05-03-2001

#01NR16 - MRF Attends International Conference

Motorcycle Riders Foundation -- E-MAIL NEWSRELEASE
PO BOX 1808, Washington, DC 20013-1808
202-546-0983 (voice) 202-546-0986 (fax)
wyld@mrf.org (e-mail) http://www.mrf.org (website)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Tom Wyld
May 3, 2001 #01-16 Phone: 202-546-0983

#01NR16 - MRF Attends International Conference

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation was well represented at the Third International Rider’s Public Policy Conference April 27-29 in Pickerington Ohio with eight members of the Board of Directors attending. They were joined by motorcyclists from 21 states and seventeen other nations. The conference was sponsored by the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and was hosted in the United States this year by the American Motorcyclist Association. The AMA is the United States affiliate organization of the FIM.

This conference is designed to bring riders from around the world together to share ideas, build coalitions, and prepare them to have an influence on the myriad of regulations and legislation being developed to implement globalization of the motorcycle industry.

Robert Tomlins, Acting Secretary General of the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA) reported on the globalization of vehicle standards from the rider’s perspective. Tomlins stated that, “We must watch out for our interests if we want the resulting motorcycles to be something we will buy and ride.”

Julie Abraham, Director of NHTSA’s Office of International Harmonization and leader of the U.S. delegation to the "Geneva globalization talks" explained the background and criteria required for the standardization of Vehicle Technical Regulations in the world marketplace. Safety, environment, national sovereignty, and consumer input all come into play in the process. An open and transparent process is in place in the USA to ensure public comment and input.

Wolfgang Schneider, Automotive Unit of the European Commission (EC), explained the harmonization and standardization process from the European Commission viewpoint. The process is much more complicated and lengthy, since the individual countries, as well as the EC and the United Nations are involved. As many FEMA members will attest, the entire process in not as open for public comment or scrutiny as Americans are accustomed to in our regulatory agencies. Tim Hoelter, vice president of government affairs for the Harley Davidson Motor Company, stressed the need for American riders to be involved in the process, since it is a much more open system than the European procedure.

One of the most interesting, and controversial sessions concerned the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) or Telematics, as it is called in Europe. Professor Peter Hancock probed the reality of ITS from the human perspective. Richard Bishop then discussed the many facets of ITS and the probable implementation dates that we may actually see this technology put in place.

Questions still persist about how motorcycle-friendly some of the new technology will be. Bishop stressed that the new systems are sensitive enough to recognize motorcycles in the traffic mix, and will improve safety by making cycles more visible. Will the system be used for speed and traffic control or is it for driver assistance and safety? Stay tuned for more on this subject. Bishop also believes that ITS implementation will be market driven, rather than government mandated. There are many skeptical of this claim, especially the Europeans in attendance.

Rob Rasor, AMA President, announced an agreement between FEMA, the MRF, and the AMA to provide funding for motorcyclist representatives to take part in the UN harmonization processes in Geneva.

Tom Wyld, MRF Vice President for government relations, stated, “Our more open system in the USA puts a heavy responsibility on us to get involved. On the other hand our European counterparts have the experience of the harmonization procedures among the European Union countries that will be very valuable in the UN globalization process. We must work together to see that the interests of all motorcyclists are protected.”
- MRF: My Ride is Freedom -

The first motorcyclists' rights organization to establish a full-time legislative advocacy presence in Washington. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom. MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American rider rights movement among its leading members. Motorcyclists worldwide can thumb-start their search for rider rights and safety on the web at www.mrf.org.

All information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is an independent, membership-based national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington D.C. which operates in co-partnership with State Motorcyclists' Rights Organizations nationwide. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulation, motorcycling safety education, training, licensing and public awareness. The MRF provides individual and SMRO member-volunteers with guidance, support and information to protect motorcyclists' rights and advance motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. The MRF sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists' rights activists and publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.

Voice: 202-546-0983, Fax: 202-546-0986, E-Mail: wyld@mrf.org, website: http://www.mrf.org


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