02-03-2003

03NR03 - NHTSA's New Motorcycle Safety Program is Leaning, Not Leaping, In the Right Direction

MRF E-MAIL NEWS
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)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tom Wyld
Phone: 202-546-0983
February 3, 2003

03NR03 - NHTSA's New Motorcycle Safety Program is Leaning, But Not Leaping, In the Right Direction

In reading the new Motorcycle Safety Program (MSP) issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one thing shows up pretty clearly: the footprints of researchers outnumber the boot prints of riders.

True, the new NHTSA plan places more emphasis on rider training, acknowledges as unsatisfactory long waiting periods for rider training, takes a step closer to genuine motorist awareness and emphasizes that "crash prevention...offers the greatest potential safety benefit for motorcyclists."

"Motorcyclists can take credit for these gains," said Tom Wyld, Vice President of Government Relations for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), "but NHTSA is only leaning, rather than leaping, in the right direction toward motorcycle safety." You can view NHTSA's new Motorcycle Safety Program in its entirety by visiting their website at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/hot/.

Under "Crash Prevention," a NHTSA data collection priority is a "study of rehabilitation costs associated with motorcycle crash related injuries." NHTSA attempts to justify this cost study merely by stating that it would "provide a more complete picture of costs associated with motorcycle crashes." "The cost of a crash does not and cannot help anyone to prevent a crash," said Wyld.

NHTSA issued this new plan more than a year and a half after the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, State Motorcyclists' Rights Organizations (SMROs) and academicians leveled stiff criticism of the draft "Motorcycle Safety Improvement Plan" (McSIP) the agency had proposed in May 2001. The MRF and SMROs charged that plan ignored dangerous motorists (i.e., car drivers) and placed more emphasis on safer crashing (e.g., protective gear) than safer riding.

The MSP's greatest weakness lies in rider training and motorist awareness. In the summer of 2001, we asked the agency to get behind the joint MRF-SMRO plan for rider safety by supporting our call for a resource injection to help rider training and motorist awareness. We began providing our plan to Congress nearly one year ago. Today, NHTSA's rider training program continues to fall well short of the mark.

NHTSA's safety program for motorcycle safety is a shadow of the joint MRF-SMRO agenda for the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, or TEA-21. "Motorcycles Rev the Future," the joint MRF-SMRO plan for TEA-21 reauthorization, can be seen in its entirety at www.mrf.org/TEA-03.php.

"NHTSA may have had an opportunity to hear, but the agency is not listening closely enough to street riders," said Wyld. "In the next five years, nothing will impact motorcycle safety more than the reauthorization of TEA-21. With a fresh, new $2 million appropriation for NHTSA to launch a massive study of motorcycle crashes, researchers are way out ahead of riders. It is time to accelerate this debate to get resources where they matter the most - to prevent crashes, reduce injuries and save lives."

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(c)All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is a membership-based, national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The first motorcyclists' rights organization to establish a full-time presence in Washington, DC, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. The MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom.

The MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American riders' rights movement among its leading members. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulations, motorcycling safety education, training, and public awareness. The MRF provides members and state motorcyclists' rights organizations with direction and information, and sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists' rights activists, as well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.
- 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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