1999 International Public Policy Conference

Mulhouse, France, October 15-17, 1999, … The second International Public Policy Conference on motorcycling issues was hosted by the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM). The FIM, best known as the world sanctioning body for Grand Prix racing, has recognized the need for involvement in motorcycle road use issues in recent years. The Federation of European Motorcycle Associations (FEMA) composed of seventeen European national motorcyclists' rights organizations were joined by officers of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) to make this a truly global event. Also participating were Australian delegates from the Motorcycle Council of New South Wales and Motorcycle Action Group (MAG)-Victoria and members of the Canadian Motorcycle Association. The topics generating greatest interest were the role for motorcyclists in the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and global standardization.

John Chatterton-Ross of the FIM and Donald Lewis of the British Motorcyclists' Federation led a lively discussion regarding potential effects on motorcycling by telemetrics (European term for ITS) which brought about an historic accomplishment. A resolution was approved unanimously by the conference attendees that stated motorcyclists would not relinquish control of their vehicles to a computeror remote controlling device and that such a system would meet with opposition from riders worldwide. (See attached copy of the Resolution)

Dr. Nicholas Rogers, General Secretary of the International Motorcycle Manufacturers Association (IMMA), focused on anticipated United Nations requirements concerning motorcycle safety issues and standardization of vehicles. He urged the involvement of riders groups and cited their political clout as the best weapon in defeating restrictive regulations. Standard global motorcycle design sparked controversy but the discussion concluded that riders groups and industry must work together to effect changes that will be financially acceptable to manufacturers while, at the same time, preserving interests of motorcyclists worldwide. Tim Hoelter, President of IMMA, pledged the cooperation of IMMA with riders groups worldwide to present a unified front concerning globalization issues. Mr. Hoelter also serves as Vice-President of International Trade and Regulatory Affairs of Harley-Davidson Motor Company, USA. American motorcyclists can learn more about globalization at the MRF's regional conferences, BEAST of the East and BEST of the West, and at Meeting of the Minds 2000, the theme of which will be "Going Global."

Mark Buckner, MRF President, assisted former EU Parliament member Roger Barton in moderating a panel discussion on globalization. As such, Mr. Buckner joined other assistant moderators on Sunday's presentation of reviews of Saturday's various panel discussions. Wayne Curtin, former Vice-President of Government Relations of the MRF, presented an overview of the United Nations/Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) status. He continued with an explanation of the process under which negotiation of global standards of motor vehicles under the 1998 Geneva Agreement takes place. Rob Rasor, Vice-President of Government Relations for the AMA, also heads an FIM special public affairs commission that was involved with the production of this conference.

MRF Vice-President Tom Pauley was pleased with the overall spirit of cooperation expressed at the conference. Mark Buckner, MRF President, said, "After having attended the first International Conference two years ago in Luxembourg, the MRF was pleased to see significant progress in the development of aggressive grass-roots political action being undertaken today by European riders' rights groups."

The next International Public Policy Conference is being planned for 2001 in the United States.


The following is the Telemetrics/ITS resolution passed by participants at the 1999 International Public Policy Conference:


We the undersigned utterly oppose the compulsory fitment to privately owned vehicles of any device designed to arbitrarily remove control from the driver to remote operation.

We note with extreme concern the tendency of governments to impose ever more intrusive and restrictive regulations upon the Citizen.

We caution governments to remember that they are permitted to govern only by the consent of the people and that such consent when given through an election does not grant unlimited license to interfere in the daily life of the Citizen.

We further caution all governments that to impose unduly on popular Freedom is to imperil the respect in which government and the rule of law is held.

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