House to Vote on Health Care Legislation
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her intent to bring a massive 2000 page 1.3 trillion dollar health care overhaul package to the floor of the U.S. House for a vote.
The vote could come as early as this Saturday afternoon. In an effort to pass a bill prior to the Veterans Day recess, the House is working through the weekend. No matter how you feel about this bill, you should contact your Representatives prior to the vote to let them know your views on this important issue. The bill does not have any negative impact on motorcyclists, specifically, at this point. That could change as a rumor is circling that the Majority will be adding an 800 page amendment the day of the vote that will change every aspect of the printed bill. Unfortunately, the bill doesnít have anything positive for motorcyclists either.
The MRF and the AMA attempted to include language similar to the HIPAA loophole fix in the bill. Both organizations were told the same thing by our rank and file Member of Congress champions, "Leadership is writing the bill, we donít have any input." This was confirmed when leadership refused to even listen to the MRF requests. "It's never productive to write legislation in a vacuum," said Jeff Hennie Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the MRF. "Shutting out the other party and even members of their own party does a disservice to the American people and should raise questions and a few eyebrows about this legislation" he added.
The Federal Highway Administration Motorcycle Advisory Council met Thursday November 5th, in Washington. The council convenes twice annually in the Nation's Capitol to develop recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation on road and highway infrastructure and how it can affect motorcyclists. The Council, formed under the SAFETEA-LU legislation, is in its third year of existence.
The council received an interesting briefing from a George Washington University Ph.D. on roadside hazards. Some startling statistics were shared with the group, hereís a few: Roadside hazards account for 50% of all motorcycle fatalities. The roadside itself accounts for 40% of all fatalities. If a motorcyclist lays the bike down and doesnít leave the road they are more likely to survive the ordeal.
One of the NHTSA presenters had some less startling numbers for the group based off her work at the University of Massachusetts. Men make up 95% of all fatalities. Failure to yield by passenger cars accounts for about 25% of all fatalities in crashes involving motorcycles & four wheeled vehicles. Most crashes occur on dry pavement. 21-34 year old riders make up most fatalities (in MA). And lastly, most injuries and fatalities come from intersections or striking an object. Sounds like the Ph.D. community is finally catching up to what the motorcycle safety community has been saying for years.
The MRF will keep you updated on all issues from Washington D.C. as they affect motorcyclists.