MRF Alerts

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  • 11/19/2021 9:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Late last month, over a hundred bikers gathered in Dallas, Texas for the 29th annual Mid-South M.I.L.E. event. Like the Midwest’s Heartland STEAM event, the Mid-South M.I.L.E. brings together bikers from neighboring states to discuss legislative priorities, share ideas and build relationships. Representatives from Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, all participated in the two-day event. The “M.I.L.E.” stands for “Motorcyclists Improving Legislative Effectiveness,” and there is no doubt that the program in Dallas lived up to its billing

    The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) was proud to present a federal legislative update, as well as share tips and tricks on effective lobbying strategies. Other topics by presenters included: Five Steps to Freedom, How to Ensure Success at the State Capitol, Preserving Evidence at the Scene of an Accident and Motorcycle MythBusters.

    Without a doubt, the highlight of the weekend was the dinner banquet, were Congress Michael Burgess (R-TX), the Co-Chairman of the House Motorcycle Caucus, gave the keynote address. Congressman Burgess shared stories about his history in motorcycling and his efforts to combat profiling and the expansion of ethanol mandates. Congressman Burgess was the 2018 MRF Legislative Champion of the year and made sure to wear his award vest during his visit. 

    Like similar events, the Mid-South M.I.L.E. left bikers energized and motivated to continue the fight to defend our freedoms. Thanks to the organizers who invited the MRF to attend and the volunteers who put on a fantastic event. As you might guess, the hospitality room was Texas sized with great food and drink.  And it’s true everything’s bigger in Texas!

    We are counting down the days until the 30th Mid-South M.I.L.E. in Kansas next year.

  • 11/11/2021 5:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Happy Veterans Day to the millions of veterans across our nation. The motorcycling community is stronger because of the hundreds of thousands of riders who have served our country. Thank you for your service in defense of our liberties!

    “Veterans know better than anyone else the price of freedom, for they’ve suffered the scars of war. We can offer them no better tribute than to protect what they have won for us.”

    President Ronald Reagan

  • 11/06/2021 12:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    After a 13-month delay and enactment of three separate extensions, Congress finally passed a surface transportation reauthorization bill. This bill, sometimes called the highway bill or the infrastructure bill, has been a hotly debated topic in D.C. for several years. Once signed by the President, the bill will reauthorize many highway programs, provide funding for road and bridge construction and replace the previous highway bill passed in 2015, known as the FAST Act.

    Just a week ago, Congress gave itself a third extension running into December. Yet election victories by Republican candidates, especially a win by the GOP in the Virginia governor’s race, seems to have spooked Democrats, and motivated passage of a bill that has been awaiting a vote since the summer.

    For the last two years, the House of Representatives and Senate have battled over transportation priorities and funding levels. In both 2020 and 2021, the House of Representatives passed versions of their highway bill, only to be rebuffed by the Senate. Under pressure from President Biden, the Senate finally acted, passing in August a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. This action by the Senate, effectively forced the House to accept the Senate version of the bill or continue to pass short term extensions of current law.

    However, pressure from the left wing of the Democratic party delayed a vote on the Senate’s infrastructure bill until an unconnected piece of legislation, referred to as the “human infrastructure bill,” was agreed to. That bill, called “Build Back Better,” had an original price tag of $3.5 trillion and effectively held the infrastructure bill hostage. After months of debate, and Tuesday’s election results, House Democrats agreed to vote on a smaller Build Back Better bill later in the month, opening the door to a final vote on the infrastructure bill.  

    At 11:27pm Friday night, the House agreed to the Senate’s bill and passed a $1.2 trillion 5-year highway bill, known as the INVEST ACT. The final vote in the House was 228 to 206, with 13 Republicans voting in favor and 6 Democrats voting against.  

    While not a perfect bill, there are victories for bikers contained in the 2,740 pages of legislation.
    First and foremost, the Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) will be reestablished with this new law. The MAC is a forum, within the U.S. Department of Transportation, specifically focused on motorcycle issues. The council is required to provide biannual reports to Congress on three critical areas:

    1. Motorcycle and motorcyclist safety;
    2. Barrier and road design, construction and maintenance practices;
    3. The architecture and implementation of intelligent transportation system technologies.
    Importantly, the new MAC will have expanded membership of 13 members, including one designated member from a “National Motorcyclist Foundation.”

    Second, grant money allocated to states through the Section 405 funds, specifically dedicated to motorcycle safety, will be increased with this new law. In 2021, approximately $4.2 million dollars was distributed to states for motorcycle safety programs. With this new law, close to $5.1 million dollars will be set aside for grants related to motorcycle safety programs in 2022.

    Last year 45 states applied for and were given money for the education and implementation of motorcycle safety programs. The five-year length of this bill will see those funds continue to grow year over year, providing important resources to states for safety training.

    Finally, the bill leaves unchanged hard-fought provisions from past highway bills. These include the ban on using federal funds to create motorcycle only check points and a prohibition on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) actively lobbying state governments on pending legislation.

    It is unfortunate that it took 13 months from the original expiration date of September 30, 2020, to finally pass a new highway bill. This bill does not meet all the needs of bikers, but it does take some positive steps to ensure motorcyclists remain part of the transportation network. With your help, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) will continue to fight for motorcyclists’ priorities left unaddressed in this bill.  Issues related to the profiling of bikers, autonomous vehicles and ethanol regulations are just a few of the areas that this bill falls short on. The MRF is committed to these priorities and remains the voice of the street rider in Washington, D.C.
  • 10/28/2021 7:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    For the 3rd time in 13 months, Congress will extend the deadline to reauthorize highway funding programs. The original deadline of September 30, 2020 was extended for a full year last fall. Last month, Congress kicked the can down the road, giving itself a 1-month extension that expires on October 31st. Facing yet another self-imposed deadline, Thursday night, Congress gave itself ANOTHER extension, this time running through December 3rd, 2021. President Biden now must sign the bill before the first of November to avoid a lapse in funding.

    Over 3,700 employees in the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration would be furloughed without these stop gap funding extensions. Passage of a long-term infrastructure and highway bill remains blocked because of an inter-party fight between progressive and moderate Democrats on a host of issues.

    The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) believes long term and stable funding for our nation’s transportation and infrastructure programs should not be continually deferred. The MRF remains committed to seeking long term solutions that advance the priorities of the nearly 10 million bikers in this country.
  • 10/22/2021 6:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release

    October 22, 2021

    Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation released an interactive website with data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). FARS, which became operational in 1975, containing data on a census of fatal traffic crashes within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. To be included in FARS, a crash must involve a motor vehicle traveling on a traffic way customarily open to the public and must result in the death of a vehicle occupant or a nonoccupant within 30 days of the crash.

    Fatal crash data for motorcyclists and passengers from the years 2010 to 2019 is included on this website.

    Users of the website can sort the information on fatalities by a variety of categories, including:

    • State where the crash took place
    • Crash Characteristics
    • Environmental Characteristics
    • Month of Crash
    • Time of Crash
    • Helmet Usage
    • Alcohol Usage
    • Age and Sex of Victims
    • Weather Conditions
    • Single Vehicle v Multi Vehicle

    While this information can be useful in understanding when, why and where crashes are taking place, it’s important to note that this data includes not just traditional motorcycles but also mopeds, scooters, minibikes, and pocket bikes.

    The Motorcycle Riders Foundation believes crash avoidance is key component of rider safety. There are zero fatalities in crashes that never happen. 

    To see the website and view the decade’s long data click here.

  • 10/11/2021 9:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Over the weekend, California Governor Gavin Newson signed a bill into law banning the sale of all off-road, gas-powered engines, including generators, lawn equipment, pressure washers, chainsaws, weed trimmers, and even golf carts. Under the new law, these machines must be zero-emissions, meaning they will have to be either battery-powered or plug-in.

    This law is particularly concerning because of the status California holds within the national economy. The population and market size that California commands often forces manufacturers to react by changing products nationwide, to conform to California standards. Additionally, states with like-minded legislatures often follow with similar laws and regulations of their own.

    The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is concerned that this action by California, will begin a cascading effect that will eventually result in the demise of the internal combustion engine and the fuel supply tied to it. During the legislative agenda setting meeting, held at the 2021 Meeting of the Minds, in Atlanta, Georgia this very issue was debated. Working with our state partners, the MRF is currently evaluating how best to address these concerns. The final 2022 MRF Legislative Agenda will be made public in an upcoming American Biker Journal.

    To read more on the bill click here.
  • 10/02/2021 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the failure of Congress to pass a new highway bill, by the September 30th deadline, nearly 3,700 United States Department of Transportation staffers were furloughed on Friday. Most of these workers belong to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Without dedicated funding to operate, those agency workers were forbidden from coming into work on October 1st. Operations in these agencies, related to safety and construction projects, were halted as a result.  

    On Friday evening, in an effort to end the closure of these agencies, Congress passed an extension of the recently expired FAST Act. The 30-day extension releases federal funds so workers at the FHWA and FTA can return to work for the month of October.

    An interparty fight between progressive and moderate Democrats created a stalemate on infrastructure legislation and produced the need for an extension.  

    This is the second time the FAST Act has been extended in just over a year. The original 2015 bill, expired on September 30, 2020, but was given a full 1-year extension, creating the recently passed September 30, 2021, deadline.

    The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) remains engaged with lawmakers on this important bill. The MRF continues to stress the need for action on the transportation policy priorities of the nearly 10 million bikers across the country. We will keep you updated as events warrant.
  • 09/30/2021 10:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Late Thursday night, Congress failed to pass a new Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act by the required deadline of September 30th. This piece of legislation, known sometimes as the highway bill, or simply the infrastructure bill, provides funding for numerous road building and safety programs.

    With the deadline looming, and the House of Representatives divided, no formal vote was taken. As a result, at least temporarily, many federal transportation programs must be suspended until either an extension of the current law is enacted, or a new piece of legislation is passed.

    The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has been focused on the highway bill for several years. The legislation provides an important opportunity to shape federal transportation policy and ensure motorcyclists are not forgotten by lawmakers in Washington, D.C.  The MRF remains vigilant in advocating for the priorities of bikers and will alert you as things change in our nation’s capital.
  • 09/24/2021 11:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    On September 30th, numerous highway funding programs will expire unless Congress acts. Currently, there are two separate and dramatically different highway bills in Congress.  These bills go by many different names but are often referred to as infrastructure bills by the news media.

    The first bill, passed by the House of Representatives in June with a price tag of $750 billion dollars includes six priorities of the MRF. 

    • Continued ban on NHTSA lobbying in the states
    • 32% Increase of Motorcycle Safety Training Funds
    • Reestablishment of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council at the Department of Transportation
    • Increased restrictions on motorcycle only check points and the profiling of bikers
    • Inclusion of the types of vehicles stopped to federally collected data on traffic stops
    • Inclusion of the ability to detect and respond to motorcycles as a requirement of autonomous vehicle studies

    The Senate bill passed in August, with a cost of 1.2 trillion includes just three of those priorities.

    • Continued ban on NHTSA lobbying in the states
    • 32% Increase of Motorcycle Safety Training Funds
    • Reestablishment of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council at the Department of Transportation
    There are four potential outcomes. First, the Senate can pass the House bill. This is unlikely as Senators have been forceful in their desire to take the lead on infrastructure. Second, the two chambers can merge their bills together, finding common ground. This too is unlikely as it is time consuming, and the deadline is fast approaching. Third, the House can vote on the Senate bill. Speaker Pelosi has scheduled a vote for next week to try this path. However, members of her party have voiced their concerns over moving this piece of legislation until they get a larger 3.5 trillion-dollar bill focused on what many are calling “human infrastructure.” If that vote fails the fourth option comes into play, which is another extension of the current law for weeks, months or years.

    The next few days will be critical in the fight to make bikers a priority in our transportation system. Stay tuned and we will update you as events unfold in Washington, D.C. 
  • 09/17/2021 6:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    This week Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) reintroduced the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act of 2021.  The bill, S. 2736, ensures that racing enthusiasts continue to have the ability to convert motor vehicles into vehicles used solely for competition. This bill also clarifies that it is legal under federal law to manufacture, sell, distribute, and install race parts that modify the emissions system of a motor vehicle that is used solely for racing.  

    The bill is in response to actions taken by the EPA in 2015. At that time, the EPA issued a proposed regulation that would prohibit the conversion of emissions-certified motor vehicles into vehicles used in motorsports competitions. The 2015 proposed regulation also prevented the sale or use of emissions-related race parts for those modified vehicles.

    An important component of S. 2736 is that it helps protect the aftermarket parts industry. A robust and thriving aftermarket parts industry is vital to the motorcyclist community. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is part of a broad collation of groups working together in D.C. on this topic.

    As you may remember, earlier this year the House of Representatives introduced a similar bill, H.R. 3281, that now has 101 cosponsors. To see if your member of the House is a cosponsor of the RPM Act, click here.

    If you’d like to read more about the Senate bill, click here.  

    Look for further updates and calls to actions on this issue before the end of the year!

    See you in Atlanta!

    Next week is shaping up to be another great Meeting of the Minds! If you make it down to Atlanta, be sure to introduce yourself to our D.C. lobbyist, Rocky Fox. Rocky is always looking to learn about what you are working on back home.

    An important part of Meeting of the Minds is making connections between our members around the country and back in D.C. If you have relationships with your hometown Senators or Congressman, make sure Rocky knows!

    Let’s have a great few days down South!

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