Motorcycle Riders Foundation MRF E-MAIL NEWS ALERT
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)

November 14, 2001 #01-33 Phone: 202-546-0983


Washington, DC – This MAJOR CALL TO ACTION is not new to most of you. At Meeting of the Minds, we asked State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organizations (SMROs) to prepare, then and there, for a massive grassroots effort aimed at educating and enlisting Congress to oppose the anticipated new EPA rule.

This is the next step in that plan.

Let’s begin with a “weather” report on the emissions issue, with good news and bad.

The good news is that the weather isn’t all bad in Washington. That means we have been talking with influential people here to explain our position and raise serious doubts about the need for and desirability of new, tougher emissions restrictions for street bikes. We have opened some doors, thrown open a few windows, and let in some sunlight.

The bad news is, it’s still a very uncertain time in our nation’s capitol. On our issues and many others, a weatherman might describe it by saying that a fog has settled in, visibility is low and it’s tough to see what’s around the bend.

Here’s our best forecast on what’s ahead – and more details on our MAJOR CALL TO ACTION.

We start with an OVERVIEW (#1 below). If you attended Meeting of the Minds, you can skip ahead to PROGRESS (#2 below).

#1. AN OVERVIEW: HC? NOx? What do these letters have to do with our right to ride?

At this year’s Meeting of the Minds, MRF’s premier national leadership summit, we explained that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to publish a tougher emissions regulation this month (NOV). Further, we stated, EPA was poised to adopt the California standard – NOT California’s CURRENT standard (1.4 grams per kilometer Hydrocarbons or 1.4 g/km HC) but jump straight to that state’s TOUGHER, FUTURE two-tier standards. Tier-one – 1.4 g/km HC plus Oxides of Nitrogen (or NOx) – would take effect for most street bikes in 2004. Tier two – 0.8 g/km HC plus NOx – would be the standard in 2008. Setting a limit value of HC coupled with NOx establishes a very tough standard for motorcycles, especially when you consider that many engine families cannot meet even the current California standard (HC only) without performance shortfalls that riders find unsafe, unacceptable, or both.

We also expected EPA to get tougher in combating the personalization and improvement of our individually owned motorcycles. EPA calls it “tampering.” We call it a vital part of our culture. Thousands of Americans call it JOBS. Our desire to improve our rides keeps tens of thousands of Americans employed in the most fragile element of the $14 billion motorcycle industry – custom shops, aftermarket, and small-volume motorcycle makers, right here in the U.S.A.

Also at the Meeting of the Minds, we heard from Bob Tomlins of the Federation of European Motorcycle Associations (FEMA) on the draft version of the World Motorcycle Test Cycle (WMTC). This is the procedure by which bike emissions will one day be tested. We learned that even the cleanest bike would not meet even slightly stricter limit values, because the draft WMTC calls for such radical acceleration and deceleration rates. At Meeting of the Minds, FEMA, MRF, and the American Motorcyclist Association agreed to oppose the draft WMTC.

#2. PROGRESS: What is the MRF-SMRO team doing to protect our right to ride?

For months, often in concert with SMROs, MRF has been briefing Congress and other key officials in Washington. These meetings led to crucial briefings of Administration officials in late October 2001. At one point, Mr. Todd Vandermyde of ABATE of Illinois accompanied me to present the perspective of the grassroots rider. In these briefings, the following points were made:

1. Every new make and model of street motorcycle is cleaner than ever before.
2. Street bikes represent a tiny portion of the vehicular pollution problem. If all street vehicle emissions were equal to the length of a football field, our contribution would amount to a quarter-of-an-inch on that field.
3. Tougher standards will wipe out custom shops, the aftermarket and small-volume bike makers, costing tens of thousands of jobs.
4. Finally, tougher standards WILL REDUCE MOTORCYCLING IN AMERICA. Riders will “vote with their feet,” and the fallout will be sales declines and unemployment. And, as riders turn to passenger cars, the result will be more gas consumption, more road wear, more gridlock, hence more pollution.

To help quantify the economic impact, two leading SMROs have stepped to the plate swinging. ABATE of Illinois volunteered to design and conduct an Internet survey, asking individual riders about their spending on personalization (see www.abate-il.org). ABATE of Ohio has joined the effort forcefully, collaborating and coordinating with Illinois and surveying riders from over a dozen states (see www.abate.com). Together, ABATE of Illinois and ABATE of Ohio have amassed hundreds of responses – a great contribution to our base of knowledge that will give us a solid gauge on riders’ economic impact.

#3. MAJOR CALL TO ACTION: What can you do NOW to protect your right to ride?

1. Plan on briefing your Congressmen and U.S. Senators on our economic and safety concerns. We expect the results of the Illinois and Ohio surveys to be tallied and evaluated in a week or two, and we will provide that info to you ASAP. That way, SMROs can brief their Members of Congress on the economic clout of motorcyclists – and what small businesses nationwide stand to lose if the EPA tightens the standards as we expect.

2. When EPA publishes the proposed standard, MRF will review it and share our review with you.

3. Congress was originally expected to recess Friday, November 16, but America’s War on Terrorism may delay the recess into late November. Accordingly, SMROs should seriously consider scheduling a meeting with their Senators and Congressmen IN THEIR DISTRICT OFFICES during the recess period (best guess: December, 2001, and most of January, 2002). SMROs should call the “scheduler” in the Senators’ and Congressmen’s offices to begin discussions about a date and time for a meeting during recess.

4. Depending on the committee assignments of your Congressmen and U.S. Senators and my schedule, I may be available to join some of you at your in-district meetings to be of assistance in explaining the impacts of the standard on our community. It’s important to reach all Members of Congress, because Congress must review all major rules. Depending on their committee assignments, some Congressmen and Senators will play an even more important role in Congressional review. If you are unsure about the committee assignments for your Congressional delegation, just email me for more information (wyld@mrf.org).

5. Remember, we still face two other major threats to our rights and safety – health care and the Draft Motorcycle Safety Improvement Plan (McSIP) recently published by NHTSA. We must continue to rally the support of your Congressmen and your U.S. Senators to rescue our health benefits, and we must enlist their aid to promote safer riding – not “safer crashing” as called for by McSIP.

MRF calls on each and every SMRO to meet their Members of Congress during recess -- AND plan a trip to Washington in 2002. We face enormous challenges in health care, traffic safety and emissions standards. All these challenges rob Lady Liberty of her right to ride. She’s counting on us. Let’s roll!!!

Yours for the Right to Ride,

Tom Wyld
Vice President-Government Relations
Motorcycle Riders Foundation

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- 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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