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Federal Government Finalizes 2021 Crash Data

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This month the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its annual report, Traffic Safety Facts 2021: A Compilation of Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Data. The 225-page report contains information on crash types, causes and participants involved. Remember that while we are nearing the end of 2023, this report is 2021 data. NHTSA spent nearly two years compiling these figures before releasing the report.

The data on motorcyclist fatalities is especially troubling. According to the report, in 2021, motorcyclists made up 13.8% of all nationwide traffic fatalities, with 5,932 motorcyclists killed on our nation’s roadways. That is the highest number since data collection began in 1975. In comparison, the pre-Covid year of 2019 saw 5,044 bikers killed.

The number of those injured on motorcycles reported in 2021 was 82,686, which is fewer than the all-time high of 104,442 in 2016. This total injury count represents 3.3% of the 2.5 million people injured in all motor vehicle crashes.

It is important to note that 2021 showed a substantial increase in motorcycles registered. The data also shows an increase in vehicle miles traveled by bikers. NHTSA data shows 9.8 million registered motorcycles with approximately 19.6 billion miles traveled in 2021. Those increases mean that while the total number of fatalities and injuries went up, fortunately, the rate per 100,000 registered motorcycles went down.

Here are other takeaways:

  • Riders accounted for 95% of deaths, while 5% were motorcycle passengers.
  • 57% of fatalities occurred by collision with another vehicle, 26% resulted from a collision with a fixed object, 4% collision with a non-fixed object, while 13% of fatalities occurred without a collision.
  • 34% of fatalities involved a rider impaired by alcohol. That number is in line with the 31% of alcohol-related fatalities nationwide.
  • Riders were wearing helmets in 59% of fatalities, while riders were not wearing helmets in 38% of fatalities. Another 3% of fatalities occurred where helmet usage was unknown.
  • 29% of fatalities involved an unlicensed rider.

While it is easy to get lost in the facts and figures, it is crucial to remember that every death is heartbreaking to members of our community. We all must do better! Alcohol-related fatalities and those involving unlicensed riders are especially disheartening, as they are avoidable. Riding sober, trained and licensed are basic steps to help protect lives.

The burden of fixing this problem involves various groups. At the state level, motorcyclists continue to fight for stronger laws against distracted drivers. Educating young drivers and holding those who break the law accountable is critical.

States like Wisconsin have passed increased registration fees with that money earmarked for motorcycle safety programs. However, motorcycle funding at the state and federal levels remains low. This past year, the federal government awarded states $5.5 million for motorcycle safety programs. With the total registered motorcycles at 9.8 million, the federal government is spending just fifty-six (56) cents per motorcycle on safety grants.

The growing prevalence of self-driving cars also should be addressed. A former NHTSA official recently spoke publicly about the threat these cars pose to bikers, yet the federal government has been slow to act.

Reports like this galvanize the groups that want to keep us off the road. However, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation will continue to fight for our safety and survival! It is up to all of us to stop the rising death toll.

To read the full report click here.

As always Ride Safe and Ride Free.

Join the MRF and support Freedom; visit www.MRF.org

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation: The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. The MRF is chiefly concerned with issues at the national and international levels that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. The MRF is committed to being a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle and works in conjunction with its partners to help educate elected officials and policymakers in Washington and beyond.

Notice from the Federal Government

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from Jay Jackson, MRF, with images from Sam Burns

Establishment of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC)

NHTSA announces the establishment of MAC for a 2-year period. The MAC will coordinate with and advise the Secretary of Transportation, the NHTSA Administrator and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator on transportation issues of concern to motorcyclists, including: motorcycle and motorcyclist safety; barrier and road design, construction, and maintenance practices; and the architecture and implementation of intelligent transportation system technologies.

NHTSA is also soliciting nominations for appointment to the MAC.

Applications for membership must be received by NHTSA on or before 5 p.m. EST, December 15, 2023.

Click and refer details in this article at Bikernet.com

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Recall of Harley Softails 2018 to 2023

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Some 2018-2023 Harley Softails Could Have Breaking of Rear Shock Hardware. A fastener could break, causing the rear shock adjuster to loosen and increase the risk of a crash.

Harley-Daivdson announced the safety recall on 29 August 2023. They filed the same with US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

On motorcycles that have the faulty fitting, the fastener used on a particular style of rear shock adjuster may potentially fracture. If it breaks, the shock absorber may then make contact with the rear tire. This could increase the risk of tire damage, and potentially lead to a motorcycle crash.

Approximately 65,224 bikes may potentially be involved in this recall but not all of them may have this fault. Some of the models from 2018 to 2023 use the affected rear shock adjuster whereas some do not.

The motorcycles that were produced between June 28, 2017 and August 7, 2023 are potentially at risk. No VIN number ranges are specified in the official safety recall notice.

A warning sign that riders and passengers should look out for is any noise that seems to come from under the seat. When you remove the seat and find a loose shock adjuster, that may be another sign of faulty fastener. When shock adjuster makes contact with the rear tire, riders may notice unusual handling and/or atypical tire wear on the rear tire.

Since June 2023, a total of 33 Warranty Claims regarding this issue has been recorded. Softails made after 7 August 2023 do not have this problem. Related accessories from Harley-Davidson have also been separately recalled.

Owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464. Additionally, owners may contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or go to www.nhtsa.gov. NHTSA’s number for this recall is 23V-591.

The motorcycle model years, models, and the number of bikes affected are:

Model Year Softail Model Number of Bikes Affected
2018 FLDE 2018
2018 FLHC 2917
2018 FLHCS 3504
2018 FLHCS ANV 898
2019 FLDE 1858
2019 FLHC 2078
2019 FLHCS 3384
2020 FLHC 1896
2020 FLHCS 3713
2020 FXLRS 7073
2021 FLHC 1865
2021 FLHCS 3134
2021 FXLRS 5811
2022 FLHCS 3957
2022 FXLRS 5186

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California Unification Rally Draws 3,000 to State Capitol

By General Posts

On May 21,2023, over 3,000 motorcyclists gathered at the California State Capitol in Sacramento to talk biker’s rights, and to send a message to the state legislature that a change in how California deals with issues important to riders is needed. Speakers from the Modified Motorcycle Association (MMA) of California, ABATE of California, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), the National Council of Clubs (NCOC) and other groups took to the podium to stress the importance of all riders – as well as other consumer advocates including those in the automotive industry – coming together to present a unified front. Rally organizer and MRF State Representative ‘Chappy’ Patrick Carver and his team of volunteers did yeoman’s work in organizing the event. Chappy is also the President and lobbyist for the MMA of California and works closely with the MRF on legislative issues being addressed in Congress. Numerous long-time California activists, including ABATE lobbyists Jim Lombardo and Bobby T, ABATE officers David ‘D-Man’ Seiler, Chuck Pedersen, and MMA/ABATE Liaison Dave Battles were on hand as well.

For California riders, a major concern continues to be the issue of being unfairly profiled by law enforcement. Following a concerted, years-long effort by motorcycle clubs from around the country, the NCOC, the MRF, state motorcyclists’ rights organizations and thousands of independent riders, anti-profiling resolutions have now been passed in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with bi-partisan support. On a local level, five states have passed standalone anti-profiling laws. California and other states are working to have similar legislation enacted.

Other topics of discussion at the rally included protecting the rights of consumers to repair their machines, the unrealistic rush to outlaw internal combustion engines in favor of electric vehicles, ongoing issues associated with unregulated self-driving autonomous vehicles, and the appropriate labeling and availability of E10 or lower petroleum fuels.

MRF Executive Director Mark Buckner addressed the rally, emphasizing the importance of the challenges and opportunities facing riders today. Buckner discussed MRF’s recent Bikers Inside the Beltway lobbying campaign in Washington, D.C., highlighting the issues discussed with members of Congress and their staff. Those issues included ongoing efforts to end unfair profiling; H.R. 906, the Repair Act, seeking to stop manufacturers from limiting the ability of consumers and independent shops to repair products; H.R, 1435, the Preserving Choices in Vehicle Purchases Act, seeking to amend the Clean Air Act to prevent a ban on internal combustion engines; ensuring that Congress and executive branch agencies including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provide appropriate oversight regarding self-driving vehicles; ensuring that consumers will continue to be able to purchase E10 and lower ethanol fuels at a reasonable price; and building strong, bi-partisan motorcycle caucuses made up of motorcycle-friendly legislators in Washington, D.C.

Overall, the California Unification Rally was a resounding success, with unity and opportunity the messages of the day.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation: The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. Visit http://mrf.org/

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NCOM Biker Newsbytes for May 2023

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Buddy Holly and Crickets

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish

Industry & Legislative Motorcycle News from USA and the world

IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK —

  • “COMING TOGETHER” WELCOMED AT NCOM CONVENTION
  • AORA WOULD EXPAND MOTORIZED RECREATION
  • MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY “FLAT” AS SALES SLIP
  • MIC ADDS POPULAR “ADVENTURE BIKE” MARKET SEGMENT
  • NHTSA REPORTS RISE IN MOTORCYCLIST FATALITIES
  • WHO PROMOTES HELMET USAGE WORLDWIDE
  • ENHANCED DRIVERS LICENSES AVAILABLE IN OHIO
  • MOTORCYCLE TRAINING GRADUATES EXEMPTED FROM SKILLS TEST IN KENTUCKY
  • BIG-FOUR TO CONDUCT JOINT RESEARCH ON HYDROGEN MOTORCYCLES

Click Here to Read the NCOM news on Bikernet.com

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NHTSA Responds to Questions from Congress

By General Posts

Just before the end of 2022, Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan and 26 of his colleagues in Congress sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding recent crashes that involve motorcycles and cars believed to be in self-driving mode.

The response from government regulators has some key takeaways:

  • “NHTSA is actively working to educate consumers and the media that automated driving system (ADS) technologies are not self-driving technologies, and that drivers must always remain engaged in the driving task.”
  • “Crashes involving motorcycles account for less than 2 percent of all reported crashes involving ADS.”
  • “NHTSA is conducting research on how vehicles equipped with crash avoidance technologies react to motorcycles, bicyclists and other vulnerable road users in various scenarios.”

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is committed to aggressively working with lawmakers to address obvious safety gaps in the deployment of this new technology. While we appreciate that NHTSA is conducting research on this topic, on this topic, motorcyclists are not “vulnerable road users”, motorcyclists are simply road users.

Additionally, it’s unacceptable that consumers falsely believe this technology, deployed on our roads, allows them to sit back and relax while in the driver’s seat. The safety of the nearly 10 million bikers on our nation’s roadways requires that all roadway users act in a responsible manner.

As always Ride Safe and Ride Free.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation: The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. Visit http://mrf.org

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Bikers Inside the Beltway: Holding Common Ground

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Bikers inside the Beltway – with the encouragement and direction of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, since the first Bikers inside the Beltway in 2009, thousands of bikers have met with their elected representatives and educated them about issues of importance to all street riding motorcyclists.

Specifically… the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has less than 30 days of their 120-day requirement to report to the Senate and House Committee(s) on Appropriations and answer how the agency may be “conducting activities that encourage states to adopt legislation, regulation, or other policies that unjustly profile motorcycle riders.”

The words of former U.S. Representative David Price from North Carolina may well apply to the recent efforts of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation “… Understand that not every battle can be won on the first try and that politics is a matter of striking a balance between … compromising and finding common ground where you can, and fighting where you must.”

The MRF found and is holding common ground among the nation’s state motorcyclist rights organization, motorcycle club members, and all freedom loving motorcyclists who, as the Motorcycle Profiling Project demonstrates, are susceptible to being profiled while riding a motorcycle.

The MRF’s victories, realized in the waning hours of the 117th Congress in December, should drive home Congressman Price’s words, and demonstrate the positive results when common ground is identified and held. Those victories came from the year-after-year vigilance of MRF members writing, calling, and meeting with members of Congress during the Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s annual Bikers inside the Beltway.

Now is the time for you to register to attend Bikers inside the Beltway – May 15 & 16, 2023.

As in years past, Bikers inside the Beltway will be dual-faceted to accommodate in-person visits to Congress plus visits to local district offices.

To ensure that the mission of getting our message to Congress continues to be successful, please consider the following:

  • Make your appointments locally or in Washington.
  • Familiarize yourself with the briefing points.
  • Confirm your appointment locally or in Washington.
  • Virtual or in person, make notes on your meeting.
  • Share your meeting notes with the MRF.

In conjunction with Bikers inside the Beltway, a meeting of the MRF Board of Directors takes place on May 15 at the event hotel — Embassy Suites, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, Virginia. Rooms are available and limited by calling hotel direct line 703-684-5900 and use reference code MRF.

Attending Bikers inside the Beltway is an essential element of the MRF’s grassroots activism. Act now to attend the pre-event briefing and Q&A for visits to Congress, scheduled for 6:00 p.m., Monday, May 15. Briefing packets and “leave behinds” will be available during the briefing.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s Bikers inside the Beltway — May 15 & 16, 2023.

Thank you for your commitment.

Yours in Freedom,
Fredric Harrell
RF Director of Conferences & Events

P.S. Registration for Bikers inside the Beltway is free. However, we request that you register early to help us plan the event. Use the link or the QR code below for Bikers inside the Beltway registration. Thank you.

P.P.S. This year, more than any time before, one of the MRF’s top agenda items is to specifically thank supporters in Congress for helping foster our success in 2023.

https://motorcycleridersfoundation.wildapricot.org/widget/event-5008758/Registration

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation: The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. Visit http://mrf.org

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What We Know About the 2023 Harley-Davidson X350 and X350RA

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by Dennis Chung from https://www.motorcycle.com

Streetbike for Asia and a Riding Academy bike for the US

Harley-Davidson held its big 120th anniversary reveal last week, and for the most part, the announcement included the bikes we expected, such as the Nightster Special, and the return of the Breakout with a Milwaukee-Eight 117ci engine. What we also expected to come for 2023 but was not included in the announcement were the X350 and X350RA. Still, despite not being part of the big Jan. 18 announcement, we managed to get our hands on some information confirming more details of the Chinese-built models.

The X350 is the product of Harley-Davidson’s partnership with China’s Qianjiang Motors that was first announced in 2019. After some regulatory delays, the QJ-built X350 is finally close to production as a small-displacement model for Asian markets. The X350 and an X350RA variant appeared in Vehicle Information Number data submitted by QJ to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and as we recently reported, Harley-Davidson included the X350RA in its 2023 model year VIN information.

Following the Jan. 18 announcement, Motorcycle.com has secured a copy of the X350RA’s official owner’s manual, plus a single image of the model, with clear proof it is intended for use for Harley-Davidson’s Riding Academy. We’ve also briefly got a look at the official parts catalog, confirming some of the differences between X350 and X350RA.

The image above briefly appeared on Harley-Davidson’s Service Information Portal, showing a roadster with neutral riding ergonomics and, tellingly, bright orange bars bolted on to either side of the radiator.

The owner’s manual includes an illustration of the X350RA from the rider’s perspective, and it offers another view of the radiator guards. The added protection further confirms our suspicions that the “RA” version of the X350 is intended for the Riding Academy.

The owner’s manual further confirms some specifications of the X350RA. The bike is powered by an eight-valve liquid-cooled Parallel-Twin engine displacing 353cc. The engine isn’t entirely new but a larger version of the engine employed by the QJ-built Benelli 302S. The X350’s 45.2 mm stroke is the same as the Benelli’s, but its 70.5 mm cylinder bore is larger than the 302S’ 65.0 mm. The X350’s 11.9:1 compression ratio is just slightly off the 12:1 ratio of the Benelli 302S.

The X350 reportedly claims an output of 36 hp, but the Harley-Davidson VIN information confirms the X350RA will only claim 23 hp. An executive order issued by the California Air Resources Board further confirms that the RA model has been restricted, as it certifies the X350 and X350RA alongside a “derating removed” version of the RA which would presumably offer its full power output.

The owner’s manual further confirms the X350RA will have a circular instrument module with an analog speedometer and a small digital screen displaying mileage, time or engine speed.

The manual provides instructions for adjusting the damping on the inverted fork and rear shock. Also present are ABS and dual petal-shaped disc brakes, which is a bit of a surprise as many of Harley-Davidson’s larger, more powerful models still only use a single front disc brake.

The X350RA runs on 17-inch wheels, front and back. Pirelli supplies its Angel CT tires with a 110/70-17 up front and a 150/60-17 at the rear. From the parts catalog, we can confirm the non-RA model will have larger tires, with a 120/70-17 up front and 160/60-17 at the rear.

According to the owner’s manual, the X350RA claims a running weight of 440 pounds,with its 3.6-gallon fuel tank at 90% capacity. We expect the non-RA model to come in a bit lighter as it lacks the protective bars. The X350RA also has a 55.5-inch wheelbase, 5.6 inches of ground clearance, and a 30-inch seat height.

We don’t expect to have much longer to wait before Harley-Davidson officially announces the X350 and X350RA. While we thought there was a chance it would have been part of the Jan. 18 announcement, we can see how a small-displacement Chinese-manufactured Riding Academy model would stick out in an event focused on Harley-Davidson’s 120th anniversary. Harley-Davidson likely has a coordinated launch plan with Qianjiang for both the X350 and X350RA

Handlebar Recall On Nearly 1,100 Harley-Davidson Nightsters

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Faulty welds on these Harley-Davidson motorcycles could cause the bars to break.

by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com

Harley-Davidson Nightster made a triumphant return to the Sportster lineup in 2022. We last saw the blacked-out bobber in 2012 as the Evolution-powered Nightster 1200 (XL1200N). Ten years later, the revived model benefits from the Motor Company’s new 975cc Revolution Max V-twin and an innovative under-the-seat fuel tank. Those technological advancements don’t eliminate all teething problems, unfortunately.

On August 4, 2022, Harley-Davidson received a complaint from a 2022 Nightster (RH975) owner that the left portion of their handlebar broke off while riding. After performing warranty analysis and investigating the matter, the brand potentially received one additional claim related to this issue between August 5, 2022, and September 8, 2022.

Harley then informed the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the Nightster recall on October 6, 2022. According to the documents, a “weld quality issue” with the Nightster’s handlebar (Part No. 55801154) “could lead to separation between the inner and outer sections.” The consequences of such a failure need little explanation, but the recall lists that “a broken handlebar can cause a sudden loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.”

The Milwaukee manufacturer narrowed down the recall scope to Nightsters produced between December 6, 2021 and September 9, 2022—accounting for 1,074 units. However, Nightster models produced after September 9, 2022, don’t apply to this recall, as Harley employed “enhanced manufacturing controls” on those units.

After informing the NHTSA, the firm notified its dealers of the impending recall on October 11, 2022. One week later, on October 18, 2022, the brand sent notification letters to impacted owners. Once eligible customers transport their Nightster to their local dealership, Harley will replace the faulty handlebars free of charge.

While the notification period ends on October 25, 2022, Nightster owners can also contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464 (Recall No. 0179). Owners can also reach the NHTSA Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or visit the organization’s website for more details.

We’re happy to see the Nightster to usher in a new era for the Sportster line, but we’re happier to see the MoCo addressing mission-critical issues.

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MRF Update: Transportation Funding Unlocked

By General Posts

This week the House and Senate are tackling a self-imposed deadline to pass funding legislation before government departments and agencies run out of money. To avoid a government shutdown, a large omnibus spending bill is being voted on that will fund government operations through the end of September. Importantly for transportation related projects and programs, the omnibus bill unlocks billions of dollars in funding that Washington red tape has delayed.

Lawmakers and transportation officials have been warning for months that full implementation of the $1.5 trillion infrastructure law, which was enacted in November, isn’t possible because government funding is constrained at 2021 levels. So, while the money is actually in the accounts and ready to be spent, transportation agencies are locked out of using a large percentage of the money until this second piece of legislation is enacted.

Only in Washington, D.C. does it take two bills, five months apart, to achieve your policy objectives!

Lawmakers Focus on Tesla
Recently Tesla has come under criticism for its Autopilot and Full-Self Driving (FSD) features, which critics say give the impression to drivers that the vehicles are capable of hands-off operation. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened two investigations into Tesla’s autopilot system and the automaker has launched nearly a dozen recalls in the U.S. Many of those recalls are related to over-the-air updates which allows Tesla to tweak and change its software remotely.

Last month, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a letter to Tesla seeking answers to a series of questions regarding its technology. Included in the letter were questions regarding safety programming, issues related to phantom braking and driver monitoring capabilities.

Tesla responded to the letter last week saying in part, “Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD Capability features enhance the ability of our customers to drive safer than the average driver in the U.S.,”

Senators Blumenthal and Markey seemed less than impressed with Tesla’s response to their questions. In a joint statement they said Tesla’s response was “just more evasion and deflection from Tesla. Despite its troubling safety track record and deadly crashes, the company seemingly wants to carry on with business as usual.”

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has long been concerned that safety standards for self-driving and autonomous vehicle technology are inadequate. All motorcyclists should remember that these vehicles are on our roadways right now. Remain vigilant while riding, as the operators and perhaps even the manufacturers are not fully aware of what this technology can and cannot do.

To read the initial letter sent to Tesla click here.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.
Visit Website at: http://mrf.org