January 24, 2002 #02-03 Phone: 202-546-0983


On Thursday, January 17, Tom Wyld of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, accompanied by Todd Vandermyde of ABATE of Illinois, briefed a senior Bush Administration official on the economic dangers of proposed overly restrictive emissions standards on street motorcycles. “The facts are plain and our message is simple,” said Wyld, MRF Vice President for Government Relations. “Needlessly harsh emissions standards on street motorcycles will cost three things: jobs, jobs, jobs. Overly restrictive emissions standards and related regulations will topple thousands of small businesses, destroy tens of thousands of jobs, and tear at the heart of an American culture. And considering the state of American economy today, Washington is listening.”

During their meeting with the Bush Administration, Wyld and Vandermyde stressed the major points from the joint MRF-SMRO agenda that have caused some members of Congress to cast a critical eye on the proposed street bike rule – points, which have delayed the rule again and again. Vandermyde shared the results of a survey spearheaded by ABATE of Illinois and ABATE of Ohio regarding the investment made by American motorcyclists in personalizing their personal vehicles. According to Vandermyde, “On average, 800 motorcyclists invest half-a million dollars in refinements to engines alone. Criminalizing our culture is nothing short of criminalizing the backyard mechanic – with no net gain in pollution control.” Hairy George of ABATE of Ohio adds, “Nearly 70% of our respondents maintain and personalize their bikes themselves, and over 65 percent of them spend as much as $1500 per bike to create and maintain their personal vehicles.”

“Clearly, the EPA issue is about jobs and culture,” Wyld stressed. “A restrictive rule eliminates more than the 35,000 jobs in custom shops nationwide. It kills thousands more in franchised dealers, the aftermarket, the pipe-benders, the pipe-chromers – and thousands more, from the clerks who process the orders to the shippers who deliver the products. A vote for a restrictive rule in Congress is a vote for unemployment.”

On one of the most critical national issues facing American motorcyclists who value their rights and safety, this third key meeting with Bush Administration officials in recent months was sparked by MRF and supported by state motorcyclists’ rights organizations (SMROs) nationwide with letters to EPA and visits to their Congressmen and Senators. Points emphasized, which can be found under “Position Papers” and “MRF Alerts” at www.mrf.org, include:

1. New street bikes are cleaner than ever before – entirely market-driven, not government-dictated – with many, if not most, new motorcycles close to or better than the current California standard.
2. Street bikes are responsible for a tiny portion of the pollution inventory attributable to street motor vehicles of all kinds. (In California, which boasts more bikes per capita than any other state, 0.006% -- or the equivalent of 1/4-inch of a football field.)
3. Tougher standards will shock the $14 billion industry and devastate the industry's most fragile element: the aftermarket, some 10,000 custom shops and neighborhood mechanics nationwide, franchised dealers and small-volume motorcycle makers.
4. Tougher standards WILL REDUCE MOTORCYCLING IN AMERICA. The fallout is inevitable: sales declines and unemployment in an industry that left the last century more robust than ever before. And, as riders turn to passenger cars, the result will be more gas consumption, more road wear, more gridlock, hence MORE POLLUTION.

Concluded Wyld, “For motorcyclists, the answer is clear. Come to Washington. Tell Congress to stand up for your rights, and caution them not to chase zero emissions at the expense of tens of thousands of American jobs.”

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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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