February 2017 Region 5 Newsletter

January 30th, 2017

Welcome to the February edition of the Region 5 newsletter.


Butler-Clermont-Hamilton Counties' February Meeting Rescheduled

January 30th, 2017

Due to the monthly meeting falling on the same day as the NFL Superbowl, the next Region 5 meeting for Butler-Clermont-Hamilton counties has been combined with Clinton County's monthly meeting at 11AM, February 12th at American Legion Post 49 in Wilmington, Ohio.


The Motorcycle Riders Foundation Releases its 2017 Legislative Agenda

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

This week(Jan. 6th) the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) released its 2017 Legislative Agenda to its members. A direct result of the commentary and discussion from attendees at the Legislative Strategy Session held at the annual Meeting of the Minds, this exercise establishes the MRF's Federal Legislative Agenda for the upcoming year.

"Our legislative agenda, which is determined by our members each year, ensures that the MRF is laser-focused on those issues important to motorcyclists nationwide," said President Kirk 'Hardtail' Willard. "Our network of volunteers and staff are some of the most talented and influential in the world of motorcycle rights, and we look forward to working with President-Elect Trump, his administration and our Senate and House leaders in identifying legislation that will enhance the motorcycle lifestyle and community."

The MRF's legislative agenda showcases the diverse range of interests that the organization advocates on behalf of each year, with issues impacting independent riders, State Motorcycle Rights Organizations, motorcycle and riding clubs, and others in this diverse community. In addition, the Agenda prioritizes aggressive campaigns to combat government overreach with a particular emphasis on the Environmental Protection Agency and other state environment agencies whose policies adversely impact the motorcycle parts and aftermarket industry.

To learn more about the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and its 2017 Legislative Agenda, contact Megan Ekstrom, Vice-President of Government Affairs and Public Relations at Megan@mrf.org


Federal Highway Administration Moves Forward with Motorcyclist Advisory Council: Motorcyclists Severely Underrepresented

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

Motorcyclists across the country were discouraged to find out that the Federal Highway Administration will only require one motorcyclist to serve on an Advisory Council supposedly dedicated to representing those who ride. The Motorcyclist Advisory Council, a newly reestablished group, is supposed to serve and advise the Federal Highway Administration on issues critical to motorcyclists across the nation. By design, the “MAC” would allow motorcyclists the opportunity to discuss how they are affected by roadway design, barriers, construction, and the emergence of intelligent transportation systems like driverless vehicles. However, according to a notice in the Federal Register, the Council is instead requiring participants with safety and engineering backgrounds and only indicating room for one representative from the motorcycling community.


The MAC of the Past
The original Motorcyclist Advisory Council was established in a 2005 highway bill. The 2005 law called for the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration to have a dialogue with the motorcycle community on infrastructure issues of concern to motorcyclists. The Council had 10 members consisting of representatives from the motorcycling community as well as individuals with professional expertise in national motorcyclist safety. According to the 2005 law, four of the ten council members were to include members of the motorcycling community from various state and federal motorcycle associations. The other 6 members would serve to provide the necessary technical expertise related to roadway design, safety and other issues.

However, in 2009 the highway bill expired and along with it, so did the Council. Motorcyclists were disheartened – the MAC was the only official forum they had to express to authorities at the Department of Transportation the issues they faced on the road. That's why when the Council was reestablished in 2016, it was viewed as a positive development to once again open a dialogue between government officials and motorcyclists across the nation.


A Short-Lived Celebration
Though motorcyclists applauded Congress for reestablishing the Council, this positivity was short-lived. This week, the Federal Highway Administration or FHWA, announced plans to officially open nominations for participants to serve on the newly reestablished Council. The Council would again consist of ten members, however unlike in 2005, only one representative from a motorcycle association will be required to serve. Many balked including Kirk 'Hardtail' Willard, President of the Board of Directors for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation:

"Despite our best efforts to ensure the motorcycle community had a seat at the table, the FHWA has dismissed our concerns and efforts instead emphasizing councilmembers with safety and engineering backgrounds without any experience actually riding a motorcycle. Including only one motorcyclist in this group is not only imbalanced, unfair and contrary to the mission of the MAC, but it defeats the entire purpose of the Council. The MAC was supposed to carry the voice of motorcyclists - having only one member as an actual motorcyclist will render this Council ineffective."

Dozens of Members of Congress appeared to agree with Willard; over the summer a letter was sent to the FHWA encouraging them to adopt similar language as the 2005 MAC which included at least four motorcyclists in the panel of ten. It appears this letter was largely ignored by the Federal Highway Administration.

The FHWA remains supportive of the Council and its approach to its participants going forward indicating that technical expertise was necessary to ensure the MAC is able to fulfill its charter. The notice from the Agency also indicated that all meetings of the MAC would be public therefore allowing others to speak in support or against of the Council's activities.

Nonetheless, the motorcycle community remains displeased. Lobbyist for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation Megan Ekstrom said, "It's unfortunate that the Federal Highway Administration is choosing to move forward with a Motorcyclist Advisory Council that will not be representative of actual motorcyclists. There are over 10 million bikers on the road in the U.S. and those numbers are increasing. This community is desperate to have a dialogue with the Administration and yet, their requests have fallen on deaf ears. This is a perfect example of the government 'knowing what's best' for a diverse community with a unique set of needs. It's a travesty that none of this will be represented in this so-called 'Motorcyclist' Advisory Council."

Nominations to serve on the Council are due at the end of February. The notice from the Federal Highway Administration can be viewed here:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/09/2017-00125/motorcyclist-advisory-council-to-the-federal-highway-administration


Federal Agency Seeks Comments On Driver Distraction Guidelines

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

On Dec. 5, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested comments on its Visual-Manual NHTSA Driver Distraction Guidelines for Portable and Aftermarket Devices. The deadline to submit comments is Feb. 3.

The American Motorcyclist Association applauds NHTSA for its effort, because these guidelines are part of the NHTSA's ongoing effort to combat the problem of distracted and inattentive driving. Motorcyclists know how dangerous distracted drivers can be and these guidelines are an effort to address the danger resulting from the ever-increasing number of smart phones and other portable devices making their way into drivers' hands.

The U.S. Department of Transportation certainly is aware of the dangers posed by driver distraction, based on its own 2005 landmark research report released by the NHTSA and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. This report found that "nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. Primary causes of driver inattention are distracting activities, such as cell phone use..." The AMA shares the NHTSA's position that these guidelines for portable and aftermarket devices are an important way to "mitigate the real-world risk posed by driver distraction from portable devices."

With the safety of motorcyclists the utmost priority to the AMA, we urge you to voice your opinion before Feb. 3.

Click here to "TAKE ACTION".


AMA Seeks Knowledgeable Riders. FHWA establishes Motorcyclist Advisory Council

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

The Federal Highway Administration announced the establishment of a Motorcyclist Advisory Council. "The MAC will coordinate with and advise the FHWA Administrator on infrastructure issues of concern to motorcyclists, including: (1) barrier design; (2) road design, construction, and maintenance practices; and (3) the architecture and implementation of intelligent transportation system technologies."

Since the AMA expects to be involved with the Motorcyclist Advisory Council and wishes more riders to be part of the committee, we are asking our members who have specific skill sets to contact us.

According to the FHWA notice, the MAC can have as many as 10 members. One or more members can qualify under "(2) State/Local traffic and safety engineers, design engineers, or other transportation department officials who are motorcyclists."

This is an opportunity to stack the deck to ensure motorcyclists' voices are heard on the advisory council. We need strong rider support on the various issues coming before the Motorcyclist Advisory Council.

You can help by recommending to us knowledgeable riders on highway issues or volunteering yourself.

Experience with local, state and federal agencies will be helpful. If you are interested or would like to recommend a friend, please contact the AMA at grassroots@ama-cycle.org


Push Back Against Proposal For Higher Import Fees On Certain Motorcycles - Tell your senators and representative your opinion today!

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

Urge your federal lawmakers to oppose the Office of United States Trade Representative's proposal to include 100 percent tariffs on motorcycles imported from the European Union with an engine size between 51cc and 500cc in the E.U. - U.S. beef hormone trade dispute.

Use the American Motorcyclist Association's convenient tools to urge your federal lawmakers to oppose the USTR's ill-conceived proposal before the Jan. 30 deadline to submit comments. Motorcyclists should not be penalized with exorbitant tariffs because of a beef trade dispute.

The AMA opposes the proposed tariff, because trade disputes residing within the boundaries of the agricultural industry should not be solved with trade sanctions levied against non-agricultural products.

Specifically, a 100 percent, or higher, tariff on these motorcycles is proposed. This will cause serious and potentially irreversible harm to American small- and medium-sized business owners selling the vehicles. Additionally, consumers will be denied access to certain models of competition and recreational motorcycles that contribute to the lifestyle and wellbeing of millions of American families.

Affected manufacturers include: 1) Aprilla; 2) Beta; 3) BMW; 4) Ducati; 5) Fantic; 6) Gas Gas; 7) Husqvarna; 9) KTM; 10) Montesa; 11) Piaggio; 12) Scorpa; 13) Sherco; 14) TM; and 15) Vespa.

Should the availability of product be hindered through unjustified trade sanctions on European-produced motorcycles, dealerships may close, leaving countless Americans without jobs.The negative effects of the proposed trade sanctions will not only harm the motorcycle sales industry, but will spread through the aftermarket equipment sector, recreation equipment sales, the sports entertainment industry and further down the line.

Make our voice stronger by sharing the AMA alert. Share with your friends on Facebook.

Click here to "TAKE ACTION".


RPM Act Reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives - Tell Congress to support your right to race!

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (RPM Act, H.R. 350) was reintroduced in the House by U.S. Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). The bi-partisan RPM Act would ensure that converting motor vehicles into competition-only vehicles remains legal. Street motorcycles are considered motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act. A Senate version of the RPM Act will be introduced in the coming weeks.

The act states that it was the clear intent of Congress when passing and amending the Clean Air Act that motor vehicles, including motorcycles, used solely for competition would be exempt from the Clean Air Act's prohibitions against modifying emission control devices.

The American Motorcyclist Association supports the bill and its protections for amateur and professional racing enthusiasts.

Tell your representatives you support H.R. 350. Send a prewritten email by using the convenient AMA Action Center.

The RPM Act now has 72 cosponsors in the House, if your representative is already a sponsor, you can express your thanks, as well.

The AMA is coordinating efforts with the RPM Coalition to support this legislation.

Click here to "TAKE ACTION".


RPM Act Reintroduced in the U.S. Senate - Tell Congress to support your right to race!

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (RPM Act, S. 203) was reintroduced in the House by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). The bi-partisan RPM Act would ensure that converting motor vehicles into competition-only vehicles remains legal. Street motorcycles are considered motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act.

The act states that it was the clear intent of Congress when passing and amending the Clean Air Act that motor vehicles, including motorcycles, used solely for competition would be exempt from the Clean Air Act's prohibitions against modifying emission control devices.

The American Motorcyclist Association supports the bill and its protections for amateur and professional racing enthusiasts.

Tell your senators you support S. 203. Send a prewritten email by using the convenient AMA Action Center.

The RPM Act has 14 cosponsors in the Senate. If your senators are already sponsors, you can express your thanks, as well.

The AMA is coordinating efforts with the RPM Coalition to support this legislation.

Click here to "TAKE ACTION".


Federal Lawmaker Pushes Back Against National Monuments - Tell your senators you support the bill!

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced S. 437, the Improved National Monument Designation Process Act. The bill would facilitate greater local input and require state approval before national monuments can be designated on federal lands and waters. Currently, the president has the authority through the Antiquities Act.

Urge your senators to cosponsor S. 437. Use our tools to easily send a prewritten message today.

The American Motorcyclist Association believes past presidents have overreached their authority as outlined in the Antiquities Act. Monument designations that go beyond the original legislative intent and impact large geographic areas should be determined by the Congress, under a process in which there is local public input, rather than behind closed doors at the White House, with very little, if any, public input at all.

Click here to "TAKE ACTION".


Federal lawmakers call for protections against cyber threat - Tell your representative you support the bill!

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) introduced H.R. 701, the Security and Privacy in Your Car Study Act of 2017, known as "The SPY Car Study Act," which would direct the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration to conduct a study to recommend a framework for regulating automotive software safety (e.g. diagnostic systems, navigation, and entertainment systems), cybersecurity and privacy regulations.

The American Motorcyclist Association supports the bill, because motorcyclists will share the road with vehicles using these technologies. Your safety is our utmost concern and security from cyber-intrusion is crucial. In addition, we support measures to assure the privacy of your vehicle information.

Urge your representative to cosponsor H.R. 701. Use our tools to easily send a prewritten message today.

This bill reinforces the NHTSA's proposed Cybersecurity Best Practices for Modern Vehicles manual. The AMA supports NHTSA's recommendations to automobile manufacturers. Specifically, in comments submitted Nov. 2, the AMA supported the agency's plan for "Allocating dedicated resources within the organization focused on researching, investigating, implementing, testing, and validating product cybersecurity measures and vulnerabilities."

Since 2014, the AMA has been urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to test the security of vehicle-to-vehicle communications to ensure motorcyclists' safety and privacy. If this manual is adopted, it will help ensure that vehicles using advanced crash-avoidance and vehicle-to-vehicle technologies are not compromised. A threat the FBI warns is a real risk.

With vehicular intersections already a well-documented problem for motorcyclists, can you imagine the danger presented by a false sense of security among drivers who rely too heavily on advanced safety technologies? Drivers may believe these technologies will fully protect them, as well as other road users, and may not be prepared should these technologies malfunction at a critical juncture.

This bill and NHTSA's actions represent a sound first step in meeting a provision of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (i.e., Highway Bill) relating to cybersecurity standards. It will help prevent hacking, spoofing and disruption of connected and automated transportation vehicles.

Click here to "TAKE ACTION".


MARK YOUR CALENDARS – MAY 23rd IS BIKERS INSIDE THE BELTWAY!

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 is the 9th Annual Michael 'Boz' Kerr Bikers Inside the Beltway event in Washington, DC! This is an amazing, once-a-year opportunity to have a lasting impact on Washington's policymakers. Hosted by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, this is YOUR opportunity to inform, educate and encourage our legislators about the motorcycle community and the issues we care about.

Read below to get more information on what to expect and how to sign up or visit us at http://mrf.org/events/


Why Should I Attend?
Though it might be hard to believe that one trip to Washington, DC can have a lasting impact on our lawmakers, it's a proven fact that it DOES make a difference. During 2016's BITB event, the MRF network visited delegations from 25 states and held over 300 meetings to discuss our agenda, 100 of which were sit-down discussions that resulted in 79% of those legislators either supporting or co-sponsoring legislation we care about. Lobbying really does work!


Where Will I Stay?
The MRF has booked a room block at the Holiday Inn National Airport/Crystal City for a rate of $135 a night. Call 703-684-7200 to book. The hotel is metro accessible and a 5-minute walk to the MRF's new offices in Crystal City and is 3 miles from our nation's Capitol.


What's the Schedule?
Plan to arrive to the hotel by late afternoon on Monday, May 22. The MRF will host a prep session that evening to go over expectations and provide a deep dive of the issues and will host a dinner immediately following. Kickstands up early Tuesday morning for the ride into Washington, DC followed by a full day of meetings with legislators and staff.


What Do You Need from Me to Sign Up?
Your commitment! Contact mrfoffice@mrf.org or call 202-546-0983 to register for this event. Though there is not a cost to attend, you will be expected to make appointments with your lawmakers, attend the prep session and report back on your meetings. This year we will also be asking for State Leads to help coordinate meetings and serve as the main point of contact for the MRF staff. If you are interested in attending BITB and serving as a lead, please let us know.

IN ORDER TO ENSURE A SUCCESSFUL LOBBY DAY, PLEASE SIGN UP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT WILL CLOSE ON MAY 1ST AFTER WHICH SPACE WILL NOT BE GUARANTEED.

SEE YOU IN WASHINGTON, DC!


Megan J. Ekstrom
Vice-President, Government Affairs & Public Relations
Motorcycle Riders Foundation


Region 5 Monthly Meeting Info

Locations and times for the next Region 5 county meetings

Next Region 5 meeting for Clinton County is 11AM, February 12th at American Legion Post 49 in Wilmington, Ohio.

Due to the monthly meeting falling on the same day as the NFL Superbowl, the next Region 5 meeting for Butler-Clermont-Hamilton counties is 11AM, February 12th at American Legion Post 49 in Wilmington, Ohio.