MRF September 2019 Update
By Andy Kelly
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation was invited to participate in a working group with the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) and a host of other organizations about the future of Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (RPM Act). The MRF was unsure if this legislation would be introduced in the 116th Congress since the political appetite has changed on the hill. During the last Congress, the House version was able to gain 150 cosponsors but never made it to the floor for a vote, and the Senate version with its 39 cosponsors suffered the same fate.
The MRF anticipates this legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks before Congress adjourns for their August recess. Please be ready for any future calls to action that may find their way to your inbox.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List in July. The MRF found that motorcycles only gathered the attention of the agency twice but thankfully not as a stand-alone issue like in years past.
The two areas where motorcyclists are mentioned are:
End Alcohol and Other Impairment in Transportation
TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Examine the influence of alcohol and other drug use on motorcycle rider crash risk compared to that of passenger vehicle drivers, and develop guidelines to assist states in implementing evidence-based strategies and countermeasures to more effectively address sub¬stance-impaired motorcycle rider crashes.
Increase Implementation of Collision Avoidance Systems in All-New Highway Vehicles
TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Incorporate motorcycles in the development of performance stan¬dards for passenger vehicle crash warning and prevention systems.
After years of motorcycles being forgotten in other Department of Transportation guidance on autonomous vehicles, we are pleased that the NTSB is sending a directive to NHTSA to make sure motorcycles are included in autonomous vehicle standards.
In July, the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report on “Motorcyclists’ Attitudes on Using High-Visibility Gear to Improve Conspicuity.”
Eighteen (1 focus groups with 137 motorcycle riders in California, Maryland, Michigan, and Texas were conducted to explore motorcyclists’ attitudes toward wearing high-visibility gear to increase conspicuity. In most groups, only one or two participants said they regularly wear high visibility gear. Based on the focus group discussions, several factors emerged as barriers to motorcyclists’ use of high-visibility gear. The most important involves the appearance of the high-visibility gear. It is judged as unappealing by some riders, and many riders are concerned that the look or style of the gear does not fit in with their riding culture. These factors work against the acceptance of high-visibility gear, even though many riders believe such gear may be effective for increasing conspicuity. Many participants thought that motorcycle-riding culture would have to change for riders to adopt high-visibility gear, due to the association of novice riders and older riders with high-visibility gear.
Another barrier to the use of high-visibility gear is riders’ skepticism that high-visibility apparel provides enough of a safety benefit to warrant its use and cost. Evidence that demonstrates the safety benefits of high-visibility gear is important to convince motorcyclists they would personally benefit from using it.
In addition to adverse feelings about high-visibility gear itself, many participants expressed the belief that high-visibility gear would not improve safety, largely because of the perception that motorists are distracted anyway. In fact, several participants suggested that the onus should be on drivers to look for motorcyclists.