A provision in an Ohio House bill that could have made it difficult to determine how motorcycle rider safety training funds were being spent was deleted after several motorcycling organizations complained, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.
The AMA, ABATE of Ohio, the Ohio Motorized Trails Association and others told state lawmakers that the provision was a bad idea because motorcyclists wanted to ensure that the funds are used for motorcyclist safety training. Lawmakers removed the provision from the bill, and then on Feb. 28 the full House approve the bill, sending it to the Senate for further consideration.
The provision was in House Bill 35 — the proposed state transportation budget. The language proposed abolishing the Motorcycle Safety and Education Fund and transferring its cash to the State Highway Safety Fund. The Motorcycle Safety and Education Fund, coupled with student tuition fees, funds the Motorcycle Ohio rider education program.
Ohio’s on-highway motorcyclists support Motorcycle Ohio through $6 from each motorcycle registration fee paid to the registrar of motor vehicles. That money goes into the Motorcycle Safety and Education Fund.
Imre Szauter, AMA government affairs manager, was among those who testified against the provision before the House Transportation Subcommittee of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee on Feb. 15.
“The proposed abolishment of the Motorcycle Safety and Education Fund following transfer of its cash balance to the State Highway Safety Fund is troubling for several reasons,” Szauter testified.
He said those reasons included:
1. Placing motorcycle registration fee money in the State Highway Safety Fund would make it harder for the motorcycling community to track it.
2. Placing motorcycle registration fee money in the State Highway Safety Fund would make it easier to divert it for purposes other than motorcycle safety and education.
3. Motorcycle Ohio, which provides the training, is strongly supported by the motorcycling community because riders know how the money is being used.
4. The motorcycling community doesn’t want money collected from them for a specific program used for purposes other than motorcycle safety and education.
Szauter also noted that in 2006 and in 2009, the state of Ohio attempted to raid the Motorcycle Safety and Education Fund. In 2006, the Ohio Controlling Board received, and later rejected, a request to transfer $750,000 from the fund. In 2009, then-Gov. Ted Strickland reversed a decision to transfer $800,000 from the fund. In both cases, the motorcycling community spoke up to protect the money riders paid to support rider education.
Motorcycle Ohio is a nationally recognized respected rider education program that provides four training courses for motorcyclists of all skill levels. The Basic RiderCourse, the Basic RiderCourse for returning riders, the Basic RiderCourse 2, and the Advanced RiderCourse are taught by dedicated, experienced RiderCoaches.