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RIDING FREE FROM DC:

Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

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.

Strange Times In Washington, D.C.

As we enter the month of November the news cycle in D.C. continues to rage. The Washington Nationals World Series victory this week was a nice distraction for a city that is on the verge of a historic month.

Two significant issues will face Congress in November; first the House of Representatives will formally begin an impeachment investigation of President Trump. This televised political event will surely consume most of the oxygen and stifle progress on other key legislative initiatives.

The second major issue is another showdown regarding the funding of the government for fiscal year 2020. Currently none of the 12 spending bills required to keep the government open have been enacted. A temporary stopgap funding bill was passed in September, allowing the government to stay open until November 21st. However, if another temporary bill is not passed before then a government shutdown is likely.

Regardless of the political storm surrounding the U.S. Capitol, we at the MRF will continue to “stick to motorcycles” working with our champions on both sides of the political aisle to advocate for the over 8.6 million motorcyclists in this country. As we tell every congressional office we meet with; our riders don’t vote Republican or vote Democrat they, “vote motorcycles.”

Stay tuned. It should be a wild ride…

MRF at the Mid-South M.I.L.E.

Over the weekend, the MRF joined motorcycle advocates in Shreveport, Lousiana to speak at the 28th Annual Mid-South M.I.L.E. (Motorcyclists Improving Legislative Effectiveness).  For those who may not now, the M.I.L.E. is a regional conference put on by the six states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma & Texas.  The conference kicked off Saturday morning with a general session that welcomed the attendees to the conference, and each state provided a legislative update of the past year's successes and lessons along with a national and international update.  After lunch, attendees headed to a jam-packed agenda of breakouts which focused on everything from the MRF’s federal update and how to be an effective lobbyist, Bart Cocquyt with M.A.G. Belgium gave an excellent European update, along with Share the Road, Accident Scene management and host of other fantastic presentations. While I typically do not get to see many presentations at MOTM, I was diligent student taking notes and asking questions during the European motorcycle legislative update.  As we all know, the things Europe are working on tend to find their way across the ocean in the coming years.  Here is a fun fact:  Did you know Europe is banning the sale of all combustion motors by the year 2030?  That means Europe will only allow the sale of electric motorcycles and vehicles in just 10 years.  We try to share F.E.M.A’s (Europe’s version of a National Motorcycle Rights Organization) updates in the American Biker Journal as space allows but I encourage you to go to their website www.fema-online.eu and subscribe to their updates.  The best advocate is an educated one.

The MRF would like to thank ABATE of Louisiana for their southern hospitality and we were excited to celebrate with the riders of Louisiana over their victory this year, becoming the 3rd state in the country to pass a law to address motorcycle profiling.  If you would like a representative of the MRF to speak at your conference, please reach out to the MRF staff about how we can present to your membership.

All Members Are Not Created Equal

We added 7 new cosponsors to H. Res 255, the motorcycle profiling resolution which brought our total to 115 cosponsors or 27% of the House of Representatives. While each lawmaker is entitled to just one vote as with any organization, some members of Congress carry more weight than others.

This week we were proud to add Congressman Scalise from Louisiana and Congresswoman Cheney from Wyoming to our resolution. Congressman Scalise is the House Republican Whip, making him #2 in House Republican Leadership. Congresswoman Cheney is Conference Chair making her #3 in House Republican Leadership.

Members of Congressional leadership often refrain from cosponsoring bills and resolutions so as not to step on the toes of their colleagues. Having these two influential members of the House Republican caucus join us is yet another sign that our message is gaining traction.

A special thanks to the folks in Louisiana who TIRELESSLY contacted Congressman Scalise’s office about this issue. We in D.C. had written Congressman Scalise off, but the perseverance of the folks in Louisiana proved that the best advocates for motorcyclists are motorcyclists. Thank you to all that have contacted their members of Congress about motorcycle issues!

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.

Click HERE to see if your member has signed on to H. Res 255.

Tiffany & Rocky


 

RIDING FREE FROM DC:

Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

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.

 

Motorcycle fatalities decline by 4.7% in 2018

Earlier this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the 2018 motor vehicle fatality report.  For the second year in a row, less people lost their lives on the roads across the country.  As you can see in the chart below, motorcycle fatalities declined in 4.7% from 2017 to 2018 while overall motor vehicle crashed were reduced by 2.4% while vehicle miles traveled (VMT) also increased.

Does that mean motorcyclists are doing better than the other motor vehicles on the road?  Unfortunately, we still represented 14% of traffic fatalities in 2018 according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data, “New vehicles are safer than older ones, and when crashes occur, more new vehicles are equipped with advanced technologies that prevent or reduce the severity of crashes,” NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said in the statement. 

You can read the full NHTSA 2018 Fatality Report, 2018 Crash Stats.pdf

MRF attends bicameral Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Meeting

During the August recess, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation partnered with Harley Davidson (H-D) and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) to send a joint letter outlining the priorities of the motorcycle lobbying community for any future autonomous vehicle (AV) legislation to both the minority and majority staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  This week, the MRF, H-D and the AMA was invited to meet to further discuss the concerns and priorities of motorcyclists for any AV legislation. As you may remember during the 115th Congress, the House and Senate took two different approaches writing legislation and neither of those bills were signed into law. While the House and Senate committees are in the infancy stages of writing legislation, we are encouraged by the bicameral effort on future legislation and remain optimistic that both chambers can introduce the same legislation. The AV working group of congressional staffers spearheading this effort do not have any real time line when we may see any draft legislation out of their committees as they are still bringing in the over 100 stakeholder groups that submitted their AV priorities at the end of summer.  As always, we will keep our ear to the ground and continue to engage the appropriate congressional staff as they continue through the process to draft this necessary and comprehensive legislation to help keep not only motorcyclists but all motorists safe on our roads.

You can read our specific recommendations from the August letter below:

Rulemaking – Set new standards specific to seeing, detecting and properly reacting to motorcycles;

Testing – Ensure motorcycles are part of all testing and development procedures;

Advisory committees – Public user advisory committees should include a representative from the motorcycle community and a motorcycle manufacturer;

Consumer education – Require a public, easily accessible and searchable database where consumers can look up important safety information such as the limitations and capabilities of different products offered by AV manufacturers or service providers, as well as clarifications for marketing terms such as auto pilot, super cruise, etc. For example, the database should inform consumers what each relevant automakers’ systems Auto Pilot can and cannot do in terms of the driving task;

Safety Evaluation Reports – AV manufacturers must be required to detail and make public how their vehicles identify motorcycles among other road users. Manufacturers must also include human error analysis in safety reports; and

Crash data/reporting – AV manufacturers must report incidents between AVs and motorcycles just as they would incidents between AVs and other road users. Manufacturers must also include human error analysis in crash data and reporting.

Southbound and Down to the 2019 Mid-South M.I.L.E. conference

I’m off to Shreveport, Louisiana for the 28th Annual Mid-South M.I.L.E. (Motorcyclists Improving Legislative Effectiveness) to speak to the attendees from Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.  If you were at MOTM 2019, you probably heard “Brick” Lindsey with ABATE of Louisiana plug that they were having bacon wrapped alligator at the event and I eagerly await to report back to you next week about my first alligator experience.

Standing Update:

We are currently at 108 cosponsors from 38 states and one territory for H. Res 255, the motorcycle profiling resolution. An additional 8 new cosponsors have joined since our last update including our first member from Virginia and Indiana. 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.

Click HERE to see if your member has signed on to H. Res 255.

 

 

Ride Free,

Tiffany

 

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.
All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. Motorcycle Riders Foundation. All rights reserved. Ride With The Leaders™ by joining the MRF at http://mrf.org or call (202) 546-0983
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RIDING FREE FROM DC:

Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

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.

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.

 

Click HERE to see if your member has signed on to H. Res 255.

 

Rocky & Tiffany

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation


RIDING FREE FROM DC:

Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

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.

Motorcyclist Advisory Council:

In late 2015 Congress passed the Highway Bill known formally as Fixing American Surface Transportation Act or the FAST ACT. Included in the FAST Act was Section 1426: MOTORCYCLIST ADVISORY COUNCIL It read as follows:

The Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, shall appoint a Motorcyclist Advisory Council to coordinate with and advise the Administrator on infrastructure issues of concern to motorcyclists, including— (1) barrier design; (2) road design, construction, and maintenance practices; and (3) the architecture and implementation of intelligent transportation system technologies.

While we appreciate that Congress has directed the Secretary of Transportation to focus on issues of concern to motorcyclists, we have one fundamental problem with the current language, RIDERS SHOULD BE AT THE TABLE AND PART OF THE CONVERSATION.

For example, it’s obviously important to have people like road engineers discussing the needs of motorcycles and the science behind constructing a road. But doesn’t it make sense to have someone who has actually ridden a motorcycle be a part of a discussion on the same topic?

In an attempt to broaden the membership of the council we have asked lawmakers to add this simple line to the next Highway bill:

Membership of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council should consist of at least one representative from a state motorcycle rights organization and two representatives from different nationwide motorcycle rights organization.

We are encouraged that Congressman Troy Balderson of Ohio, a fellow rider, as well as Congressman Don Young of Alaska, have taken an interest in the topic. Both are members of the House Transportation Committee and will be in a position to advocate for the needed changes.

Meeting of the Minds

Next week is the 35th Annual Meeting of the Minds in Bloomington, Minnesota. As part of the weekend, the D.C. team will be putting on two separate presentations. First, as part of the general session, we will give a legislative update on a host of issues that we have been focused on during the last year. With the close of the 115th Congress in December and the start of the 116th Congress in January, it has been a busy few months. We will touch on not only our successes but where we see our legislative priorities headed in the near and long term.

Second, as part of a breakout session, we have a presentation on lobbying tips and tricks. After completing nearly 170 in-person meetings on motorcycle issues we have learned a few things we think will be valuable to MRF members. We hope that some simple ideas and strategies can pay dividends whether you are lobbying in your state capitol or here in Washington, D.C. Find the Meeting of the Minds Agenda here.

Finally, if you are in Bloomington, please come up and chat with either Tiffany or Rocky if you have questions about your Members of Congress. We have had meetings with at least one Congressman from 48 different states. We have a pretty good feel for each state’s congressional delegation and might have some state-specific ideas or thoughts that can help your state motorcycle rights organization maintain and build relationships with your federally elected officials.

Standing Update:

We are currently at 85 cosponsors from 36 states and one territory for H. Res 255, the motorcycle profiling resolution. This is an increase of 9 new cosponsors since last week. We also added our first lawmakers from Idaho, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The map below shows which states have at least one lawmaker signed on as a cosponsor.

Click HERE to see if your member has signed on to H. Res 255.

Your Team in D.C.  Tiffany & Rocky
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation

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