AMA News & Notes: August 2019

National and regional news for motorcyclists

AMA News Author (no byline)

National and Regional News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal highway bill introduced July 29 in the U.S. Senate contains a provision calling for a study of funding levels for the Recreational Trails Program, which the AMA believes has been underfunded for years. The program receives revenue from the sale of fuel for nonhighway use. That money helps pay for recreational trails for motorized and nonmotorized use. Typically, annual funding is about $84 million. But the Recreational Trails Coalition—which includes the AMA—believes the trail fund should receive more than $270 million a year.

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The Office of United States Trade Representative has proposed 100 percent tariffs on motorcycles imported from countries in the European Union with an engine size between 500cc and 700cc, along with parts and accessories. The AMA is joining others in the motorcycling community to oppose the latest ill-conceived proposal -- part of a dispute over aircraft subsidies -- which would cause serious, and potentially irreversible, harm to American small- and medium-sized business owners selling the motorcycles, parts and accessories. To register your opinion, go to https://tinyurl.com/y2x7oq8m.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government has closed about 42 square miles of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah to motorized recreation, much less than the 184 square miles targeted for closure by anti-access advocates and tribal officials. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management plan for the monument says that the historic sites most at risk will remain off limits to motorized access.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans to move its headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Colorado to put more agency officials closer to the land they oversee. About 4 percent of BLM employees live in D.C., according to a report in The Hill. The move would leave just 60 of the nearly 400 BLM employees in the nation’s capital. Twenty-seven BLM employees will be transferred to the new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo., while others will be in Utah, Nevada and other existing local BLM offices. The agency has about 10,000 employees. The House Committee on Natural Resources has scheduled a Sept. 10 hearing about the proposed move.

State News

FOLSOM, Calif. — The city has installed new traffic signals that use high-definition cameras that can tell how fast vehicles are approaching, triggering the light to change according to traffic flow. Six of the lights were installed along Empire Ranch Road, where city officials say drivers frequently were speeding. The lights change their timing, so someone driving faster than the posted speed limit will be stopped at several red lights. City officials say the lights will not be used for law enforcement.

TRACY, Calif. — Senate Bill 767, which encourages the sale of the Carnegie expansion property, known as the Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area, was approved by the California State Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review. The land in question was purchased using funds from the Off Highway Vehicle Trust Fund, and adjacent landowners agreed to the future use of the land for motorized recreation. Subsequently, extensive work was undertaken to correct previous neglect and to bring the property up to the environmental standards mandated by state law. However, the current bill seeks to deny the OHV community a long overdue opportunity for increased motorized recreation, penalizing Californians who enjoy recreation on state-owned public lands. The AMA opposes this bill and urges all riders and their supporters to contact their elected officials.

OCEANO, Calif. — The California Coastal Commission rejected a staff recommendation on July 11 and voted to keep the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area open for responsible motorized recreation. In a June 21 report, the staff said the change is needed because of issues regarding “air quality and public health, rare and endangered species and habitats, environmental justice, and tribal concerns." The report is part of the State Parks effort to develop a new long-term plan for its programs, facilities, campgrounds and OHV areas at Oceano Dunes. The AMA applauds the commission decision.

UKIAH, Calif. — The South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area has reopened to the public following repairs related to 2018’s Mendocino Complex fires. Fire damage was worsened by winter rains. Some motorized-use trails will remain closed because of burned bridges, washouts and hazard trees. Visitors are cautioned to pay attention to signs and stay off of closed routes for safety and to protect natural resources. Visitors should use only designated roads and trails and avoid driving on bulldozer fire lines. The South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area provides more than 100 miles of trails for riders and drivers of all abilities using motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, four-wheel-drive trucks and utility vehicles. Visitors can expect to see fallen trees on some trails.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Motorcycle tolls would be cut in half under a plan to modernize Maryland's toll system in 2020. A public comment period begins today, Aug. 1, for the new tolling options proposed by the Maryland Transportation Authority board. The public comment period ends at 5 p.m. Oct. 3. A final report will be submitted Oct. 31 for review by the MDTA board and will be posted at mdta.maryland.gov for additional public comment. The board is scheduled to vote on a final recommendation at its Nov. 21 meeting. Gov. Larry Hogan said the toll relief package would save Marylanders more than $28 million over five years.

CONCORD, N.H. — A memorial is being planned for the seven motorcyclists killed in a June crash caused by a pickup truck that crossed the centerline. American Legion Post 82 in Gorham hopes to create the memorial near the crash site in Randolph, N.H. The memorial would include a granite slab with the Jarheads Motorcycle Club logo on it, as well as benches, the U.S. Marine Corps logo and a parking area. The Jarheads is a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses. The pickup driver, 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, of West Springfield, Mass., has pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide. Officials say Zhukovskyy’s license should have been suspended because of a previous drunken driving arrest.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The state Parks and Recreation Department is seeking volunteers for two upcoming vacant positions on the All-Terrain Vehicle Advisory Committee. Successful candidates will also serve on the ATV Grant Subcommittee. The committees review crashes and fatalities resulting from ATV recreation; review changes to statutory vehicle classifications for safety considerations; review safety features of all classes of OHVs; and recommend safety requirements to protect child and adult OHV operators. To apply for one of the open positions, visit www.oregon.gov/oprd/ATV/Pages/ATV-Advisory-Committee.aspx and click the "Committee Interest Form" at the bottom of the page. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Aug. 30. For more information, contact Jeff Trejo, OPRD ATV safety education coordinator, at jeff.trejo@oregon.gov or (503) 986-0585.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Fines increased July 28 for repeat offenders and new fines became effective for those violating the high-occupancy-vehicle lane law by using dummies to cheat the rules that require two or more occupants per car. The maximum fine is $536. Motorcycles are permitted in Washington's HOV lanes whether the rider is carrying a passenger or not.

MADISON, Wis. — ABATE of Wisconsin reports that two state senators are circulating a draft bill that would allow retailers to dispense all blends of fuel through one pump nozzle. The bill (LRB 2170/P1) would apply to fuel blends up to 15 percent ethanol (E15). The AMA joins ABATE of Wisconsin in opposing this bill, which would dramatically increase the likelihood of inadvertent misfueling by motorcyclists. No motorcycles or ATVs sold in the United States are certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to operate on fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol (E10).

International News

LONDON — Drivers who cause someone's death as a result of looking at their phones while driving could face life in jail. The current maximum penalty is 14 years. Last year, 122 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving and a further 21 people were convicted for killing someone when under the influence of drink or drugs. British Transport Secretary Chris Grayling backs the plan to make the punishment better fit the crime.

Industry News

MILWAUKEE — The Harley-Davidson Motor Company is offering two years of free charging for its LiveWire electric motorcycle at ChargePoint stations at participating Harley dealers. The company also is providing 500 kWh of charging service at Electrify America stations. The LiveWire is Harley's first electric motorcycle, claiming a range of 140 miles of city driving per charge.

MILWAUKEE — The Harley-Davidson Museum‘s new exhibition, “Daredevils: A Century of Spine-Tingling Spectacles,” shines a new light on daredevil shows. The oldest artifacts on display include the “Globe of Death” from 1912; photos of the Parry Sisters in action from around 1915; and old show posters. Covered are the exploits of Buffalo Bill Cody, Evel Knievel, Super Joe Einhorn, Matt MacDuff, Debbie Evans, Dar Robinson, Bubba Blackwell, Joey Chitwood, and others. There are motorcycles, costumes, posters, photographs and videos to see.

IRVINE, Calif. — Bonnier Motorcycle Group has launched a digital media brand focused on electric mobility called Cycle Volta. The digital brand covers electric-assist bicycles, micromobility and electric motorcycles across digital, video (including YouTube) and social media platforms. Additional e-bike information will be distributed through content-syndication partners.

AMA News

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts spent July 5-7 reveling in the vintage motorcycling experience at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where they found racing, entertainment, the world's largest vintage motorcycle swap meet, seminars, a bike show and more during 2019 Honda AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, presented by Avon Tyres. The three-day event in Lexington, Ohio—organized and promoted annually by the American Motorcyclist Association—raises funds to maintain the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame museum in Pickerington, Ohio. For a full recap of the event, see the September issue of American Motorcyclist magazine.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Cameron Krezman and Levi Leutz won the 250cc Class and 150cc Class titles at the 2019 AMA Youth Speedway National Championship at Fast Friday's Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn, Calif., on July 12. The event pitted the nation's best speedway racers, 17 years old or younger, against each other in two competition classes. The 2019 national championship event featured 26 riders vying for AMA No. 1 plates. Read more at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Home/AMA-News-And-Press-Releases/krezman-leutz-named-class-champions-at-2019-ama-youth-speedway-national-championship-1.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Fourteen riders won 21 class titles during the 2019 AMA Flat Track Grand Championship, which featured short track, TT and half-mile competition July 23-26 in Ohio. The top performer was Trevor Brunner, a 16-year-old from Aurora, Ind., who claimed four AMA No. 1 plates. He won eight main events and finished runner up in seven to capture the 251cc-500cc DTX, 450cc Modified, 450cc-Open Singles and 450cc-Open Modified class titles. Brunner also was named the 2019 Nicky Hayden AMA Flat Track Horizon Award winner. Established in 1997, the award is designed to recognize riders who are about to move from the youth ranks into amateur racing and from the amateur ranks into pro competition. Also named at the event was the winner of the 2019 Fast Brain Award, 10-year-old Ryder Reese of Elmira, N.Y. The AMA Fast Brain Award is an educational scholarship that is funded by contributions from AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bill Werner of Bill Werner Racing, Zanotti Racing's Dave Zanotti and flat track and road racing team owner Tim Estenson.

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AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association. 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 Managing Editor Jim Witters at jwitters@amacycle.org.

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