AMA News and Notes July 2012

June 12, 2012
Courtesy of American Motorcyclist Association
American Motorcyclist Association

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Washington, D.C.: An amendment offered by U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R- Md.) regarding a report on the proposed expansion of the Twentynine Palms military base in Johnson Valley, Calif., was approved by the U.S. House in a voice vote recently. The amendment was incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 4310) that subsequently passed by a vote of 299 – 120.

The report would cover the impact on off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation in the Johnson Valley region along with alternatives for achieving the goals of the military and OHV recreation communities. This report will allow for more time in the process to achieve a partnership that meets the goals of both the military and the motorized recreation community.

Following passage in the House, H.R. 4310 now moves to the Senate for consideration. It is unknown whether the Senate will take up the House bill or draft its own defense appropriations measure. Sudden speedy approval of the defense spending measure demonstrates an interest by the House to achieve certain legislative goals before elections get into full swing.
Source and full story:    
(See related story about action at the state level below)
Washington, D.C.: The Secretary of Agriculture has announced the 21 members selected to serve on the National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. Members were selected from specific category areas intended to create a balanced representation of the various uses and interests of Forest Service lands.

Members were chosen to fill seats in the following areas: industry and user groups; environmental organizations; conservation organizations; recreation interests; members of the scientific community; state, county or local elected officials (or designee); tribal representatives; and other public interests.

Individuals serving on the National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule (Planning Rule FACA Committee) will review the newly developed Forest Service Planning Rule and make recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service on implementation.
Source and full story:  
Sacramento, Calif.: A proposal by Senator Joe Simitian that slashes the off-highway OHV grant program funding level was passed by the California State Assembly Budget Subcommittee #3 on May 31. If adopted as passed by the subcommittee, more than half of the funding for the U.S. Forest Service, BLM, and many local county OHV parks will be slashed from the state’s grants program due to a lack of funds.

While the proposal made by Senator Simitian is purportedly only to be in effect for the next three years, history has shown that, just like OHV areas, once funding is lost it never returns. Case in point: the state’s record on repaying loans from the OHV program. The OHV Commission’s own 2011 report shows that over $160,000,000 previously borrowed from the OHV Trust Fund is still awaiting repayment. Riders are encouraged to contact their representatives immediately!
San Bernardino, Calif.: County Supervisors Brad Mitzelfelt and Neil Derry recently sent letters to members of Congress and the Obama Administration endorsing a plan to retain full public access to the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle recreation area while allowing periodic military training in Johnson Valley as desired by the neighboring Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California.

The Supervisors oppose the option recommended by the Department of Defense, which would remove most of the lands in the recreation area from Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holdings and add them within the military base’s boundaries. They instead endorsed an alternative proposed by stakeholder groups that would keep Johnson Valley under the jurisdiction of the BLM, while allowing the Marines to conduct their training for roughly two months a year under a permit system.
The letter was sent to U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. It was copied to House and Senate members on relevant committees, and to other top Administration officials, including the Secretary of the Navy. Source and full story: 
Tallahassee, Fla.: House Bill 1223, sponsored by Rep. Ben Albritton (R- Wauchula), modifies provisions related to motorcycle license tags. Motorcycles displaying license tags perpendicular to the ground no longer are required to be equipped with a toll transponder. License tags must be clearly visible from the rear at all times and not concealed or obscured in any way. Signed by Governor Richard Scott on April 27, the law takes effect on January 1, 2013.
Springfield, Ill.: House Bill 930, sponsored by Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton), prohibits any law enforcement agency of the state or a political subdivision of the state from accepting federal funding for the establishment of motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints. The bill passed the House and Senate by unanimous votes. If approved by Governor Pat Quinn, the ban on accepting federal funding for motorcycle-only checkpoints would take effect immediately.
Also Senate Bill 2528, sponsored by Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton), would require motorcyclists and bicyclists to wait at least 120 seconds before proceeding with caution into or through an intersection controlled by a traffic-actuated signal that fails to recognize their vehicles. Previously, motorcycle and bicycle operators were required to wait “a reasonable period of time”. Passed by a nearly unanimous vote in both the House and Senate, the bill was sent to Governor Pat Quinn on May 24 for his consideration.
St. Paul, Minn.: House Bill 2685, sponsored by Rep. Michael Beard (R- Shakopee), permits a person holding a motorcycle road guard certificate to act as a flagger escorting motorcycle group rides. After meeting certain qualifications, a flagger may direct operators of motorcycles within a motorcycle group ride and other vehicle traffic at intersections controlled by stop signs and traffic-control signals. The bill was signed into law May 10 by Governor Mark Dayton.
Virginia City, Nev.: A western-style street party will be held on Friday, July 27 in conjunction with the 2012 AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference. The four-day event, which stages out of nearby Carson City, July 26-29, features seminars, inspirational speakers, great roads, demo rides, product showcases and unmatched camaraderie.
The event features another plus for 2012: the addition of conference emcee Jessica Prokup. A former editor of RoadBike Magazine and director of communications for Discover Today’s Motorcycling, Prokup owns Yellow Devil Gear Exchange in Southern California and serves as the host of the eBay video series “modJOBS 2.” She will take the reins at the evening activities, and also employ her journalistic talents, serving as a daytime roving reporter for the event.
Registration fees are $175 for AMA members and $235 for non-members through July 10. Non-members who join the AMA at a cost of $49 per year will still pay less than the “non-member” rate. Also included in the fee are seminars, the marketplace and Moto Action Center, the Saturday Night Celebration Party, and a Women’s Health Fair where women can get a variety of health screenings such as mammograms and cholesterol and blood pressure checks. Registrants will also receive a conference T-shirt and gift bag. 
Concord, N.H.: House Bill 1442, sponsored by Rep. Michele S. Peckham (R-North Hampton), establishes new maximum sound levels and an updated motorcycle exhaust sound level measurement procedure for use by law enforcement and motorcycle inspection stations.
Originally introduced as an exhaust system labeling requirement bill, it was amended in the House Transportation Committee to specify the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) J2825 recommended practice, which is similar to the current test procedure. Signed into law by Governor John Lynch on May 14, new exhaust sound level limits for all on-highway motorcycles become effective January 1, 2013.
N.H/Vt.: During 2012 and 2013, from May 23 through December 1, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) that are properly registered in Vermont may be operated in New Hampshire on state ATV trails without being required to obtain a New Hampshire Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) registration. Vermont ATV enthusiasts riding in New Hampshire must follow all applicable laws and rules governing operation, include youth operation requirements, spark arrestors, exhaust requirements, etc. Any operator 12 years of age and over must show proof of an approved safety education class or possess a valid motor vehicle driver’s license.

Likewise, properly registered New Hampshire ATVs may operate in Vermont on approved ATV trails during the same period without the requirement to purchase a state of Vermont registration. However, New Hampshire ATV riders are required to possess a Vermont All-Terrain Vehicle Sportsmen Association (VASA) trail pass on VASA trails, as well as proof of completion of an approved ATV safety class for operators under 18 years of age. 

This rule includes a two-year sunset provision and will end on December 1, 2013.
Source and full story:
Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA is embarking on a new initiative to build a network of like-minded motorcyclists at the state level for the betterment of motorcyclists and ATV riders. The first AMA State Chapter pilot program is currently underway in the state of New York, and will be followed by pilot programs in Illinois and Texas.
AMA State Chapters have three main goals: grassroots activism, social interaction, and membership support. The details of the state chapter depend on those who choose to get involved. The program is intended to support and work closely with existing state motorcycle rights organizations and recreational groups.

If you are interested in learning more and getting involved, please visit Since this is a pilot program, we have created a brief survey to get your input, which is critical to helping create a vibrant state and national program.
Pickerington, Ohio: Every two years, the AMA’s Government Relations Department surveys the association’s members to assist in establishing government relations policies and priorities. Members are asked to share their views about off-highway motorcycling-related issues by paper or online. Off-highway riding member-enthusiasts have done a great job of supporting this survey in past years. Another survey for on-highway related issues will be available soon.

Providence, R.I.: Championed by the Rhode Island Motorcycle Association, Senate Bill 2130 (Substitute A as amended), sponsored by Sen. John Tassoni Jr., would require public buildings, with certain exemptions, to provide designated parking spaces for motorcycles at the rate of one space per total of thirty spaces between April 1 and November 30 of each year. An amended substitute version of the bill recently passed in both the House and the Senate, and was sent to Governor Lincoln Chafee on June 5.
Pierre, S.D.: Senate Bill 140, sponsored by Sen. Jim Putnam (R- Armour), repeals the requirement that a motorcycle windshield or wind deflector shall be of a clear plastic type. Signed into law by Governor Dennis Daugaard on February 14, the repeal takes effect July 1.
Nashville, Tenn.: Senate Bill 74, sponsored by Sen. Doug Overbey (R-Maryville), makes it a Class C misdemeanor for a motorcycle operator to carry a child passenger whose feet are not on the footpegs. The requirement does not apply to anyone riding in a motorcycle sidecar. The bill was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam on May 10 and takes effect July 1, 2012.