Tag

legislation Archives — Bikernet Blog - Online Biker Magazine

Motorcycle taxis and inclusive mobility

By | General Posts

from https://www.rappler.com

The online platform industry – which is easy to enter, is relatively inexpensive, and is clearly innovative – is simply for now, difficult to regulate

In our view, there is enough ambiguity in the law that allows for a provisional framework in regulating motorcycle taxis. A similar approach was used in dealing with Uber and Grab when they began operating in the Philippines. Even without a law, the LTFRB established a system to regulate Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) and Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) that continues to be the regulatory framework for that type of service today. The emergence of motorcycle taxis in the past few years has created a lot of debate. Replete with controversies, the motorcycle taxi business has battled car owners and drivers, law enforcers, and regulators. Some argue that it is prohibited by law as Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land and Traffic Code specifically excludes two-wheeled motor vehicles as allowable public transportation; others believe it has become the most viable option for segments of the riding public seeking out a good, reliable, and (relatively) inexpensive transport system.

It is of course urgent for Congress to enact a law on motorcycle taxis. We have had enough experience to come up with good regulations. Although there are currently 9 pending bills in Congress as of this writing, in the meantime, the government must regulate pending legislation.

Regulation absent legislation

As a middle ground for pending legalization of motorcycle taxis, a pilot run was allowed (but limited geographically to Metro Manila and Metro Cebu and extended through March 23, 2020) by the Inter-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) created to monitor the current stream of motorcycle taxi operations. The TWG’s tasks are to set regulatory guidelines to ensure safety and security, ensure compliance of data sharing, general monitoring and evaluation, price regulation, setting of vehicle specifications and operational requirements, and to provide a final report to the DOTr and the House of Representatives, to aid the latter in its future and potential legislative actions. The same TWG, moreover, has now allowed two new players, JoyRide and Move It, to join the current industry player, Angkas.

The regulatory guidelines released last December 19, 2019, is the working document which the pilot run for motorcycle taxis is based on. This document, however, does not contain the ride-capping mechanism imposed by the LTFRB. Section 11 of the document included operational requirements imposed upon the ride-hailing platforms. It included that (1) all bookings shall only be made within and via the app platform; (2) accident insurance should be secured on par with or above Passenger Personal Accident Insurance Program (PPAIP) rates; (3) a comprehensive safety campaign should be conducted for the public so that all passengers become knowledgeable; (4) existing motorcycle units with OR/CR as of December1, 2019 shall be allowed to be included in the pilot implementation; and (5) “one motorcycle-one rider” must strictly be observed in the implementation. Participating Riders shall be registered to one ride hailing platform only. The last statement is deemed problematic.

Competition vis-à-vis regulation

The new and current players are capped at 39,000 registered bikers – or a limit of about 10,000 bikers per transport network company (TNC) in Metro Manila and 3,000 in Metro Cebu. Angkas strongly opposed this cap as their registration is at the 27,000-mark as of late December 2019. Thus, to impose the price cap means 17,000 of its riders can lose their means of livelihood. As a remedy, it has asked the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the policy. This was granted as the court had said that the policy “puts a cap on the number of bikers that Angkas is entitled to” and enjoined the respondents “from performing any act that limits and impairs their rights to deal with and continue with their contracts with Angkas.” This TRO was only valid for 72 hours.

In a similar fashion, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has, through one of its commissioners, stated that “forcing Angkas to displace 17,000 riders will take away what was rightfully obtained by the company” and appealed to the LTFRB to consider other solutions such as to allow riders to use more than one ride-hailing app.

It is in this very precept that the entry cap imposed shows that the LTFRB regulation is anti-competitive. The regulator’s perspective in this regard,looks to defend its policy of preventing Angkas from becoming monopolistic in nature. However, anti-competitive conduct does not rely solely on how big or how dominant a particular business/company has become; but rather also looks at the interplay of other factors surrounding the circumstances of the industry. Competition authorities all over the world have allowed individual riders/drivers multiple registration in the different ride-hailing platforms (driver/operator non-exclusivity clause) as a solution for competition rather than to restrict. A fundamental concept of competition, after all, is not to restrict entry but to open the market as freely as possible to allow small and big players alike to participate in the market.

It can be conceded that anti-competitive conduct may be affected when unfair individual fare pricing affects the industry as a whole. As an illustration, surge pricing has been disallowed and specifically included in the regulatory guidelines of the LTFRB. This also makes fare prices fixed a justified regulatory intervention. Likewise, it is also not a displaced fear that Angkas might take control because of its first-mover advantage and more commercially popular reputation in the motorcycle taxi market, which can greatly affect consumer welfare in the long term. Look at how Grab has emerged in the TNC market.

Moreover, the ongoing debate on the seemingly overlapping competition and regulatory issue does not end today. In fact, in many parts of the world, the ride-hailing platforms and similar digital platforms which disrupt different sectors (not limited to transportation alone), are being declared illegal due to industry concerns of “virtual monopoly,” tax arbitrage, surge pricing violations, and labor issues. Some of these issues are not even anti-competitive conduct per se but can be considered more as regulatory setbacks.

We stop at this rider cap issue for now but there lies the bigger problem we might face in the next few years. The online platform industry – which is easy to enter, is relatively inexpensive, and is clearly innovative – is simply for now, difficult to regulate. Joseph Schumpeter is right to think of “creative destruction.” That is precisely what ride hailing platforms has become in the transport industry. Now transportation has to battle the bigger issue of safety and mobility. Do ride-hailing platforms for motorcycles, specifically provide safe mobility for people?

There is a clear pathway so that motorcycle taxis can be mainstreamed into our public transport system

The poor mass transportation system in the Philippines has brought about evident consequences to the traffic and commute situation in the Philippines. This is exacerbated by the car-riding culture that has been inculcated because of the sheer lack (or absence) of proper safe systems for pedestrians and commuters. A safe system does not only include the infrastructure of trains, buses, jeepneys, etc, or the physical infrastructure of roads and engineering systems, but includes the whole spectrum of pedestrian walkways, measured distances of public transport stops, road signs, information mechanisms for traffic flow, and sound policy of implementation and enforcement (see the failure of the PUV modernization policy). This deficiency in a safe system approach to transport has birthed the demand for an alternative form of transportation, that is, motorcycles; and corollarily, as a form of public transport, in the guise of motorcycle taxis.

Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported evidence that motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users (VRUs), along with the pedestrians and cyclists. More than half (54%) of all road traffic deaths are among these VRUs. These vehicles are a significant contributor to deaths and injuries by reason of their large number on the roads, their sharing of the roads with bigger vehicles such as cars and buses, and their innate vulnerability for crash impacts because of the absence of a protective shell present in other types of vehicles. This vulnerability is further augmented by the behaviour of riders on the road such as “zigzagging,” lane filtering, and other unique capacities of motorcycling on the roads. Thus, in the Philippine context, where motorcycles are voluminous, the question of safety when riding a motorcycle is addressed through the enactment of a Helmet Law which imposes to all motorcycle riders the use of helmets.

If in such a case that motorcycle taxis are legalized, there is a higher degree of diligence to be imposed upon public transportation vehicles or “common carriers,” that is, the care required is that of extraordinary diligence. This can prove to bring about implementation problems for it requires an effective and truly working safe system – from the provision of proper exclusive motorcycle lanes, enforcement of traffic laws and regulations, up to par safe specifications for the motorcycles, full compliance of helmet use and safety standards, ready emergency response, and proper training and behaviour of both riders and its passengers. This must go hand-in-hand with educating riders and passengers alike of the recommended behaviour on the roads while aboard a motorcycle and a provision for proper feedback mechanism to improve deficiencies and insufficiencies. Because apart from mobility itself, it is the government’s duty to protect its citizens to be safe at all times.

Motorcycle taxi riders often view motorcycles as a more convenient form of transportation because they are allowed to reach their destination on time beating traffic and are cheaper than taking a cab or Grab (making it more embraceable to the riding masses). Motorcycle taxis also allow riders to be transported to bus, train, or jeepney stops more conveniently and “safely,” as pedestrian accommodations are not always friendly. This unfriendliness has been a result of poor urban and transport planning over the years. Mobility then comes in but admittedly works better if safety is its partner. It can also be argued that making motorcycle taxis legal now is just a band-aid solution to the problem of public transportation, where mass transport is, in the long-term, more reliable and efficient for it transports more people to their destination, rather than a one-to-one correspondence which can be considered more costly in the long-run. This does not equate simply in the monetary costs but also in the lives lost (road crashes and vulnerability) and health impacts (pollution) because of unsafe conditions.

Motorcycle taxis are inexpensive for both the riders and the riding public. Motorcycles allow for personal mobility for countries with smaller per capita purchasing power (as in the Philippine case). It is also fuel-efficient, with an average consumption of 60 kilometers per liter of gasoline and leave less carbon footprint. In the current state of the country where income has not caught up with inflation, cheap is a necessary public good. Motorcycles also allow for faster travel time because of their ability to split lanes and go through narrower spaces beating traffic in record time and reduces risks of losses in terms of income and productivity.

These pros must be weighed on the balance with its cons. The second-largest affected vehicle classification of road crash incidents is the motorcycle class second to cars. While Helmets help reduce deaths and injuries, they are merely secondary safety devices which are used to prevent injuries from worsening. Other road practices must still be properly observed by the motorist. There is also the issue of road security. Absent proper identifying marks such as operator helmets, jackets, or vests, colorum motorcycle taxis may be mistaken as “riding-in-tandem” or motorcycling-riding suspects capable of committing crimes on the road.

Inclusive mobility as the solution

This debate cannot end unless citizens see a real solution for transport. For ordinary Filipinos, the motorcycle is a cheap and fast form of transport. For car users, motorcycles can disrupt traffic flow in the roads because of their lane splitting and filtering between other vehicles. In this light, the main issues to consider are (1) road crashes which continue to increase (and will continue to increase as volume increases); and (2) traffic violations which need to be enforced better because motorcycles are subjected to same traffic laws and regulations (e.g., speed, helmet use, distracted driving, drunk-driving, overtaking, lane splitting, lane filtering, etc). Violation of some of these rules has been one of the primary advantages of motorcycles – for its ability to facilitate faster mobility and avoid the traffic congestion. Lane splitting, however, has proved to have other benefits. Motorcycles’ lane splitting has removed commuters from cars, faster travel time through utilisation of road space, and improves fuel efficiency even in extreme weather.

Therefore, in the interim, as we wait for the promise of mass transport and proper infrastructure that can ease our daily commute and make inclusive mobility a reality, the legalization of motorcycle taxis is a pathway forward. We would even argue that for some routes and segments of society, motorcycle taxis will always be a better option.

We are however for strong regulatory framework that ensures that national laws (e.g., Land Transportation and Traffic Code, Motorcycle Helmet Act), LTO and LTFRB regulations, and local ordinances are consistent with each other – taking into account geographical and cultural characteristics of cities and municipalities; an aim for a synergy of laws through the consideration of social circumstances, security risks, and economic impacts (fares, productivity, mobility, etc). There must be better infrastructure in terms of providing proper motorcycle lanes (where motorcycles do not merge with other vehicles, especially bulkier ones) and an effective oversight arrangement for registration, monitoring, control of vehicle fleet, and safety standards for roads and products. Finally, a stronger enforcement of existing laws and regulations (e.g., provision of CCTV cameras, road warnings and signages, etc.); and training programs directed at behavioral change in motorists and enforcers are essentials for such a framework.

It goes without saying that whether it is cars or motorcycles, environmental considerations must be prioritized.

There is a clear pathway so that motorcycle taxis can be mainstreamed into our public transport system. For that to happen, society must have a consensus on inclusive mobility which Congress must legislate and the executive branch implement.

2020 National Motorcycle Profiling Survey

By | General Posts

The 2020 National Motorcycle Profiling Survey has only 6 questions that are designed to help define the profiling trends so we can focus our resources in the areas that need it the most. Your participation will have a long lasting, positive impact on the community.This survey on average will take 4 minutes to complete.

The information collected in these surveys has been an essential part in lobbying efforts at both state and national levels, and without a doubt provide critical data points for the grassroots activist to intelligently communicate issues impacting the motorcycle community and influence change.

With over 23,000 survey participants from all walks of life, the National Motorcycle Profiling Surveys, with 99% accuracy, has proven that many motorcyclists are being targeted by law enforcement based on appearance. This information was the foundation of the argument that resulted in the Motorcycle Profiling Resolution (S. Res. 154) passing in the U.S. Senate with unanimous consent on December 11, 2018.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

Notes:

**NO PERSONAL DATA IS REQUIRED. YOUR PRIVACY AND ANONYMITY ARE IMPORTANT AND RESPECTED. By asking for no more than your zip code, which is also voluntary, there is no personal information to maintain or protect.

**If you or your organization are interested in cosponsoring this survey, or would like to get survey results specific to your state, please contact David “Double D” Devereaux at:
doubled@motorcycleprofilingproject.com

The Thanksgiving 2019 Bikernet Weekly News

By | General Posts

Hey,

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.

READ THE BIKERNET WEEKLY NEWS IN THE CANTINA – CLICK HERE –  Join Today

House introduces Motorcycle Advisory Council Reauthorization Act

By | General Posts

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.”

Legislature passes “autocycle” bill, creates new fee for three-wheelers

By | General Posts

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The state Assembly has signed off on a bill that would define autocycles in state law and establish registration fees for the vehicles.

Autocycles are three-wheeled vehicles that can seat one or two people.

The Republican-authored bill would define an autocycle as a vehicle with three wheels in contact with the ground, seating that doesn’t require straddling and a steering wheel. The bill would establish a $45 annual registration fee and allow anyone with a regular driver’s license to operate one.

The Assembly approved the bill unanimously Tuesday. The Senate passed the measure in October. The measure goes next to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who can sign it into law or veto it.

The governor’s spokeswoman, Melissa Baldauff, didn’t immediately respond to an email asking if Evers supports the bill.

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.

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.

NCOM Biker News Bytes for October 2019

By | General Posts

NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

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

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.

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

By | General Posts

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.

U.S. moving to block California vehicle emissions rules

By | General Posts

Two U.S. agencies are preparing to submit for final White House regulatory review a plan to revoke California’s authority to set its own vehicle greenhouse gas standards and declare that states are pre-empted from setting their own vehicle rules, two people briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

WASHINGTON: Two U.S. agencies are preparing to submit for final White House regulatory review a plan to revoke California’s authority to set its own vehicle greenhouse gas standards and declare that states are pre-empted from setting their own vehicle rules, two people briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

The Environmental Protection Agency in August 2018 proposed revoking a waiver granted to California in 2013 under the Clean Air Act as part of the Trump administration’s plan to roll back Obama-era fuel economy standards through 2025.

The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are expected to seek approval to finalize the first portion of the rule dealing with California and other states before completing action on setting yearly fuel efficiency requirements. The plan would not revoke California’s ability to set low-emission vehicle standards that has been in place since 1990, the sources said.

The move comes as President Donald Trump has expressed anger with automakers over the issue. In July, four major automakers, including Ford Motor Co and Volkswagen AG, said they had reached a voluntary agreement with California on fuel efficiency rules.

California and other states had vowed to enforce stricter Obama-era emissions standards, after Trump proposed rolling back the federal rules. Automakers had worried that court battles between state and federal governments could create years of uncertainty for manufacturers.

The plan, also backed by BMW AG and Honda Motor Co Ltd, is more stringent than Trump’s proposal but looser than the Obama-era rule. California, the most populous U.S. state, accounts for about 12% of American vehicle sales, and if the administration recognizes the deal, it would allow automakers to operate under one set of rules.

An administration official said it was close to submitting a rule internally dubbed the “One National Program rule” aimed at ensuring a single national level for fuel economy standards.

But other automakers, including General Motors Co and Toyota Motor Corp, have declined to back the deal. Mary Nichols, who chairs the California Air Resources Board, told Reuters in July that the four automakers had agreed not to legally challenge California’s vehicle regulatory authority.

Under Trump, federal regulators backed freezing emissions requirements for new cars and trucks at 2020 levels through 2026. Administration officials say its final regulation will include a modest boost in annual efficiency requirements but far less than what the Obama administration had set in 2012.

News Source: Reuters

MRF MOTM 2019 TIME IS RUNNING OUT!!!

By | General Posts

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