AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association Government Relations Department. Designed to inform motorcyclists of rights-related issues and events in the U.S. and around the world, AMA News & Notes welcomes your input. Suggestions and editorial contributions can be sent to AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Placerville, Calif.: The Eldorado National Forest is developing an application for Off-Highway Vehicle Cooperative Funds for the coming 2012/2013 grant cycle. The application that will be reviewed by the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division is expected to include a strong emphasis on trail maintenance and repair, restoration of trails and impacted areas, law enforcement across the four ranger districts, rerouting of trails in the Elkins Flat area, improvements of trailheads in the Gold Note area, an analysis of new information and changed circumstances as it relates to the 2006 Record of Decision for the Rock Creek Recreational Trails, and possibly planning for Indian Valley 4WD Trail and Strawberry 4WD Trail.
Those wanting additional information and/or the opportunity to provide input can attend an open house on Feb. 13, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., in the Forest Supervisor’s Office large conference room, 100 Forni Road, Placerville. Call (530) 622-5061 for directions.
Sacramento, Calif.: The California Highway Patrol has recently issued a lane-splitting guide and plans to start a public awareness campaign to educate riders and drivers about the long-accepted practice.
The guide can be viewed at: http://www.chp.ca.gov/programs/lanesplitguide.html.
Twentynine Palms, Calif.: Riders trying to save California’s Johnson Valley off-highway vehicle area from a military base expansion have reached the 25,000-signature threshold set by the White House to require its formal response to a petition.
The petition asks the White House to deny any request by the military to annex land from the Johnson Valley OHV area for base expansion. The title of the petition specifically requests the White House to: “Save the Johnson Valley OHV Area. Be fiscally responsible. Stop 29 Palms Marine base expansion. Keep public lands open.”
The petition drive will continue until the Feb. 14 deadline, despite already reaching the required amount of signatures. The full petition is at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/save-johnson-valley-ohv-area-be-fiscally-responsible-stop-29-palms-marine-base-expansion-keep-public/5r0C7Xw4
Hartford, Conn.: House Bill 5103, sponsored by state Rep. Christopher Davis (R- Hartford), would exempt all-terrain vehicles from property tax when the taxing municipality does not provide an area to operate ATVs within the municipality.
Also, House Bill 5803, sponsored by Rep. Andrew Maynard (D- Stonington), would require the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to create and maintain off-highway vehicle trails, assist in OHV law enforcement and fund grants and related activities including safety and education classes for persons who operate all-terrain vehicles as well as to buy land for use by OHVs.
Tallahassee, Fla. House Bill 4015, sponsored by state Rep. Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne), would eliminate the current motorcycle handlebar height restriction of no higher than the top of the shoulders of the person operating the motorcycle while properly seated upon the motorcycle.
Frankfort, Ky.: House Bill 137, sponsored by state Rep. Kelly Flood (D-Lexington), would prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that causes a collision and serious physical injury or death to a “vulnerable user of a public roadway.” The bill cites motorcyclists, among other types of users, as “vulnerable users of a public roadway.” It would also provide for enhanced penalties ranging from a fine of between $6,500 to $12,500, a jail term of up to a year, or both for anyone convicted of, or pleading guilty to, a collision resulting in serious injury or death to a vulnerable roadway user.
A community labor program of not less than 100 hours and not more than 200 hours, plus successful completion of a traffic safety course, may be substituted if approved by the court. In addition, the offender’s operating privilege or operator’s license would be suspended for no less than 30 days and no more than six months.
Augusta, Maine: House Paper 69, sponsored by state Rep. Paulette Beaudoin (D-Biddeford), would require all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear a protective helmet that conforms with minimum standards of construction and performance as prescribed by the American National Standards Institute specifications Z 90.1 or by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 for motorcycle helmets.
Jefferson City, Mo.: House Bill 103, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Kelley (R-Lamar), would grant authority to municipalities to allow all-terrain vehicle and utility vehicle operation on streets or highways under the governing body’s jurisdiction, subject to certain restrictions.
Also, Senate Bill 130, sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), would provide for substantially enhanced penalties for anyone pleading guilty to, or convicted of, a right-of-way violation that results in physical injury, serious physical injury, or death to another roadway user.
Lincoln, Neb.: Legislative Bill 393, sponsored by state Sen. Dave Bloomfield (NP-District 17), would allow motorcycle operators and passengers at least 21 years of age to make their own decision regarding motorcycle helmet use.
Also, Legislative Bill 181, sponsored by Sen. Bill Avery (NP-Avery), would prohibit motorcycle passengers under the age of 8.
Trenton, N.J.: Senate Bill 1685, sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis), would prohibit law enforcement agencies from conducting a roadside checkpoint or other systematic inspection of vehicles along public roads, streets, and highways if the checkpoint or inspection is established for the sole purpose of inspecting motorcycles.
The amended bill passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on Dec. 17 and awaits a second reading in the Senate. A companion bill, Assembly Bill 508, sponsored by Assembly Member Nelson Albano(D-Vineland), remains in the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.
Albany, N.Y.: Senate Bill 1900, sponsored by state Sen. Michael Nozzolio (R-Seneca Falls), would allow motorcycle operators and passengers 21 years of age and older to make their own decision regarding motorcycle helmet use.
Also, Senate Bill 277, sponsored by Sen. William J. Larkin (R- Cornwall-on-Hudson), would prohibit the operation of a motorcycle on a public highway unless both wheels remain on the roadway or ground at all times, except in a circumstance beyond the operator’s control.
Also, Assembly Bill 1228, sponsored by Assembly Member Thomas J. Abinanti (D-Tarrytown), would prohibit any passenger vehicle (including a motorcycle) from idling its engine more than three consecutive minutes under certain conditions when the vehicle is stopped. A first violation would result in a warning; any subsequent violations could result in a fine of not more than $150.
Also, Assembly Bill 1028, sponsored by Assembly Member David F. Gantt (D-Rochester), would increase the penalty for certain motorcycle exhaust system violations from not more than $100 to not more than $700, in addition to, or in place of, a sentence of not more than 30 days imprisonment.
Columbus, Ohio: Senate Bill 114, sponsored by state Sen. John Kasich on Dec. 19, changes the maximum height of motorcycle handlebars or grips from 15 inches above the operator’s seat or saddle to no higher than shoulder height of the operator when seated in the operator’s seat or saddle. The bill also changed the definition of a motorcycle by creating a “cab-enclosed motorcycle” classification for two- or three-wheeled vehicles having an occupant compartment top that is either permanent or removable. The changes take effect March 19.
Pickerington, Ohio: The AMA honored the accomplishments of hundreds of AMA champions from all motorcycle racing disciplines on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Aladdin Event & Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio. The banquet celebrated the 2012 racing season and announced the recipients of a number of special awards that recognize the best of the best.
Speaking at the banquet, AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman thanked all AMA competitors for their contributions to the sport of motorcycling and congratulated them on an unforgettable year.
Emceed by Laurette Nicoll and Greg White, the banquet awarded national championship trophies, placement medals and AMA No. 1 plates to competitors from disciplines ranging from land-speed racing to motocross to woods racing and everything in between. Special awards included AMA Athlete of the Year honors, which went to Taddy Blazusiak (AMA National Championship Series Athlete of the Year) and Zach Bell (AMA Grand Championship Athlete of the Year). World and AMA national speedway champion Billy Hamill was presented the AMA Sportsman of the Year award.
Harrisburg, Pa.: House Bill 172, sponsored by state Rep. Frank Burns (D-Johnstown), would prohibit any Commonwealth agency or political subdivision from accepting federal funds to establish a systematic vehicle inspection program based on stopping only a particular type of vehicle, such as a passenger car, truck or motorcycle. Federal funding could be accepted if a program stops only commercial motor vehicle.
Also, House Bill 173, sponsored by Rep. Frank Burns (D-Johnstown), would prohibit a systematic vehicle inspection program based on stopping only a particular type of vehicle, such as a passenger car, truck or motorcycle. Commercial motor vehicles would continue to be subject to roadside stops under this bill.
Providence, R.I.: House Bill 5061, sponsored by state Rep. Arthur Corvese (D- North Providence), would provide for enhanced penalties for motor vehicle violations at intersections and right-of-way violations that result in serious bodily injury or death.
Columbia, S.C.: Senate Bill 23, sponsored by state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden), would prohibit automobile insurance policies from being issued or delivered in the state if they require individualized electronic monitoring of driving habits, including information related to the insured’s distance traveled, hours of use, location, braking or acceleration, for the purpose of transmitting such usage-based data of insured drivers to automobile insurers.
Also, Senate Bill 3119, sponsored by Rep. Joe Daning (R- Goose Creek), would prohibit transporting anyone under 8 years of age on a motorcycle.
Richmond, Va.: An attempt to repeal Virginia’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law was sidelined by a close vote in a House of Delegates subcommittee recently. House Bill 2010, sponsored by Del. Ben Cline, (R- Amherst), would have made helmets optional for riders 21 and older. The measure was tabled 4-2 and is unlikely to be revived in this legislative session.
The bill drew opposition from the Virginia State Police, local chiefs of police, fire chiefs, volunteer rescue squads, the Division of Motor Vehicles and AAA.
Cheyenne, Wyo.: House Bill 110, sponsored by the Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Interim Committee, would extend the sunset date on off-road recreational vehicle gasoline tax distributions thru June 20, 2019.