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Riding Free From DC: Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

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Your Motorcycle Riders Foundation team in Washington, D.C. is pleased to provide our members with the latest information and updates on issues that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. Count on your MRF to keep you informed about a range of matters that are critical to the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. Published weekly when the U.S. Congress is in session.

100 and Counting

We’ve hit an important milestone in our push to pass H. Res 255 the motorcyclists profiling resolution in the House of Representatives. This week we gained our 100th co-sponsor, which means that nearly 25% of the House of Representatives is now on the record standing with the motorcycle community. It’s an excellent time to take a look inside the numbers and talk about the diversity of U.S. Representatives that support us.

  • We have bipartisan support with 59 Republicans and 41 Democrats on the resolution
  • We have at least one member from 37 different states and American Samoa
  • We have the Dean of the House, the longest-serving Congressman, Rep. Young (Alaska) and the second longest-serving member Rep. Sensenbrenner (Wisconsin)
  • We have 12 Freshman Congressman
  • We have the highest-ranking Republican on the Transportation Committee, Rep. Graves (Missouri)
  • We have two former law enforcement officials Rep. Higgins (Louisiana) and Rep Stauber (Minnesota)
  • We have the Chairman of the Freedom Caucus Rep. Biggs (Arizona), and 12 members of the caucus which is the most conservative group in Congress
  • We have the Chairman of the Progressive Caucus Rep. Pocan (Wisconsin) and 15 members of the caucus which is the most liberal group in Congress
  • We have the Chairman of the Blue Dog Caucus Rep. Brindisi (New York) the caucus for moderate Democrats
  • We have 13 members of the Main Street Partnership the caucus for moderate Republicans
  • We have 4 members of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • We have 9 members of the Judiciary Committee who have jurisdiction over the resolution

What does all this mean? It means that we have an amazingly diverse set of lawmakers that have decided to stand with us on the issue of profiling. Whether they be Republican or Democrat, west coast or east coast, newly elected or long-serving, they have all gone on record against the profiling of motorcyclists.

How did we do this? We have used every tool in the motorcyclists toolbox to gain support. MRF members flooded Congressional mailboxes with letters using our CQ “Call to Action” software in April. In May, MRF members roamed the halls of Congress and met with staff and lawmakers during Bikers Inside the Beltway. Since Bikers Inside the Beltway, the DC team has done 193 in-person meetings on Capitol Hill about this issue.   It’s not an exaggeration to say almost every member of the House of Representatives has heard about this issue from us.

Why is this important? In order for our resolution to be voted on, we need to demonstrate to Congressional leadership that it has broad based support. The easiest way to show that is by driving cosponsors to the resolution and having members of Congress attach their name to it.

Our initial goal was to double the 37 cosponsors we had during the last Congress. Once we hit that goal, we were told by our champions that getting to 100 would be an important benchmark. Well, we hit that and continue to run up our numbers.

While we will continue to educate lawmakers on the issue of motorcyclist profiling, we have asked Rep. Walberg and his staff to start pressing for a vote on the resolution. We have several other allies that have offered to help push our case, and we are hopeful that our hard work will be rewarded with an official vote and passage of this resolution. We will be relentless in our advocacy on this issue and will not rest until the House of Representatives joins the Senate and passes H. Res 255.

RPM Act Introduced in the Senate

On Wednesday, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) along with 24 (YES, 24!) other original cosponsors re-introduced S. 2602, Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2019 (RPM Act), which will exclude vehicles to be used solely for competition from certain provisions of the Clean Air Act, and for other purposes.  As you may remember, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation along with a dozen other organizations teamed up with the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) during the 115th Congress in promoting the passage of this legislation which would exempt you from the provisions of the Clean Air Act which makes it illegal for you to turn a street-legal vehicle or motorcycle into performance race vehicle.  The legislation took some time to be introduced during this Congress due to some changes to the previous version of the bill.  One of those changes would ensure this legislation would be in effect immediately after passage and would protect the racers, consumers and aftermarket industry for using or producing, selling, and/or distributing emissions-related race parts for use on vehicles used exclusively for competition while the EPA writes regulations.

The majority staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is still reviewing the changes to the language, but we anticipate the companion house bill will be introduced in the coming weeks.  We ask you to be ready for a future call to action for the RPM Act once the House version is released.

State News – ABATE of Wisconsin sends call to action to oppose the use of blender pumps

The MRF has been working with our SMRO partner, ABATE of Wisconsin, to help them utilize our CQ software to aid the riders in Wisconsin to engage with their elected state officials to oppose AB 382 and SB 349 which would allow blender pumps to dispense E10 and E15 with a shared hose and nozzle.  The use of these blender pumps increases the dangers of misfueling your motorcycle or vehicle at the pump.

To learn more about the issue in Wisconsin, you can reach out to Steve Panten, Legislative Director of ABATE of Wisconsin, by emailing him directly at legis@abatewis.org with your questions.

Wonders of the Bikernet Weekly News

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Motorcycles are Freedom Personified Forever

Hey,

This is a strange and wonderful week. Shit is happening fast. Shit is changing fast, and shit will go to hell quick if we all don’t get involved.

I didn’t intend this to be doom and gloom, but it just spilled out as I wrote. It’s time we all joined a motorcycle rights group or three and got our boots wet.

Here’s my code of the West: We live in the best of times. Our government needs to focus on the people, our freedoms and happiness not on trying to control everything or make everything safe as in Zero. It’s all about control and it won’t work, so let’s be happy and as free as possible.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WEEKLY NEWS – Join the Cantina today

Riding Free from DC: Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

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Meeting of the Minds

Last week the 35th Annual Meeting of the Minds was held in Bloomington, Minnesota. The gathering of so many dedicated and selfless motorcycle advocates in one place was powerful. We in D.C. are continually talking with lawmakers about our membership and the riding community but being in the same room with the people we represent further fueled our passion for advocating on your behalf.

Two full days of meetings and panels covered a wide range of issues including collaboration between SMRO’s and clubs, lobbying tips and tricks, our health, being a better brother and sister, the MRF PAC and the establishment of the 2020 MRF legislative priorities.

On Saturday night, we heard from two guest speakers. First Rep. Peter Stauber from the 8th Congressional district of Minnesota spent 20 minutes discussing many of the issues we face at the federal level in D.C. Congressman Stauber is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and pledged to work with the MRF to fight for our priorities in the upcoming transportation bill. Additionally, as a former law enforcement officer, he understood our concerns regarding motorcyclist profiling and was proud to be a cosponsor of H.Res. 255 since June. He offered to meet with the D.C. team in the coming weeks to follow up on our priorities.

Second, State Senator John Hoffman from the Minnesota State Senate addressed the group. He spoke about working with local motorcycle rights groups and the battles and victories that have been fought at the State Capitol in St. Paul.  

Having both a federal and a state elected officials speak to us demonstrates that motorcycle rights are a battle fought on different fronts.  State legislators and federal lawmakers each play a different but useful role in the fight for motorcycle rights. We want to thank ABATE of Minnesota for arranging the guest speakers.

We want to recognize representatives from the American Motorcyclist Association and Harley Davidson for making the trip from D.C. to be a part of Meeting of the Minds. Collaboration between our organizations has been improving for the last few years, and we appreciate their willingness to visit with our members and continue working together on areas of common interest. 

As always, the MRF board came to Minnesota a day early for a board meeting and overall review of the MRF as an organization. It goes without saying that these board members sacrifice their time, energy and money to sustain the MRF and the continued the fight for motorcyclist rights. Thank you to all the board members for their selfless efforts.  A special thanks to Fred Harrell, Director of Conferences & Events, for his work organizing the 35th Meeting of the Minds. 

Finally, none of this would have been possible without ABATE of Minnesota.  Our friends in Minnesota spent countless hours of their own time volunteering to ensure this edition of Meeting of the Minds went off without a hitch. We are grateful for their efforts and for setting a high standard for the 36th edition of Meeting of the Minds in Indiana in 2020.  Be sure to mark your calendars to join us next year on September 24-27th.

Do Your Homework:

As an advocate for motorcyclist rights, every member of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation should know one simple number, the number of motorcycles registered in your state. Whether you are meeting with a lawmaker, legislative staff or just having a dialogue with a non-rider, the ability to drop that number into a conversation is a powerful tool.

Being able to quantify how many riders are in a given state demonstrates that motorcyclists are not some minor part of the transportation world but rather a substantial part of the fabric that makes up our state and local communities.

Some states provide even more in-depth statistics including total driver licenses with motorcycle endorsements and motorcycle registrations by county. We encourage you to do your homework and gather as much data as possible. You never know when having motorcycle statistics at your fingertips will come in handy!

Do you know how many motorcyclists are registered in your state? If not, click here to see the most recent statistics from the Federal Highway Administration 2016 report.

Standing Update:

We are currently at 91 cosponsors from 36 states and one territory for H. Res 255, the motorcycle profiling resolution. An additional 6 new cosponsors since our last update. The map below shows which states have at least one lawmaker signed on as a cosponsor.  Is your state not filled in yet?  Check with the D.C.  team about how we can work together to secure cosponsors from your state.

As we continue to move the needle here on Capitol Hill,  we ask that you stand by for any future Calls to Action to help ensure that we can secure the passage of this resolution.

MRF MOTM 2019 TIME IS RUNNING OUT!!!

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With just over a week to the pre-registration cut-off, time is running short to save money registering for The 35th Annual Meeting of the Minds Conference!!! 

As the MRF makes final preparations to Honor the Past with the induction of Legacy Members into the MRF Hall of Fame and gear up to Protect the Future with two days of information filled workshops and presentations, you still have time to register for this premier event and secure your hotel room.

Up to the minute legislative updates, topical workshops to assist you in building your SMRO, plus several hundred new and old friends you’ll be glad to see!  Workshop & presentations including…

  • NHTSA – Protecting our Future from their Past
  • Shared Goals & Working Together – SMROs & Motorcycle Clubs
  • Membership Promotion, Retention, Growth & Volunteers
  • Old Media – New Media … – Dealing with print, electronic & social media successfully

And there’s more… Those listed workshops represent one-third of the time allocated for workshops.  We’ve got eight more and only two days to deliver.  However, those two days will be so jammed packed by the end of the Conference you’ll wonder where the time went and be asking for more.

The 35th Annual Meeting of the Minds Conference is coming together as well as any smooth-running machine.  We don’t want you to miss it as we Honor the Past, Protect the Future and live up to meeting and exceeding the expectations of motorcyclists’ rights advocates from across the country.
You have until August 23rd to take advantage of the MOTM pre-registration price of $80.00 for MRF members or $90.00 for non-MRF members.
Use this link to register:  Meeting of the Minds 2019

After August 23rd, the event registration fee goes to $90.00 for members and $100.00 for non-members.  And you’re not just getting a receipt for your efforts… You’ll get a few hundred years of experience from some of the most dedicated and knowledgeable motorcyclists’ rights advocates in the world!

The deadline to get the nightly room rate of $115.00 at the MOTM Conference hotel is September 4th.  After that, rooms may be scarce. So, one more time… beat the deadlines and register for the 35th Annual Meeting of the Minds Conference.  While it’s on your mind, call (952) 854-9000 and use this code to get you’re the MRF room rate: Block code MOT    LINK TO HOTEL MOTM2019

Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you in September at the Crowne Plaza Aire Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota, for the 35th Annual Meeting of the Minds Conference!!!

Fredric Harrell
Director, Conferences & Events
Motorcycle Riders Foundation

Berlin to tighten rules for electric scooter users

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City transport officials said after a meeting with scooter providers that they’ll designate special on-street parking zones for the battery-powered vehicles

BERLIN: Berlin plans to stop electric scooters from being left haphazardly on sidewalks and other anti-social behavior that’s drawn the ire of residents in the German capital since the vehicles were made legal two months ago.

City transport officials said Wednesday after a meeting with scooter providers that they’ll designate special on-street parking zones for the battery-powered vehicles, which are popular among tourists and young people.

Berlin police will also step up patrols to prevent illegal behavior such as doubling.

Police say seven people have been seriously injured and 27 suffered minor injuries in scooter accidents since mid-June, saying most were due to riders behaving carelessly.

In Paris, where about 20,000 scooters roam the streets , authorities recently proposed limiting speeds to 8 kilometers per hour (5 mph) in areas with heavy foot traffic.

Cantina Exclusive: Bikernet Weekly News for July 11, 2019

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Call to Action! This is your chance to help Freedom and Choice Ring

It’s amazing, in a world gone nuts with regulation, one state is considering freedom. Check it out, in the news. Missouri has an adult helmet repeal in front of their Governor. Did you know about half of our states have adult freedom and in most cases free states have a better accident record than states with helmet laws.

READ THE NEWS EXCLUSIVELY IN THE CANTINA – Click Here

Electric cars: New vehicles to emit noise to aid safety

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New electric vehicles will have to feature a noise-emitting device, under an EU rule coming into force on Monday.

It follows concerns that low-emission cars and vans are too quiet, putting pedestrians at risk because they cannot be heard as they approach.

All new types of four-wheel electric vehicle must be fitted with the device, which sounds like a traditional engine.

A car’s acoustic vehicle alert system (Avas) must sound when reversing or travelling below 12mph (19km/h).

The EU says the cars are most likely to be near pedestrians when they are backing up or driving slowly, although drivers will have the power to deactivate the devices if they think it is necessary.

The charity Guide Dogs – which had complained it was difficult to hear low-emission cars approaching – welcomed the change, but said electric vehicles should make a sound at all speeds.

Roads minister Michael Ellis said the government wanted “the benefits of green transport to be felt by everyone” and understood the concerns of the visually impaired.

“This new requirement will give pedestrians added confidence when crossing the road,” he added.

From 2021 all new electric cars must have an Avas, not just new models.

The government has announced plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars and vans being sold by 2040.

Alternatively-fuelled vehicles made up 6.6% of the new car market in May, compared with 5.6% during the same month in 2018.

Does this throw a major wrench into loud bike laws. Remember “Loud Pipes Saves Lives” and the auto industry proved it.–Bandit

Paris clamps down on electric scooters as law of the jungle rules

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More than 1,000 tickets have been issued and about 600 scooters impounded, authorities said, and a new surveillance force has been set up.

PARIS: If you’re spending time in Paris this summer and decide to check out one of the 20,000 electric scooters buzzing along its boulevards, you might want to be careful how you ride and where you end up parking.

Over the past year the city has become awash with the zippy two-wheelers, with 12 start-ups offering the chance to download an app and dash across the Seine for not much more than the cost of a metro ticket.

But the scooters’ popularity, and the relative lack of rules around their use, has prompted City Hall to impose overdue restrictions, with fines for driving them on the pavement or parking them in doorways, crosswalks and other busy places.

After two deaths and scores of injuries, residents have become increasingly vocal against the scooters, which are expected to number up to 40,000 by the end of this year.

From July 1, a spot fine of 35 euros ($40) will be levied on bad parking, while those caught on the sidewalk will be hit with a 135-euro penalty. A speed limit of 20 km/hr has been imposed across the capital.

Even before the legislation kicks in, police have been stepping up their efforts.

More than 1,000 tickets have been issued and about 600 scooters impounded, authorities said, and a new surveillance force has been set up.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has described the scooters as “anarchic”, while transport minister Elisabeth Borne told Le Parisien the city was experiencing “the law of the jungle”.

To regulate the number of scooters, City Hall has introduced a fee of 50 euros per scooter for the first 499 units, rising to 65 euros for companies operating more than 3,000. The biggest operators include Lime, Bird and Jump, operated by Uber.

Yet despite the efforts to put the squeeze on wild scooter riding, pedestrians remain sceptical.

“The fines make sense, but can we enforce them and how?,” asked Yuwei Yeh, a 47-year-old commercial retailer.

“Maybe if we use AI and cameras we can catch people, but we don’t have enough police officers and security guards to fine them, so it will only be a small portion.”

Karim Coulibaly, a 22-year-old employee with Lime said he thought the new laws would not limit the use of electric scooters, but that it was a good thing they are being moved off sidewalks and on to roads.

A representative of Bird said the company had introduced designated parking zones and had not seen a “significant” number of vehicles impounded.

Weed revenue in Colorado tops $1 billion

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Colorado has generated more than $1 billion by selling marijuana.

The state legalized weed in 2014. Since then, total sales have exceeded $6.56 billion, according to the state’s department of revenue.

“Today’s report continues to show that Colorado’s cannabis industry is thriving, but we can’t rest on our laurels,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement on Wednesday. “We can and we must do better in the face of increased national competition. We want Colorado to be the best state for investment, innovation and development for this growing economic sector.”

The marijuana industry is creating jobs in the state, with 2,917 licensed businesses and 41,076 individuals licensed to do such work, according to the department of revenue.

“We are committed to facilitating responsible innovation within this dynamic industry through continued engagement with our diverse group of stakeholders,” Jim Burack, director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, said in a statement. “Colorado will continue to be known for its regulatory leadership.”