MRF Newsbriefs - June 1998

MRF To Be Represented In ITS Working Groups. Though overshadowed by the Helmet Law mandate among the concerns of motorcyclists, the first Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) also included the authorization of the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). This is the project that will move the National Highway System into the Electronic age. With the advent of technology such as global positioning and infrared sensing devices, the ITS is more than just a drawing board idea.

The project has reached a phase were work groups are beginning to form on the varying aspects of this extremely large task. These work groups are a part of the project that will look at policy and procedure and make recommendations as the ITS evolves. Steve Zimmer, MRF Vice President of Government Relations, has accepted the invitation to join the working group that will deal with Light vehicles and Specialty vehicles.

This is just one more way the MRF is working to protect the future of motorcyclists as this technology evolves. Zimmer said, "Our biggest fears have always been that motorcycles would not be given fair consideration as the Intelligent Transportation System was developed, and then excluded in the implementation phase of the ITS System. Our work through legislation and now participation in the working groups will keep motorcycles in the discussion and final reality of ITS."

Welcome Ed Moreland. The MRF would like to welcome Ed Moreland to the Washington, DC staff of the AMA. Ed comes to the AMA with outstanding recommendations and a fine list of past work credentials. His experience and knowledge of the workings on Capitol Hill will be a tremendous asset to the AMA and the work being done for motorcyclists. Ed replaces Rob Dingman, who recently took an administrative position with the State of New York, as the Senior Staff member in the AMA Washington, DC office. Originally from Wisconsin, Ed rides a 1997 Harley-Davidson Springer Softail.

Steve Zimmer of the MRF stated, "I have had the opportunity to make a few congressional calls with Ed and I feel we have the beginnings of a good working relationship. The AMA and the MRF have worked very closely over the years, and I am confident Ed and I will continue to development that spirit of cooperation." The MRF would like to urge all members of the motorcycling community to contact Ed Moreland and welcome him on board.

Ed Youngblood, President of the American Motorcyclist association, to be recognized in Sturgis. Each year since its inception in 1990, the National Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame in Sturgis, SD, has chosen four outstanding individuals for induction into the Hall of Fame in recognition of their contribution to motorcycling in the areas of industry, promotion, leadership, and competition. Ed Youngblood has been selected for his leadership in motorcyclists’ rights. As President of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), Ed provided the direction and emphasis for the AMA’s rights activities first as a member of the AMA’s Government Relations Dept. (GRD) team and, subsequently as Vice-President of that department. He has continued to keep rights issues (the helmet law in particular) as a high priority for the association during his tenure as President. The Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast will take place at this year BLACK HILLS MOTORCYCLE RALLY on the morning of August 7 at the Ramada Inn in Spearfish, SD. For tickets or information, contact The National Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame on the Internet at http://museum.sturgis-rally.com/, E-MAIL: MCMuseum@sturgis.com; US MAIL: 2438 Junction Ave. (Exit 32, I90), PO Box 602, Sturgis, SD 57785; Phone 605-347-4875, Fax 605-347-4986

Sturm Ruger & Company Inc. retracts motorcyclist discrimination policy. The New Hampshire Motorcyclists' Rights Organization (NHMRO) reports that the company has changed its policy on motorcyclists health-care coverage regarding the wearing of helmets on May 4, 1998. It no longer will require its employees to wear helmets in order to be covered under the companies insurance policy.

In a phone conversation with Mr. Bill Ruger, Jr., President of the company, Robert J Letourneau, NHMRO Legislative Advocate, was told that "after four years of looking at the company policy they decided to make several changes on the types of activities covered." Mr. Ruger further explained that "our experience has indicated that the cost was not significant and that the restrictions were no longer necessary." Mr. Ruger also expressed his thoughts on helmet laws in general, he believes that the legislature should not enact helmet laws and that individuals should be responsible for their own safety and use reasonable care and exercise caution when riding. Mr. Ruger also commented on motorcycle organizations, he thought that they should promote rider safety and the use of safety equipment, including helmets.

NHMRO believes that Mr. Ruger came to the correct decision on its policy changes, reaffirming the position we have held for many years. That motorcyclists are no more a burden to the system than any other segment of society. NHMRO appreciates the fact that Ruger has taken an objective look at this issue and we applaud their willingness to adjust the company policy on this issue. We would hope that other companies would follow Ruger's example and use this as a model for setting policy in the future.

The New Hampshire Motorcyclists' Rights Organization was founded in 1975 and supports motorcycle safety through education rather than legislation. It was a major player in the creation of New Hampshire's nationally recognized motorcycle rider education courses.

The MRF congratulates NHMRO and AMA for their perseverance in the pursuit of resolution of this discrimination issue with Mr. Ruger.

For more information about any of these stories contact Steve Zimmer at 202-546-0983 or via email at steve@mrf.org


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