Posts Tagged ‘AMA’

Dirtbike and ATV riders may benefit from new federal laws

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015 and the so-called CRomnibus spending bill, passed by both chambers of Congress last week, include provisions which are beneficial to riders of off-highway motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.  However, some new wilderness designations may infringe on current access to public lands. H.R. 3979 (NDAA), is a $584.2 billion bill that authorizes and governs the U.S. military.  For 2015, more than 100 public lands bills were inserted into the NDAA.  OHV benefits in the bill include the allocation of 275 acres of land managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management to Elko County, Nev., for a motocross park and the promise of new opportunities for off-highway-vehicle recreation on public lands.  Additionally, language from S. 841 and H.R. 1839, the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, was included which guarantees OHV access in the Hermosa Creek area, a prospect that had been threatened by a recently released U.S. Forest Service Resource Management Plan. “We are encouraged by Congress’ consideration of new opportunities for motorized recreation,” said Wayne Allard, vice president of government relations for the American Motorcyclist Association. Scott Jones, federal land use coordinator for the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, called the Hermosa Watershed Legislation “a major victory for the motorized community in Colorado.” And says, “The legislation releases a Wilderness Study Area on Molas Pass that was to be closed to motorized usage and mandates that motorized usage continue in that area.”  Additionally, the legislation creates a 70,000-acre special management area where motorized usage is protected and preserved.  The SMA is an area that was possibly going to be managed as Recommended Wilderness area and partially found unsuitable for motorized usage. This area has also been the basis of citizen Wilderness proposals as well. Aside from the additional riding areas and protections in the NDAA, the bill also designates about 245,000 acres of new federal wilderness that could result in the closing of some off-highway-vehicle trails.  Allard said the AMA will be monitoring the implementation of the bill’s provisions and protect the right to ride on public lands. Meanwhile, H.R. 83 (CRomnibus), the $1.1 trillion bipartisan deal to fund the majority of the government through the fiscal year, includes a provision that prohibits the Secretary of the Interior to write or issue protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 regarding the greater sage-grouse, the Columbia basin distinct population segment of greater sage grouse, the bi-state distinct population segment of greater sage grouse, or the Gunnison sage grouse. “Delaying the listing of the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act will allow more time for state and local entities to coordinate local solutions,” Allard said. “Additionally, it will prevent the potential closure of millions of acres of land to OHV enthusiasts.”

AMA Endorses Lane-Splitting

According to two California studies released this week, riding a motorcycle between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving traffic, a practice known as lane splitting, is a relatively safe maneuver when both the motorcyclist and nearby drivers know the law and adhere to “safe and prudent” practices.  The two studies consist of one report from a crash study that examined nearly 8,000 motorcyclists who were involved in crashes while lane splitting between June 2012 and August 2013. The second report examined lane-splitting habits among various groups in 2012 and 2013.  “We compared the proportion of collision-involved, lane-splitting motorcyclists with injury across several body regions by whether the lane-splitting was done only in traffic flowing at 30 mph or less and that the motorcycle speed should exceed the traffic speed by no more than 10 mph,” the crash study stated. “We found that the proportion with each injury type was high when the lane-splitting was consistent with neither speed component, was lower when it was consistent with one speed component, and was lower still when it was consistent with both speed components.” Among the findings in the California studies were that:
  • Lane-splitting riders (2.7 percent of crashes) were less likely to be rear-ended by another vehicle than were other motorcyclists (4.6 percent);
  • Lane-splitting motorcyclists involved in crashes were notably less likely than other motorcyclists in crashes to suffer head injury (9.1 percent vs. 16.5 percent), torso injury (18.6 percent vs. 27.3 percent), or fatal injury (1.4 percent vs. 3.1 percent) than other motorcyclists.
  • The proportion of motorcyclists with a head injury was 6.3 percent for those lane-splitting consistent with the “safe and prudent” traffic speed guidelines, 10.7 percent for those lane-splitting in traffic flowing at 30 mph or less but exceeding the traffic speed by more than 10 mph, 9 percent for those lane-splitting in traffic flowing faster than 30 mph but exceeding traffic speed by less than 10 mph, and 20.5 percent for those who were lane-splitting in traffic flowing at more than 30 mph and who were exceeding traffic speed by more than 10 mph.
The speed components mentioned in the report closely align with the lane-splitting guidelines posted on the California Highway Patrol website in 2013 but were removed this summer after a complaint from one Sacramento resident.  California is the only state where lane splitting is permitted. State law neither prohibits nor specifically allows the maneuver. “These findings bolster the position of motorcyclists and traffic-safety officials that responsible lane splitting is a safe and effective tactic for riders, particularly in heavily congested areas,” said Wayne Allard, vice president of government relations for the American Motorcyclist Association. “The AMA endorses these practices and will assist groups and individuals working to bring legal lane splitting or filtering to their states.” “Motorcyclists who oppose lane splitting should remember that it is optional in California,” Allard said. “Permitting lane splitting is not the same as requiring it. So those opposed to the practice should consider the desires of other motorcyclists who believe they would benefit from it. Lane splitting is an issue of choice.” Allard goes on to point out that In many countries, lane splitting and filtering are normal practices for motorcyclists,  particularly in the highly urbanized areas of Europe and Asia, motorcycle and scooter operators are expected to pass between conventional vehicles and advance to the front of the group. The California studies are Safety Implications Of Lane-Splitting Among California Motorcyclists Involved In Collisions by Thomas Rice and Lara Troszak of the Safe Transportation Research & Education Center (SafeTREC) at the University of California Berkeley, and the Motorcycle Lane-Share Study Among California Motorcyclists And Drivers 2014 And Comparison To 2012 And 2013 Data conducted by Ewald & Wasserman Research Consultants, LLC, on behalf of the California Office of Traffic Safety and SafeTREC.  The goal of the project was to obtain information not usually collected during law enforcement investigations of motorcycle traffic collisions in California. The reports are the result of a two-year collaboration between SafeTREC and the California Highway Patrol. The California Office of Traffic Safety provided funding.  The data came from collision investigations by CHP officers and by officers at more than 80 allied law enforcement agencies in the state.