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National and Regional News

 

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Russ Ehnes announced that he is leaving his position as executive director of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council in June to pursue other opportunities in off-highway vehicle recreation, including managing the Bull Run Guest Ranch, near Great Falls. Ehnes held the job for nearly 20 years. NOHVCC will begin the search for a new executive director to provide a smooth transition and allow for continuity with its many OHV enthusiast, club, industry and agency partners.

 

PICKERINGTON, Ohio - The AMA Board of Directors issued an official position statement objecting to the profiling of motorcyclists by government agencies, including judging riders on their chosen apparel, mode of transportation or associates, rather than specific behavior and actions. "The AMA strongly condemns the profiling of motorcyclists by government agencies and has long championed the undeniable fact that the vast majority of riders and enthusiasts are upstanding, law-abiding citizens," the statement reads. The full statement is available here: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/About-The-AMA/motorcyclist-profiling.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The AMA launched a "bikes for beef" campaign opposing a trade tariff on motorcycles that government officials proposed as part of an ongoing dispute with the European Union over hormones in U.S. beef. The Office of the United States Trade Representative requested comments on Dec. 28 regarding its proposal to include tariffs on motorcycles with an engine size between 51cc and 500cc imported from the European Union. Agricultural trade disputes should not be solved with sanctions against non-agricultural products. The tariff, which could be 100 percent or more, would affect American motorcycle buyers, dealerships, aftermarket suppliers and more. Affected manufacturers include Aprilla, Beta. BMW, Ducati, Fantic, Gas Gas, Husqvarna, KTM, Montesa, Piaggio, Scorpa, Sherco, TM and Vespa.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate joined the U.S. House of Representatives in reintroducing the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2017, the RPM Act. The bipartisan bill (S. 203), introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), would provide protection for the right to modify street cars and motorcycles into dedicated race vehicles and the industry's right to sell the parts that enable racers to compete. The bill would ensure that the conversion of motor vehicles into competition-only racers does not violate the federal Clean Air Act. The AMA joins SEMA and other organizations in the RPM Coalition in supporting this important legislation. To support the RPM act, click here: http://tinyurl.com/gt6e7on.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The AMA supports H.R. 701, the Security and Privacy in Your Car Study Act of 2017, known as "The SPY Car Study Act," which would direct the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration to conduct a study to recommend a framework for regulating automotive software safety (e.g. diagnostic systems, navigation, and entertainment systems), cybersecurity and privacy regulations. Motorcyclists will share the road with vehicles using these technologies. Safety is of utmost concern and security from cyber-intrusion is crucial. In addition, the AMA supports measures to assure the privacy of vehicle information. The U.S. Department of Transportation needs to test the security of vehicle-to-vehicle communications to ensure motorcyclists' safety and privacy. If this bill becomes law, it will help ensure that vehicles using advanced crash-avoidance and vehicle-to-vehicle technologies are not compromised. To support this bill, click here: http://tinyurl.com/z7khw7z.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The AMA objected to the designation of two new national monuments by then-President Barack Obama in late December that could jeopardize access for responsible motorized recreation on more than 1.6 million acres of public land in Utah and Nevada. Using the Antiquities Act of 1906, Obama designated 1.35 million acres in southeast Utah as the Bears Ears National Monument and nearly 300,000 acres in Clark County, Nev., just northeast of Las Vegas, as the Gold Butte National Monument. With the national monument designation comes a review of management plans that could curtail or eliminate some off-road riding areas.

 

State News

 

PAGE, Ariz. - The Off-road Vehicle Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are available from the National Park Service. The plan will guide management of off-road use at Glen Canyon for the next 10 to 15 years. The purpose of this plan/FEIS is to evaluate off-road use by conventional and nonconventional motor vehicles and on-road use by non-conventional motor vehicles. An electronic copy of the document may be downloaded at: www.parkplanning.nps.gov/GLCAFinalORVplan. Printed copies of the Plan/FEIS are also available at some local libraries. For additional assistance, contact the NPS at (928) 608-6205 or via email at GLCA_Superintendent@nps.gov.

 

REDDING, Calif. - Comments about plans for about 400,000 acres of federal land in Northwest California must be submitted by Feb. 3 to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The Northwest California Integrated Resource Management Plan will guide the agency in making decisions for 15 to 20 years concerning public land in Del Norte, Siskiyou, Shasta, Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity, Tehama and Butte counties. Comments about off-highway-vehicle use in these areas should go to NCIP_comments@aecom.com. Submit comments by fax to Or mail comments to: Mail: NCIP Comments, Bureau of Land Management, Redding Field Office, 6640 Lockheed Drive, Redding, CA,  96002. More information is available at http://tinyurl.com/h5r3zhw.

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Freshman state Rep. Don Hahnfeldt (R-The Villages) wants to institute mandatory helmet use by eliminating the exemption adopted in 2000 that allows motorcyclists 21 or older to ride helmetless if they carry at least $10,000 in medical insurance. The bill is H.B. 6009.

 

FINLAND, Minn. - Two meetings remain for discussion of the Border-to-Border Off-Road Vehicle Touring Trail, which will use existing public right of way across northern Minnesota to link the shores of Lake Superior with the North Dakota border. The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council is facilitating the meetings. For more information, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/mgmtplans/ohv/plans/border_to_border_trail.html. The final two meetings are scheduled for 6-8 p.m.

Feb. 15 - The Claire Nelson Center, 6866 Cramer Road, Finland, Minn., for Cook and Lake counties.

Feb. 16 - American Legion Post 480, 4543 U.S. 53, Orr, Minn., for St. Louis and Koochching counties.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Policies and education aimed at ending the profiling of motorcyclists would be required for all law enforcement agencies under H.F. 164, introduced to the state legislature by state Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa). The bill would require the development of a statewide model policy by Oct. 1, covering what constitutes profiling and tactics for officers to avoid. By Nov. 1, each law enforcement agency in the state would have to adopt a written anti-profiling policy.

 

SALEM, Ore. - A proposal sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg) S.B. 385 would allow riders to split lanes at a speed of no more than 10 mph faster than other vehicles, if traffic is moving slower than 20 mph on certain roadways.

 

AUSTIN, Texas - State Rep. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) introduced S.B. 288, which would allow motorcyclists to split lanes when traffic is congested on limited-access or controlled-access highways. The motorcyclist would be limited to traveling no more than 5 mph faster than traffic. And splitting would be permitted only when traffic is moving at 20 mph or slower.

 

SALT LAKE CITY - A settlement was reached among the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, 10 environmental groups and three OHV associations in an 8-year-old lawsuit over the use of 10 million acres of public lands. Under the agreement-which must be approved by federal courts-the BLM would restructure 13 travel management plans covering Carbon, Duchesne, Daggett, Emery, Grand, Kane, San Juan and Uintah counties. Environmentalists challenged the BLM plans in 2008, claiming they were heavily weighted toward the interests of oil and gas extraction and off-roading. According to the Deseret News, the agreement does not identify any roads for closing or solve any of the state's or counties' claims to RS 2477 roads-those in dispute under an 1860s law that set up a transportation network in the unsettled West.

 

OLYMPIA, Wash. - H.B. 1157 would allow motorcyclists to split lanes, as long as the rider travels no more than 10 mph faster than surrounding traffic and no faster than 35 mph. This bill, introduced by state Rep. Drew MacEwen (R-Union), also creates a new traffic infraction for drivers who intentionally impede lane-splitting riders.

 

Industry News

 

BRISTOL, Pa. - MV Agusta is relaunching its American marketing efforts, with its MV Agusta USA brand being led by Urban Motor Group. The companies announced the new dedicated business unit will be managed directly by CEO Joseph Elasmar. The company says the new management team will "focus on building brand awareness and quality customer service by harnessing the wealth of experience, a robust business model, passion in motorcycles and an extrinsic perspective that has earned Urban Motor Imports the reputation of being the key distributor for a number of motorcycle brands including MV Agusta." The company has unveiled new models for 2017 and plans to add an office in California in addition to updating its dealer network.

 

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - Polaris Industries is halting production of its Victory motorcycle brand, which has been produced in the Iowa Great Lakes Region since 1998. Polaris spokesperson Megan Kathman said there will be some job losses in Spirit Lake as a result of the Victory shutdown but declined to say how many positions would be lost. The Spirit Lake plant will continue to make Indian brand motorcycles. Polaris plans to focus future efforts on the Indian brand and the three-wheeled Slingshot. Polaris Chairman and CEO Scott Wine said in a press release that Indian has more potential to grow than the Victory brand.

 

TOKYO - Honda has developed a concept motorcycle that keeps itself upright at a stop and during low-speed maneuvers. Using Honda Riding Assist technology, the system increases fork angle and disconnects the front forks from the handlebars. Sensors and software take over control of the bike to keep it balanced. At the company's presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Honda demonstrated Riding Assist by having a motorcycle slowly wheel itself onstage. No plans have been announced to include the Riding Assist technology in production motorcycles.

 

International News

 

GENEVA, Switzerland - Steve Aeschlimann has been named CEO of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (International Motorcycling Federation), succeeding Ignacio Verneda. Aeschlimann, 45, joined the FIM as a member of the senior management in February 2011. Since then, he has occupied the role of executive director of operations, supervising several commissions and the FIM's institutional services.

 

AMA News

 

PICKERINGTON, Ohio - The AMA recognized its greatest champions and hardest-working organizers from the 2016 season on Jan. 21 during the AMA Championship Banquet at the Hilton Downtown Columbus in Columbus, Ohio. More than 500 racers and supporters watched as the AMA presented awards to the top three finishers in national and regional competition, and announced the winners of the prestigious AMA Racer of the Year Awards. Jos Driessen of the FIM also presented AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman and AMA Board of Directors Chair Maggie McNally-Bradshaw with the 2016 FIM Women in Motorcycling Award for the AMA Get Women Riding Campaign.

 

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AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association. Designed to inform motorcyclists of rights-related issues and events in the United States and around the world, AMA News & Notes welcomes your input. Suggestions and editorial contributions can be sent to AMA Managing Editor Jim Witters at jwitters@amacycle.org.

 

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