02NR19 - Budget Cuts Result in Increased Motorcycle Fatalities

Motorcycle Riders Foundation
P.O. Box 1808
Washington, DC 20013-1808
202-546-0983 (voice)
202-546-0986 (fax)
wyld@mrf.org (e-mail)
http://www.mrf.org (website)

Contact: Tom Wyld
Phone: 202-546-0983
August 6, 2002
#02-NR-19 - Budget Cuts Result in Increased Motorcycle Fatalities

The following press release was sent out by the MRF via US Newswire this evening in anticipation of the release of NHTSA's FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) data for 2001, indicating another increase in motorcycle fatality rates. The MRF has been tracking this issue for quite some time, and developed a large portion of its TEA-03 (reauthorization of TEA-21) agenda based on the need for increased motorcycle safety.

Budget Cuts Result in Increased Motorcycle Fatalities

Washington, D.C. - The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), the leading national voice for the rights of street motorcyclists, unveiled its agenda for the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21). "Motorcycles Rev the Future" is a comprehensive plan emphasizing motorcycle safety, including incentives for state motorcycle safety programs and motorcycle awareness.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to announce Wednesday that motorcycle fatalities increased for the fourth year in a row. The MRF anticipated this increase, in light of the fact that new motorcycle sales are steadily increasing in the United States, jumping from 303,000 in 1990 to 356,000 in 1997, and then to 710,000 in 2000.

According to Tom Wyld, the MRF's Vice-President for Government Relations, "The MRF has been aware of the potential that motorcycle injuries and fatalities could show another tragic increase. Riders know the causes. Riders know the cure. The causes? First, state-run rider safety training is in trouble. Through the late 1990s, waiting periods for rider training stretched upwards of one year in most states. Since September 11, 2001, state budgets for rider training have been reduced or eliminated. Second, NHTSA has focused on 'safer crashing,' as opposed to focusing its resources on 'safer riding' through state rider education programs.

"The cure? The MRF urges NHTSA to focus federal resources on state motorcycle rider training programs, which have consistently saved lives for many years." Wyld is currently riding cross-country to address national motorcycle issues, including "Motorcycles Rev the Future" - the MRF's comprehensive agenda for the reauthorization of TEA-21 - at the annual convention of the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA) in Boise, Idaho.

The MRF is aware of the continual growth in motorcycle sales and registrations, coupled with severe budget cuts for rider training, and emphasizes that the primary cure for the increase in motorcycle fatalities is increased federal funding for motorcycle rider training at the state level. For more than a year and a half, the MRF and State Motorcyclists' Rights Organizations (SMROs) nationwide have called on the 107th Congress to aim a resource injection to rescue state-run rider training. Today, motorcyclists nationwide repeat this urgent appeal.

"Motorcycles Rev the Future," the MRF's complete agenda for the reauthorization of TEA-21, can be viewed on the MRF website at http://www.mrf.org/TEA-03.php.

- 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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