October 25th, 2019 – RIDING FREE FROM DC
Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway
Your Motorcycle Riders Foundation team in Washington, D.C. is pleased to provide our members with the latest information and updates on issues that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. Count on your MRF to keep you informed about a range of matters that are critical to the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. Published weekly when the U.S. Congress is in session.
Motorcycle fatalities decline by 4.7% in 2018
Earlier this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the 2018 motor vehicle fatality report. For the second year in a row, less people lost their lives on the roads across the country. As you can see in the chart below, motorcycle fatalities declined in 4.7% from 2017 to 2018 while overall motor vehicle crashed were reduced by 2.4% while vehicle miles traveled (VMT) also increased.
Does that mean motorcyclists are doing better than the other motor vehicles on the road? Unfortunately, we still represented 14% of traffic fatalities in 2018 according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data, “New vehicles are safer than older ones, and when crashes occur, more new vehicles are equipped with advanced technologies that prevent or reduce the severity of crashes,” NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said in the statement.
You can read the full NHTSA 2018 Fatality Report, 2018 Crash Stats.pdf
MRF attends bicameral Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Meeting
During the August recess, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation partnered with Harley Davidson (H-D) and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) to send a joint letter outlining the priorities of the motorcycle lobbying community for any future autonomous vehicle (AV) legislation to both the minority and majority staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. This week, the MRF, H-D and the AMA was invited to meet to further discuss the concerns and priorities of motorcyclists for any AV legislation. As you may remember during the 115th Congress, the House and Senate took two different approaches writing legislation and neither of those bills were signed into law. While the House and Senate committees are in the infancy stages of writing legislation, we are encouraged by the bicameral effort on future legislation and remain optimistic that both chambers can introduce the same legislation. The AV working group of congressional staffers spearheading this effort do not have any real time line when we may see any draft legislation out of their committees as they are still bringing in the over 100 stakeholder groups that submitted their AV priorities at the end of summer. As always, we will keep our ear to the ground and continue to engage the appropriate congressional staff as they continue through the process to draft this necessary and comprehensive legislation to help keep not only motorcyclists but all motorists safe on our roads.
You can read our specific recommendations from the August letter below:
Rulemaking – Set new standards specific to seeing, detecting and properly reacting to motorcycles;
Testing – Ensure motorcycles are part of all testing and development procedures;
Advisory committees – Public user advisory committees should include a representative from the motorcycle community and a motorcycle manufacturer;
Consumer education – Require a public, easily accessible and searchable database where consumers can look up important safety information such as the limitations and capabilities of different products offered by AV manufacturers or service providers, as well as clarifications for marketing terms such as auto pilot, super cruise, etc. For example, the database should inform consumers what each relevant automakers’ systems Auto Pilot can and cannot do in terms of the driving task;
Safety Evaluation Reports – AV manufacturers must be required to detail and make public how their vehicles identify motorcycles among other road users. Manufacturers must also include human error analysis in safety reports; and
Crash data/reporting – AV manufacturers must report incidents between AVs and motorcycles just as they would incidents between AVs and other road users. Manufacturers must also include human error analysis in crash data and reporting.
Southbound and Down to the 2019 Mid-South M.I.L.E. conference
I’m off to Shreveport, Louisiana for the 28th Annual Mid-South M.I.L.E. (Motorcyclists Improving Legislative Effectiveness) to speak to the attendees from Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. If you were at MOTM 2019, you probably heard “Brick” Lindsey with ABATE of Louisiana plug that they were having bacon wrapped alligator at the event and I eagerly await to report back to you next week about my first alligator experience.
We are currently at 108 cosponsors from 38 states and one territory for H. Res 255, the motorcycle profiling resolution. An additional 8 new cosponsors have joined since our last update including our first member from Virginia and Indiana. The map below shows which states have at least one lawmaker signed on as a cosponsor. Is your state not filled in yet? Check with the D.C. team about how we can work together to secure cosponsors from your state.