AMA News & Notes: March 2019

National and regional news for motorcyclists

AMA News Author (no byline)

National and Regional News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate and House have passed S.47, an omnibus public lands bill that designates more than 1 million acres of wilderness and permanently reauthorizes a federal program to pay for conservation measures. The bill designates 1.3 million acres in Utah, New Mexico, Oregon and California as “wilderness,” the most stringent level of federal land protection. The designation prohibits any development and bans the use of most motorized vehicles. The bill also creates permanent protections for land in Montana and Washington state. It also classifies approximately 225 miles of river in Massachusetts and Connecticut and 280 miles of river in Oregon as wild, scenic or recreational. Included in the omnibus bill is U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein's California desert bill that adds six wilderness areas in Death Valley National Park and releases six wilderness study areas. The Feinstein bill also:

  • Creates Vinagre Wash Special Management Area in California’s Imperial County;
  • Allows motorized travel on currently approved routes;
  • Designates a three-year period for the public to lobby the Interior Secretary for new motorized routes;
  • Provides Off Highway Vehicle Recreation Area designation to five areas currently used for OHV recreation in San Bernardino County managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management; and
  • Expands the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area in California by 20,240 acres.

The full Senate bill also includes changes in Emery County, Utah, that:

  • Eliminate access to at least 50 miles of routes currently open to OHVs;
  • Create 18 wilderness areas, totaling more than 600,000 acres of new wilderness;
  • Create the 216,995-acre San Rafael Swell Recreation area managed by BLM which allows motorized use;
  • Create a seven-member federal advisory board, with only one member from the motorized community; and
  • Prohibit creation of new motorized routes, but allows repairing or rerouting existing routes for public safety or to protect resources.

The omnibus bill also permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which funds federal land purchases that usually preclude OHV activity.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2019 (H.R. 1024) is bipartisan legislation that would require the EPA to revise the labeling requirements for pumps that dispense E15 and conduct a consumer education campaign to inform the public about the risks of improper use of E15 and the vehicles and equipment that are prohibited from using E15. The current E15 label doesn't mention motorcycles specifically. The new label would call out motorcycles, ATVs, boats, lawnmowers, chainsaws and snowmobiles with pictograms of these vehicles and equipment specifically prohibited from using E15. Also included in this legislation are provisions specific to blender pumps that would require warnings about residual high-ethanol-content blends left in the fueling hose from the previous customer. U.S. Reps. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) reintroduced the bill.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed to conduct a long-delayed study to assess the impact that burning ethanol as a motor vehicle fuel has on air quality, according to a Reuters report. The Sierra Club said the study should have been done eight years ago and filed a lawsuit in 2018 to force the EPA to conduct it. The parties reached a partial agreement, with the EPA agreeing to conduct the study by March of 2020. The results of the study could affect the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates the amounts of ethanol blended into the nation's fuel supply each year.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An effort to revive America's Scenic Byways program passed the U.S. House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support. H.R. 831, the Reviving America's Scenic Byways Act of 2019, would direct the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to reopen nominations for the National Scenic Byways Program, which has been closed for six years. The AMA was part of the coalition that helped create this program in 1991 and is part of a group now hoping to revive it. Many of the country’s favorite motorcycling roads are National Scenic Byways and benefit from the resources provided to preserve and enhance them. There are 150 designated National Scenic Byways. The program provides resources that help communities along these byways benefit from the tourism they generate, while preserving the characteristics of the roads that made them destinations. The Senate companion to this bill is S. 349 and needs your support. Visit https://cqrcengage.com/amacycle/app/write-a-letter?3&engagementId=496302.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Six motorcycle manufacturers have joined together with the vision of increasing safety for on-road riders in the United States through data driven approaches and collaboration with relevant stakeholders. American Honda Motor Company, BMW Motorrad, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Indian Motorcycle Company, Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA and Yamaha Motor Corporation USA teamed up to form the Safer Motorcycling Research Consortium. The organization was incorporated as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit to develop strategies to advance and integrate on-road motorcyclists' safety through data driven research and collaboration with relevant stakeholders. The Board of Directors, appointed by the founding member companies, will coordinate and facilitate pre-competitive research activities in collaboration with the interests of relevant federal agencies. SMRC will also include input from associate members consisting of other OEMs, motorcycle industry suppliers, and technical or scientific organizations engaged in the field of on-road motorcycle safety. For more information, visit: SaferMotorcyclingResearchConsortium.org.

State News

PHOENIX — H.B. 2246 would require all motorcyclists, passengers and ATV operators to wear a helmet at all times while operating the vehicle. The bill also would require protective glasses, goggles or a transparent face shield, unless the vehicle is equipped with a windscreen. Riders and passengers can opt out of the requirement by paying a fee when registering their vehicles. Revenue from the fee would be split between the Arizona Highway User Revenue fund ($200) and the Spinal and Head Injuries Trust Fund ($300).

ROSEAU, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants comments from the public on a Roseau County proposal to obtain grants for additional all-terrain vehicle and off-highway motorcycle trails in Beltrami Island State Forest. The new trail, known as the Butler Grade, would provide a 5.1-mile trail connection to communities east of the forest. The trail would be part of the Warroad-Roseau trails and would be maintained by Roseau County and the Roseau-Lake of the Woods Sportsmen's Club. Written comments will be accepted by the DNR until 4:30 p.m. March 25. Submit comments by email to Jack Pellinen, area Parks and Trails Division supervisor, at pellinen@state.mn.us, or by mail to Pellinen, Area supervisor, Parks and Trails Division, Minnesota DNR, 48990 County Road 4, Roseau, MN 56751. A map of the proposed trail segments can be found at mndnr.gov. For more information, call Pellinen at (218) 526-1362.

JUNEAU COUNTY, Wis. — The Juneau County Board approved adding two new ATV routes in the county at its Feb. 19 meeting, according to the Juneau County Star-Times. The county added a 1.3-mile route on County Road B near the town of Lisbon and 1.4 miles on County Road M near the city of New Lisbon and the town of Orange. The city of New Lisbon also approved new ATV routes and additions to existing routes at its Feb. 18 meeting.

Industry News

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. — Zero Motorcycles announced its 2019 Zero SR/F, which features a new electric powertrain that’s rated at 110 horsepower and 140 pound feet of torque and carries an advertised top speed of 124 mph. The new motorcycle, priced at $18,999, offers a stock range of 160 miles. With the optional Power Tank battery pack, the range climbs to 200 miles. An optional rapid charging 240-watt system can get the bike to 95 percent battery capacity in an hour, the company said.

MEDINA, Minn. — Polaris Industries Inc. is expanding its vehicle-rental business aimed at adventure tourists, with snowmobiles and Slingshots available. Polaris Adventures partners with vacation rental businesses and tour operators in places like Maui, the Grand Canyon and California’s Mohave Mountains, leasing new models of its products, along with a system that speeds up tasks like insurance and waivers. The business started in 2016 and now has partners at 75 tourist locations in 30 states.

VALCOURT, Quebec, Canada — BRP announced the purchase of select assets of Faster Faster, Inc. (Alta Motors). The purchase includes certain intellectual property, patents and some limited physical assets from the former all-electric motorcycle design and manufacturing company. BRP said it is not restarting Alta Motors operations and assumes no liabilities, but it is an opportunity to complement its ongoing research and development. BRP products include Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles, Sea-Doo watercraft, Can-Am on- and off-road vehicles, Alumacraft and Manitou boats, Evinrude and Rotax marine propulsion systems and Rotax engines for karts, motorcycles and recreational aircraft.

International News

BRUSSELS — The Federation of European Motorcyclists established the FEMA Worldwide Solidarity Fund to help motorcyclists’ organizations around the world learn from the European political experience with motorcycle issues. FEMA General Secretary Dolf Willigers said his organization strongly believes in solidarity among riders and the FEMA constitution says the group should cooperate with and lend aid to riders’ organizations throughout the world. The Worldwide Solidarity Fund will make it financially possible for the FEMA staff to spend a part of its time and efforts on the global requests for support and information. "We are calling on other parties to contribute financially to this fund, as well," he said.

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia — Providing designated motorcycle lanes on all roads is likely to reduce the risk of accidents involving the vehicle, especially those with small capacity engines, according to Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research Chairman Datuk Suret Singh. Currently, some highways in the country have designated motorcycle lanes, but Suret said the proposal is for all roads to have designated motorcycle lanes. “If there is a special lane on all roads for motorcyclists, it will have a positive impact, but there needs to be effective enforcement to prevent other vehicles from using the same lane,” he said.

AMA News

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The 2019 AMA Board of Directors Award recipients include:

  • 2019 AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award — AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend Malcolm Smith
  • AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award — "Texas" Larry Walker
  • AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award — Lyon Payne
  • AMA Bessie Stringfield Award — Genevieve Schmitt
  • AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award — North American Trials Council
  • Friend of the AMA Award — Tom and Karen Umphress, Liza Miller, AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Scot Harden and MotoVentures

The AMA Board of Directors awards recognize AMA members and organizations that best serve the AMA mission to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling through outstanding contributions in the world of motorcycling. Get full information at www.americanmotorcyclist.com.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — David Craigie, of Santa Rosa, Calif., is the grand prize winner in the 2018 AMA Member Sweepstakes. He will receive a 2018 Yamaha XSR700. Craigie became eligible to win the XSR700 when he renewed his American Motorcyclist Association membership in 2018. All AMA members who join or renew are automatically eligible to win a number of prizes from a collection that changes for each calendar year. Other winners in the 2018 AMA Member Sweepstakes were Joseph Dafoe, who won a Scala Rider Communication System, and Tucker DeWitt, who won a Shoei helmet. The grand prize for the 2019 AMA Member Sweepstakes is a 2019 Yamaha Star Eluder. Get full details at www.americanmotorcyclist.com.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio —AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Honda, is America's grandest celebration of vintage motorcycles and the people who love them. The 2019 event, with Honda as the featured marque, is July 5-7 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. AMA members can buy discounted tickets now at www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com. All activity at the event financially supports the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, the 501(c)(3) that raises money for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

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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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