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AMA News and Notes February 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011
American Motorcyclist Association
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keep you up-to-date on hot topics, news affecting the motorcycling community and opportunities to communicate with your elected officials. By signing up to receive AMA Action Alerts, you will be notified by e-mail when and how you can make a difference on important issues. Click here to see the most recent AMA Action Alerts, and click here to sign up. In addition to signing up for AMA Action Alerts, you can sign up to receive the monthly electronic edition of AMA News & Notes. AMA News & Notes keeps motorcyclists apprised of rights-related issues and events around the world. Click here and check the “Sign me up for AMA's Government Relations News & Notes” box at the bottom of the page.

Washington D.C.: More than a dozen federal lawmakers are asking the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to delay enforcement of the so-called lead law that effectively bans the sale of kid-sized dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). The CPSC, charged with carrying out the law known as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, has already postponed enforcement of a key portion of the law until May 1. The lawmakers want the federal agency to delay the enforcement even longer so that the current Congress can tackle the issue. Source and full story: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/NewsView/11-01 07/Federal_lawmakers_seek_delay_in_enforcement_of_lead_law.aspx

Washington, D.C.: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dropped a last minute attempt to pass a massive omnibus public lands bill that would have restricted responsible off-highway vehicle (OHV) access to thousands of acres of public land with little public input. Reid introduced the legislation, S. 303, the "America's Great Outdoors Act of 2010," on Friday, Dec. 17, as a substitute to unrelated legislation titled the "Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 2009." Reid's move was reminiscent of the controversial parliamentary tactic that anti-OHV forces used in 2009 to close 2.1 million acres of public land. The bill was a collection of more than 70 measures and more than 1,000 pages in length. Key Representatives and Senators voiced opposition to the measure, as did thousands of riders who sent emails and made phone calls to express their opposition. Source and full story: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/NewsView/10-12-22/Senate_Majority_Leader_Harry_Reid_pulls_omnibus_public_lands_bill.aspx

Washington, D.C.; Immediately after Congress adjourned, Interior Department (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the DOI will review some 220 million acres of BLM land that is not currently under Wilderness protection to see which lands should be redesignated uinder the newly created "Wild Lands" designation. The administration’s move could close lands without congressional approval, and make millions of acres eligible for future Wilderness protection or National Monument label. Source and full story: http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_16929389

California: A new state law makes possession of motorcycle theft tools illegal. Assembly Bill 1848, sponsored by Asm. Martin Garrick (R-Solana Beach), targets so-called "pigtails", which are homemade ignitions that can allow a crook to start a motorcycle in as little as 20 seconds. As of Jan. 1, 2011, possessing such a device will be a misdemeanor, and anyone caught with one could get up to six months in jail and be fined $1,000. Previously state law banned the possession of burglar tools such as "slim jims," shaved keys and bolt cutters, if law enforcement can establish the intent to use them to break into or steal a car, truck or SUV, but not a motorcycle. Source and full story: http://www.760kfmb.com/Global/story.asp?S=13751628
 
Scotts Valley, Calif.: The Scotts Valley Police Department became the first law enforcement agency in California to accept delivery of a Zero DS electric motorcycle to assist in local patrols and traffic enforcement. The acquisition serves as a benchmark for evaluating the performance capabilities of the electric motorcycles in law enforcement situations, such as responding through traffic and on local bike trails. View source and full story here.

Idaho: U.S. Forest Service seeking road user input regarding shared use. Salmon-Challis National Forest officials are seeking input on whether to close high-use, high-speed forest roads to OHV riders for safety and liability reasons, or adopt alternatives such as public education, post warning signs or widening roads. The forest is seeking public comments via a posting on its website on how to prevent or reduce the risk of accidents on heavily traveled forest roads. Since 2009, when the Idaho legislature eliminated a provision in Idaho Code requiring OHV riders to carry a driver’s license, the Forest Service has been discussing ways to avoid crashes between young, inexperienced ATV riders and other vehicles. Forest officials are backing away from restrictions such as closing roads to OHV riders and leaning heavily toward public education, including putting up “Share the Road” signs on high-traffic roads of concern such as the Custer Motorway. Source and full story: http://www.challismessenger.com/index.php?accnum=story-5-20110106

Indianapolis, Ind.: Senate Bill 108, sponsored by Sen. Edward Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), would permit the purchase, sale, or trade of motorcycles on Sunday. Currently, it is a Class B misdemeanor to do so.

Frankfort, Ky.: House Bill 163, sponsored by Rep. Jim Wayne (D-Louisville), would require all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear approved protective headgear, in the manner prescribed by the secretary of the Transportation Cabinet, at all times that the vehicle is in motion.

Lincoln, Neb.: Legislative Bill 52, sponsored by Sen. Bob Krist (NP-Omaha), would permit adults, those over 15 but less than 21 years-of-age and with satisfactory completion of a motorcycle safety course to make their own decision regarding motorcycle helmet use. Satisfactory completion would require compliance with the relevant regulations under the Motorcycle Safety Education Act. Qualified motorcyclists would be required to carry a “helmet not required” label on their Class M operator’s license or under the Class M endorsement on their operator’s license. The bill also requires eye protection for all motorcycle operators and passengers in the form of glasses that cover the orbital region of a person's face, a protective face shield attached to a protective helmet, goggles or a windshield on the motorcycle that protects the operator's and passengers horizontal line of vision in all operating positions.

Jackson, Miss.: House Bill 311, sponsored by Rep. Rita Martinson (R-Madison), would require the Department of Public Safety to establish and operate a motorcycle safety and operator training program. An additional $5.00 annual highway privilege tax on each motorcycle and an additional $1.00 fee on each temporary motorcycle operator’s permit would provide partial funding for the program. If enacted, the bill would exempt first–time applicants for a motorcycle endorsement or a restricted motorcycle operator’s license from the written and skill tests if they provide a certificate showing successful completion of a course.
 
Also House Bill 253, sponsored by Rep. Larry Byrd (R-Petal), would authorize the issuance of special motorcycle license plates for recipients of the Purple Heart Medal.

Las Vegas, Nev.: The Metropolitan Police Department recently unveiled seven electric motorcycles at its Convention Center Area Command. The motorcycles were donated by the Consumer Electronics Association and are nearly silent with a top speed of 62 mph. Police said officers have pushed them to 65 mph. The motorcycles are not intended for high-speed chases but will be used where they're most effective: on “The Strip”, one of the most congested areas in the valley. Source and full story: http://www.lvrj.com/news/vegas-police-go-green-with-electric-scooters-112881474.html

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 recent notice, sent by the Southwestern Region office, announced the reversal of the decision because the Mountainair Range District’s Travel Management Environmental Assessment didn't disclose effects to forest-wide trends for habitats and populations in a consistent manner. 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 could enjoy motorized camping by limiting dispersed motorized camping to less than 24 miles of camping corridors. NMOHVA has been directly involved with the Forest Service's Travel Management planning process across all New Mexico forests to ensure appropriate access and motorized recreation opportunities are preserved and promoted. NMOHVA provided formal input to the Mountainair Ranger District Travel Management process during Scoping and provided written comments on the draft Environmental Assessment. When the decision ignored these comments, NMOHVA exercised their right to appeal. Visit www.NMOHVA.org for more information.

Albany, N. Y.: Assembly Bill 135, sponsored by Asm. Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) would require the inspection and sound-level testing of all motorcycle exhaust systems during the New York State vehicle inspection process. A motorcycle would have to comply with the sound level provisions established in Section 386 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law in order to pass the inspection and receive a validation sticker.

North Carolina: A new law requires anyone under 18 who applies for a motorcycle license in North Carolina to pass a safety class. The course, which is also required for those seeking a learner’s permit or motorcycle endorsement, must be taught by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or the N.C. Motorcycle Safety Education Program. The new law also says that a person less than 18 years of age may not ride a motorcycle with a passenger.
In addition, the law closes a loophole that allowed motorcyclists to receive an 18-month permit and renew it indefinitely. This allowed them to hit the road after simply passing a vision test, a highway sign test and a written motorcycle knowledge test. Source and full story: http://www.salisburypost.com/News/010510-New-state-laws-qcd

Nelsonville, Ohio: The Wayne National Forest reminds the public that Wednesday, December 15th was the last day motorized trail riders, mountain bikers, and horseback riders can use its designated trails for the season. Beginning on Thursday, December 16th, trails will only be open to hikers until their scheduled reopening on April 15, 2011. The 241,000-acre national forest in southeastern Ohio has over 300 miles of trails for hiking, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding, mountain biking, or horseback riding. Trails are closed annually during the wet winter months due to excessive resource damage during freezing and thawing.

Spanish Fork, Utah: The Utah Shared Access Alliance (USA-ALL) will host a land use activist seminar. This free seminar, scheduled for January 29, 2011, is designed for individuals and clubs who want to learn more about how they can get involved with and be effective in fighting to keep their favorite places open. Topics of discussion will include: current legislative briefing, working with federal agencies, contacting elected representatives, working with legislation and policy, club organization, strategic tools, success stories, & more. Visit http://www.usaall.org/web128/latenews.htm for more information and to register for this event.

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