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AMA New and Notes January 2011

Monday, December 13, 2010
AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Government Relations Department. Designed to inform motorcyclists of rights-related issues and events around the world, AMA News & Notes welcomes your input. Suggestions and editorial contributions can be sent to AMA Legislative Assistant Sheila Andrews by e-mail at sandrews@ama-cycle.org.

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Washington D.C.: The Consumer Product Safety Commission has extended to Jan. 25, 2011 the date by which OEMs and importers must begin using accredited third-party labs to certify that Y6 and Y10 youth ATVs meet federal standards. The previous deadline was Nov. 26.
 
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 dictates that eventually all children’s products subject to a product safety rule will require third-party testing. So while manufacturers may continue to use in-house testing for certifying adult ATVs, they are scrambling to find third-party labs for models intended primarily for children 12 and younger. The OEMs could also choose to create their own “third-party” labs through a process called firewalling.
 
The commission invites comments on the possibility of a one-year stay. The types of comments sought are outlined in a Federal Register Notice under the subhead "III Commission Action on the Petition." The deadline for comments is Dec. 30, 2010.
 
The stay of enforcement regarding the CPSIA “lead ban” ends May 11, 2011. At that point, the OEMs still selling illegal units will likely stop, making the third-party testing requirement a moot point. This is why the industry continues to seek a permanent solution to the lead ban through legislation. Source and full story: www.manatt.com/news.aspx?id=10764

Washington D.C.: On November 15, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA) sent a letter to the U.S. House and Senate leadership regarding concerns that the Obama administration is taking unilateral action to restrict responsible motorized recreation on public lands.
 
The AMA and ATVA's concerns are based on the America's Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative and the release of troubling Department of the Interior (DOI) internal documents that suggest up to 130 million acres be designated Wilderness and National Monument areas. These Wilderness and National Monument designations may make the land off limits to responsible off-highway riders.
 
It is the understanding of the AMA and ATVA that a report on the AGO is due to the President in December. This date is concurrent with the return of Congress for the "lame-duck" session. Source and full story: www.capwiz.com/amacycle/issues/alert/?alertid=19755701

California: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released an internal report on Johnson Valley OHV race permits. An internal review by the BLM found its policies and procedures for permitting off-highway vehicle (OHV) events are sound, but the agency did not adhere to these procedures in permitting Mojave Desert Racing (MDR) Production’s California 200, the race that resulted in eight spectator fatalities in a tragic accident in San Bernardino County on August 14, 2010.
 
In response to the report, BLM National Director Bob Abbey issued instructions to all BLM field offices nationwide that “reinforce the importance of following our procedures aimed at ensuring safety at all these events throughout the West.”
The report concludes with specific action items to ensure effective special recreation permit administration and safety compliance at events; some are immediate and others long term. These include providing adequate BLM ranger and recreation staffing at all events, requiring companies to compensate the BLM for processing and administering permits that take up more than 50 hours of staff time, and requiring more oversight from the district and state office of BLM to check for policy compliance and program consistency. Source and full story: www.blm.gov/ca

Atlanta, Ga.: The Georgia Department of Driver Services has received a grant for its motorcycle safety training program.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety has approved the roughly $100,000 to be used to encourage motorists and motorcyclists to share the road responsibly and safely. The funds will be used to pilot test a mobile licensing project and to buy training motorcycles.
 
The Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program offers basic motorcycle training for new riders and those who want to learn how to ride a motorcycle safely in today's traffic mix. Students do not need to own a motorcycle since the program provides both a motorcycle and a helmet. After the course, successful graduates receive a license waiver card that exempts them from both the written and driving tests.

Albuquerque, N.M.: The New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance (NMOHVA) has won their appeal of the recent Travel Management Plan decision for the Mountainair Ranger District of Cibola National Forest. The notice, send by the Southwestern Region office on Monday, December 6th, announced the reversal of the decision because the Mountainair Range District Travel Management Environmental Assessment didn't disclose effects to forest-wide trends for habitats and populations in a consistent manner.

The Forest was also to found to have failed to disclose the basis for the conclusions on water and soils section of the Assessment. Regional office officials directed the Forest to complete a new analysis that complies with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other applicable requirements. The new analysis will also require a new public review and comment period.
 
The Forest's decision would have removed 253 miles of existing roads from public use. This represents a closure of over half of the roads on the Mountainair District. The decision also would have severely limited where the public can enjoy motorized camping by limiting dispersed motorized camping to less than 24 miles of camping corridors. Source and full story: www.nmohva.org

Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA has announced its 2010 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year (MOTY). Awarded annually, the MOTY designation recognizes the person(s) who has had the most profound impact on the world of motorcycling, for better or worse, in the previous 12 months.
 
For 2010, that distinction belongs to outgoing California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose signature on a controversial law will have far-reaching and potentially harmful effects on the motorcycling community nationwide.
 
With no fanfare, Schwarzenegger signed a bill on Sept. 28 that fundamentally changes how California will regulate motorcycle exhaust systems. The new law, the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act, also maps a path for the rest of the country, as other state and local lawmakers look for their own answers to address excessive motorcycle sound.
 
For most motorcycles, the law is a de-facto OEM (original equipment manufacturer) exhaust mandate because the federal standard was not designed for aftermarket manufacturers, and compliance for the scores of low-volume production models now on the market is extremely problematic.
 
The AMA has long advocated reasonable measures be adopted for the regulation of excessive motorcycle sound, and cites the Society of Automotive Engineers J2825 motorcycle sound testing procedure as the most fair, economical and practical solution to the problem vexing communities nationwide.
 
In making the announcement, AMA President and CEO said, "The California law is a poorly crafted piece of legislation that's discriminatory and does little to address the core problem of excessive sound from all sources, not just motorcycles. Rather than objectively regulate offensive noise, this law creates all sorts of problems for riders, law enforcement and aftermarket manufacturers." Source: http://amadirectlink.com/news/story.asp?id=2404

Penn Township, Penn.: The taxi driver charged with the deaths of five motorcyclists last summer has waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday.
 
Authorities allege Alfred Moore, who has had diabetes for 15 years, was suffering from severe hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, at the time of the crash because he had skipped lunch earlier in the day. Prosecutors allege Moore failed to treat his condition that day, causing him to drive erratically and lose control of the van.
 
The legal consideration in charging a driver with homicide by vehicle is not intent but recklessness. District Attorney Craig Stedman has said Moore's severe hypoglycemia left the cab driver "incapable of operating the vehicle in a safe manner."
 
Courts have previously upheld convictions in cases in which a defendant was aware of their medical condition but declined to maintain their health.
 
In addition to the vehicular homicide charges, Moore is charged with two counts of recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving and disregarding a traffic lane. Source and full story: http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/322563#ixzz17jQIiFbM

Olympia, Wash.: The state legislature is once again considering raiding the Off Road Vehicle (ORV) fund. The Washington Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance (WOHVA) has just reported that a raid by state parks on this important user funded program is expected shortly, and asks that all riders contact their representatives to voice their opposition.
 
According to WOHVA, state park officials have been instructed to propose a budget that includes no state general fund monies, and in order to do this they must take all of the “Nonhighway and Offroad Vehicle Account” (NOVA) money permanently. Source: www.capwiz.com/amacycle/issues/alert/?alertid=20691016&type=ML&show_alert=1

Huntington, W.V.: The December 22, 2010 scholarship application deadline for the spring semester OHV Recreation Management course at Marshall University, Planning and Design of OHV Parks, is fast approaching.
 
This semester’s scholarship is being offered by the Nick J Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute and is being administered by the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC).

For more information regarding the scholarship, or to receive an application, contact NOHVCC staff at trailhead@nohvcc.org. For additional information regarding the content of the course, contact Theresa Litteral M.S. at tlitteral@njrati.org.

U.K.: New safety ratings for motorcycle helmets have revealed motorcycle helmets might look similar but there are often major differences below the surface, as new test results reveal. All helmets must meet minimum legal safety standards but the Department for Transport's Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Program (SHARP) scheme uses a wider range of tests to give riders more information on how much protection each helmet can provide in a crash.
 
The tests, which award ratings of between one and five stars, showed that the safety performance of helmets can vary by as much as 70 percent. With helmets across a wide price range scoring highly all riders should be able to find a high performing helmet in a size and style that fits them and at a price they want to pay.
 
Three helmets in the latest batch of 218 scored the top rating of five stars. Most of the others scored four stars with one helmet, scoring a single point. Source and full story: www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/motorbikes/8168667/New-safety-ratings-for-motorcycle-helmets-revealed.html

U.K.: New research using a world-leading motorcycle simulator to analyze rider behavior has proven that safer doesn't necessarily mean slower and that formal advanced training for bikers can demonstrate improved safety on our roads. The study was carried out by researchers at The University of Nottingham's Centre for Motorcycle Ergonomics & Rider Human Factors.
 
Car drivers typically cause two out of the three most common motorcycle accidents in the UK, but a significant number of accidents are still caused by the riders themselves. The aim of the research was to investigate the attitudes, behaviors and skills of different types of riders according to their level of experience and training. A unique approach was designed to find out whether or not riders with advanced training, ride differently to novice or experienced riders who don't have an advanced qualification. Source and full story: www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/209768.php

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