|President Biden has announced that he will direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to issue an emergency waiver to allow for the sale of E15 during the summer months, as well as other actions to facilitate the sale of E15.
The American Motorcyclist Association strongly opposes these moves. The AMA fought a similar waiver under the Trump administration to allow for year-round sales of E15 and even joined a lawsuit led by the American Petroleum Institute, which successfully overturned that proposal.
None of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs in use in this country is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol by volume. E15, which contains 15 percent ethanol, is in fact illegal to use in motorcycles, boat engines, lawn mowers, chainsaws and other outdoor power equipment products.
The planned EPA waiver is set to be finalized before summertime sales begin on June 1. E15 sales are traditionally barred between June 1 and September 15 due to the blends’ higher volatility, which contributes to smog in the warmer months. According to the White House, the EPA will also consider working with states to expand E15 availability and modifying labeling at the fuel pump.
The AMA opposes modifying labels at the pump that could potentially misinform customers. The AMA instead advocates for stronger labeling at the pump to make the potential dangers of E15 clear and concise. The inadequacy of labeling can be seen in the rise of Unleaded 88, a fuel that contains 15 percent ethanol and is deliberately mislabeled.
The AMA is asking motorcyclists nationwide to make their voices heard and send a pre-written message to President Biden and EPA Administrator Michael Regan telling them to reconsider this misguided proposal that will increase the risk of misfuelling for motorcyclists, boaters, and other small engine owners while doing little to address the increased cost of fuel.
Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its 2020 annual traffic crash data, showing that 38,824 lives were lost in traffic crashes nationwide. That number marks the highest number of fatalities since 2007. The estimated number of police-reported crashes in 2020 decreased by 22% as compared to 2019, and the estimated number of people injured declined by 17%.
While the number of crashes and traffic injuries declined overall, fatal crashes increased by 6.8%. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled increased to 1.34, a 21% increase from 2019 and the highest since 2007. In 45% of fatal crashes, the drivers of passenger vehicles were engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors: speeding, alcohol impairment, or not wearing a seat belt.
Motorcyclist fatalities increased by 11% to a total of 5,579, the highest number since data collection began in 1975.
Washington, D.C. — A new law is giving veterans and Gold Star Families free lifetime access to national parks and federal recreational lands. The Alexander Lofgren Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act was rolled into the National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law recently.
In 2020, the National Park Service announced that veterans and Gold Star Families, who've lost loved ones in the line of service to this country, would receive free access to the park service's 423 sites around the country. This new law makes the move permanent and cements the free annual passes available for active-duty military.
More information about current free annual passes for active-duty service members and free entry for veterans and Gold Star Families can be found on the National Park Service's website.
Redding, Calif. — American Trails, a partner organization dedicated to the creation of diverse, high-quality trails and greenways, announced an open application period for their Trail Fund. This fund will focus on trail maintenance backlogs, research on the social and economic impacts of trails, and stewardship training to empower individuals to tackle our nation’s trail maintenance needs.
All tax-exempt organizations, including clubs, local governments, school districts and tribal organizations are eligible and a total of $50,000 will be available, with a minimum funding of $2,000 and a maximum of $15,000 awarded to eligible projects. The deadline for applications is April 15, with winners being announced May 15. For more information and to apply, please visit American Trails.
Phoenix, Ariz. —The passage of Senate Bill 1273, sponsored by Sen. Tyler Pace (R-Mesa District 23) and championed by ABATE of Arizona, allows riders to cruise slowly between lanes at speeds no faster than 15 mph if the other vehicles are stopped. Gov. Doug Ducey recently signed the law after the bill sailed through both the Senate and House chambers with strong bipartisan support. The law now puts the state in the company of Utah and Montana.
Modeled off Utah’s legislation, the practice can only be done on roads posted at 45 mph or less. It does not allow riders to pass on the shoulder or on the median. With the law set to be in effect 90 days after adjournment, likely to be mid-September, ABATE of Arizona and the Arizona Motorcycle Awareness and Safety Foundation will be working with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Department of Public Safety to educate riders and the public on the new legislation.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation’s most recent data, 30 percent of all motorcycle crashes in 2020, including 11 out of 106 fatal motorcycle collisions, were the result of rear-end collisions.
Lake County, Calif. — The federal government has rejected the proposed Walker Ridge Wind Energy Project that would have installed dozens of giant turbines in the Walker Ridge area. The Bureau of Land Management said the denial was based on potential resource conflicts and the inadequacy of the information provided to the agency to address these conflicts and to move forward with the environmental review.
The project would have consisted of as many as 42 wind generators producing 144 megawatts on about 2,272 acres of BLM-managed public land alongside Walker Ridge, throughout the Indian Valley Administration Space in Lake and Colusa counties.
The project raised many concerns regarding the potential impacts to current and future recreational opportunities on adjacent lands and the impact of dozens of windmills that would have measured up to 676 feet tall and been visible for miles.
Sacramento, Calif. — The public review and comment period for the 2022 (G22) Grants and Cooperative Agreement Program began on Mar 8 and ends at 5 p.m. on May 2. This period provides an opportunity for the public to review and provide comments to the preliminary grant applications submitted to the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division for consideration during the G22 Grant cycle.
The Division’s on-line grants application database allows the public to view preliminary applications in a centralized location and to provide public comments. To provide public comments, click Review Preliminary Application.
You may also submit your public comments by email at email@example.com or by mailing them to the OHMVR Division no later than May 10.
Twin Falls, Idaho — The Bureau of Land Management Burley Field Office announced it will extend the South Hills area seasonal road closure until at least March 30, until road conditions improve. The seasonal closures were implemented January 16 to prevent resource damage and protect crucial mule deer winter range and sage-grouse habitat.Signs are posted in the area to notify the public of the closure of the following roads, as well as any two-tracks or trails tied to these roads.
The closure applies to all motorized vehicles except those specifically authorized to access the area. Motorized travel authorization is provided for search and rescue operations, emergency medical services and law enforcement personnel, and administratively approved actions such as livestock grazing, access to private lands and resource monitoring or research studies.
For more information regarding the road closure, or nearby areas available for motorized travel, contact Dennis Thompson, BLM Burley Field Office recreation planner, (208) 677-6600.
Salt Lake City, Utah — With the passage of House Bill 10 on March 22, Utah is affirming that its initial experience with lane filtering has been a success worth continuing. This bill extended the authorization for motorcyclists to lane filter for an additional five years to allow state officials to review the practice and gather data on its safety benefits.
The practice was originally legalized lane in 2018, with the initial bill and now the extension sponsored by state Rep. Walt Brooks (R-St. George District 75). Rep. Brooks has been a vocal supporter of the practice as a motorcyclist himself and has assisted efforts in other states like Arizona to legalize the practice. The AMA is grateful for Rep. Brooks’ support of motorcyclists and the safe practice of lane-filtering.
Dublin, Ireland — The global electric motorcycle market is anticipated to reach a value of over $6 billion by 2026, according to a new market analysis by TechSci Research. In 2020, the global electric motorcycle market was valued at $2 billion.
The market growth can be attributed to factors like increasing demand for sustainable transportation and rising consumer awareness. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic helped grow demand for electric motorcycles, the analysis said, citing that as global supply chains tightened, OEM manufacturing delays led consumers to buy up existing stocks of electric motorcycles.
The analysis was broken down into three motorcycle segments: standard, cruiser and sport. TechSci identified that standard class electric motorcycles show the largest promise for growth given their wide customer base and affordability.
Zero Motorcycles, Hero Electric Vehicles Pvt. Ltd., Energica Motor Company, Terra Motors Corporation and Harley-Davidson were identified as some of the key players in the electric motorcycle space.
Iwata, Japan — Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. recently announced its decision to donate $700,000 toward humanitarian aid for Ukraine and its surrounding regions. This donation will be made through Japan Platform, a non-profit organization, and the funds will be used explicitly for delivering humanitarian aid to those in need.
Yamaha Motor expresses its deepest sympathies to all the victims affected by this crisis and hopes for a return to peace as quickly as possible.
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Pickerington, Ohio — On March 5, the Board of Directors of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) announced its condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its decision to suspend the Motorcycle Federation of Russia (MFR) and the Belarusian Federation of Motorcycle Sport (BFMS) as a result. The FIM Board also recommended that all affiliated members of the FIM and FIM Continental Unions take similar action.
In keeping with this decision and the FIM Board’s recommendation, the Board of Directors of FIM North America unanimously concurred with the FIM Board’s action and will honor its request by prohibiting riders from the Russian and Belarusian motorcycle federations from participating in FIM North America activities.
Consistent with this action, riders from these federations will also be prohibited from participation in the activities of both FIM North America member federations, the Canadian Motorcycle Association and the American Motorcyclist Association.
Riders are typically required to secure start permissions from their home federations to race in a foreign country or be released from their home federations to the federation of the country hosting the event. Since the rights and privileges of the Russian and Belarusian federations have been suspended by the FIM, neither can grant a start permission nor provide a release. As a practical matter, riders from those federations are already prohibited from riding in other countries by the original FIM action.
Pickerington, Ohio — AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer and 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz has been named Grand Marshal for the 2022 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days event July 22-24 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is the preeminent — and longest-running — vintage motorcycle event in the country, with over 40,000 attendees each year enjoying off-road and road racing, bike shows, AMA Hall of Fame exhibits, camping, Laps For History on the legendary Mid-Ohio circuit and, of course, the country’s largest motorcycle swap meet.
Schwantz, who was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999, began riding at a young age and soon became a club-racing phenom — which launched him into a factory ride with the Yoshimura-Suzuki team in 1985 at just 21 years of age. Schwantz won three AMA Superbike nationals that year and would win many more in the coming three years before heading to Europe in 1989 to contest the 500cc Grand Prix wars.
Schwantz won the 500cc championship in 1993, and retired just two years later, his legacy of 25 GP wins, 21 lap records, 29 pole positions — along with his daring and dynamic personality on and off the bike — cemented in motorsports history forever. Schwantz went on to own and run the Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School, a highly successful riding school based at Road Atlanta and, in later years, at Barber Motorsports Park.