January 2017 Region 5 Newsletter

December 31st, 2016

Welcome to the January edition of the Region 5 newsletter.

Butler-Clermont-Hamilton Counties Region 5 January Meeting Rescheduled

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Given that the Butler-Clermont-Hamilton Counties Region 5 January meeting would have been held on New Year's Day, the meeting has been rescheduled to be combined with the Clinton County Region 5 meeting on Sunday, January 8th, 2017 in Wilmington.

Celebrate the Recreational Trails Program's 25th Anniversary

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

The Recreational Trails Program, a landmark achievement of federal transportation legislation, is turning 25! There is much to celebrate and a bright future that presents even more opportunities.

During its 25-year history, the RTP has funded 22,000 trail projects across the country, benefiting millions of trail users with a wide variety of interests. Along with motorized off-highway riders and drivers, there are hikers and bicyclists, equestrians, paddlers, cross-country skiers, and others who have benefitted. Congressional support for this federal legislation was and is possible only by including such a wide base of trail users.

The National Recreational Trails Fund Act of 1991 was a joint effort by the U.S. off-highway-vehicle community--including the AMA, the BlueRibbon Coalition, and the Motorcycle Industry Council. The coalition convinced Idaho Sen. Steve Symms and Rep. Larry Craig to sponsor legislation that created a federal fund to build and maintain off-road trails and recreation areas. It was a good-faith effort by the OHV community that even benefited nonmotorized trail users.

Through RTP grants to local project sponsors, states continue to add miles of trails and complete needed maintenance and improvements every year.

"We are proud of the projects that have come to fruition because of RTP funding during the past 25 years, and we are proud to have been a part of this program from the start," said Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO. "The AMA is hard at work to ensure that this funding remains available for its original intended use for the next 25 years, as well."

The RTP is funded entirely by the federal gasoline taxes off-highway motorized recreational users pay. The program receives just $84 million of the more than $270 million in federal gas taxes that are paid each year by OHVers. This highly successful program also leverages hundreds of millions of dollars of additional support from other sources, promotes cooperation among a variety of trail users, encourages economic activity in countless communities and provides essential opportunities for healthy, active outdoor fun.

The Recreational Trails Program applies the user-pay-user-benefit principle of the Highway Trust Fund to recreational trails and benefits the users who pay motor-fuel tax when off-highway vehicle enthusiasts fill their gas tanks.

"The RTP is one of the best success stories of motorized and nonmotorized recreationists working together," Dingman said. "It can do much more in the next 25 years - especially if it receives its fair share of federal gas taxes. We will be updating you as the AMA continues working on its own and as part of the Coalition for Recreational Trails to strengthen support for the Recreational Trails Program."

For more information on the Recreational Trails Program, visit the Coalition for Recreational Trails at www.funoutdoors.com/crt or check out this recent article from American Trails at www.americantrails.org/rtp/rtp-25-years-2016.html.

Better yet, for a great tool to quickly explain the current funding inequity in the RTP, check out this infographic the AMA created for the Coalition for Recreational Trails at www.funoutdoors.com/RTPInfographic.

The Road to Zero Initiative Advances in the U.S.; Motorcyclists Play an Important Role

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

In October, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) unveiled a new initiative dedicated to eliminating all traffic-related deaths in thirty years. "Road to Zero" is the concept that achieving zero traffic-related deaths is achievable through new policies and solutions. First initiated in Sweden in 1997 as "Vision Zero" the program has been adopted by many European. The U.S. version made progress last week with the holding of a symposium and invited speakers to discuss the challenges and choices with the concept. The event also offered participants the opportunity to partake in "breakout sessions" to discuss proposed actions on how to achieve the lofty goal.

The only entity representing the motorcycle community present at the symposium was the Motorcycle Riders Foundation's Vice-President of Government Affairs, Megan Ekstrom. Ekstrom was invited to participate in one of the breakout sessions focused on how to create a safer environment for other roadway users with modes of transportation outside of traditional automobiles. Working directly with DoT officials, Ekstrom emphasized the need to prevent crashes rather than concepts focused on how to have "safer" crashes. Specifically, she addressed the need for additional training and awareness programs for other drivers teaching them strategies on how to be alert, identify, react and interact with motorcyclists on the road. She suggested that this could be achieved by targeting education towards new drivers on the road and even encompassed in driver education programs as well as included as part of the testing for drivers' licensing requirements. These sorts of activities and strategies could help to make motorcyclists safer on the nation's roadways and help contribute to achieving Road to Zero's goals.

Other participants in the coalition emphasized alternative approaches; most centered around how to crash ‘safer' rather than to avoid crashing. Dr. Grant Baldwin, Director of the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spoke to participants touting the requirement of universal helmet laws as one of the Agency's key recommendations in achieving zero traffic deaths.

As the Road to Zero initiative moves forward over the next few months, there will undoubtedly be opportunities to shape the program in different ways. For the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, their emphasis will be focused on how to prevent crashes between motorcycles and automobiles and measures that can be taken suggesting that education and awareness to prevent crashes is the preferred strategy for the motorcycle community.

Region 5 Monthly Meeting Info

Locations and times for the next Region 5 county meetings

Next Region 5 meeting for Clinton County is 11AM, January 8th at American Legion Post 49 in Wilmington, Ohio.

Next Region 5 meeting for Butler-Clermont-Hamilton counties is 11AM, January 8th at American Legion Post 49 in Wilmington, Ohio.