End of Year Review – Advocacy Accomplishments & Next Steps
December 16, 2016
As we edge closer to the end of 2016 and begin to look towards 2017 and all that we want to achieve on behalf of bikers’ rights, it’s important to reflect on the successes we’ve achieved this year. Below is a partial list of some of the victories realized in the realm of motorcycle rights nationally in 2016. In addition to these “wins” there is also commentary about next steps and what we can expect to see in the future regarding each of these issues.
The Enactment of the FAST ACT
Major updates were included in the nation’s highway bill that took effect on January 1 of this year. Not only did the FAST Act address the nation’s surface transportation issues and specifically address challenges facing the U.S. transportation system, including improving safety, maintaining infrastructure condition, reducing traffic congestion, improving efficiency and reducing delays in project delivery, but the law allocated over $4 million dollars to go towards states programs addressing motorcyclist education, training and safety.
FUTURE ACTIVITY: The FAST Act will be in effect until 2020 and therefore conversations about the next highway bill won’t pick up speed until 2018. However, President-Elect Trump has committed to a multi-million-dollar infrastructure package calling for improvements to roads, bridges and airports. Undoubtedly, public safety advocates will try and use this package as a vehicle to insert language surrounding perceived safety issues potentially affecting bikers.
MRF’s Jay Jackson Elected to Serve on Executive Committee for State Motorcycle Safety Administrators Association
August 11, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA) announced the results of its recent elections. Notably, Jay Jackson, Vice-President of the Board of Directors for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, was elected to serve on the SMSA Executive Committee as the Individual Members’ Representative.
The SMSA is an Association representing State Motorcycle Safety Administrators from across the country. The purpose of the group includes goals to influence national policy and standards affecting motorcyclists, provide guidance on state policies or standards, as well as allow for communication, collaboration and partnerships between Motorcycle Safety Administrators across the U.S. The SMSA’s recent elections resulted in a number of new appointees to the Executive Committee which leads the organization. Jay Jackson is one of those recently elected.
Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Names Motorcyclist Governor Mike Pence as Running Mate
July 15, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC – Speculation on who would be Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s possible Vice-President pick grew to a fever pitch this week. All eyes were on Indiana when candidate Donald Trump made a pair of visits to the Hoosier state earlier in the week. The first was a standard fundraiser but the second event was a rally where inquiring minds waited for a possible announcement of Trump’s Vice-Presidential pick. They were rewarded on Friday when it was announced via twitter that Governor Mike Pence would indeed round out the Republican presidential ticket. Speculation on Governor Pence as a running mate grew as rumors of a series of private meeting between the Governor and Trump persisted over the last several days.
Perhaps one of the groups most excited about the announcement are motorcyclists from the state. During his tenure in office, Governor Pence has been a supporter of motorcycle rights, working directly with ABATE of Indiana (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) and receiving a personalized basic rider training course arranged by the group’s Executive Director, Jay Jackson. “I think Governor Pence saw the strong connection his predecessor, former Governor Mitch Daniels, had with the motorcycling community. He saw the value in engaging this group because they are politically active, passionate about their cause and most importantly, they show up to vote!” Jackson stated.
Facts Instead of Fiction on Michigan's Helmet Law Modification
June 21, 2016
In recent weeks, many advocates of mandatory helmet laws have attacked Michigan’s ADULT CHOICE motorcycle helmet law passed in 2012. In these “reports” the claim is that 40% of riders in fatal crashes were not wearing helmets which means 60% of riders were wearing helmets. More riders died wearing a helmet than without.
The real problem is UNENDORSED MOTORCYCLE RIDERS.
Every year since 1989 (a total of 26 years) when Michigan started keeping track of this data, 40% OR MORE of the motorcycle riders did not have a motorcycle endorsement and, were thus, riding illegally. In 2013 and 2015 that number reached 57% or nearly 3 out of 5 riders involved in fatal accidents, according to Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP).