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
SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has given the Bureau of Land Management as long as three years to conduct a phased inventory of 4,000 miles of off-highway-vehicle routes in south central Utah. In a "remedy" order, U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball directed the BLM to conduct a new analysis of archaeological sites and artifacts and the potential effect on them from OHV use.
In November 2013, Kimball rejected parts of the 2008 Richfield Resource Management Plan that designated OHV routes through about 1.9 million acres, but left the plan in place during the court proceedings. Before the 2008 plan went into effect, 77 percent of the land had unrestricted access.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Transportation has called for additional safety requirements for motorcycle helmets to reduce the use of “novelty helmets” that offer little protection in a crash. The DOT proposal includes standards for helmet thickness, compression ability and other features. Novelty helmets generally cover less head area and are made of less impact-resistant material compared to DOT certified helmets, according to the DOT.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2016 would delay the listing of the greater sage-grouse as an endangered species. The language included in NDAA would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the bird for 10 years, giving adequate time for effective state management plans to be developed and put into effect. The bill passed the U.S. House, 269-151.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration moved May 28 to limit petroleum drilling in parts of the sage-grouse habitat, a move that could delay a planned October announcement by the U.S. Interior Department declaring the bird “endangered.” The plan announced by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell would create buffers around sage-grouse breeding grounds on about 2 million acres of mostly federal land.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Motorcyclist fatalities appear to have dropped for the second straight year, according to preliminary 2014 data from the Governors Highway Safety Association. GHSA projects the final motorcyclist fatality total for 2014 will be 4,584 – about 1.8 percent less than the 4,668 recorded in 2013. This will be the second straight year in which this number has decreased, and the third decrease since 1997.
GHSA adjusts its numbers to account for underreporting. The report includes preliminary data from each state and the District of Columbia for the first nine months of 2014. Compared to the first nine months of 2013, motorcyclist fatalities decreased in 27 states, increased in 19 states, and remained the same in four states plus the District of Columbia, according to the report authored by Allan Willams, former chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Black Box Privacy Protection Act, introduced by U.S. Reps. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), would protect motorcyclists’ rights by requiring manufacturers to prominently disclose to consumers whether an event data recorder, commonly known as a black box, is installed on their motorcycles.
The bill – H.R. 2526 -- would clarify that the owner of the motorcycle owns the black box data and that the data may not be accessed without the permission of the owner. This bill also would require that manufacturers provide consumers with the option of controlling the recording function in automobiles or motorcycles that are equipped with black boxes, allowing owners could turn the recorder on or off.
HAYWARD, Calif. -- The Preliminary General Plan and associated environmental documentation for the Carnegie State Vehicle Recreation Area are open for review and comment. This important SVRA has been part of the California State Parks system since 1980, when the site was purchased by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Prior to that, the 1,500-plus acres was privately owned and enjoyed by generations of motorized recreationists, including a period when it was operated as a private motorcycle park.
The expansion properties were purchased nearly 20 years ago, exclusively using OHV Trust Funds monies. The purchase of the 3,100 acres of adjacent lands was done specifically to provide expanded OHV recreation opportunities and was reviewed and approved by the state legislature at that time. The General Plan provides an opportunity to help shape the future of OHV recreation at this important facility. Additional opportunities for OHV recreation at the Carnegie SVRA enjoy widespread support from the majority of the local citizens, and the AMA is urging the State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division to continue its excellent record of stewardship and service to the general public.
DOVER, Del. -- The Motorcycle Rider Education Advisory Committee would be continued under State Senate Concurrent Resolution 8. The committee must meet at least quarterly to monitor the Motorcycle Rider Education Program, assess future needs and recommend program improvements.
LINCOLN, Neb. – Distracted driving would be the focus of a committee created under a bill under consideration by the state Legislature. L.R. 337 calls for examination of issues associated with texting or using handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle. Among the topics to be addressed: the dangers of distracted driving; the efficacy of current Nebraska law; the complications involved in enforcing a primary offense of distracted driving; and legislative action taken by other states.
RALEIGH, N.C. – The state House Rules Committee defeated a helmet bill that would have allowed riders 21 or older to choose whether to wear a helmet while riding. The bill also would have required passing motorists to provide at least 3 feet of clearance at 30 mph and an additional foot of clearance for each additional 10 mph.
SALEM. Ore. – Gov. Kate Brown signed the state’s “dead red” bill into law, allowing motorcyclists and bicyclists to proceed through a red traffic signal if they have waited through a full cycle and the light failed to change. The bill passed both the state’s legislative houses on unanimous votes.
At the same time, the Oregon House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development killed a bill that would have made lane splitting legal in Oregon.
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Increased penalties for distracted driving are part of H.B. 399, introduced by state Rep. Jaret Gibbons (D-Beaver County). The bill would apply to drivers found guilty of causing the death of another during a traffic crash in which the driver was texting. The crime would be considered a second-degree felony. If serious bodily harm occurs, but no death, the crime would also be considered a second-degree felony. The law would be called “Daniel’s Law,” after Daniel Gallatin, who was killed by a texting driver in a 2013 crash.
Also, H.B. 198, sponsored by 28 state representatives, would amend the state’s Lemon Law to include motorcycles. The consumer protections enacted under the 1984 Automobile Lemon Law specifically excluded motorcycles from the definition of “new motor vehicle.”
AUSTIN, Texas – The misspending or misallocation of dedicated revenue is under scrutiny by state legislators, who have identified more than $4 billion in accounts that are used only to balance the budget each year. Included is an estimated $18 million in unspent funds collected $5 at a time from motorcyclists’ license fees. The fee revenue was intended for motorcycle safety, training and education programs. But no money has been spent from the account for nearly 10 years. The Texas House has passed a bill package (J.R. 111) aimed at slowly weaning the state from reliance on such unallocated account balances and either spend the money for its intended purpose or stop collecting the fees. The bill package also would bring additional transparency to the state budgeting process.
BOULDER, Colo. – Electric motorcycle and scooter sales are expected to total 55 million worldwide between 2015 and 2024, according to a study released by Navigant Research. The study examined the global markets for the vehicles and the related battery technologies. Navigant reports that increasing interest in electric two-wheelers from large manufacturers, such as Polaris Industries, Harley-Davidson Motor Co. and Yamaha helped raise projections. In addition, technological advances are making battery more efficient and less expensive. The result is an expectation that sales will experience stable and continuous growth for the coming 10 years.
SALT LAKE CITY -- The Tooele County Commission is searching for a new operator for the Miller Motorsports Park, while the Miller family is considering other options for the land nearby. The family is ending its lease on the racetrack in October as part of a company reorganization. County officials hope to find another business partner to take over the lease on the 500 acres of land. “Our major interest is to enter into a partnership, whether that be an outright sale or a lease” with an entity whose “core competency” is running a facility like the one the Millers are abandoning, said County Commissioner Sean Milne, while speaking to the The Salt Lake Tribune. So far, only a handful of the interested parties have shown the capability of running a business like Miller Motorsports Park, the newspaper reported.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – BRP is recalling about 12,500 model year 2008 through 2015 Can-Am Mini DS ATVs for two different problems that could cause crash hazards. Model year 2008 through 2014 DS 70 ATVs fail to meet requirements pertaining to the unrestricted maximum speed of the vehicle. Model year 2008 through 2015 DS 70 and DS 90 ATVs fail to meet requirements pertaining to parking brakes.
The recalled vehicles are youth model ATVs and have engines sizes of 70 cubic centimeters and 90 cubic centimeters. The ATVs were manufactured in Vietnam and sold at Can-Am dealers in the United States from July 2007 through January 2015 for between $1,800 and $2,800. They were sold in black and yellow. "Can-Am DS" and the engine size is on both sides of the vehicle's fairing. “Can-Am” appears in white letters on both sides of the seat.
Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the recalled ATVs and contact a BRP dealer to schedule a free repair. BRP is notifying registered consumers directly.
VICTORIA, B.C. – Mandatory off-road vehicle registration is being deferred from June 1 to Nov. 1, 2015, providing extra time for off-road users to prepare for the registration while regulatory details are being finalized. In addition, an Insurance Corporation of British Columbia-issued numbered sticker will be available in the early fall for users who prefer stickers rather than plates. Full details for the mandatory registration and safety provisions are expected to be available in the early fall and become effective Nov. 1. In the meantime, voluntary one-time registration for operating an off-road vehicle on Crown land is CA$48.
LEIPZIG, Germany – The number of road deaths continues to fall, but an international road safety group says strong road-safety disparities exist among countries. IRTAD, the permanent working group on road safety at the International Transport Forum, reports that preliminary data for 2014 indicates road deaths fell in 15 of 28 member countries, while eight reported an increase.
Since 2000 and 2013, motorcyclist fatalities worldwide decreased by 22 percent, according to the report.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days – the country's grandest rally of old motorcycles and the people who love them – is scheduled for July 10-12 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. This year’s event celebrates the 25th anniversary of the American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum.
"The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum has been showcasing motorcycling's greatest heroes for 25 years," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. "We're proud of the work the museum accomplishes to shine a spotlight on motorcycling's best and brightest. We invite the entire motorcycling community to join us this July for vintage racing, bike shows, seminars and more as we recognize all our Hall of Famers for their accomplishments."
Tickets to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days are available now to the general public through www.midohio.com. AMA members can get a special discount through June 5 by calling the AMA directly at (800) 262-5646. Kids 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult.
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 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.
Sign up and stay informed: AMA News & Notes keeps motorcyclists up-to-date on hot topics, news affecting the motorcycling community and opportunities to communicate with elected officials. Click here to check the “Sign me up for News & Notes” box at the bottom of the page.
AMA Action Alerts notify motorcyclists when and how to make a difference on important issues. Click here to see the most recent AMA Action Alerts, and click here to sign up.
Readers can also sign up to receive AMA e-newsletters: AMA Extra includes a summary of AMA news, ATV E-News includes a summary of ATV-related news and Hall of Fame Insider focuses on the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
Protect your right to ride! Volunteering is easy, and it’s rewarding. To learn how you can help, visit online at www.americanmotorcyclist.com > Rights > Get Involved.
Follow the AMA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americanmotorcyclist, on Twitter @ama_rights and on Instagram at @ama_riding.