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AMA News and Notes: July 2013

July 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 at nharis@ama-cycle.org.

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           Washington, D.C.: Motorcyclists and federal lawmakers spoke out about their concerns over E15 fuel in a rally at the U.S. Capitol on June 19. The riders gathered to urge their senators and representatives to call for independent testing of the E15 ethanol fuel blend in motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle engines before it is widely distributed nationwide.

           The riders attending the American Motorcyclist Association's "E15: Fuel for Thought" event represented the millions of Americans who are fearful about the high potential for inadvertent misfueling with E15 and the subsequent engine damage that could occur in their motorcycle and ATV engines.

           Several U.S. representatives at the event questioned the EPA's decision to allow the sale of E15, calling it "not good to put in anyone's gas tank," "a disaster in the making" and "bad policy."

           The AMA E15: Fuel for Thought event began with a motorcycle ride around the U.S. Capitol, followed by a rally with numerous federal lawmakers speaking. Participants then visited their congressional delegations' offices to ask for support for legislation that calls for independent research into the effects of E15 fuel on motorcycles and ATVs.

           In addition to the beautiful weather that greeted riders, there were dozens of members of the Antique Automobile Club of America who parked classic cars alongside motorcycles on the National Mall. Tom Cox, AACA national president, spoke to the motorcyclists in the audience, telling them that E15 is a serious concern for AACA members, as well as thanking the AMA for organizing the event.



           El Centro, Calif.: The Bureau of Land Management recently issued an updated management plan for the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (commonly known as Glamis). Under the new plan, nearly 180,000 acres will be available for off-highway vehicle use. The remaining areas are in federally designated wilderness and available exclusively for non-motorized recreation.

          Eight alternatives were analyzed to address concerns raised during public hearings on draft plans released in 2010. The record of decision is available online at www.blm.gov/ca/elcentro.

           The final plan was based on new species and habitat inventories, other scientific data and a new determination by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding Peirson's milk vetch critical habitat.
           The management plan follows the recent release of a new business plan for the area. The BLM has proposed raising fees at the dunes, including a $10 increase for weekly use and a $60 increase for seasonal permits, to take effect Oct. 1.



           El Dorado County, Calif.: Sheriff John D’Agostini is taking the unusual step of pulling the police powers from the U.S. Forest Service because he says he has received “numerous, numerous complaints.”

           In a recent letter to the U.S. Forest Service, the sheriff informed the federal agency that Forest Service officers will no longer be able to enforce California state law anywhere in the county. The sheriff declined to provide specifics, but says he is concerned about the number of complaints his department has received against the federal officers. D’Agostini’s order goes into effect on July 22.



           Placerville, Calif.: Eldorado National Forest Supervisor Kathy Hardy recently announced her decision to designate 24 popular high-country off-highway vehicle routes for public motorized vehicle use. Another 18 will be designated after repairs have been made. The routes were closed to public motorized vehicle use in 2012 by court order until OHV impacts on water flow in meadows were analyzed, which was a requirement of the management plan.
           A supplemental environmental impact statement and a Record of Decision were also released. Both documents are available on the Eldorado National Forest website at: www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado. Twenty-four of the analyzed routes either do not cross or border meadows or meet water flow requirements while 18 have segments that affect water flow in meadows. The routes and their designations are identified in the Record of Decision.
            The decision will be implemented after any administrative appeals are resolved and the designated routes can be printed on the motor vehicle use map. Many of the routes will need simple fixes and environmental documentation, while some will require more complex engineering designs and detailed environmental analyses.



           Tallahassee, Fla.: Ethanol is no longer required to be put in gasoline, under a new law that takes effect July 1. The law is the result of House Bill 4001, sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R- Fort Walton Beach). The law removes the requirement that all gasoline offered for sale in the state include a percentage of ethanol, subject to specified exemptions, waivers, suspensions, extensions, enforcement, and reporting.    



           Springfield, Ill: House Resolution 312, introduced by Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton), urges Congress to suspend the sale of gasoline blended with ethanol at levels above E10 until motorists are better protected. The resolution cites numerous problems with gasoline containing greater than 10 percent ethanol by volume, including the potential of fueling unapproved vehicles and engines, and voiding manufacturer warranties.



           Topeka, Kan.: A new law specifically authorizes the use of FMVSS-compliant motorcycle headlamp modulation systems and permits 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. The law is the result of House Bill 2318, offered by the House Transportation Committee, and takes effect July 1.



           Jefferson City, Mo: The use of a device that varies the brightness of a motorcycle’s brake light for no more than five seconds upon application of the motorcycle’s brakes is authorized under House Bill 715, sponsored by Rep. John McCaherty (R-High Ridge). The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon on June 26 and takes effect 90 days following adjournment of the legislative session.


           Jefferson City, Mo.: Every May is Motorcycle Awareness Month in Missouri thanks to Senate Bill 72, sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia). The bill has been signed into law.   


           Also sponsored by Schaefer, Senate Bill 73 prohibits roadside checkpoints or roadblocks based upon a particular vehicle type, such as motorcycle-only checkpoints. Other types of checkpoints or roadblocks, established and operated in accordance with the provisions of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Missouri, are still permitted. The bill passed both House and Senate votes and was sent to Gov. Jay Nixon on May 22 to be signed into law or vetoed.



          Reno, Nev.: U.S. Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) have introduced the Elko Motocross and Tribal Conveyance Act. This legislation conveys 275 acres of Bureau of Land Management land to Elko County, Nev., and requires the land be used only as a motocross, bicycle, off-highway vehicle, or stock car racing area. Additionally, the legislation directs roughly 370 acres of land to be held in trust by the U.S. Interior Secretary for the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians. The additional tribal land will be used for housing and cultural activities, among other important purposes, while protecting rights-of-way held by the City of Elko.          

          “This bill will bolster Elko’s economy through tourism and new economic development in the region and expand the lands of the Elko Band,” Reid said. “Motorized recreation is an important part of life in the Silver State and throughout the West and people will travel from all over to Elko to enjoy these new facilities.”



           Pittsburg, N.H.: Eight miles of trail on which ATVs can ride on the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters tract has been “green-lighted” recently. Two routes, one southern and one northern, plus access to other public and private lands will allow ATVs to connect with the rest of the unique trail system, including Colebrook, Dixville, Millsfield, Berlin, Success, and Beecher Falls, and Canaan. The route includes networks of trails on the 7,500-acre Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin, the 8,000-acre Perry Stream Land and Timber Company in Pittsburg, and the trail system in Success, an Unincorporated Place.
           The news (that all the paperwork has been signed) assured supporters that the June 15 Grand Opening of the interconnected ATV trail system would be a real celebration. Although some trail segments will not be open until mid-July or beyond, the new connected system means that ATV riders will not to have to trailer their machines from one location to another, or at least it will minimize that inconvenience.
           The key eight miles of trails on the Headwaters tract will be open to ATVs from May 23 to Sept. 30, from sunrise to sunset. The closing date was selected to take into account bird hunting season. The speed limit is 25 mph on gravel roads. Signs will be placed every half-mile on the Headwaters property, and three or four kiosks with updated maps, directions and rules will exist. Magnetic trail counters will also be installed to collect usage data, and Fish and Game, Pittsburg Police Department, New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, and the Coös County Sheriff's Department will provide law enforcement.


           Albany, N.Y.: Article 23 of the New York Code, the wildly unpopular metropolitan commuter transportation mobility tax, would be repealed under Assembly Bill 3285, sponsored by Assemblymember Annie Rabbitt (R- Greenwood Lake). The mobility tax was imposed on residents of New York City and surrounding counties in 2009.



           Pickerington, Ohio: A dominant AMA Supercross and motocross champion nicknamed "The GOAT" (The Greatest Of All Time); a pair of riders who helped raise tens of millions of dollars in search of the cause of, and a cure for, pediatric brain tumors; and a founder of one of the aftermarket's most recognizable brands are among the motorcyclists who are on the 2013 ballot for possible induction into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
           Potential AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers are considered in eight categories, each focusing on a specific area. The members of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will be announced shortly after the conclusion of voting in early July.

           The class of 2013 will be officially inducted on Friday, Oct. 18, during the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends Weekend in a star-studded gala at the Green Valley Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., with tickets available to the general public. Tickets are on sale now at http://www.motorcyclemuseum.org/. The price is $140 for Friday night's induction ceremony and $20 for Saturday's reception, which includes a continental breakfast.



           Washington state: Meetings are under way throughout western Washington as part of a series to gather public input on which roads in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest should remain open. The meetings began recently in Seattle and run through October.

           Under mandates contained in the U.S. Forest Service’s 2005 Travel Management Rule, each national forest must identify a road system that can be maintained for safe travel, use, administration and resource protection. Working within projected budgets, the plan must be completed by 2015.

           Forest officials estimate that nearly 2,500 miles of roads crisscross the forest, which stretches from the Canadian border to the northern edge of Mount Rainier National Park. Under current budget constraints, however, forest officials said they can afford to maintain only about a quarter of those roads.

           A Sustainable Roads Cadre, composed of groups including environmental, timber and off-road vehicle interests, has been created to engage the public in the process. Forest Supervisor Jennifer Eberlien said that she expects the initial report to be compiled by the fall. The report, however, will not include any final decisions.

           Because capacity is limited, attendance is on a first-come basis. Participants are asked to send an email to sustainableroads@gmail.com to register.

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