Politics AND Motorcycles...

John P Burns
by John P Burns
Politics AND Motorcycles...AMA is hosting a Washington, D.C., seminar for motorcyclists who want to learnhow to influence governmental decisions, whether it's in Congress or at theirThe seminar, to be held March 1-4 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, DC,allows participants to meet and learn from the AMA's Washington staff as well asother political experts. In addition to learning about state and federal issuesfacing motorcyclists today, participants will get tips on building relationshipswith government-agency officials and on lobbying elected officials.The instructors will also prepare participants to meet face-to-face withmembers of their own congressional delegation, but the seminar isn't all work.There will be a welcome reception as well as a luncheon and a banquet over thecourse of the training.

The seminar registration fee is $75. The registration deadline is Feb. 11. AMAFor more information or to register, contact Sharon Titus at (614) 856-1900,ext. 1252 or by e-mail at [email protected]

Pennsylvania Governor Schweiker recently signed Act 114, a measure thatsubstantially increases funding for Pennsylvania's Motorcycle Safety Program.The legislation, initiated by ABATE of Pennsylvania, increases the surchargeon motorcycle learners permits and drivers licenses from $2 to $5 annually.In 2001, Pennsylvania's Motorcycle Safety Program, operated by PennDOT undercontract from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, trained approximately 15,000students. Due to funding limitations, that number represented the maximumenrollment the program could handle. In the same year, over 100,000 motorcyclelearners permits were issued. While the increased funding will not completelyeliminate the backlog of requests, it is expected to increase trainingopportunities in the future.

The Motorcycle Safety Program is free to Pennsylvania residents and isunique in that students who successfully pass the course are licensed right onthe spot by Site Coordinators authorized by PennDOT to endorse the graduates'permits. The program has been repeatedly recognized by the Motorcycle SafetyFoundation as one of the best in the nation.

The United Kingdom Department of Transport is considering prohibiting driversfrom using hand-held cell phones while operating a vehicle.The proposal would allow police to ticket anyone operating any vehicle on ahighway or other road while using any type of hand-held cell phone. The newregulation would apply in all circumstances other than when a vehicle is parkedwith the engine off.

High Point, North Carolina officials said they plan to post signs throughoutthe city to remind motorists to share the roads with motorcycles. The hope isthe signs will reduce motorcycle deaths and injuries.

New Jersey off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts are on their way to creatinga statewide OHV organization after a recent successful motorized recreationsummit, sponsored by the AMA and the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA).The AMA and ATVA sponsored the Garden State Motorized Recreation Summit inEast Windsor, New Jersey, on Oct. 12-13 to cultivate a united voice for thestate's OHV enthusiasts. The goal was to help create legal riding areas as wellas to fight threats to riding.

About 40 dedicated off-highway motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle riders tookpart in the two-day summit.

The first day featured a "Ride into Political Action" seminar, presented bythe AMA/ATVA government relations team. This seminar is considered basictraining for OHV enthusiasts interested in access to public lands.On the second day, summit participants began work on forming a state-levelorganization to effectively represent the needs of all OHV users. Russ Ehnes,executive director of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council,facilitated the meeting. Participants left the summit with clear goals and withplans to meet again soon to continue work to develop the statewide organization.In May, state legislation was introduced to not only reiterate a regulatoryban on OHV use on state public land, but also to ban events held under specialpermits, such as enduros. In July, the New Jersey Department of EnvironmentalProtection announced that it would "strictly enforce" a ban on OHV use on statepublic land. But the department also promised to explore creating at least acouple legal riding areas for OHV enthusiasts in the near future.

BANGKOK, Thailand was the site of a recent conference which claims thatinjuries from motorcycle accidents, and other preventable mishaps, kill morechildren in Asia than any other cause, including infectious diseases, safetyexperts said Wednesday.

Child deaths from drowning, poisoning, burns and electrocution are"predictable and preventable," and health officials and the public should act tocurb them, said Pete Peterson, chairman of The Alliance for Safe Children and aformer US Ambassador to Vietnam."It's the major killer of children in the world," he told The AssociatedPress. "In these countries out here (in Asia), its motorbikes, riding on thebacks of motorbikes without security."

It's common in Asia to see several people - even whole families - riding on asingle motorbike. Many riders don't wear helmets.

Peterson spoke at the close of a three-day meeting of nearly 50 public healthofficials and academics from 10 mostly Asian countries organized by his advocacygroup and UNICEF, the UN's children's fund.

Participants included doctors, researchers and health policymakers fromAustralia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, the Philippines,Thailand, Vietnam and the United States. The goal of the conference was to forma regional alliance to gather scientific evidence to promote child safetyprograms in the developing world, where an estimated one million children underthe age of 15 die annually from injuries, a press release said.Some 98 percent of all child injury deaths occur in the developing world, itsaid. The deadly injuries in Asia are caused primarily by the widespread use ofmotorcycles, which offer riders little protection, according to Michael Linnan,a Hanoi-based representative of the US Department of Health.Thailand and Indonesia have regulated the compulsory wearing of helmets andother countries could soon follow suit. (UPI)

Illinois State Police management is instituting a point system to help withthe performance of their officers. The system awards points in 11 differentareas. Writing tickets counts as one point. Points are assessed at the end ofeach month and officers who fail to make their quota can be disciplined. (National Motorists Association News)

Forbes Magazine's OutFront section recently published an article titled "OrganPact" by Brigid McMenamin, about retired Nashville insurance broker David J.Undis starting a not-for-profit organ-sharing site, Lifesharers.com, which issupposed to increase your odds of getting an organ in time to save your life.LifeSharers is based on a mutual pact: You promise that when you die you willgive first dibs on your organs to the LifeSharers member who then ranks higheston the federal waiting list, letting the organs go to someone else only if nomember can use them. The reciprocal agreements will increase your odds in caseThese donations, known as directed donations, aren't forbidden by federal law,provided the donor isn't paid. Problem is, few people know that--there were only75 directed donations from dead Americans in 2001.

Undis thinks he can increase that, but the statistics aren't in his favor. Theclub needs at least 17,500 members "preferably healthy young people who ridemotorcycles or play Russian roulette" before there's even a 50% chance that onepotential donor will turn up brain-dead in a given year.

After four months Undis has signed up a grand total of 120 people. Contact Mr.Undis whether or not you happen to be one of the people who equate motorcyclingwith suicide.

Iranian women, since 1979's Islamic revolution, have been banned from ridingmotorcycles but now, thanks to a local entrepreneur, they're flocking to getback on two wheels and strike a blow for independence.

Mohammed Rez-Farhad-Sheikhahamed, head of sales at motorcycle manufacturerBana Industrial came up with the idea to offer women free lessons. Now, he hasalmost 4000 ladies signed up to start after just a week after dreaming up theThere is another hurdle however; men are banned from teaching to women sofinding suitable female instructors may take some time.

AMA member Jeff Reinhardt will be sworn in as Mayor of Agoura Hills, CA onDecember 3, 2002. Agoura Hills is very close to the famous biker congregatingplace, The Rock Store on Mulholland Highway, just off US 101.The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended the comment deadlineon the agency's proposed emissions standards for street motorcycles. The commentdeadline of Nov. 8 has been extended to Jan. 7, 2003.

Comments may be submitted in the AMA Rapid Response Center, or by referring toDocket A-2000-02 and writing to: Margaret Borushko, U.S. EPA, National Vehicleand Fuel Emissions Laboratory, 2000 Traverwood, Ann Arbor, MI 48105; or bye-mail to [email protected]

The EPA is about to implement revised national emissions standards for newroad motorcycles that would require those bikes to meet strict emissionsstandards beginning with 2006 models for the first phase and 2010 for the secondThe AMA has been involved in the rule-making process from the beginning,including testifying before EPA officials on Sept. 17.

The new standards are expected to result in an increased use of fuel injectionand catalytic converters on new motorcycles. Some motorcycles sold in the UnitedStates already meet California's strict 2008 standards, which are the same asthe planned federal EPA 2010 standard.

To see the new rules, see What you need to know about the EPA's proposedmotorcycle exhaust emissions standards on the Protecting Your Right to Ride pageof www.AMADirectlink.com.

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John P Burns
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