Washington, D.C.: A new recommendation for universal motorcycle helmet laws by a task force of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based on faulty reasoning, American Motorcyclist Association reports.
The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommendation is based on studies of U.S. states and foreign countries that require all riders to wear helmets, those that require only minors to wear helmets and those that have no helmet requirement. The CDC task force produced no study of its own and cited no detailed analysis of crashes and fatalities to adequately assess the role of helmet laws in preventing serious injury or death in crashes. Instead, task force members merely looked at other studies and drew a generalized conclusion.
The AMA has long advocated the voluntary use of helmets, but opposes mandates because helmets do nothing to reduce the likelihood of a crash.
The AMA strongly encourages the use of personal protective equipment, including gloves, sturdy footwear and a properly fitted motorcycle helmet certified by its manufacturer to meet the DOT standard. However, adults should have the right to voluntarily decide when to wear a helmet. The AMA does not oppose laws requiring helmets for minor motorcycle operators and passengers.
A complete statement of the AMA’s position on universal mandatory helmet laws can be found here: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/PositionStatements/VoluntaryHelmetUse.aspx.
Washington, D.C.: Mark Udall, chairman of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee, recently confirmed that the Obama administration is not considering an Antiquities Act designation for the Vermillion Basin in northwest Colorado. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell confirmed this fact during a meeting with Udall.
“Secretary Jewell confirmed for me today that the Vermillion Basin is not in line for a national monument designation through the Antiquities Act,” Udall said. “When exercised in close consultation with the local community, the Antiquities Act is an important tool that has been used throughout Colorado’s history to preserve and protect many of the iconic public lands that strengthen our special way of life and support our outdoor-recreation economy. That said, I am glad Secretary Jewell has rebutted the rumors some lawmakers have used to create uncertainty for the residents of northwest Colorado.”
Happy Jack, Ariz.: Federal authorities in Arizona are warning off-highway-vehicle riders to be wary of booby-trapped trails in the Coconino National Forest near Happy Jack. Recently, trail riders reported the tires of their all-terrain vehicles and off-highway motorcycles were punctured by rebar spikes that were sharpened and partially buried in trails heavily used by responsible enthusiasts and their families.
To date, no injuries have been reported. But the sabotage endangers riders, hikers and even animals.
“The end of the rebar has been flattened and sharpened to a point, and the exposed point has been painted to blend in with the road surface,” Mogollon Rim District Ranger Linda Wadleigh said in a statement. “The objects pose a serious threat to everyone, and that doesn’t just mean people recreating on a motorcycle or OHV, it includes people walking, hiking and even wildlife. We are taking this very seriously and asking the public to keep an eye out and report suspicious activity in the area.”
Forest officials want anyone with any information about who set the spikes to call U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers at (928) 527-3511.
Sacramento, Calif.: the AMA has initiated a petition drive to convince the California Office of Administrative Law to allow state agencies to once again disseminate important information on safely and responsibly executing the motorcycling technique called lane splitting.
The online petition can be found here: cqrcengage.com/amacycle/app/take-action?engagementId=55066.
A recent Office of Administrative Law order resulted in the California Highway Patrol, the Department of Motor Vehicles and other agencies removing CHP lane-splitting guidelines from their websites and ridding their offices of pamphlets, fliers and other documents that contained the safety information.
The CHP also removed references to lane splitting from its online FAQ, where information had been available long before the agency released its guidelines early in 2013. The AMA supports the continued use of safe lane splitting in California and the implementation of lane-splitting laws in other states, coupled with extensive rider and driver education programs.
The AMA position statement reads, in part: “Reducing a motorcyclist’s exposure to vehicles that are frequently accelerating and decelerating on congested roadways can be one way to reduce front- and rear-end collisions for those most vulnerable in traffic.”
The AMA petition seeks to demonstrate to the OAL that its narrow interpretation of CHP Commissioner J.A. Farrow’s promise not to “issue” the guidelines jeopardizes thousands of California motorcyclists, automobile and truck drivers and visitors to the state, because they are being denied access to safety information that affects their roadway environment.
The CHP guidelines remain available from the AMA here: americanmotorcyclist.com/Libraries/Rights_Documents_State/lanesplitting_guidelines.sflb.ashx?download=true.
The complete AMA lane splitting position statement is available here: americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/PositionStatements/LaneSplitting.aspx.
Chicago, Ill.: The Chicago City Council’s Committee on Finance held a July 28 hearing to consider a proposed ordinance that would compel self-serve fueling stations to install costly E15 fuel pumps. E15 is a gasoline blend that includes up to 15 percent ethanol by volume.
Use of E15 fuel in motorcycles is not only illegal, but inadvertent misfueling with E15 may cause engine and fuel system failure and can void manufacturers’ warranties. E15 is not approved for use in any of the nation’s 11 million motorcycles.
Aldermen Anthony Beale, Edward Burke, Ameya Pawar and Timothy Cullerton and Alderwoman Carrie Austin introduced legislation titled “Amendment of Municipal Code Chapter 4-108 by adding new Section 4-108-76 to require self-service filling stations to use equipment that dispenses mid-grade E15 gasoline.”
The AMA opposes the ordinance because it will promote the expansion of the E15 fuel market in an area with a large motorcyclist population. Following the AMA Action Alert issued on July 25, many motorcyclists made their views known to the council. After a five-hour debate, the committee took no vote on the proposed ordinance.
The proposed ordinance is still alive and the issue may come before the committee again as early as September.
Trenton, N.J.: The AMA presented research data and assistance to the East Coast Enduro Association during discussions with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in an effort to reopen some existing off-highway motorcycle trails in New Jersey state forests that were closed by administrative action in 2012.
During a two-and-a-half-hour meeting at the DEP headquarters in Trenton, the AMA-chartered ECEA outlined its objection to the DEP’s current policy that restricts enduro and other events to blacktop, gravel and sand and woods roads, with off-road travel limited to existing fire cuts.
Steve Salisbury, AMA off-road government affairs manager, and Danielle Fowles, AMA grassroots coordinator, presented the DEP with information about the positive economic impact of off-highway-vehicle use. The pair also offered advice on the use of volunteers and other trail-management solutions.
The DEP’s policy change — called the menu system — initially was presented to the ECEA in 2009. The original draft of the plan included the OHV trails, and DEP staff members requested from the ECEA the GPS coordinates for the trails.
When the final plan was issued in 2012, the ECEA trails had been eliminated with no further discussion, said ECEA President Jamie Theurkauf.
During the meeting, Ray Cantor, chief adviser to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, told the ECEA that he would listen to ECEA recommendations, present them for DEP consideration and then provide feedback to the OHV community in future discussions.
West Milord, N.J.: Local representatives plan to duplicate an earlier effort by the state by soliciting insured operators to run an OHV park in town. West Milford’s governing body recently authorized the distribution of a request for proposals seeking an insured organization that would be willing to lease a municipal property for use as an ATV park.
The township is likely to put out a request for proposals similar to that designed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for the Mount Pleasant State Off-Road Vehicle Park in Cape May County. Acquired in November 2011 from the former Mount Pleasant Sand and Gravel Pit, the property features acres of terrain as well as a course from its old motocross track. For now, the state runs the park on weekends in the warmer months.
Olympia, Wash: The Department of Licensing has updated the declaration form riders will need when registering their ATVs for use on certain roads. Visit the DOL website for the latest information: www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/watv.html
Pickerington, Ohio: A bi-partisan resolution before the U.S. House of Representatives congratulates and commends the AMA on its 90th anniversary as the nation’s premier advocate for motorcyclists and the motorcycle lifestyle.
Introduced by U.S. Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), and Timothy Walz (D-Minn.) — and cosponsored by Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) — H.R. 650 calls the AMA’s membership “the world’s largest and most dedicated group of motorcycle enthusiasts.”
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced a companion resolution in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) is a cosponsor.
Founded in 1924, the AMA is the premier advocate for the motorcycling community, representing the interests of millions of American on- and off-highway motorcyclists and all-terrain-vehicle riders. The AMA’s mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling.
Through member clubs, promoters, and partners, the AMA also sanctions about 2,600 events annually, including 1,845 competition events.
The AMA’s headquarters, in Pickerington, Ohio, is home to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which honors those who have contributed to the history of motorcycling through political activism, culture, and sport, and which preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations.
Pickerington, Ohio: Every two years, the AMA’s Government Relations Department surveys association members to assist in establishing government relations policies and priorities. It is important for us to know how you ride and what you consider to be the most important issues in motorcycling so that we can do the best job of setting AMA government relations priorities. This month, members are asked to share their views about off-highway motorcycling issues. Off-highway riding enthusiasts have done a great job of supporting this survey in past years. We hope you’ll continue that support by taking a few minutes to complete this survey. www.americanmotorcyclist.com/offhighwaysurvey.aspx