AMA News and Notes August 2010

July 13, 2010
Courtesy of American Motorcyclist Association
Washington, D.C.: Support House resolution directed at Interior Department to force disclosure of documents relating to National Monument plan.
 
The Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources had a markup (votes were taken) on June 16, 2010 to consider H. Res. 1406, introduced by Representatives Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and Rob Bishop (R-Utah). This resolution of inquiry is aimed at requiring the Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) to turn over to the U.S. House of Representatives all documents related to potential National Monument designations.
 

American Motorcyclist Association

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging the U.S. House of Representatives to consider H. Res. 1406 as soon as possible. In addition to the letter to Speaker Pelosi, the AMA also sent a letter on June 29 to every member of Congress urging them to support H. Res. 1406.
 
This resolution needs the support of the U.S. House of Representatives so the American people will know exactly what plans are being discussed regarding responsible motorized recreation on millions of acres of land. For this reason, the AMA is urging all members of Congress to cosponsor and vote yes on H. Res. 1406. The AMA will be scoring resolution cosponsors and this vote for the 111th Congress. To see if your Representative is a cosponsor, click here

Washington, D.C.: Lawmakers want federal traffic safety agency to focus on crash prevention. U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has introduced a resolution urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to concentrate on motorcycle crash prevention and rider education instead of lobbying state lawmakers to enact mandatory helmet laws.
 
The resolution is in response to a statement made by NHTSA Administrator David Strickland in May reemphasizing Congressional testimony he gave in March when he stated that the core component of NHTSA’s motorcycle safety plan is to increase helmet use and “anything the Congress does that would support the movement of riders into helmets would be efficacious of safety.”
 
On April 2, AMA Senior Vice President for Government Relations Ed Moreland sought a clarification of Strickland’s comments. The letter can be read here:

AmericanMotorcyclist.com/legisltn/documents/Strickland_Olver_Appropriations_3-25-10.pdf

Strickland’s response can be read here:

AmericanMotorcyclist.com/legisltn/documents/Strickland_Response_Helmet_5-24-10.pdf.
 
The resolution — H. Res. 1498, which was introduced on July 1 — supports efforts to retain a federal ban on the agency from using taxpayer dollars to lobby state and local legislators. Reps. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Tom Petri (R-Wis.) co-sponsored the measure.
Source and full story: http://www.amadirectlink.com/news/story.asp?id=2079

Washington, DC: EPA halts import of up to 200,000 small recreational vehicles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew its approval of the import and sale of up to 200,000 gas-powered off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. The agency suspects that tailpipe emissions information was either incomplete or falsified. This is the first time EPA has voided certificates of conformity for these types of vehicles and only the second time the agency has done so for any type of vehicle. EPA is considering an enforcement action under the Clean Air Act, which could lead to significant financial penalties against the businesses that manufactured or imported these types of recreational vehicles.
 
As a result of a lengthy investigation, EPA is alleging that the applications for the certificates contained false or incomplete information. EPA issued the certificates in 2006 and 2007 to the U.S. counterparts of four of China’s largest manufacturers of these types of vehicles: Hensim USA (City of Industry, Calif.), Loncin USA (Hayward, Calif.), Peace Industry Group (Norcross, Ga.), and Seaseng (Pomona, Calif.). The certificates were issued based on applications compiled by their consultant, MotorScience Enterprise. EPA believes MotorScience Enterprise intentionally submitted false or incomplete emissions information.
 
The action impacts the companies that manufactured and imported these vehicles only. A consumer who owns a model that was covered by these voided certificates is not responsible for these companies’ wrongdoing and can continue to use the vehicle.
Source: http://epa.gov/otaq/recveh.htm

Washington, DC: AMA submits comments to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on the reclassification of motorcycles in the Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics. The AMA urged FHWA to convene a panel of experts, including riders, to review the current federal definition of a motorcycle. To view comments submitted by the AMA and others please go to: http://tinyurl.com/FHWA-Comments

Sacramento, CA: California lawmakers back EPA label requirement for riders of new motorcycles. On June 28, the Assembly Committee on Transportation voted 8-4 to approve Senate Bill 435, introduced by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Oxnard-Los Angeles), which would make it illegal to ride a motorcycle on the road built on, or after, Jan. 1, 2011, that doesn’t display a federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) label certifying the exhaust system meets sound emissions standards.
 
The AMA has long maintained a position of strong opposition to excessive motorcycle sound. However, the Association has been, and remains, opposed to this legislation. The only objective way to determine whether a motorcycle complies with sound laws is for properly trained personnel to conduct sound level tests using calibrated meters and an agreed-upon testing procedure. To that end the AMA has developed model legislation for use by cities and states seeking a simple, consistent and economical way to deal with sound complaints related to on-highway motorcycles within the larger context of excessive sound from all sources. The model legislation offers an objective method to evaluate motorcycle sound based on the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) J2825 standard.
Source and full story: http://www.amadirectlink.com/news/story.asp?id=2072

Connecticut: Signed into law by Governor M. Jodi Rell, Senate Bill 407 requires all applicants who have not held a motorcycle endorsement within the preceding two years to present proof of satisfactory completion of a novice motorcycle-training course recognized by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. The new law takes effect January 1, 2011.

Florida: House Bill 971, sponsored by Rep. Gary Aubuchon (R-Cape Coral), changes the definition of a motorcycle to exclude fully enclosed, three-wheeled vehicles that meet certain requirements. Governor Charlie Crist signed the bill into law on June 4th.

Illinois: A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois, working through A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services, has filed with the Illinois Supreme Court for a ruling on the Cycle Rider Safety Training Fund. The Illinois program was one of several raided by state governments looking to close budget deficits with moneys from dedicated sources. One issue in the filing is whether the CRST is protected by an irrevocable trust.
Source: http://www.abate-il.org

Mississippi: House Bill Senate Bill 2596, sponsored by Sen. Gray Tollison (D-Oxford), prohibits the use of any motor vehicle or motorcycle equipped with nitrous oxide on any street or highway unless the system is rendered inoperative by means of disconnecting the nitrous oxide feed line from the engine or removing the nitrous oxide canister from the motor vehicle or motorcycle. Signed by Governor Haley Barbour, the bill became effective July 1, 2010.

Montana: Recently the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana remanded the Travel Plan for the Little Belt, Castle, and North Half Crazy Mountains Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision to the Lewis and Clark National Forest and directed the Forest to reopen certain motorized routes and to restore dispersed camping on over 80,000 acres. Previously, the Court had ruled that the 2007 Travel Management Plan issued by the Lewis and Clark National Forest in Montana violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Montana Wilderness Study Act (MWSA).
 
The plan was originally developed in an effort to implement the national Travel Management Rule finalized by the U.S. Forest Service in November 2005, which requires each National Forest to undergo processes to designate roads, trails, and areas that are open to motor vehicles.
 
This lawsuit was filed by the Russell Country Sportsmen, Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association, Great Falls Trail Bike Riders Association, Great Falls Snowmobile Club, Meagher County Little Belters, Treasure State Alliance, Motorcycle Industry Council, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America and BlueRibbon Coalition.
Source and full story: http://www.amadirectlink.com/news/story.asp?id=2084

New Hampshire: Efforts to protect the Motorcycle Riders Training Program by State Senator Bob LeTourneau failed when the Senate defeated his amendment to protect $100,000 of the nearly $300,000 in the program’s fund. Facing a $295 million budget deficit, the Senate voted down the amendment along party lines. Senator LeTourneau pointed out New Hampshire motorcyclists entrusted the state with license and registration fees to support the program;it is now uncertain now whether all classes planned for the riding season will be held. Video of Senator LeTourneau is available at http://origin.peg.tv/pegtv_player?id=T00975&video=9199

Pickerington, OH: AMA supports EPA decision to delay ruling on increased ethanol in gasoline. The AMA concurs with the decision announced by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 17 to delay its ruling on whether to allow the ethanol portion of blended gasoline to be increased from the current 10 percent to 15 percent.
 
Currently, pump gasoline in the United States can contain up to 10 percent ethanol, which is used to increase octane, reduce carbon monoxide emissions and provide an alternative to petroleum-based fuels. Motorcycle manufacturers currently only certify their engines to run on fuels that have a 10 percent or less blend.
 
Increasing the percentage of ethanol could have a negative impact on motorcycle engines, since burning ethanol creates more heat than conventional gasoline. That has the potential to damage air-cooled motorcycle engines.
 
Also, fuel systems on bikes may be susceptible to corrosive effects of higher concentrations of ethanol in gas. And while ethanol helps reduce carbon monoxide levels in engine exhaust, it can also increase the levels of oxides of nitrogen, one of the components of smog.
 
The AMA is a member of AllSAFE, the Alliance for a Safe Alternative Fuels Environment, a group formed to ensure that fuels containing ethanol are promoted in a thoughtful manner. AllSAFE is made up of associations that represent consumer and commercial users of ethanol blends, manufacturers of boats, vehicles, engines and equipment, and retailers who sell gasoline and ethanol-fuel blends.
Source and full story: http://www.amadirectlink.com/news/story.asp?id=2058

Pennsylvania: Effective June 26, Pennsylvania motorcyclists who pass the motorcycle skills evaluation on a 3-wheeled motorcycle will receive a Class M, motorcycle driver’s license with a “9” restriction. Holders of such a license will be restricted to 3-wheeled motorcycles only. This new rule was revealed in a letter dated June 25 from PENNDOT to A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania.