AMA News and Notes February 2016

February 1, 2016
Courtesy of American Motorcyclist Association
American Motorcyclist Association Logo

National and Regional News

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The Bi-Partisan Sportsmen’s Act would establish an “open-unless-closed” policy for public lands nationwide. Sponsored by U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), two bills (S. 556 and S. 659), when combined, would create the Bi-Partisan Sportsmen’s Act to end the federal government’s current practice of “closed until opened or closed by bureaucratic inertia,” Murkowski says. “It doesn’t get any simpler than this: Americans should be able to access and enjoy their public lands.”

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The AMA is working with the Save the Salt Coalition, the Utah Alliance and other groups and government officials to devise a plan to save the Bonneville Salt Flats, which, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, are threatened with destruction. All 2015 events were canceled because of the poor condition of the salt and because of wet weather. The natural track, which once was 13 miles long now is just 8 miles and is not safe for the fastest jet-powered cars. During a September meeting, representatives of the BLM, Intrepid Potash mining company, land speed racers, geologists, engineers and elected officials identified ways to restore the salt flats and protect the area from future harm. The group is conducting engineering studies and plans to bring all findings and recommendations together into a Land Speed Racing Position Statement. The racing area must be protected from mud runoff from nearby mountains, additional salt brine must be pumped into the area and steps must be taken to increase the success of the pumping operation. Steve Salisbury, AMA government affairs manager for off-highway issues, says the immediate goal is to restore a 3- to 5-mile section of very high-quality salt. As soon as the position statement is approved, the AMA and other coalition members will alert grassroots advocates and begin lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.

State News

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration are reviewing the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s performance in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. A listening session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 to allow the public to comment on the MTC’s performance. The session is at the Dahms Auditorium of the Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter, 101 Eighth, St., Oakland, Calif. For those unable to attend, written comments will be accepted until March 3 if sent to Stew Sonnenberg, FHWA California Division, 650 Capitol Mall, Suite 4-100, Sacramento, Calif. 95814, or to stew.sonnenberg@dot.gov.

TRACY, Calif. – The state’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission will tour the Carnegie State Recreational Vehicle Area at 9 a.m. Feb.4 and conduct a public hearing at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 5 on the General Plan Proposed Final Environmental Impact Report. The commission may also take action on the proposed OHMVR Program Triennial Project Schedule. The public may attend the tour and the hearing. The tour is at the Carnegie SVRA, 18600 W. Corral Hollow Road, Tracy, Calif. The hearing and commission meeting is at Tracy City Hall, 333 Civic Center Plaza, Tracy, Calif. More information is available at www.ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=27160.

CONCORD, N.H. – Lane splitting would be allowed when the vehicle being passed is stopped or is traveling at less than 10 mph under H.B. 1308, sponsored by six state representatives. The bill is in the Transportation Committee. If passed and enacted, the law would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council has scheduled five February meetings in New Mexico to gather information on the performance of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in its handling of the off-highway-vehicle community. All meetings are 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and are scheduled for:

• Feb. 2 at the Holiday Inn & Suites, 5050 Jefferson St. NE, Albuquerque
• Feb. 3 at the Holiday Inn Express, 2635 S. Valley Drive, Las Cruces
• Feb. 4 at the Holiday Inn Express, 2300 N. Main St., Roswell
• Feb. 16 at the Hernandez Center, 19418 A U.S. Highway 84, Hernandez
• Feb. 17 at the Red Lion Hotel, 700 Scott Ave, Farmington

More information is available from the New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance at www.nmohva.org.

SANTE FE, N.M. – The New Mexico Legislature’s proposed budget calls for raiding the OHV Trail Safety Fund for $500,000 for other uses. The safety fund consists of money generated by special user fees under the 2005 OHV Act and are intended for uses outlined in the act. Members of the New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance are contacting their representatives to urge them to oppose this taking of money that should be used for OHV safety and educational programs. “We are tired and frustrated with the Senate’s breach of public trust and good faith,” says an alert issued by NMOHVA. “The Trail Safety Fund has been raided for so much money that the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish’s financial projections show the OHV program will be operating in the red by 2020.”

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Off-highway motorcycles could be registered in the same manner as snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles under H.B. 663 introduced by Mike Regan (R-Dillsburg). The bill would, among other things, provide for registration of dealers, registration of OHMs, certificate of title, for transfer to or from a dealer, designation of OHM roads, special OHM events, operation of OHMs on private or state property, operation by persons under age 16, for liability of owner for negligence, for liability insurance, for head lamps and tail lamps, for brakes, for mufflers and noise control, for enforcement personnel and procedures and for penalties for violation of state law.

Industry News

IRVINE, Calif. – The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has introduced “Riding Straight – Marijuana Awareness,” a course that models how marijuana can impair judgment and affect the application of motorcycle riding skills. Although marijuana is legal in some states for medicinal or recreational use, it remains illegal and unsafe to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The MSF kit includes Innocorp’s Marijuana Impairment Simulation Goggle and introduces three activities to demonstrate the effects of impairment.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Motorcycle industry executive Larry Little has been named Chairman of the Board of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, the leading nonprofit funder of research into one of the deadliest forms of childhood cancer. Little, vice president and general manager of Motorcycle Industry Council Events in Irvine, Calif., is co-creator of the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo), the annual go-to powersports industry event for trade, media and the public. The AMA Life Member and 2013 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year has served on the PBTF Board since 2004, most recently as vice chair, and succeeds Chris Hoefflin as chair. The PBTF’s largest fundraising program, Ride for Kids, is a national motorcycle event that attracts thousands of riders to raise money for childhood brain tumor research and family services.

STURGIS, S.D. – The Full Throttle Saloon has announced plans to rebuild the popular facility billed as “The World’s Largest Biker Bar.” The bar was destroyed by fire in September after a pinched power cord ignited a cardboard box. Owner Michael Ballard is selling plaques to help fund the project and is offering to sell a barrel of Full Throttle Trimble Tennessee Whiskey for $5,000.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Erik Buell Racing’s remaining assets were sold in January to Liquid Asset Partners of Grand Rapids, Mich. The buyer has a long history in the motorcycle industry, working with major manufacturers and distributors to sell assets and intellectual property. Liquid Asset Partners plans to find a buyer to continue manufacturing EBR motorcycles. The buyer also plans to sell excess assets to streamline operations. Liquid Asset Partners paid $2 million for the EBR manufacturing assets as part of the EBR bankruptcy proceedings.

International News

MUNICH, Germany – Alpinestars and Dainese are facing a court battle in Germany over the technology for airbags designed for use by motorcyclists. The Alpinestars Tech-Air Street Airbag system is the subject of a patent-infringement allegation by Dainese. The dispute centers on the material used in the airbag.

LONDON – More commuter-sized motorcycles and scooters were sold during 2015 than in any other year since The Motorcycle Industry Association began keeping records in 1983. The MIA also said total registrations for bikes of all sizes were up 12 percent from 2014. During 2015, more than 43,700 new motorcycles and scooters in the 101cc-to-125cc range were sold. Total registrations for all sizes of motorcycles exceeded 114,000, the highest annual total since 2008.

AMA News

PICKERINGTON, Ohio – Ted Cabral, a 38-year AMA member from Penngrove, Calif. has been elected to the AMA Board of Directors from the Northwest Region. Cabral fills the seat being vacated by Northwest Region Director Perry King, who could not seek reelection because of term limits. The Northwest Region includes AMA members living in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Northern California (District 36). Cabral said he has three objectives as he enters his role with the AMA Board of Directors: To ensure that motorcycles are included in long-range transportation plans as a viable form of transportation, particularly in dense urban environments; to make the AMA stronger by attracting more members, increasing the value of membership and increasing the marketing of the AMA’s benefits; and to strengthen amateur racing.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The AMA honored the country’s top motorcycle and all-terrain-vehicle racers and organizers during the AMA Championship Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Hyatt Regency. The association presented champions with their 2015 AMA National No. 1 plates and announced the 2015 AMA Athletes of the Year. Speaking to all attendees at the banquet, AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman congratulated them on their success and thanked them for their contributions to the sport of motorcycling. More information is available at www.americanmotorcyclist.com. Visit gallery.americanmotorcyclist.com to view photos from the event.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The AMA wants to see you among the hundreds of thousands of riders at 2016’s iconic motorcycling events, such as Daytona Bike Week, Americade, Laconia, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days and Sturgis. AMA Club 1924, named in honor of the AMA’s founding year, will be the focal point of the association’s presence at these events, celebrating the fun of motorcycling, connecting with riders and looking back on the history of motorcycling in America. AMA Club 1924 visitors will have a chance to win some great prizes from AMA member benefit partners. The AMA Club 1924 schedule for 2016 includes:

• March 3-13 – Daytona Bike Week, Daytona Beach, Fla.
• May 27-30 – Rolling Thunder, Washington, D.C.
• June 7-11 – Americade, Lake George, N.Y.
• June 11-19 –Laconia, Laconia, N.H.
• June 23-26 – Thunder in the Valley, Johnstown, Pa.
• July 8-10 – AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, Lexington, Ohio
• Aug. 8-14 – Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sturgis, S.D.
• Sept. 23-25 – Ray Price Capital City Bikefest, Raleigh, N.C.