Washington, DC … It appears that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is sneaking a step closer to federal clothing control for motorcycle riders. If you think government has no business telling you what to wear, YOU HAVE ONLY A FEW DAYS TO ACT!

The MRF has learned that, in a recent “Federal Register” Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), NHTSA has buried language which lumps certain “off-vehicle equipment” such as “retroreflective motorcycle rider apparel” under “replacement equipment” for motor vehicles. The NPRM is designed to establish the rules for reporting defects under the Transportation Recall, Enhancement, Accountability & Documentation (TREAD) Act. Congress passed TREAD in response to the NHTSA-Ford-Firestone debacle last year.

MRF believes NHTSA has no statutory authority for this power grab. Further, we believe the idea for including rider apparel comes from former NHTSA Administrator Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen. To review Claybrook’s former role in NHTSA, read “Wrong Turn” from the NEW YORKER MAGAZINE at www.gladwell.com.


1. Review the proposed rule by going to http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html. Then scroll down to “Search Terms” and enter “NHTSA.” Choose “pdf” format for “Reporting of Information and Documents About Potential Defects” and scroll to page 66193.

2. Tell your Congressman that motorcyclists, as well as makers of rider apparel, had no idea they would be hurt by a rule governing vehicle and tire defects. Ask your Congressman to ask NHTSA to either strike all references to motorcycle rider apparel in this rule or extend the public comment period so that the voices of riders and apparel makers can be heard. (Contact information for your Congressman is available at http://thomas.loc.gov)

3. According to NHTSA, comments must be submitted through February 4, 2002 by U.S. Mail only (not fax or e-mail). Write to: Docket Management, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street S.W., Washington DC 20590.

In all correspondence to NHTSA and Congress, refer to this NPRM as “Docket NHTSA 2001-8677, Notice 2.”

Unless you act now, NHTSA will take another step toward controlling what you wear when you ride. Moreover, the agency will put countless small business makers of rider apparel under the hammer of a law intended by Congress to reduce tire and vehicle defects, not control clothing.

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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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