MRF CALL TO ACTION – Strike Section 102 from H.R. 2577

Please take action as soon as possible.
URGENT CALL TO ACTION
June 2, 2015
The United States House of Representatives will vote on a measure that could be detrimental to motorcyclists. H.R. 2577 is an appropriations bill that funds the Department of Transportation, among other things. Especially concerning is section 102. Section 102 would allow the Secretary of Transportation or his designee to engage in activities with States and State legislators to consider proposals related to the reduction of motorcycle fatalities. This seemingly innocent provision is a direct attack on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lobby ban.

Congressman Tim Walberg (MI) and Jim Sensenbrenner (WI) have filed an amendment that would strike this language. Call your Congressman and ask that they support the Walberg/Sensenbrenner amendment to strike section 102 from H.R. 2577.

H.R. 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) act will be voted on as early as Wednesday June 3rd. We need to call every Congressman immediately. The House floor schedules are hectic and subject to change so please make your calls soon.

You can find your Representative here: www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Find the full list of United States House of Representatives and their phone numbers at www.house.gov/representatives/

You can also use the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

This is an urgent and important phone call. Remember, you are the guardians of motorcycling. Please answer the call to action.

Legislative Action Alert 3 March 2015

SB 5623, the Lane Sharing bill has cleared the Senate Transportation Committee.  The next step in the process is for the Senate Rules Committee to “pull” the bill to the Floor Calendar.  If this is an issue that you support then you need to get on the phones or email your State Senator and ask for their support in moving this forward.  There is little over a week to get this to the floor and passed out of the Senate or it will be effectively dead.

With all of the correspondence that arrives every day (easily 100 emails alone) many members prioritize their incoming email by viewing the constituent mail first.  Use the form found here to give your message the best opportunity to rise to the top.

To restate the points made previously, most people are already aware of the positives for lane sharing; clearing congestion, protection of the rider by removing the exposure to rear end collision, saving heat related wear and tear on both rider and motorcycle, etc. I have put together some bullet points to address some of the push back that I have heard, both during committee and in my numerous conversations throughout the campus. We need to make senators comfortable with the actual facts so that they do not make decisions based on assumptions and scare tactics.

Lane Sharing Rebuttal Points

  • Accidents will not increase.
    • By moving between lanes the need to scan the rear 180 degrees of area is eliminated, and the need to side scan is lessened, allowing the rider to concentrate forwards, locating potential conflicts well in advance.
    • Maximum speed differential between bikes and autos will be 10 MPH (15 FPS) allowing a 2-3 car length minimum distance for rider reaction.
  • Injuries will not increase.
    • With the 10 MPH (15 FPS) speed differential any collisions that might occur will be more as a bump or brush than the catastrophic collisions that could occur at greater differential speeds incident with a rear end collision.
  • Vehicles will not change lanes into motorcycles.
    • With the 2-3 (minimum) car length advance scan available riders will see the potential lane change situation developing well enough in advance to mitigate the hazard. Any spot opening up in a lane that will allow a vehicle to change lanes will be spotted by the rider as it opens up so that they can respond appropriately.
  • As an overtaking vehicle, a motorcycle will still bear the responsibility incumbent with being an overtaking vehicle.
  • Enforcement will not be any more difficult than with the current statute.
    • Enforcement could even be easier, as an officer could make the discretionary call that lane sharing/splitting is being done in a safe and sane manner, therefore no enforcement pursuit is necessary.
    • High speed lane splitting (illegal under current and proposed statutes) will continue to be problematic for pursuit and apprehension.

Until next time, ride safely and legislate well.

“Texas” Larry Walker

Washington Road Riders Association Government Relations

Legislative Action Alert 20 February 2015

SB 5623 , the Lane Sharing bill is rapidly approaching being on life support with death imminent.  Currently there is not enough support to move the bill out of committee, and there is absolutely zero declared Democratic support.  Senator Sheldon has requested that the riders of Washington contact their senators and ask that they support moving the bill out of committee (if your senator is on the Transportation Committee) or, if they are not on the committee, ask that they speak to their colleagues on transportation in favor of moving the bill.  If the bill does not clear the committee by this coming Friday is will be effectively dead.

Most people are already aware of the positives for lane sharing; clearing congestion, protection of the rider by removing the exposure to rear end collision, saving heat related wear and tear on both rider and motorcycle, etc.  I have put together some bullet points to address some of the push back that I have heard, both during committee and in my numerous conversations throughout the campus.  We need to make senators comfortable with the actual facts so that they do not make decisions based on assumptions and scare tactics.

Lane Sharing Rebuttal Points

  • Accidents will not increase.
    • By moving between lanes the need to scan the rear 180 degrees of area is eliminated, and the need to side scan is lessened, allowing the rider to concentrate forwards, locating potential conflicts well in advance.
    • Maximum speed differential between bikes and autos will be 10 MPH (15 FPS) allowing a 2-3 car length minimum distance for rider reaction.
  • Injuries will not increase.
    • With the 10 MPH (15 FPS) speed differential any collisions that might occur will be more as a bump or brush than the catastrophic collisions that could occur at greater differential speeds incident with a rear end collision.
  • Vehicles will not change lanes into motorcycles.
    • With the 2-3 (minimum) car length advance scan available riders will see the potential lane change situation developing well enough in advance to mitigate the hazard. Any spot opening up in a lane that will allow a vehicle to change lanes will be spotted by the rider as it opens up so that they can respond appropriately.
  • As an overtaking vehicle, a motorcycle will still bear the responsibility incumbent with being an overtaking vehicle.
  • Enforcement will not be any more difficult than with the current statute.
    • Enforcement could even be easier, as an officer could make the discretionary call that lane sharing/splitting is being done in a safe and sane manner, therefore no enforcement pursuit is necessary.
    • High speed lane splitting (illegal under current and proposed statutes) will continue to be problematic for pursuit and apprehension.

I will be working the halls next week, and it would be great to hear from senators that they are hearing lots of positive feedback on the issue.  It’s time to “call out the dogs” as Karen Bolin used to say and rock the phone lines.

If you aren’t sure who your senator is (for shame) look here.

 

Until next time, ride safely and legislate well.

 

“Texas” Larry Walker

Washington Road Riders Association Government Relations

wrraleg@aol.com

Black Thursday is coming

It’s that time of the year again, when the motorcycling community comes to Olympia to meet with their legislators to discuss motorcycling issues.  The annual “Black Thursday” event, hosted by ABATE of Washington and the Confederation of Clubs, will be this coming Thursday (January 22nd).

The issues identified to this point:

  1. Adult freedom of choice for helmet usage:  SB 5198 will allow adults 18 years of age and older to make their own choice as to whether they wear protective headgear.  While the Washington Road Riders Association does not advocate that riders eschew riding with quality protective gear, the WRRA firmly believes that that decision should lie with the rider, not the government and supports ABATE in their efforts.  For more information contact Brian Lange of ABATE.
  2. Addressing motorcycle rider liability for actions required of helmet manufacturers:  HB 1244 removes the burden from the consumer to prove the manufacturer complied with FMVSS 218.  In some areas law enforcement uses the inspection of a helmet as the primary reason to stop a rider, effectively initiating an encounter to require a citizen to prove their innocence, as well as opening the door to further investigation into the rider.
  3. Addressing lane sharing for motorcycles:  This bill would make lane sharing (splitting) legal during a strictly defined scenario.  The traffic can be going no greater than 25 mph, and the rider cannot exceed traffic speed by more than 10 mph.  There is a draft bill in circulation, but has yet to be formally introduced on the floor of the house.  For more information contact Brian Lange of ABATE.
  4. Addressing the scheduling of the Washington Motorcycle Safety Advisory Board:  This is an issue that has been brought to the WRRA by many concerned riders.  There has been a level of confusion at the DOL due to no formally established schedule for the Advisory Board.  This bill will codify the scheduling of the meetings as quarterly, on either the 1st or 2nd Friday of the 3rd month of each quarter, at 19:00.  In a nutshell, this puts the meetings in March, June, September, and December at 19:00.  The meetings of the board provides an excellent venue and avenue for riders to address the agency personnel who actually administer the Washington State Motorcycle Safety and Education Program.  Setting a consistent calendar schedule, and having the meetings after normal working hours provides the best opportunity for riders to attend without having to take time away from their “day jobs.”  The program is one that the riders pay for, and it is only proper that there is maximum transparency and access.

I’m quite sure that there is some issue that will ring with any rider, so it would be time well spent to get yourself to Olympia and make your voice known.

If you don’t know yet who your representatives are, follow this link.

Until next time,

Ride safely and legislate well,

“Texas” Larry

Government Relations