By Ahsley Price
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Wayne Allard, American Motorcyclist Association vice president for government relations, provided a broad legislative and regulatory overview to attendees at the AIMExpo on Friday.
Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations
"There are many issues affecting motorcyclist at many different levels," Allard said. "There are laws at the local, state and national level that affect our rights as motorcyclist and we need our AMA members to speak up and get involved to have their voices heard."
At the local level, Allard said racing issues are typically affected the most. The most common issue involves zoning procedures when building and creating new tracks. Track owners buy land to build a new track, but neighbors, noise ordinances and other local level laws can cause issues. But Allard pointed out that with the help of the AMA and local AMA members, many track owners have been able to negotiate with local governments and zoning commissions to get tracks built.
"Without AMA Action Alerts and local AMA members taking action, a lot of times, [track owners] probably wouldn't be able to build and operate their tracks," Allard said.
At the state and local levels, Allard said illegal street riding and stunting has created a negative image of all motorcyclists and drawn law enforcement and legislative attention. That impact is felt when responsible riders face renewed opposition when trying to construct safe and legal riding areas.
The AMA has been working with local governments, riders and dealerships to promote appropriate venues for responsible motorized recreation.
"Cleveland has already taken hold of this idea and is working to build its first urban recreational riding area," Allard said. "It would not be being built without the help of the AMA pushing local and state governments and giving them a voice of reason."
Several states have been considering laws to allow lane splitting, but, so far, only California has legislation in place. More states are expected to take up the matter in 2018."
On the national level,motorcyclist profiling and trail access are the main politics affecting riding and motorcyclist.
"Trail access is decreasing tremendously," Allard said. "State parks are either making trails smaller or completely eliminating them. We have to keep voicing our concerns if we want this to change."
Allard emphasizes that all politics and issues affecting riding and racing can be changed with the help of the AMA and a unified riding community.
"The key to keeping our rights as motorcyclist is doing preventive work ahead of time," Allard said. "Riding is a right that we all enjoy having, and I hope that we will all continue to speak up to keep that right."