AMA News and Notes July 2011

June 15, 2011
Courtesy of the American Motorcycle Association
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American Motorcyclist Association

Washington, D.C.: U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has reversed his position on his controversial new Wild Lands policy. In an announcement made on June 1, Salazar said the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would not designate any Wild Lands, which would have been managed as if they had received the restrictive Wilderness designation from Congress.
Instead, Salazar said the BLM, which is a part of the Interior Department, would work in collaboration with members of Congress and others to identify public land that may be appropriate candidates for congressional protection under the Wilderness Act.
Because of opposition from powerful federal lawmakers, governors, the AMA and its members and other OHV enthusiasts, the Wild Lands policy hit a major snag on April 15.
That’s when President Obama signed into law the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution that included language barring the Interior Department from using any money to implement the Wild Lands land-use policy to manage land as if it had been designated as Wilderness.
A Wilderness designation is one of the strictest forms of public land management. Once Congress designates an area as Wilderness, nearly all forms of non-pedestrian recreation are illegal. The AMA supports appropriate Wilderness designations that meet the criteria established by Congress in 1964, but anti-access advocates have been abusing the legislative process to ban responsible OHV recreation on public land. Source and full story:

Washington, D.C.: Hundreds of young motorcyclists, their parents and concerned riders from 20 states met with several U.S. representatives, including Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), author of the Kids Just Want to Ride Act, in Washington, D.C. on May 26, at the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Family Capitol Hill Climb. The event was a strong demonstration of public opposition to a ban on the sale of youth-model motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
Families from as far away as Washington State, Arizona and Colorado delivered their message at a gathering in the Rayburn House Office Building. The parents and children then met with their individual lawmakers to personally urge support for H.R. 412, the Kids Just Want To Ride Act.
Among the kids and parents attending were Erin, 11, Adi, 7, and Carter, 5, Malcolm of Littleton, Colo., who, along with their parents, Danny and Peggy, won a trip to Washington, D.C., in the AMA’s “Kids Just Want To Ride” video contest.
To date, more than 70 members of Congress have signed on to co-sponsor H.R. 412, the Kids Just Want to Ride Act, but its passage is by no means assured. The AMA urges riders to ask their Representative to cosponsor this bill.
Source and full story:

Washington, D.C.: Lawmakers back ban on motorcycle-only checkpoints, and support crash prevention efforts. Federal lawmakers have sent a bipartisan letter to the leadership of a key U.S. House committee to urge support for a bill that prohibits federal funding for motorcycle-only traffic checkpoints. The lawmakers are also urging support for a measure to retain a ban on lobbying at the state level by a federal traffic safety agency. 
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and his colleagues sent a letter on May 25 to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as well as to the panel’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. The letter asks the panels to include H.R. 904 and H. Res. 239 in the surface transportation reauthorization bill now being considered by Congress.
H.R. 904 would prohibit the U.S. Transportation Secretary from providing grants or any funds to a state or local government to be used for programs to check helmet usage or to create motorcycle-only checkpoints.
H.Res. 239 would support efforts to retain a ban on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) ability to lobby state legislators using federal tax dollars and urges the agency to focus on motorcycle crash prevention and rider education and training.
Source and full story:

Montgomery, Ala.: House Bill 528, sponsored by Rep. Ken Johnson (R-Moulton), would permit the operator of a motorcycle, moped, and bicycle to proceed with caution through an intersection controlled by a traffic control signal after stopping for 60 seconds, treating the traffic control signal as a stop sign.

Ajo, Ariz.: Motorcycles and ATV’s granted equal access to Arizona wildlife refuge. The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona has reversed an unwritten policy and will begin allowing street-legal motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on certain roads.
The AMA, in partnership with the BlueRibbon Coalition, contacted officials at the refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after being alerted to the policy by a member who was denied access.
After investigating, refuge officials agreed that the policy was incorrect and announced on May 18 that street-legal motorcycles and ATVs will now be allowed on three public access roads: the El Camino del Diablo, Christmas Pass and Charlie Bell roads, which are outside designated Wilderness areas.
No other roads or trails in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge are open to motorized use. Street-legal motorcycles and ATVs will be required to run a mast displaying an orange flag at least 8 feet above the ground.
Riders are urged to send a thank you note to the Refuge’s manager Sid Slone.
Source and full story:

Sacramento, Calif.: Off-highway vehicle organizations are applauding a recent legal ruling involving the Eldorado National Forest. The ruling is the latest in a series of lawsuits spanning several decades.
Senior U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton issued a ruling on May 26 that largely upholds the Eldorado Forest’s travel management decision, but finds the Forest Service violated the Endangered Species Act and certain Forest Plan standards in authorizing access through a handful of meadows and failing to more thoroughly consider ephemeral streams. Each of these issues focused on alleged impacts to California red-legged frog habitat and involved a handful of routes within the roughly 1,200-mile road/trail network approved by the agency.
Groups that were defendant intervenors in this case include the California Association of 4- Wheel Drive Clubs, California Enduro Riders Association, District 36 of the American Motorcyclist Association and the BlueRibbon Coalition.
Source and full story:  

Northbrook, Ill., Twenty-five cities are getting new traffic signs designed to bring awareness to motorcyclists on the road, thanks to Allstate. The national insurer will place cautionary signs at intersections in 25 major metropolitan areas to prompt drivers to look out for riders at intersections. According to Allstate, an average of three motorcyclists are killed every day at intersections in the U. S., and crash data reveal that motorcycle crashes happen more often in intersections than elsewhere, relative to the amount of time riders spend in them.
The caution signs, which are yellow and diamond-shaped, feature a motorcycle silhouette and are inscribed with the word “LOOK” to encourage motorists to look for motorcycles before crossing an intersection. The signs, part of Allstate’s “Once is Never Enough” program, are designed to increase awareness of motorcycle collisions with motorists in intersections and to help remind drivers and riders alike that looking once at intersections is never enough.
Source and full story:  

Baton Rouge, La.: House Bill 583, sponsored by Rep. Tom Willmott (R-Kenner), would prohibit the installation of any head lamp, auxiliary or fog lamp, rear lamp, signal lamp, or reflector on a motor vehicle or operation of a motor vehicle equipped with any type of lamp or reflector that changes the original design or performance unless it is in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108.

Augusta, Maine: Maine has adopted a simple yet reliable testing procedure that allows motorcyclists to prove their bikes don’t violate the state’s motor vehicle sound law.
Under a new law that went into effect on May 26, motorcyclists ticketed for excessive sound emitting from their motorcycle exhausts can go to a certified inspection station for sound testing.
There, the exhaust system would be tested using the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J2825 stationary sound testing procedure — “Measurement of Exhaust Sound Pressure Levels of Stationary On-Highway Motorcycles” — which the SAE developed and adopted with support from the Motorcycle Industry Council in May 2009.
Under the SAE J2825 standard, which the AMA has endorsed, decibel limits range from 92 dBA at idle for all motorcycles, to 100 dBA at certain RPMs for various motorcycles, depending on the type of engine. If a motorcycle meets these limits during the certified testing, then it is evidence that the motorcycle doesn’t violate the state’s sound law.
The AMA has long maintained a position of strong opposition to excessive motorcycle sound. The SAE J2825 standard is at the heart of model legislation developed by the AMA for use by jurisdictions 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.
Source and full story:  

Annapolis, Md.: House Bill 1282, sponsored by Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-45), requires vehicle-parking facilities that are owned, leased, or operated by the State or a political subdivision of the State, or that receive funding from the State or a political subdivision of the State, to allow motorcycles to park in the facilities, subject to certain charges. Governor Martin O’Malley signed the bill, which takes effect July 1, into law on May 10.

Lansing, Mich.: House Bill 4608, sponsored by Rep. Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle Township) and Senate Bill 291, sponsored by Sen. Phillip J. Pavlov (R-St. Clair), would permit a person 21 years of age or older operating or riding on a motorcycle to make his or her own decision regarding helmet use if he or she has had a motorcycle endorsement for two or more years or has successfully completed a motorcycle safety course.

Concord, N. H.: House Bill 148, sponsored by Rep. Frank Holden (R-Lyndeborough) and Rep. Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry), and signed into law by Governor John Lynch on May 20, prohibits law enforcement agencies of the state or a political subdivision of the state from accepting federal funding to establish motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints. The law takes effect July 15.

Albany, N.Y.: Assembly Bill 7247, sponsored by Asm. Nancy Calhoun (R-Washingtonville), would permit a motorcycle operator to proceed with due caution through a steady red signal at an intersection after waiting no less than sixty seconds if the traffic control device is inoperative and fails to recognize the motorcycle. 

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