05NR05 - Idaho Responds to Motorcycle Safety Foundation

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

Contact: Chuc Coulter
ironhors1@mindspring.com (e-mail)

This release is being sent at the request of the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety (ICMS). All correspondence referenced in the ICMS press release can be reviewed at http://www.mrf.org/id.php the Idaho State Page on the MRF website.

April 7, 2005

#05NR05 - Idaho Responds to Motorcycle Safety Foundation

2005 ICMS. All Rights Reserved.
Post Office Box 2732
Boise, Idaho 83701
Chuc Coulter, Legislative Liaison


The Idaho Motorcycle Safety Program (known as Skills Training Advantage for Riders, STAR) had told the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) that Idaho would no longer be looking to the MSF as a vendor for curriculum product in view of the new program pushed by MSF. That is the Basic Rider Course (BRC) that the MSF has been pushing for the last four years or so. The first volley the MSF sent was a cease and desist letter regarding Idaho's use of the old curriculum, the RSS (Riders Street Skills). That curriculum had proven itself over the years. In addition, a lawsuit for infringement was threatened.

When that threat didn't work, the next volley was a honey and sugar letter. When that gained no response, Idaho received the most recent, an April first letter by Tim Buche. That letter holds new threats and a near blackmail.

To set the stage, this year the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety (ICMS) and riders worked with Ron Shepard, STAR Coordinator, to lobby a new funding formula through the legislature. We were successful and on the date the bill hit Governor Kempthorne's desk, we received this last letter. A copy of the letter was sent to the Governor.

The letter is a poorly done, unedited, cut and paste job full of errors and misstatements. That part might be expected but the real crux of the letter is:

1. Tim Buche doesn't even know to whom he should address the letter.

2. At the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) Meeting of the Minds in St. Louis in September, 2004, Tim Buche assured everyone that he works with the State's Rights Organizations. With all of the above, the ICMS has never been contacted by Tim Buche. It was the ICMS that drafted and lobbied the Idaho Motorcycle Safety Program through the legislature in 1994 and has been involved with the program ever since.

3. Tim Buche's letter of April first lists the benefits that Idaho will miss out on: Idaho doesn't use the BRC material; Idaho doesn't use the RERP (Rider Education Recognition Program), because Idaho will not let MSF control its program; Tim Buche has never communicated with the entities that control the Idaho program nor its stakeholders (the riders); Idaho does not use the MSF completion cards, STAR has its own cards; the STAR program is not insured by the MSF; STAR certification of instructors is more stringent than MSF and has not used MSF certification for over 5 years; the MSF has no qualified technical, administrative or promotional assistance that would assist the Idaho program; the STAR motorcycle loan program is not MSF's, STAR has its own motorcycle program; the student referrals in Idaho use the STAR toll-free number; the MSF on-line resource guide does not support the STAR program; and, the professional development program of MSF will not serve Idaho's program.

All of those "benefits" Idaho will "miss" out on don't exist for Idaho.

Tim Buche's letter goes on to say that the MSF will issue a press release so that residents of Idaho are aware that Idaho's curriculum is obsolete and no longer supported by or affiliated with the MSF. Again, this was sent to the Governor as the funding legislation was being considered.

Then Mr. Buche represents that significant efforts by the MSF have been ignored, i.e. letters and telephone calls. The significant efforts on the part of MSF have been one telephone call over a year ago threatening Ron Shepard, a threatening letter in August, 2004, the sweet letter in January, 2005, and now the April first letter. (These letters are posted on the Idaho page at http://www.mrf.org/id.php. As a salesman, Mr. Buche is not credible.

Idaho has no desire to engage in dialog with Mr. Buche, and argue over a product Idaho doesn't want (a vendor Idaho has chosen not to use). MSF can't take no for an answer.

The tone of the letter is that the Idaho Motorcycle Safety Program can't continue without Mr. Buche.

Though Mr. Buche claims that NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) accepts the BRC, NHTSA doesn't endorse any program and, in fact, "accepts" the Idaho program. He seems to forget that the NHTSA survey of "best practices" a year ago resulted in finding Idaho's program as one of the best in the nation. If Mr. Buche thinks that the current MSF curriculum has such "overwhelming support and confirmation" he hasn't been listening. Just because MSF is able to pressure and even take over State programs, does not suddenly morph into overwhelming support.

Mr. Buche, the STAR program is alive and well in Idaho and it enjoys "overwhelming support" as evidenced by Idaho's legislature passing STAR's new funding formula.


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