The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) yesterday made its annual announcement of the legislative issues it will be focusing on in the coming year. The list was developed and approved by member motorcycle rights organizations at the MRF’s recent Meeting of the Minds, held in Detroit in September.
The group’s Strategic Action Plan includes the following. We are adding a bit of clarification or explanation where it is deemed necessary.
- Transportation Equity Act (TEA) Reauthorization (the Highway Bill) – closely monitor for any action that would positively or negatively impact motorcycles, motorcycling, and motorcyclists.
- Continuation of the Motorcycle 2010 Grant Funding program – tighten up language for qualification and use.
- Continuation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) lobbying ban within individual states. (The NHTSA is legally prohibited from lobbying for measures such as a national mandatory helmet law, but the agency has been active in such efforts nonetheless.)
- Pursue continuation of the Motorcycle Advisory Council designed to advise the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on motorcycling issues.
- Oppose any federal blackmails or sanctions contained in the Highway Bill related to motorcycles. (An example of this would be if the bill were written to require states to pass helmet laws or else forfeit federal highway funding.)
- The MRF will not promote adoption of the SAE sound test as a national enforcement standard – considered a state issue.
- Pursue reintroduction of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) HR1253, which would require health insurance companies to disclose the list of “source of injury” exclusions in the policies they issue. (Federal legislation was passed several years ago forbidding insurance companies from excluding motorcycle-related accidents from coverage. However, when the rule-making agency set up the rules by which this law would be administered it specifically decreed that such exclusions could be made.)
- Continue successful work to cut off all funding for NHTSA motorcycle-specific checkpoint grants. (NHTSA has provided funding for states to operate checkpoints where only motorcyclists are stopped and are then asked to provide proof of license and insurance.)
- Continue monitoring the crash causation and the naturalistic studies.
- Oppose any federal standard proposing stamping and certifying motorcycle exhaust systems – considered a state issue.
- Continue to monitor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sound emissions study; oppose federal agencies encouraging states to take action – considered a state issue.
- Oppose ALL forms of distracted driving; oppose any related funding blackmails or withholding of funds related to motorcycles.
- Watch closely for motorcycle-specific discrimination.
- Continue promotion of Right to Repair Act. (A Right to Repair Act would prohibit manufacturers from making technical know-how and equipment necessary for independent shops to work on bikes available only to dealerships.)
- Continue participation at the federal level where definitions of a motorcycle are under review. (Efforts are currently underway to reach a satisfactory definition of just what exactly is considered to be a motorcycle. If a wide variety of non-two-wheel vehicles are counted as motorcycles for licensing purposes that will very possibly skew accident data, making it difficult to develop valid policy in accident prevention.