MRF Alerts

  • 02/26/2021 7:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Bridging the Gap

    Last weekend members of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) attended a meeting of the National Council of Clubs in Gulfport, Mississippi. The MRF was invited to the event, entitled “Bridging the Gap,” to discuss opportunities for the motorcycle club community to work in partnership with the MRF on national legislation. The MRF gave two presentations, the first on our 2021 legislative agenda and the second on the outlook for motorcycling going forward.

    The MRF was represented by Kirk “Hardtail” Willard (MRF President), Jay Jackson (MRF Vice President), Fred Harrell (Director of Conference & Events), Todd Riba (MRF Members Representative), Russell Radke (Director of Sustaining Member Motorcycle Clubs) and Rocky Fox (Government Relations). The weekend in Gulfport was the culmination of years of work by the MRF and clubs to find common ground on issues of importance to all motorcyclists. Specifically, Russell Radke should be applauded for his efforts to help foster lines of communication and collaboration between clubs and independents. Russell has spent countless hours spreading the word about the MRF and this weekend was a product of his hard work.

    Thank you to the National Council of Clubs for the invitation to Gulfport and thank you to all those who fight for bikers’ rights nationwide.

    Helping in the States

    As State Capitols around the country become busy with legislative activity numerous motorcycle specific bills are being considered. Recently ABATE of Maryland reached out to the MRF seeking testimony in support of a new helmet choice bill introduced in the Maryland State Senate.

    The MRF submitted both written testimony and testified via Zoom in support of SB 712 - Vehicle Laws- Protective Headgear Requirement for Motorcycle Riders- Exception. MRF Vice President Jay Jackson spent Tuesday afternoon testifying before the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

    We know that many other state motorcyclists’ rights organizations are addressing issues of importance in their state capitals. Whether it be another helmet law, as Nebraska is focused on or changes to ethanol as our friends in Iowa and Indiana are addressing, we at the MRF are committed to supporting the work at the state level. Let us know what you are working on back home so we can share with your fellow riders across the country.

    To read the MRF testimony submitted to the Maryland State Senate click here.

  • 02/12/2021 7:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Mr. Speaker…

    Last month, Sherman “Sherm” Packard was elected Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Sherm has been a state legislator in New Hampshire since 1990 and a long-time champion for motorcyclists. In recognition of his longtime work on behalf of the New Hampshire Motorcyclist Rights Organization and all riders across the country Sherm was inducted into the MRF Hall of Fame in 2018.

    MRF President Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, said “As one of the original motorcyclist rights activists in our movement and a MRF Hall of Famer, Lifetime Achievement honoree and John “Farmer” Eggers award recipient I cannot think of a better individual to represent New Hampshire and all motorcyclists than Sherm.”

    Sherm isn’t heading just any legislative body either, he’s heading one with a massive number of members. The New Hampshire House of Representatives is the largest lower chamber in any statehouse with 400 elected members. It’s also the 4th largest legislative body in the English-speaking world! It falls behind only the House of Commons in the United Kingdom (650 members), the Lok Shabha of India (543 members) and the United States House of Representatives (435 members).

    Jay Jackson, MRF Vice President added, “Sherm Packard was among the first in the motorcyclist rights community to become the ultimate grassroots lobbyist by getting elected to office. Now he has ascended to the highest position in the chamber, Speaker of the House. He is not merely a biker that got elected, he is a highly respected legislative leader that is also a biker. The people of New Hampshire, and motorcyclists nationwide, are truly blessed to have Sherm Packard representing them.”

    Congratulations to Speaker Packard on this fantastic accomplishment!

    New Members and Committees

    With the election of nearly 70 new lawmakers in the Senate and the House, congressional committee membership is directly impacted. Not only are freshman members assigned to new committees, but current members can also jump to new committees. While numerous committees can impact our work in Washington a few specific ones are always at the forefront.

    Below is a list of lawmakers that will be added to these important committees. They will join other elected officials who have previously served on the committees.

    Take a look and see if your Representative or Senator is a new member of these committees.

    House Energy and Commerce Committee – Jurisdiction over issues including autonomous vehicles and ethanol. New Committee Members:

    • Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND)
    • Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN)
    • Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX)
    • Rep. John Curtis (R-UT)
    • Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)
    • Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX)
    • Rep. John Joyce (R-PA)
    • Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ)
    • Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL)
    • Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN)
    • Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY)
    • Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA)
    • Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA)

    House Judiciary Committee – Jurisdiction over motorcyclist profiling resolution and potential police reform legislation. New Committee Members:

    • Rep. Cliff Bentz (OR)
    • Rep. Dan Bishop (NC)
    • Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO)
    • Rep. Michelle Fischbach (MN)
    • Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (WI)
    • Rep. Darrell Issa (CA)
    • Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY)
    • Rep. Thomas Massie (KY)
    • Rep. Burgess Owens (UT)
    • Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC)
    • Rep. Chip Roy (TX)
    • Rep. Victoria Spartz (IN)

    House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee – Jurisdiction over the 2021 highway bill. New Committee Members:

    • Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA)
    • Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA)
    • Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL)
    • Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX)
    • Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA)
    • Rep. Kaiali’l Kahele (D-HI)
    • Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC)
    • Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY)
    • Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA)
    • Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL)
    • Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA)
    • Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-WA)
    • Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX)
    • Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA)

    Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee – Joint jurisdiction over the 2021 Highway bill and jurisdiction over autonomous vehicles. New Committee Members:

    • Sen. John Hickenlooper (D- CO)
    • Sen. Ben Ray Lujan, (D-NM)
    • Sen. Cynthia Lummis, (R-WY)
    • Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA)

    Senate Environment and Public Works – Joint jurisdiction over the 2021 highway bill and jurisdiction over ethanol issues. New Committee Members:

    • Mark Kelly (D-AZ)
    • Alex Padilla (D-CA)

    Senate Judiciary Committee – Jurisdiction over potential police reform legislation. New Committee Members:

    • Alex Padilla (D-CA)
    • Jon Ossoff (D-GA)

  • 02/05/2021 6:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Automated Driving Systems (AKA Autonomous Vehicles)

    Late last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a rulemaking process for developing a “Framework for Automated Driving System (ADS) Safety.” As part of the process public comments were solicited by NHTSA. This week the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) submitted a 6-page formal letter outlining our thoughts on the development, testing and deployment of ADS.

    Building on past submissions to both Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation, the MRF laid out important priorities that NHTSA should consider. Some of the main topics the MRF highlights include the need to account for the unique attributes and characteristics of motorcycles, cyber security concerns, liability provisions, the role of individual states, the need for public transparency, threats to the protected communication spectrum and the challenges of regulations keeping pace with this technology.

    While ADS has promising potential, the devil will be in the details. How this technology is developed, tested and deployed will impact all Americans. We at the MRF will continue to fight to ensure motorcyclists are included in these discussions.

    To read the full letter from the MRF to NHTSA click here.

    SMRO Meetings Around the Country

    January and February are traditionally the busy season for state motorcyclist rights organizations (SMRO) annual meetings. This year many of those meetings have been rescheduled, held virtually or have unfortunately been cancelled all together. While we know these are difficult times, the MRF remains committed to working with our state partners and participating in these events when possible.

    In January, MRF Vice President Jay Jackson travelled to Bowling Green, Kentucky to attend the Kentucky Motorcycle Association/Kentucky Bikers Association Freedom Fighters Forum. Also, that month MRF lobbyist Rocky Fox traveled to Austin, Texas for Texas Bikers Legislative Weekend. This event was sponsored by the Texas Council of Clubs and Independents, Region 1 Texas Defenders and hosted at the Veterans Collective facility.

    Both events included a number of speakers and elected officials discussing issues important to all motorcyclists. Elected officials from Kentucky included, Secretary of State Michael Adams, State Senator Jimmy Higdon, staff from U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s office and via video message Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Slider Gilmore from Iowa even made a presentation in Kentucky! The Texas event included a townhall style question and answer with State Senator Drew Springer. Texas also welcomed leaders in the motorcycle rights movement from California, Illinois, New Mexico, New York and Pennsylvania to Austin. Thank you again to the riders in Kentucky and Texas for including the MRF in these events and working hard to deliver results for riders in those states.

    If your SMRO has hosted an event in 2021 please submit your pictures and details to so we can share them with your fellow riders across the country!

  • 01/25/2021 8:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Atlanta, Georgia – The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., along with ABATE of Georgia, announced a historic first with the announcement that the organization’s annual Meeting of the Minds Conference will take place in Atlanta in September this year.

    “The MRF has met several times in the Southeast. However, we have never had the opportunity to meet in Atlanta, and we’re looking forward to the occasion.” MRF Conferences and Events Director, Fredric Harrell announced at the organization’s 2020 annual conference in Indianapolis in September.

    “ABATE of Georgia worked to meet the MRF’s conference guidelines and we’re reaching out to our neighboring state motorcyclists’ rights organizations for participation.” Donna Nunez, ABATE of Georgia Activities Director, said when the 2021 conference was announced.

    This “historic first” will bring the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Minds Conference to the JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead Hotel, September 23-26 and will be the kick-off point for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s 2022 legislative agenda. Attendees are encouraged to make reservations as early as possible for this much-demanded conference.

    Past keynote speakers at the annual event include, Keith “Bandit” Ball, former editor of Easyriders Magazine, Dave Zein, former Wisconsin State Senator, Paul Landers, Texas Freedom Fighter, Chopper & Slider Gilmore, Freedom Fighters & Motorcycling Safety Advocates, Mark Buckner, Former MRF President & current MRF Executive Director, among other notables who have added insight, levity and strong messages on freedom and individual rights to the MRFs annual conference. Conference agenda includes, but never limited to general sessions, 15 break-out sessions, safe riding demonstrations and awards banquet.

    The first Meeting of the Minds Conference, held in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1985 witnessed barely 100 motorcyclists’ rights advocates and a very limited agenda. The Meeting of the Minds Conference has grown to over 500 participants from state motorcyclists’ rights advocacy groups in addition to representatives from Canada, the European Union, Australia and Liberia.

  • 01/15/2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    EPA Announces Rulemaking on Fuel Pump Labels

    Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a “Notice of Public Rulemaking” regarding labels on E15 fuel dispensers. In the notice, the EPA proposed two potential changes to the current fuel pump labels related to E15. The first is modification of the current label and the second is removal of the label altogether.

    The modified label proposal contains these possible changes:

    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 proposed total removal of the label would likely mean that Federal Trade Commission and the Clean Air Act regulations would have to be adjusted or accounted for.

    The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is concerned that either of these proposals will lead more consumers choosing the incorrect fuel for their vehicles.

    The MRF will submit comments to the EPA on our position in the next 90 days. Additionally, we will continue to advocate that Congress pass a law requiring strong labeling requirements. Consumers must know not only what they are putting in their vehicles, but also the potential harm different blends of fuel can do to their engines.

    To read the full release from the EPA click here.

  • 01/13/2021 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month, the Washington, D.C. based, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) released their 2021 state traffic safety rankings(Report). The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is troubled that the methodology used in studying motorcycle safety takes the flawed view that safer crashes are better than no crashes.

    The MRF has long believed that proper safety training of motorcyclists and education of other motorists is the most effective tool in protecting all roadway users. The MRF remains committed to working with our partners in the public and private sectors to ensure properly trained instructors impart skills that have a track record of creating safer riders.

    Additionally, the AHAS report takes direct aim at the over 30 states that have freedom of choice helmet laws. Recent studies show the state with the highest motorcycle fatality rate (Mississippi) has a mandatory helmet law, while the state with the lowest fatality rate (Montana) does not require a helmet for those over 18 years old. In fact, the AHAS study shows that 61% of motorcyclists killed were wearing helmets at the time of the crash. It should also be noted that the absence of a requirement does not prohibit someone from choosing to wear a helmet. The MRF firmly believes that any attempt at a federal helmet mandate or blackmail techniques designed to coerce states into enacting a helmet law is unacceptable.

    MRF President Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, put it simply, “Encroachment on our personal freedoms and attacks on individual state laws goes against the foundational principles of this country.” He added, “We all agree that deaths on our roadways are tragic but surrendering our freedoms in pursuit of safety is a dangerous path.”

  • 01/08/2021 6:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Biden Picks Transportation Secretary

    Last month President-elect Joe Biden selected former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a onetime Democratic primary rival, to lead the Transportation Department.

    Mr. Buttigieg dropped out of the race in March and endorsed Mr. Biden along with other moderate Democrats. Leading the Transportation Department, Mr. Buttigieg is expected to play a prominent role in the incoming Biden administration's push to rebuild the nation's roads and bridges.

    Mr. Biden campaigned on a $2 trillion plan to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, much of it related to transportation. Mr. Buttigieg would take over a department whose most critical functions are setting transportation regulations and distributing vast sums of money, mostly to states to fund their respective highway, road and transit systems. If confirmed by the Senate, he will begin his tenure, as pressure mounts for the Biden administration and Congress to reach a deal on paying for infrastructure spending. Congress faces a September deadline to reauthorize federal funding for highways, transit, rail, and safety programs. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle point to infrastructure spending as a way to stimulate the coronavirus-ravaged economy.

    House of Representatives Fails to Pass Profiling Resolution

    On January 3rd the 117th Congress was sworn in and all bills and resolutions not agreed to from 2019-2020 must be reintroduced. The MRF is disappointed that, despite over 130 bipartisan cosponsors, House leadership failed to bring this the motorcyclist profiling resolution, H. Res. 255, to the floor for a vote.

    The issue of motorcyclist profiling continues to gain traction on Capitol Hill and the growth in cosponsors over the last 5-years is a testament to the work of individual MRF members and state motorcycle rights organizations. The first version of the resolution introduced during the 114th Congress had only 18 cosponsors. Two years later the version before the 115th Congress had 37 cosponsors while this version had 139 cosponsors. Additionally, the Highway Reauthorization bill that passed the House in July of 2020 included language that focused on motorcyclists profiling.

    Despite this setback our champions on Capitol Hill remain in the fight. The leadership of the House Motorcycle Caucus has already reach out to the MRF about plans to reintroduce the profiling resolution in early 2021. The MRF remains committed to seeing the House of Representatives do what the Senate did in 2018, go on the record about the need to end motorcyclists profiling!

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  • 11/27/2020 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

    Your Motorcycle Riders Foundation team in Washington, D.C. is pleased to provide our members with the latest information and updates on issues that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. Count on your MRF to keep you informed about a range of matters that are critical to the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. Published weekly when the U.S. Congress is in session.

    FCC Spectrum Band Vote

    Last week the Federal Communications Commission voted 5-0 on a controversial measure that opens up spectrum band previously reserved solely for automakers. Spectrum is the range of electromagnetic radio frequencies used to transmit sound, data, and video across the country. For over 20 years a specific band of spectrum was reserved for automotive safety. The hope being that automakers would develop technology allowing cars to communicate with one another, thus creating safer roadways.

    The fight surrounding the allocation of this spectrum pitted cable companies like Comcast on one side vs automakers and the U.S. Department of Transportation on the other.

    U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee chairman, Peter DeFazio, called the decision “a gift to corporate interests at the expense of public safety,” adding it “will undermine decades of development and over a billion public dollars that the transportation community has invested in these technologies.”

    During the legislative session at the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) Meeting of the Minds in September, ABATE of Illinois made a strong pitch to other state motorcycle rights organizations that this spectrum issue would impact the safety of motorcyclists nationwide. Following the lead of ABATE of Illinois, MRF membership voted unanimously to add the spectrum band issue to our list of “2021 High Priority Objectives.” The official stance of the MRF is to “Protect the set aside radio spectrums necessary for Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) vehicle to vehicle communications.”

    We will continue to follow the issue and work with like-minded organizations to protect the safety of our roads. Thank you to ABATE of Illinois for their vigilance on this issue.

    If you’d like to read the ABATE of Illinois statement on the topic click here.

    Public Comments Sought on Autonomous Vehicles

    As we at the MRF know, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has taken a voluntary approach to autonomous vehicles (AVs) without standards and regulations. This hands-off approach has worried motorcyclists, by allowing the private sector to deploy AVs with little or no oversight.

    Last week NHTSA changed course slightly and asked for public input on a proposed regulation of autonomous vehicle sensors, how the vehicles detect other road users and infrastructure, how they plan routes and how they carry out that plan.

    “This rulemaking will help address legitimate public concerns about safety, security and privacy without hampering innovation in the development of automated driving systems,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

    Once the notice is printed in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to comment on proposed regulations. Before the deadline, the MRF will draft a response to NHTSA outlining the concerns of motorcyclists and now government agencies can ensure motorcyclists are accounted for in the development and deployment of this new technology.

  • 11/26/2020 10:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    November 26, 2020 

    Happy Thanksgiving 

    As has been the case with most holidays in 2020, things may look and feel differently this Thanksgiving. Whether you are celebrating with friends and family in person or virtually, we at the MRF wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Now more than ever, it is important to reflect on the people and things that we are thankful for.

    The MRF thanks you for your continued support and commitment to motorcycle rights.

    “When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.” — Tecumseh

  • 11/24/2020 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    November 24, 2020 

    For Immediate Release

    Motorcycle Riders Foundation Announces Organizational Changes 

    The purpose of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is to be an independent, national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. To accomplish this in the most fiscally responsible manner, the MRF has taken the following actions.

    We have renewed our agreement with Husch Blackwell Strategies LLC for an additional year for them to act as our governmental affairs consultants. We will continue to be represented by registered lobbyist, William (Rocky) Fox.

    We have also renewed our contract with JPK Services to provide administrative and office management services to the MRF.

    We have entered into an agreement with DB Services to provide editorial oversight and publication services for the American Bikers Journal, our printed and electronic bi-monthly magazine.

    Also, during our recent board meeting at Meeting of the Minds in Indianapolis the position of executive director of the MRF that was created by the Board in 2018 was filled. The Chairman of the Board Kirk Willard and MRF Vice President, Jay Jackson, recommended MRF Past President, Mark Buckner, be appointed to the position; the board unanimously agreed. Mark will focus on the MRF Corporate Strategic Plan, membership retention and growth, and the Corporation’s operational efficiencies. Additionally, the following MRF Officers were elected. Kirk “Hardtail” Willard to his 9th term as President and Board Chairman and Dave Cazel to his 2nd term as Treasurer. Additionally, former Treasurer, Frank Carbone, was ratified as an Ex-Officio member of the Board.

    President, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard stated, “Each of these moves allows us to maintain an eagle eye focus on accomplishing the MRF Legislative Agenda while serving our constituency in the most financially sound way possible. Additionally, we are very enthused to have Mark return to the organization and lead the MRF Strategic Plans and our membership programs.

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