National and Regional News
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three U.S. representatives from California introduced a bipartisan bill that would designate or expand six OHV recreation areas, create the 18,000-acre Alabama Hills National Scenic Area and designate 375,500 acres of wilderness in the California Desert. The bill was introduced by Reps. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley), Juan Vargas (D-Imperial Valley) and Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands). U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-California) introduced a similar bill (S. 67) in the Senate. The bill (H.R. 376, California Desert Protection and Recreation Act) also would:
- Release 124,000 acres of existing wilderness study areas in the Cady Mountains and Soda Mountains;
- Add about 39,000 acres to the National Park System, including significant acreage at Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park;
- Establish the Vinagre Wash Special Management Area to protect 81,000 acres of public land in Imperial County, while preserving motorized recreation along designated routes;
- Designate or expand about 77 miles of wild, scenic and recreational rivers in the San Bernardino Mountains and near Death Valley;
- Prohibit the development of renewable energy generation facilities on 28,000 acres of BLM land near “Juniper Flats;”
- Convey 934 acres of BLM land to the State of California to be included in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park;
- Direct the Secretary of the Interior to negotiate with the California State Lands Commission on land swaps involving state school lands within the California Desert Conservation Area; and
- Establish a Desert Tortoise Conservation Center along the California-Nevada border.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) pressed acting EPA Director Andrew Wheeler to approve summer sales of E15 fuel, despite the government shutdown. "Even though we have a government shutdown, he knew and understood the president’s push to have this done by about that May timeframe so consumers could purchase E15 during the summer months,” she said. Currently, E15—fuel containing 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline—may be sold in most states only during October through May.
RENO, Nev. — Five groups filed a complaint in federal court challenging the 2016 U.S. Forest Service Greater Sage-grouse Bi-State Distinct Population Segment Forest Plan Amendment Final Record of Decision. The Sierra Trail Dogs Motorcycle and Recreation Club, Pine Nut Mountains Trails Association, AMA District 36, the BlueRibbon Coalition and the California Four Wheel Drive Association say the greater sage-grouse protections in the plan amendment imposed "significant restrictions on long-existing recreational access, preventing the agencies from considering permits for off-highway vehicle events" in the affected areas. Specifically, the changes affect the annual Mystery 250 event by limiting the number of available routes, which was forced to move its event from June to July in 2018. The Mystery 250, staged by the Trail Dogs, has been attracting riders for 23 years to routes between Wellington, Nev., and Hawthorne, Nev. Members of the other four groups either helped organize the event or participated in it. The complainants want the court to declare the sage-grouse plan unlawful and set aside the Record of Decision and require further review of the situation.
PISMO BEACH, Calif. — The California Department of Parks and Recreation has scheduled two public meetings in February to discuss the Public Works Plan for Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. At these open-house-style meetings, the planning team will present draft concepts for the Public Works Pan. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit topic stations and view materials that describe the draft concepts, speak with the planning team and provide input. The meetings will be identical in content and format, and materials from the meetings will be available via the project website at www.oceanodunespwp.com. The first meeting is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at the SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel, Pacific Banquet Room, Pismo Beach. The second meeting is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Hampton Inn & Suites, Yosemite Room, Tulare. Facilities are accessible to those with disabilities. If you need specific accommodations, contact Katie Metraux at (916) 708-3485.
TRACY, Calif. — Due to a lawsuit, the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area has been ordered to close the Corral Hollow Creek crossing (known as SRI crossing). Closed under the court order are the 4x4 play area, the motocross track and gravel parking lot and the trials area. Access to Kiln Canyon and SRI Loop will be through Los Osos Trail. Carnegie staff members are working through the permitting processes to allow public access to these areas.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Legislation has been introduced to allow the sale of ethanol-free gasoline statewide. S.P. 86 and L.D. 274 recognize the damage that ethanol can do to metals, plastics, and rubber, leading to engine and parts failures. The bills are under consideration by the Senate and House Environment and Natural Resources Committees. Maine residents should make their views known now by contacting their legislators.
FALLON, Nev. — The public has until Feb. 14 to share comments with the U.S. Navy about the planned expansion of the Fallon Range Training Complex at Naval Air Station Fallon. The project's environmental impact statement includes three options, which each include some adverse impact on off-highway vehicle access to public lands. The AMA has suggested avoiding an expansion at Fallon by increasing use of the 1.1 million-acre Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in southern California. The AMA comments also conditionally supported the DEIS Alternative 3, as the local club, the Pine Nut Mountain Trails Association, has done. Contact your congressional representatives and the Navy before Feb. 14. get full information at https://cqrcengage.com/amacycle/app/write-a-letter?5&engagementId=495580.
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. — A city ordinance allowing ATVs on city streets survived a referendum petition challenge. The City Council passed the ordinance in 2018. After a month-long special election through the mail, city voters in January favored keeping the ordinance in place. "This is a win for motorized tourism in Truth or Consequences and New Mexico," said Dean Tulk, president of the AMA-chartered New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance and a city resident. "We look forward to working with T or C and other communities across the state to bring positive recreational opportunities for all ages."
ALBANY, N.Y. — S. 1428 and A. 1587 would create an ATV Trail Fund for promoting the safe and proper use of ATVs for recreation and commerce, as well as designating state, city and private lands as part of a statewide network of ATV trails. New York residents should contact the Senate Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee and the Assembly Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports Committee to voice support for these measures.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Utah's newly released Utah Conservation Plan for Greater Sage-Grouse calls for increasing the bird's seasonal habitat by 75,000 acres each year and expanding the highest-priority habitats and mitigation corridors by at least 5,000 acres a year by designating conversation easements. Utah's sage-grouse habitat management plan covers 7.5 million acres and encompasses about 94 percent of the state's sage-grouse population, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
IRVINE, Calif. — The percentage of U.S. households with at least one motorcycle rose from 6.94 percent in 2014 to 8.02 percent in 2018, according to a survey released by the Motorcycle Industry Council. The United States Census Bureau’s most recent estimate put the number of U.S. households at 126.22 million. The MIC Owner Survey found that 10.12 million of those homes had a motorcycle. The number of motorcycles owned also reached record levels, according to the survey, jumping to 13.16 million last year, an increase of more than 2.5 million motorcycles compared to 2014. The 2018 survey also showed that the number of motorcycles per household with a bike stood at 1.3, up slightly from 1.23 in 2014 when it was 1.23.
LOS ANGELES — Riding a motorcycle has demonstrable mental and physical health benefits, according to a study by the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. Three UCLA researchers studied more than 50 motorcycle riders in tests that recorded their brain activity and hormone levels before, during and after riding a bike, driving a car and resting. Motorcycle rides resulted in a 28 percent decrease in stress biomarkers. A 20-minute ride increased participants' heart rates by 11 percent and adrenaline levels by 27 percent, similar to light exercise. Also, sensory focus was enhanced while riding a motorcycle versus driving a car. The study was funded by Harley-Davidson.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Lightning Motorcycles is taking orders for the new Lightning Strike, which the company said has a 150-mile range, 150 mph top speed and DC fast-charging in 35 minutes. Lightning, known for its $39,000 LS-218 electric superbike, said the Strike will be released in March with a starting price of $12,998.
SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. — Zero Motorcycles has announced an all new electric motorcycle will be unveiled Feb. 25. The Zero SR/F has the most powerful drivetrain Zero has ever produced, the company said. "The Zero SR/F provides an effortlessly powerful experience in the naked street bike category," according to a company statement.
LONDON — The United Kingdom has established a dedicated task force to address the 7 percent increase in motorcycle and moped theft in 2018, according to a report from the British Motorcyclists Federation. Minister of State for Policing Nick Hurd MP has been appointed chair of the new team, which will include representatives from police forces across the country, the Mayor of London’s office and the Motorcycle Industry Association. The task force hopes to increase vehicle security standards, make it harder for criminals to profit from vehicle salvaging and improve measures to prevent thieves from gaining access to devices that facilitate bike theft.
LONDON — The United Kingdom is sticking with its plan to phase out new gas and diesel cars by 2040, rejecting a proposal to move the target date to 2032. Parliaments' Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee argued this more ambitious target was vital to drive investment and accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles across the country, according to a report at BusinessGree.com. The call was backed by many environmentalists, who pointed to how a number of fellow EU countries have much more ambitious plans. Norway, for example, has pledged to end the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2025.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The inaugural season of Supercross Futures, an AMA National Championship, got underway Jan. 13, the day after the second round of the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The Supercross Futures experience is designed to produce a high quality, competitive stadium racing experience, with an advancement path to Monster Energy AMA Supercross competition. Eight events will take place on Sundays after select Monster Energy AMA Supercross events at the same venues where Supercross stars raced the previous night. The tracks will be raceable for all age and skill levels. The eight events serve as a qualifier system to advance riders to the Supercross Futures AMA National Championship event in Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 20-21. Find more information at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Racing/Story/ama-supercross-futuresarenacross.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The schedule is out for the 2019 KTM AMA National Adventure Riding Series, presented by Kenda Tires. The series features 14 events in 10 states organized by AMA-chartered clubs and promoters. KTM returns as a series sponsor for the third consecutive year. The company boasts a lineup of well-equipped adventure bikes that are great options to ride in the series' events. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Riding/Adventure-Riding.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The schedule for the 2019 Beta AMA National Dual Sport Series, presented by Kenda Tires, offers riders 16 multi-day events organized by AMA-chartered clubs and promoters in 12 states. The title sponsor of the series is Beta, and one lucky series participant will win a Beta motorcycle at the end of the 2019 series. Complete information is available at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Riding/Dual-Sport-Riding.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jerry Branch passed away Dec. 28 at the age of 94. Branch is perhaps best remembered as one of the most innovative designers and builders of motorcycle racing engines in the second half of the 20th century. Branch authored several books about his work with cylinder head air flow. His innovations in engine design and performance were far reaching and helped usher in the Superbike era of racing. He founded the company Branch Flowmetrics, which he sold to Mikuni in the late 1990s. Branch was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2005.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Honda, 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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