MRF Alerts

  • 07/14/2021 6:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release

    July 14, 2021

    MEETING OF THE MINDS 2021 -- Sixty days is cutting it close

    September 10, 2021, the rapidly approaching cut-off date for hotel and registration for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s 37th Annual Meeting of the Minds conference is too close to put off any longer. 

    Think about the past sixty days… After nearly 18 months, the country was just starting to come out of its pandemic cocoon.  The MRF was putting finishing touches on what turned out to be a very successful Bikers Inside the Beltway, you were watching the early sprouts from your gardening endeavors, taken your favorite ride for a longer ride than the winter allowed, and were thinking about a large get-together for Independence Day. 

    Now with just sixty days remaining before the registration cut-off, you’re cleaning up after your July 4th celebrations, thinking about a long weekend ride, or maybe even a ride to Sturgis. If you’re getting this electronically, then you don’t even have to get up off your chair to register.  Use this link to register:  Meeting of the Minds 2021

    Based on the input we received after Meeting of the Minds 2020, the MRF has “up’d our game” and this year’s event promises to rival anything we’ve done in the past few years.

    The Meeting of the Minds, with a little more than 48 hours for keynote speakers, dynamic presentations, and at least 12 workshops, will keep you busy from the time you check in until you’ve checked out.  Plus, you’ll still be sorting through your notes and the material long after you’ve returned home! 

    Although we jam a lot into the Meeting of the Minds weekend, there’s always time for you to network with new and old friends.  That’s an added benefit when 400 motorcyclists’ rights advocates are in the same place at once.

    If you’ve been following the MRF’s successes in Washington, D.C., then you know that those successes don’t happen just because a hundred bikers meet with members of Congress.  In our world, successes happen because you’ve taken the time to educate yourself on the issues, attend workshops and stay active on behalf of motorcyclists’ rights. 

    If our history repeats itself, we’ll have workshops with standing room only.  We’ll have keynote speakers and presentations that will enlighten, entertain, and provoke you into even stronger commitments to the fight to protect motorcycling and the freedoms we enjoy.

    Don’t cut it close.  Follow these three steps and register today for the 37th Annual Meeting of the Minds.

    1. Make your travel arrangements.
    2. Make your hotel arrangements:  J W Marriott Atlanta Buckhead 404-262-3344 & mention MRF.  Cut-off is September 10, 2021.
    3. Register for MOTM 2021 using this link:  Meeting of the Minds 2021

    Yeah, you still have a little time before the pre-registration cut-off for the37th Annual Meeting of the Minds Conference!!!   Registration includes all workshops, workshop materials, and Saturday banquet. Registration questions call the MRF at 202-546-0983, or email Fred Harrell at fred@mrf.org.

    Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you September 23-26, at the JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, for the 37thAnnual Meeting of the Minds Conference!!!

    Yours in Freedom,

    Fredric Harrell
    Director, Conferences & Events

    Motorcycle Riders Foundation

    P.S. A 2021 Meeting of the Minds t-shirt on your list?  They go fast at the conference; to guarantee you’ll get your size, reserve your shirt now.

    P.P.S.  Getting in early?  Then make plans to attend the MRF Board Meeting on Thursday, September 23; it starts at 8:00 a.m.

  • 06/30/2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    This week the federal government took an important step in the oversight of autonomous vehicles on our nation’s roadways. Under an order issued Tuesday, manufacturers of autonomous vehicles must disclose data about crashes involving this new technology. The Motorcycle Riders Foundations applauds the Department of Transportation for implementing this commonsense policy which will protect all Americans.

    As reported by Bloomberg news: 

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is ordering car manufacturers to disclose crashes involving automated driving systems as part of an effort to monitor safety of new technologies being used on the nation’s roads.

    The agency announced Tuesday it is issuing an order requiring crash reporting from manufacturers and operators of vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems, including those that can perform driver tasks such as steering, changing speeds and switching lanes.

    NHTSA said the action would allow regulators “to collect information necessary for the agency to play its role in keeping Americans safe on the roadways, even as the technology deployed on the nation’s roads continues to evolve.”

    “By mandating crash reporting, the agency will have access to critical data that will help quickly identify safety issues that could emerge in these automated systems,” Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s acting administrator, said in a statement. “In fact, gathering data will help instill public confidence that the federal government is closely overseeing the safety of automated vehicles.”

    The reporting requirement applies to automated driver assist systems that meet SAE International’s Level 2 automation, the agency said. SAE International, which is an automotive engineering association, crafted self-driving definitions that were later adopted by NHTSA. They used to be named the Society of Automotive Engineers.

    To read the official NHTSA release here.
  • 06/11/2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Legislation authorizing roughly $547 billion for highways and other surface transportation over five years advanced in a House panel, despite opposition from Republicans who objected to what they called Green New Deal climate initiatives.

    The legislation (H.R. 3684) would authorize $343 billion for roads, bridges, and safety, $95 billion for passenger and freight rail, and $109 billion for transit. It aligns with many of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure priorities.

    Working into the wee hours on amendments, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee adjourned early Thursday after approving the measure on a 38-26 vote. Only Republicans Brian Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania) and Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (Puerto Rico) voted with Democrats in support of the bill.

    Included in the bill were three motorcycle related priorities that also made it into the 2020 version of this same bill.

    1) Expanded prohibition on motorcycle only check points, including prohibiting using the clothing or apparel of riders or their passengers to profile or target bikers.
    2) Reestablishment of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council, which gives bikers a voice within the Federal Highway Administration. Included in the bill, a seat on the council is specifically designated for a “representative of a national motorcycle foundation.”
    3) Inclusion of motorcycles as a specific category that autonomous vehicle studies must account for during the testing of this new technology. Additionally, a motorcyclist rights organization is assigned a seat on an autonomous vehicle working group at the U.S.

    The House Ways and Means Committee now must take up the bill to determine the funding mechanism for the $547 billion the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee just authorized. The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on final passage in late June or early July.


    Pet Projects Return

    For the first time in a decade “earmarks” returned to the House of Representatives. An earmark is an allocation of government funds directed at specific recipients. These recipients are determined by Congress and it limits the discretion of the executive branch agencies in dispersing funds.

    In other words, Congress specifically says which projects get money and how much. This is sometimes referred to as “bringing home the bacon” or “pork barrel spending.” Individual lawmakers steer federal money back to their districts for specific named projects. The highway bill was long a baston of earmarks with the 2005 version of the bill featured 5,671 of them.

    However, famous earmarks like the “Bridge to Nowhere” lead to criticism of the process and eventually earmarks were banned in 2011.

    Earlier this year, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) announced that starting this year House lawmakers would be able to request funds for specific projects in the next highway bill.

    Proponents of earmarks have long argued they help “grease the wheels” in Congress enticing lawmakers to support legislation because they have skin in the game. They also argue as Rep. DeFazio said, “The discretion to fund projects should not be reserved for State or Federal bureaucrats,” adding “Elected representatives know the infrastructure needs of their district and should be allowed to identify projects and advocate on behalf of their constituents in legislation.”

    However, concerns about corruption as well as wasteful and excessive spending have led many to resist the temptation of earmarks.

    The bill passed this week by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure included 5.7 billion in earmarks dedicated to 1,473 local project requests by lawmakers. The bill includes 1,067 projects from Democrats, 403 from Republicans, and three bipartisan ones.

    With many Republicans in the Senate opposed to earmarks it is unclear if a final highway bill will contain the nearly 1,500 projects that were included in the House bill.  


  • 06/06/2021 10:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure unveiled its 2021 highway bill, titled the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in American Act. As you may remember, every five years Congress is required to reauthorize many of the highway related spending bills it passes. The current highway bill, known as the FAST Act, was given a one-year extension last year and is set to expire in September of 2021. The bill introduced Friday is a key component of the major infrastructure spending push the Biden Administration has made a top priority.

    For the last two years, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and its members have diligently educated and lobbied lawmakers about the need to include motorcyclist specific priorities in a new highway bill. These grassroots efforts were given a boost with the inclusion of three major motorcyclist specific items in the bill. The Democrat lead bill includes the following provisions in its nearly 1,300 pages of text:

    1. Expanded prohibition on motorcycle only check points, including prohibiting using the clothing or apparel of riders or their passengers to profile or target bikers.
    2. Reestablishment of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council, which gives bikers a voice within the Federal Highway Administration. Included in the bill, a seat on the council is specifically designated for a “representative of a national motorcycle foundation.”
    3. Inclusion of motorcycles as a specific category that autonomous vehicle studies must account for during the testing of this new technology. Additionally, a motorcyclist rights organization is assigned a seat on an autonomous vehicle working group at the U.S. Department of Transportation.


    The road ahead for a massive infrastructure plan remains uncertain. Negotiations between the House, Senate and White House will be contentious and as always political. However, what is certain is that the work of MRF members has ensured that motorcyclists are being heard in Washington, D.C. and as this newly released legislation shows they are being prioritized. 

  • 05/19/2021 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For the last 15 months the halls of Congress have been silent. Health and safety restrictions have all but eliminated the normal atmosphere on Capitol Hill. However, this week things began to return to normal.  Bikers from over 25 states made their way to Washington D.C. and spent Monday and Tuesday meeting in person and via zoom with lawmakers and their staff. In many cases MRF members were the FIRST in person guests many members of congress had hosted since March of last year!

    Bikers advocated on issues related to profiling, autonomous vehicles, the highway bill, ethanol and a host of other items. The action wasn’t limited to D.C.  as MRF members who couldn’t make the trip spent the last few days meeting with elected officials and staff back home. In the coming weeks the MRF will put out calls to action on many of the topics we covered this week. You can help move our agenda forward by responding to these calls to action and build off of the great work done in D.C. But for now, enjoy some of the pictures your fellow rides snapped while in out nation’s capital! 


  • 05/06/2021 2:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
      The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is moving forward to make the 2021 Bikers Inside the Beltway our most effective event ever. Thank you for your commitment to the MRF’s mission. Thank you for making appointments with your members of Congress
      • Have you registered for Bikers Inside the Beltway? It’s free but time is running out! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER  
      • Have you made your appointments to visit your members of Congress? Make your appointments now in your district or in Washington, D.C.
      • Have you made your hotel reservations? Final date for hotel registration, May 13, 2021: 703-684-5900 Embassy Suites by Hilton Alexandria, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22314

      • 05/03/2021 6:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        Last Friday, champions of the motorcycling community in the House of Representatives introduced a resolution addressing motorcyclist profiling. The resolution H. Res. 366 has three key points:

        (1) promoting increased public awareness on the issue of motorcyclist profiling;
        (2) encouraging collaboration and communication with the motorcycle community and law enforcement to engage in efforts to end motorcycle profiling; and
        (3) urging State law enforcement officials to include statements condemning motorcyclist profiling in written policies and training materials.

        The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) applauds Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI), Congressman Michael Burgess (R-TX), Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL), and Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) for introducing this bipartisan resolution in the House of Representatives.

        During the 116th Congress, a record 138 Representatives cosponsored a similar resolution to the one introduced today yet it failed to reach the House floor for a vote. This came on the heels of the United States Senate unanimously passing a related resolution in 2018.

        Legislative action against the profiling of motorcyclists is not limited to Washington, D.C. Across the country, state legislatures are considering measures aimed at combating the profiling of motorcyclists. The MRF is joined by the Motorcycle Profiling Project, state motorcyclist’ rights organization, motorcycle clubs and individual riders taking a stand on this issue.

        With the U.S. Senate on record on the topic and state capitals around the nation taking action it is imperative the House of Representatives follow suit and pass H. Res 366.

        President of the MRF, Kirk ‘Hardtail’ Willard, stated “We thank Representatives Walberg, Burgess, Bustos and Pocan for their leadership on this important issue. Motorcyclists in every state are impacted by profiling. This issue isn’t going away, and it’s well past time for the House of Representatives to go on the record about the need to end motorcyclist profiling.”

      • 03/26/2021 8:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
        Motorcyclist Advisory Council Bill Introduced
        This week a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced H.R. 2141, the Motorcyclist Advisory Council Reauthorization Act. The Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) was first established by Congress in 2005 and reauthorized in 2015. The MAC is responsible for providing advice and recommendations concerning infrastructure issues related to motorcyclist safety including barrier design, road design, construction, maintenance practices and the architecture and implementation of intelligent transportation system technologies.
        This is the second time that lawmakers have introduced a stand-alone bill to reauthorize the MAC. Last year the bill was turned into an amendment and added to the House passed highway bill. That amendment and this legislation make common sense changes to the MAC.  Some of these changes include:

        • Reauthorizing the MAC for six years. This ensures that the MAC has an established timeline for its work.
        • Requiring that the MAC submit a biennial recommendations report. At a minimum three reports on motorcycle policy will now be required to be submitted to the Department of Transportation and Congress for review.  
        • Clarifying the membership of the MAC.  This bill sets aside specific seats on the 12-member board for motorcycle riders and advocates. For example, one seat is reserved for each of the following, a national motorcyclist foundation, a national motorcyclist association and a national motorcycle manufacturing association.

        The MRF would like to thank lead sponsor Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and original cosponsors Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH), Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Congressman Don Young (R-AK) for their leadership on this important issue to motorcyclists.

        MRF President, Kirk Willard said “The bill introduced by Rep. Gallagher ensures that the nearly 10 million bikers in America are included in the discussion surrounding our nation’s transportation network. No conversation about our roads, bridges or infrastructure is complete unless all roadway users have a voice.”  

        Click here to read the official press release from Congressman Gallagher.

        Country Roads Take Me Home

        Last weekend Doc D’Errico, MRF Director of State Representatives Program, traveled to Charleston, West Virginia to join bikers in the Mountain State in support of a helmet choice bill. Senate Bill 77, introduced in the West Virginia legislature, would allow adults over 21 years of age with a motorcycle license and two years of experience to choose whether or not they want to wear a helmet.

        Over 100 bikers gathered on the steps of the West Virginia State Capitol to show support for the bill. Lead by ABATE of West Virginia State Director Lanty Hammons, numerous speakers talked about the need for West Virginia to join neighboring states like Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio and allow freedom of choice.  

        Local news outlets covered the event, and you can see their reports by clicking here.

        Thank you to the bikers in West Virginia for including the MRF in their fight and thank you to Doc D’Errico who traveled all the way from Massachusetts to join his fellow riders in this battle!
      • 03/25/2021 11:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        BIKERS INSIDE THE BELTWAY 2021
        FLEXIBLE & MOVING FORWARD

        The pandemic and the events of January 6 brought changes to meetings with members of Congress and large gatherings.  The MRF has restructured Bikers inside the Beltway to comply with pandemic mandates and directives for assemblies.  The 2021 Bikers inside the Beltway will take place in Washington, D.C., May 18.

        “It is our right to address Congress” said MRF President Kirk Willard. “While attendees will need to take a flexible approach to scheduling meetings with their members of Congress, Bikers Inside the Beltway will take place as scheduled.” 

        New security restrictions necessitate that visitors to Congress establish appointments before arriving in D.C. The MRF will provide members with contact information to begin the process of setting your D.C. agenda.

        Flexibility with appointments and expectations is a must. Some congressional offices will welcome in person meetings within the Capitol Complex. Other offices may seek meetings outside the official government buildings. Still others may only do a meeting over the phone or via zoom.

        Bikers inside the Beltway will be dual-faceted to accommodate in-person visits to Congress plus visits to local offices.  

        To ensure that the mission of getting our message to Congress does not fail, here are a few items to consider:

        Once infrastructure funding legislation is assigned a Senate and House number, that information will be shared.

        • Make your appointments locally or in Washington.
        • Familiarize yourself with the briefing points.
        • Confirm your appointment locally or in Washington.
        • Virtual or in person, make notes on your meeting.
        • Share your meeting notes with the MRF.
        Although bill numbers have not been assigned to the infrastructure funding legislation, Congress has classified it as a high priority.  Language that the MRF amended into the 2020 highway funding legislation has not changed.  The MRF’s 2021 High Priority Objectives are on track to be included in the upcoming highway funding legislation.  
         
        A meeting of the MRF Board of Directors will take place on May 17 at the Embassy Suites, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.  Rooms are available through the hotel direct line 703-684-5900 and use reference code MRF when making reservations.  Hotel cut-off date May 13. Updated Flyer here.

        A pre-event briefing and Q&A for visits to Congress is at 7:00 p.m., May 17, and is required for all attendees.  Briefing packets and “leave behinds” will be available during the briefing.

        Make appointments with your members of Congress, attend the MRF board meeting, briefing session, and Bikers inside the Beltway.  Bikers inside the Beltway 2021 – flexible and moving forward.
      • 03/16/2021 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        This week the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) joined other national groups in pushing back on proposed rule changes to current ethanol labeling requirements. Representatives of manufacturers, suppliers, and consumers of boats, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, and outdoor power equipment made clear that elimination or changes to current E-15 labels at fuel pumps would cause irreparable harm to millions of consumers.

        In a letter to the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Administrator Michael Regan, the group stated that, “The misfuelling of marine engines and vessels, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, and outdoor power equipment places significant burdens on both the American consumer and product manufacturers. The risk to consumers is that they will experience product damage, compromised performance and emissions requirements, economic loss, and fuel leaks resulting in unsafe products.”

        As a reminder, in January the EPA proposed elimination of the current E15 label altogether or the significant changes listed below:

        • Removing the “Attention” stripe along the upper right corner of the label.
        • Removing the phrase “E15” from the label, while including the language “contains up to 15% percent ethanol”.
        • Revising the language “Use only in” to “Safe for use in”.
        • Revising the language “Don’t use in” to “Avoid use in”.
        • Revising the format of the word “prohibited” such that it is not in bold and italicized type.

        The MRF has long advocated consumer education to combat the increased prevalence of E15 nationwide. The letter to EPA points out that a recent survey shows, “Three in five consumers mistakenly assume E15 is safe for all their products.” Additionally, consumers should be aware that many manufacturer warranties are voided if improper fuel is used.

        The MRF thanks the diverse set of partners that have worked together on this issue. Other signatories of the letter include the American Motorcyclist Association, American Sportfishing Association, Boat Owners Association of the United States, Briggs & Stratton, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, Motorcycle Industry Council, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, Special Vehicle Institute of America and the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association.

        MRF President, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard said, “Whether it be the boat guys, the chainsaw guys or the flying cars guys, the MRF will work with almost anyone when our interests are aligned.”

        To read the full letter to EPA click here.


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