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09NR12 – MRF News Release – Motorcycle Safety Resolution

April 6, 2009 by  

The United States House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed H. Res. 269, a bill entitled “Supporting the goals of a motorcycle safety month.” The bill is sponsored by Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) who is both co-chair of the US House Motorcycle Safety Caucus and an avid rider. Rep. Giffords is joined by her fellow co-chair of the Motorcycle Safety Caucus, Michael Burgess (R-TX), as an original co-sponsor.

The bill puts the Congress on record as recognizing the contribution motorcycles make to the transportation mix. It encourages all road users to be more aware of motorcycles and motorcyclists’ safety. This is in addition to encouraging all riders to receive appropriate training and practice safe riding skills and supporting the goals of a Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

The bill was passed unanimously by the committee with many positive statements from committee members. Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) cited many positive aspects of motorcycling and was complementary to his constituents who have been in touch with him concerning motorcycle awareness programs. The bill will next head to the House floor for a full vote.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation encourages its members to contact their individual member of congress to sign on as cosponsors of this legislation.

Consumer Product Safety Commission – Lead issue

Recently the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) announced that off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles marketed to children ages 12 and under are now banned for sale in the United States. As you may already know the 110th Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act which set limits on the amount of lead that products marketed to Americans 12 years old and under may contain.

The MRF certainly agrees with the intent of the law which is to protect younger Americans from unknowingly being exposed to dangerous amounts of lead.

However, as with many things that come from Washington, this all out ban seems to be a case of unintended consequences. In order to correct this oversight legislation has been introduced. Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) has introduced HR 1587 which would exempt the off-highway vehicles the CPSC has banned. The MRF does support HR 1587 and encourages its members to contact their representatives to cosponsor the important legislation.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has been working this issue hard, after making an unprecedented decision to advocate for an issue that does not affect street riders. Vice President of Government Relations Jeff Hennie, along with MRF Vice President Michael Kerr, have been on Capitol Hill together the past week. Working with members from our state partner organizations ABATE of Illinois and ABATE of Minnesota, this issue has been raised in over 30 congressional offices.

While this seems to be as straight forward as an issue can be, after working with Capitol Hill over the past few weeks the MRF has learned just how political this issue can be. Several members of Congress expressed that supporting the above legislation could be used against them in upcoming elections by their opponents because it can be viewed standing in the way of child safety. That point of view is certainly a stretch, but one that will be advocated for by many child safety organizations. The MRF believes it should be the parents that choose to allow their children to ride and race. With the proper amount of supervision and instruction, youth use of motorcycles and ATVs is as safe as any other sport. It is our challenge to convince Members of Congress that supporting (and co-sponsoring) legislation to exempt off highway vehicles from the CPSC ban can have a positive political impact as well.

Save the Date.
May 14th, 2009 is the first official National Motorcycle Awareness day. The MRF has secured motorcycle parking on the United States Capitol grounds from 10am-2pm. Due to space restraints and security concerns by the administration of the House of Representatives; we may be forced to limit the number of motorcycles that we can bring onto the grounds. So please let us know as soon as possible if you plan to ride your motorcycle to this historic event. Please call 202-546-0983 or email jeff@mrf.org to register your interest.
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Ride With The LeadersTM by joining the MRF at http://www.mrf.org/join.php or call 1-202-546-0983

(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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