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
DENVER, Colo. – The Obama administration has declined to place the greater sage-grouse on the federal Endangered Species List. Such a listing could have resulted in severe restrictions on motorized off-road recreation on 173 million acres in the 11 Western states where the bird roams.
“The AMA joined Western governors and others in opposing the ‘endangered’ listing, believing that the bird can be protected by other means,” says Wayne Allard, AMA vice president of government relations. “The Obama administration acknowledged the successful efforts of federal and state officials, energy companies and ranchers to devise a plan that protects the greater sage-grouse habitat while allowing responsible recreation and other uses of the land.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three U.S. senators are urging federal agencies to work together to test the 5.9-gigahertz band to determine whether unlicensed technology, such as Wi-Fi, can share the spectrum allocated for intelligent transportation systems. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Corey Booker (D-N.J.) asked the Federal Communications Commission to work with the Department of Transportation and the Commerce Department to see if Wi-Fi and other technologies will interfere with vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A state Senate committee has passed a bill that would define and regulate autocycles. H.B. 37, sponsored by state Rep. Micky Hammon (R-Decatur), defines autocycle as a vehicle with three wheels on the ground that is equipped with a steering wheel, seating that does not require straddling a seat or saddle, but which was manufactured and certified to comply with federal safety requirements for a motorcycle. Autocycle drivers would not need a motorcycle endorsement. The bill would apply to the Slingshot built by Polaris, which is building a manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Ala. The bill has passed the House.
UKIAH, Calif. – The Knoxville Recreation Area is closed due to the Valley Fire. The temporary closing of the 17,700-acre district was announced Sept. 18. The Valley Fire is the fourth most destructive wildfire in California's history, forcing more than 12,000 people to evacuate their homes and causing at least three deaths. The fire has been burning since Sept. 12.
YREKA, Calif. – The Klamath National Forest completed improvements to two OHV areas and opened them to the public in September. The Juniper Flat OHV Area is in the Goosenest Ranger District and offers 48 acres of open terrain. The Humbug OHV Area is in the Happy Camp/Oak Knoll Ranger District and has 14 miles of trails. A second phase of the Juniper Flat area is scheduled to open in 2016, with additional improvements. Outside the OHV area, the Goosenest Ranger District offers 657 miles of road that also may be used by OHV riders.
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – A connector trail linking two sections of the Tabeguache long-distance trail was approved by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The connector links a 17-mile section of the Tabeguache Trail that had been blocked by a half-mile section of private land. Riders with licensed OHVs may now cross State Route 141 near Whitewater and continue on the 142-mile trail between Grand Junction and Montrose.
HELENA, Mont. – The state Legislature passed a law, effective Oct. 1, that increases the off-highway-vehicle temporary use permit fee for non-residents from $5 to $27 a year. The expected revenue increase will be used to support OHV trail maintenance, abate noxious weeds and increase OHV education and law enforcement.
HAMMONTON, N.J. – A Wharton State Forest Motorized Recreation Access Plan is under further review to ensure that it advances public safety, maximizes public access to the state forest, and protects the forest's unique environment, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The additional review comes after the DEP closed 398 miles of sand roads used by the OHV community, hunters, bicyclists and hikers. After a public outcry, the DEP relabeled the plan a “draft” and scheduled a public meeting for 6:30 p.m., Nov. 5 at Hammonton High School. Before the public meeting, DEP officials also plan to meet with stakeholder groups. The AMA and the East Coast Enduro Association have been working to maintain and expand motorized access in the state forest. To attend the Nov. 5 public meeting, register no later than Oct. 28 by sending an email to email@example.com or by calling (609) 704-1964.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Francis Marion National Forest has scheduled two public meetings to consider its Draft Land and Resource Management Plan. The draft plan will replace the 1996 forest plan, which focused on the forest's recovery from the devastation caused by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. It addresses emerging issues, such as urban development and sea-level rise, and considers future events that might influence forest management in the future.
The scheduled meetings are:
- 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Berkeley County Assembly Room, 1003 Highway 52, Moncks Corner, S.C.
- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Sewee Visitor and Environmental Center, 5821 U.S. Highway 17 North, Awendaw, S.C.
To register for the meetings, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mary Morrison at (803) 561-4000. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/scnfs/fmplan. Submit comments at cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?project=40695. The comment period on the draft plan ends Nov. 11.
MONTPELIER, Vt. – The state Agency of Natural Resources conducted two public hearings during September to receive comments on a proposal to designate connector trails for use by all-terrain vehicles on agency land. In Vermont, the definition of an ATV includes motorcycles with full-time two-wheel drive. The connectors would link Vermont All Terrain Vehicle Sportsman’s Association trails on adjacent private or public lands and would establish a connector trail on a portion of the 7,988-acre Les Newell Wildlife Management Area in Stockbridge.
LACEY, Wash. – The Washington State Trails Coalition has scheduled its caucus for Nov. 9 in Lacey. The coalition invites everyone with an interest in trails, including motorized, non-motorized, snow, asphalt, dirt, water, urban and backcountry. The meeting features two breakout sessions: broadening trails constituency and funding for trails. Staff members from the state Recreation and Conservation Office will provide a two-hour grant application session. More information is available from coalition President Glenn Glover at email@example.com.
IRVINE, Calif. – The Motorcycle Industry Council has acquired Marketplace Events’ Motorcycle Group and the AIMExpo. AIMExpo’s show personnel, sales staff and management are now a new department within MIC called MIC Events. The move has no impact on the AIMExpo scheduled for Oct. 17-19 in Orlando, Fla. And the 2016 AIMExpo remains scheduled for October 2016 at the same location. AIMExpo was created in 2012 by Larry Little and Mike Webster and has grown into one of the most significant motorcycle events in the country.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Mission Motorcycles is out of money and plans to file for bankruptcy, according to documents filed by CEO Mark Seeger in a New Jersey civil lawsuit. In a letter to the court, Seeger wrote that the company has so little money it cannot hire a lawyer and plans to file for liquidation of assets under Chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy code. Mission was started by Seeger, Vincent Ip and a third co-founder in 2013 to produce electric motorcycles. The company and the partners have been embroiled in legal battles since the company terminated Ip in November 2013.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Polaris Industries is working with the U.S. Forest Service to offer the “Pledge to Ride” Campaign, in which the company will donate $2 to the National Forest Foundation for each person who pledges to ride an off-road vehicle before Oct. 31. An additional $3 will be donated if the person pledging proves the pledge was honored by posting a photo on the Polaris website or by posting on social media with the #CampRZR and #PledgeToRide hashtags. To pledge to ride, visit www.polaris.com/en-us/atv-ranger-rzr/events/camp-rzr/pledge-to-ride.
MELBOURNE, Australia – A magistrate upheld a $150 fine levied against a motorcyclist who wore a helmet-mounted camera while riding. The rider had argued that the applicable laws were unavailable to the public, but the magistrate said they were. The rider also argued that motorcycle helmet compliance with legal standards applies only at the point of manufacture. But the magistrate said there is an “ongoing obligation to comply.” Motorcyclists in other jurisdictions have been encouraged to wear helmet-mounted cameras to gather information about mishaps and crashes.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The American Motorcyclist Association welcomes Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. as title sponsor, and Harley-Davidson Motor Co. as presenting sponsor of the 2015 Yamaha AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Harley-Davidson, on Saturday, Oct. 17, during the American International Motorcycle Expo at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
Motorsport Aftermarket Group, which owns many of motorcycling's most recognizable brands, is the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend sponsor for the event, honoring three-time road racing world champion and Hall of Famer Wayne Rainey as this year’s Legend, as well as class of 2015 inductee John Parham, who founded one of the MAG Group's most recognizable brands: J&P Cycles. Rainey is also the president of MotoAmerica, the new home of the AMA Superbike Championship.
California-based Zero Motorcycles, the world's leading manufacturer of electric motorcycles, returns for the fifth straight year as the official ring sponsor for the 2015 Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Tickets to the Yamaha AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Harley-Davidson, are available now at www.motorcyclemuseum.org. Regular entry is just $25 per person. VIP tickets that include an exclusive reception, reserved seating and one-day AIMExpo admission are $90 per person.
In addition to Parham, the Hall of Fame Class of 2015 includes road racing champion John Kocinski, off-road racing champion Rodney Smith, former Harley-Davidson CEO Richard Teerlink, dirt tracker Alex Jorgensen and longtime Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. race team manager Keith McCarty.
The Yamaha AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Harley-Davidson, is held in conjunction with AIMExpo Oct. 15-18. The AIMExpo is a diverse powersports event that is open to trade and media Oct. 15-16 and open to the general public Oct. 17-18.
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