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Fact Vs Fiction: New York Exhaust Noise Legislation

By General Posts

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SEMA’s Government Affairs staff have been successful thus far in killing or amending many onerous proposals before they become law

In 2021, New York enacted a bill into law–the SLEEP Act–that aims to crack down on excessively loud vehicles. The law goes into effect on April 1, 2022. Unfortunately, vague local news reporting has created confusion amongst enthusiasts about what the law will actually do. The SEMA Action Network (SAN) is here to set the record straight.

NOTE: The contents of this article focus on the impact of the new law on light-duty cars and trucks, not motorcycles.

Background:
Since 2021, over a dozen states, including New York, have introduced bills aiming to curb the amount of noise emitted from a vehicle’s muffler. While no two state’s means of achieving this goal have been identical, they all have one thing in common: they were requested by constituents upset by loud vehicles in their community. Why? For many workers across the country, the pandemic meant an unexpected shift to remote work. As a result, people became far more aware of their surroundings, and the noises that come with them, especially from cars and trucks. Fortunately for enthusiasts, SEMA’s Government Affairs staff have been successful thus far in killing or amending many onerous proposals before they become law.

So, what about in New York?

Claim: A new bill in New York will ban exhaust modifications

Rating: Fiction
In January 2021, lawmakers in New York introduced a pair of bills (S. 784 and A. 471) seeking to curb loud cars and trucks. The bills were amended several times prior to passage and were approved by Governor Kathy Hochul in late October. Importantly, the proposal did not change the state’s existing exhaust noise laws, which require every motor vehicle to be equipped with a muffler in working condition and prohibits the installation of bypasses, cutouts, or similar devices. Comparable language is universally used by states across the country and is designed to prevent motorists from deleting their muffler and/or catalytic converter.

So, what does the new law change? Put simply, it allows for larger fines for those breaking existing law pertaining to the use of cut-outs, bypasses or similar devices. Prior to enactment, New York had one of the lowest exhaust noise fines in the country. This law allows larger fines to be issued (capped at $1,000) if the situation warrants.

Claim: New York’s new exhaust noise bill creates a 60-decibel muffler limit

Rating: Fiction
As mentioned above, S. 784 and A. 471 do not change New York’s underlying exhaust noise laws, it simply gives the legal system more discretion to enforce against bad actors. However, the initial versions of the bill were quite different from the final product, and some in the automotive media have used early versions of the bill as their reference when reporting on the proposal.

So, what sort of differences are we talking about? As initially drafted, cars and trucks would have been limited to 60-decibels of exhaust noise, subject to a flat $1,000 fine, and police cars would have been equipped with sound meters to help enforce the law. None of these proposals made it into the final version of the bill. The decibel limit was removed as it would have rendered practically every car on the road illegal, the universal fine was changed to a cap, and the sound meters were scrapped as well.

Claim: A letter sent to retailers and vehicle inspectors states that all exhaust modifications are illegal.

Rating: Fiction
In advance of the SLEEP Act going into effect on April 1, 2022, a letter signed by the DMV Commissioner was sent to automotive retailers and vehicle inspectors in the state notifying them of the law change. The letters are misleading and make overly broad statements about what the new law does. As it relates to cars and trucks, the SLEEP Act added one new section to the law on which the state may begin to enforce starting April 1–VTL 375 (31)(b)–which states that a “cutout, bypass, or similar device” may not be used to increase a vehicle’s muffler noise. As stated above, these parts were already illegal for street use across the country and in New York. SEMA is actively working with the DMV to clarify this guidance.

Claim: A car or truck with modified exhaust will now automatically fail inspection in New York.

Rating: Fiction
According to the state’s DMV, their vehicle inspection procedures have not changed as a result of the new law. Inspectors are not equipped with decibel readers and do not perform sound checks on vehicles. To learn more about the inspection process for cars and trucks, please click here.

Claim: The phrase “cut-out, bypass, or similar device” could be interpreted as meaning any aftermarket device.

Rating: Fiction
The use of “cut-outs, bypasses, or similar devices” is universally illegal in the United States regardless of whether or not they make a vehicle louder. For most states, comparable language explicitly banning these devices has been on the books for over 60 years, including in New York. While no state has explicitly defined the phrase, a definition can be found in the United States Code of Federal Regulations and in municipal ordinances across the country. In each instance, the definition is substantively similar to that of the federal government’s: “Cutout or by-pass or similar devices means devices which vary the exhaust system gas flow so as to discharge the exhaust gas and acoustic energy to the atmosphere without passing through the entire length of the exhaust system, including all exhaust system sound attenuation components.”

Questions? Please contact Christian Robinson at stateleg@sema.org

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Another Victory in Kansas: Law to Ease Titling Procedures for Antique Vehicles

By General Posts

Another Victory in Kansas as Governor Signs into Law Bill to Ease Titling Procedures for Antique Vehicles—Congratulations!

Another win in Kansas! Governor Laura Kelly signed into law SAN-supported legislation (H.B. 2595) to allow vehicles registered as “Antique” which are 60 years old or older the ability to forego a VIN inspection when applying for a title. The new law expands vehicles eligible for certain titling procedures by allowing Antique vehicles that are at least 60 years old needing only a bill of sale as proof of ownership and an application when applying for a title.

Prior to the new law, only antique vehicles with a model year of 1950 or earlier could forego the VIN inspection when applying for a title. Additionally, the new law recognizes that the collection and restoration of historic and classic cars is an important part of preserving the technological achievements and cultural heritage of the United States. It will go into effect upon publication in the Kansas Register statute book.

Congratulations and thank you to those who supported this effort!

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MRF Call To Action: anti-motorcyclist profiling resolution

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Where Does Your State Rank?

Last month the Motorcycle Riders Foundation released our first call to action of 2022. The call to action was related to H. Res 366, the anti-motorcyclist profiling resolution in the House of Representatives. Since its release, over 1,600 bikers have taken a moment to click a few buttons and have their voice heard.

One great part about this call to action is that if your lawmaker has already been supportive of the resolution, they get a thank you email. While if your member of congress has yet to act, it explains the issues and asks for support.

We’ve seen great results from this effort. Since the beginning of February, 26 new representatives have signed on as cosponsors!

If there is one thing we know about bikers, they are a competitive bunch. So, to inspire even more engagement, here’s a list of the top 5 states who’ve taken the time to answer the call.

1. Wisconsin – 176
2. Michigan 155
3. New York 136
4. Texas – 124
5. Arizona 118

The map also shows you how many bikers from each state have contacted their member of the House.

If you have already done the call to action, we thank you! But let’s keep the pressure up! You don’t need to do it again, but you can share the link below, forward this email and hit social media. Let’s get as many bikers as we can to take 2 minutes out of their day to spread the word on profiling.

If you want Washington D.C. to address the profiling of bikers click here.

As always, Ride Safe and Ride Free!

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.
Website: https://mrf.org/

MRF Update: Transportation Funding Unlocked

By General Posts

This week the House and Senate are tackling a self-imposed deadline to pass funding legislation before government departments and agencies run out of money. To avoid a government shutdown, a large omnibus spending bill is being voted on that will fund government operations through the end of September. Importantly for transportation related projects and programs, the omnibus bill unlocks billions of dollars in funding that Washington red tape has delayed.

Lawmakers and transportation officials have been warning for months that full implementation of the $1.5 trillion infrastructure law, which was enacted in November, isn’t possible because government funding is constrained at 2021 levels. So, while the money is actually in the accounts and ready to be spent, transportation agencies are locked out of using a large percentage of the money until this second piece of legislation is enacted.

Only in Washington, D.C. does it take two bills, five months apart, to achieve your policy objectives!

Lawmakers Focus on Tesla
Recently Tesla has come under criticism for its Autopilot and Full-Self Driving (FSD) features, which critics say give the impression to drivers that the vehicles are capable of hands-off operation. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened two investigations into Tesla’s autopilot system and the automaker has launched nearly a dozen recalls in the U.S. Many of those recalls are related to over-the-air updates which allows Tesla to tweak and change its software remotely.

Last month, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a letter to Tesla seeking answers to a series of questions regarding its technology. Included in the letter were questions regarding safety programming, issues related to phantom braking and driver monitoring capabilities.

Tesla responded to the letter last week saying in part, “Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD Capability features enhance the ability of our customers to drive safer than the average driver in the U.S.,”

Senators Blumenthal and Markey seemed less than impressed with Tesla’s response to their questions. In a joint statement they said Tesla’s response was “just more evasion and deflection from Tesla. Despite its troubling safety track record and deadly crashes, the company seemingly wants to carry on with business as usual.”

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has long been concerned that safety standards for self-driving and autonomous vehicle technology are inadequate. All motorcyclists should remember that these vehicles are on our roadways right now. Remain vigilant while riding, as the operators and perhaps even the manufacturers are not fully aware of what this technology can and cannot do.

To read the initial letter sent to Tesla click here.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.
Visit Website at: http://mrf.org

MRF update: Highway Bill Passes – a Year Late

By General Posts

November 5, 2021

Highway Bill Passes… a Year Late

After a 13-month delay and enactment of three separate extensions, Congress finally passed a surface transportation reauthorization bill. This bill, sometimes called the highway bill or the infrastructure bill, has been a hotly debated topic in D.C. for several years. Once signed by the President, the bill will reauthorize many highway programs, provide funding for road and bridge construction and replace the previous highway bill passed in 2015, known as the FAST Act.

Just a week ago, Congress gave itself a third extension running into December. Yet election victories by Republican candidates, especially a win by the GOP in the Virginia governor’s race, seems to have spooked Democrats, and motivated passage of a bill that has been awaiting a vote since the summer.

For the last two years, the House of Representatives and Senate have battled over transportation priorities and funding levels. In both 2020 and 2021, the House of Representatives passed versions of their highway bill, only to be rebuffed by the Senate. Under pressure from President Biden, the Senate finally acted, passing in August a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. This action by the Senate, effectively forced the House to accept the Senate version of the bill or continue to pass short term extensions of current law.

However, pressure from the left wing of the Democratic party delayed a vote on the Senate’s infrastructure bill until an unconnected piece of legislation, referred to as the “human infrastructure bill,” was agreed to. That bill, called “Build Back Better,” had an original price tag of $3.5 trillion and effectively held the infrastructure bill hostage. After months of debate, and Tuesday’s election results, House Democrats agreed to vote on a smaller Build Back Better bill later in the month, opening the door to a final vote on the infrastructure bill.

At 11:27pm Friday night, the House agreed to the Senate’s bill and passed a $1.2 trillion 5-year highway bill, known as the INVEST ACT. The final vote in the House was 228 to 206, with 13 Republicans voting in favor and 6 Democrats voting against.

BENEFITS TO BIKERS

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.

Visit MRF Website at: https://mrf.org/

Congress extends deadline for highway funding – 3rd time in 13 months

By General Posts

October 28th, 2021

Same Old Story…

For the 3rd time in 13 months, Congress will extend the deadline to reauthorize highway funding programs.

The original deadline of September 30, 2020 was extended for a full year last fall. Last month, Congress kicked the can down the road, giving itself a 1-month extension that expires on October 31st. Facing yet another self-imposed deadline, Thursday night, Congress gave itself ANOTHER extension, this time running through December 3rd, 2021. President Biden now must sign the bill before the first of November to avoid a lapse in funding.

Over 3,700 employees in the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration would be furloughed without these stop gap funding extensions. Passage of a long-term infrastructure and highway bill remains blocked because of an inter-party fight between progressive and moderate Democrats on a host of issues.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) believes long term and stable funding for our nation’s transportation and infrastructure programs should not be continually deferred. The MRF remains committed to seeking long term solutions that advance the priorities of the nearly 10 million bikers in this country.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.

Visit MRF Website at: https://mrf.org/join/

MRF Update: Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)

By General Posts

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation released an interactive website with data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). FARS, which became operational in 1975, containing data on a census of fatal traffic crashes within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. To be included in FARS, a crash must involve a motor vehicle traveling on a traffic way customarily open to the public and must result in the death of a vehicle occupant or a nonoccupant within 30 days of the crash.

Fatal crash data for motorcyclists and passengers from the years 2010 to 2019 is included on this website.

Users of the website can sort the information on fatalities by a variety of categories, including:

  • State where the crash took place
  • Crash Characteristics
  • Environmental Characteristics
  • Month of Crash
  • Time of Crash
  • Helmet Usage
  • Alcohol Usage
  • Age and Sex of Victims
  • Weather Conditions
  • Single Vehicle v Multi Vehicle

While this information can be useful in understanding when, why and where crashes are taking place, it’s important to note that this data includes not just traditional motorcycles but also mopeds, scooters, minibikes, and pocket bikes.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation believes crash avoidance is key component of rider safety. There are zero fatalities in crashes that never happen.

To see the website and view the decade’s long data click here.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.

Visit MRF Website at: https://mrf.org/

Political Agendas on Electrical Vehicles Charge Up Emotions

By General Posts

by Colby Martin from SEMA Action Network (SAN) at https://www.semasan.com

GROUNDING THE “EV” BUZZ

Political Agendas Surrounding Automobiles Charge Up Strong Emotions

The impending arrival of electric cars and trucks has caused quite a stir. Sure, everyone shares the well-intentioned notion of a healthier environment. But constant announcements about the potential phasing out of new gas-powered vehicles have enthusiasts worried about the future of the hobby. Thanks in part to a 24-hour news-cycle, the automotive-minded are forced to ponder this great unknown with greater frequency. With the topic weighing heavier on many minds, the question arises: what’s to become of the tailpipe—and when? Clearly there are crossed wires needing to be untangled.

Acronym Soup

First, we must understand the common lingo used in automotive discussions. The gasoline-sipping internal combustion engine (ICE) has long been the motivator of choice. However, the low- and zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) categories have emerged and made significant improvements in recent years. There are several different models of these cars and trucks such as electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrids, and those running on hydrogen fuel-cells. With such competition, it may seem like traditional rides could have a tougher existence in a yet-uncertain future of alternative powerplants.

Government Directives

The latest update in the automotive world came from the nation’s top office: the Biden Administration. President Joe Biden signed the “Executive Order on Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks” in August. In short, the measure calls for 50% of all sales of new cars and light trucks in the US be ZEV by the year 2030. “It is the policy of my Administration to advance these objectives in order to improve our economy and public health, boost energy security, secure consumer savings, advance environmental justice, and address the climate crisis,” said President Biden.

Biden’s action was preceded by California Governor Gavin Newsom’s controversial notice last year. That order instructed the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to draft regulations requiring that all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state be zero-emissions by 2035. Once drafted, CARB’s proposed regulations will be subject to a lengthy regulatory process, including legal, economic, and environmental analyses, public comment, and hearings. The Governor’s order is also expected to face numerous legal challenges from opponents.

Cause for Concern?

The concern surrounding EVs is understandable, but premature. Many of the proposed rules and legal mandates are far more symbolic in nature. For example, President Biden’s actions were merely issued as an Executive Order, meaning it is not a federal law and has no binding authority. In fact, the following disclaimer is included at the end of the Order:

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Directives like President Biden’s also tend to be highly aspirational with ambitious time frames for implementation. For example, many of the President’s proposed benchmarks extend beyond his time in office, giving him little say on the final product.

Realities: Supply vs. Demand

Perhaps the most direct impact to personal transportation will come from the automakers themselves. The evolving market is already experiencing highs and lows. While seeking to boost ZEV sales, major brands have been subject to factors beyond their control. Supply chain shortages and logistical issues have impeded production schedules, causing delays, and price surges. Additionally, massive investment of resources will be required for materials and retooling throughout the entire manufacturing process.

Many fundamental issues need to be resolved before any major shift to “clean” vehicles is feasible. Most importantly, more than 281 million rides share US roads—a small fraction of which are EVs. Such a massive fleet won’t be replaced anytime soon. Of course, the lion’s share are newer vehicles, which often have a life spanning a decade or longer. Also, the urge to trade-in for an electric model decreases without widespread options for “refueling.” Charging woes include long recharging time, charger availability, and standardization of hardware between brand offerings. Additionally, the U.S. electrical grid can hardly handle its current strain—let alone an entire nation needing to recharge at home or on-the-go. At this point, clear solutions appear far from sight.

Informed & Involved

Although the future of EV adoption remains to be seen, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) believes a balance can be achieved and has made this fight a top priority. Our community’s rich history of innovation should be celebrated as it continues evolving with emerging technologies. As always, the SAN opposes proposed efforts to ban the ICE and other such mandates impacting vehicles of all kinds—vintage collectibles and their fuel supply included.

With the ever-growing voice of advocates from our hobby, politicians are increasingly aware of how many passionate voters are paying attention to their actions. SAN contacts like you will receive details direct to inboxes as opportunities to act arise—stay tuned for further updates.

Meantime, please spread the word to get others involved in the good fight: CLICK semaSAN.com/Join

–IGNITED WE STAND!

About SAN: https://www.semasan.com/about

EDITOR’s NOTE:
“Here’s the wildest truth. Climate Alarmism or Climate Doom IS misinformation. Oops.” –Bandit

Fossil Fuel Bikernet Weekly News for October 14th, 2021

By General Posts

It’s All Good and Packed with Info

We are living in the absolute best of times. Let’s ride free forever.

Never a dull moment, but it’s all a positive adventure. Even fixing stupid shit, is a positive endeavor and keeping me from thinking about building another motorcycle.

There’s always something going on in Deadwood. If it has to do with whiskey, I’m in.

Let’s hit it.

–Bandit

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BANNED : Chainsaws, Golf Carts, Lawn Mowers & More

By General Posts

from https://mrf.org/

Chainsaws, Golf Carts, Lawn Mowers… What’s Next?

Over the weekend, California Governor Gavin Newson signed a bill into law banning the sale of all off-road, gas-powered engines, including generators, lawn equipment, pressure washers, chainsaws, weed trimmers, and even golf carts. Under the new law, these machines must be zero-emissions, meaning they will have to be either battery-powered or plug-in.

This law is particularly concerning because of the status California holds within the national economy. The population and market size that California commands often forces manufacturers to react by changing products nationwide, to conform to California standards. Additionally, states with like-minded legislatures often follow with similar laws and regulations of their own.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is concerned that this action by California, will begin a cascading effect that will eventually result in the demise of the internal combustion engine and the fuel supply tied to it. During the legislative agenda setting meeting, held at the 2021 Meeting of the Minds, in Atlanta, Georgia this very issue was debated. Working with our state partners, the MRF is currently evaluating how best to address these concerns.

The final 2022 MRF Legislative Agenda will be made public in an upcoming American Biker Journal.

To read more on the bill click here.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation: The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. Visit the Website https://mrf.org/