AMA News

AMA News & Notes for the Politically Motivated Motorcyclist is a monthly newsletter compiled by AMA designed to inform riders of what's going on around the world.

I suggest that all readers browse through the newsletter, because it contains information, legislation, and news from all different states, so keep an eye out for yours.

Once again, you can go directly to and report to the AMA Rapid Response Center to let your voice be heard.

The following is the April 2001 issue....

Franklin, Ohio High School principal Robert Leahy, andseveral school board members, have banned a poster of the schools wrestling team posing, clad in black leather and sitting atop new Harley-Davidson motorcycles, at the front entrance of Aces and Eights Harley Davidson in Mason, OH citing "this is very offensive" and that "it gives off the wrong impression of our students."

The team did the poster as a fund raiser for the wrestlingprogram, which the school fails to provide enough funding for, to help fund the remainder of the season and the playoffs. You can let these educator's know how you feel about this by contacting Dinzle Brown, Superintendent, at [email protected] or contactRobert Leahy, Franklin High School Principal at [email protected]

Nevada's Assembly Bill 88 would return voluntary helmet usage to adults. Nevada residents are encouraged to call the State LegislativeHotline at 800-978-2878 and voice your support for AB 88. Be sure to give your name and address.

AMA members Roger Swearengen and Dal Smilie presented testimony to theMontana House of Representatives on House Bill 403 that would, among other things, have required mandatory seat belt usage for youngermotorcycle riders. The Committee removed that requirement.

ORCA, the trade association representing the human-powered recreationbusiness community, recently announced it will launch Businesses for Wilderness (B4W). Businesses for Wilderness was initiated in collaboration with the Pew Charitable Trusts and is being supported with a $1 million grant from the Philadelphia-based philanthropy.

The coalition will be the first project of the newly formed OutdoorRecreation Foundation. The initiative has three specific goals: "to protect currently unprotected roadless areas on federal lands, shift the management and budgetary focus of federal public lands toward protecting natural resources, and to educate the public and policy makers on the benefits of outdoor recreation."

The Pew Charitable Trusts has long been regarded as one of the nation's leading advocates for locking out motorized recreation on public lands. Pew's support of the B4W will not only enable ORCA to expand its role in closing publicly owned areas, but also, enable ORCA to execute regional and local campaigns. This grant reaffirms the agenda of Pew's anti-access agenda and takes the deceptive campaign to a new level.

Sally McCoy, chairperson of the ORCA Board and president of Sierra Designs, Bill Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society and SkyGeorge, vice president of marketing for CamelBak and a member of the ORCA board have all publicly supported B4W.

New York's AMA-PAC, after months of preparation and activity, is now astatewide Political Action Committee (PAC) for the Empire State's motorcyclists to support those legislators and candidates who support our issues.

AMA District 3 president Larry Schwartz started the movement with aproposal to create the PAC with "seed" money of one thousand dollars of donations from the District. AMA-PAC, the first of its kind for a grass roots effort by an AMA District in the state, showed that with a little effort and dedication, AMA members can be involved in their own destinies. Since its inception the PAC has raised $4,081 from AMA District 34, AMA District 4 and within District 3.

Individuals interested in donating to AMA-PAC of New Yorkcan send their contributions to: 15 Dawn Drive, Scotia, NY 12302.

Minnesota's mushrooming debate to build a statewide trail system foroff-highway vehicles, including dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles, is taking an all too familiar tone.

Those who don't want OHV trails are being painted as "environmentalists," or "tree-huggers." Likewise, the folks who want a place to rideare portrayed as wheelie-riding motorheads hell-bent on trashing the forests.

Minnesota has about 135,000 registered all-terrain vehicles, and a good many of their owners are responsible and law-abiding riders. Butbecause ATV usage is growing exponentially, state lawmakers have told the Department of Natural Resources to create an off-road trail system on state lands that greatly would increase the 600 miles currently in use. ATV riders argue correctly that by paying their registration fees and gas taxes, they should get a trail system.

Many business owners, some deer hunting groups and mainstream anti-access organizations have joined other landowners opposing many of the proposed trails.

Virginia's SB 861 and HB 2217 prevents closure by politicalsubdivisions ofthe Commonwealth of any highway to motorcycles if public funds were used in the highway's or transportation project's construction. The bills have passed unanimously in both legislative bodies.

SB 835 and HB 1568 have also passed with unanimous support the House and Senate. These bills remove the red tape encountered when tryingto open new sites or make changes to the curriculum of the Virginia Rider Safety Training Program.

Each of the like bills for House and Senate will be rolled into one bill and forwarded to Governor Jim Gilmore for his signature. Virginia Coalition Of Motorcyclists and ABATE of Virginia anticipates no resistance from the Governor's office. Both of these organizations are to be commended for their fine work in ensuring a positive future for motorcycling in the Old Dominion.

Missouri's helmet law modification legislation for the 2001 legislative session (HB70 and SB17) have cleared their first hurdle by being passed out of their respective committee's with "DO PASS" recommendations. Letters of support should be directed to your Representative and Senator.

A Massachusetts citizens safety advocacy group has petitioned the State legislature to enact a law (Bill # H1263) requiring the use ofprotective headgear for drivers and passengers of all motor vehicles,public and private. The proposed headgear requirement is similar to that which currently requires motorcycle operators and their passengers to wear helmets. Supporters of this bill cite statistics that over ninety percent of all fatal automobile crashes are the result of head trauma. The net savings to taxpayers and insurance costs paid to health care providers will be, in the millions of dollars from substantially fewer head trauma injuries. The inconvenience of having to tote a helmet around with you when traveling through out the Commonwealth is seen as a minor trade off in exchange for a dramatic reduction in personaltragedy and financial burden associated with significant head trauma.

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Danielle Grossman
Danielle Grossman

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