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MRF Updates

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218, which concerns motorcycle safety helmets. NHTSA proposes to modify the existing performance requirements of the standard by adding construction requirements. The reasoning behind this is to aid state and local law enforcement officers in enforcing FMVSS No. 218, allowing an officer to visually determine whether a helmet meets the safety standard. NHTSA is currently accepting public comments on this proposal, and will continue to do so until July 20, 2015.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation opposes NHTSA’s proposal. The proposal fails to take into consideration the rapid pace of technological change in this area. By adopting arbitrary dimension and compression requirements, NHTSA will effectively be shutting out manufacturers who utilize technology to construct helmets which, while failing to meet NHTSA's construction requirements, may very well exceed their performance requirements. It is conceivable that, by the time the new proposals were adopted, they would already be obsolete. To compound that problem, if such a situation did arise—and it almost certainly will—the process of amending the safety standard is so long and complicated that it is not feasible to make periodic changes in order to include technological advancements in motorcycle helmet construction. FMVSS No. 218 should remain primarily a performance standard, not a construction standard.

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Your Action Pays off

On June 4th the United States House of Representatives agreed to an amendment to the 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill that struck a provision that would have overturned the U.S. Department of Transportation lobby ban. The measure was approved on the House floor reports the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.

The Amendment offered by Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) along with Mr. Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Mr. Ribble (R-WI), eliminates a provision in the 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations act that would have allowed the Secretary of Transportation to discuss motorcycle safety initiatives with state legislators. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation thanks Congressman Walberg, Sensenbrenner, and Ribble for their dedication to freedom and motorcycling.

In 1998 Congress passed a law that made it illegal for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to lobby state legislatures on any issue. Prior to 1998, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), USDOT had spent tens of thousands of dollars traveling to states whenever a state debated changing their own state helmet law or any other law that USDOT deemed worthy to interfere on. Seeing this as a waste of taxpayer money, the congress prohibited anyone from USDOT to lobby states uninvited.

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Bikers Inside the Beltway - 2015

This year was another highly successful Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) event in our Nation’s capitol. We were blessed with perfect weather and a robust number of citizen motorcycle lobbyists on the most important day of the year for motorcyclists.

Motorcyclists from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin descended onto Capitol Hill to defend the freedoms of motorcyclists.

This years only national lobby event for motorcyclists resulted in over 500 individual interactions with Senate and House offices to advance the MRF agenda in Washington D.C.

The focus of Bikers Inside The Beltway 2015 (BITB) was H.R. 1861 & S.127, bills to prohibit federal funding of motorcycle only roadside checkpoints. The group also lobbied for H.R. 21 a bill that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to halt the sale of E-15 gasoline and conduct an independent study on the effects of the E-15 blend on internal combustion engines. The group also advocated for the passage of black box privacy legislation. Autocycle legislation was also discussed.

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Motorcycle Only Checkpoint Ban Legislation Introduced

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) announced April 16th that he filed a bill, H.R. 1861, to prohibit the federal funding of motorcycle only roadside checkpoints, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports.

Sensenbrenner had this to say; “This bill protects motorcyclists’ rights and promotes crash prevention. Motorcycle only checkpoints profile motorcyclists, using taxpayer money to corral them along the highway and check for infractions that do not cause crashes. Preventing accidents is the best use of taxpayer funds and the most effective way to save motorcyclists lives.”

It is important to contact your sitting member of the House of Representatives and ask them to be a co-sponsor of this important legislation. Ask them to contact Congressman James Sensenbrenner and lend their support as co-sponsor of H.R. 1861.

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