AMERICAN MOTORCYCLIST April 2020
State and Local Update
Mendocino National Forest Supervisor Ann Carlson issued an order for the Ranch Fire area that opens more trails and campgrounds, but continues the temporary closure of selected trails and campgrounds until more fire hazards can be removed.
The new closure is effective until Dec. 31.
Most of the road system and trails in the Ranch Fire area have been evaluated, and hazards have been removed.
Forest Order No. 08-20-02 opens the majority of OHV trails on the Grindstone Ranger District as well as Pine Mountain Lookout and Bear Creek campground on the Upper Lake Ranger District.
However, numerous hazards still exist within the general forest, along many roads and trails and in campgrounds.
Forest Order 08-20-02, including the order, map and list of closed trails and facilities may be downloaded from the forest website: https://tinyurl.com/urx4jwu.
Also in California, 37 acres at the east end of the Carnegie SVRA reopened to off-highway vehicle recreation on Jan. 30.
The area includes what the state defines as a 4×4 play area, a trials bike area, and motocross practice track.
In January 2019, this part of the park was closed due to litigation. Conclusion of the suit ends the closure of this popular part of the park and allows for recreation in these areas.
The reopening re-establishes off-highway vehicle recreation opportunities that have historically been provided in the East Bay. Carnegie SVRA’s 1,300 acres serve California’s Bay Area communities with hill climbs, trail riding and track riding opportunities.
The Town of South Windsor was unprepared for the overwhelming opposition it faced in February when Mayor Andrew Paterna proposed a ban on ATVs.
Paterna said a small number of ATV riders had trespassed on and damaged some farms, and at least one resident complained about excessive sound from ATVs.
But, when word got out that the ban would be considered, motorcycle and ATV enthusiasts packed the meeting chamber. A report from TV station WFSB stated that, “Every town resident who spoke at the Monday night meeting spoke out against the proposal.”
Paterna confirmed to the AMA that the proposal will not be reintroduced.
The state Senate is considering a bill that would ban vehicle operators from using handheld devices while driving.
The bipartisan bill, sponsored by five senators, is backed by the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety, police chiefs and United Heritage Insurance.
State Delegate Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore County, Hartford County) has reintroduced a bill that would allow lane splitting in Maryland, as well as require state agencies to create guidelines for safe lane splitting and ways to incorporate the practice into rider education.
Szeliga’s H.B. 920 was referred to the House Environment and Transportation Committee.
This is just the second time a lane splitting bill has been introduced in Maryland. This bill would require that the state agencies, including the Motor Vehicle Administration and State Highway Administration, develop guidelines for safe and appropriate lane splitting for motorcyclists and other road users.
Also in Maryland, S.B. 237 would make motorcycle helmets optional for riders and passengers if the motorcycle operator is 21 or older, has at least two years of riding experience and has completed an approved safety course.
Similar bills were introduced in each session of the General Assembly since 2016, but failed to advance out of committee.
A hand-painted Harley-Davidson logo will remain on the Miss Worcester Diner in Worcester, after Sheldon’s Harley-Davidson of Auburn intervened.
The Harley-Davidson Motor Co. had ordered the diner to take down the sign, claiming it violated the company’s trademark and copyright protections.
The local dealership acted as a go-between and helped hammer out an agreement for the sign to stay up.
More than 4,000 people signed an online petition started by the Worcester Heritage Society in support of the restaurant.
A plan to increase rail service at the Minnesota National Guard’s Camp Ripley, near Little Falls, could impede progress on the long-discussed Camp Ripley Veterans State Trail ATV route, according to a report at www.hometownsource.com.
The rail expansion would include a 6,700-foot siding where the county planned to situate an ATV trail. Insurance issues have slowed the progress of the trail project.
Camp Ripley is a 53,000-acre regional training center.
The New York City Council is considering a law that would require side guards on trucks fulfilling contracts with the city, such as private garbage trucks contracted by the city to plow snow.
The side guards are designed to prevent motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists from being caught under trucks in traffic.
Sponsored by council members Ydannis Rodriguez and Ben Kallos, the bill would require these vehicles be equipped with side guards by Jan. 1, 2021.
A law signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in June 2015 already requires truck side guards on city-operated vehicles and private trash haulers fulfilling a contract with the city.
The decades-old tradition of riding motorcycles on a frozen Concord pond came to a halt this year, due to an obscure amendment to the state’s budget.
Concord hired Suzi Pegg as its new economic development director in 2017, and she objected to the sound of motorcycles on the pond near her new home. So, she convinced the mayor to talk to state legislators, who included a ban on such riding in the $13 billion 2019 budget bill.
Outraged motorcyclists visited the state capitol to urge lawmakers to reverse the ban. They caught the ear of state Rep. Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline), who proposed an amendment to House Bill 1316 that would reopen the pond for vehicular use on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.
The AMA supported the Flanagan amendment with letters to state Rep. Suzanne Smith, chair of the House Committee on Resources, Recreation and Development, and hopes this community riding opportunity returns to Concord.
Off-highway motorcycle and APV riders in Ohio and beyond celebrated Jan. 28 when the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency proposed cancellation of its wastewater discharge permit for CCU Coal and Construction’s mining of parts of the Perry State Forest.
The move came at the company’s request and signals that a planned mining operation has been abandoned.
The next step in the process is for the state Department of Natural Resources to close the project for good, so riders can return to trails that were closed when land was clear cut in preparation for mining.
The AMA has been working with the Friends of Perry State Forest on this issue. Riders who use the state forest should contact the DNR to urge officials to take the steps needed to reopen the trails to responsible motorized recreation. Take action at https://tinyurl.com/rn4off2.
H.B. 1706, introduced by state Rep. Matt Gabler, would provide for owners to register their off-highway motorcycles, with the registration fees flowing into a restricted account to be used for OHM trails.
Highlights of the bill include:
OHM operators would be required to carry a registration certificate, plate and a sticker indicating the registration’s expiration date to ride on state property.
Riders younger than 16 will need a safety certificate to operate an OHM, in keeping with current rules for ATVs and snowmobiles.
OHMs will need to be titled with exceptions for dealers and nonresidents.
OHM registration will not be required for dual sport motorcycles already street registered or those used on the rider’s property or that which they’ve been invited onto.
Funds from OHM registration deposited in the ATV/OHM restricted account will only be used on those trails that allow OHM access.
The Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club is opposing the annexation of its land by the city of Sturgis, saying the estimated $2,500-a-year increase in property taxes would spell the demise of the 82-year-old organization. The council approved the annexation by a 6-1 vote, with one abstention.