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May 10th – Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

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Keith Ball illustration – designed to bring less expensive, light vehicle, two tiered additional lanes to congested areas

Capitol Hill Update

Full Court Press

This week the MRF team in Washington met with 24 congressional offices to discuss motorcycle priorities with an emphasis on H. Res 255, the anti-motorcycle profiling resolution. The strategy to get this resolution passed is simple; we need to get as many co-sponsors added to the resolution as possible. A large number of co-sponsors demonstrates support for the resolution and helps let Congressional leaders know that there is broad political support for passing the resolution.

Last year, the House version of this resolution had 39 cosponsors. This year our goal is to get that number above 60. Since the resolution was introduced six weeks ago, we have garnered 22 cosponsors including seven that were added just this week. The letters sent by MRF members and our meetings on Capitol Hill are helping build momentum, but we need to keep the pressure up. The DC team will continue to meet with congressional offices and Bikers Inside the Beltway is a great opportunity for motorcyclists to educate lawmakers about this issue.

We are casting a wide net hoping to gain support from a variety of different states. Our meetings this week were with members of Congress from 21 different states. Currently, Illinois is leading the way with five co-sponsors on the resolution. We will keep you updated on our meetings and the growth of our co-sponsor list.

Transportation Priorities

Late last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee asked its members to submit a list of surface transportation priorities. This list will help guide the committee in building an agenda for hearings and legislation in the coming months. Congressman Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) submitted this request to the committee: “Direct NHTSA to reevaluate the federal definition of a motorcycle (the current definition of a motorcycle includes autocycles).”

Congressman Balderson was first elected to Congress in August of 2018 to fill a vacancy created by a retirement. He won reelection three months later and is now serving his first full term in Congress. The Congressman is a motorcycle rider and recently joined the House Motorcycle Caucus. He has shown a desire to learn more about legislative issues motorcyclists face and with his position on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hopes to play a leading role in advocating for the motorcycle community. We are excited about our new ally and advocate and look forward to working on a variety of issues with him.

In the Cantina – Big Question Weekly News for May 2, 2019

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It’s Doable if We Can Get to the Table
By Bandit, Wayfarer, Rogue, Bob T., Sam Burns, Barry Green, the Redhead, Laura, Stealth and the rest of the Crew

Why do I ponder this shit, but I do. It’s not as if my folks were industry leaders or politicians. I should smoke weed and relax, but no.

How do we respect freedom of travel, the enjoyment of riding, the freedom to build bikes and keep roads available? We need to shift our focus first, but we need to do it soon.

READ THE WEEKLY NEWS EXCLUSIVELY IN THE CANTINA – Click Here

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To Full Face Helmet or not to Full Face Helmet

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A long standing proponent of freedom of choice, this year for the ride to Daytona Beach for the annual Bike Week pilgrimage – I decided to do something I’ve never, EVER done before in 37+ years of riding– sport a full face helmet. The helmet of choice for the trial was the Harley Davidson FXRG Sun Shield H29 Modular Helmet – Part Number 98359-19VX.

READ THE RIDER REVIEW AND EXPERIENCE AT THE CANTINA – Click Here

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In the Cantina – Weekly News for April 25th 2019

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May We Find Balance and Freedom

I wonder if all the bullshit is human nature. We just can’t relax and have a good time. We need to fight over something. I just hope it doesn’t lead to something devastating. Maybe I read too much.

I just want to ride free, race, and chase redheads. Life can be so fuckin’ amazing, if we just let it be.

I’m about to launch a new Cantina episode. We have Barry’s footboards tech about ready. And you just don’t know what might happen next.

Joe Teresi told me he has a deal to sell ER and take the company off his hands.

Shit is changing fast. Ride hard and die fast.

Forever Free,

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Letter sent to NHTSA Seeking Clarification on the Definition of a Motorcycle

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The Motorcycle Riders Foundation would like to thank Congressman Michael Burgess (TX) and Congressman Tim Walberg (MI) for a letter they sent this week to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seeking clarification regarding the definition of a motorcycle. In addition to Congressman Burgess and Congressman Wahlberg, the following U.S. Representatives joined their colleagues in signing the letter: Congressman Troy Balderson (OH), Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO), Congressman Collin Peterson (MN), Congressman Steve Stivers (OH) and Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA). The current definition is decades old and so broad that new vehicles on our roadways, with numerous carlike features, are defined as motorcycles.

“As you know, NHTSA has long defined a motorcycle as a ‘motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.’ While this was a clear characterization for many years, the recent emergence of a new class of vehicle that has attributes of both automobiles and motorcycles has created confusion,” the members wrote. “We respectfully request a response that describes whether NHTSA believes the current federal definition of a motorcycle is appropriate and if not, what NHTSA is doing to address this issue.”

The ambiguity of the classification of these new vehicles as either motorcycles or autocycles has created a patchwork of rules and regulations at the state level for licensing, registration and insurance. The MRF believes that a review of this definition is needed and would help provide clarity to states when making decisions on how to appropriately regulate them. We thank these seven members of Congress for seeking clarification from NHTSA on this issue of importance to motorcyclists.

President of the MRF, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, stated “For three years our members have asked us to tackle the federal definition of a motorcycle. This letter is the first step in helping us understand the current thought process of NHTSA and hopefully opens up a dialogue on the topic. We thank this bipartisan group of Congressmen for their leadership on this issue.”

Link to the Letter:
https://burgess.house.gov/uploadedfiles/04112019_burgess__walberg_letter_to_nhtsa.pdf

EPA chief defends decision to pull out of Calif. mpg talks

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Washington — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler defended the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of talks with California about new rules for gas mileage.

Speaking to reporters Thursday at the Washington Auto Show, Wheeler said he is confident the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back stringent rules that would require automakers to produce fleets that average more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025 will hold up in court if it is successfully finalized later this year.

“Our goal from the beginning was a 50-state solution,” he said. “I met with (the California Air Resources Board) three times since taking the helm of EPA last July. But despite our best efforts, we could not reach a solution and decided to end the discussions. We embrace federalism and the role of states, but federalism does not mean that one state can dictate the standards for the entire nation.”

Asked what would happen if California proceeds with a lawsuit that has already been filed over the proposal to rule back mileage rules, Wheeler said: “We’ll go to court if they do that. I believe we’re on firm legal footing and I believe that our standards will be upheld by the courts.”

The Trump administration announced last year its intention to ease stringent gas-mileage rules that would have required fleets averaging more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025. The administration proposed a freeze in the mandate after 2020, when their lineups must average 39 mpg.

Automakers cheered the decision to reopen the so-called midterm review they were promised when the Obama-era gas mileage rules were agreed to in 2011. But they hoped the Trump administration would quickly reach an agreement with California on a new set of rules to prevent a lengthy legal battle that would leave the mpg requirements for the next half-decade in limbo.

The Trump administration has floated the idea of moving to revoke a longstanding waiver allowing California and other states to set their own stricter auto emissions standards. Thirteen states and Washington, D.C., have adopted California’s mileage rules, meaning automakers could be left with one set of rules for a quarter of the country and another set for the remaining states.

Revoking California’s waiver, which is ensconced in the Clean Air Act, would require an act of Congress that is unlikely with the U.S. House under Democratic control.

Wheeler said the Trump administration is focused on making sure new cars are affordable enough for consumers to purchase new models that are more fuel-efficient.

“Our overarching goal is to get more Americans into newer, safer, cleaner vehicles,” he said, noting that the average age of a car on U.S. roadways is more than 12 years.

Wheeler touted the EPA’s enforcement actions against automakers that have been investigated for emissions violations. The agency reached an $800 million settlement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles this year to resolve allegations from federal regulators that the company used software on about 104,000 diesel-powered pickups and SUVs that is similar to “defeat devices” used by Volkswagen AG to cheat U.S. emissions-testing.

“We’re committed to vigorously enforcing the nation’s environmental laws,” Wheeler said Thursday. “EPA has stopped the sale of over 1 million after-market defeat devices…In this year alone, we’ve stopped roughly 2,220 illegal vehicles and engines at the border and held the importers and the manufacturers accountable for many more illegal foreign products.”

Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway April 5th 2019

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RIDING FREE FROM DC

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.

Capitol Hill Update

Ground Game
Last week the MRF issued a call to action regarding H. Res 255 the Motorcycle profiling bill introduced by Congressmen Walberg (MI), Burgess (TX), Peterson (MN) and Pocan (WI). Since last week, MRF members have sent over 2,000 letters to their lawmakers. The resolution started with four cosponsors, and a week later we have doubled that number to eight cosponsors.

A great example of how reaching out to your lawmaker can lead to results comes to us from the motorcycle community in New York. Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York received the most letters of any member of Congress. His office received over 100 letters asking him to cosponsor H. Res 255. And wouldn’t you know it, Congressman Zeldin jumped on as a cosponsor within days of receiving those letters.

However, all members of Congress are not as receptive to their constituents as Congressman Zeldin. However, one thing is for certain, if a Member of Congress doesn’t know a bill or resolution exists, they will not be a co-sponsor.

Cosponsors by State
Illinois – 1
Michigan – 1
Minnesota – 1
Missouri – 1
New York – 1
Texas – 1
Washington – 1
Wisconsin – 1

States who have sent the Most letters

  1. New York
  2. Texas
  3. Louisiana
  4. South Dakota
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Arizona
  8. Minnesota
  9. Michigan
  10. California

DC Game
While we ask our members to contact their lawmakers, we in D.C. have been hitting the pavement to meet with lawmakers about motorcycle issues. Below are brief summaries of some meetings we had this week:

Congressman Walberg (MI) – We met with Congressman Walberg to personally thank him for introducing the profiling resolution. He is excited about our membership’s enthusiasm and support for the resolution and said he would work on driving co-sponsors.

Congressman Rodney Davis (IL) – Congressman Davis is the Ranking Member of the Transportation Subcommittee on Highways. He was VERY aware of our concerns regarding autonomous vehicles and the safety issues surrounding the ability to read and react to motorcycles. The Congressman mentioned that in congressional hearings he would be willing to ask regulators about these concerns. He also said that in his sophomore year of college he was forced to sell his motorcycle to buy books but that he remains a fan of the motorcycle community. Congressman Davis joined the profiling resolution as a co-sponsor this week.

Congressman Ken Buck (CO) – Congressman Buck said that ABATE of Colorado has been very vocal in his district and he was happy to co-sponsor last year’s profiling resolution. He will again consider co-sponsoring this year’s version. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over the resolution, Congressman Buck signing on would be an important win for the resolution.

MRF Events

Register for Bikers Inside the Beltway
As we approach May 21st and Bikers Inside the Beltway 2019, we are encouraging you to go online to www.mrf.org/events and register for the event so we can start planning for the event.  If you signed up after last week’s update, we thank you for committing to joining us in Washington, D.C. for lobby day.  If you are still on the fence, you can go check out the flyer or contact us if you have questions about the event.

Meeting of the Minds 2019
Meeting of the Minds 2019 registration is now live on the event page. ABATE of Minnesota will be hosting the event in Bloomington on September 19th-22nd. You can register and order an event t-shirt in advance of the conference.  As a member of the MRF, you will receive a discounted registration rate for the event. To read more about the event and the hotel information, you can download the event flyer here.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation Team in D.C.

Rocky & Tiffany

Action Alert on $32 Fee Repeal

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There has been an overwhelming displeasure with the process of the original bill. It was our understanding at the beginning last session, that the original bill would be to rescind the VLT for alternative fuel vehicle exceptions. In fact, part of the testimony was the fact that so many large trucks, who do the most damage on our highways, are converting to alternative fuels. Obviously, that’s not what happened. And it has been obvious by the public outcry, that the setting of the fees by the ADOT Director is not something the voting population is happy about.

I could give you survey results of how motorcyclists in our state feel about this legislation, but I am sure you all are too familiar with the displeasure.

I’ll just leave a few numbers for you –
$133 additional dollars. That’s the additional fees one voter told me. He is a single man with 2 motorcycles, 2 cars and an off-road vehicle. The increase is more than he pays for both his motorcycles and one of his cars combined.

From $35 to $99. Single mom. She has a beater car and a daily driver motorcycle to get back and forth to work. The motorcycle saves her a tremendous amount on fuel. The $64 increase is more than 2 months of her fuel costs on her bike.

This is what one of our members just received and is the typical increase for a motorcyclist.

I could go on and on with examples, but I am sure you get the picture of the negative financial impact this has had.

The motorcycle community in Arizona is in favor of Senator Ugenti-Rita’s bill to repeal this absurd fee and we ask that you contact your State Representative and ask for a unanimous floor vote on SB1001.

ABATE OF ARIZONA

Click on the link below to find your State Representative.

How do I find or contact my Legislator?

  1. If you know your legislators, click here.
  2. If you do not know your legislators:  Click here to find the legislative district you live in by entering your address and zip code located at the lower left corner.