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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.

 

NEWS FROM THE HILL – Discussion on E15 Bill PLUS Passage of Driverless Car Bill

Remember a few weeks ago when we informed MRF members about a new bill from Senator Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) regarding ethanol? ICYMI (in case you missed it) the bill would allow year-round sale of 15 percent ethanol. And it got some attention this week when Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) took to the Senate floor to call on Republicans to work together on the issue of ethanol – very divisive among Republicans depending on where they hail from. There is discussion that he may introduce amendments that would expand Sen. Fischer’s bill into a broader package. This broader package would include a host of Republican priorities, including altering Clean Air Act standards, and other EPA/motorcycle emissions issues. Our sources say he also is considering setting up a sunset provision for the conventional biofuels part of the Renewable Fuel Standard. There is talk that a Senate Committee may markup the E15 bill (giving Inhofe his chance to introduce his amendments). This markup could occur next week or possibly after the August recess. My personal opinion is that Republicans may accept Fischer’s bill as a bargaining chip for broader changes to ethanol and maybe even other things like the RPM Act….also in the jurisdiction of the Committee. Stay tuned.

This week, Congress took its most significant action to date on driverless cars. A House panel approved a draft bill that would expand the ability of automakers to get driverless cars on the road - and curtail the ability of states and localities to stop them. Democrats - especially the delegation from California, are skittish about taking so much power away from cities and states, whose remaining powers to regulate drivers' licensing and education don't mean much when there are no drivers. Large parts of the bill are still in brackets, meaning the language is still under discussion. The bill heads to the full committee for a vote next week, but some Democrats are asking what the rush is, while Republicans want to get the bill done by August recess.

Read the bill by clicking HERE

And over in the Senate, this week your MRF had a private closed-door meeting to discuss “imminent” legislation which also would regulate the self-driving cars. I’m happy to report that the identification and responsiveness to motorcycles is a top priority there. Though the House is taking a narrower piecemeal approach by passing individual bills  instead of comprehensive legislation, its concerning that “motorcycle” appears nowhere in the text. Not so in the Senate. We’ll communicate more on the Senate bill as the process moves forward.

 

EXECUTIVE & REGULATORY UPDATES – Relief for Harley, NHTSA Turns to Marijuana Impairment

As we all know, under the Obama Administration, Harley-Davidson was fined $15 million after allegedly selling aftermarket devices that allowed motorcyclists to cheat U.S. emissions standards. Under the originally proposed deal, Harley-Davidson would have paid a $12 million fine and given $3 million to the American Lung Association. However, the Trump Administration announced this week that the company would NOT have to pay a portion of the settlement.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared an end to such third-party settlements, like the portion that was set to go to the American Lung Association, in which companies pay for projects not directly related to their violations. The announcement comes as Harley-Davidson plans to cut dozens of jobs in coming months in an effort to cope with slowing motorcycle sales. News outlets reported that about 180 jobs are on the chopping block in Milwaukee and Kansas City.

Though out of the jurisdiction of the MRF, we thought it pertinent for our members to know about activity at NHTSA to address driving under the influence….of marijuana impairment. Now that a number of states have legalized marijuana, this week your MRF attended a meeting of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee. NHTSA Acting Deputy Administrator Jack Danielson told lawmakers that they are trying to figure out how to set a scientific threshold for marijuana impairment over which people shouldn't be allowed to drive - and perhaps more importantly, they're working on a way for police to measure it. Marijuana is tricky because it's detectable in urine for up to 30 days. Danielson said they would be looking to detect and measure impairment, not use - so having days-old marijuana in your system wouldn't get you busted for a DUI. We’ll continue to keep an eye on this one.

MRF NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS – Meeting of the Minds…Don’t Miss Out!

Who likes paying more for stuff? Not me. Meeting of the Minds Early Registration Deadline is ONE MONTH FROM TODAY! Rates will go up if you don’t book by the August 21st deadline. Plus, if you don’t’ book your hotel by August 21, you’ll miss out on the conference rate. (see below for hotel info)

Doubletree Williamsburg
50 Kingsmill Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Phone: 1-757-220-2500
Nightly Rate: $109.00

And last, but certainly not least, look the part when you show up by pre-ordering event t-shirts when you register online: Short Sleeve $20 and Long Sleeve $25.

Take care of that by clicking HERE

 

UNTIL THEN, RIDE FREE-

Megan Ekstrom

Vice-President of Government Affairs & Public Relations

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.

 

NEWS FROM THE HILL – August Recess DELAYED…but Will Anything Get Done?

In case you didn’t know, the U.S. Congress takes a much-needed and very well-deserved break (ß SARCASM) every August. Our elected officials use the month to take some personal time, but mostly they spend their days at fundraisers or meet with constituents at the home office (side note – August is a GREAT time to set up meetings with your legislators). However, some recent shenanigans will almost certainly curtail that this year.

This week, Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Kennedy (R-La.) Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Luther Strange (R-Ala.) held a press conference calling on the Senate to cancel August recess. The reasoning? There is so DAMN MUCH TO DO. Here is what the White House has asked the Hill to do immediately: 1) Pass a repeal of Obamacare before August recess. 2) Lift the debt ceiling before August recess. 3) Agree on the outlines of a broad-based overhaul of the nation's tax code before the August recess. 4) Clear outstanding executive and judicial branch nominations.

The problem? As of this writing, there are 11 legislative days scheduled until the August recess begins. Obamacare repeal is in a tough spot. Congress is extremely unlikely to lift the debt ceiling before the August recess. And I can't see any agreement on the horizon on tax reform.

But to give credit where due, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did make the announcement that the Senate will break with longstanding precedent and delay the start of its August recess until the third week of the month in order to continue to work this summer. Now, I understand at home, you may be saying SO WHAT THE EFF? I work every August! (You and me both, my friends). But this breaks a long-standing precedent in D.C. and has everyone talking….

This D.C. insider’s opinion? GOOD. There is a lot to be done, so let’s roll up our sleeves and get there. And if they want to pass the MRF’s profiling resolution while they’re around this August, we certainly wouldn’t be opposed to that!

EXECUTIVE & REGULATORY UPDATES – Guardrail Fail and Ethanol Talk

Families of people who have been killed by driving into a guardrail they say is dangerous have brought a lawsuit against the Lindsay Corporation, which makes the X-LITE model guardrail device. Lawsuits recently filed say that the rails impale vehicle passengers and have been linked to several deaths across the country since last year. There are approximately 14,000 X-LITE units in use in at least 29 states and Puerto Rico. Lindsay Chief Executive Officer Rick Parod discussed the lawsuit recently stating that, “We stand behind X-LITE and will vigorously defend these claims.” Parod went on to say that their product has passed crash and safety tests in accordance with federal standards. Notably, while the product is still eligible to be purchased using federal transportation funding, Parod said, Lindsay is replacing the X-LITE in its lineup this year with products that meet a newer set of federal safety standards. Your MRF pays close attention to issues surrounding guardrails considering the needs of our membership. We’ll watch this as it develops and report out accordingly.

Wait…what? EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had a gift for ethanol producers this Independence Day…he stayed a continuation of the Obama administration's requirement that 15 billion gallons of ethanol go into the nation's fuel system. Hold on though, folks don’t sharpen your knives just yet. Pruitt reduced overall advanced biofuels in 2017, kept advanced biodiesel steady in 2019, and cut by about a quarter the cellulosic ethanol mandate for fuels from agricultural products that have a much smaller carbon footprint. What does that mean in plain speak? Pruitt has opened the door to significant changes down the road, suggesting that an analysis of a "reset" of the ethanol volumes allowed under the law may be in order. The EPA is asking for comment on imported ethanol and biodiesel, and for an examination of the market for zero percent ethanol. KEEP IN MIND ITS ONLY A PROPOSAL….the EPA often modifies its proposed volumes when it issues a final rule. Now the agency has until November 30th to take comment and produce a final rule. The clock is ticking and your MRF is watching.

NEWS FROM THE STATES: TEXAS Announces Motorcycle Crash Analysis Findings

More news from the lone star state this week. Researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute announced their completion of a five-year analysis of motorcycle crashes in the state. Though we encourage you to read the full report (link below) some quick factoids from the announcement include an increased likelihood of crashes in urban settings versus rural (however those crashes that occur in rural areas are more severe); 40% of riders in crashes have no “M” license certification; and, of fatal motorcycle crashes, 44% involved an impaired rider. A friendly reminder that these stats are exclusive to Texas and that there are many other statistics…read the report…give me your feedback!

The full study can be accessed by clicking on this link.

MRF NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS – Meetings in August and MOTM

Though your elected officials are looking at a shorter August recess this year (see the first story), the last two weeks of the month, they are likely to be home in their districts. What does this mean for you? IT’S A GREAT TIME TO MEET WITH YOUR CONGRESSPERSON. If you attended Bikers Inside the Beltway, a short meeting in the district office is an ideal time to follow up on all of those issues the staffer promised to “look into.” Sufficient time has passed since the end of May so you can go in and say, HEY – what’s the final word? Can you sign on to our profiling resolution? Push for the RPM to go to the floor? Make some responsible changes to the ethanol mandate? Finally fix the definition of a motorcycle?

And if you DIDN’T attend Bikers Inside the Beltway (first of all shame on you!) then here is your chance to make up for it and schedule a meeting with your elected officials in your home state and share your concerns as riders! Don’t know who to call for an appointment? Let me help! (megan@mrf.org) Don’t know what to say? We’ve got you covered. The MRF recently posted all of our issue summaries that we lobbied on this year. Print these off, study them up, make your appointments and PREACH.

You’ll find the summaries by clicking on this link

Lastly – here is the first (of what will be many) plugs to sign up for this year’s Meeting of the Minds. Its being held in Williamsburg, VA this year and we are going to have a fantastic lineup. Get registered NOW by clicking on the link below. I’ll be there…will I see you?!?

http://mrf.org/events/

 

UNTIL THEN, RIDE FREE-

 

Megan Ekstrom

Vice-President of Government Affairs & Public Relations

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation


NEWS FROM THE HILL – More on Self-Driving Cars Plus Support Grows for Profiling Resolution…

A legislative package on driverless cars is taking shape in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Recently, discussion drafts were distributed that would address issues facing autonomous vehicles including safety standards, the role of the federal government versus the state, concerns over data privacy and others. The proposals address a top concern of the autonomous vehicle industry, which has called for clarity between the authorities of state and federal officials to regulate the new technology.  One of the draft bills appears to accelerate autonomous vehicle testing and deployment by expanding the Department of Transportation’s federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) exemption program by increasing the number and time limit of exemptions which would allow for more companies to quickly test new self-driving designs that don’t meet current requirements.  A legislative hearing will be held next week on the drafts…your MRF will be in attendance. Also, you’ll recall from last week’s Bulletin that Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) announced their own framework for autonomous vehicle legislation that addresses several of the same issues as the House subcommittee’s approach, including state and federal role clarification and exemptions. Peters has said the bipartisan Senate trio is aiming to release a draft bill before August.

In May, both the House and Senate introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation addressing motorcycle profiling. H.Res.318 and S.Res.154 promote public awareness of motorcycle profiling and encourage collaboration and communication between law enforcement and the motorcycle community. Further, the legislation urges state law enforcement officials to condemn motorcycle profiling in written policies and training materials. The legislation was a major focal point for the 2017 Bikers Inside the Beltway event as well as the subject of a recent email campaign led by your MRF. At the time of writing, 1,601 letters were sent to our U.S. lawmakers in support of the legislation. Our co-sponsor list did grow in the House – we are up to 12 cosponsors total, but we remained stagnant in the Senate. FOLKS – in order to get this legislation, the attention it deserves, we need support. Post it to your Facebook page, tell your local ABATE chapter and region, and if you haven’t sent a letter yourself then GET ON IT! Our strength is in our numbers and at this rate, we are not in the best shape. SEND, SHARE AND GET THE WORD OUT:

TELL CONGRESS TO WE NEED HELP TO STOP THE PROFILING OF MOTORCYCLISTS!

EXECUTIVE & REGULATORY UPDATES – Alcohol Ignition Interlocks for Motorcycles?

Recently, NHTSA released a report titled, “Examining the Feasibility of Alcohol Ignition Interlocks for Motorcycles.” The report looks at alcohol ignition interlocks and the limited use in motorcycles and identities their limited use including availability for motorcycles, weather, battery power and secure storage. The purpose of the report should be noted:

Motorcycle fatalities increased from 3,270 deaths in 2002 to 4,612 deaths in 2011. In 2011, 30 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher, more than for any other type of vehicle. Therefore, it is appropriate to examine the feasibility of wider use of alcohol ignition interlocks to help reduce alcohol-related crashes and fatalities on motorcycles.

Though the MRF never condones or supports drinking and riding, one could surmise that the safety-crats could take this to the next level, advocating to make alcohol ignition interlocks required for all motorcycles. This is something the MRF would take aggressive countermeasures against.

To read the report summary, click on the link below:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/812406_ttalcoholinterlocksformotorcycles.pdf

NEWS FROM THE STATES: LONG ISLAND ABATE

On Sunday June 11, Long Island ABATE held their annual Veteran’s Appreciation Run. With the generosity of everyone that supported the run as along with three private donors, Long Island ABATE raised $60,000. All of the money raised will go to local Veterans Organizations on Long Island.  Over 500 motorcyclists participating riding east towards Montauk. Along the route, the bikes were greeted by a flag line as they crossed over the bridge in Sag Harbor.

Way to give back! The MRF salutes everyone at Long Island ABATE for a job well done!

Do you have state news you want to pass along? Send your updates to Megan@mrf.org

MRF NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS – Senate Motorcycle Caucus Launch & Ride2Work

On Wednesday evening this week, motorcycle manufacturers, advocates and supporters gathered in the Capitol to celebrate the launch of the newly chartered Senate Motorcycle Caucus. Led by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), the caucus will focus on issues that impact both riders and industry manufacturers. Your MRF was invited to attend the launch and was encouraged by the conversation in the room especially by Senator Gary Peters a co-chair of the Caucus, “It’s really about awareness for cars…usually an automobile is not paying attention and runs into you, so we want to raise this issue for folks. We have every right to be on the road with automobiles.” Peters went on to also say that the Caucus would be an outlet for him as he paves the way for legislation on self-driving vehicles. However, he made one thing very distinct; “Let me be clear, we don’t EVER WANT automated motorcycles!” Reps from Harley-Davidson agreed. Senator Joni Ernst, the Republican co-chair said her intentions behind starting the caucus were to help drive the conversation on infrastructure. President Trump has pushed for a major infrastructure package during his term and Sen. Ernst indicated that the Motorcycle Caucus could help to spur those discussions. The MRF will continue to stay engaged in Caucus committee activity and will report out relevant information.

The 26th “Ride to Work Day” fell on Monday of this week. Did you ride your bike to work? Some of you sure did! I received photos from Mike Berger from MN, Skee Dodson from TX and Jay Jackson from IN. A special thanks to those that participated and sent the MRF their photos. Another very special recognition to those cities across the U.S. that were able to procure proclamations from their Mayor in honor of the day:

Lancaster, PA
Kyle, TX
Danville, VA
Waconia, MN
McGehee, AR

Great job to all and I hope that next year we can grow this list and our participation in Ride To Work Day!

UNTIL NEXT TIME, RIDE FREE-

Megan Ekstrom

Vice-President of Government Affairs & Public Relations

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation


The MRF’s Bikers in the Beltway

May 22, 2017

 

 

Every year for the past 9 years the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has held the only National Motorcycle Lobby Day at our nation’s capital in Washington D.C. This year, for the first time representatives from ABATE of North Idaho participated. ABATE of North Idaho (ANI) sent Duane Justus, the Kootenai Chapter Coordinator, and me, Dave Cazel, the Legislative Liaison for ANI and Idaho’s Assistant Representative to the MRF. ICMS had sent their Government Relations Officer Wayne Weirson to D.C. a few years prior to this event.

 

I arrived in D.C. two days prior to the lobbying day in order to participate in MRF committee meetings and attend the MRF Board of Directors meeting. The night before the lobbying day an orientation was held by the MRF to familiarize the participating bikers about the next day’s activities and distribute the position papers on issues to be discussed with the legislators. There were over thirty (30) states represented by more than 100 bikers. The bikers came from States’ Motorcycle Rights Organizations (SMROs), independents, and an assortment of motorcycle clubs. There were lots of patches and a whole lot of leather. It was quite a sight because the next day when we walked the halls of congress all the elected officials, staffers, lobbyists and the engaged public were wearing their “uniforms”, i.e. suits, ties and skirts. We were walking the halls in black leather and cuts.

 

We knew months ago that we had only one day set aside to go “eyeball to eyeball” with the legislators and their staffs in D.C. I started setting up the meetings with the four Federal delegates from Idaho, Senators Crapo and Risch and Congressmen Labrador and Simpson 3 months prior. These people have incredibly full schedules, constituents in and out all day long and I wanted to make sure that Duane and I had appointments with all four offices on lobbying day. I wanted 15 minutes of their time to make our points and I had to prioritize the issues we would present. We had six primary subjects:

Increased Ethanol in the fuel supply

A law to end Motorcyclist Profiling

Representation on the Motorcyclist Advisory Council

A Federal definition of Motorcycle

(to the exclusion of Autocycle)

 

The RPM Act

Autonomous Vehicle testing

(DoT to ensure motorcycle recognition)

Evidently we had done our homework because after presenting the first two subjects the staffs wanted to hear all our issues. We had more than 35 minutes in each office.  As we walked out, the waiting rooms were full of constituents waiting to see their representatives. Their appointment calendars seemed to have gotten a little behind schedule. Three of the four legislators were in committee meetings or on the floor of the House or Senate and were unable to meet but we did meet with two Chiefs of Staff (the gate keepers), one legislative director, and four legislative assistants and with Senator Risch who responded to the two EPA issues with “You’re preaching to the choir”.

 

The process took all day with a lot of walking but when we finished our last meeting Duane and I discussed the day and agreed that the day appeared to have been a success. We were able to present all our talking points, established name and sight recognition with the people that make our Federal government in Washington D.C. work. The feedback we received all throughout the day was positive and the communication that I have had with the offices since has been more immediate and responsive. As to whether the day was truly a success, it will be proven by legislative decisions and future actions of our Idaho delegates. As they say, “the proof is in the pudding”.

 

I would like to thank each of Idaho’s MRF members, all of Idaho’s motorcyclists  and especially each and every member of ABATE of North Idaho for the financial support to represent them before our elected officials in Washington D.C.

 

I think we’re making a difference in D.C.  Like the ole’ quip goes, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”, and Idaho’s motorcyclists are definitely at the legislative table.

 

 

Dave Cazel

 

ANI- Legislative liaison

MRF-Idaho Asst. Rep.

 


Let's Get More Co-Sponsors for the

Anti-Profiling Legislation!

MRF Friends and Supporters:

 

As you know, last month both the House and Senate introduced legislation addressing motorcycle profiling. H.Res318 and S.Res.154 both define motorcycle profiling and urge states to implement practices to address this issue and condemn it.

 

In order to advance these measures, we need more legislators to sign on! Currently the following Members of Congress are sponsors of these bills:

 

Rep. Walberg, Tim [R-MI]

Rep. Pocan, Mark [D-WI-2]*

Rep. Burgess, Michael C. [R-TX-26]*

Rep. Peterson, Collin C. [D-MN-7]*

Rep. LaHood, Darin [R-IL-18]

Rep. Grothman, Glenn [R-WI-6]

Rep. Nolan, Richard M. [D-MN-8]

Rep. Zeldin, Lee M. [R-NY-1]

Rep. Thompson, Glenn [R-PA-5]

Rep. Brownley, Julia [D-CA-26]

 

Senator Ron Johnson [R-WI]

Senator Jeanne Shaheen [D-NH]

Senator Angus King [I-Maine]

 

Please use the following link to send a pre-drafted letter to your elected officials asking them to sign on! It takes about 1 minute and will help us achieve our goal!!

 

http://cqrcengage.com/mrf/app/take-action?engagementId=363933

 

ALSO FEEL FREE TO SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA – FACEBOOK, TWITTER, ETC.

 

And thank you for your support!

 

Megan J. Ekstrom

Vice-President, Government Affairs & Public Relations

Motorcycle Riders Foundation

2221 S. Clark Street, 11th Floor

Arlington, VA 22202

Phone:  (202) 725-5471

www.mrf.org


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.


NEWS FROM THE HILL – Profiling Update, RPM Act Advancing

We have reached an important RPM Act milestone thanks to our recent work during Bikers Inside the Beltway.  Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) was officially added as a cosponsor of S. 203 recently, making him the 8th Democrat on the bill.  This symbolically demonstrates that the bill has enough support to get 60 votes and overcome a filibuster and pass the Senate.  The RPM Act in the Senate (S. 203) currently has 34 cosponsors, while the companion measure in the House (H.R. 350) has 123 cosponsors. Given this information, now is the time to not just ask for additional co-sponsors but rather to push for a vote on the floor. Your MRF will carry this message in the halls of Congress this summer! We hope we can count on you to do the same back in the district.

Following our May 23rd event, the profiling resolution (S.Res.154 & H.Res.318) enjoyed an uptick in support with Reps. Rep. LaHood (Illinois), Grothman (Wisconsin), Nolan (Minnesota), Zeldin (New York) and Thompson (Pennsylvania) signing on in the House and Angus King (Maine) signing on in the Senate. This brings the total supports up to 9 in the house and 3 in the Senate. While this is a good start, we have a long way to go. The more co-sponsors this bill has, the more likely it will be voted on and approved. If your Member of Congress or Senator has not yet signed on, please contact them! Look for an engagement from the MRF early next week to help you in contacting your elected official to ask for support.

EXECUTIVE & REGULATORY UPDATES – MAC Letter Response & Comey Hearing

In one of the most highly watched congressional hearings since the days of Watergate and the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, this week former FBI Director James B. Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his conversations with President Donald Trump, who fired him in May, about the investigation into some of his associates’ ties to Russia. The line to get one of the 80 seats was out the door and around the block in the Senate. Comey began his testimony by accusing President Donald Trump's administration of slandering him with its explanations of his abrupt dismissal, but also saying he did not believe the president or his aides asked him to stop the Russia probe as it related to the 2016 elections. Though no new revelations were revealed, more details were provided and there were several instances in which Comey suggested that he couldn’t discuss in an open setting. These are likely the places where the investigating most likely has found evidence of wrongdoing, or enough suspicion to investigate.

In timing of what could only be described as highly coincidental, the Department of Transportation sent a letter of response to the Senate in regard to a sign-on letter sent back in February citing concerns over adequate representation of motorcyclists on the Motorcyclist Advisory Council or ‘MAC.’ Though dated May 11, the letter was transmitted to the Senate on May 24. One day AFTER the Bikers Inside the Beltway event. The letter was signed by Finch Fulton, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation and indicated that the objective behind the MAC was to attract “motorcyclist practitioners” to serve on the Council. In other words, they want motorcyclists, but only ones that are also experts in roadway design, engineering, construction and maintenance. To date, DoT has claimed that the majority of applicants fulfill both of these criteria. The letter also states that they (Federal Highway Administration) will ensure that participants have the necessary expertise and diversity to serve. So far, the nominees have not been identified but when announced the MRF will circulate the list, closely scrutinizing to see how ‘diverse’ the Council is. We already have commitments from our champions in the House and Senate to help us in this process. This fight is not over…we won’t stop until we are satisfied! For a copy of the letter, contact Megan Ekstrom at megan@mrf.org

STATE NEWS – New Mexico

The New Mexico Motorcyclist Rights Organization Board is working diligently behind the scene to protect your rights and fight for justice. Recently, one of their members was killed while at a local carwash while washing his motorcycle after a day of riding. Members of the NMMRO board were notified of the shooting and arrived on the scene that afternoon to provide support for the family, friends and brothers of the victim and to ensure the rights of the motorcycle community were upheld. The NMMRO recently reported that no arrests have occurred in connection with the shooting but they have opened a dialogue between the local police department and their organization to ensure a proper investigation will be held into what is a senseless shooting.
The MRF is saddened to hear of the NMMRO’s loss and is in support of their efforts in the state.

MRF NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

We’re coming fresh off another successful Bikers Inside the Beltway Event that was held in the days leading up to Rolling Thunder in our nation’s Capital. Though this was only my 2nd ‘BITB’ I am told it was the largest to date with participants from across the U.S. representing the club world, NCOM, and of course the MROs…the backbone of this great organization. I’ve heard from many of you saying that you enjoyed your time in Washington and are already looking forward to next year’s event. It was definitely a success, thanks in part to MRF A&E who helped to spearhead a unique event in the Capitol, bringing a SMARTrainer in to let staff and elected officials experience a taste of what it’s like to ride. And legislatively we made headway, too, with an influx of sponsors for the RPM Act as well as the Anti-Profiling Resolution. We also advanced conversations as they relate to motorcyclists’ concerns over autonomous vehicles and expressed our frustration with the MAC and lack of motorcyclists.

I want to take just a moment to express my gratitude for everyone that joined us in D.C. spending your time and money to advance our cause. If you participated in BITB congratulate yourself because you are supporting and moving the needle in the world of motorcycle rights. And for those that didn’t come to D.C., thank your brother or sister that did and get your ass to D.C. next year!

 

RIDE FREE-

 

Megan Ekstrom
Vice-President of Government Affairs & Public Relations
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation


For Immediate Release

June 8, 2017

Riders Keep Close Eye on Infrastructure Legislation

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Though modernizing the nation’s infrastructure has been a looming issue for the federal government for decades, there has been increased emphasis since the 2016 presidential elections when then-candidate Donald Trump pledged a significant investment to the issue. He came one step closer to his promise when the White House released its principles for an infrastructure package along with the president’s FY18 budget request. The principles outline $200 billion in infrastructure investments.

For motorcyclists, the area of infrastructure is one of interest. Roads, highways, bridges are all well utilized by motorcyclists, yet many of these are considered structurally deficient. More importantly, because the concept of infrastructure is so broad, some policymakers will offer proposals that they have championed for years that they hope to include in an infrastructure vehicle. Many of these could very well include seemingly unrelated efforts in the name of safety. Often, large legislative packages are viewed as opportunities to slip in provisions related to highway safety. These “riders” (no pun intended) are easy to miss in a large legislative package, but the effects are far-reaching.

In addition to maintaining a vigilant eye on what gets “stuck” into an infrastructure package, there is also concern that President Trump will pursue a proposal to lift a federal ban that prevents tolling on existing lanes of interstate highways:

“Tolling is generally restricted on interstate highways. This restriction prevents public and private investment in such facilities,” the White House fact sheet says. “We should reduce this restriction and allow the states to assess their transportation needs and weigh the relative merits of tolling assets.”

Supporters say it’s a way to charge motorists directly for the roads that they use. Alternatively, others fear that if they don’t pay for the infrastructure through toll roads, they will pay at the pump via a gas tax.

While an infrastructure plan is easy to talk and campaign about, it doesn’t mean it is easy to write, pass through Congress, or sign into law. Although Republicans currently control the House, Senate, and presidency, several factors stand as roadblocks to any major piece of legislation becoming law.

Despite a polarized Congress and busy legislative schedule, however, there is a real appetite for considering a major overhaul to the nation’s infrastructure, and plenty of room for negotiation to help make it possible.

 


For Immediate Release

May 31, 2016

BIKERS INSIDE THE BELTWAY BRINGS HUNDREDS TO WASHINGTON

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, over 100 motorcyclists made the trek to Washington, DC to connect with elected officials from across the country in support of motorcyclists’ rights. Participants included Members of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, State Motorcycle Rights Organizations (SMROs) and representatives from NCOM, as well as motorcycle clubs all across the country. More than 300 meetings with Members of Congress and their staff took place on May 23.

Dozens of motorcycles lined third Street in front of the U.S. Capitol as rights advocates prepared to discuss issues critical to the 2017 legislative agenda. Among these included supporting the RPM Act, ensuring motorcyclists had a voice within the emerging area of autonomous vehicles, and the reestablished Motorcycle Advisory Council, as well as recommendations concerning the definition of a motorcycle. Notably, participants asked their legislators to support and co-sponsor recently introduced legislative measures citing concerns over the profiling of motorcyclists (H.Res.318 and S.Res154).

Every meeting marked another critical step forward in building and maintaining relationships with congressional offices, and each meeting provided the opportunity to communicate directly with a wide array of lawmakers who are currently considering legislation that would affect the rights of motorcyclists. The event also helped to educate and raise awareness among elected officials about the challenges many motorcyclists face on our nation’s highways. This was demonstrated in an event held in Cannon House Office Building, which allowed Members of Congress and their staff to experience these challenges first hand by using a SMARTrainer which simulates some of the situations riders experience. The SMARTrainer event, sponsored by MRF Awareness & Education, was hosted by Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa and was widely-attended.

President of the Board of Directors for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation Kirk ‘Hardtail’ Willard said, “This mobilization of riders from across our nation delivered crucial messages ensuring our voice is heard in Washington. With every Member of Congress representing hundreds of thousands of constituents, this event allows riders to deliver our message in person and hold our lawmakers accountable for protecting our right to ride.”


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