12NR07 – MRF News Release – Senate Highway Bill Passes

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12NR07 – MRF News Release – Senate Highway Bill Passes

14 March 2012

Contact: Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Ralations and Public Affairs

Senate Highway Bill Passes

The United States Senate passed its version of a federal highway bill today. The measure (S 1813) provides $109 billion over two years for highway projects. The final vote was 74-22.  The bill moved quite quickly, considering the speed of the Senate these days. There was some discussion over amendments, the bulk of which were rejected.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is pleased to report that no federal helmet mandates are attached to this bill, which in the past has been the case. Even the last version of the bill that was voted on in 2005 had a full floor vote on an amendment that would have required every state to have a full mandatory helmet law, or have millions of dollars of their highway funds withheld.

“This year the mandatory helmet law issue was only a small part of the very early discussion of the Senate bill,” said Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs. “Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) filed a few motorcycle amendments during the committee phase, but he did not bring them up for a vote,” he added.

The future is blurry for the Senate bill, as the House of Representatives has been flip-flopping on supporting it. Right now the House is supporting its own five-year bill, but it has not been brought for a floor vote.

While the MRF supports the House bill because it contains the language that would ban federal funding of mandatory motorcycle roadside checkpoints, it’s not likely to see the return of the 2010 funds. Both the House and Senate bills send all safety money in one pot back to the states to give them flexibility.

The MRF will keep you updated on this and every other issue affecting motorcyclists in the Nation’s capital.

2 comments to 12NR07 – MRF News Release – Senate Highway Bill Passes

  • Todd Leadenham

    I am really struggling with this position against helmet laws. I get the freedom and wind in your hair aspect of it, but it is so irresponsible and a cause of needless traumatic injuries and death, I can not support it. On July 22nd 2006 I was involved in the only accident I have ever been in, hitting a truck head on at over 50 miles per hour, I was thrown over a 100 feet and landed by a river with my head on a log. They were able to piece me back together again (my street glide wasn’t so fortunate) ,but I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the half helmet on my grape. I understand it’s a sacrifice but is the wind in your hair worth your life? Is your freedom to not wear at least a half helmet worth being trapped inside a unresponsive body or undergoing the humiliation of having other people change your bed pans or god forbid your diapers? I’m just saying riding is one of life’s greatest experiences and requiring the use of minimum safety equipment will prevent you from living out the rest of your life as a window licker and is still a blast!

  • Larry

    Todd, I can appreciate your dilemma concerning helmet requirements. In my eyes, the question we should be addressing is twofold.

    First, relying on helmet mandates as the primary approach to rider safety is a terribly misplaced course of action, based on the incorrect assumption of “safer crashing.” No amount of armor will make a crash safer, merely less damaging. The only safe crash is the one that never occurs, therefore the primary thrust of any legitimate rider safety program should address crash prevention.

    Second, and more important, what should be the role of government in making requirements upon citizens in the arena of personal choice? I have heard many arguments in promotion of the regulation of personal behavior. They normally fall into three categories: ignorance of the overall issue due to not being engaged in the activity in question, anecdotal data points such as your 2006 crash, and the protection of the general populace form a perceived fiscal burden.

    I intend to respond in more detail in a full posting in the near future, but until then, I hope that this sheds a bit of light on the issue.

    “Texas” Larry