National and Regional News
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A proposed 100 percent tariff on European motorcycles would harm U.S. consumers by pricing affected models beyond the reach of American families, AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman told a federal trade committee in February. Dingman said motorcycles should be removed from the list of products included in the proposed tariff. “Many of the European-produced motorcycles in the affected categories are available at reasonable prices that allow for entire families to enjoy countless hours together outdoors, strengthening the family unit,” Dingman said during a public hearing of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s Section 301 Committee. “A tariff that threatens to significantly raise the retail cost of these motorcycles or curtail their supply, holds the potential to cause irreversible damage to outdoor recreation and the families that participate in it.” The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative proposed the tariff on 51cc to 500cc motorcycles imported from Europe as part of its ongoing battle with the European Union over U.S. beef raised using hormones. The Trade Representative is seeking leverage in negotiations. The tariff would affect motorcycles with engines displacing 51cc to 500cc from Aprilia, Beta, BMW, Ducati, Fantic, Gas Gas, Husqvarna, KTM, Montesa, Piaggio, Scorpa, Sherco, TM and Vespa.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bill that would close the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). H.R. 861 would abolish the EPA, leaving environmental regulations to states and putting the Renewable Fuel Standard in limbo. The RFS is the federal law that requires ethanol be blended with gasoline.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Older people should expect a big jump in the fee for a lifetime pass to visit national parks. The increase is part of a larger move to pay for major projects and improved services and is scheduled to be implemented before the end of the year. The fee for a lifetime pass for citizens 62 and older will go from $10 to $80. An annual pass will cost them $20. Passes can be purchased online for an additional service fee of $10 or at any of the parks without an extra charge.
PHOENIX – Arizona State Parks and Trails and the Arizona Game and Fish Department are conducting a study of the economic impact of off-highway-vehicle recreation. “Having a better understanding of spending behaviors, travel trends and trail needs will aid State Parks and our partners to provide enhancements to the statewide trail system, programs, and information to OHV users,” said Skip Varney, State Parks OHV coordinator. During the next 12 months, the public is invited to complete a survey, either electronically at AZStateParks.com/OHV or at riding areas throughout the state. The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete. Only fully completed surveys can be used in the reporting process.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Planet Ranch property reopened to the public on Jan. 28, creating an important link for the Arizona Peace Trail, which is an off-highway-vehicle trail between Yuma and Lake Mead. Planet Ranch was closed to the public shortly after the city of Scottsdale bought the land in 1984. The land purchase was part of a plan to provide water to the city, but a state law was passed blocking the move. About 400 OHV enthusiasts were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. They were joined by federal, state and county officials. The Arizona Peace Trail is a loop system that uses existing trails and roads. The group behind the effort is working with city, county, state and federal agencies to keep desert roads open for public use and to assist land managers in maintaining the trail system.
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. – The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved the return of the Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park in unincorporated Brentwood. The park will be allowed to operate under these stipulations: limit noise levels to 75 decibels at specified property boundaries, restrict the number of riders to 45 on the main track and 25 on the secondary track, notify neighbors of racing and nighttime events two months in advance, and undergo compliance reviews after one, three, five, eight and 12 years. The park was operated off and on since the early 1970s, but closed in 2012.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – The Johnson Valley Shared Use Area will be closed during August to allow the U.S. Marine Corps to conduct training exercises.
BOISE, Idaho – The state House Judiciary Committee strongly supported a ban on motorcyclist profiling, unanimously voting to send it to the full House. H.B. 123 defines “motorcycle profiling” as “the arbitrary use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest or search a person or vehicle.” The House passed the bill Feb. 27 by a vote of 69-0, with one absence. The official AMA position on motorcyclist profiling can be found here.
SALT LAKE CITY – The state Senate granted preliminary approval to S.B. 159, which would extend the helmet requirement to riders ages 18-21. Current state law mandates helmets only for riders younger than 18. Proponents insist the change would lower health care costs to the state. Opponents questioned the value of restricting personal freedoms and raised the issue of trying to determine the age of the riders without stopping them.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Trails Coalition is seeking a host for its 2018 conference, which brings together 250 to 300 advocates and agency leaders to discuss a variety of trail issues, including equestrian and stock trails, pedestrian, bicycle, ski and snowmobile, motorbike and OHV, water and paddling trails. The coalition is accepting proposals from communities to host the 2018 conference. The deadline for submitting completed applications is April 15, 2017. Details and the request for proposals are available here.
SAN DIEGO – Pierer Industrie AG of Austria, the parent company behind KTM Industries and Husqvarna Motorcycles, led the $5.4 million funding round for Nuviz. The funding will allow Nuviz to complete development of its heads-up display technology for motorcycle helmets. Founded in 2013, Nuviz has built a device that attaches to certain motorcycle helmets and shows riders speed, navigation, distance and other information on a transparent display screen in the right corner of their field of view, enabling riders to keep their eyes on the road. Pricing hasn’t been determined, but the company estimates it heads-up display probably will retail for $650 to $700.
TORRANCE, Calif. – American Honda Motor Co. Inc. is offering buyers of new motorcycles, scooters and ATVs incentives to complete a state-approved motorcycle training course. Honda also is expanding its loaner program to assist those who want to improve their riding skills. The company is offering $75 for completion of a course for on-road motorcycles or scooters, $50 or $100 for ATVs and $75 for dirt bikes. For a complete list and description of courses and information on how to enroll, click here.
TOYKO – Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. announced an agreement to establish a joint venture company for the development, manufacture and sales of motors for electric vehicles. Hitachi began selling motors for electric vehicles in 1999, the same year Honda launched its first hybrid car, the Insight. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim of collaborating to generate technological synergy and economies of scale that will strengthen their competitive advantage and business foundation for the motors at the core of an electric vehicle system.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycles brand is for sale through agent Aaron, Bell International. Excelsior-Henderson’s heritage includes owners Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh, and a long list of “firsts,” including being the first motorcycle to circumnavigate the world and to be officially clocked at over 100 mph. Owner Ignatz Schwinn of Chicago halted production during the Great Depression. The Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Manufacturing Company was revived in the 1990s with the new Super X motorcycle. Nearly 2,000 were produced before the company went out of business in 1999. Aaron, Bell is offering the brand’s intellectual property for sale.
SELLICKS BEACH, Australia – Vintage motorcycle racing returned to South Australia in February after an absence of more than 60 years. The event, organized by Levis Motorcycle Club drew 4,000 spectators and 105 racing bikes during the weekend. All the motorcycles in the competition were manufactured before 1963. The club bills itself as the oldest in Australia and began beach racing in the 1920s, staging the annual Sellicks Beach Speed Trials until 1953.
BRUSSELS – The Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations test drove a Tesla electric car in February as part of its program to ensure that motorcycles are detected by cars using driver assistance systems, such as cameras and radar. FEMA officials visited the Tesla offices in Amsterdam, where the test drive took place.
EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada – Off-highway-vehicle riders are fighting a move by the provincial government to close all OHV trails within five years in the two Castle wilderness area parks. A group of riders from the Crowsnest Pass area called the Quad Squad said they were blindsided by the announcement. “We are concerned that the public input has not been properly addressed,” group member Gary Clark said. He said $2 million in infrastructure would be stranded if the ban is put into place. “We’re not calling for a total reinstatement of all the trail system. We’re calling for being able to use the OHV trails that are already properly constructed,” he said. “There has to be room for everybody in there.”
HELSINKI – Suomen Motoristit ry (the Finland Motorcyclist Association) helped defeat a proposed new tax on motorcycles in February. The nation’s ruling parties planned to add a, annual tax of €150 (about $160) on motorcycles on top of the taxes (car tax, fuel tax, insurance tax and value added tax) motorcyclists already pay. Government officials said the tax was intended only to create new revenue. SMOTO President Marja Kuosmanen said, “The additional income generated by the new tax would have been very small, while the behavioral impacts of the tax would have led to a downturn in consumption and diminishing sales in motorcycle businesses. This would have reduced overall tax income from motorcycling. The motorcycle branch would have suffered, and jobs would have been lost. At the end of the day net income to the state could have been even negative.”
PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The 2017 AMA Awards were announced in February, recognizing individuals and organizations selected by the AMA Board of Directors that have made outstanding contributions to the motorcycling community and demonstrated support for 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 for 2017 to John Ulrich of Lake Elsinore, Calif. Ulrich, a competitive road racer, team owner and publisher, was elected to the AMA Board of Directors in 2005 and served with distinction until 2015. Other 2017 award recipients include:
- AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award: Denny “Budman” Kobza Jr., Palo Alto, Calif.
- AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award: Russ Ehnes, Great Falls, Mont.
- AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award: Backcountry Discovery Routes, Seattle, Wash.
- AMA Bessie Stringfield Award: Michelle Kumbier, Colgate, Wisc.
- Friend of the AMA Award: Perry King, Cool, Calif.; Louisville Vintage Motorworks, Louisville, Ky.; Nitro Circus, San Clemente, Calif.; Kelly Inman, Huntington Beach, Calif.;
- David O. DeWitt, Fort Wayne, Ind.
More details about each award and the winners can be found here.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The AMA is hosting a free Road Captain workshop, presented by Bill Snodgrass of the Red Knights MC, to equip riders to be better leaders on group rides. Topics to be covered include: the definition of a Road Captain, group riding, safety, ride planning, hand and arm signals, Air Med International and more. Two sessions are planned on Saturday, April 22 at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, 13515 Yarmouth Drive, Pickerington, Ohio. The first is 10 a.m. to noon. The second is 1-3 p.m. To register for the morning session, click here. To register for the afternoon session, click here.
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