From the monthly archives:

May 2011

Courtesy of American Motorcycle Association

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has expressed concern to Gov. Bob McDonnell over a recent motorcycle-only checkpoint in northern Virginia, calling the stop “discriminatory.”

The Arlington County (Va.) Police Department conducted a motorcycle-only checkpoint on May 28 during the annual Rolling Thunder gathering in Washington, D.C. The Rolling Thunder event, held May 27-29, involved tens of thousands of motorcyclists riding to the nation’s capital to seek accountability for prisoners of war and service personnel missing in action.

In the letter, dated May 31, AMA Washington Representative Rick Podliska told McDonnell that motorcycle-only checkpoints are discriminatory and profile only motorcyclists.

“The AMA urges the Commonwealth of Virginia to suspend the use of motorcycle-only checkpoints until questions raised by the motorcycling community have been addressed,” Podliska wrote.

Those questions include: How do motorcycle-only checkpoints increase the safety of motorcyclists? Where do states draw their authority to conduct motorcycle-only checkpoints? Is “probable cause” required to stop a motorcycle and, if so, what constitutes probable cause?

“The safety of motorcyclists is better served by efforts that minimize injuries and fatalities by preventing crashes in the first place,” Podliska wrote. “The most efficient way of doing so is not through sporadic, discriminatory roadside checkpoints, but by mitigating crash causation.”

Copies of the letter were also sent to Arlington County Police Chief M. Douglas Scott, Virginia House of Delegates Transportation Committee Chairman Joe May and Virginia Senate Transportation Committee Chairwoman Yvonne Miller.

The Virginia motorcycle-only roadside checkpoint is the latest in a series of the discriminatory checkpoints that have been conducted in Utah, New York state and Georgia. The AMA is strongly opposed to this practice.

In a victory for motorcyclists, lawmakers in New Hampshire recently approved, and the governor signed into law, a bill that prohibits law enforcement agencies or political subdivisions from accepting federal money for motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave Georgia a $70,000 grant to conduct one or more roadside motorcycle-only checkpoints and the state police did so as thousands of motorcyclists rode through the state on their way to Daytona Beach, Fla., for Bike Week March 4-13.

The AMA opposes the federal motorcycle-only checkpoint grant program, and U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and some of his colleagues have asked U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to suspend the program.

Sensenbrenner has also introduced H.R. 904, which would prohibit the U.S. transportation secretary from providing funds for motorcycle-only checkpoints.

“The NHTSA should focus on decreasing the likelihood of crashes from occurring in the first place,” Podliska said. “No public money should be applied to promoting such a program without first addressing questions from the motorcycling community.”

In addition to letters submitted to the past and present governors of Georgia, the AMA also sent a letter to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland urging him to suspend the grant program that gives states money for motorcycle-only checkpoints until questions have been addressed.

To view the AMA’s letter to McDonnell, click here.


Founder of Schickel Motor Co. inducted into Motorcycle Hall of Fame

by JeffMay 29, 2011 Uncategorized

The Motorcycle Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the fourth member of the class of 2011: Norbert Schickel, an innovative designer and builder in the early years of American motorcycle manufacturing. As the founder of Schickel Motor Co., Schickel was part of the motorcycle design boom that occurred in the United States between 1905 [...]

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2011 Bell Revolver Flip-Up Helmet Review

by JeffMay 26, 2011 Product Reviews

Part one was the preview. This is Part two, the hands-on evaluation and road test. By Jeff Cobb Motorcycle Safety News Bell’s new Revolver flip-up helmet is an economical design that offers a great deal of value, attention to detail and functionality. As we said in the preview, the Bell Revolver relies on technology borrowed [...]

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Ban proposed for motorcycle-only checkpoint funding, crash prevention sought instead

by JeffMay 26, 2011 Uncategorized

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Federal lawmakers have sent a bipartisan letter to the leadership of a key U.S. House committee to urge support for a bill that prohibits federal funding for motorcycle-only traffic checkpoints, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports. The lawmakers are also urging support for a measure to retain a ban on lobbying at [...]

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Equal access granted to motorcycles at Arizona wildlife refuge

by JeffMay 23, 2011 Uncategorized

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona has reversed an unwritten policy and is now allowing street-legal motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on certain roads, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports. After being alerted by AMA member Keith Dishong that street-legal motorcycles were barred from three public access roads while trucks [...]

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Changes to ‘lead law’ approved by U.S. House subcommittee

by JeffMay 18, 2011 News

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — A key U.S. House subcommittee has approved legislation to address flaws in the law that effectively bans the sale of kids’ off-highway vehicles (OHVs) at the end of the year, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports. On May 12, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade approved and sent to the full [...]

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2011 Bell Revolver Flip-Up Helmet Preview

by JeffMay 14, 2011 Product Reviews

Part One is the Preview. Part Two will be a road test. By Jeff Cobb Motorcycle Safety News Bell’s new Revolver flip-up helmet is said to merge style with function at a very reasonable cost. Based on Bell’s family of sporting full-face helmets – the Star, Vortex and RS-1, the Bell Revolver employs similar styling [...]

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MIC endorses legislation to stop lead ban on OHVs

by JeffMay 11, 2011 Uncategorized

IRVINE, Calif., May 11, 2011 — The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) today announced its support for, and urged quick passage of, the “Enhancing CPSC Authority and Discretion Act of 2011” (ECADA). The discussion draft of the bill, released yesterday by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), would end the ban on youth-sized all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and [...]

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Think Bike in UK has it right

by JeffMay 9, 2011 Features

This video is a half decade old, but these issues are the same now as they were then. Increasing awareness for riders, and drivers in their cars and trucks is quite progressive. Strategically placed signs show these people do what they advocate: “Think.”

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Federal lawmakers oppose state lobbying by safety agency

by JeffMay 6, 2011 News

From the American Motorcyclist Association: PICKERINGTON, Ohio — U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and his colleagues introduced House Resolution 239 on May 2 to retain the ban on state and local lobbying by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports. The bi-partisan resolution instead urges the agency to focus [...]

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MSF applauds California’s ‘Share the road, look twice for motorcyclists’ campaign

by JeffMay 5, 2011 News

Millions of California drivers on freeways throughout the state are again being reminded every day this week to “SHARE THE ROAD, LOOK TWICE FOR MOTORCYCLES,” during May’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. That message, posted in bright lights and beginning to appear this week on approximately 700 changeable freeway signs, is scheduled to continue to shine [...]

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