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.: U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced S.B. 424, the Wi-Fi Innovation Act. The bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to open the reserved spectrum to unlicensed devices in the upper 5.8 GHz and lower 5.9 GHz band, eliminating the FCC and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s ability to ensure the vehicle-to-vehicle technology is free from interference. Companion legislation, H.R. 821, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Reps. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.).
The AMA opposes these bills and shares the Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s position that the testing plan for the use of unlicensed devices in the 5.8 GHz to 5.9 GHz band “should proceed without pre-emptive legislation that sets arbitrary deadlines and restrictive parameters.”
Washington, D.C.: The U.S. Department of the Interior has announced the annual list of dates when the public can access the nation’s land without entry paying fees.
Washington, D.C.: Senate Bill 228, introduced by U.S. Sen. Crapo (R-Idaho), would require that the president receive congressional approval and compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act before designating new National Monuments. New monument designations have often led to the closure of off-highway vehicle trails.
The AMA believes this would be an important step toward ensuring all affected stakeholders have an opportunity to be heard before these important designations are made. It would also require public input before management changes are made to designated areas. The designation of a National Monument is significant for recreational opportunities and local economies. While there are cultural and historical landmarks that deserve the designation of National Monument, the AMA believes Congress and the public must be consulted before any action is taken.
Companion legislation, H.R. 900, has also been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho).
Washington, D.C.: The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act, which would allow more volunteer efforts to assist the U.S. Forest Service in maintaining its 157,000 miles of trails, has been introduced by U.S. Reps. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.). The act – H.R. 845 – requires a national strategy to maximize the use of volunteers and partners and addresses liability concerns that restrict outside groups and individuals working on the trails, specifically including motorized trails as a priority.
In June 2013, a Government Accountability Office report outlining the immense challenges to the Forest Service recognized the importance of volunteers to trail maintenance and recommended taking steps to improve the management of volunteers. The Forest Service is only able to maintain to its standards about one quarter of the total miles of trails used for hiking, biking and other activities while nearly two-thirds of the trails receive no maintenance at all.
Borrego Springs, Calif.: The Bureau of Land Management and California State Parks are preparing to release a joint General Plan/Recreation Area Management Plan/California Desert Conservation Area Land Use Plan Amendment for Ocotillo Wells in early March. Two public meetings have already been scheduled:
I. Ocotillo Wells SVRA
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Ocotillo Wells SVRA Visitor Center
Discovery Center Building
5172 Highway 78
Borrego Springs, CA 92004
II. Temecula Meeting
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Temecula Conference Center
41000 Main Street
Temecula, CA 92590
For more information, visit http://www.planocotillowells.com/ or contact Tina Robinson, General Plan Project Manager, (760) 767-1302 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sacramento, Calif.: A.B. 334, introduced by Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), 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. The bill would require all local law enforcement agencies to adopt a written policy designed to condemn and prevent the profiling of motorcycle riders and to review and audit any existing policies to ensure that those policies do not enable or foster the practice of profiling motorcycle riders.
Also A.B. 51, introduced by Assemblymen Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) and Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), would authorize a motorcycle to be driven between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane if the speed of traffic is 30 mph or less and the motorcycle is driven no more than 10 mph faster than the speed of other traffic. These provisions would not authorize a motorcycle to be driven in contravention of other laws relating to the safe operation of a vehicle.
Annapolis, Md.: H.B. 917 and S.B. 716 would prohibit law enforcement officers in the state of Maryland from conducting checkpoints that specifically target motorcyclists.
Nashville, Tenn.: H.B. 1102 and S.B. 1281 would allow lane splitting. Under the bills, motorcyclists would be permitted to split lanes as long as traffic is moving slower than 45 mph. The maneuver would not be permitted school zones when warning flashers are active.
Lane splitting, also known as "lane sharing" or "filtering," is the act of riding between lanes of cars. When done effectively and intelligently, the riding technique has been shown to help decrease traffic congestion, as well as a rider's risk of being the victim of a rear-end collision. The practice is common in most countries around the world and is seen as one of the major benefits of motorcycling in the traffic-choked cities of Europe and Asia.
Santa Fe, N.M.: The Senate Public Affairs Committee has voted 4-3 against S.B. 327, which would have required adult riders to wear a helmet. The same committee also voted against S.B. 308, which would have mandated additional registration fees for motorcyclists who chose to ride without a helmet. Two Democrats and two Republicans joined to stop both bills, saying they couldn't ignore the importance of free choice.
Albany, N.Y.: Assembly Bill 3147 and Senate Bill 3764, requires the municipal police training council to ensure that issues related to motorcycle profiling are addressed in basic law enforcement training in conjunction with existing training regarding profiling.
Austin, Texas: H.B. 813, introduced by state Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr. (D-Mission), would allow motorcycle riders to ride between lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, if traffic is traveling 20 mph or slower, and if the motorcyclist is not traveling more than 5 mph faster than other traffic. Lane splitting would be prohibited in school zones and in areas where the posted speed limit is 20 mph or less. And riders and passengers must wear helmets.
Also S. B. 442, introduced by state Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin), omits the helmet provision, but restricts lane splitting to limited-access or controlled-access highways.
Olympia, Wash.: S.B. 5623, introduced by state Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch), would allow the operator of a motorcycle to overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken, as long as the motorcycle is traveling at a rate of speed no more than 10 mph over the speed of traffic flow and not more than 35 mph. The bill also states that any operator of a motor vehicle who intentionally impedes or attempts to prevent any operator of a motorcycle from operating his or her motorcycle as permitted under this subsection is guilty of a traffic infraction.
Also S.B. 5205, introduced by state Sens. Randi Becker (R-Eatonville), Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake), and Linda Evans Parlette (R-Wenatchee), would allow married spouses to combine volunteer hours on agency-sanctioned volunteer projects to be redeemed for a single complimentary discover pass. A $30 discover pass is required for vehicles to park at any recreation site or lands or to operate on any recreation site or lands.
AMA statement on lane splitting: Perhaps one of the most dangerous situations for any motorcyclist is being caught in congested traffic, where stop-and-go vehicles, distracted and inattentive vehicle operators, and environmental conditions increase the risk of physical contact with another vehicle or hazard. Reducing a motorcyclist's exposure to vehicles that are frequently accelerating and decelerating on congested roadways can be one way to reduce front- and rear-end collisions for those most vulnerable in traffic. A 2014 study conducted in California supports this assertion by demonstrating that motorcyclists engaging in responsible lane splitting were less likely to be rear ended, suffer a head injury or be involved in a fatal crash. To read the complete AMA position statement supporting lane splitting, visit http://americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/PositionStatements/LaneSplitting.aspx.
Irvine, Calif.: The Marketplace Events Motorcycle Group, producers of the highly acclaimed American International Motorcycle Expo – one of North America’s fastest-growing trade shows – announced plans to produce a new series of events directed at motorcycle and powersports consumers. The shows will be timed to promote 2016 model year products. Additional details on the consumer motorcycle show series will be announced in the coming months.
Murrieta, Calif.: Make plans to join KTM staff and enthusiasts for the 12th Annual KTM Adventure Rider Rally in Crested Butte, Colo. on Sept. 18-20.
The KTM Adventure Rider Rally provides riders of all skill levels an opportunity to ride with and learn from adventurers from all over the world. The KTM Adventure Rider Rally is designed for KTM 640, 690, 950, 990, 1190 and 1290 Adventure and Enduro owners but is open to all brands of street-legal motorcycles.
The KTM Adventure Rider Rally is entering its twelfth year as the only national festival for KTM owners and enthusiasts.
Participants will learn from KTM experts as they cover a technical overview of the new 1290 Super Adventure model in between days of dual-sport riding. In addition, KTM will host free demo rides for all participants aboard the KTM street line of motorcycles including: 690 Enduro R, 1190 Adventure, 1190 Adventure R and the 1290 Super Adventure. Select meals are included throughout the event. The rally includes appearances from KTM professional athletes including Andrew Short, Mike Lafferty, Russell Bobbitt and Chris Fillmore as well as Saturday awards night, games and more.
Interested participants can learn more about the rally and register now at: http://www.ktmorangeevents.com/.
Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA has published the 2015 sporting regulations governing the professional road-racing classes for MotoAmerica, the new home of the AMA Superbike Series. The sporting regulations cover race-day procedures, event operational standards, scheduling conventions and the qualifying process and were designed to create excitement for American road-racing fans.
The rules are available at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/racing/roadracing/roadracingrules.aspx.
Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2015 AMA Awards. The six motorcyclists selected by the AMA Board of Directors have made outstanding contributions to the motorcycling community and their efforts support the AMA mission to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling.
The AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious of the awards and is presented to Charles Umbenhauer of Dover, Pa., for 2015. Umbenhauer has been the state legislative coordinator and lobbyist for ABATE of Pennsylvania for more than 30 years and has played a key role in securing and protecting funding of the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program.
Other 2015 award recipients include:
- AMA Bessie Stringfield Award -- Delvene Manning, event manager of the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials
- AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award -- Peter Cline, founder of VETMotorsports
- AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award -- Staff Sgt. William Pendleton II, Motorcycle Safety Program Manager of the 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
- AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award -- Desiree Bates, campaign organizer of the Fight For Ocotillo Wells SVRA
- Friend of the AMA Award - Ken Wahlster, founder of BikeBandit.com
For more information about the AMA Awards Program, to see past recipients and learn how to submit individual’s names for future consideration, visit: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/about/amaawardsprogram.
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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