AMA News and Notes: November 2012
October 31, 2012
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 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 email@example.com.
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Washington, D.C.: A U.S. House committee sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 10 seeking answers on the agency’s recent decision to mandate that consumers buy at least four gallons of fuel from certain blender pumps that dispense both E15 and E10 gasoline-ethanol blends. The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology sent the letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Currently, no manufacturer has introduced a mass-production motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle designed to operate on E15 fuel.
The federal agency failed to meet the Sept. 24 response deadline in the letter.
The AMA has repeatedly expressed concerns to government officials and federal lawmakers about possible damage to motorcycle and ATV engines caused by the inadvertent use of E15 when the new fuel becomes widely available, and has asked that motorcycles and ATVs be part of any scientific study into the effects of E15.
The AMA is concerned because E15 burns hotter than gasoline that contains a lesser amount of ethanol. In engines not designed to dissipate that extra heat, damage in the form of premature wear can result. Although this is a concern in all motorcycles, it's particularly problematic for air-cooled engines found in many motorcycles and ATVs. Moreover, use of E15 may void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Please send a prewritten message to the EPA asking Jackson to respond to the congressional letter that seeks answers on its recent decision to mandate that consumers purchase at least four gallons of fuel from certain blender pumps that dispense both E15 and E10 gasoline-ethanol blends.
Washington, D.C.: The United States Forest Service is waiving fees at most of its day-use recreation sites over the Veterans Day holiday weekend, Nov. 10-12. The fee waivers are offered in cooperation with other federal agencies under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Day-use fees will be waived at all standard amenity fee sites operated by the Forest Service. Concessionaire operated day-use sites may be included in the waiver if the permit holder wishes to participate.
Traditionally, fees are not charged on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. Many recreation opportunities such as camping, sightseeing and hiking can be enjoyed throughout the year at no cost.
The Forest Service operates approximately 17,000 developed recreation sites nationwide. Of those, approximately 6,000 require recreation fees, which are used to provide visitor services, repairs and replacements, and facilities maintenance.
Glamis, Calif.: The federal bureau of Land Management is considering increasing fees at the Imperial Sand dunes Recreation Area in California for fiscal 2013 because of difficult financial conditions.
The BLM is considering raising the $25 weekly pass charge to $45 when the pass is purchased off-site. The season pass fee would increase from $90 to $180 when purchased off-site. The cost of a weekly pass bought on-site would be $70 and no season passes would be available.
The BLM has an annual operating budget of about $3 million for the popular off-highway riding area, which officials say needs to be as much as $7 million to operate the facility properly. Most of the operating budget money comes from permit fees. The BLM hopes to institute its new fees on Sept. 1, 2013.
Ridgecrest, Calif.: The federal Bureau of Land Management has scheduled a series of Collaborative Workshops for the El Paso and Ridgecrest Travel Management Subregions in California. Area residents and interested members of the public are encouraged to attend. The BLM will solicit public input relative to local area knowledge, issues and opportunities, including changes to route access for motorized and non-motorized travel and also input on effects on all forms of recreational use.
Workshops will be held on the following dates and locations:
- Ridgecrest workshops: Carriage Inn, 901 N. China Lake Blvd., Ridgecrest Calif.,
Thursday, Oct. 25, 6 - 9 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m. - noon.
- Bakersfield workshop: BLM Field Office, 3801 Pegasus Dr., Bakersfield Calif.,
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 6 - 9 p.m.
- Jawbone workshop: Jawbone Station Visitors Center, Hwy 14 at Jawbone Canyon Rd, Cantil, Calif.,
Thursday, Nov. 15, 6-9 p.m.
The West Mojave Management Plan established these sub-regions as the El Paso Collaborative Access Planning Area in 2005. The management plan stated that a motorized vehicle access network would be designed for the El Paso CAPA through the collaboration of the BLM with local jurisdictions -- including the City of Ridgecrest and Kern County -- and the general public. Additional information is also posted at the West Mojave Amendment Website at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/cdd/west_mojave__wemo.html.
Boston, Mass.: Boston motorcyclists and scooter riders are getting more parking spaces in the city’s Financial District. The Boston Transportation Department is adding 15 spaces, which will be similar to the 39 on Newbury and Boylston Streets in the Back Bay.
The meter rate will be 25 cents per hour, compared to $1.25 per hour in a standard metered space. Also, the motorcycle and scooter spots won’t have time limits. Most of the city’s metered spaces have two-hour limits.
Lansing, Mich.: House Bill 5848, sponsored by Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-Columbia), would permit operators of bicycles, mopeds, and 2- and 3-wheeled motorcycles to 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.
Also Senate Bill 1078, sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), would remove 3-wheeled vehicles equipped with safety belts and airbags from the definition of a motorcycle. Currently, any motor vehicle (except a tractor) equipped with a seat or saddle and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground is defined as a motorcycle.
Trenton, N.J.: Senate Bill 2172, sponsored by Sen. Mike Doherty (R-Washington), would require the Motor Vehicle Commission to issue a certificate of exemption from inspection for those vehicles exempt from emissions and equipment inspections. The exemption stickers would reduce the number of vehicles stopped by law enforcement for failure to display a current inspection sticker. Motorcycles and certain other vehicles are exempt from periodic inspections.
Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA Awards Program honors those who have overcome adversity or demonstrated uncommon excellence to protect or promote motorcycling. Overseen by the AMA Board of Directors, the program encourages AMA members to submit the names of individuals or groups that can be considered for candidacy.
More detail on the awards programs can be viewed at: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/about/AMAAwardsProgram.aspx.
Information about 2012 award recipients: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/News/12-03 14/AMA_Board_of_Directors_bestows_six_national_awards.aspx.
Submissions should include the individual’s or organization’s name, contact information, and an account of accomplishments in 500 words or less. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or, mail to: AMA Awards Program, American Motorcyclist Association, 13515 Yarmouth Dr., Pickerington, Ohio 43147. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 9.
Harrisburg, Pa.: Two bills introduced by Rep. Frank Burns (D-Johnstown) would prohibit establishment of motorcycle-only checkpoints in the Keystone State.
House Bill 2622 would prohibit any Commonwealth agency or political subdivision from accepting federal funds to establish a systematic vehicle inspection program based on stopping only a particular type of vehicle, such as a passenger car, truck, or motorcycle. House Bill 2623 would prohibit a systematic vehicle inspection program that is based on stopping only a particular type of vehicle, excluding commercial motor vehicles.
Philadelphia, Pa.: Police have the authority to confiscate and even destroy dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles under a bill approved Oct. 25 by the Philadelphia City Council.
The bill, which is an attempt to crack down on illegal riding, restricts dirt bikes and ATVs from operating, parking, stopping, placing or standing on sidewalks or public property, including parks and recreation centers, unless authorized by law.
Violators will have their vehicle confiscated or will face a $2,000 fine if they can prove the vehicle’s value is more than $2,000. The bill also gives police the authority to destroy confiscated vehicles. Riders, who are the subject of reckless riding complaints from residents, say they have no legal place to ride.
Dallas, Texas: All-terrain vehicle use would be restricted on residential land under a proposal being considered by the Dallas Board of Supervisors. The board listened to residents on Oct. 15 to hear their complaints and concerns.
Many complained the proposed law is too restrictive and said lawnmowers and generators are noisier than ATVs.
The proposed law would only apply to property zoned R1. It would bar riding an ATV within 100 feet of an adjoining or adjacent property line, and require an ATV be at least 150 feet from an off-site residential dwelling. Under the proposal, violators could be cited after an initial warning.
The law wouldn’t apply to utility vehicles used for yard work and snow removal.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: The Canadian Pediatric Society posted a new position on its website calling for lawmakers to ban anyone under 16 years old from riding an all-terrain vehicle, which is something American doctors proposed years ago.
The Canadian proposal immediately prompted a strong reaction from the All-Terrain Quad Council of Canada, which noted that some medical professionals believe the best way to prevent ATV-related injuries among young people is to ban them from riding completely but “safety practitioners advocate measures to manage the risks, recognizing that the young people most at risk are likely to ride ATVs anyway.”
The Canadian ATV organization advocates a combination of enforceable regulations, training and public education as well as the mandatory use of vehicles engineered for young people. In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics sought a ban on ATV use by those under the age of 16. The academy made the suggestion to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, which rejected the proposal.