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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

By | General Posts

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

By | General Posts

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.

Utah Legalizes Lane Splitting

By | General Posts

from rideapart.com

Governor Gary Herbert signed H.B. 149 into law Thursday, making Utah the second state to permit the practice.

Update: Imprecise language to discuss the contents of this bill was used. The Utah bill clearly states that “lane filtering” is now legal, however, we referred to it as “lane splitting”, which is often colloquially used to describe both. We have clarified the information and changed the article to reflect the subtleties between both terminologies, and we apologize for the mistake. – SG

On Thursday, the number of states to take motorcycle safety measures doubled to two, as Governor Gary Herbert signed H.B. 149, legalizing lane filtering in the great state of Utah.

Only 48 U.S. states, Canada, and a few other countries prohibit motorcycles from traveling between lanes of cars in slow or stopped traffic. It’s common and expected practice throughout Europe and Asia. As long as cars are expecting it and everyone involved does it safely, it’s not only faster for bikes to cut through traffic, but safer, too. Bikes can safely make their way to the front of the line, rather than be stuck in the back where an inattentive driver could crash into them from behind.

Of course, since this is a motorcycle safety bill, it’s not about doing a wheelie between cars at 100 mph. The law stipulates certain conditions under which lane filtering is allowed. The road must have two or more lanes with a speed limit no greater than 45 mph, which unfortunately rules out interstates. Additionally, traffic must be completely stopped, and the motorcycle may not exceed 15 mph while navigating between lanes (unlike lane splitting that allows motorcycles to cruise in-between lanes while traffic is in motion). It’s not exactly the Wild West of California’s lane splitting laws (or lack of laws, to be precise), but it’s still a tremendous advantage for motorcyclists in Utah.

We kind of saw this coming, but personally, I never expected to see any other states actually pass such a law, even though I hoped for it. Connecticut, Oregon, and Maryland have also proposed laws that would legalize the practice. The only issue that I see with legal lane filtering is that drivers aren’t used to bikes cutting between them, and especially having the legal privilege to do so. Wherever lane splitting or filtering is legalized, I think a massive publicity campaign will be necessary to educate drivers not to get angry, intentionally block, or throw things at riders following the new laws.

War on Cars Watch for March 20, 2019

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The national stories from across the country. War on Cars Watch, a weekly blog to bring together all the stories that affect motorists with regards to street planning such as road diets, and traffic calming as well as programs such as Vision Zero and Complete Streets.

Since its founding more than 30 years ago as the Citizens Coalition for Rational Traffic Laws, the National Motorists Association has been the voice of thousands of motorists who stand up for key principles of drivers’ rights.

READ the NMA News Report by Clicking Here – Subscribe to Bikernet Cantina Today

Support NMA

Thousands of Outlaws attend Dayton funeral for Taco Bowman

By | General Posts

Illinois, Texas, New York, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Connecticut were among the dozens of states represented Saturday at the funeral of the infamous former international president of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club – known to all as Harry Joseph “Taco” Bowman, at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.

Police estimate there were more than 2,000 people at the funeral Saturday morning, coming in from all over the world on 1,200 motorcycles and hundreds of other vehicles.

Mark Lovett, a detective in the Columbus Police division’s intelligence unit said he saw patches from England as Outlaws drove in, and the crowd was large because many drove up Interstate 75 from Daytona Beach Bike Week, which is running from March 8 through today.

Lovett has been to more than 15 Outlaws motorcycle funerals in the last 20 years and this is by far the largest one he has witnessed. Even larger than the funeral for Dayton’s Harold “Stairway Harry” Henderson, Bowman’s mentor and one of the last International presidents of the Outlaws, Lovett said.

“This is one of those events that really only happen once in our career, to see something this big,” Lovett said.

Several police agencies and task forces were at the funeral outside of uniform to observe. Most of the funerals are peaceful, Lovett said. But uniformed police and fire departments were ready to respond to any needs, including general health concerns of members attending the services.

“You just never know what’s going to happen at a motorcycle gang funeral. They say they’re not a gang, but they fit the description,” he said.

Members of the Outlaws would not comment to the Daily News Reporters, but they said Bowman is a legacy.

Bowman died March 3 at age 69. He was serving two life sentences in a North Carolina prison after being indicted in Florida on murder, bombing, drug trafficking and racketeering charges. He had previously been a fugitive on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, according to CNN.

The Outlaws were established in 1935 and have 119 chapters including in Dayton, Columbus, East Columbus, Warren, Middletown, Toledo, Sandusky, Canton and Athens, according to its website.

PHOTOS: Thousands of bikers attend funeral for former Outlaw Motorcycle Club president

NCOM News Bytes For March 2019

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NCOM News Bytes For March 2019

Fallen Riders, Mongols Patch, Anti-Profiling, Lane Splitting, California Autobahn, Helmet Laws and more

SUBSCRIBE TO BIKERNET.COM NEWSLETTER FOR FREE

Compiled & Edited 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.

The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) is a nationwide motorcyclists rights organization serving over 2,000 NCOM Member Groups throughout the United States, with all services fully-funded through Aid to Injured Motorcyclist (AIM) Attorneys available in each state who donate a portion of their legal fees from motorcycle accidents back into the NCOM Network of Biker Services (www.ON-A-BIKE.com / 800-ON-A-BIKE).

SUBSCRIBE TO BIKERNET.COM NEWSLETTER FOR FREE

CLICK HERE TO READ THE MARCH 2019 NEWS FROM NCOM

Science Is Not Objective Because It Is A Product Like Anything Else

By | General Posts

In my view, climate change is an issue concocted to distract from the larger issue of ecocide which is a direct result of human expansion.

People recognize that science is a product like any other media. People with degrees do research, which anyone who has fudged a lab report can testify can be slanted through variations in technique, and then publish that research.

They do this through grants, employment, or in anticipation of selling lots of books, magazines, movies, or other products. Academia has the same problem and this is why we are continually discovering that their theories were over-hyped, two decades later.

Usually these take a detail and amplify it into a theory of everything, and then it turns out, it was just a detail that cannot tell us much of significance, but at the time it was sold, it seemed to justify and exalt the lifestyles of those who bought the product.

READ the Story at Bikernet.com by Clicking here

RIDING FREE FROM DC: Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

By | General Posts

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

Republicans Pressing Democrats
With Democrats now the majority party in the House of Representatives, they control the committee chairmanships and thus control the agenda for each committee. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, who has jurisdiction over autonomous vehicle technology, is now chaired by Frank Pallone of New Jersey. This puts Republicans in a role they not been in since 2010, seeking the help of Democrats to tackle legislative priorities.

Republican Greg Walden of Oregon, the previous chairman and now ranking member as well as Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Bob Latta of Ohio sent Chairman Pallone a letter regarding the need for Congress to act on autonomous vehicles legislation.

“We write to urge the Energy and Commerce Committee to take up bipartisan self-driving vehicle legislation. Last Congress this Committee worked across party lines to draft H.R. 3388, the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act (SELF DRIVE Act). The SELF DRIVE Act was an example of this Committee at its very best: working together, across the aisle, to develop legislation that will advance lifesaving technology. As a result of our deliberative, transparent, and bipartisan process, the Committee voted unanimously, 54 yeas and 0 nays, to report the SELF-DRIVE Act to the House floor where it again passed unanimously. Unfortunately, the Senate failed to act on the bill,” Walden, Latta, and Rodgers wrote.

The MRF has and continues to educate members about the safety concerns for motorcyclists and autonomous vehicles. We believe that any bill dealing with autonomous vehicle technology should include provisions that ensure the safety of roadways users including motorcyclists. We will keep you updated on any movement of legislation related to this emerging technology.

Transportation Bill
The current transportation bill, which funds federal surface transportation programs, expires in September of 2020. The previous bill known as the FAST Act provided $281 billion for transportation projects. The Transportation Committee and specifically the Highways Subcommittee has begun the process of drafting the reauthorization bill.

At a recent hearing Highways Subcommittee Ranking Member Rodney Davis of Illinois laid out his four priorities for new legislation:

“First, the Highway Trust Fund is not able to meet our surface transportation needs as they stand today, let alone our future needs. Congress and the Administration must come together and find a way to shore-up the Highway Trust Fund, providing sustainable funding for our Nation’s surface transportation programs.

Second, while our current surface transportation system has significant needs, we must also begin to prepare for the future. Underinvestment has taken its toll on the system’s ability to move people and freight – we face increasing congestion, delays, and safety issues. Not only is adequate infrastructure investment important to mobility, it also creates jobs and allows our economy to prosper.

Third, as the reauthorization process moves forward, it is essential that we find ways to build more efficiently – to stretch the federal dollar. We need to identify and attack hidden project costs by streamlining the project delivery process and reducing burdensome regulations.

And lastly, by incorporating technologies and other innovations, we have the opportunity to increase safety and efficiency in our surface transportation system.”

The MRF has a meeting scheduled with Congressman Davis in early April to discuss transportation-related issues and ensure that the motorcycle community is not overlooked when Congress addresses transportation issues. We will update you about our conversations in the coming weeks.

Google It
This month the House Motorcycle Caucus updated its website for the 116th Congress. One addition of note is the inclusion of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation to the list of “related organizations”. Previously only the American Motorcycle Association and Motorcycle Industry Council were listed in this section of the website.

While not earth-shattering news, this small addition to the website is a simple example of how the MRF continues to raise our profile on Capitol Hill. If you haven’t visited the House Motorcycle Caucus website, we encourage you to take a few seconds and look around.

House Motorcycle Caucus

MRF Event News – Bikers Inside the Beltway 2019
The 11th Annual Bikers Inside the Beltway is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21st. Schedule too jammed to attend Bikers inside the Beltway? Please go to www.mrfae.org to make a tax-deductible contribution of $10, $20, $50, or $100 to raise funds needed to offset the administrative and printing costs of sponsoring BITB 2019. Motorcycle Riders Foundation Awareness & Education, Inc. (MRFA&E) is a not for profit 501 (c) 3 and sponsors BITB with an awareness presentation to members of Congress.

OR … Mail your contribution to:
Motorcycle Riders Foundation Awareness & Education, Inc.,
2221 S. Clark St.; 11th Floor
Arlington VA 22202

Your support of BITB is greatly appreciated! The efforts to promote and protect the rights of motorcyclists could not be done without members such as yourself.

Tiffany & Rocky
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation