AMA News and Notes June 2011

May 11, 2011
Courtesy of AMA
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American Motorcyclist Association

Washington, D.C.: The AMA congratulates the winning “Kids Just Want to Ride!” videos and thanks all who participated in the contest. The video contest was designed to empower those most impacted by the law – kids and their families — by helping them tell Congress just how important motorcycling is to them. Each video featured one or more kids promising not to “eat my motorcycle!” To view the winning videos, click here.
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Washington, D.C.: The AMA invites all youth riders and their families to attend the AMA Family Capitol Hill Climb on Thursday, May 26, in Washington, D.C. The day will begin with a welcome briefing followed by a press event and conclude with attendees meeting their Member of Congress to urge support for the “Kids Just Want to Ride Act” – legislation that, if approved by Congress, would exempt youth-model motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) 0f 2008. Unless the CPSIA is repealed or modified, it will effectively ban the sale of kids’ vehicles at the end of 2011.
If you plan to attend the AMA Family Capitol Hill Climb, please complete the registration form and return it by Thursday, May 12. For event details, trip planning assistance, and help arranging a meeting with your Member of Congress contact the AMA’s Grassroots Team by phone (202) 742-4310 or e-mail .
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Washington, D.C.: U.S. lawmakers want a federal traffic safety agency to concentrate on motorcycle crash prevention and rider education — instead of trying to lobby state lawmakers to enact mandatory helmet laws. U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and his colleagues introduced House Resolution 239 on May 2 to retain the ban on state and local lobbying by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The bi-partisan resolution instead urges the agency to focus on motorcycle crash prevention as the first step in motorcycle safety. The date of the bill’s introduction is significant because May is traditionally recognized as Motorcycle Awareness Month.
If approved, the resolution sends a clear message to the federal agency that it shouldn’t lobby state or local jurisdictions for mandatory helmet laws. The anti-lobbying language was originally written into the Transportation Equity Act approved by Congress in 1998.
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Washington, D.C.: Bipartisan effort to preserve self-funded trails under way in Congress. Federal lawmakers are building support for continuing the law that earmarks a small but significant portion of gas-tax revenue that is paid by the users of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) for the creation of motorized and non-motorized trails.
Reps. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Michael Michaud (D-Maine) are circulating a letter to their congressional colleagues, currently signed by 74 Members of Congress from both parties, to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), asking them to support the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), 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 funds 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 OHV recreation, fund the RTP for both motorized and non-motorized use alike.
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Washington, D.C.: Motorcyclist fatalities declined by at least 2 percent last year, according to a report released on Apr. 19 by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Based upon preliminary data, GHSA projects that motorcycle fatalities declined from 4,465 in 2009 to 4,376 or less in 2010. The projection is based upon data from 50 states and the District of Columbia. The decline comes on the heels of a dramatic 16 percent drop in 2009, which followed 11 straight years of steady increases in motorcycle deaths.
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Placerville, Calif.: Wet weather has caused the seasonal dirt road closure on the Eldorado National Forest to be extended until at least May 13. Forest visitors are encouraged to contact the nearest Ranger Station or to visit the Eldorado National Forest website at  for the latest information on the closure.
This past winter the forest received 160 percent of normal precipitation and many areas in the forest are still under a significant snow pack. The seasonal closure does not affect routes in the Rock Creek Area of the Eldorado National Forest near Georgetown, CA, which are managed under different closure criteria.

Johnson Valley, Calif.: Riders are encouraged to submit their comments regarding the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center proposed base expansion. This proposed enlargement of the facility could restrict your ability to access the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area. Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) are due by May 26, 2011 in order to be considered in the final EIS and can be submitted via the official comment website at  or via U.S. mail.
The DEIS analyzes potential effects and impacts associated with the proposed base expansion. To download a copy of the DEIS (941 pages) or to find where hard copies are available for review click here. The AMA has been working with a number of concerned groups on this issue and had previously submitted these comments during the scoping phase of the DEIS.

Topeka, Kan.: House Bill 2192, authored by the House Transportation Committee, authorizes motorcycle and bicycle riders stuck at traffic-actuated signals that malfunction or fail to detect their vehicles to proceed with caution through the intersection after coming to a complete stop and waiting a reasonable period of time. Before proceeding, the motorcyclist or bicyclist must yield the right-of-way to any other vehicle in or near the intersection and pedestrians within adjacent crosswalks. Governor Brownback signed the bill into law Apr. 13; it takes effect Jun. 1.

Baton Rouge, La.: Governor Bobby Jindal’s administration has proposed raiding dozens of government set-aside funds, including the motorcycle safety program fund. The proposed “fund sweep” of $231 million would partially offset a $1.6 billion shortfall in state finances. House Bill 1, sponsored by Rep. James R. Fannin (D-Jonesboro), has been assigned to the House Appropriations Committee. Louisiana motorcyclists are urged to contact their legislators to voice their strong support for rider education and their disapproval of any raids on the motorcycle safety program fund.
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Also House Bill 167, sponsored by Rep. Frank Howard (R-Many) and co-sponsored by Rep. M.J. “Mert” Smiley, Jr. (R-Port Vincent), would enhance penalties for those convicted or pleading guilty to any right-of-way violation resulting in serious bodily injury or death to another roadway user. This bill, to be known as the 2011 Pickholtz Act, will further enhance roadway safety by building on legislation signed into law last year covering right-of-way violations at stop and yield signs.

Proctor, Minn.: The 20th Ride to Work Day is scheduled for Jun. 20, 2011. This annual event is intended to highlight how riding makes parking easier and increases traffic flow.
As every rider knows, motorcycles and scooters consume fewer resources per mile than automobiles and they take up less space in parking areas and on the roads. Riders are asked to pursue employer support for this form of transportation, and increased government and public awareness about riding’s many benefits.
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Raleigh, N. C.: House Bill 392, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Hastings (R-Cherryville) and Senate Bill 480, sponsored by Sen. Kathy Harrington (R-Gastonia), would permit motorcycle operators and passengers 18 years of age and older to make their own decision regarding motorcycle helmet use.
HB-392 is in the House Transportation Committee while SB-480 is in the Rules and Operations of the Senate Committee; both face a May 12 crossover deadline. North Carolina motorcyclists are encouraged to review the Action Alerts on HB-392 and SB-480 at  

Also North Carolina legislators have agreed to exempt adult drivers of all-terrain vehicles from helmet and eye protection requirements while riding on private property.
The Senate approved a bill amending a 2005 law for ATVs after it appeared the measure had been defeated. The bill now goes to Gov. Beverly Perdue.
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Columbus, Ohio: Effective Oct. 1, 2009 a $20.00 late fee was imposed on any vehicle registration or driver’s license renewal that was applied for seven or more days after its expiration date. However, seasonal vehicles such as motorcycles, mopeds, golf carts, all purpose vehicles (APVs), snowmobiles and non-commercial trailers are exempted from being assessed a late fee.
If you were charged a $20.00 late fee for renewing your motorcycle registration seven or more days after it expired, you may apply for a refund of the late fee by writing the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Dealer Licensing & Specialty Plate Services, PO Box 16521, Columbus, OH 43216-6521 or by calling 1-800-589-8247. All Ohio deputy registrars have access to a Vehicle Registration Manual that outlines the specific vehicles considered seasonal vehicles.

Columbia, S.C.: The legislature has passed an amended version of the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Act, also known as “Chandler’s Law”. The amended version would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 6 to operate an ATV. The legislation would also require that riders under 16 years of age complete a “hands-on” ATV-safety course approved by the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute. The measure will now go before Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who has previously indicated that she would sign the legislation.

Spokane, Wash.: The Spokane County Planning Commission is considering an amendment to the county zoning code that could eliminate recreational riding on most private property. The proposed restrictions include a minimum parcel size of 10 acres, setbacks of 100 feet from all property lines, setbacks of 250 feet from all neighboring residential structures, limited hours of use and a requirement that only residents of a parcel could ride there.
Riders, as well as their family and friends, are encouraged to submit written comments and also to attend the public hearing, now scheduled to begin at 9am on May 26, 2011 in the Commissioner’s Hearing Room, Lower Level, Spokane County Public Works Building.
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Olympia, Wash.: SB 5800, which would allow the use of modified off-highway motorcycles on public roads, has been signed into law by the governor. The law allows motorcycle owners to convert off-highway motorcycles to dual use by requiring the Department of Licensing to create a declaration to be submitted by the motorcycle owner when applying for dual use status.

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