09-29-2003

03NR33 - MRF Call to Action: NHTSA Pushes for United Nations Acceptance of Mandatory Rider Apparel

MRF E-MAIL NEWS
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
P.O. Box 1808
Washington, DC 20013-1808
202-546-0983 (voice)
202-546-0986 (fax)
http://www.mrf.org (website)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tom Wyld
wyld@mrf.org (e-mail)

September 26, 2003

#03NR33 - MRF Call to Action: NHTSA Pushes for United Nations Acceptance of Mandatory Rider Apparel

Having failed to convince State legislatures to adopt laws mandating helmet or apparel use by motorcyclists, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has potentially found another body to advance mandatory-use laws: the United Nations.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has learned that, in total defiance of legislation passed by Congress, NHTSA has moved its efforts to the United Nations, specifically the world body's "Inland Transport Committee: Working Party on Road Traffic Safety (WP.1)." In a document dated July 15, 2003, and during meetings held by WP.1 in Geneva, Sept. 22-25, 2003, NHTSA presented the following recommendations for WP.1:

Action: "To start a discussion and exchange of information among WP.1 member nations and key non-governmental organizations on motorcycle safety programmes." As part of NHTSA's proposed action plan, it urges a questionnaire be circulated among member states (editor's note: in this instance, "member states" means countries involved with the United Nations). Among the questions NHTSA requests for inclusion on the questionnaire: "Fatality and injury rates due to motorcyclists not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash;" "Laws governing helmet use;" "Amount of penalty for not wearing a helmet;" and "Are there any repercussions, other than fines, if riders do not wear a helmet."

NHTSA's estimated timeframe: September 2003 - form a working group; April 2004 - develop and distribute questionnaire; April 2005 - present preliminary results and recommendations to WP.1. This July 15, 2003 NHTSA document will be posted in its entirety on the MRF web site next week.

The Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations (FEMA) disclosed the NHTSA strategy at the September MRF Meeting of The Minds. FEMA is a partner with the MRF, AMA and FIM in ensuring the voice of riders is heard at "Working Party 29 (WP.29), the global vehicles harmonization talks being held in Geneva under the auspices of the U.N. The NHTSA document surfaced in Geneva.

Mrs. Rose McMurray and Dr. Jeffrey Rungie represented NHTSA at the WP.1 meetings held in Geneva Sept. 22-25. Bob Tomlins, FEMA, reported that Mrs. McMurray, when pressed on the proposed focus on helmets, responded that there are, "compelling safety problems that unite everyone and that the polarizing helmet debate could be set aside in order to work on the bigger safety picture."

"This extraordinary move is a violation of Congressional action and intent," said Karen Bolin, President of the MRF. "Congress has directed that motorcyclist apparel issues are matters to be decided by the states - not the Congress, not a federal regulatory agency, and certainly not the United Nations. This calls for a vigorous, sustained response from the Motorcyclists' Rights Movement in the United States. The MRF will pursue every option available to halt NHTSA's regulatory power grab."

NHTSA represents the United States in the global talks. As a signatory to the international agreement to establish WP.29, the U.S. is obligated to initiate a federal rulemaking whenever WP.29 agrees to a Global Technical Regulation (GTR).

"If NHTSA initiates a rulemaking on mandatory apparel of any kind, the regulation usurps State legislative prerogatives," said Tom Wyld, MRF VP-Government Relations. "We would view that as a violation of the Tenth Amendment, and the MRF will use every avenue available to fight such infringement."

The MRF urges ALL motorcyclists and riding organizations to do the following NOW:

1. Contact your Congressman and U.S. Senators (202-224-3121) (www.house.gov) (www.senate.gov).

2. Explain the situation, let them know your views, and ask for their help in pressuring NHTSA to abandon its bid to regulate American motorcyclist attire through the United Nations.

3. Ask your Congressman and Senators to follow-up with you on this issue.

4. Follow up with them.

5. Please e-mail Tom Wyld with any feedback you receive from your Congressman or Senators (mrf-news@mrf.org).

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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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