From the monthly archives:

September 2010

Are you an American Motorcyclist Association member yet? If not, why not? Join if you want to keep your rights as a rider in the U.S. Your rights are under attack by various interest groups, and the AMA is the best advocate we riders have.

Following is an AMA press release:

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Federal lawmakers have sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking him to suspend a grant program that provides money for law enforcement agencies to set up motorcycle-only traffic checkpoints, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

In a letter dated Sept. 30, House members told LaHood that safety-related funds would be better spent in other areas to improve motorcycling safety. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) drafted the letter and then circulated it to his congressional colleagues for signatures before sending it to LaHood.

Besides Sensenbrenner, those who signed the letter are Reps. Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Joe Wilson (R-S.C.).

To read the letter, click here: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/legisltn/documents/SensenbrennerLetter.pdf

Sensenbrenner and the other lawmakers want LaHood to suspend the Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstrations Grant program run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is an agency of the federal Transportation Department. Under the grant program, NHTSA plans to award up to $350,000 in total — to be divided among as many as five law enforcement agencies — to set up traffic checkpoints that target motorcyclists.

The demonstration program is modeled after a controversial program conducted in New York where the state police set up a series of checkpoints that targeted only motorcyclists, raising the ire of the AMA and motorcycling community. In 2008, for example, New York State Police announced plans to set up 15 checkpoints near motorcycling events that summer.

“Crash prevention must be the primary source of safety,” the lawmakers told LaHood in the letter. “With that being said, why does NHTSA continue to focus on secondary factors that do not prevent motorcycle crashes?”

The AMA fully supports the congressional letter to LaHood. The AMA earlier formally questioned the potential discriminatory and legal nature of the grant program. On Aug. 9, the AMA sent a letter to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland urging him to suspend the grant program until questions have been addressed. To read the letter, click here: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/legisltn/documents/Strickland_Law_Enforcement_Grant_8-9-2010.pdf.

While law enforcement officials may defend the program as a safety measure to decrease motorcycle crashes, injuries and fatalities, there is no proof that it’s effective, said Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. In fact, the practice has upset motorcyclists nationwide.

“The AMA believes that the best way for NHTSA to reduce motorcycle crashes is to employ proven strategies, such as rider education and motorcycle awareness programs, that decrease the likelihood of crashes from ever occurring,” Moreland said. “These strategies must be research-based, and motorcyclists would be much better served by applying the funding to the national motorcycle crash causation study that is currently underway at Oklahoma State University.”

This sentiment is supported by Sensenbrenner and many of his colleagues in Congress through the recently introduced H. Res. 1498: Supporting Efforts to Retain the Ban on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Ability to Lobby State Legislators Using Federal Tax Dollars and Urging the NHTSA to Focus on Crash Prevention and Rider Education and Training.

To urge your representative to support H. Res. 1498 go to AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues & Legislation, then enter your zip code in the “Find your Officials” box.

About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through its support of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.

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California has new statewide law governing motorcycle sound

by JeffSeptember 29, 2010 News

Courtesy of the AMA PICKERINGTON, Ohio — A new California law requires street motorcycles registered in the state and built on or after Jan. 1, 2013, to have an exhaust system label certifying the motorcycles meet federal sound limits, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports. On Sept. 28, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate [...]

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Schuberth North America Opens its Doors

by JeffSeptember 27, 2010 News

German helmet company takes U.S. distribution into its own hands As published in Motorcycle.com Written by Jeff Cobb With last week’s opening of Schuberth’s administrative facility in Aliso Viejo, Calif., U.S. riders now have another premier helmet to choose from, even if for now, only the men’s and women’s version of its vaunted C3 flip-up [...]

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Thomas Betti, first ever FIM e-Power International Champion

by JeffSeptember 26, 2010 News

It was a historical day today in the fledgling field of electric motorcycle racing. From FIM press release: Victory for Thijs de Ridder (Crystalyte) in Imola Thijs de Ridder (Crystalyte Europe) had no choice but to win in Imola in order to keep his chances of clinching the very first FIM e-Power International Championship intact. [...]

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When death calls: Texts, talk, apps kill 16,000, study says

by JeffSeptember 26, 2010 News

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor Reuters updated 9/23/2010 5:53:28 PM ET WASHINGTON — Drivers distracted by talking or texting on cell phones killed an estimated 16,000 people from 2001 to 2007, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday. The estimate, one of the first scientific attempts to quantify how many people have died in accidents caused [...]

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USDOT holds Second National Distracted Driving Summit

by JeffSeptember 21, 2010 News

From USDOT press release: U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announces new anti-distracted driving regulations, employer policies, preliminary results from enforcement campaigns WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood kicked off the 2010 national Distracted Driving Summit today by announcing new anti-distracted driving regulations for drivers transporting hazardous materials, commercial truck and bus drivers, and rail [...]

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2009 Distracted Driving Fatality and Injury Numbers

by JeffSeptember 21, 2010 News

From USDOT Press Release: WASHINGTON – On the eve of the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that distracted driving-related crashes claimed 5,474 lives and led to 448,000 traffic injuries across the U.S. in 2009. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, distraction-related fatalities represented 16 percent of overall [...]

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“Do the Ride Thing” video contest winners

by JeffSeptember 21, 2010 News

From ATV Safety Institute press release: Public Service Announcements Earn Kids Cash Prizes IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 21, 2010 – Creative, cash winning kids from coast to coast are getting their videos on safe and responsible ATV riding posted online as public service announcements by the ATV Safety Institute. An ASI judging panel selected the winners [...]

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Dainese and Alpinestars Airbag suits

by JeffSeptember 20, 2010 Features

As published in Motorcycle.com Jorge Lorenzo’s speed-hump mounted air collar. First there was leather, then armored leather, and now Dainese, Alpinestars and others are adding airbags into armored suits to protect the all-too-fragile human body during the moment of truth. Anything that takes us toward the crash resistance of the Michelin Man is okay by [...]

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NHTSA offers grant to fund motorcycle-only checkpoints

by JeffSeptember 13, 2010 News

News from the AMA: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is offering federal funds that would expand the highly criticized practice of creating motorcycle-only checkpoints by law enforcement agencies. Initially begun in New York State, the process involves setting-up checkpoints where only motorcycles are pulled over. Law enforcement officers then check for U.S. DOT-compliant [...]

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Motorcyclist fatalities drop 16 percent in 2009

by JeffSeptember 13, 2010 News

AMA press release:   PICKERINGTON, Ohio — In what can only be considered good news for motorcyclists, federal officials have reported that motorcycling deaths on the nation’s roads dropped by 16 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year, according to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). “The death of any motorcyclist is one too many, [...]

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