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AMA News and Notes: May 2014

May 01, 2014

National and Regional News


            Washington, D.C.: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has publicly acknowledged that ethanol in gasoline can damage internal combustion engines by increasing exhaust temperatures and indirectly causing component failures. The statements are found in a rule proposal issued by the Federal Trade Commission regarding a new label for pumps that supply fuel blends high in ethanol.
            The EPA statements support the long-held AMA position that inadvertent misfueling with E15 (15 percent ethanol by volume) fuel could damage the engines and fuel systems of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs currently in operation, as well as void the manufacturers’ warranties.
            The AMA also is concerned about the continued availability of E10 blends and E0 fuels -- gasoline with zero ethanol content -- if E15 is allowed to permeate the marketplace.

            For more information about this issue, visit http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/rights/amafuelforthought.aspx

            Washington, D.C.: A proposed change in the language of the Driver Privacy Act in the U.S. Senate would expand the bill's scope to protect all information recorded by event data recorders installed on all "motor vehicles," including motorcycles. The substitute amendment was offered in committee by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to S. 1925, which deals with information collected by event data recorders, sometimes referred to as "black boxes."
            While the government does not require the installation of event data recorders on motorcycles, some current models are equipped with the devices.
            As originally introduced, S. 1925 would have granted privacy protection only for data the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires to be collected (49 CFR Part 563) – on passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses, which must be equipped with event data recorders.
            A more sweeping bill, H.R. 2414, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2013, by U.S. Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-Mass.). That bill states that "any data recorded on any event data recorder in an automobile or motorcycle shall be considered the property of the owner of the automobile or motorcycle."
            Under the House bill, no one but the owner could access the data without the permission of the owner or a court order.

            Washington, D.C.: Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) has introduced legislation to designate the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area as a National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area. Last year, the OHV community united in a successful battle to end the threat of base expansion to nearly 100,000 acres of Johnson Valley and ensured continued access to the area. Cook introduced H.R. 4371 to recognize this effort and highlight Johnson Valley’s significance by making it the nation’s first national off-highway vehicle recreation area.

            Johnson Valley is explicitly designated for off-highway vehicle use under last year’s deal negotiated with the U.S. Marine Corps. This was the culmination of a years-long campaign to save the Hammers from base expansion. The famed “King of the Hammers” Race, which draws over 30,000 people to Johnson Valley, can continue to be held in Johnson Valley. The Bureau of Land Management estimates that Johnson Valley currently generates more than $71 million annually for the economies of local communities

State News

            South Lake Tahoe, Calif.: The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is opening some recreation facilities early this season, but William Kent Campground will remain closed for construction. Inspiration Point, Logan Shoals, Chimney Beach and Secret Harbor opened April 21 while Sawmill Pond and Sandpit OHV areas were scheduled to open May 1 and Baldwin Beach and Nevada Beach and Campground were to open May 9.

            Forest roads generally open between mid-May and June 1. For specific opening dates, consult the motor vehicle use map at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/TravelManagement


            Nelsonville, Ohio: On April 15, 2014, the U.S. Forest Service’s Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio announced the opening of more than 100 miles of designated motorized trails, the largest trail system of its kind in Ohio. To celebrate the occasion, forest staff and the AMA representatives, including AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman, renewed a five-year agreement to promote safe and legal use of off-highway vehicles. 

            Motorized trail riding continues to be one the most popular recreation activities on the Wayne National Forest. In 2013, the forest sold more than 7,500 trail permits; a large majority of permits sold were to motorized trail riders. Based on 2013 trail permits sales, it is estimated that the Wayne’s motorized trail system receives 20,000 to 30,000 visits annually from motorized trail use.

             For more information, visit at http://www.fs.usda.gov/wayne.

            Ferron, Utah: A number of gates on U.S. Forest Service roads and trails were scheduled open April 15. In some cases, they are the first gates in a series along the roads and trails. Travelers may encounter snowdrifts or wet areas as they near the second gates along a road.

Seasonal closures for OHV trails, such as the Hole, Black Dragon, Lord's and Rock Canyon trails, and motorcycle trails such as Dry Wash, Middle, and Rim trails were also to be lifted April 15.

            These openings and closures are identified on the Motor Vehicle Use Map for the Ferron-Price and Sanpete Districts and are in effect each year between Dec. 1 and April 15. Those wishing to travel near the area should obtain a Motor Vehicle Use Map from the Forest Supervisor's Office in Price or the Ferron/Price District Office in Ferron. The map can also be obtained from the Forest website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/mantilasal/maps-pubs

Madison, Wis.: Assembly Bill 124, sponsored by Assemblyman Garey D. Bies (R-Sister Bay), tightens existing inattentive-driving law by prohibiting a motor vehicle operator from being engaged or occupied with an activity, other than driving the vehicle, that interferes or reasonably appears to interfere with the person’s ability to drive the vehicle safely. The bill also modifies violations for reception of television broadcasts by expanding the prohibition to include devices for visually displaying live or recorded cable television and satellite video broadcasts, films, or other fluctuating video images that are visible to the vehicle operator. Finally, AB-124 prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while operating or being in a position to directly observe any electronic device located within the vehicle that is activated and that is providing entertainment primarily by visual means, regardless of whether the device interferes with the safe driving of the vehicle. Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill (now 2013 Wisconsin Act 350) on April 23; it takes effect Aug. 1.

            Milwaukee, Wis.: Harley-Davidson‘s rider training program has been revamped and has a new name: the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy. It is the only national rider-training program hosted by Harley-Davidson dealerships and conducted on new Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

            Since its inception in 2000, Harley-Davidson’s rider training program has successfully trained more than 350,000 new riders with a Motorcycle Safety Foundation-approved rider-training curriculum. The academy’s new course provides nearly everything students need to take the first step on their motorcycle-riding journey, including MSF-certified instructors, use of a motorcycle to learn on, and a minimum of 20 hours of combined classroom and range training with a guaranteed 6:1 student/instructor ratio. All students need to bring to class is appropriate riding gear.

            To learn more about Harley-Davidson Riding Academy, or to find a participating dealer, visit www.h-d.com/ridingacademy.

International News

            Recently, France has been the scene of large-scale rider demonstrations with thousands of motorcyclists gathering in cities across the nation to protest a newly proposed speed limit on the national road network. The French government has proposed to limit the top speed to 80 km per hour on the non-motorway network in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents and casualties. A large number of riders disagree with the decision, stating that speed is not the main cause of accidents, but rather the lack of adequate programs offered by the government to teach drivers how to share the roads with other users. The riders also say the government seeks to collect fines from more road users who won’t respect the proposed speed limits.

            More than 5,000 riders blocked the Paris city center for hours, bringing it to a standstill. Lyon, the second largest French city, also was paralyzed when thousands of riders blocked the city center. In all, protests took place in 80 towns and cities, organized by regional branches of the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère.

            The French government is to discuss the proposals further in May and a decision is expected by the end of the year.

AMA News

            Orlando, Fla.: AMA members are invited to the 2014 AMA National Convention, Oct. 16-19, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. Held in partnership with the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo), an event that brings consumers, dealers and manufacturers together in one location for demo rides, product displays and motorcycling seminars, the AMA National Convention will provide fun activities for every AMA member.
            In addition to a full slate of convention- and expo-related attractions, participants also will have the opportunity to attend the 2014 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, welcoming a new class into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
            Other elements of the AMA National Convention include the annual AMA member meeting, the annual AMA business member meeting, motorcycling-related seminars designed specifically for AMA members and other AMA member-exclusive benefits. A full slate of convention-related benefits and activities will be announced soon.
            For updates on the AMA National Convention and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, keep an eye on www.americanmotorcyclist.com and www.motorcyclemuseum.org, as well as the AMA's social media channels, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/americanmotorcyclist, www.facebook.com/amahalloffame), Twitter and Instagram @AMA_Riding.
            For information on the AIMExpo, see www.aimexpousa.com

            Pickerington, Ohio: BikeBandit.com, the country's go-to online source for motorcycle parts, riding gear and accessories, once again will be the title sponsor for this year's BikeBandit.com AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. The 2014 event features Indian Motorcycle as marque of the year, and is scheduled for July 11-13 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

            BikeBandit.com AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Indian Motorcycle, is the country's premier gathering of vintage bikes and the people who love them, attracting tens of thousands every year. It features thousands of rare vintage bikes from around the country, a swap meet where collectors can buy and sell, exciting vintage racing events, and much more.

            AMA members can purchase a weekend pass to BikeBandit.com AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Indian Motorcycle, for $45, or a one-day pass for $25, saving $5 off the regular advance purchase rate. The AMA member discount is in addition to the regular $10 savings on advance ticket purchases, and there is no service charge for AMA members when purchasing through the AMA.
            AMA member pricing, available through May 27, is available only by calling the AMA directly at (800) 262-5646. Advance tickets are available to the general public at www.midohio.com, with all kids under 12 admitted free with a paying, supervising adult.

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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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