A letter released to the public on Thursday, from the Ford Motor Company to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding automated driving systems is eye opener. While not giving up on “self-driving cars” Ford appears to be dialing back their testing and investment.
In the letter, Ford formally withdraws a petition seeking U.S. regulatory approval to deploy up to 2,500 self-driving vehicles annually without required human controls like steering wheels. Ford states, “We believe the road to fully autonomous vehicles, at scale, with a profitable business model, will be a long one."
In December, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) worked with bipartisan lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to get answers from NHTSA about this new technology. The deployment of vehicles like the type mentioned in the Ford letter, are a major concern of motorcyclists. The MRF remains troubled by the rush to allow testing of these vehicles on public roads.
While the decision by Ford appears to be based on the economic reality surrounding this new technology, the MRF applauds any decision that pauses the deployment of this unproven technology on our nation’s roads.
To read the full letter click here.
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) 2023 legislative agenda includes a diverse set of issues that strike at the core of who we are as bikers.
Historically, the MRF has fought many battles to defend individuals and the aftermarket motorcycle businesses’ rights to customize and repair motorcycles. Our successful defense against the EPA’s “Color and Chrome” only initiative and the regulations/enforcement related to it helped define the MRF and what we stand for to this day.
The MRF has long supported the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (RPM Act), which would ensure that modifying motor vehicles into racing vehicles used for competition would not violate the Clean Air Act. We anticipate an updated version of the RPM Act will be introduced this Spring. The MRF and our partners will work diligently for passage of this commonsense piece of legislation. Importantly, some of these parts and technology we are looking to protect are used in the EPA allowances for one-per-lifetime custom bikes and Tier 1 eligible motorcycles we fought for two decades ago.
The MRF agenda also strongly supports the desire to protect a consumer’s right to repair, and ownership of data related to their vehicles. A recently introduced bill, H.R. 906 The Repair Act, helps protect consumers ability to utilize independent repair shops and aftermarket parts to work on vehicles, including motorcycles.
These issues are becoming increasingly important and drawing the attention of the aftermarket industry and bike customizers. The EPA has restarted a campaign of increased enforcement and it is threatening shops and individuals with legal action.
MRF President Kirk “Hardtail” Willard recently appeared on Cycle Source Magazines “Shop Talk” radio show to discuss these issues and this week traveled to Daytona Bike Week to join independent motorcycle shop owners and others in the aftermarket industry to discuss the many issues facing this industry. The meeting was hosted by Chris Cullen of Cycle Source Magazine and moderated by industry icon Bob Kay. Hardtail had this to say about the meeting, “It was encouraging to see both the level of concern and willingness in this group to engage in our efforts and educate other players in the aftermarket industry.”
The MRF won’t tackle these challenges alone, we are aggressively looking to put back together our coalition that was so effective in past battles. In the past the coalition included, the aftermarket industry, media and print publications, other custom vehicle organizations, and other motorcyclists’ rights groups. Lastly, our Master Mechanic and technical expert Dave “Dad” Dwyer is looking to schedule a meeting with the EPA in Detroit to discuss our growing concerns.
These are challenging issues, but with your continued support and the help of other like-minded advocates we will fight to defend the rights and freedoms we cherish.
|Almost a decade ago, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) began outreach to motorcycle clubs to find common ground on key legislative items. An MRF board seat, titled Director of Sustaining Member Motorcycle Clubs, was created and that seat is held by Russell Radke. Part of Russell’s mission is to educate the motorcycle club community on what the MRF is working on in D.C. and how our efforts impact all riders.
The National Council of Clubs (NCOC) has, for the past several years, invited the MRF to participate in its meetings to foster that dialogue. Last weekend, leaders of the MRF attended the February NCOC meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. The MRF was represented by Kirk “Hardtail” Willard (MRF President), Fred Harrell (Director of Conference & Events), Russell Radke (Director of Sustaining Member Motorcycle Clubs), Seven Cassel (Membership Director) and Rocky Fox (Government Relations). Also in attendance was ABATE of Wisconsin Legislative Director, Steve Panten.
Four different presentations involved an MRF or ABATE member sharing their views on motorcycling and legislative action. Hardtail gave a presentation on the “The Future of Motorcycling in America.” Rocky spoke on the MRF’s recent victories on profiling in D.C. Seven discussed how best to unite independents and MCs. Steve gave a case study on a recent summit held in Wisconsin between ABATE and motorcycle clubs in the state.
The weekend was filled with lively debate and great questions. The MRF thanks the NCOC and the club community for their hospitality and willingness to work together on issues we all care about.
February 20, 2023
For Immediate Release
Pressure Mounts on Federal Government to Act on Self-Driving Cars
|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.
Last week, President Biden signed into law what the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives agreed upon -- a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package that funds the federal government through September 2023 and avoids a government shutdown. Included in that 4,155-page bill is a request by Congress to learn more about the profiling of motorcyclists.
Specifically, within the funding section for the Department of Transportation, language states that: The Committee is concerned that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) may be conducting activities that encourage states to adopt legislation, regulation, or other policies that unjustly profile motorcycle riders. The Committee directs NHTSA to report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on the extent to which the agency works with states on motorcycle passenger policies within 120 days of enactment of this Act.
The words of retiring U.S. Representative David Price from North Carolina may just as 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’s victories, realized in the waning hours of Congress in December, should drive home Congressman Price’s words. 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.
The pandemic, and the events of January 6, 2021, did not deter the MRF. More than one hundred motorcyclists attended the first in-person meetings in 2021 with members of Congress. Even more attended Bikers inside the Beltway in 2022.
Now is the time for you to make plans 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:
In conjunction with Bikers inside the Beltway, a meeting of the MRF Board of Directors takes place on May 15 at the Embassy Suites, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, Virginia. Rooms are available through the 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. Make plans to attend the pre-event briefing and Q&A for visits to Congress, scheduled for 7:00 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,
MRF 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.
|This week, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives agreed to a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package that funds the federal government through September 2023 and avoids a government shutdown. Attached to that 4,155-page bill is a request by Congress to learn more about the profiling of motorcyclists.
Within the funding section for the Department of Transportation, language was included that states: The Committee is concerned that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) may be conducting activities that encourage states to adopt legislation, regulation, or other policies that unjustly profile motorcycle riders. The Committee directs NHTSA to report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on the extent to which the agency works with states on motorcycle passenger policies within 120 days of enactment of this Act.
For years the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has worked to address the profiling of motorcyclists. We believe this action by Congress is an important step that will continue the dialogue on this topic. We cannot thank Rep. Susie Lee of Nevada enough for her leadership on this issue. Her willingness to seek answers from NHTSA is why this language was included in the final bill.
We hope that when NHTSA responds to the request from Congress, we will have more information to share with you.
Thank you for your continued support of biker rights and the MRF.
As always Ride Safe and Ride Free.
|You Have Until Thursday to Help Protect Bikers…
The Co-Chairman of the House Motorcycle Caucus, Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan, is sending a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding self-driving cars and motorcycles. Crashes involving self-driving cars and motorcycles have made news over the last few months and Rep. Walberg and his colleagues on Capitol Hill are seeking answers.
In the letter to Ann Carlson, Acting Administrator of NHTSA, lawmakers are asking basic questions like, “Should motorcyclists take extra precautions when sharing the road with this new technology?”
Want to help?
The letter goes out Friday… ACT NOW!
Thank you for supporting motorcycle riders,