MRF NOVEMBER 2021 Update

By Andy Kelly
Hopefully by the time you are reading this the House and the Senate have agreed upon a Transportation / Infrastructure Bill that can become law with no strings attached.  Two amendments, having a motorcyclist at the table when discussing Autonomous Vehicles and the expansion of laws involving motorcycle only checkpoints were in the House bill but never made it into the Senate version of the bill.

The amendments that were kept in both the House and Senate Legislation, were the continued ban on NHTSA lobbying in the states, 32% increase in Motorcycle Safety Training Funds and Reestablishment of the Motorcycle Advisory Council at the Department of Transportation.

At the Meeting of the Minds, which was held at the end of September, in Atlanta Georgia, I attended one of the breakout sessions.  It was the “2021-2022 Legislative Strategy.”  In this session it gave the leaders from each Sustaining State Motorcycle Rights organization the opportunity to give their opinion, and vote on what the MRF legislative priorities should be for the next year and their importance.

Listed below are the categorized priorities:
        High Priority:

• Motorcycle Profiling (H.Res. 366)
• Renewable Fuels : Making sure that 10% or less ethanol is always available and attempting to get proper labeling at the Fuel pumps.
• Emission Regulations: Getting the RPM Act (H.R. 3281/s.2736) (Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2021) passed so we can modify our off road engines as we want to without the EPA putting their nose in our business.  If we do not keep the EPA in check they will only let us Paint and Chrome.
• Autonomous Vehicles:  Make sure that motorcycles are included in any and all programming in autonomous vehicles and intelligent transportation systems. Also make sure that motorcycles are not banned from any roads in the entire country.
• Definition of a Motorcycle:  The last time the definition of a motorcycle was reviewed at the national level was in 1967 and the market has changed a lot. We need to get vehicles like Slingshots out of the motorcycle category at the national level. 
• Black Box:  The term black box covers any kind of electronic device that records your vehicle’s information.  With the Federal Government and states  trying to figure out how to replace or supplement the Fuel tax a road usage tax is one way that is being discussed in D.C. and State Capitals. We have to be very careful and watch this.
• Crash avoidance: We need to promote Crash Avoidance rather than trying to have a safer crash.
• Stop and repeal all Mandatory helmet Laws.

         Medium Priority:

• Vulnerable Road User Terminology : Do everything we can to make sure Motorcycles are not labeled as vulnerable road users by law and or technology.
• Lane Filtering and Lane Splitting: two entirely different things but always grouped together.
• Discriminatory Legislation of any kind.

  .       Monitor 

•  Sound Testing
•  Distracted driving:  All Forms
      3.    End Of Life.  In the European Union there is talk of setting a limit on how long
              a vehicle can be used on the roads and then possibly destroying the vehicle   
              and all spare parts (remember cash for clunkers).  With states setting dates  
              on when you will no longer be allowed to purchase an internal combustion 
              engine, this is something we need to keep an eye on.