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.
National and Regional News
Washington, D.C.: The U.S. Forest Service has investigated four incidents in which vandals endangered the lives of motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle riders by burying spikes along trails. The spiked strips, which resemble heavy barbed wire, can cause flat tires and loss of control, resulting in a crash. The booby traps also threaten the safety of hikers and horseback riders, and even the wildlife that travel along trail corridors.
Two incidents came to the attention of the AMA in May through AMA Life Member Jerry Abboud and the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition. The AMA then began working with COHVCO and Western states politicians to ensure the matter was fully investigated. In September, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) wrote a letter to Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell citing concerns about the dangerous and illegal trail spikes. Bennet's letter was cosigned by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
Joe L. Meade, director of recreation, heritage and volunteer resources at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, responded to the senators on Dec. 8. He reported that the Forest Service received four reports in the past five years — two in Colorado and two in Arizona.
In May, the USFS provided guidelines for anyone discovering booby traps in the trails:
- Document the location with latitude and longitude, if available.
- While onsite, report the device to the nearest Forest Service office: https://hrm.gdcii.com/directory/
- Follow the Forest Service directions.
- If the Forest Service cannot be contacted, conspicuously mark the site to warn other trail users or carefully remove the device.
The AMA also requests that information be emailed to email@example.com. Please include the location of the device, a description of the device, the date of discovery and any other information deemed important or appropriate. Individuals with information about the found booby traps are also asked to leave a message on the Forest Service Law Enforcement Tip Line at (303) 275-5266.
Washington, D.C.: As a result of urgings from the AMA, the Community Preventive Services Task Force of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is reopening its meetings to the public. In 2013, the CDC task force decided to exclude the general public from its meetings, citing a provision in the 2010 Affordable Care Act that broadened the CDC’s scope and permitted closed-door sessions.
The AMA has repeatedly objected to the CDC’s expanded focus on motorcycle safety and has urged the agency to allow expert federal agencies, such as the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, to address roadway and vehicle safety issues. Following written protests from the AMA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services decided in September to again allow public participation in task force meetings. The meetings are now open to those who wish to attend in person in Atlanta, or view a live webcast. Web participants may submit questions or comments. Information about the task force and its meetings is available at http://www.thecommunityguide.org/about/taskforcemeetings.html.
Washington, D.C.: The National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 and the so-called CRomnibus spending bill, passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by the President, include provisions beneficial to riders of off-highway motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, but the AMA cautions that new Wilderness designations may infringe on access to public lands.
The NDAA, H.R. 3979, is the comprehensive legislation to authorize the budget authority of the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy. The $584.2 billion bill contains more than 1,600 pages of regulations, policies and programs that authorize and govern the U.S. military. For 2015, more than 100 public lands bills were inserted into the NDAA.
Benefits in the NDAA include the allocation of 275 acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management to Elko County, Nev., for a motocross park and the promise of new opportunities for off-highway-vehicle recreation on public lands.
Also, more than 10,000 acres of land near the city of Las Vegas – commonly referred to the Nellis Sand Dunes – received the status of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area, with an additional 960 acres being conveyed to Clark County, Nev., for the Clark County Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area. This land is only permitted “to provide a suitable location for the establishment of a centralized off-road vehicle recreation park in the County.”
Additionally, language from S. 841 and H.R. 1839, the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, was included. The language guarantees OHV access in the Hermosa Creek area, a prospect that had been threatened by a recently released USFS Resource Management Plan. Aside from the additional riding areas and protections in the NDAA, the bill also designates about 245,000 acres of new federal Wilderness that could result in the closing of some off-highway-vehicle trails.
Meanwhile, H.R. 83 (CRomnibus), the $1.1 trillion bipartisan deal to fund the majority of the government through the fiscal year, includes a provision that prohibits the Secretary of the Interior from writing or issuing protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 regarding the greater sage-grouse, the Columbia River basin distinct population segment of greater sage grouse, the bi-state distinct population segment of greater sage grouse, or the Gunnison sage grouse. It is expected that delaying the listing of the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act will allow more time for state and local entities to coordinate and implement local solutions.
Sacramento, Calif.: AB 51, introduced by State Assemblyman Bill Quirk, would authorize a motorcycle to be driven between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane if the speed of traffic is 35 miles per hour or less and the motorcycle is driven no more than 10 miles per hour faster than the speed of traffic. The “lane-splitting” bill would provide that these provisions do not authorize a motorcycle to be driven in contravention of other laws relating to the safe operation of a vehicle.
Helena, Mont.: House Bill 78 would protect the privacy of all drivers — including motorcyclists — by codifying provisions stating that only owners, leases and authorized representatives can gain access to recorded data in the event of a crash. The legislation would cover all recording devices, including cell phones, event data recorders (“black boxes”), geographic information systems and all other devices that collect, store or transmit recorded data. If passed, this would become one of the nation’s strongest driver-privacy acts. Police with proper authorization could collect any of the aforementioned information.
Austin, Texas: A bill would institute a new vehicle miles traveled tax on motorists across the Lone Star state. TX H 151 would levy a one-cent tax per mile a vehicle travels. Miles traveled would be determined by visiting an authorized station for an odometer reading.
Cypress, Calif.: Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., has contributed more than $40,000 in cash and equipment to five local riding groups to support OHV access in their respective areas.
The awards — part of Yamaha’s Outdoor Access Initiative third quarter funding cycle of GRANTs (Guaranteeing Responsible Access to our Nation’s Trails) — coincided with the company’s participation at the 87th National Future Farmers of America Convention and Expo in October 2014, where Yamaha promoted safe, responsible ATV and Side-by-Side vehicle use to future farmers.
Yamaha also annually sponsors the National Agricultural Proficiency Award for Outdoor Recreation, which this year went to Garret Eugene Leeds of Ohio for developing outdoor recreational activities as an income producing enterprise on his uncle’s farm, which improved marketing abilities and social media exposure.
The third quarter Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative GRANT recipients are:
- Aroostook Riders ATV Club, Maine
- Coastal Off-Road Riders Association (CORRA), S.C.
- Mountwood Park ATV Adventures, W.Va.
- Rice Creek Trail Association, Minn.
- Vermont ATV Sportsman’s Association (VASA)
Yamaha GRANTs support safe, responsible riding and open, sustainable access to land, trails and riding areas for OHV users. The GRANT application form and guidelines for qualified local, state and federal projects are available online.
Sacramento, Calif.: Total Control Training Inc. has been awarded the contract for the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Established in 1994, the CMSP is the state’s official motorcycle safety training program and is administered by the California Highway Patrol. Instruction by TCTI begins Jan. 1. CMSP programs cater to new riders of all ages, with courses that combine classroom instruction and practical riding exercises. Motorcycles and helmets are provided free of charge. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive a certificate that waives the state’s riding-skills test requirement. CMSP expects to train 65,000 motorcyclists a year and operates more than 120 training sites throughout California. More information about TCTI and the CMSP program can be found at TotalControlTraining.net
Indianapolis, Ind.: The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has been awarded a four-year contract by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to provide motorcycle training, beginning March 1. The contract award marks the end of the state’s training relationship with ABATE of Indiana, which had been training riders since the 1970s. According to Jay Jackson, ABATE executive director, more than 125,000 students completed its courses during that time. The ABATE board of directors voted not to renew its contract.
The MSF will oversee Indiana’s statewide training locations, provide an Indiana-dedicated website and online class enrollment function and administer all aspects of training, including MSF’s extensive quality control program. Indiana law requires would-be motorcycle riders to first obtain a learner’s permit, and then pass a motorcycle skills test or present a certificate of completion from a BMV-approved motorcycle safety course.
After March 1, Hoosiers who pass the MSF Basic RiderCourse will not need to take Indiana’s on-cycle skills exam.
Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA recently announced the 2014 AMA Motorcyclists of the Year: AMA members Bryan Carroll and James Walker. Carroll and Walker directed and produced "Why We Ride," a documentary that promotes modern motorcycling across every discipline and is spearheading a new era of creativity in filmmaking about the sport.
The AMA Motorcyclist of the Year Award recognizes the person or persons who had the most profound impact within the motorcycling community in the previous 12 months. The AMA Board of Directors bestows the award annually.
Producer/director Carroll and producer Walker created a film that is one of motorcycling's great testimonials. Their effort came at an opportune time for motorcycling, reminding riders about their passion and promoting riding to others when motorcycle sales were at some of their lowest levels in decades.
A full account of Carroll and Walker's creation of "Why We Ride," as well as their personal stories about motorcycling, can be found in the January issue of American Motorcyclist, the official journal of the AMA.
Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA Government Relations Department is giving away sound testing kits to AMA Districts, club members and others who educate riders about sound. The kits contain a Type 2 sound meter, a tachometer, training materials, a spark-arrestor probe, personal protective equipment and a storage case. Kits are awarded through a competitive grant process. Nine kits will be awarded in 2015.
Applicants must complete a form and return it to the AMA Government Relations Department by March 31. Forms and additional information are available from Marie Wuelleh, government affairs specialist, at American Motorcyclist Association, 13515 Yarmouth Drive, Pickerington, OH 43147; at (614) 856-1900, ext. 1224; or at MWuelleh@ama-cycle.org. Applications are considered twice. So, those who submitted applications in 2014, but were not selected, need not submit applications to be considered for the 2015 grants.
Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA and MotoAmerica, the new home of the AMA Superbike Series, have announced updates to the rulebook for MotoAmerica, an AMA national championship series and an FIM North America championship. The changes include adding weight to motorcycles in the Superstock 1000 class and a change to the spare-motorcycle requirement in the Supersport class. The updated rules are available at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/racing/roadracing/roadracingrules.aspx.
The AMA also will publish approved equipment lists and requirements for suspension and electronics. There will be no fees associated with the application to include components to the approved equipment lists; and there will be no approved equipment lists other than the aforementioned suspension and electronics lists. To receive an application, please submit your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA has announced that the premier celebration of vintage motorcycling, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, will be July 10-12, 2015, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. A fundraiser for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days features classic motorcycles of all makes and styles, and honors the riders who made them famous.
Activities include the AMA Vintage Grand Championship, which features road racing, motocross, hare scrambles, trials and dirt-track racing. Another top attraction is North America's largest motorcycle swap meet with parts, bikes and memorabilia from all eras. Bike shows bring out examples of some of history's most beloved motorcycles. Stunt shows, such as the American Motor Drome Wall of Death, and demo rides of current production bikes keep attendees entertained, while seminars on numerous topics by noted motorcycling experts keep them informed.
AMA members who buy tickets directly from the AMA before May 29 receive an exclusive price discount. AMA members can call (800) 262-5646 to purchase a weekend pass for $45, a $5 savings off the regular advance rate, and a one-day pass for $25 for Friday or Saturday and $20 for Sunday, a $5 savings off the regular advance rate. There is no service charge for AMA members when purchasing through the AMA.
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is a family-friendly event. Children 12 and younger get in free with paying, supervising adults. All proceeds from the event benefit the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. The mission of the Hall of Fame, located on the AMA campus in Pickerington, Ohio, is to tell the stories and preserve the history of motorcycling's legends and heroes. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame's website at www.motorcyclemuseum.org.
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.
Protect your right to ride! Volunteering is easy, and it’s rewarding. To learn how you can help, visit us online at www.americanmotorcyclist.com > Rights > Get Involved.
Sign up and stay informed. Electronic AMA Action Alerts and AMA News & Notes keep you up-to-date on hot topics, news affecting the motorcycling community and opportunities to communicate with your elected officials. By signing up to receive AMA Action Alerts, you will be notified when and how you can make a difference on important issues. Click here to see the most recent AMA Action Alerts, and click here to sign up.
You can also sign up to receive the monthly electronic edition of AMA News & Notes. Plus, you can subscribe to our various e-newsletters: AMA Extra includes a summary of AMA news, ATV Extra includes a summary of ATV-related news and Hall of Fame Insider focuses on the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Other event specific e-newsletters go out at various times of the year.
Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americanmotorcyclist and on Twitter @ama_rights.