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MRF September Update

By Andy Kelly
I would like to start by reminding everyone how important it is to become a member of the MRF. Know that you are helping support a great team in Washington D.C. They make sure your rights and freedoms are protected at the Federal level, and you will receive notice of any threats and what you can do to help. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is chiefly concerned with issues that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists at both the national and international levels. Besides getting a bimonthly magazine you can also get weekly updates from Megan Ekstrom, Vice-President of Government Affairs and Public Relations for the MRF.

A lot of the Scandinavian countries have national policies that aggressively encourage electric vehicles. About a year ago, a woman riding a motorcycle, in Norway, was rear ended by a guy driving a Tesla Model S in Autopilot. The car's sensors and software failed to identify the woman on her motorcycle as something it should slow down for or avoid.

A German weekly publication, Der Siegel, got its hands on a research report prepared by that country's Federal Highway Research Institute on the Tesla Model S Autopilot. Basically the Germans version of NHTSA concluded that the Autopilot function was nowhere near up to the task of driving on the Autobahn, where cruising speeds of 120 mph are common.

Dynamic Research, a consulting firm specializing in "Accidentology" among other things, in a abandoned airfield near Bakersfield California, has been testing cars with Forward Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking Systems, for the U.S. market commissioned by NHTSA. They were always using a car to test the systems. Most new cars that include such systems devote quite a few pages warning about them in the owner's manual. Those warnings often include a caveat that the systems may not detect motorcyclists. One of the engineers, being an active motorcyclist, tried a motorcycle, the systems failed to warn or brake 40% of the time.

The problem is the more that drivers rely on Advanced Driver Assistance Systems that the owner's manual says it will not detect motorcyclists, and the drivers become less attentive to the task of driving, well I don't want to be in front of them in traffic.

If you have not heard, the EPA recently released 2018 proposal calls on refiners to blend 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol in 2018, adhering to the statutory requirement and unchanged from the final 2017 renewable volume obligation (RVO) rule. In addition, EPA is proposing to lower the cellulosic ethanol requirements to 238 million gallons in its 2018 rule. While this is a positive step forward, it signals that now could be the time to pressure the Agency to ENSURE that our motorcycles are protected by ALWAYS requiring E0 or E10 options at the pump and provide for more consumer education to ensure misfueling does not occur.

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Updated: 5/7/09 12:00 AM