email to its2013program@gmail.com. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 1.

Alameda, Calif.: In a recently announced agreement, a lawsuit against the Carnegie State Vehicle Recreation Area that alleged pollution-law violations has been dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning that it can’t be re-filed. In September 2009, two organizations filed an action against California State Parks and the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division alleging violations of state laws regarding water pollution at Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area.
 
This action was filed in the Superior Court in Alameda County. However, no request was made to the Water Board to address the concerns. That mistake ended up being a significant one, since the Water Board, and not the courts, has jurisdiction in these cases.

Sacramento, Calif.: The full Senate is considering a bill that would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies that receive National Highway Traffic Safety Administration grant money intended for motorcycle safety programs from using the money for motorcycle-only checkpoints.

Assembly Bill 1047, introduced by Assemblyman Senate Transportation and Housing Committee after passing out of the Assembly.

Tracy, Calif.: Riders have two different opportunities to help shape the future of the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). The state is seeking feedback and input on the new general plan for this facility. Opponents of off-highway vehicle recreation will be providing comments and the riding community is strongly encouraged to step up and support the long-planned park expansion.
 
On the first section of the survey, only six items require a response (checkboxes), whereas the second section offers riders the opportunity to leave more detailed feedback and to share their history and experiences at the facility.
 
Sample comments can be everything from the general, such as "I would like to see the plan improve the quality of the riding at the existing park, while providing new experiences” or “most of all, I really want a bigger park with miles of well-maintained trails and roads to provide a safe fun place for my family and me to ride” to the specific, such as "I prefer opportunities for a family experience that combines a system of single-track, and ATV-width trails” or “I think there should be a place set aside for special events.”
 
Upon completion, the General Plan will serve as a guide for future development and management of Carnegie SVRA. This plan will also address the coming use and management of the adjacent Alameda-Tesla property to be annexed to the SVRA upon completion of the General Plan. This survey will be available until Oct. 12, but don’t delay – complete the survey today and be sure your friends do as well.

Boston, Mass.: Senate Bill 2199, authored by the Joint Committee on Transportation, would require anyone under age 18 to complete a “vehicle education safety and responsibility course” before operating a dirtbike or ATV. The bill would also grant authority to state officials to exempt out-of-state riders from the training requirement as well as the state’s vehicle registration requirements if they’re attending a “sanctioned race, rally or event.” The legislation is currently before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Virginia City, Nev.: A western-style street party will be held on Friday, July 27, in conjunction with the 2012 AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference. The four-day event, which stages out of nearby Carson City, July 26-29, features seminars, inspirational speakers, great roads, demo rides, product showcases and unmatched camaraderie.
 
The event features another plus for 2012: the addition of conference emcee Jessica Prokup. A former editor of RoadBike Magazine and director of communications for Discover Today's Motorcycling, Prokup owns Yellow Devil Gear Exchange in Southern California and serves as the host of the eBay video series "modJOBS 2." She will take the reins at the evening activities, and also employ her journalistic talents serving as a daytime roving reporter for the event.
 
Included in the registration fee are seminars, the marketplace and Moto Action Center, the Saturday Night Celebration Party, and a Women's Health Fair where women can get a variety of health screenings such as mammograms and cholesterol and blood pressure checks. Registrants will also receive a conference T-shirt and gift bag.

Santa Fe, N.M.: Forest Supervisor Maria Garcia has announced the Record of Decision (ROD) for amending the Santa Fe National Forest Plan and managing motorized travel as part of a nationwide effort by the U.S. Forest Service to address motorized recreation in national forests.
 
The decision closes more than 70 percent of the existing roads and trails to motorized use, eliminates vehicle camping on 93 percent of the existing forest roads and almost entirely eliminates big game retrieval. The decision comes after nearly six years of analysis and debate.
 
The final decision designates 2,463 miles of motorized travel roads and trails and prohibits cross-country travel. The Record of Decision, the Final Environmental Impact Statement and an FAQ is posted on the forest’s website.

Pickerington, Ohio: Every two years, the AMA Government Relations Department surveys the association's members to assist in establishing government relations priorities and activities. Members are asked to share their views about on-highway motorcycling-related issues by paper or online. On-highway riding member-enthusiasts have done a great job of supporting this survey in past years. Knowing how our members ride and what you consider important in motorcycling enables us to do a better job of setting AMA government relations priorities. Please take a few minutes to complete the latest member survey.

Uintah County, Utah: The county commission has drafted an off-highway vehicle ordinance for travel on Class B and D county roads by ATV riders. Commissioners are asking the public to review the draft for comment before a final ordinance is voted on. Copies are available online at www.co.uintah.ut.us or at the commission office at 152 E. Main in Vernal.

Safety remains a priority issue on any county road and commissioners want the public to weigh in on areas or intersections of concern. Commissioners say local law enforcement and federal agencies have been largely supportive of the ordinance. The review and comment period will remain open until the regularly scheduled meeting of the county commission.

Olympia, Wash.: The state Department of Licensing has launched a safety outreach campaign to reduce motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities throughout the summer. The agency’s “Look Twice, Save a Life” campaign is geared to reach millions of motorists and motorcycle owners across the state.
 
Drivers are reminded that riders can be difficult to see on busy roads because of a motorcycle’s smaller size and profile. Motorists should take extra time to be aware of what is around them. To legally operate a motorcycle on Washington roads, a rider must have a motorcycle endorsement on his or her driver’s license— or the bike could be impounded, even after a simple traffic stop. The licensing agency offers information for unendorsed riders at www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/motorcycles.html.

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