AMERICAN MOTORCYCLIST August 2019

State and Local Update

California

The Johnson Valley Shared Use Area near Twenty-nine Palms will remain open to the public and will not be used for military training in August, the U.S. Marine Corps announced.

Closing the Shared Use Area for military use was determined to be unnecessary after the Marine Corps revised the scope of training to be conducted. Training will occur in Combat Center boundaries, using ranges on the installation, including land acquired through the land expansion.

The Marine Corps reminds the public to be safe and respect base boundaries when recreating near the installation. Individuals have a personal and legal responsibility to avoid trespassing on the Combat Center.

For additional information visit: www.29palms.marines.mil/johnsonvalley or contact the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Resource Management Group at (760) 830-3737 or smbplmsjohnsonvalley@usmc.mil.

Connecticut

The House of Representatives passed a bill (H.B. 6161) that would require motorcyclists 20 years old or younger to wear a helmet while riding. Deputy Speaker Michelle Cook (D–Torrington) sponsored the bill. The law would take effect Oct. 1, 2019, and violators could have to pay a fine of up to $90. The bill applies to drivers of motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds and motorbikes.

Louisiana

H.B. 141, which creates a law enforcement training program on motorcyclist profiling, passed the House, 91-0, on May 15 and passed the Senate, 38-0, on June 2, and was signed by the governor. The bill defines motorcyclist profiling as the “arbitrary use of the fact that an individual rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related clothing or paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop, question, take enforcement action, arrest or search the individual or his motorcycle or motor vehicle.”

Maine

Gov. Janet Mills vetoed a bill that would have prohibited the sale of fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol in the state. In issuing the veto, Mills said E15 (fuel containing as much as 15 percent ethanol by volume) is not currently sold in Maine and “there is insufficient scientific evidence or data to support the claim that it adversely impacts health.” Pro-ethanol groups are pushing more gas stations to sell E15, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on May 31 plans to start allowing E15 sales year round across the country.

Michigan

On May 21, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson unveiled the awareness campaign “Motorcyclists Are Hard to See. Look Twice. Save a Life.” The campaign is aimed at preventing motorcycle crashes in Michigan by teaching people about the importance of constantly looking for motorcycles while driving. The effort will include billboards, radio ads and social media spots. It will be funded through the Motorcycle Safety and Education Fund, which was created by the Michigan Legislature in 2017.

Missouri

A bill passed by the legislature would allow motorcyclists 18 or older to ride without a helmet. The bill also requires motorcyclists to be covered by a health insurance policy before riding without a helmet.

Ohio

The AMA met with state Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), the sponsor of S.B. 114, which would give townships the authority to regulate sound from events in their unincorporated sections. The bill has the potential to affect motorcycle racing throughout the state. Steve Salisbury of the AMA stressed the negative consequences to racers and their families should competition events be canceled. And he noted the economic consequences to communities that benefit from events.

Pennsylvania

State Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R- Monongahela) has introduced legislation prohibiting grass clippings from roadways.

She said clippings can cause the surface of the roadway to become extremely slippery, causing motorcycle crashes. Grass on roadways can also clog storm drains and contribute to run-off pollution into streams.

Bartolotta’s bill would treat offenses related to grass clippings on roadways in the same way as other litter. Fines would range from $50 to $300 for a first offense and $300 to $1,000 for a subsequent offense. Offenders also would be required to remove clippings from the road.

South Dakota

The number of ATVs registered for road use in South Dakota rose 114 percent since 2009, according to a report by South Dakota News Watch. ATVs certified as legal to drive on South Dakota roads went from 17,913 in 2009 to 38,377 in 2018. Registrations of cars, trucks and other vehicles rose just 17 percent during the same period, according to South Dakota’s Department of Revenue. State laws treat ATVs much the same as motorcycles for licensing, and ATVs are legal to ride on roads and highways other than interstates.

Texas

A bill to include motorcycles in the state’s electric vehicle rebate program failed to make it to the Senate floor. S.B. 486, sponsored by state Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) would have allowed a rebate of as much as $2,500 for the purchase of an electric motorcycle.

The AMA believes this bill was important because it would have ended a discriminatory policy against motorcyclists, who should be eligible for the same benefits as other motor vehicle owners.

Ensuring motorcyclists have access to the same rights and programs as the owners of other vehicles is a key goal of the AMA. Importantly, this bill also recognized motorcycles as part of the future of transportation and something to be encouraged and incentivized for the benefit of all road users.

Utah

After 10 years of extensive monitoring, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has reopened 5,400 acres in the Factory Butte Special Recreation Management Area to motorized recreation.

The Richfield Field Office has rescinded the 2006 Factory Butte OHV travel restriction after meeting criteria to develop a threatened and endangered species monitoring plan and installing infrastructure to protect endangered cactus species.

Two OHV areas were subject to temporary travel restrictions until monitoring and infrastructure requirements were in place: Factory Butte (5,300 acres) and Caineville Cove (100 acres).

After meeting the criteria, those areas are now available for motorized use. Additionally, riders can continue to enjoy cross-country riding at Factory Butte within the Swing Arm City OHV Play Area (2,602 acres) and more than 200 miles of designated routes in the area.

Also, in Utah, Mike Sayre, AMA on-highway government affairs manager, attended bike night at the Salt Lake City Cycle Gear location as part of a public education effort on lane filtering.

At the event were the state highway patrol, the Riderz Foundation and activist Parker Boyack, who helped push through lane-filtering legislation. The new law allows motorcyclists to filter through stopped traffic and requires motorcyclists not to exceed 15 mph. The law applies only to roadways with a speed limit of 45 mph or less.