AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association Government Relations Department. Designed to inform motorcyclists of rights-related issues and events in the United States and around the world.
National and Regional News
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.) has introduced the Autocycle Safety Act, S. 685, which creates a new vehicle classification, “autocycle,” for enclosed motor vehicles with three wheels. The act would set standards for autocycles under safety rules and the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards.
The bill includes interim safety standards specifying that between the bill’s passage and effective date, autocycles must meet certain automotive and certain motorcycle safety standards. The auto standards would include seating systems, seat belts, child restraints, air bags, roof crush protection and flame-resistant interiors, while the motorcycle standards cover brake hoses, lamps and reflective devices, rearview mirrors, brake fluids, pneumatic tires, rims, brake systems, controls and displays and glazing materials.
Washington, D.C.: On March 17, U.S. Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced S. 766, the Driver Privacy Act, which would codify that information collected by an event data recorder – commonly referred to as a black box – would be the legal property of the owner or lessee of a passenger motor vehicle.
While event data recorders are not currently required for motorcycles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed that all passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses be equipped with a black box. The AMA believes it is only a matter of time before this proposed rule extends to motorcycles and supports clarifying who owns the data that is collected. Some motorcycles are already equipped with the devices.
Montgomery, Ala.: Under existing state law, texting and driving is prohibited. H.B. 198, sponsored by state Reps. Alan Harper (R-Aliceville), Mike Ball (R-Madison), Phillip Pettus (R-Killen) and Randy Wood (R-Anniston) would prohibit all forms of distracted driving that result in the unsafe operation of a vehicle. This could potentially include reading, writing, performing personal grooming, interacting with pets or using a wireless telecommunications device.
Sacramento, Calif.: A.B. 8, sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale), has passed out of the Assembly Committee on Transportation. This bill would authorize the use of the existing Emergency Alert System communication equipment to notify and alert law enforcement and the general public when a serious hit and run traffic event has occurred. Prompt public distribution of this important information could help prevent further incidents and accelerate apprehension of involved parties.
Also A.B. 334, introduced by Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), has passed out of the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. If passed, the bill would require the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to ensure that the profiling of motorcycle riders is addressed in the course of basic law enforcement training and offered to law enforcement officers in conjunction with existing training regarding profiling.
Augusta, Maine: Off-highway motorcyclists and dual sport riders now have clear-cut guidelines for use of the state’s designated all-terrain-vehicle trails and private dirt roads. Recently, Cpl. Rick Laflamme, landowner relations officer for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, provided off highway guidelines to the Maine Dual Sport and Dirt Bike Association. First among the guidelines were assurances that motorcycles can be legally dual registered, first for on-highway use and concurrently as an ATV for off-highway use. Under the new rules, white-plated motorcycles can operate on private dirt roads if there is no landowner restriction. Previously, law enforcement officers ticketed these riders as ATVs operating illegally off trails.
Oakland County, Mich.: A proposed off-road vehicle and adventure park in Groveland Township is among the projects earmarked for $24.7 million in state grants approved by Gov. Rick Snyder.
The signing of H.B. 40878 approved 69 recreation projects and land purchases recommended by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board. It is now called Public Act 7 of 2015.
Nearly $3 million is set aside for the proposed park, which would span 314 acres in Groveland and Holly townships. The funds can now be appropriated for land acquisition. The project would include off-road vehicle trails, a motocross course, hiking and mountain biking trails, waterskiing, scuba diving and more.
The park represents a unique partnership between the state and Oakland County.
Albuquerque, N.M.: The AMA and the New Mexico Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance urge riders to contact Gov. Susana Martinez, asking that she exercise her line-item veto authority. The state budget amendment that calls for $500,000 of Trail Fund money — which is 100 percent OHV registration dollars — to be transferred to the state parks program, where OHVs are banned, has doubled to $1 million. The money also would fund a forest restoration program.
Previous governors have used the line-item veto to protect off-highway riding opportunities. It’s critical that Gov. Martinez do the same now. Please use this pre-written email to submit comments to Gov. Martinez immediately.
Also NMOHVA reports that its legal team will be presenting arguments before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 6 in Denver. These oral arguments will supplement the extensive written briefs submitted by NMOHVA to the court in September and January, and is the final step in a legal process that started in December 2012. The lawsuit contends that the Santa Fe National Forest used an illegal process to close more than 70 percent of the existing roads and trails under its travel management plan. Visit the NMOHVA website for additional details.
Providence, R. I.: S.B. 660 recognizes that by 2020 nearly every vehicle sold will be a technologically connected vehicle. The bill would require automakers to notify motorists of the types of information that a vehicle is collecting and with whom it could be shared. The bill was introduced by state Sens. Dominick Ruggerio (D-North Providence), Maryellen Goodwin (D-Providence), Michael McCaffrey (D-Warwick), Joshua Miller (D-Cranston) and Stephen Archambault (D-Smithfield).
Costa Mesa, Calif.: MotoAmerica has announced that American Honda Motor Co. Inc. has been named an official manufacturer of the 2015 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship. In addition, Honda will be the title sponsor of the second round of the nine-round series — the Honda Superbike Challenge of Road Atlanta —April 17-19.
Honda also has been designated the official and exclusive partner to MotoAmerica for scooters, all-terrain vehicles, side-by-sides and generators, providing transportation and other power products to MotoAmerica and its staff for the 2015 racing season.
Honda, which last year produced its 300 millionth motorcycle, has been manufacturing motorcycles since 1949 and currently produces them in 33 plants in 22 countries. Honda's AMA roadracing heritage runs deep, with 33 national championships, including eight in the premier Superbike class.
Irvine, Calif.: The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has issued its Motorcycle Operator Manual in Spanish as part of its long-standing policy of reaching out to riders of all backgrounds and ethnicities. Hispanics account for 7 percent of American motorcyclists overall and 11 percent of younger riders – those of generations X and Y. The MSF "MOM" is used by motor vehicle agencies in 41 states as a study guide for motorcycle license applicants, and has been a part of MSF's inventory of reference materials on motorcycle operation for the past four decades. The manual covers riding gear, basic rules-of-the-road, navigating intersections, crash-avoidance strategies, carrying passengers, impaired riding, and vehicle troubleshooting, plus supplemental information on the unique characteristics of three-wheeled motorcycles. The Spanish version of the MOM, along with Spanish versions of other key MSF instructional materials, is available for free download from MSF's online library.
Minneapolis, Minn.: Polaris Industries Inc. has acquired the electric motorcycle business of Brammo Inc. In addition, Polaris is acting as a leading investor in a recapitalization of Brammo that enables the company to focus exclusively on the design, development and integration of electric vehicle powertrains.
Polaris has been a strategic investor and partner with Brammo since 2011. During that time, the companies have collaborated on a number of projects in motorcycles, off-highway and on-highway vehicles. Brammo has designed and developed numerous electric vehicles, including the award-winning Enertia and Empulse motorcycles. In addition, Brammo’s motorcycles have won numerous racing championships including the 2013 FIM eRR North American World Cup Champion and 2012 TTXGP World Championship.
Lake George, N. Y.: Americade’s Concert Series brings music to the shores of Lake George on Friday and Saturday of Americade Week. The headline act for the inaugural event is Grammy-nominated, multiplatinum recording rock ’n’ roll and country star Aaron Lewis. The Concert Series is the first event of its kind at the 33-year-old event.
Americade bills itself as the world’s largest multi-brand motorcycle touring rally. The annual event is also one of the AMA National Conventions representing the top tier of AMA-sanctioned rides and rallies. This year, it spans June 2-6, with special Preregistered Events all day on June 1. It's a convention of tourers, sport tourers and cruisers enjoying a weeklong festival of motorcycling, including guided tours through the beautiful Adirondack Park and Green Mountains of Vermont, a motorcycle trade show in Lake George with more than 200 vendors, demos and displays from nearly all the major motorcycle manufacturers and much more. Americade Week details are available at www.americade.com and (518) 798-7888.
Geneva, Switzerland: City leaders have announced plans to make motorcycle and scooter parking free throughout the city. Currently, there are 7,500 motorcycle spaces available, including 350 that were added in January with plans for more to be designated soon.
Pickerington, Ohio: AMA members can win cool gifts, support their riding freedoms and get great deals on parts and gear at 112 Cycle Gear locations nationwide during AMA Go Ride! Month in April.
Those who join or renew with the AMA at a Cycle Gear location during April get a free AMA patch and an AMA koozie. AMA members who bring a friend to join also receive a free Stockton 15-in-one utility tool. Current AMA members also get a free "Touring Tips, Tricks and Techniques" booklet and an AMA decal just for showing their valid AMA cards.
AMA-chartered club representatives also can receive an AMA-chartered club patch for each club member they sign up to join the AMA. Clubs that sign up five new club members as AMA members earn an AMA flag for their club. (AMA-chartered club verification required for patch or flag.) In addition to these membership incentives, Cycle Gear is providing a range of discounts exclusive to AMA members. The discounts range from 10 percent to 20 percent off regularly priced items.
AMA Bike Nights at Cycle Gear are part of AMA Go Ride! Month. Every April, AMA Go Ride! Month celebrates the riding season by highlighting the fun recreational riding opportunities on the AMA calendar, from dual-sport events to poker runs to swap meets to road rallies. AMA Go Ride! Month is the AMA's reminder that motorcycling is the best way to experience this great country. Learn more about AMA Go Ride! Month in the April issue of American Motorcyclist, the official journal of the AMA. For more information about AMA Bike Nights at Cycle Gear, see www.americanmotorcyclist.com/amabikenight.
Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA and Polaris Industries Inc. are pleased to announce that Polaris Industries has become an AMA business member, and owners of Victory or Indian brand motorcycles can opt into a new AMA affinity program that includes Victory- or Indian-themed membership cards.
Other available AMA affinity membership cards include: KTM, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Star, U.S. Armed Forces, Woman Rider, Scooter and ATV. Companies that are interested in establishing an affinity relationship with the AMA are invited to contact the AMA Member Services at (800) 262-5646.
Pickerington, Ohio: AMA Members now have privileged access to revolutionary Sena Technology products for less, thanks to an exclusive discount from the AMA's newest member-benefit partner. AMA members receive a 15 percent discount off Sena Technology products purchased at www.sena.com. The code for activating the discount is available in the Members Only section of www.americanmotorcyclist.com.
Sena Technology's creations are highly engineered solutions focused on distinct motorcycle and outdoor sports needs and perspectives. As an example, the company's Prism Bluetooth "audio action camera" interfaces seamlessly with Sena communication units to allow riders to share a unique mix of voice and visual.
In addition to providing this special member benefit, Sena Technology is sponsoring a number of AMA riding series in 2015. Sena is the title sponsor of AMA Flash Tours, a supporting sponsor of the AMA Long Rider Program, a supporting sponsor of the AMA Premier Touring Series, a supporting sponsor of the Beta AMA National Dual Sport Series and a supporting sponsor of the Yamaha Super Ténéré National Adventure Riding Series. For information on all AMA recreational riding events and series, see www.americanmotorcyclist.com/riding.
For a full list of Sena Technology products and full descriptions of their functions, see www.sena.com.
AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association Government Relations Department. Designed to inform motorcyclists of rights-related issues and events in the United States and around the world. AMA News & Notes welcomes your input. Suggestions and editorial contributions can be sent to AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris.
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