June 2016 Region 5 Newsletter

May 28th, 2016

Welcome to the June edition of the Region 5 newsletter.

June Jam 2016

June 17th thru June 19th, 2016

June Jam 2016 will be held at The Woods at Kaeppner Place located on Sutton Road in Logan, OH from June 17th thru 19th. If you cannot attend, please consider purchasing a ticket as this is the State's fundraising event. If you are attending and able to volunteer for part of the weekend, please contact me at 513-476-6481 or timkaelin@blueappleorchard.com.

June Jam 2016 Flier

Deadline extended: urge you Rep. to sign letter aiming to prevent E15-related engine damage

Information from the American Motorcycle Association(AMA)

U.S. Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.) are taking the lead by sending a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to "…express concern about the lack of consumer awareness surrounding the inappropriate use of E15 gasoline and… how it [the EPA] plans to mitigate consumer misfuelings… ."

Click here to "TAKE ACTION".

Bill cuts red tape to increase OHV opportunities

Information from the American Motorcycle Association(AMA)

U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) introduced H.R. 5129, the "Guides and Outfitters Act," or the GO Act. The American Motorcyclist Association supports this bill.

The legislation cuts the bureaucratic red tape for the public to obtain outfitter and guide permits. Additionally, it caps permit fees, prevents federal agencies from imposing fees outside of federal lands, and provides categorical exclusions for previously studied uses.

In an introductory remark inserted into the Congressional Record, LaMalfa stated, "The GO Act is consistent with my commitment to increasing public access to the public lands, making federal agencies more responsive to the communities in which they operate and removing unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that keeps people off of their lands."

Tell your representative to support H.R. 5129. Send a prewritten message by clicking the "Take Action" link.

Click here to "TAKE ACTION".

Motorcycle Riders Foundation Holds Successful Washington, DC Advocacy Day

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

Last week over 100 members of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) made the trip to Washington, DC to connect with elected officials from across the country in support of motorcyclists' rights. Twenty-four states were represented this year and more than 300 meetings with members of Congress and their staff took place over the course of May 10th, 11th, and 12th.

Members of the MRF brought their bikes, as well as their personal stories from back home, to Capitol Hill and discussed issues critical to the 2016 MRF's legislative agenda. Among these included opposing the REFUEL Act; supporting the Motorsports Act, as well as recommendations of the charter for the newly re-established Motorcycle Advisory Council. In addition, legislators heard about updating the definition of a motorcycle, as well as concerns over the profiling of motorcyclists.

Every meeting attended by MRF members marked another critical step forward in building and maintaining relationships with congressional offices. Each meeting provided the opportunity to communicate directly with a wide array of lawmakers who are currently considering legislation that would affect the rights of motorcyclists. The MRF staff in Washington, DC will begin the process of follow-up with many of the offices that were targeted. However, it is imperative that local groups and clubs continue to advocate in your home states to ensure that progress continues. As constituents, the visits in the home district are extremely impactful. The talking points used on Capitol Hill can be found on the MRF website.

A genuine thank you goes out to everyone who participated in this year’s Bikers Inside the Beltway event!

The Ethanol Issue - Congressional Activity And Striking A Balance

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

There is no shortage of legislative proposals addressing ethanol blends in the nation’s capital. So far in the 114th Congress alone, there have been 16 different measures that would address the use of ethanol blends in fuel. Last week’s activity added one more to the tally, the "Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act of 2016" H.R.5180.

Introduced by Congressman Bill Flores from Texas, the proposal would institute a cap on the ethanol content in fuel. Presumably, the bill would stop what many are concerned about; an uncomfortable creep towards a higher content of ethanol in gasoline, which could have the effect of voiding many motorcycle warranties. However, it is unclear what the proposal’s chances of passage are, especially given a number of other pending measures that aim to do the exact opposite (see the REFUEL Act, H.R. 4773). What is certain, is that the issue of ethanol in fuel is controversial and will not be easily solved.

The position of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), instead of being "pro" or "anti" ethanol, has been one of concern about the effect of higher ethanol content in fuel. The MRF seeks to strike a balance between the various opposing federal bills; instead calling for a policy that emphasizes research on ethanol blends. Encouraging new research, specifically targeted towards motorcycle engines as well as the effect on internal combustion, could help alleviate the concerns of motorcycle riders, as well as motorcycle manufacturers.

Current discussions taking place in the halls of Congress can be used as an opportunity to learn more about the short and long term effects of ethanol on small motors, as well as open a dialogue with the manufacturers of motorcycles, to better understand their concerns in using a higher ethanol content in motorcycle fuel systems.

Maryland Becomes Second State To Pass Motorcyclist Anti-profiling Law

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

The motorcyclists of Maryland counted a major victory last week when Governor Larry Hogan signed a bill into law that would expressly prohibit the profiling of motorcyclists within the state. At the signing ceremony were members of ABATE of Maryland, the Maryland Confederation of Clubs, and Motorcycle Riders Foundation. The teamwork, cooperation and hard work by these organizations ensured swift passage of the measure.

"The unanimous passage of this legislation through both chambers is a direct result of well thought out strategic positioning, thorough lobbying and a truly unified motorcycle community," stated Bill "Colt" Kaitz from the Maryland Confederation of Clubs and Co-Founder of the Motorcycle Profiling Project. "We had tremendous support in both chambers and all committees. Our community hopes that this will serve as an example to any state with well documented profiling incidents that with a unified community and intelligent, concentrated effort, this legislation is possible and stands to better the lives of all motorcyclists."

Maryland is now the second state to pass a motorcycle anti-profiling law. Washington state passed related legislation in 2011. Similar activities and advocacy efforts are underway in several other states across the U.S. Federally, the issue has been gaining traction due to the recent Michael 'Boz' Kerr Bikers Inside the Beltway event where it was raised before elected officials in Washington, D.C. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation and affiliated individuals and organizations will continue to mount pressure to ensure that unjust motorcycle discrimination is not tolerated.

GHSA Report Advocates For Universal Helmet Law...Again

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

Last week, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released its preliminary data and findings regarding motorcycle fatalities in 2015. The GHSA represents the state and territorial highway safety offices that implement programs to address highway safety. Although GHSA’s primary mission is to improve traffic safety, their latest report appears to be more focused on thinly veiled demands for nationwide universal helmet laws despite their failure to provide real data demonstrating the effectiveness of such laws.

While the report highlights that the preliminary data suggests a 10% increase in motorcycle fatalities in 2015, it fails to connect the presence or lack of universal helmet laws to the projected increase. In fact, there are a number of other factors that may explain the projected increase, including the climate, education and experience of the motorists involved, and the inclusion of faulty data in the making of this report.

Climate Affects

In 2015 many parts of the country enjoyed a longer riding season than in previous years. Warmer and dryer weather leads to additional time and riding hours on the road. While the report does address this possible explanation, it does not conclude that it has the same influence as the absence of a universal helmet laws.

Education & Experience

Another issue that GHSA barley addresses is the consideration of education and experience. For example, one of the most populace states that experienced a decrease in motorcycle related fatalities was California. While the state has not had any changes to their helmet law, the state did engage in a motorcycle awareness campaign for motorists. This suggests that perhaps other factors, such as motorist education and awareness initiatives, impact fatalities. Further, the report identifies a connection between riding experience and increases in fatalities. It states that roughly 25% of all motorcycle fatalities are the result of invalid motorcycle licensure. These statistics underscore the belief long held by the Motorcycle Rider’s Foundation that training and education is a crucial component to motorcycle safety.

Flawed Data

Perhaps one of the biggest questions raised from reading the report is the data itself and specifically, what "counts" as a motorcycle. According to federal statute, a motorcycle is defined as, "a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground." With the rise of autocycles, a new class of vehicle that has attributes of both a car and motorcycle, it raises the question if this type of vehicle was included in the data supporting the statistics in the GHSA report. As this type of vehicle continues to emerge as a form of transportation, it will be critical that they are addressed independently, and not unfairly categorized with motorcycles or any other form as transportation so as not to skew the data. It is not clear from the report that this consideration is given.

Failure to Connect the Projected Increase to the Lack of Universal Helmet Laws

Despite the report’s effort to relate the projected increase in motorcycle fatalities to the lack of universal helmet laws, it fails to provide any data suggesting a connection between those who were wearing helmets versus those who were not wearing helmets when the fatality occurred. Of the nineteen states that currently have a universal helmet law in place; twelve experienced an increase in motorcycle fatalities between 2014 and 2015. Of the sixteen states that saw a decrease in motorcycle fatalities in 2015, only six have a universal helmet law. The other ten either allow adults to make their own choice or have no law at all.

The report also suggests that the increase in motorcycle fatalities in Michigan is due to the state’s modification of its helmet law in 2012, which allowed adult riders to choose whether to wear a helmet. The report suggests that the 2015 increase in motorcycle fatalities in Michigan is due to fewer riders wearing a motorcycle helmet but have not provided any data to support this claim. However, the report fails to explain the 18.8% decrease in motorcycle fatalities between 2013 and 2014. According to the National Highway Transportation & Safety Administration (NHTSA), Michigan motorcycle fatalities dropped from 138 to 112 in 2014 despite the change to the state’s motorcycle helmet law.

In conclusion, despite its best efforts, the GHSA report fails to make any connection between the rise in motorcycle fatalities in 2015 and the implementation of universal helmet laws. It is unfortunate that entities such as the GHSA continue to hold such a myopic view when it comes to motorcycle safety. The Motorcycle Rider’s Foundation encourages the GHSA and other groups interested in a meaningful campaign to enhance motorcycle safety to adopt a strategy that focuses on avoiding motorcycle crashes and not merely surviving them.

Region 5 Monthly Meeting Info

Locations and times for the next Region 5 county meetings

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

Next Region 5 meeting for Butler-Clermont-Hamilton counties is 11AM, June 5th at The Train Stop in Foster, Ohio.