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. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its proposed standards for ethanol in the nation’s fuel supplies, raising the amount required by more than 9 percent between 2014 and 2017. By increasing the amounts of ethanol into America’s gasoline marketplace, the EPA will exceed the “blend wall” by hundreds of millions of gallons. The blend wall is the point at which no more ethanol can be blended without creating higher blends like E15 and above – the effect of which will be to limit the E0 and E10 fuel supply. The EPA is pushing higher ethanol limits despite its own acknowledgment that the market cannot consume these higher amounts due to “infrastructure and market-related factors.”
At the same time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a $100 million plan to subsidize blender pumps for dispensing E15 and E85 fuel.
The EPA calls for higher ethanol blended fuels and the USDA spends taxpayer dollars to make it happen, despite knowing that none of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs in use in the United States is approved to use E15 or higher ethanol blends. Using those fuels in motorcycles and ATVs is illegal and may cause engine and fuel system damage and void the manufacturer's warranty.
Sign the AMA petition against the further spread of E15 fuel mandated and subsidized by the federal government. The AMA will include your name with its comments to the EPA on July 26.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) urged fellow senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) to include language from her “Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act” in the surface transportation authorization bill. Thune is chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Nelson is the ranking member. Shaheen’s bill – S. 127 – would prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from providing grants to be used for motorcycle-only checkpoints or programs to check for helmet use.
BERKELEY, Calif. – A new study by the University of California Berkeley shows that motorcyclists who split lanes in heavy traffic are significantly less likely to be struck from behind by other motorists and are less likely to suffer head or torso injuries, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.
Researchers, led by Dr. Thomas Rice of the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC), reviewed nearly 6,000 motorcycle-involved traffic collisions between June 2012 and August 2013, including 997 in which the riders were splitting lanes at the time of the crash.
Among the U.C. Berkeley findings:
- Speed differentials up to 15 mph were not associated with changes in the frequency of injury;
- 69 percent of lane-splitting motorcyclists were exceeding the traffic speed by 15 mph or less;
- Compared to riders who were not splitting lanes, lane-splitting motorcyclists were markedly less likely to suffer head injury (9 percent vs. 17 percent), torso injury (19 percent vs. 29 percent) or fatal injury (1.2 percent vs. 3 percent);
- Lane-splitting riders were significantly less likely to be rear-ended than non-lane-splitting riders (2.6 percent vs. 4.6 percent);
- Lane-splitting motorcyclists were more likely to be wearing a full-face helmet than other motorcyclists (81 percent vs. 67 percent);
- Compared to other motorcyclists, lane-splitting riders were more often riding on weekdays and during commuting hours, were using better helmets and were traveling at slower speeds;
- Lane-splitting riders were less likely to have been using alcohol.
The AMA reminds all riders that, where allowed, lane splitting is still a choice. To read the complete AMA position statement, visit http://americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/PositionStatements/LaneSplitting.aspx.
AUGUSTA, Maine – Gov. Paul R. LePage signed a law that requires driver education courses to include instruction about operating motor vehicles in situations in which a “vulnerable user” – which includes motorcyclists -- is sharing the road with a car or truck.
LANSING, Mich. – The fine for riding a motorcycle without an endorsement would increase dramatically under H.B. 4651, sponsored by state Rep. Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights). Under current law, the penalty is a fine of up to a $100 and/or 90 days in jail. This proposal would raise the maximum fine to $500, with up to 90 days in jail for a first violation, and up to $1,000 and/or a one-year sentence for a subsequent violation.
JEFFERSON CITY, MO. – Auxiliary lighting would be permitted on motorcycles under H.B. 650, sponsored by state Rep. Robert Cornejo (R-St. Peters). The bill would allow amber and white lights, LED pods and strips that do not blink, flash or oscillate and that are directed toward the engine and drivetrain. H.B. 650 was unanimously approved by the legislature and sent to Gov. Jay Nixon for his signature.
TRENTON, N.J. – A.B. 4541, introduced by Assemblymen Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris County) and Declan J. O’Scanlon Jr. (R-Red Bank), would eliminate the registration renewal requirements for passenger cars, motorcycles and noncommercial trucks. Registration would be required only for transfer of ownership.
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The AMA and the New York Motorcycle & Scooter Task Force are working to convince the Metropolitan Transit Authority to allow motorcycles to use the Manhattan-bound, two-way, Hugh L. Carey Tunnel tube during the weekday morning rush hours. The authority is reviewing an unwritten policy that prohibits this use.
AUSTIN, Texas – Effective Sept. 1, money in the state motorcycle education fund may be used to conduct motorcycle safety and “share the road” campaigns. The fund previously was restricted to administering the motorcycle operator training and safety program. The fund holds more than $18 million, yet the state has not spent any of it since 2005, while using the deposits to help balance the state budget.
AUSTIN, Texas – Awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature is S.B. 1918, which allows ground-effects LED lighting on the body of motorcycles. The bill -- which would permit amber or white lights that do not flash -- has been approved by the state legislature.
AUSTIN, Texas – Effective in May, the state has an official definition for “autocycles.” S.B. 449 created the “autocycle” category for vehicles with no more than three wheels on the ground, seats instead of saddles and steering wheels in place of the handlebars. The autocycles are designed to meet federal safety requirements for motorcycles. Operators do not have to complete motorcycle training, but they must comply with state motorcycle helmet laws.
COSTA MESA, Calif. – MotoAmerica has announced that the Armed Forces Foundation has been named as an official non-profit partner of the 2015 and 2016 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Race Series. The partnership officially began at the June 26-28 Miller Motorsports Park event, with the Armed Forces Foundation and MotoAmerica hosting members of the military during what is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) month.
The Armed Forces Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to supporting and advocating for active-duty military personnel, National Guardsmen, Reservists, military families, and veterans. The AFF returns 95 cents of every dollar raised to service members and their families.
IRVINE, Calif. – The Motorcycle Industry Council promoted long-time staff member Ty van Hooydonk to vice president, communications. Van Hooydonk has worked, and will continue to work, on the industry’s mainstream media and market expansion programs, including Discover Today’s Motorcycling.
“Since 2001, Ty has been heavily involved in promoting motorcycling and rider safety, and he’s instrumental in many of our biggest media placements for two-wheeling, which are mostly the result of building solid relationships,” said MIC President Tim Buche.
Prior to his hiring as MIC communications director, van Hooydonk was a director at PainePR in Orange County, Calif., senior account executive at Burson-Marsteller public relations in Los Angeles, news editor at Cycle magazine and associate editor at Cycle News.
MUNICH, Germany – BMW is planning a pilot project this year to use street lights as charging stations for electric vehicles. The lights would use the existing local power authority’s electrical network. BMW said it has made two prototype “Light and Charge” street lights that combine efficient light emitting diodes (LED) with the company's ChargeNow recharging stations for electric cars.
"Seamless charging infrastructure is essential if we want to see more electric vehicles on the road in our cities in the future," Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said.
Drivers will be able to pay to charge their cars via a mobile phone app. Two of the charging street lights are already installed in front of the BMW headquarters.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2015 includes six individuals who made significant contributions to the motorcycle lifestyle, on the track and off. The inductees include Motorcycle road racer John Kocinski; former Harley-Davidson Motor Co. President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Richard Teerlink; Yamaha race team manager Keith McCarty; dirt-track racer Alex Jorgensen; multi-time off-road racing champion Rodney Smith; and entrepreneur and patron John Parham.
The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Oct. 17 is open to the public and, for the second consecutive year, takes place in conjunction with the AIMExpo -- the fast-growing and high-impact event that brings together consumers, dealers, manufacturers, and the world press in one location for global product launches, demo rides, motorcycling seminars, and much more.
Tickets to the 2015 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are available now at www.motorcyclemuseum.org. Regular entry is $25 per person. VIP tickets that include an exclusive reception, reserved seating and the AIMExpo show admission are $90 per person.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The power of local advocates is the AMA’s greatest resource in the fight to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. To highlight the relationship between the AMA and local advocates, the AMA has launched the “Local Action Center,” which is intended to highlight the efforts of AMA members and staff on local issues, showcase the depth and breadth of AMA actions and target local governments. The Local Action Center can be found at http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/rights/issueslegislation.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio – AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days welcomes AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame member David Aldana as the grand marshal for the event, which is scheduled for July 10-12 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Aldana, known for his trademark black leathers with a white skeleton print, will meet and greet fans at this year's event, and also will compete in the vintage motocross and dirt track programs of the AMA Vintage Grand Championship.
For 2015, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is a fundraiser for the facility, which houses the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame and other thematic exhibits that celebrate motorcycling's heritage.
The museum was founded in 1990 to provide a permanent home to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which celebrates and preserves the rich tradition of motorcycling in America through the recognition of the sport's greatest heroes. Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days are donated to the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization tasked with funding the operation of the museum and Hall of Fame activities.
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days also includes 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, while stunt shows, such as the American Motor Drome Wall of Death, and demo rides of current production bikes keep attendees entertained. Seminars feature some of the country's leading experts on numerous motorcycling topics.
To learn more about the event, see photos and read stories from past AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, visit www.amavintagemotorcycledays.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 Government Affairs Editor, Jim Witters.
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