National and Regional News
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Renewable Fuel Standard—which brought Americans mandated ethanol-blended fuels—would disappear under a bill introduced by U.S. Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Bill Flores (R-Texas). A draft of the bill released in November reveals a shift toward octane mandates in place of biofuel requirements. The draft bill—called the 21st Century Transportation Fuels Act—also includes a provision requiring car makers to build vehicles capable of using 95-octane E20 fuel (20 percent ethanol by volume) for the 2023 model year and beyond. The draft bill also would hold the renewable volume obligations at 15 million gallons of ethanol a year from 2020 through 2022 and allow the sale of E15 fuel year-round.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal appeals court affirmed a 2017 agreement between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and several environmental groups affecting motorized use of thousands of miles of trails and roads in Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a challenge to the agreement from the state of Utah, several Utah counties and some energy companies. Opponents of the agreement argued that it illegally limited the current administration. The agreement covers wilderness provisions in plans affecting 20,000 miles of motorized routes on 6 million acres of public land.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court in late November limited the reach of the Endangered Species Act to areas in which a threatened animal currently lives. The unanimous ruling, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, set aside a ruling that restricted development in a Louisiana woods where an endangered frog could live. The 100 surviving dusky gopher frogs live only in a Mississippi woods nearby. The ruling could help the AMA in its efforts to protect and expand responsible motorized access to public lands across the country, as well as more use of private property.
BOISE, Idaho — The public gets two more chances in December to comment on new amendments to the U.S. Forest Service Sage-Grouse Plan. A Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released in October, and two public meetings were held in November. The amendments affect Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah. Changes include the use of landscape-scale alignment, which coordinates efforts across state lines. The remaining meetings are 5-7 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Challis Community Center in Challis, Idaho, and 5-7 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Caribou-Targhee Forest Headquarters Office in Idaho Falls. More information is available at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r4/home/?cid=stelprd3843381.
DOLORES, Colo. — Two lawsuits seek to upend the travel management plan for the Dolores Valley of the San Juan National Forest. One lawsuit was filed in September by the San Juan Trail Riders, the Trails Preservation Alliance and the Access Preservation Association, claiming the closing of 30 miles of trails to motorcycles are illegal. According to The Journal, the second lawsuit, filed in November by the San Juan Citizen’s Alliance, the Sheep’s Mountain Alliance, Dunton Hot Springs Inc., and WildEarth Guardians, claims that "the seasonal closures for motorized use on trails do not adequately protect deer, elk, and water quality." The travel management plan covers 244,000 acres in Colorado.
PLACERVILLE, Calif. — Repairs have been completed on three off-highway vehicle routes that did not meet environmental standards for healthy meadows, concluding work that began in 2013 on a total of 18 routes in the Eldorado National Forest that were closed while conditions affecting water flow in meadows were fixed. The final three routes—16E26 out of the Onion Valley Trailhead in the Amador Ranger District, 17E19 (Allen Camp Trail) and 17E24 (Carson Emigrant Trail)—have been reviewed by a forest hydrologist and are now open for public use. The Motor Vehicle Use Map for the forest will include these and other repaired routes when it is updated in the near future.
SACRAMENTO — Waymo, the self-driving vehicle unit of Alphabet, has obtained permission to test fully automated cars on California's public roads. The company, the first to receive a driverless permit in the state, plans to keep its vehicles in the neighborhoods of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto, according to a report by TheVerge.com. Waymo’s permit includes day and night testing on city streets, rural roads, and highways with posted speed limits of up to 65 mph. Arizona also allows Waymo to operate driverless cars.
PHOENIX — A public review period ends Dec. 19 for a proposed lease by Maricopa County of 1,046 acres of public land in the Vulture Mountains. And the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has scheduled a public meeting for 6-8 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Wickenburg Community Center in Wickenburg, Ariz. The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department wants to develop a recreation facilities at the site, including a visitor’s center, picnic tables and shelters, equestrian facilities, nature playground, restrooms with showers, campgrounds and interpretive kiosks. Portions of the Vulture Mine Road would also be improved and realigned by the to improve access to the area. Comments may be submitted at https://go.usa.gov/xPkh6 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BURLINGTON, Iowa — All-terrain vehicles and other four-wheel utility vehicles can now legally operate on gravel roads in Des Moines County, Iowa. The county began considering the move after receiving petitions in March containing more than 1,000 signatures. ATVs and UTVs also will be allowed on paved roads to get from one gravel road to another. Among the restrictions reported by Tri-States Public Radio: ATV use is prohibited between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.; vehicle operators must be 18 or older and have a valid driver’s license; vehicles cannot be three-wheelers; vehicles may not be driven in ditches; maximum speed is 35 mph; passengers are prohibited. Those wishing to operate an ATV on a county road must buy an annual $25 permit.
CYPRESS, Calif. — Yamaha’s Rick Hobbs, crew chief for Cameron Beaubier’s 2018 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship-winning Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing YZF-R1, was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame in November. Hobbs was honored for a lifetime of contributions to road racing, from dealership service manager to Superbike Championship-winning guru. His accomplishments came in Canada and the United States. He has collected 20 Canadian and U.S. National Championships during his career.
IRVINE, Calif. — The Motorcycle Industry Council has named a new event-management team. Cinnamon Kernes will lead MIC Events as vice president and general manager, overseeing strategic planning and day-to-day management. Andre Albert will serve as sales and marketing director, managing exhibit space, sponsorship sales, marketing and promotions. Both begin their new positions Jan. 1. Larry Little, current vice president and general manager of MIC Events, will transition to a part-time position as vice president. Mike Webster, senior vice president of MIC Events, will be leaving the MIC and will serve as an advisor and consultant through his new company. MIC Events organizes the annual AIMExpo, which bring together industry, press, dealers and consumers in a single arena.
CHICAGO — Genuine Scooters has announced its entrance into the motorcycle arena with the release of the G400C motorcycle. The scooter company hopes its 397cc motorcycle will prove affordable and fun to ride for first-time buyers. The $4,599 G400C weighs 353 pounds, provides 26 horsepower, promises fuel economy of 70 mpg and reaches a top speed of 80 mph. For more information, visit www.genuinescooters.com.
MUNSHIGANJ, Bangladesh — Honda has opened a new motorcycle manufacturing plant that Bangladeshi officials hope will make motor bikes more affordable in their country. The plant is a project of Honda Private Limited, a joint venture of Japan's Honda and state-owned Bangladesh Steel Engineering Corp. Reports say the plant's initial annual production capacity is 100,000 units. By 2021, the capacity could double.
COPENHAGEN — The government of Denmark would like to make motorcycle helmet use mandatory for all riders. The transport and health ministers presented a proposal in November that would eliminate exceptions to wearing a helmet, according to TheLocal.com. Current laws allow riders to go without a helmet if they obtain a doctor’s note or have a legitimate non-medical reason, such as wearing a turban. If the proposal passes, the new rules would take effect Jan. 1. Those with an existing doctor’s note would be given a grace period through July 1.
LUDHIANA PUNJAB, India — Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd., Hero Cycles Ltd. and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. announced a joint venture in November to build and sell electric bicycles in India. The companies said that government initiatives on clean transportation are on the rise, and the electric bike segment in India is growing. Yamaha already offers its PW series electric bikes. Hero Cycles plans to implement Yamaha's technology in its products. Mitsui & Co. will handle marketing and distribution.
KIRCHBERG, Luxembourg — The European Investment Bank is lending 120 million Euros (about $135.6 million) to Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM AG. KTM plans to use the money to invest in additional research and development of electric motorcycles, intelligent transportation systems and lightweight design. The work will occur at KTM´s facility in Mattighofen, Austria.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Dubai police are training on flying motorbikes made by California company Hoversurf. The vehicles are electric and feature vertical take-off and landing. In a CNN report, Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, general director of Dubai Police's artificial intelligence department, described the vehicles as first responders that will be used to access hard-to-reach areas. He said the hoverbikes should be deployed by 2020.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The U.S. ISDE Trophy Teams finished in second place at the 93rd FIM International Six Days Enduro in Viña del Mar, Chile. In the World Trophy Team division, the Australian World Trophy team beat the American team by 7:09.98. Italy rounded out the event podium, finishing 4 minutes behind the U.S. team.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The AMA is sanctioning a new off-road championship in 2019, the AMA Grand Prix National Championship Series. The series, organized and run by Big 6 Grand Prix Series Inc., features eight rounds of off-road racing at circuits in California, Arizona and Nevada. The start of the 2018 Big 6 Grand Prix Series event at Adelanto, Calif. The inaugural season as an AMA National Championship Series kicks off Jan. 19-20 in Adelanto, Calif. The off-road series previously was sanctioned by the AMA at the regional level as the AMA West Coast Grand Prix Championship Series.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Alex Hunter has moved to the position of motocross manager at the AMA. In his new role, Hunter will oversee AMA Motocross sanctioning and featured event designations and work closely with AMA districts, promoters and organizers. Hunter has been with the AMA for six years. He originally was hired as the motocross assistant manager. For the past three years, he has served as the Racing Department project manager.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio —AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, presented by Honda Motorcycles, is America's grandest celebration of vintage motorcycles and the people who love them. The 2019 event, with Honda as the featured marque, is July 5-7 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. AMA members can buy discounted tickets now at www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com. All activity at the event financially supports the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, the 501(c)(3) that raises money for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
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