MRF March 2018 Update
By Andy Kelly
I feel a lot of people in Pennsylvania already know this but Congressman Bill Shuster, who represents the 9th district, announced he is stepping down at the end of his term in Congress. As most of us know Congressman Shuster is Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This Committee is of great interest to the MRF and should be with all motorcyclists because most issues that the MRF is working on goes though the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Highway bill, NHTSA funding, motorcycle checkpoints, helmet issues, autonomous vehicles and so much more. No one is sure who will replace Chairman Shuster and with the mid-term elections coming, which party will be in the majority. Lets just hope that the next chairperson is motorcycle friendly.
Autonomous Vehicles is still being talked about with it being Auto Show season. At the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit, Michigan, General Motors was pushing its AV autos with hopes of setting up a Taxi fleet of Autonomous Vehicles, in an American City, sometime next year. At the auto show in D.C., which Megan Ekstrom attended, she reported that it seemed like most of the Senators in attendance were on-board with the Autonomous Vehicles START ACT which the MRF has fought hard to get motorcycle language included for safety testing.
Other encouraging news, Ford has recently put in a patent application for updated technology, that would assist a driver to see the road in front of him. Though motorcycles were not mentioned specifically, it should be noted that the illustration that came along with the patent application included a motorcyclist.
Another company thatís finally at least mentioning motorcycles is Google with their self-driving car project who recently voluntarily filed their safety report with the government and in it, they discuss motorcycles- the geographic shape of and profile of in their testing in Mesa, Arizona and so far, itís been working.
Recently, in testimony before Congress, Scott Pruitt, Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, answered many questions about the EPA and what they are doing. One subject that came up, Republicans, particularly those from the corn states, asked the administrator his plans for the renewable fuel standards (ethanol). Pruittís comments about ethanol were that he mentioned the bankruptcy of Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the largest oil refiner on the east coast. The company blamed the cost of complying with the renewal fuel standards (that is the law requiring refiners to blend corn based ethanol into gasoline). Pruitt took the opportunity to call for ethanol reforms.
Just another reminder about ďBikers Inside the Beltway, being held May 14th-15th, in Washington, D.C. If you are interested in going, you can contact myself or register at https://mrf.org/events/ or call 202-546-0983.