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AMA News and Notes: March 2013

March 01, 2013

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 by email at nharis@ama-cycle.org.

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            Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA is pleased to announce that Maggie McNally was unanimously elected chair of the AMA Board of Directors at its meeting in Indianapolis on Feb. 16. McNally, of Albany, N.Y., was elected vice chair in December 2011 and has been a member of the board since 2009, representing individual AMA members in the Northeast Region. With her election, she becomes the first woman to lead the AMA board in the association's 89-year history.
          
 "I'm honored that my fellow AMA board members have chosen me as chair, and I'm humbled by the historical significance of a woman taking this office," McNally said. "At the end of the day, however, the important thing is not the gender of the board's chair, rather it is the united commitment by the board and the AMA staff to carry out our mission to better protect and promote motorcycling. Doing so enables us to nimbly and ably meet the needs of our existing and future members."
         
McNally succeeds South Central Region Board Member Stan Simpson, who did not seek re-election as chair. Simpson, who remains on the board, was elected to the AMA Board of Directors in 2005 and served as its chair from 2007-2013. In 2008, he was recognized as the AMA Motorcyclist of the Year.

Also at the meeting, AMA Business Member Russel Brenan of Kawasaki was elected vice chair, and Ken Ford of the Southeast Region was elected assistant treasurer. Members elected at-large to serve on the executive committee were Perry King of the Northwest Region and business member John Ulrich of Roadracing World. At the AMA Business Member meeting earlier that same day, Scott Miller of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Brenan were re-elected to the AMA board.

 

            Washington, D.C.: In response to concerns expressed by the AMA and power equipment makers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued new guidelines to help ensure that motorcyclists and others don't inadvertently use E15 fuel. On Feb. 7, the EPA posted a new option for retailers on its website's "E15: Misfueling Mitigation Plans" page to try to avoid misfueling by consumers.
          
Under the new option, retailers who use a blender pump to sell E15 and E10 fuel through the same hose must also have a separate E10/E0 fuel pump. Those retailers would be required to have a label on the blender pump that reads: "Passenger Vehicles Only. Use in Other Vehicles, Engines and Equipment May Violate Federal Law." Retailers would also be required to have signs indicating the location of the dedicated E10-or-lower fuel pump. There would be no minimum-fuel-purchase requirement at that pump.
          
Retailers who want to sell E15 also have the option of having a dedicated E15 pump or hose, or a pump that dispenses E15 and higher ethanol blends through a single hose. If a blender pump dispenses multiple fuels that include E15 and higher ethanol blends, the EPA may require a minimum purchase requirement.

           Washington, D.C.: The Coalition for Recreational Trails, a federation of national and regional trail-related organizations, has announced its 2013 achievement awards to recognize outstanding trail projects funded by the national Recreational Trails Program. The awards will be presented in Washington, D.C., during Great Outdoors Week in June as part of the Coalition’s ongoing effort to build awareness and appreciation of this highly successful program, which has greatly enhanced the quantity and quality of trail experiences available to the public.
 

Award winners will be selected from projects nominated by public agencies, trail administrators or other project sponsors. Projects must be completed in order to receive an award, but projects completed before 2005 are ineligible. Project award categories include: construction and design; maintenance and rehabilitation; education and communication initiatives; accessibility enhancement; multiple-use management or “corridor sharing;” environment/wildlife compatibility; and use of youth conservation/service corps.
 

This year, for only the second time, those making nominations are encouraged to solicit support from their members of Congress – both U.S. representatives and U.S. senators – to build awareness of excellence in RTP-funded projects and the RTP program itself. Additional information can be found on the nomination form.
 

The nomination form and any supporting materials, including pictures, should be returned by March 29 to the chair of the Coalition’s Awards Committee: Duane Taylor, Director of Federal Affairs, Motorcycle Industry Council, 1235 South Clark Street, Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22202. If you have any questions, please call him at (703) 416-0444 or send an email to dtaylor@mic.org. Winners will be notified no later than April 30.

 

           Eastern Kern County, Calif.: The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division has proposed a plan to acquire and manage 59 privately owned parcels (approximately 28,275 acres) in Kern County, Calif.,from ReNu Resources, a private company that owns and manages agricultural land in California. The parcels are largely interspersed with lands owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
 

Property management includes visitor activities, maintenance and operations, resource management, minor projects, and special events. These activities could involve minor ground- disturbance activities such as the installation of fencing, signage, vault toilets, or re-routing of recreational trails. No changes in land uses or significant site improvements are proposed. No expansion of open riding or the existing route network is proposed. No new points of access to the project property or changes to open range grazing are proposed.
 

The OHMVR Division has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Eastern Kern County Acquisition project and is requesting comments on its contents. The Draft EIR is available for public review and comment for 45 days, which began on Feb. 15. Your response should be sent at the earliest possible date, but no later than April 1. Instructions on how to provide comment can be found in the Notice of Availability document.
 

In addition, the OHMVR Division encourages all interested individuals, organizations, and agencies to attend the public hearing for the Eastern Kern County Property Acquisition on Saturday, March 16, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Express, 901 Capitol Hills Parkway, Tehachapi, CA 93561.

            Los Angeles: Thanks to a software update to the cameras, the ExpressLanes on the I-110 & I-10 freeways now recognize standard (non-vanity) motorcycle license plates, ensuring riders won't receive a notice for not having a transponder. The recently opened I-10 lanes run for 14 miles along the freeway, between Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to the 605 Freeway in El Monte and the I-110, also known as the Harbor Freeway, connects San Pedro with downtown Los Angeles.
 

Riders who have opened motorcycle-only accounts will be notified by email and issued refunds when they return the transponder.

 

           Moreno Valley, Calif.: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s California Desert District is soliciting nominations from the public for five members of its California Desert District Advisory Council to serve three-year terms. The council’s 15 members provide advice and recommendations to the BLM on the management of 11 million acres of public land in eight counties of Southern California.
 

The council meets in formal session three to four times each year in various locations throughout the California Desert District. Council members serve without compensation, other than travel expenses. Members serve three-year terms and may be nominated for reappointment for an additional three-year term. The secretary selects council nominees consistent with the requirements of Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which require nominees appointed to the council be balanced in terms of points of view and representative of the various interests concerned with the management of the public lands within the area for which the council is established.
 

Any group or individual may nominate a qualified person based upon education, training, and knowledge of the BLM, the California Desert, and the issues involving BLM-administered public lands throughout Southern California. Qualified individuals also may nominate themselves. The nomination form is on the Desert Advisory Council webpage at http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/rac/dac.html.
 

Nominations should be sent to Teresa A. Raml, District Manager, BLM California Desert District, 22835 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553. For further information, please contact David Briery, BLM California Desert District External Affairs, (951) 697-5220 or via e-mail at dbriery@blm.gov.

 

           Sacramento, Calif.: The sponsor of a California Senate bill that would have restricted the current practice of lane-splitting by motorcyclists will place the bill on hold from consideration for 2013. Lane-splitting by motorcyclists in California is recognized by the California Highway Patrol and helps ease traffic flow.
 

An aide to state Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose), who sponsored S.B. 350, confirmed in an email to the AMA that the bill would be put on hold, pending the results of a University of California-Berkeley safety study expected later this year. The bill, introduced Feb. 20, would have allowed lane-splitting only in certain instances: on divided highways with three or more lanes of travel in the same direction, only when traffic is congested and only at "a safe" speed.
 

Nick Haris, AMA western states representative, noted that lane-splitting has been an accepted custom and necessary strategy to ease traffic congestion in California for years. He noted that Beall's bill proposed a sudden and significant shift in traffic management strategies in the state with respect to motorcycles, which could have had a serious impact on traffic flow.

 

           Boulder, Colo.: the Outdoor Industry Association recently released figures quantifying the economic impact of outdoor recreation in all 50 states, with a separate report for each state that tallies direct spending, jobs, salaries and tax revenue. This data demonstrates that outdoor recreation is an important driver of state economies, supporting jobs, businesses and communities.
           
The state-by-state figures expand upon a national report OIA published in June 2012, which found that nationally Americans spend $646 billion each year on outdoor recreation, directly supporting 6.1 million jobs and generating nearly $80 billion in tax revenue.
           
OIA commissioned Southwick Associates, a research firm that specializes in shooting sports, hunting, angling, natural resource and environmental economics, to perform the research. The Motorcycle Industry Council and National Marine Manufacturers Association contributed funding and data to support this study.
           
The national report, as well as a one-page fact sheet for each state, is available on the OIA website at outdoorindustry.org/recreationeconomy.

 

            Springfield, Ill.: The secretary of state would administer a program to set standards and establish training for volunteers to become certified motorcycle road guards, under House Bill 1539, sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Dunkin (D-Chicago). A motorcycle road guard would have the authority to stop and direct traffic during a motorcycle group ride if certain conditions were met.

            Under another Dunkin proposal, House Bill 2253, the owner of property used as a cycle rider safety training course would have immunity from civil action for any injury or death to persons or damage to property that occurs during instruction or training on the training course.

            Topeka, Kan.: House Bill 2318, offered by the House Transportation Committee, would authorize the use of FMVSS-compliant motorcycle headlamp modulation systems and permit the addition and use of body or wheel lamps of any color that are visible from the sides of the motorcycle but not the front or rear.

            Lansing, Mich.: Operators of bicycles, mopeds, and two- and three-wheeled motorcycles could proceed with caution through an automated stoplight if, after being stopped for one full cycle of the automated stoplight or 60 seconds, the automated stoplight fails to detect their vehicle, under House Bill 4265, sponsored by Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-Columbia).

Jefferson City, Mo.: Law enforcement agencies would be barred from establishing a roadside checkpoint or roadblock pattern based on a particular vehicle type, including the establishment of motorcycle-only checkpoints, under House Bill 594, sponsored by Rep. Robert Cornejo (R-St. Peters). The bill doesn’t prohibit roadside checkpoints for commercial motor vehicles or any other type of checkpoint or roadblock established and operated in accordance with the provisions of the United States Constitution and the Missouri Constitution.

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