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For Immediate Release

 

02 October 2008

 

Contact: Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations, MRF

Email: jeff@mrf.org

 

10-17-08

 

Washington Update

 

NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) held a quarterly Motorcycle Safety Network meeting in Washington DC, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation reports. The meeting, originally the brainchild of NHTSA, has mushroomed into almost an entire DOT meeting as the room had a good number of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) officials either reporting or just listening. It seems that as with the sales of new motorcycles, so goes this meeting’s attendance. Each meeting’s attendance has increased significantly and has now grown out of the current DOT conference facilities.

 

The meeting was attended by all government transportation officials as well as representatives from SMSA, MIC, MSF, AMA, IIHS, Honda, Harley and ASMI.

 

Tim Buche of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation reported that the MSF trained just over 400,000 individual riders last year and estimate now that about ½ of the riders on the road have now been through some form of rider education program.

 

FHWA had a lengthy report on the crash causation study that was legislated by Congress in the last highway bill. The seemingly straightforward request from Congress has found itself stuck between the FHWA and the executing institution, the University of Oklahoma.  The study originally had a price tag of about $3 million; however several issues have already doubled that to around $6 million, and at this recent meeting it was acknowledged that it could ultimately end up costing around $7.5-8 million.

 

Who’s picking up the tab for this study, anyway? Essentially you, the motorcyclist, are. Lets break down the funding streams; there’s the federal share of about $2.1 -2.4 million, the motorcycle industry has pledged $3.1 million, and the AMA has kicked in $130,000 cold hard cash to kick start the study. That’s about 5.5 million on a good day. When you look at it, really it’s the motorcyclists that are funding this. The federal share is from gasoline taxes, and the industry will ultimately pass the cost on to its customers. Where the additional $2.5 million comes from is uncertain but one thing should be certain, motorcyclists have paid more than enough and we deserve better. Another certainty is every day this study is delayed it gets more expensive. At this point getting the study moving seems impossible at best, but government and universities have a history of moving at a glacier’s pace and then pulling through at the last minute. The MRF’s message to the powers that be on this one; stop playing the blame game and wasting the money of the motorcyclists and get this study underway.

 

Some Positive News

The pilot study to the main study is set to begin in December - they will also begin training investigators within the next few weeks. The pilot study will be conducted by FHWA to test the methodology; the full study is going to be done by the University of OK. The pilot study will investigate

37 crashes or last three months, whichever comes first. The full study will investigate around 900 crashes. One senior DOT official in the room did caution the group to not put too much hope into the outcome of the study, as these types of studies rarely produce the single panacea many hope for. Expect a laundry list of contributing factors, not a silver bullet.

 

Studies Coming Soon.

The much anticipated Conspicuity Study will be released in just a few months. This is the study that tried to determine if universal daytime running lights (DRL) on cars reduces the conspicuity of motorcycles on the road. One segment of the study put an individual in a parked car on the side of the road and used eyeball tracking equipment to see what they looked at.

 

Braking Study.

This study, also due out soon, takes a look at antilock braking (ABS), combined braking (CBS) and conventional braking, and whether they stop a motorcycle differently and why.

 

Braking Follow-on Study

This study used a simulator to determine what brake riders used most in the last milliseconds before artificial impact. According to the 1981 Hurt report, 83% of riders don’t use the front brake in the crucial 1.9 seconds prior to impact. This study is also due out soon; noticing a pattern here?

 

Some future studies under consideration by the feds include an eyeball tracking study which would utilize a tiny camera aimed at the rider’s eyes to essentially see what they are looking at while riding. Another idea in the works is a similar study in which a camera would be worn by the rider, except that volunteers would wear the camera every time they rode for an entire year to get a sense of patterns and behaviors. Lastly, the feds are thinking of doing a study to determine if it’s even possible to employ some new Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) recording technology on a motorcycle. This is sort of a “let’s see if we think we can build it” sort of study. All of these are purely in the concept phase.

 

2010 Funds

The third round of the 2010 funds has been announced and it’s another successful year for 47 states and Puerto Rico. Again 3 states did not apply. The 48 grants are listed below. This round spent $6 million, the next and final round will spend $7 million. The deadline for that application is August 1st 2009, and the guide to apply is on the MRF website.

.

FY 2008 SECTION 2010 MOTORCYCLIST SAFETY GRANTS

State Year SAFETEA-LU   Programmatic Basic Criteria   Total Award

1. Alaska   3rd   Training, Impaired      $100,000

2. Arizona 3rd   Aware, Fees $102,607

3. Arkansas 2nd  Aware , Impaired $100,000

4. California     3rd  Training, Fees    $365,542

5. Colorado       2nd  Training, Fees    $101,815

6. Connecticut    3rd  Training , Fees   $100,000

7. Delaware 3rd  Training, Aware   $100,000

8. Florida  3rd   Training, Fees    $205,733

9. Georgia  3rd   Aware, Impaired   $140,234

10. Hawaii  3rd  Training, RFC     $100,000

11. Idaho   3rd   Training, Fees    $100,000

12. Illinois      3rd   Training, Fees    $180,184

13. Indiana 3rd   Aware, Fees $118,289

14. Iowa    3rd   Training, Fees    $100,000

15. Kansas 2nd  Aware, Impaired   $100,000

16. Kentucky      3rd   Aware, Fees $100,000

17. Louisiana     3rd   Aware, Impaired   $100,000

18. Maine   3rd   Training, Aware   $100,000

19. Maryland      3rd   Training, Aware   $100,000

20. Massachusetts 3rd   Training, Aware   $108,810

21. Michigan      3rd   Training , Fees   $156,129

22. Minnesota     3rd   Training, Aware   $116,293

23. Missouri      3rd   Training, Fees    $120,344

24. Montana       3rd   Training, Impaired      $100,000

25. Nebraska      3rd   Training, Fees    $100,000

26. Nevada        3rd   Training, Fees    $100,000

27. New Hampshire       3rd  Training , RFC, Fees    $100,000

28. New Jersey    3rd   Training , Fees   $126,221

29. New Mexico    3rd   Training, Fees    $100,000

30. New York      3rd   Training, Fees    $229,882

31. North Carolina      3rd   Training, Aware   $136,206

32. North Dakota        3rd  Training, RFC     $100,000

33. Ohio    3rd   Training, Fees    $167,043

34. Oklahoma      3rd   Impaired, Fees    $100,090

35. Oregon  3rd   Training, Aware, Fees   $100,000

36. Pennsylvania  3rd   RFC, Fees   $175,342

37. Puerto Rico   3rd   Aware, Impaired   $100,000

38. Rhode Island  3rd  Training, Fees    $100,000

39. South Dakota  2nd  Training, Aware   $100,000

40. Tennessee     3rd   Training, Fees    $113,809

41. Texas   3rd   Training, Fees    $283,221

42. Utah    2nd  Training, Aware, Fees   $100,000

43. Vermont 2nd   Training, RFC     $100,000

44. Virginia      3rd   Training, Fees    $121,987

45. Washington    3rd   Training, Fees    $114,149

46. West Virginia 3rd         Aware, Fees $100,000

47. Wisconsin     3rd   Training, Aware   $116,070

48. Wyoming 3rd   Training, Fees    $100,000

Total             $ 6,000,000

 

Programmatic Grants: Training= Motorcycle Rider Training Course; Aware= Motorcyclists Awareness Program; RFC= Reduction of Fatalities and Crashes Involving Motorcyclists; Impaired= Impaired Driving Program; RFIM= Reduction of Fatalities and Accidents Involving Impaired Motorcyclists; Fees= Use of Fees Collected From Motorcyclists for Motorcycle Programs Total Applied: 47 States and Puerto Rico Total Qualified:  47 States and Puerto Rico States which did not Apply: Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and D.C.

 

Meeting of the Minds presentations are now online.

Most of the presentations given at this years Meeting of the Minds are now on the MRF website. Visit http://www.mrf.org/MOTM2008.php for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.