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11NR06 - MRF News Release - The Kids Just Want to Ride!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
14 January 2011

Contact: Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs

The Kids Just Want to Ride!

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) is in support of legislation recently introduced that would allow just that.  U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg (R-MT) introduced HR412 earlier this week.  This bill would exempt youth motorcycles and ATVs from the current lead ban on children's toys.  

“Here again, a law meant to improve children’s safety is actually being enforced in a way that puts kids in more danger than ever, while destroying jobs to boot,” said Rehberg.  “It’s critical that we put to rest any confusion once and for all so kids can just get outside and ride.  There’s no excuse for continued bungling that only stops kids from using the very youth-sized off-road vehicles that are intended to keep them safe.” 

The MRF urges you to call your U.S. Representative and ask him/her to join the bipartisan group of co-sponsors for HR412.  You can reach the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. 

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD ANNUAL MEETING 

This week in Washington DC, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) held its annual meeting which offered the opportunity for the Motorcycle and Moped Committee (MMC) to meet as well. The TRB is a group of academics, governments, and private organizations from around the world that meet to discuss essentially every aspect of transportation.  The MMC is an advisory committee to the TRB to review academic papers and share information. Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, is a sitting member of the MMC and represents the MRF at each TRB meeting. This year several topics were addressed that are worth mentioning.  

First, it seems to be the year of the naturalistic study. The French government has completed one; and as previously reported by the MRF, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation/Motorcycle Industry Council will be doing a naturalistic study as well. Both studies will or did use volunteers and their motorcycles outfitted with cameras, GPS, and data recorders, along with a slew of sensors to measure what the motorcycle does for a set amount of time ranging from six months to a year.  

It has been determined that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) federally-funded motorcycle crash study will now be implemented only in Orange County, CA and will investigate only up to 240 crashes. Results will be available 36 months after data collection ends.  

A scan of European motorcycle safety programs, laws and infrastructure was recently completed by a team of government types and private groups. The scan revealed some interesting results. The team found out that most of the countries in Europe had very similar ratios with regard to the number of motorcycles on the roads vs. fatalities. In the United States, motorcycles represent about 3 percent of the vehicles on the road, and average about 10 percent of the fatalities each year. In Europe, the ratios for most countries are nearly identical to those in the United States, even though Europe has mandatory helmet laws and graduated licensing, not to mention the fact that it costs about $1000 to get a motorcycle license.  

As always, the MRF will keep you up to date on all happenings in Washington DC that affect street motorcyclists.

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