It’s been seven years since we wrote about the Driver Alcohol Detection System and Safety (DADSS) program–A Frog in the Pot, E-newsletter #187–and efforts to make ignition interlock devices standard equipment in all vehicles. Proponents of forcing all drivers to pass alcohol detection testing before being able to operate their cars are nothing if not determined.
The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act of 2019, per U.S. Senate Bill 2604, and its counterpart House Bill 3159, keeps their hopes alive by requiring all new vehicles to have alcohol detection systems within four years.
We recognize the politically incorrect timing of addressing the issue of impaired driving during the holiday season, and restate that the NMA does not support, encourage, or condone drunk driving. Impaired drivers who put themselves and others at risk do not belong on the road. But we also do not support zero-tolerance concepts that subject the vast majority of non-imbibing motorists to intrusive testing every time they get behind the wheel.
The unreliability of detection technology is a major cause of concern. False positives are commonplace. Imagine a DADSS device that requires the driver to submit a breath sample to start a car, and to also give regular-interval samples while the vehicle is in motion, forcing shutdown at inopportune times and possibly under unsafe conditions. And if those “rolling samples” require active involvement by all drivers, distracted driving will become an even more widespread road safety concern.
SB 2604, sponsored by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rick Scott (R-FL), currently sits with the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The House bill, 3159, is sponsored by six Republican congressmen and women and is being considered by the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Committee. Consider reaching out to members of both committees, particularly those who represent you directly. Ask them questions like:
- What is the false-positive rate of DADSS, and how will that be taken into account?
- How will DADSS distinguish driver vs. passenger BAC levels?
- Will DADSS include external reporting capabilities, e.g., be tied to V2X (“vehicle to everything”) connectivity? If so,
- Will the system report every episode of an intervention, false positive or not, to an authority for possible assignment of a penalty? What privacy safeguards will be put into place?
- How will the system determine who was operating the car at the time of the “incident?” Will the vehicle owner automatically be assigned blame?
- How much will the DADSS technology add to the cost of a new vehicle? Will that cost be borne by the consumer, and will there be an ongoing cost to the car owner to process DADSS data?
At the least, our elected officials should have satisfactory answers before supporting legislation that would subject all drivers to an unprecedented level of personal intrusion and regulation.
Join the NMA Today https://www.motorists.org/join/
From Clubs in Tasmania to Auto Cycles
By Bill Bish
THE AIM/NCOM MOTORCYCLE E-NEWS SERVICE is brought to you by Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) and the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM), and is sponsored by the Law Offices of Richard M. Lester. If you’ve been involved in any kind of accident, call us at 1-(800) ON-A-BIKE or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.
Knowledge, understanding, the Way, and technology: They are all flying at us fast. Hell, I don’t know where to start. Awhile back I mentioned business owners and their constant challenges, from the government, technology, competition and the market. Those challenges are more daunting than ever before and more beneficial in many respects.
Personal life is also being bombarded with new and beneficial challenges. I was hit with a hot handful of thought-provoking opportunities and philosophies this week.
CLICK AND JOIN BANDIT’S CANTINA—It’s where we have stashed 24 years of content, bike features, Bonneville Racing Builds, wild stories and girlfriends. –Bandit
Making progress is a major motivator. I like to climb out of bed thinking the day is going to be exciting. This week I solved some issues, took my 1928 Shovelhead to Larry Settle for a look-over. We organized and shipped Hugh King’s Discovery Channel biker build-off bike to the Sturgis Museum.
We attempted to get two girders from Spitfire Motorcycles. We scored a few Antiques motorcycle parts from Bobby Stark’s lot.
I solved a minor issue with the Salt Torpedo and we are just a couple of weeks away from our first trial runs. I roughed out another Cantina Chapter.
A couple of infrastructure changes. From now on, we will post the news on the Free side of the Bikernet Iron Curtain for one week each week. We will also do the same with selected articles before slipping them into Bandit’s Cantina archives for our esteemed members.
We need members, but I want the largest readership to check the news. We also need to inform the largest possible audience of the issues facing motorcycling and of happenings on Bikernet. So, what the fuck, I’m giving it a shot.
Let’s hit the news. It’s going to be a good one:
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressmen Mike Gallagher (R-WI) along with Reps. Chris Pappas (D-NH), Harley Rouda (D-CA), and Troy Balderson (R-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation, Motorcycle Advisory Council Reauthorization Act. The bill reauthorizes the Motorcycle Advisory Council (MAC) for six years and ensures national motorcycle organizations regain seats on the council.
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), along with our partners ABATE of Wisconsin, ABATE of Ohio, Harley-Davidson, and American Motorcyclist Association, have been hard at work over the past month ensuring the future MAC membership is representative of the riding community. This legislation clarifies the membership of MAC which now will include five highway engineering experts from state or local governments, one state or local traffic safety engineer who is a motorcyclist, one roadway safety data expert on crash testing and analysis, and one representative from each of the following groups: a national association of state transportation officials, a national motorcyclist foundation, a national motorcyclist association, a national motorcycle manufacturing association, and a national safety organization.
“As the feds address the vast roadway infrastructure issues and emerging technologies surrounding vehicles and roads, there isn’t a more appropriate time to re-establish the Motorcycle Advisory Council,” said Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, President of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. “It was originally and effectively designed to give motorcyclists a voice with regards to the unique challenges we face on two and three wheels when it comes to roadway design.”
The MRF is encouraged that this legislation will ensure that motorcyclists will continue to have an open dialogue with government officials about the unique characteristics and challenges that motorcyclists face when they are not adequately considered or accounted for as infrastructure programs are being discussed and implemented. We want to acknowledge and commend the relationships that our state motorcyclist rights organizations (SMROs), specifically ABATE of Wisconsin and ABATE of Ohio, established with their elected officials through attending events such as our annual lobby day, Bikers Inside the Beltway. This event, along with active engagement with members of Congress in their home districts, helps the MRF identify the champions of motorcycle issues and achieve our goals.
“We are pleased that our elected representatives from the state of Wisconsin continue to lead the charge in advocating on behalf of the motorcyclists in the country,” said Steve Panten, Legislative Director for ABATE of Wisconsin, Inc. “I am encouraged that years of building relationships, both in our State and by coming to Washington, D.C., every year, continues to elevate our issues on Capitol Hill. We urge other SMRO’s to take the opportunity to do the same.”
The MAC, initially authorized in the SAFETEA-LU in 2005, allotted four of the ten members to consist of representatives from the motorcycling community from various state and federal motorcycle associations. In the FAST Act of 2015, Congress re-established the Motorcyclist Advisory Council in the Highway Bill to advise the Federal Highway Administration on “issues of concern to motorcyclists.” However, the MRF was disappointed the re-established MAC only included one seat for a representative of a national motorcycle organization.
The Motorcycle Advisory Council provides the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) with expert first-hand knowledge of motorcycle issues. “Motorcycle registration is at an all-time high, but this increasing popularity has brought with it increasing risks, such as fatal accidents,” said Rep. Gallagher. “Motorcycles require specific – and in some cases different – requirements of roads, and we need an open dialogue between the motorcycle community, infrastructure experts, and the federal government to discuss these challenges.” The MAC serves as the only official forum for the motorcycle community to have an open dialogue with the federal government to discuss concerns with infrastructure design, issues with intelligent transportation systems, and other areas of safety affecting motorcycles on the road.
“With the number of motorcycles currently on the road, it is critical that the road designers and transportation engineers understand the way that motorcycles and motorcyclists interact with the roadways as well as other vehicles using those same roads,” said Ed Schetter, Executive Director for ABATE of Ohio, Inc. “Motorcyclists need to be present to help recognize those needs and ensure that motorcycles maintain their place on the road and can be safely operated into a future where technology is creating more and more challenges.”
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 email@example.com with your questions.
Motorcycles are Freedom Personified Forever
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.
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.
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.