MRF Alerts

  • 07/19/2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    After the repeal of the federal mandatory helmet law in the mid 1970s, and a vein attempt to start a national bikers’ rights organization -- A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments – many fledging state motorcyclist rights organizations took the ABATE name but focused on the matter at hand – modifying state mandatory helmet laws.

    By the mid 1980s, a handful of motorcyclists’ rights activists, led by Michael “Balls” Farabaugh from ABATE of Indiana, decided that it was time to hold a “meeting of the minds.” Joining Balls on the original Meeting of the Minds Steering Committee were Jim Baker - Utah, Bill Durning – California, Bill Gannon – Massachusetts, Clay Johnson - Iowa, Nancy Lewis - New York, Sundance Mitchell -Texas, Rob Rasor - Ohio, Lee Richardson - Georgia, Jim Rhoades - Michigan, Howard Segermark - Maryland, and Linda Stewart - Florida.

    With backgrounds deeply entrenched in the early days of biker right and freedom rallies, these men and women knew there were others across the U.S. with similar backgrounds and they reached out to find us.

    What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & how’d it get started?

    It’s time to learn about the early days of the MRF and see how we have transcended egos, lack of funding, and a never-ending siege against our rights, our motorcycles and our lifestyles. We held true to our beliefs, compromised without surrendering our rights, and have endured 35 years! Use this link and register at Meeting of the Minds 2020. Hotel info is on the same site.

    Meet legendary freedom fighters like Mark Buckner & Charlie Umbenhaur and new activists like Rocky Fox and Cathy Brush. Meet the future of motorcyclists’ rights as you’re introduced to this year’s Young Activist.

    What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & how’d it get started?

    In the mid-eighties most of us were no older than this year’s Young Activists Award recipients and yet we were not daunted by a “bunch of old bikers.” We came together in a cheap hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, and built lasting friendships, began the framework for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and were undeterred by the naysayers.

    What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & how’d it get started?

    By 1989 we faced another federal mandatory helmet law. We faced a total ban on “super bikes”, a ban on motorcycles in HOV lanes… and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation was barley two years old! It may go against conventional wisdom, however, as it is sometimes said, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend”

    What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & how’d it get started?

    “The Legend”? The shirt off the back of an MRF board member auctioned to a lady from Arkansas for $1,500.00!! And… another $300.00 thrown in for good measure for the limited-edition tie from the MRF V.P. of Government Relations!!! Yeah, that’s the fact. “The Legend”? A silver ring -- the center of a live auction bidding frenzy by two MRF board members, and when it was discovered there were two rings, the bid losing board member ponied up and bought the second ring for the auction price – well over $500.00!!

    What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & how’d it get started?

    The Meeting of the Minds has survived 35 years. It has survived disharmony in the ranks. It has survived a budget so thin it looked liked mayonnaise on white bread. And now… we’ve endured the lockdown. We social distanced. And the MRF has never forgotten why we were founded – to advocate and protect the rights of all motorcyclists.

    The 2020 Meeting of the Minds provides you with the tools to help protect your rights, your motorcycle and your lifestyle!!! Use this link and register at Meeting of the Minds 2020. Hotel info is on the same site.

    See you in Indianapolis!!!


  • 07/17/2020 9:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “Show Me State”

    Earlier this week, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed legislation that modifies the current helmet law in the “Show Me State.” The new law, which will go into effect August 28, 2020, allows motorcyclists to ride without helmets if they are 26 years of age or older and have medical insurance.

    For almost 40 years the motorcyclists in Missouri have been fighting for this change to state law. Congratulations to the Freedom of Road Riders, ABATE for Missouri and all those who never quit in the fight to let those who ride, decide!

    Job well done!

    Highway Bill Recap:

    Otto Von Bismarck famously said, “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”

    While we appreciate the quote from the namesake of the North Dakota state capital, we thought you might enjoy some of the stats behind the House Highway Reauthorization Bill. The timeline below shows how the bill evolved and how answering “Calls to Action” can help impact a bill as it progresses through Congress.

    June 3: First Draft of H.R. 2 Introduced

    • 864 Pages
    • $494 Billion Allocated
    • One MRF priority included: 402 Motorcycle State Safety Fund increases
    • 569 Emails from MRF Members asking for broad-based motorcycle provisions

    June 20-21: Transportation Committee Markup of H.R. 2

    • 317 Amendments Offered / 57 Amendments Passed
    • 3 Motorcyclist Amendments Offered / 3 Motorcyclist Amendments Passed
    • Three MRF priorities added: profiling language, autonomous vehicle protections, adjustments to the Motorcycle Advisory Council
    • 131 Emails from MRF members to Committee Members asking for support of our 3 amendments

    June 29: Rules Committee Consideration of Additional Amendments to H.R. 2

    • 388 Amendments Offered / 170 Amendments Passed
    • 1 Motorcyclist Amendment Offered / 1 Motorcyclist Amendment Passed
    • One MRF priority added: profiling language regarding data collection on traffic stops
    • 1,513 Emails from MRF members asking for passage of the bill
    July 1: House of Representatives Passes H.R. 2 by a vote of 233 to 188
    • 2,309 Total Pages
    • $1.5 Trillion Allocated
    • Five MRF Priorities Included in the Final Bill
    • 2,213 Total Emails sent by MRF members during the process

    While this massive and expensive piece of legislation will undoubtedly be adjusted during negotiations with the Senate, having these five MRF priorities in the House bill is a great first step. Thank you to all riders who answered the call to action!

    So What’s Next?

    The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is drafting their version of the Highway Reauthorization. Last week, we asked you to reach out to your Senator on the committee to remind them of the priorities that are important to motorcyclists.

    To date, 868 of you have answered our Call to Action. If you missed our email, click the link below if you live in one of the states highlighted above.

    Take Action

    Antique Motorcycle Resolution:

    Late last week Congressmen Troy Balderson (O.H.), Michael Burgess (TX), and Tim Walberg (MI) introduced House Resolution 1041. The resolution calls for July 11, 2020, to be recognized as “Antique Motorcycle Enthusiast Day.” The resolution recognized the preservation, restoration, and operation of old-time motorcycles in the United States.

    For over a century, motorcycles have been part of the fabric of the United States. The innovation, cultural significance and economic opportunities created by the motorcycle industry is something worth recognizing and preserving.

    On July 11th, the American Motorcyclists Association hosted its Motorcycle Hall of Fame Bike Night. This resolution is a fitting tribute to all motorcyclists who care about the history and preservation of motorcycling.

    To read the full text of the resolution, click here.

    Ride Free,

    Your DC Team


  • 07/14/2020 1:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This afternoon, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed legislation that would modify the current helmet law in the “Show Me State.” The new law, which will go into effect August 28, 2020, allows motorcyclists to ride without helmets if they are 26 years of age or older and have medical insurance.

    Freedom of Road Riders Legislative Coordinator Amy Allmon said “Persistence actually pays off, on Tuesday July 14th at 1:30pm Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed our helmet modification bill. Freedom of choice in Missouri!” When asked for a reaction, MRF Chairman of the board, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard had this to say, “The Motorcycle Riders Foundation celebrates today with the bikers of Missouri on their victory of freedom of choice. It's incredible to realize the State Motorcyclist Rights Organizations have spent nearly four decades pursuing their freedom. Given today’s political environment this is truly rarified air. Ride free Missouri.”

    Congratulations to the Freedom of Road Riders, ABATE for Missouri and all those who never quit in the fight to let those who ride, decide!


  • 07/05/2020 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What's this "Meeting of the Minds" & Who's Involved?

    Over 300 motorcyclists' rights advocates representing a varied collection or state motorcyclists' rights organizations; a dozen motorcyclists' rights advocates who specialize in motivation, lobbying, communication, and all the nuts & bolts needed to build, strengthen, and hold organizations together in the quest to protect motorcycling and the freedoms it represents.

    These individuals are from our shared ranks. They have "been in the trenches" of their home state legislatures and Washington, D.C. They have well over 200 years of collective motorcyclists' rights advocacy experience between them and "quit" is not in their vocabulary! It's time you met this list of freedom fighters and use this link to register for the Meeting of the Minds 2020. Hotel info is on the same site.

    What's this "Meeting of the Minds" & who's involved?

    Meet Charles Umbenhaur-- Kickin Ass and Taking Names – Pennsylvania's 35-year winning quest for freedom of choice is the workshop title, and it could just as well be an underscore of Charlie's accomplishments on behalf of motorcyclists' rights advocacy. With over 40 years riding and almost the same amount advocating motorcyclists' rights in Pennsylvania, a charter member of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, an inductee into two motorcycling halls of fame (Easyriders Hall of Fame, Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame); recipient of two Lifetime Achievement Awards (NCOM and AMA); plus numerous other awards and recognitions for his years of advocacy on behalf of freedom and motorcyclists' rights. Charles Umbenhaur's workshop, taken from the playbook of his experiences, can be applied to any legislation supported by our grassroots organizations.

    What's this "Meeting of the Minds" & who's involved?

    Meet Brian "Skinny Bob" Clifford – Riding since the 1990s, but new to motorcyclists' rights in 2015 when he joined ABATE of Georgia because he "found a cause that blended his passions and skill sets." Skinny used his acquired skills from his experience with Habitat for Humanity International and fighting for housing rights for the poor to fighting for bikers' rights. Currently, he works for a nonprofit supporting military and veteran families. His workshop – Media Madness: How to Survive these Wild Times, without exaggerating the comments from his 2019 presentation at the Meeting of the Minds, "…is essential to the movement's future." Attendees will leave his workshop with 2020 media techniques and how to adapt them to drive membership, message and mission. This workshop should be "mission critical" for your SMRO.

    What's this "Meeting of the Minds" & who's involved?

    Meet Rocky Fox – Do not be deterred by his "zero years riding experience." Instead, look at his ten-plus years of experience as a registered federal lobbyist, plus his experience as a former staff member on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and a member of every SMRO he's visited, and know that Rocky is the non-riding half of our D.C. lobbying team. You'll be "Finding Opportunities for Policy Wins During a Crazy Year" as he brings you a summary of the MRF's legislative accomplishments.

    What's this "Meeting of the Minds" & who's involved?

    Meet Cathy Brush – Six years riding, six-year member of A.B.A.T.E of Illinois, newsletter and public relations coordinator, among other local and state offices. VP Public Relations of her local chapter of Toastmaster International, Cathy will bring 30 years of customer service experience to her workshop on making good public relations better with a hit list of Do's & Don't for great Public Relations.

    What's this "Meeting of the Minds" & who's involved?

    Meet Ryan Hubbard – Navy Veteran, 45 years riding experience, and 19 years A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois membership holding a multitude of elected offices including State Coordinator. With ongoing and extensive Federal Election Commission training, Ryan Hubbard's workshop – Political Action Committee? Why the Hell does a Biker Need One? will provide attendees enough reasons to form a PAC that they will wonder how their SMRO survived without one.

    What's this "Meeting of the Minds" & who's involved?

    Meet Dave "Chubby" Charlebois – Member of ABATE of Wisconsin since 1998, holding a host of state offices, including Executive Director since 2012. His workshop -- With Freedom comes Responsibility – takes our quests for freedom beyond the flash of daily headlines and provides attendees not only food for thought, but direction as well.

    What's this "Meeting of the Minds" & who's involved?

    Meet Mark Buckner – Active in bikers' rights since the mid-80s including four years ABATE of Colorado State Coordinator, two years MRF Board of Directors and six years MRF President and member of three halls of fame (Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame, AMA Hall of Fame, and MRF Hall of Fame). Mark Buckner's extensive business background gives him more than "street cred" when it comes to working closely with the MRF helping to facilitate the organization's strategic planning goals. His Meeting of the Minds presentation provides attendees with the same information tailored to helping your SMRO become internally accountable with a strategic plan that works!

    What's this "Meeting of the Minds" who's involved and why?

    It's motorcyclists' rights advocates coming together to meet old friends, make new friends, and hone skills that may have gone soft during the lockdowns. It's brothers and sisters knowing freedom and wanting more information on how to protect their rights, their motorcycles, and their lifestyles. Now's the time to use this link and register for Meeting of the Minds 2020. Hotel info is on the same site.

    That's what this Meeting of the Minds is all about. We endured the lockdown. We social distanced. And the MRF never forgot why we were founded – to advocate and protect the rights of all motorcyclists. The 2020 Meeting of the Minds provides you with the tools to help protect your rights, your motorcycle and your lifestyle!!! See you in Indianapolis!!!


  • 07/04/2020 1:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Many of the traditions that we cherish surrounding the 4th of July will be missing this year. Whether it be a cancelled parade, fewer friends gathering for a BBQ or a postponed summer road trip, we know this Independence Day be will different for many of us.

    As author William Faulkner said, “We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”

    While the events and surroundings this 4th may be different, we hope that no matter how you celebrate, you take time to reflect on the cherished freedoms we have in this country. We at the Motorcycle Riders Foundation wish you a happy and safe Independence Day. Thank you for your support of the MRF and for your commitment to defending the rights of motorcyclists nationwide.

    And as always, RIDE FREE


  • 07/01/2020 7:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today the full House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, INVEST in America Act (Moving Forward Act), also known as the highway bill. The bill is over 2,000 pages and includes five beneficial provisions for motorcyclists.

    At every step along the way, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), our State Motorcyclist Rights Organizations (SMRO) partners, and individual members have fought for the inclusion of these policy changes. The original bill included an increase in motorcycle safety funding; however, this was the only specific mention of motorcycles or motorcyclists. During the Transportation Committee markup of the bill, protections related to profiling, autonomous vehicles and the Motorcyclist Advisory Council were added via amendment. Finally, during the final vote on the House floor, an additional amendment was added that helps collect data on motorcycle profiling.

    With the passage of this bill in the House of Representatives, focus will now turn to the Senate. The Senate will likely roll out its own version of a “highway bill” in the coming weeks. The House and Senate will then have to negotiate and compromise to develop a bill that can pass both chambers and be signed into law. Remember, the current legislation expires on September 30, 2020, so Congress must act to ensure important transportation programs are funded.

    After the final vote, MRF President Kirk “Hardtail” Willard stated, “I am pleased that in this massive 2,300 page piece of legislation passed today, the rights and freedoms of motorcyclists were not ignored. Let’s now take the same enthusiasm and passion that won us these victories to the Senate. Our work is not done, we must remain vigilant in the defense of these hard fought priorities.”

    We at the MRF will fight to ensure that these hard-fought victories in the House of Representatives are included in the Senate’s bill. Thank you to everyone who reached out to their Representative over the past few months. These victories for motorcyclists would be impossible without the grassroots efforts of our members. Let’s celebrate our successes and get to work on making sure the Senate follows suit.

    Below is a brief recap of the five provisions that the House of Representatives has now passed and included in this major piece of legislation:

    Profiling: An amendment by Congressman Troy Balderson (OH-R) during the committee process changes federal law to prevent state and local governments from using funds from the Department of Transportation to “profile and stop motorcycle operators or motorcycle passengers using as a factor the clothing or mode of transportation of such operators or passengers.”

    A second amendment by Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-R) and Congressman Michael Burgess (TX-R) added the term “mode of transportation” to a newly created grant program for racial and ethnic profiling. The program allows states to use federal money to collect data on traffic stops. Originally the only information that states were required to record was the driver’s racial and ethnic makeup. With this added language, states will be required to collect the “mode of transportation” of the person being stopped as well. Motorcyclists will now be able to review state data on traffic stops and determine if motorcyclists are stopped disproportionally by law enforcement. This amendment was a joint effort by the Co-Chairmen of the House Motorcycle Caucus and was added just hours before the final bill was passed.

    Motorcyclist Advisory Council: Congressman Mike Gallagher (WI-R) used the committee amendment process to re-establish the Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) and make needed changes. The MAC has existed for over a decade and allows federal policymakers, state highway officials, and motorcyclists to discuss the unique demands of riding a motorcycle and how roads, bridges, and other infrastructure can be built to better account for motorcyclists’ needs.

    Congressman Gallagher’s addition to the bill creates dedicated seats at the table for motorcyclists’ rights groups and manufacturers. It also requires a report every two years to be made to the Secretary of Transportation and Congress.

    Autonomous Vehicles: During the committee process, Congressman Troy Balderson (OH-R) won protections for motorcyclists in the rollout of autonomous vehicle technology. The bill now includes specific language requiring that when the Department of Transportation conducts safety studies on autonomous vehicles, motorcycles must be considered as unique roadway users. Additionally, a newly formed working group on autonomous vehicles must include a motorcyclist safety group as part of its membership. As with the MAC, motorcyclists need a seat at the table when our safety and freedoms are being debated.

    Motorcyclist Safety Funds: The bill, as first introduced, would increase the 405 safety funds made available to states for motorcyclist safety by $1,473,285 for the next fiscal year with increases through 2025. This is an increase in the program of roughly 34% over current funding levels. Under this bill, the total amount available to states in the next fiscal year would be $5,761,785.


  • 06/30/2020 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Visitors to DC

    At the end of last week, Steve Panten, Legislative Director of ABATE of Wisconsin and Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, President of the MRF, made the trip out to DC to meet with members of the Wisconsin delegation. Having missed out on Bikers Inside the Beltway, this was a great opportunity to remind the folks on Capitol Hill about motorcycle priorities.

    Capitol Hill still remains on lockdown with most offices working from home and strict restrictions on visitors into the Capitol Complex. Despite these challenges, Steve and Hardtail managed three in-person meetings with Wisconsin offices as well as three calls with staff.

    ABATE of Wisconsin and the MRF met in person with Senator Ron Johnson’s Chief of Staff and conducted a phone call with Senator Tammy Baldwin’s staff. The purpose of these conversations was to press the Senate to include identical provisions in their Highway Bill as those that are included in the House version.

    Phone calls with the staff of Congressmen Mike Gallagher and Mark Pocan focused on thanking the two offices for their help on motorcycle issues. Congressman Gallagher was the lead sponsor of the amendment to the highway bill that fixes the Motorcycle Advisory Council. Congressman Pocan has been an original cosponsor of our profiling resolution over the past 3 Congresses.

    Our team also had an in-person meeting with Congressman Brian Steil to discuss issues facing motorcyclists in the state and the current political environment in Wisconsin. With strict restrictions in place on office meetings, this one took place at a coffee shop down the street from the Capitol.

    Our final meeting was with Congressman Tom Tiffany. Congressman Tiffany was elected in a special election earlier in the month as was just sworn into office a few weeks back. This was the first in-person meeting his office has held in DC since he was elected. ABATE of Wisconsin has made a point of personally meeting all newly elected members of their delegation and this trip was made with the main objective of meeting the new Congressman.

    MRF PAC Breakfast

    On Friday morning, your MRF team attended a private breakfast with Congressman Troy Balderson of Ohio. As you may remember, Congressman Balderson was one of the lead champions of our motorcycle amendments to the highway bill. At breakfast, Hardtail presented the Congressman with a check from the MRF PAC. This check was a way to say thank you for his efforts to protect the rights of all motorcyclists.

    For over an hour, we discussed all things motorcycles. The Congressman even knew which Harley shop Tiffany stopped at to find a replacement part while riding through Ohio two years ago. Thank you to everyone that contributes to the MRF PAC. The PAC allows us to support our champions on Capitol Hill and gives us a relaxed environment to share ideas and stories about motorcycles.

    A Story for the Ages

    As we were finishing our final meeting of the trip with Congressman Tom Tiffany, we discovered that he and Hardtail were on the same flight back to Minneapolis that evening. After realizing that they live relatively close to one another, the Congressman asked Hardtail, “Would you mind giving me a ride home from the airport?” Not one to miss an opportunity Hardtail quickly said, “Sure!”

    So, after arriving in Minneapolis, your MRF President chauffeured a newly elected Congressman 3.5 hours home. The only stop along the way was at a Jimmy John’s to grab a sandwich for dinner. It is still unclear who paid the tab for the food.

    Needless to say, after over 3 hours in a car with Hardtail, we’re confident that the newly elected Congressman is fully briefed on all our motorcycle priorities and should be an ally for years to come!

    We are a little disappointed that Hardtail decided to take his SUV to the airport instead of one of his bikes. Strapping a Congressman onto the back of a Harley would have made for an even better story!

    Ride Free,

    The Motorcycle Riders Foundation


  • 06/23/2020 8:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thirty-six years ago, in a two-star hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, a handful of bikers gathered to “just talk.” Many of the freedoms motorcyclists enjoy today can be attributed to that first “Meeting of the Minds.” Without fail, the MRF has taken the commitment to protect those freedoms beyond “just talk.”

    Now’s the time to use this link and register at Meeting of the Minds 2020. Hotel info is on the same site.

    What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & why?

    It wasn’t until the third Meeting of the Minds that the original steering committee insisted on providing attendees with “How to” workshops with the nuts and bolts content that is now standard fare at all Meeting of the Minds conferences.

    What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & why?

    How about 12 workshops? How about giving attendees more tools to deal with the pressing issues affecting freedom and motorcyclists’ rights? Profiling of motorcyclists because of association? Ethanol 15? Driverless Cars? How to use the media and public relations for our purposes?

    What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & why?

    When every group in Washington, D.C., has a PAC, how about a workshop titled POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE?  WHY THE HELL DOES A BIKER NEED ONE?And in less than two hours, you’ll see why every biker organization advocating motorcyclists’ rights needs a PAC and you’ll go home with the tools to help your SMRO form one!

    What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & why?

    Freedom! It’s blasted at you from your TV and screamed at you from the morning paper. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, with the Meeting of the Minds Conference, takes freedom seriously and beyond the headline grabbers with a workshop “With Freedom comes Responsibility".

    What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & why?

    It’s motorcyclists’ rights advocates coming together to meet old friends, make new friends, hone skills that may have gone soft during the lockdowns. It’s brothers and sisters knowing about freedom and wanting more information on how to protect their rights, their motorcycles, and their lifestyles. Now’s the time to use this link and register at Meeting of the Minds 2020.

    That’s what this Meeting of the Minds is all about. We endured the lockdown. We social distanced. And the MRF never forgot why we were founded – to advocate and protect the rights of all motorcyclists. The 2020 Meeting of the Minds provides you with the tools to protect the freedoms you enjoy and get beyond the lockdown; see you in Indianapolis!!!  


  • 06/19/2020 1:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Yesterday was a GREAT day for the motorcycling community on Capitol Hill. The House Transportation and Infrastructure passed out of committee H.R. 2, the "Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act" or the "INVEST in America Act." This nearly 1,000-page bill includes four provisions that both protect motorcyclists and acknowledge our unique place in the transportation system. The legislation approved Thursday night would authorize highway, transit, and rail programs through fiscal year 2025.

    Remember, this is just the first step in the Highway Bill Reauthorization process. The House of Representatives still need to take a final vote on the measure, and the Senate has yet to introduce their version of the bill. The House plans to bring this massive surface transportation bill to the floor for a vote on June 30, 2020. The deadline for Congress to act on a Highway Bill Reauthorization is September 30, 2020.

    A special thanks to MRF members and SMRO’s who called and emailed their representatives to support these amendments. These victories in Washington D.C. would not be possible without the grassroots efforts of our members around the country. Your voices matter, and with your help, we can deliver more victories for motorcyclists.

    The MRF would also like to thank our champions on the committee who worked during the hearing, and behind the scenes, to protect and advance the priorities of motorcyclists. While not an exhaustive list, the MRF would like to thank: Representatives Troy Balderson (OH-R), Sharice Davids (KS-D), Rodney Davis (IL-R), Pete DeFazio (OR-D), Mike Gallagher (WI-R), Sam Graves (MO-R), Jared Huffman (CA-D), Chris Pappas (NH-D), Donald Payne (NJ-D), Harley Rouda (CA-D), Pete Stauber (MN-R) and Don Young (AK-R).

    Below is a brief summary of the bill and its amendments that address motorcyclists' issues.

    Autonomous Vehicles - Congressman Troy Balderson (OH-R) introduced a two-part amendment focused on autonomous vehicles and motorcycles. The first part requires that when the Department of Transportation (DOT) conducts safety studies on autonomous vehicles, the unique profile and characteristics of motorcycles and riders must be included in any study.

    The second part ensures that a motorcycle safety group is included in the DOT working group on autonomous vehicle deployment. Motorcyclists need a seat at the table, so that our voices are heard.

    Speaking on the topic, Congressman Balderson said, “As a rider, I have a unique perspective on how transportation issues affect the everyday lives of Ohioans. Our nation’s roads get us to where we need to go each day, yet they are crumbling at our feet. We need to make sure a broad infrastructure package addresses these needs and works for all Americans—not just some of us.”

    The Balderson Amendment #21 PASSED UNANIMOUSLY and is now part of the final bill.

    Checkpoints / Profiling – The provisions passed in the "Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act" known as the "FAST Act" in 2015 regarding motorcycle-only checkpoints were not changed in this bill. This means that states and local governments will continue to be prohibited from using federal funds to establish motorcycle-only checkpoints. This federal provision complements the nearly 20 states who have outlawed motorcycle-only checkpoints.

    In addition to retaining the prohibition on funding motorcycle-only checkpoints, Congressman Balderson offered an amendment that would prohibit using federal funds to profile and stop motorcycle operators or passengers using, as a factor, the apparel they are wearing or their mode of transportation. This amendment is consistent with our anti-profiling resolution and would be an acknowledgment by Congress that motorcyclists should not be profiled because of what they wear or ride.

    The Balderson Amendment #25 PASSED UNANIMOUSLY and is now part of the final bill.

    Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) - Congressman Mike Gallagher (WI-R) introduced an amendment that would reestablish the Motorcyclist Advisory Council and create dedicated seats at the table for motorcycle rights groups and manufacturers. The MAC has existed for over a decade and allows federal policymakers, state highway officials and motorcyclists to discuss the unique demands of riding a motorcycle and how roads, bridges and other infrastructure can be built to better account for motorcyclists needs.

    While speaking on behalf of his amendment, Congressman Gallagher said, “My amendment reauthorizes an important advisory council at DOT for the motorcycle community. Motorcycle usage has increased 25% since 2012 with nearly 9 million registered vehicles on the road. With this many motorcycles on the road, it is vital that this industry has a direct line of communication to the regulators.”

    The Gallagher Amendment #116 PASSED UNANIMOUSLY and is now part of the final bill.

    Safety Funds – The bill passed today by the House Transportation Committee would increase funds made available to states for motorcycle safety by $1,488,285. This is an increase in the program of approximately 35% over current funding levels. Under this bill, the total amount available to states in the next fiscal year would be $5,776,785.

    MRF Vice President Jay Jackson commented, “Now more than ever, state rider education programs need this assistance to continue to offer quality programs to train motorcyclists.”

    While we at the MRF are happy to see Congress increase the funding for state motorcycle programs, the increase in these funds only allocates approximately $0.67 per motorcyclist in the country. This is a good first step, but motorcycle safety isn’t something we should skimp on.


  • 06/18/2020 5:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is pleased to update our members that all three of our high priority motorcyclist amendments have just passed with unanimous consent after being placed in a bipartisan en bloc vote during this morning's hearing. After lengthy negotiations between both parties, each side agreed to put 18 amendments in a single en bloc vote to help speed up proceedings in the markup of H.R. 2, the INVEST in America Act.

    The MRF wants to thank all of our members and partners for engaging with their member of Congress to ensure the priorities of motorcyclists were addressed during this process. We will send out a full release later today on the hearing but wanted to alert our members who have been following the hearing proceedings over the past two days.


© Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software