July 2016 Region 5 Newsletter

July 4th, 2016

Welcome to the July edition of the Region 5 newsletter.


Clinton County 25th Annual Car and Bike Show

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

Clinton County Car and Bike Show is held July 9th, 2016 at Royal Z Lanes located in Wilmington, Ohio. Entry Fee $10. Registration from 1PM - 4PM; Judging at 4PM. Music by Chazziz DJ Service. Awards given at approximately 5PM.

Clinton County Car and Bike Show


Region 5 July Clinton County Meeting Cancelled

July 10th, 2016

Due to several members being absent due to vacations, the Region 5 Clinton County Meeting on July 10th, 2016 has been cancelled. Region 5 Clinton County meetings will resume in August.


Transportation Secretary Testifies On Highway Bil Implementation

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

Today(June 8th), Senator John Thune (R-SD), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation convened a hearing concerning the implementation of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or FAST Act. The FAST Act is a bi-partisan five-year reauthorization of surface transportation agencies and programs and contains several provisions affecting motorcycle riders.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx testified before the committee and provided an update regarding where the Department of Transportation and its reporting agencies, including the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stood on implementing the FAST Act.

Primarily, Secretary Foxx was questioned on issues that have made national news as of late including long lines at airports and a consideration to privatize air traffic controllers. Safety was also a key topic during the hearing, but was limited to the safety needs of commercial vehicles and widespread concerns surrounding NHTSA's management of safety recalls.

Though issues related to motorcycles were not specifically addressed in today's hearing, they do remain a key component of the FAST Act and are referenced in provisions related to the stopping of federal funding for motorcycle checkpoints and the reestablishment of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council which aims to coordinate with and counsel the Administrator of U.S. Department of Transportation on infrastructure issues that could affect motorcyclists. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) continues to closely monitor the implementation of these provisions working with stakeholders to ensure the interests of motorcyclists are represented.


EPA Holds Public Hearing on Renewable Fuel Standard; MRF Testifies

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

Today(June 9th), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public hearing in Kansas City, MO concerning the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), also referred to as ethanol mandates, and allowed interested parties the opportunity to testify regarding how the regulation affects them.

A variety of stakeholders testified; many of which expressed concern about ethanol mandates forcing increased amounts of biofuels into the U.S. fuel supply and possible effects. However, the majority of speaking slots were filled with pro-biofuel individuals which support higher blends of ethanol in fuel. They spoke passionately citing frustration that a recent EPA proposed rule published in May would increase renewable fuel volume obligations but not at levels they deem "high enough."

On the other side of the spectrum, oil producers and others expressed concerns over higher ethanol blends citing negative effects on the environment, food supply, costs to taxpayers and deleted resources. Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. As a result, the EPA is required to set annual RFS volume requirements for four categories of biofuels. One of these categories, "Renewable Fuel" accounts for corn-based ethanol. Recently, the EPA announced a proposal for their recommended level of corn-based ethanol renewable energy to be blended into gasoline for 2017 which is 18.8 billion gallons, an increase from 2016 levels.

Concern over E15

Several individuals expressed concern in both written and oral testimony specifically focused on blended fuel containing 15 percent ethanol (E15) and its potential to wreak havoc on engines by causing corrosion, rubber swelling and other damages. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) was represented through the Freedom of Road Riders (FORR) which also delivered testimony. "Encouraging new research, specifically targeted towards motorcycle engines as well as the effects on internal combustion, could help alleviate the concerns of motorcycle riders, as well as motorcycle manufacturers," stated Amy Allmon, MRF Rep and Member of FORR. Allmon went on to also tout the importance of consumer education asking the EPA to, "help ensure that consumers have a comprehensive understanding of the risks associated with using fuel with a higher blend of ethanol."

Working Together

A major coalition, known as “Smarter Fuel Future” has been active in addressing concerns over ethanol mandates. It brings together major associations, companies, environmental groups and others in order to reform the current mandates. Recently, the MRF became engaged with the Coalition and began participating in supportive activities. This outlet can serve as an opportunity to voice the position of the MRF and its members to learn more about the effects on motorcycles and higher blends of ethanol. This week the Smarter Fuel Future coalition sent a congressional letter to the EPA encouraging increased consumer awareness on E15's potential to cause damage and cited concern over the lack of public knowledge on this fact and related federal laws. The coalition website can be accessed here at http://smarterfuelfuture.org/

In its entirety, the hearing lasted for several hours, allowing over 120 people the opportunity to speak. Interestingly, while motorcyclists’ rights groups had a presence during the hearing, manufacturers of motorcycles were not present on the witness list.


Bipartisan congressional letter aims to prevent E15-related engine damage

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

On June 8, U.S. Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.) sent 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... ."

With your help, 45 representatives have agreed to support motorcyclists in their effort to ensure that safe fuels remain available and the risk of misfueling with E15 is reduced.

See if your representative signed the letter!

The bipartisan letter comes in response to the EPA's Renewable Volume Obligations rule for 2014, 2015 and 2016. The EPA proposal would increase the amount of ethanol from all sources in the nation's fuel supply to 17.4 billion gallons in 2016, up from 15.93 billion gallons in 2014.

Those increases come despite the EPA's acknowledgement that the current market cannot absorb these higher ethanol production rates without substantially increasing the amount of ethanol in our nation's gasoline supply. The practical effect of the EPA's action is more unsafe E15 (15 percent ethanol by volume), less E10 and virtually no E0 for older and vintage machines.

As the American Motorcyclist Association has repeatedly warned, more E15 will inevitably lead to inadvertent misfueling, which can damage motorcycle and all-terrain-vehicle fuel systems and engines not designed for its use. Moreover, the use of E15 may void the manufacturer's warranty.

With a high probability of inadvertent misfueling, the letter urges the EPA to "...act to raise consumer awareness of the consequences of misfueling with E15." Currently, the effort to bring awareness is left up to the AMA and other consumer-oriented and industry groups.

The urgency of EPA action to address misfueling is supported by a recent study from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. The study indicates only 5 percent of consumers are aware that E15 is prohibited for use in certain engines and that 60 percent of consumers assume that any gas sold at a pump must be safe for all of their engines.

This letter will help protect the 22 million motorcycles and ATVs currently in use and the riders who depend on their safe operation.


Bill would close 23 million acres to OHV users in western states

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

On June 6, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced S. 3022, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. This legislation, previously introduced in 2010 and 2013, would inappropriately designate as federal Wilderness 23 million acres in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

This Wilderness designation would make the 23 million acres off-limits to off-highway-vehicle riders, forever close thousands of miles of legal trails currently enjoyed by tens of thousands responsible OHV enthusiasts and their families and friends, and severely impact scores of local communities that depend on recreational tourism for their survival.

The American Motorcyclist Association supports the designation of Wilderness that meets the strict criteria set forth in the Wilderness Act of 1964. However, the vast majority of the 23 million acres in question do not meet the strict definition of Wilderness established by Congress.

Notably, the bill’s current sponsor (who represents residents of Rhode Island) and cosponsors do not represent any citizens in the affected areas, a strategy that ensures they do not invoke the wrath of their constituents.

Please fill out the form below and click the red “Submit” button to let your representative know that you oppose this inappropriate action.

Numerous studies have been conducted that indicate properly managed public lands ensure recreational opportunities for all citizens, are essential to mitigating devastating wildfire risks and that Wilderness designations cost local economies vital jobs and tax revenue.

The motorcycling community must rally together and stop S. 3022 in its tracks. This bill already has eight cosponsors in the Senate.

If this bill is signed into law, the effect on the OHV community would be devastating for generations to come.

Please contact your senators immediately and urge them to oppose S. 3022 so future generations of OHV enthusiasts and their families will have the opportunity to enjoy the public lands in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

Click here to "TAKE ACTION".


Encourage federal lawmakers to act on higher ethanol fuels. Contact your representative and senators today!

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

Thank you if you signed the American Motorcyclist Association’s petition regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard proposal announced May 29. As you know, if this proposal is adopted, it would increase the risk of inadvertent misfueling for motorcyclists and all-terrain-vehicle riders by forcing the widespread availability of higher-ethanol fuel blends, such as E15 – fuel with 15 percent ethanol by volume -- and less availability of E10 and E0 (fuel with no ethanol for older and vintage machines).

With your help, the AMA petition now has more than 12,000 signatures! What started with one voice has now grown to thousands. Thank you!

Now, the AMA is asking you to urge your federal lawmakers to submit comments to the EPA. We need to let our lawmakers know of our concerns with this misguided proposal. Along with our comments, our lawmakers need to weigh in with their comments before the July 11 deadline.

You can send a prewritten email to your representative and senators immediately by following the “Take Action” option and entering your information.

Click here to "TAKE ACTION".


Members of Congress Call on DoT to Include MRF & SMRO Participation on the Newly Reestablished Motorcyclist Advisory Council

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

This week(June 17th), twenty elected officials from eleven different states issued a letter addressed to the Federal Highway Administration housed under the Department of Transportation. The letter, which had both republican and democratic signatures, addressed a section of the highway bill that would reestablish the Motorcyclist Advisory Council which would counsel the Administrator of U.S. Department of Transportation on infrastructure issues that could affect motorcyclists. The highway bill, also known as the FAST Act, was signed into law by the President earlier this year.

Specifically, the letter called on the Federal Highway Administration to ensure that the, "Motorcyclist Advisory Council include participants from the full spectrum of available experts and stakeholders of different organizations." The letter went on to suggest explicitly which participants should be involved and calling on the Administration to include, "one member recommended by a national motorcycle riders foundation" and "two members of State motorcyclists' organizations."

As implementation of the FAST Act begins, the Federal Highway Administration is likely to go through a process to establish a charter for the Motorcyclist Advisory Council. Congressional letters like the one sent yesterday can play a critical role in the decision making behind determining the specifics of the Council.


Urge fellow riders to sign the E15 petition! Share the AMA alert today!

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

Thank you if you signed the American Motorcyclist Association’s petition regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard proposal announced May 29. As you know, if this proposal is adopted, it would increase the risk of inadvertent misfueling for motorcyclists and all-terrain-vehicle riders by forcing the widespread availability of higher-ethanol fuel blends, such as E15 – fuel with 15 percent ethanol by volume -- and less availability of E10 and E0 (fuel with no ethanol for older and vintage machines).

With your help, the AMA petition now has more than 12,000 signatures! What started with one voice has grown to thousands. Thank you!

Now, the AMA urges you to Share with your friends on Facebook. We need to spread the word to make sure more motorcyclists sign the petition.

You did your part. Now get your fellow riders to sign the AMA's E15 petition and make the EPA address our concerns!

Make our voice stronger, share the AMA alert by tweeting using #RFSBroken or Share with your friends on Facebook.


What Might Happen if Every Day Was 'Ride to Work' Day?

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

Today(June 20th) is the 25th anniversary of “Ride to Work Day.” For those unfamiliar, this is an annual event that promotes motorcycling as an option for commuting to work. It’s estimated that a very small sliver of the population uses motorcycles as their main mode of transportation to and from work. Some reasons for the small percentage may be due to weather conditions or other “logistical” issues that are not easily remedied. However, if more people were to commute on motorcycles, it begs the question of what possible effects might be realized by not only motorcyclists, but automobile drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians and even the environment?

A private research company based out of Belgium attempted to answer the question posed above. The firm, Transport & Mobility Leuven, specializes in quantitative transport research and transport modeling. In 2011 they published, "Commuting by Motorcycle: Impact Analysis." The report looked not only at traffic flow and congestion, but also what might happen to vehicle emissions and air quality. The results proved quite interesting. The Leuven study found that in Belgium, if 10% of all automobiles were replaced by motorcycles, the total time loss for all vehicles decreases by 40%. Note that this is not time loss for just those on motorcycles... this includes all drivers on the road.

In addition, the study looked at the impact on emissions and found that because motorcycles emit fewer pollutants (CO2, etc) compared to average cars, external emission costs of motorcycles are almost 20% lower than automobiles. And total emission costs could be reduced by 6% if 10% of automobiles were replaced by motorcycles.

It's important to note that the study was done in a particular region of Belgium and the data was then extrapolated out to the entire country. And clearly, Belgium is not America! However, it does make one wonder what findings would be determined if a similar study was repeated in the U.S.? Certainly it would depend on the region and a number of other factors, but it is possible that similar results could be found.

To learn more about the study and review the final report, click on the following link.


ABATE of Michigan Sets The Record Straight

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

In recent weeks, many advocates of mandatory helmet laws have attacked Michigan's ADULT CHOICE motorcycle helmet law passed in 2012. In these "reports" the claim is that 40% of riders in fatal crashes were not wearing helmets which means 60% of riders were wearing helmets. More riders died wearing a helmet than without.

The real problem is UNENDORSED MOTORCYCLE RIDERS.

Every year since 1989 (a total of 26 years) when Michigan started keeping track of this data, 40% OR MORE of the motorcycle riders did not have a motorcycle endorsement and, were thus, riding illegally. In 2013 and 2015 that number reached 57% or nearly 3 out of 5 riders involved in fatal accidents, according to Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP).

ABATE of Michigan President Vince Consiglio stated, "With the extended riding season and the outrageously high number of unlicensed riders, it is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. Why are motorcycle riders allowed to get insurance without an endorsement?"

Additional claims are taken out of context and show a lack of integrity in their reporting. The claim that there was a 23% increase in motorcycle fatalities from 2014 to 2015 is misleading since they do not state that 2014 had the lowest number of motorcycle fatalities in ten years while 2015 had the highest number. The helmet law faction claims "The very low figure in 2014 appears to be an anomaly." Thus the truth, buried in their report is that 2015 was normal.

ABATE Statistician, Vince Piacenti, finds this "cherry-picking" of data to falsely represent motorcycle safety records to be unprofessional. He added, "Comparing a high year with a low year is not statistically valid."

The objective of ABATE of Michigan has and will always be to promote motorcycle safety and car driver awareness programs in Michigan. Legislative Coordinator Jim Rhoades said, "ABATE has initiated and helped pass four separate bills in the last four years aimed at the issue of unendorsed riders and motorcycle safety and awareness. The helmet law question is an adult freedom issue."

The insurance industry continually hammers motorcycle riders on Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) coverage which ALL motorcycle riders are required to pay for. The fact is that motorcycle riders are NOT covered in a catastrophic accident unless the incident involves an auto or truck. There is no coverage in a single vehicle accident, if another motorcycle is involved, or if a cyclist hits a deer or other animal.

Motorcyclists represent approximately 5% of the catastrophic costs to the insurance industry while injured pedestrians and bicyclists use more than three times for medical costs and do not pay anything into the MCCA.

ABATE of Michigan, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the rights and promoting the safe operating practices of all Michigan motorcyclists.

ABATE has partnered with public schools and private drivers schools to teach more than 80,000 new drivers about motorcycle awareness, using resources donated by ABATE members.

Contact:
Vince Consiglio: President, ABATE of Michigan (248) 672-0957
Jim Rhoades: Legislative Director, ABATE of Michigan (734) 578-614


Tweet to government officials! Let them know you want safe fuel!

Information from the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA)

Please use your Twitter account to send a prewritten Tweet to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help protect our motorcycles from unsafe fuels, such E15 (15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline).

These Tweets will remind the EPA of motorcyclists’ concerns with the agency’s proposed Renewable Volume Obligations for 2017.

If this proposal is adopted, it would increase the risk of inadvertent misfueling for motorcyclists and all-terrain-vehicle riders by forcing the widespread availability of higher-ethanol fuel blends such as E15 in the marketplace and reducing the availability of E0, fuel that has no ethanol added.

The AMA wants you to Tweet the EPA.

We need to let the government know of our concerns about this misguided proposal. Do so before the EPA’s July 11 deadline for accepting comments on the proposed rule.

You can send a prewritten Tweet to the EPA immediately by following the "TWEET NOW" option in this alert and entering your information.

Click here to TWEET NOW.


The 'Connected' Motorcycle & its Place in Future Technology

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

As cities around the nation continue to experience increases in commute times, accidents, and fatalities, we are seeing more policymakers turn to technology as a potential solution. Over the next thirty years, America’s population is projected to grow by 70 million people. What that does to congestion alone has many in Washington considering the potential impacts of a fully integrated transportation infrastructure to solve transportation problems and improve public transit in the long run. One sect of the population not immediately thought of, but is undoubtedly effected is motorcyclists.

In December 2015, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation launched the Smart City Challenge—a national competition to implement bold, data-driven ideas that demonstrate the use of advanced data and intelligent transportation systems technologies. Almost 80 cities responded and drafted plans detailing holistic visions as to how technology can help city residents get from place to place more easily and with less traffic. The prize for the best blueprint went to Columbus, OH who won a $40-million-dollar grant from the Department of Transportation. However, absent from Ohio’s plans was anything addressing motorcyclists. In reviewing the seven finalist cities for the initiative, it appears that none of these addressed motorcyclists and their role on the road. Bicyclists and mass transit including busses, shuttles and trolleys, self-driving cars, and new traffic-related applications for smartphones were all included in potential city plans and yet none of the finalists considered motorcycles in their campaigns.

Interestingly, across the pond in Europe, at the Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress that took place in France last year, the European motorcycle industry took a major step towards connecting technology and motorcyclists when three major motorcycle manufacturers announced the launch of a Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC), to further the development of Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) applications in motorized two-wheelers. Representatives from BMW Motorrad, Honda, and Yamaha all participated in Europe's new consortium believing it would accelerate the development of connected motorcycles and scooters helping to address traffic and safety in years to come.

Though in the U.S. there are individual programs and initiatives addressing technology and motorcycles, there are few and far between and are typically found at universities. It’s unclear to what degree U.S. domestic motorcycle manufacturers are involved with these projects. Nor is it clear whether the U.S. Department of Transportation intends to prioritize or even view motorcyclists as a player in achieving a fully integrated transportation infrastructure. With motorcycle ridership increasing (growing from 3,826,373 in 1997 to 8,404,687 in 2013), it’s a community that cannot, and should not, be ignored.


Happy Independence Day – From Your Freedom Loving Friends at the MRF!

Information from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation(MRF)

Freedom. The word will be invoked this weekend all across America. Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence signed July 4, 1776. The signing of this document embodies this very word. Freedom from the British Empire, freedom from totalitarian rule, freedom to govern our own nation. Often times, we hear the word freedom associated with motorcycle riding. Why is this? Is freedom the feeling a rider experiences? Is it sparked by the very sight of the open road? The motorcycle being more agile and responsive than an automobile? Or is it the adrenaline rush of knowing that there is little between you and the road - literally. That element of danger seems almost instinctively connected with "freedom."

Whatever the reasoning is behind the connection of the word freedom and riding, this 4th of July holiday let us remember why we celebrate and give credence to the importance of the word freedom and what it signifies:

"We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it." ~William Faulkner

Happy Independence Day – From Your Freedom Loving Friends at the MRF!


Region 5 Monthly Meeting Info

Locations and times for the next Region 5 county meetings

Next Region 5 meeting for Clinton County is 11AM, August 14th at American Legion Post 49 in Wilmington, Ohio.

Next Region 5 meeting for Butler-Clermont-Hamilton counties is 11AM, August 7th at The Train Stop in Foster, Ohio.