National and Regional News
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Transportation Safety Board issued a report on Sept. 11 that calls for all new on-road motorcycles sold in the United States to be equipped with antilock braking systems and recommends the federal government publish performance standards for electronic stability control on motorcycles sold here. At the same time, the board recommended that the American Motorcyclist Association, the Motorcycle Industry Council and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation tout the benefits of ABS and stability control—along with other findings in the report—to the motorcycling community. The report also recommended that motorcycles be fully incorporated in the development and implementation of technology for on-board crash prevention systems and vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology. The recommendations were among 10 included in the report titled "Select Risk Factors Associated with Causes of Motorcycle Crashes" that the board adopted unanimously. More information is available at tinyurl.com/ybt43hvc.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 20 members of the U.S. House sent a letter in September to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, urging the agency to approve year-round E15 sales. President Donald Trump has promised farm groups that the EPA would lift restrictions on the summer sale of E15 (fuel with as much as 15 percent ethanol by volume). The EPA currently forbids E15 sales during the summer in most of the country. The AMA opposes additional E15 sales for two reasons. First, none of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs currently in use in this country is certified by the EPA to operate on fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol. Making E15 more readily available increases the risk of misfueling by riders. Second, proliferation of E15 could reduce the availability of the E10 and E0 (fuel with no ethanol) fuels needed by motorcyclists and ATV riders. E10 already has created a market in which E0 is difficult to find. The pro-E15 letter was signed by U.S. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Steve King, (R-Iowa) Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) Rod Blum (R-Iowa), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb) Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Ron Estes (R-Kan.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Richard M. Nolan (D-Minn.), Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), Mike Bost (R-Ill.), David Young (R-Iowa), Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Andre Carson (D-Ind.) and Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.).
JUNEAU, Alaska — U.S. Forest Service is inviting public comment on an environmental impact statement and public rulemaking process to address the management of inventoried roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. The intent is to evaluate the regulatory exemption set forth in the petition, as well as to evaluate other management solutions that address infrastructure, timber, energy, mining, access and transportation needs to further Alaska's economic development, while still conserving roadless areas for future generations. Visit www.federalregister.gov for the full proposal and project details. Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by Oct. 15. The Draft EIS and proposed rule are estimated to be released in early summer 2019. The Final EIS is estimated to be released in spring 2020, with a final rule expected in June 2020. Comments may be submitted electronically at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=54511. Written comments can be submitted via hard-copy mail to: Alaska Roadless Rule, USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region, Ecosystem Planning and Budget Staff, P.O. Box 21628, Juneau, AK 99802-1628. For additional information, contact Ken Tu, interdisciplinary team leader, (303) 275-5156 or email@example.com.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Highway Patrol has released its long-awaited tips for motorcyclists who split lanes in traffic. The recommendations were authorized under A.B. 51, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in 2016. The law is the first legislative recognition of lane splitting, in which motorcyclists ride between lanes of stopped or slowed traffic. The CHP tips include information for motorcyclists and drivers of other vehicles. Safety tips for motorcyclists include:
- Consider the total environment when you are lane splitting. This includes the width of lanes, the size of surrounding vehicles and current roadway, weather and lighting conditions.
- Danger increases at higher speed differentials (the difference between the speed of the motorcyclist and that of nearby vehicles).
- Danger increases as overall speed increases.
- It is typically safer to split between the far left lanes than between other lanes of traffic.
- Avoid lane splitting next to large vehicles (big rigs, buses, motorhomes, etc.).
- Riding on the shoulder is illegal and is not considered lane splitting.
- Be visible. Avoid remaining in the blind spots of other vehicles or lingering between vehicles.
- Help drivers see you by wearing brightly colored/reflective protective gear and using high beams during daylight.
Messages for other vehicle drivers include:
- Lane splitting by motorcyclists is legal in California.
- Intentionally blocking or impeding a motorcyclist is illegal.
- Opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcyclist is illegal.
- Drivers in the far left lane should move to the left of their lane to give motorcyclists ample room to pass.
CHP safety tips for all motorists include:
- Check mirrors and blind spots, especially before changing lanes or turning.
- Signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Be alert and anticipate possible movements by other motorists.
- Never ride or drive while impaired by drugs, alcohol or fatigue.
- Be courteous and share the road.
The CHP warns that splitting lanes can be dangerous and should not be performed by inexperienced riders. The AMA position statement on lane splitting can be found at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/About-The-AMA/lane-splitting-1.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill in September that would have created an Office of Sustainable Outdoor Recreation in California. The bill (A.B. 1918), passed the California Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support. California would have become the 12th state with an official office or task force to support outdoor recreation. Brown said he vetoed the bills because the state Department of Parks and Recreation already fulfills the role of the proposed Office of Sustainable Outdoor Recreation.
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Officials with the San Bernardino National Forest are asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect or suspects involved in starting the Creek Fire this summer. The 33-acre fire was first reported at 12:12 p.m. June 30 in the San Bernardino Mountains, between the communities of Highland and Running Springs. It started off U.S. Forest Service Road 1N09 a few miles east of Highway 330. Forest Service law enforcement officers are seeking witnesses to the fire. “While we spoke to a number of people recreating in the area, we’re still seeking more information,” said Sonny St. John, patrol captain for the San Bernardino National Forest. “If someone has heard anyone talking about the fire or know of individuals that frequent 1N09, we would like to speak to them.” Anyone with information can leave a message at (909) 382-2737.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection have scheduled a joint meeting Oct. 2 to discuss the application submitted by Oxford Mining Co. LLC to mine coal and reclaim the portion of Perry State Forest that includes its all-purpose vehicle trails and scrambles area. Among the issues concerning local residents and forest users are:
- Replacing trail miles lost to mining will not fully address the loss of open scrambles area that is especially attractive to the off-highway vehicle community.
- The financial health of Oxford Mining is in question and may jeopardize the company's ability to complete the mining in an environmentally safe manner or affect the post-mining reclamation.
- Oxford Mining's claims that there will be no social or economic impact to the area as a result of the mining have been widely disputed through public comments.
- Oxford has supplied no baseline, pre-mining water quality tests to the state, prompting local residents to support independent tests to properly document the forests' actual water quality.
- Mining may affect water quality on neighboring properties, particularly farms that rely on healthy soil and water.
The meeting is 6-8 p.m. at the New Lexington High School cafeteria, 2459 Panther Drive, New Lexington, Ohio. To submit comments without attending, send them to the Ohio EPA by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAYNE, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources was accepting proposals in September for a two-year pilot project to develop and manage trails for all-terrain vehicles and other off-road vehicles on the 8,123-acre Cabwaylingo State Forest. The Wayne County News reported that the legislation, introduced by state Sen. Mark Maynard (R-Wayne), is an attempt to bring in commerce and more activity to the forest area. The forest, located in Wayne County, gets its unique name from the four surrounding counties: (Cab)el, (Way)ne, (Lin)coln and Min(go).
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Fly Free is the most recent electric motorcycle company to announce its entry into the U.S. market, with the introduction of its Smart Desert model. The motorcycle was inspired by the scramblers of the 1950s and 1960s. It comes in two trims: an entry-level with a top speed of 40 mph and a 50-mile range, and the higher performance option with a top speed of 50 mph and a 100-mile range. No pricing has been announced, but the company plans to begin pre-orders near the end of the year.
KENNESAW, Ga. — The Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative has awarded more than $3.5 million during the past 10 years supporting the program’s mission of guaranteeing responsible access to land for outdoor recreation. The program awarded more than $130,000 in funds and equipment to 11 grant applicants in the second quarter of 2018 alone. Projects funded this past quarter support opportunities for a variety of off-highway vehicle enthusiasts, including those using ATVs, Side-by-Side vehicles, motorcycles and snowmobiles. The Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative is accepting qualified applications for consideration of support and funding. For more information or to submit a grant application, visit www.YamahaOAI.com.
MUNICH — BMW Motorrad's first autonomous motorcycle was presented in September at the BMW Motorrad Techday 2018. A BMW R 1200 GS made its first rounds in front of assembled journalists at the BMW Group testing ground in Miramas, southern France. Developed by graduate engineer Stefan Hans and his team, the vehicle independently drives off, accelerates, circles a winding test track and independently slows down to a stop. BMW said the "underlying technology should serve as a platform for development of future systems and functions to make motorcycling even safer, more comfortable and increase the riding pleasure. The aim of the prototype is to gather additional knowledge with regards driving dynamics in order to detect dangerous situations early on and thus support the driver with appropriate safety systems while turning at intersections or when braking suddenly, for example."
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan's Gogoro Inc. and Japan's Yamaha Motor Co. have announced they are considering a partnership to manufacture Yamaha-branded electric scooters inspired by Gogoro designs. Yamaha said the potential partnership would lead to Yamaha-branded scooters being made and jointly developed by Gogoro, as well as Yamaha sharing Gogoro's Taiwan battery-swapping network. The new Yamaha electric scooter is planned for the summer of 2019.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Greg Pecoraro has joined the American Motorcyclist Association as its Director of Government Relations and will be working in the organization's office in Washington, D.C. Pecoraro will be responsible for fostering working relationships with the legislative and administrative law and regulatory personnel in government to advance the motorcycle lifestyle. He also will serve as a resource for government entities and AMA membership regarding motorcycle-related issues. "We are happy to welcome Greg aboard," said AMA Vice President of Government Relations Wayne Allard. "We expect him to contribute immediately on the issues of importance to AMA members, such as higher ethanol content in our fuel, the effects of automated vehicles on motorcycling and protecting and expanding access to public lands." Pecoraro has more than 15 years leading, developing and executing legislative and regulatory strategies in the public and private sectors. His experience includes nine years as a government relations executive for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, as well as serving as Maryland's Assistant Secretary of Transportation. "I'm very excited to go to work for the AMA," Pecoraro said. "I believe that my many years of experience in transportation policy and advocacy will add to a great Government Relations team focused on advancing our member's interests across the country and here in Washington." Pecoraro said his priority in his new position is assisting "the AMA team in protecting motorcyclists across the nation and increasing their opportunities to compete, ride for pleasure, business, or just to get around."
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — AMA Life Member Ken Gerard drove cross country to donate two mini enduros to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. The Folsom, Calif., resident drove with his wife and dog from his home to the American Motorcyclist Association campus in Pickerington, Ohio to deliver the motorcycles. Both motorcycles are Yamaha JT1 mini enduro models. Gerard said he and his wife bought them on their way to a vintage racing event in 1994. It took more than a year to restore each bike. One of the motorcycles, a red 1971 model, required more than $2,000 in parts to complete the restoration. The second motorcycle, a yellow 1972 model, required $1,200 in parts. Gerard said he worked at a motorcycle dealership in Sacramento, Calif., when the JT1 model debuted in the U.S. market in 1970. He bought both motorcycles for a combined $495 dollars. Gerard said they sold new in 1970 for $299. The motorcycles feature a 60cc, rotary valve, two-stroke engine mated to a four-speed transmission.
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