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08LR16 – MRF Leaders Report- July

July 6, 2008 by  

Mary Peters Offers Motorcycle Community an Apology:

A Motorcycle Riders Foundation representative attended a July 1 meeting with United States Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, in her office, to discuss among other issues, the 2010 funds.

Earlier this year, Peters sent proposed legislation to Capitol Hill that would allow the 2010 funds to be used by states to promote helmet use (not law). This is in addition to the other two areas where the funds are already allotted now; rider education and motorist awareness programs. Also in attendance at the meeting were representatives from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Motorcycle Industry Council.

The motorcycle community was disappointed, to say the least, by this new demand on 2010 funding. When Congress included the section 2010 grant programs in SAFETEA-LU it was debated and decided that helmet use promotion already occurs under all rider education programs, which is the proper venue to talk about personal protective gear.

Secretary Peters explained that the genesis of the proposed legislation came from a Senate appropriations hearing where she was taken to task by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) on the rising number of motorcyclist fatalities and the reduction of state helmet laws. The third term Senator,
who chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee on transportation, asked Peters if she would support the use of the 2010 funds for helmet promotion. Peters said she would support using 2010 for that purpose, and in order to preserve some political cover, Peters sent some shell language to the Hill. Upon closer review, Secretary Peters now agrees that the 2010 funds should not be used for helmet promotion but should remain for rider education and motorist awareness campaigns only. She is not backing off promoting helmet use, but rather is in favor of finding or creating another pool of funds for this cause.

Peters then issued an apology for failing to work with the motorcycle community and pledged to work more closely, and personally, with the motorcycle community at large. She then went on to add that this current administration will never even consider a national helmet mandate.

The Secretary then offered to send a letter to all 50 governors asking them to take motorcycle safety more seriously, to increase funding for all motorcycle programs, and to never raid the dedicated motorcycle safety funds as some governors have already done.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation also asked Peters to explore the creation of a new class of vehicles for the emerging auto-cycles, or 3-wheeled enclosed vehicles, that are currently licensed as motorcycles, and are therefore skirting any safety standards that are required for autos. These
non-motorcycles need their own classification in order to keep any additional fatality data separate from data collected on “true” motorcycles.

We at the Motorcycle Riders Foundation thank Secretary Peters for her apology, and we look forward to working with her as she finishes out her term as Secretary in January of 2009.

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(c)All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is a membership-based, national motorcyclists’ rights organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The first motorcyclists’
rights organization to establish a full-time presence in Washington, DC, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. The MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause
of rider safety and rider freedom.

The MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists’ rights organizations and the very founders of the American riders’ rights movement among its leading members. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulations, motorcycling safety education, training, and public awareness. The MRF provides members and state motorcyclists’ rights organizations with direction and information, and sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists rights activists, as well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.



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