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    Things are just not the same this week in D.C. In an ordinary world, the third week of May would be filled with motorcycles rolling down Constitution Avenue and hundreds of bikers roaming the halls of Congress. The MRF D.C. Team is beyond disappointed that we had to cancel this year's Bikers Inside the Beltway. Nothing is better than hearing a few hundred motorcycles pull up the U.S. Capitol and seeing riders meet with Representatives and Senators to advocate on behalf of the motorcycle community. Citizen lobbyists can be the most compelling voices on Capitol Hill, and there is no question that Bikers Inside the Beltway creates a buzz that helps elevate our priorities with lawmakers.

    Despite working from home and in abandoned office buildings, we have been hard at work advocating for our priorities in any way possible. Here are a few examples of what we've been up to. Kirk "Hardtail" Willard, the President of the MRF, sent nearly 100 personalized letters to members of the Transportation and Commerce committees outlining our asks in the upcoming 2020 Highway bill.

    The DC team provided the leadership of each SMRO contact information for their Congressional delegation transportation staff, a prewritten email, and the 2020 legislative talking points. The leaders of each SMRO are personally emailing Congressional staff with the information we provided. So that despite not being in D.C. to deliver the message in person, they are receiving the message electronically. Tiffany and Rocky even recorded a 20 minute "How to" video detailing what we wanted to be done and explaining some of the issues we are advocating for legislatively.

    We had several phone conversations with staff on Capitol Hill, including the Co-Chairman of the House Motorcycle Caucus Rep. Burgess (Texas) and Rep. Walberg (Michigan) as well as longtime motorcycle champion Senator Johnson (Wisconsin). We've also been in direct contact with committee staff in both the House and the Senate. This led to us being tipped off on the potential for helmet language being added to potential legislation.

    In conjunction with ABATE of Ohio and the AMA, we held a streaming video meeting with Congressman Troy Balderson of Ohio. The Congressman, who is a biker and a member of the Transportation Committee, outlined what he has been working on and took questions from us on our top priorities. If we can find other lawmakers willing to do a similar type of meeting, we will invite the SMRO in that state to join.

    Now we are turning to you! Since we cannot be seen on Capitol Hill this week, we need them to hear us! Please click on this link and contact your elected officials. It takes just a few minutes to send a letter to Congress outlining the priorities of the MRF. And since sharing is caring, please share this link with other riders, so we overwhelm these lawmakers with numbers.

    Take Action.

    Have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend!
    Your still quarantined D.C. team,
    Rocky & Tiffany

For Immediate Release
June 6, 2020

U.S. House of Representatives Introduces Highway Reauthorization Legislation

Washington, D.C...     Today the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released its Highway Reauthorization bill titled, “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act.’’

    The 864-page bill outlines the priorities of the Democratic majority in the House, focusing on everything from carbon emissions to road safety programs. The draft bill would authorize $319 billion for highways, $105 billion for transit, $5 billion for highway safety, $5 billion for motor carrier safety, and $60 billion for rail.

    We at the Motorcycle Riders Foundation are currently reviewing the text and changes to the current statute that would follow if this bill becomes law. The MRF is committed to protecting the rights of motorcyclists in any federal transportation legislation.

    The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) focuses on a few key areas such as the protection of motorcyclists from law enforcement profiling, ensuring that motorcycle safety funds sent to states remain available, the continuation of a Federal Motorcyclist Advisory Council, protection of motorcycles during the deployment of autonomous vehicles, and a continued ban on lobbying by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You can read our entire 2020 Legislative & Regulatory Priorities click here.

    A preliminary review of this bill indicates that some of these areas are addressed in the House bill. Where our priorities are not addressed, we will seek inclusion during the mark up of the bill through the amendment process. We will also continue to advocate that our priorities are included in any Senate transportation bill.

    Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, President of the MRF, stated: “While I am pleased that Congress is beginning the process of a Highway Reauthorization bill, I am troubled by the fact this bill was written solely by one party. We, as motorcyclists, do not believe that the safety of riders is a partisan issue. We will continue to educate lawmakers about our priorities and will remain vigilant in defense of our freedoms and safety.”

    For more information about the INVEST in America Act, you can click here.

Motorcycle Safety Funds in Danger

    The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) was alerted by our contacts in the U.S. Senate regarding a proposed change to the dedicated 405 Motorcycle Safety funds in the National Priority Safety Programs that is authorized through the Highway Bill. The proposed change to this program would add another criteria for states to qualify for motorcycle safety funds. In order to qualify, states have to meet two of the six current criteria. In addition to the current criteria, the additional qualifying area would add a category for states that have a mandatory helmet law for anyone under the age of 18. While meeting the under 18 helmet law is not mandatory to receive these funds, we at the MRF oppose any such change. We cannot allow any amount of erosion of our rights on this issue. The MRF is adamantly opposed to any federal law that would require the use of a helmet, apparel or conspicuity standard.

    We are actively monitoring this situation to make sure that this staff discussion does not find its way into any draft highway bill legislation. The back-door attempt to include language that leverages a state without a helmet law for those under 18 as one of the minimum criteria may encourage some states to change their current laws to make it easier to qualify for these federal funds. In 1975, Congress enacted a law forcing all states to enact a mandatory helmet in order to receive any federal transportation funds. The MRF and state motorcycle rights organizations around this country fought tirelessly during this time for the law to be overturned. Congress flip-flopped on the helmet law by striking down the 1975 law, then reinstating it in 1991. The MRF and the motorcycle rights organizations were finally successful in 1995 by overturning the federal mandatory helmet law.

    We at the MRF have already communicated with our contact that we would be adamantly opposed to any changes to the language. This potential change could be viewed as an attempt to blackmail states into changing their current laws as a way to additionally qualify for these funds. While there is not any official draft in circulation for the next highway bill reauthorization, we will continue to remain on guard against attempts to add or implement such changes.

    The motorcycle safety funds were first authorized in 2005 through the highway reauthorization known as SAFETEA-LU. The federal government began a dedicated state grants program in an attempt to reduce the number of single and multi-vehicle crashes involving motorcyclists. The program has continued to be authorized in the federal highway bill legislation and is currently still active in the current iteration known as the FAST ACT of 2015 which is set to expire in September 2020. Last week, we reported that NHTSA had released the fiscal year 2020 state grant totals for each of the National Priority Safety Programs. The $4.2 million motorcycle safety grant program was divided between forty-three states and Puerto Rico. In fact, the motorcycle safety grant program only makes up 1.5% of the appropriation for this program. With over 8.5 million registered motorcycles on our nation’s roadways, the federal government only spends on average $0.49 per motorcycle.

    We will keep you posted on this and other topics as lawmakers continue the process of drafting a new transportation and infrastructure package in 2020.

Joe Pickens

From the Chairman of the Board page
Mike Stock
 (5-7-2020)     Even with the slow down and limited miles we are making statistics that should be lower than they are. In 2020 we have 246 crashes with 10 fatalities and 61 serious injuries. In 2019 at this same time there were 291 crashes with 14 fatalities and 72 serious injuries. I feel that 2020 should be a lot less with the stay at home policy. The issue of speed is higher this year than last. What’s up with that? We should be enjoying that ride. It’s the single vehicle crashes that need to stop. Let’s stop killing and injuring ourselves.....................................( Read more....)
From the Exective Director Page
Ed Shetter
 ' (5-7-2020)     All remaining charges in the 2015 Waco incident at Twin Peaks have been dropped. 9 dead, 20 serious injuries, 177 arrests, 155 rubber stamp indictments and and one tried case that ended in a mistrial. Any effort to prosecute the remaining cases has been called a “waste of time, effort and resources,” by D.A. Johnson in a prepared statement, adding that Reyna should never have issued such a blanket arrest warrant. Over 100 bikers have filed civil rights lawsuits alleging that McLennan County, the city of Waco, local law enforcement, and others violated the plaintiffs’ civil rights by arresting them without probable cause after the shooting. Maybe we need to plan a ride to Waco and McLennan County Texas. I think the are about to become very biker friendly if not biker owned...............( Read more....)

From the Legislative Page
Kolman Fuzy
  (5-7-2020)   Well, life as we knew it is radically changed due to Covid-19, so everyone is scrambling to adjust to the changing landscape of our lives. Government however continues onward, so here are the Bills we are monitoring on the Federal level: S-3249 and HR-5234, the Motorcycle Advisory Council Re-authorization Acts; H.Res. 255, the Motorcycling Profiling legislation; HR-1024, the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2019; S-2602 and HR-5434, The RPM Acts of 2019. Regarding profiling, Alabama makes the 43rd.State to add a cosponsor to H.Res. 255 making the number of cosponsors 136. Also, Idaho became the fourth state to pass an anti profiling bill................ ( Read more )

Tired of sitting on your bike at Red Lights
that won't turn GREEN ????
    To enlist the help of Ohio’s motorcyclists, ODOT set up a special phone number & E-mail for motorcyclists for reporting problem intersections.
    When reports come in, ODOT will notifiy signal owners ( often a city or county ) about the situation and offer recommendations for improvement.
Red Light Hotline
Red Light E-mail

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