State Watch

Articles for State Watch are from the AMA

Pennsylvania
State Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R- Monongahela) has introduced legislation prohibiting grass clippings from road ways. She said clippings can cause the surface of the roadway to become extremely slippery, causing motorcycle crashes. Grass on the roadways can also clog storm drains and contribute to run off pollution into streams.
Bartolotta’s bill would treat offenses related to grass clippings on roadways in the same way as other litter. Fines would range from $50 to $300 for a first offense and $300 to $1,000 for a subsequent offense. Offenders also would be required to remove clippings from the road.

Texas
A bill to include motorcycles in the states electric vehicle rebate program failed to make it to the Senate floor. S.B 486, sponsored by state Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) would have allowed a rebate of as much as $2,500 for the purchase of an electric motorcycle.
The AMA believes this bill was important because it would have ended a discriminatory policy against motorcyclists, who should be eligible for the same benifits as other motor vehicle owners.
Ensuring motorcyclists have access to the same rights and programs as the owners of other vehicles is a key goal. Importantly, this bill also recognized motorcycles as part of the future of transportation and something to be encouraged and incentivized for the benefit of all road users.

Missouri
A bill passed by legislature would allow motorcyclists 18 or older to ride with out a helmet. The bill also requires motorcyclists to be covered by heath insurance policy before riding without a helmet.

Michigan
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson unveiled the awareness campaign ”Motorcyclists Are Hard to See. Look Twice. Save a Life” The campaign is amid at preventing motorcycle crashes in Michigan by teaching people about the importance of constantly looking for motorcycles while driving. The effort will include billboards,radio ads and social media spots. It will be funded through the Motorcycle Safety and Education Fund, which was created by the Michigan Legislature.

Louisiana
H.B.141, which creates a law enforcement training program on motorcyclist profiling, passed the House, 91-0, in May and passed the Senate, 38-0 in June and was signed by the Governor. The bill defines motorcyclist profiling as the “arbitrary use of the fact that an individual rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related clothing pr paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop,question,take enforcement action,arrest or search the individual or his motorcycle or motor vehicle”

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

State Watch

State Watch is from the AMA

New York
New York Assembly Members introduced A.B. 6080, which would exempt all motorcycles from congestion pricing program fees if such a program is adopted. Current and past congestion pricing proposals for New York City would have charged motorcycles the same amounts as cars and trucks. The AMA is urging New York riders to write to their New York State Assembly members in support of this commonsense legislation that recognizes the benefits of motorcycling for city traffic.

New York
The AMA is supporting an effort by Harley Davidson to expand the state’s Drive Clean Rebate program for electric vehicles to include motorcycles. Currently, the program is limited to four-wheeled vehicles. The rebates available through the program range up to $2,000.

North Carolina
A state house committee has approved a mandatory-helmet repeal bill, H.B. 267 The bill would require helmets for riders younger than 21, but would allow those 21 and older the option of riding without a helmet.
In a story in the Raleigh News & Observer, the bill sponsor- state Rep.John Torbett said, “It’s not a matter of wearing a helmet or not wearing a helmet. It’s just a matter of, ‘Does a state tell you to wear it?”

Texas
S.B. 273 would allow lane splitting in congested traffic if the motorcyclist is traveling no faster than 20 mph and no more than 5 mph faster than surrounding vehicles. The provision would apply only on limited-access highways. The companion bill is H.B.1270. The AMA fully supports both bills.

Utah
Utah became the second U.S. state to formally recognize a type of lane splitting,with the governor’s signature on a bill legalizing the filtering of motorcycles between lanes of stopped traffic. H.B. 149 allows motorcyclists traveling no faster than 15 mph to filter between lanes of stopped traffic traveling in the same direction on roads where the speed limit is 45 mph or less.

Virginia
The Virginia Senate and house of Delegates passed bills prohibiting motorists from touching their cell phones while driving. The bills would allow the use of hands-free mode.
State law currently prohibits only reading email or text messages or manually entering letters or text in a hand-held personal communications device while driving. It is still legal to operate phones while stopped or while reporting an emergency.

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

Motorcycle Parking Tips

Motorcycle Parking Tips

Article is from the AMA

Where is the best spot to park a motorcycle within a parking lot space?

Park so the rear of your bike ( or the front, if you’ve backed your bike into the space) is at the entrance of the space, similar to where the rear of the average car would be positioned.
In this way, a driver or other rider hunting for a space will see your bike and not start to enter the space and then come upon your bike at the last moment. If you are traveling with other riders, park two to a space, when possible, to minimize the group’s “footprint.”
In some lots the spaces are narrow, so there may not be enough room for two motorcycles to park side-by-side and still leave enough room for the doors of the adjacent cars to open. In that case, try staggering the bikes fore-and-aft.
Also when leaving a parking space, be alert for motorists distracted by their own quest to find a parking spot.
Keep it between the lines.
Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

Motorcycle Awareness Month

Spring is in full swing and around the country, motorcyclists are returning to the road after a long winter. But with a sudden spike in the number of motorcycles on the road, it’s a good time to remind all motorists, whether on two wheels or four, to keep a special lookout for motorcyclists.

That’s why May is recognized as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a time for drivers to be reminded to share the road with motorcycles, and riders to be reminded to make themselves more visible to others.
Keep the Contact Patch between the lines
 
Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

 

State Watch

New Jersey
S. 1400 and A. 3204 would allow operators of motorcycles,motorized bicycles and bicycles to proceed through a malfunctioning steady red light if the rider comes to a full stop at the intersection, waits for two complete cycles of the opposing traffic signal or for two minutes, whichever is shorter,then treats the traffic control signal as a stop sign.

 

Oregon
H.B 2314 would allow motorcyclist and moped riders to split lanes if traffic is stopped or is traveling 10 mph or slower, the rider travels no more than 10 mph faster than traffic and the rider merges with traffic when traffic speed exceeds 10 mph. The law would apply to highways with speed limits of 50 mph or higher.

Texas
H.B. 748 would repeal the exceptions to the state’s mandatory helmet law. The law currently exempts riders 21 or older who have completed a motorcycle safety course or who have health insurance coverage.
Also S.B. 273 would allow motorcyclist to split lanes on limited or controlled access highways when traffic is moving at 20 mph or slower, if the rider does not travel more than 5 mph faster than surrounding traffic.

Virginia
H.B.1872 would require the adult motorcyclists to register as organ donors if they wish to ride without a helmet. The bill also makes failure to wear a helmet a secondary offense, which means law enforcement officers would not be allowed to stop riders simply for being helmetless.
Also H.B. 2446 would allow motorcyclists to ride on the shoulder of limited access highways when traffic is stopped or is traveling 10 mph or less, the motorcyclist must not exceed 15 mph and must take the first available exit.
And H.B. 2193 would add grass clippings to the list of substance a person may not throw or deposit on the roads. Grass clippings create a hazard for motorcyclists.

Utah
H.B143 Changed registration and state wide fees for all- terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and street-legal ATV’s. Under the new law, registration fees for off- road vehicles will not exceed $35 while the fee for a street- legal ATV will not exceed $72. The state’s Motor Vehicle Division requires that $1 of the registration go to the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Rehabilitation Fund. State wide fees foe ATV’s and snowmobiles will vary, based on the age of the vehicle.

 

Also Utah became the second U.S. state to formally recognize a type of lane splitting, with the governor’s signature on a bill legalizing the filtering of motorcycles between lanes of stopped traffic.

“This is a major victory for motorcyclists in Utah and across the country,” said Mike Sayre, on-highway government relations manager for the American Motorcyclist Association. “As more states acknowledge the benefits of lane splitting, motorcyclists can become safer on the roads, and motorists can find some relief from traffic congestion.”
H.B. 149 allows motorcyclists traveling no faster than 15 mph to filter between lanes of stopped traffic traveling in the same direction on roads where the speed limit is 45 mph or less.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Walt Brooks (R-St. George) and state Sen. David P. Hinkins (R-Orangeville), was signed by Gov. Gary Herbert on March 21. The bill takes effect May 14.
There are provisions in the bill automatically repealing the law on July 1, 2022, if the legislature takes no action to extend it.

The AMA endorses lane splitting, given the long-term success in California and the University of California study by Berkeley researchers showing that it enhances motorcycle safety. And the AMA will assist groups and individuals working to bring legal lane splitting and/or filtering to their state.

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

 

Tips for Low-Speed Riding

Tips for Low-Speed Riding

Unless you’re somehow not subject to the laws of gravity, you likely feel a bit wobbly during slow-speed parking-lot maneuvers. This is because the stabilizing effect of inertia and the gyroscopic forces imparted by your bike’s wheels diminish as speed decreases, giving gravity the upper hand. Staying upright and balanced requires a deft orchestration of clutch, throttle, and brake, along with precise lean and steering angles, body positioning, and visual focus. Putting all these pieces together is challenging, but here are a few tips that will make slow-speed riding a little less nerve-racking.
Since your bike is less stable at slow speeds, it’s important to maintain smooth, steady drive. A lot of bikes’ throttles are too sensitive for precise control at a walking pace, so it’s best to keep the throttle steady and instead use the clutch to control speed.  This is called the friction zone. Locking the throttle by anchoring your thumb or index finger against the handlebar switch pod can be helpful.
For even more exact control, drag the rear brake. Not only is it great for fine-tuning your speed, but it also has the beneficial effect of increasing stability by putting some tension in the drive train and rear suspension. The front brake on most bikes is quite powerful, and even a light pull on the lever is going to shift weight forward, compress the fork, steepen steering geometry, and upset the stability you’re working so hard to maintain. Reserve the front brake for stopping, not adjusting your speed.
Now that you know how to preserve slow-speed stability, it’s time to make a tight turn. While it’s common to lean off the inside of the bike in faster corners, at slow speeds you’ll want to keep your body upright and let the motorcycle lean beneath you by shifting your weight to the outer edge of the seat, dirt-bike style. Keep your feet on the foot pegs to stabilize your body and so you can use the rear brake as needed to regulate your speed. Of course, if you mess up and need to put a foot down, do it.
Yes, leaning a bike at slow speed is unnerving, but it is required. Remember that you can lean quite a bit without falling as long as you maintain enough momentum to counteract gravity. Being loose on the handlebars allows quick and fluid adjustments to maintain your balance, and remember to keep your eyes up, even if you get nervous.
Slow-speed riding can be tricky, and it requires a specific set of skills. As always, practice makes perfect, so spend some time riding slowly to get used to slow-speed balance. Use the clutch, throttle, and rear brake technique to creep along slowly. You know you have good balance if you don’t need to saw the handlebars back and forth to stay on course. Now put all the pieces together to make slow U-turns. With a bit of courage and a lot of practice, you’ll be the master of your local parking lot.

Keep The Contact Patch Between The Lines

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

 

State Watch

State Watch
Ohio
House Bill 548, which would allow motorcyclist to wear earplugs while riding,it passed the state House and has been  referred to the state Senate Transportation, commerce and workforce Committee. Ohio is one of a few states where earplugs are prohibited while riding.

Iowa
All-terrain vehicles and other four wheel utility vehicles can now legally operate on gravel roads in Des Moines County, Iowa. The county began considering the move after receiving petitions containing more than 1,000 signatures. ATV’S and UTV’S also will be allowed on paved roads to get from one gravel road to the another. Among the restrictions reported by Tri-States Public Radio: ATV use is prohibited between 10 pm and 4 am. Vehicle operators must be 18 or older and have a valid drivers license; vehicles can not be three-wheelers; vehicles may not be driven in ditches; maximum speed is 35mph; passengers are prohibited. Those wishing to operate an ATV on a county road must buy an annual $25 permit.

California
Waymo, the self-driving vehicle unit of Alphabet, has obtained permission to test fully automated cars on California’s public roads. The company, the first to receive a driverless permit in the state,plans to keep it’s vehicles in the neighborhoods of Mountain View, Sunnyvale. Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto, according to a report by Verge.com. Waymo’s permit includes day and night testing on city streets, rural roads, and highways with posted speed limits of up to 65 mph. Arizona also allows Waymo to operate driverless cars.
Lets hope that they have high tech sensors to see motorcycles.

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

Novice Rider Heading For The Highway




How much riding experience should a novice rider have before taking their motorcycle out on the highway?
Interstate, or ”controlled access.” highways present a few challenges to the novice rider. as well as some advantages. The main advantage is that. aside from the entrance and exit ramps, there are no intersections. As a result. there are no oncoming vehicles that may turn left across your path: there are no vehicles on cross streets running stop lights or stop signs; there are no vehicles backing out of driveways or rushing out of parking lots at the last moment. And if there are HOV lanes – which, per federal law, riders can use nationwide even when riding solo-you may find them to be the most lightly traveled lanes on the highway.
However, typical highway speeds and a large number of traffic lanes may be intimidating. Lane changes can be perilous, whether you are the one making them or you are dealing with other vehicles switching lanes Motorists might not use turn signals or look over their shoulders in advance of a change, or might not provide a large space cushion in front of you when they pull in.
Your keen situational awareness and sharp reflexes will be tested. I always tell new riders practice, practice, practice. Yes that means first staying in a parking lot practicing all your maneuvers. This also means higher speeds and braking and practice swerving. This is very important to learn how to control your bike in a parking lot from slow speeds to high speeds. By doing this you will see that everything happens faster on the highways. And now you will have developed skills in learning how to maneuver your bike while scanning and evaluating traffic situations.
On-ramps and off-ramps can present their own challenges. When entering the highway, it is best to accelerate and match the speed of traffic when possible in order to merge properly. Precise shifting skills are very helpful here. Off-ramps will vary in length and radius. Good visual assessment of the ramp plus good judgement in braking and cornering are essential. Riding twisty roads can help develop these skills. With well-honed riding skills and an arsenal of risk-management strategies, you can safely venture onto the interstate highway.
But your first time should not be during rush hour, when you would have to deal with tired, impatient drivers doing their stop-and-go,frequent-lane-change maneuvers. If you are not comfortable maintaining highway speeds, you may present a hazard to other motorists. Consider sticking to surface streets until you have logged in sufficient miles and gained an adequate level of confidence.
As always keep the contact patch between the lines.

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

State Watch

Georgia

The Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program, housed within the state Department of Driver Services, has received a grant for more than $84,000 from the Governor’s office of highway safety for efforts to reduce the number of motorcycles fatalities in the state. The GMSP promotes state and national safety initiatives through its outreach coordinator,who researches, and helps maintain a voice at industry events, local schools and colleges, regional meetings, festivals and other public events. The program also regulates motorcycle training for new riders and experienced riders.

Washington

The Pierce County Council passed an ordinance in November allowing ATV’s to operate on several roadways to encourage tourism, bring economic benefit to the community and improve recreational opportunities for county residents. The sheriff planned to launch an educational program about the change, which becomes effective on Jan 1, 2019

Michael Theodore National Road Captain

State Watch

Ohio
The state Senate passed legislation aimed at decreasing driving by imposing up to a $100 fine on offenders in addition to the standard fine established for the moving violation they are cited for. H.B 95 makes distracted driving a secondary offense. Drivers must be pulled over first for a moving violation before they can be cited for the offense. Under the bill,distractions include, but are not limited to,texting,reading,using tablet or smart phone features or applying cosmetics. In lieu of paying the additional fine, offenders may choose to complete a distracted driving safety course.

Ohio
Motorcycle Ohio, the state’s rider training program, has become part of the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The agency previously was part of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Official’s said the program will continue with “business as usual”.

Hawaii
There is a new bill to allow motorcyclist to ride on the shoulders of the road became law without the signature of the Governor. Who initially vowed to veto it. In Hawaii, a bill that passes the Legislature, but goes unsigned by the governor or is not vetoed becomes law. The state Department of Transportation will determine the areas in which motorcyclist may use the shoulders to navigate around slowed or stopped traffic. The zones designated for shoulder riding must have at least two lanes in each direction and have shoulders that allow safe passing.

New Jersey
S.1400 was introduced which would allow the operator of a motorcycle. motorized bicycle or bicycle to proceed through an intersection on a malfunctioning steady red light if the operator comes to a full and complete stop at the intersection for two complete cycles or for two minutes, whichever is shorter. The rider would then treat the signal as a stop sign.

Texas
The state’s Sunset Commission is considering a transfer of the motorcycle safety program from the department of Public Safety to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, saying it is a “more appropriate, non-law-enforcement agency”. The commission “found the motorcycle safety training and driver license programs have not been administered well at DPS.”

Michael Theodore                                                                                                                      National Road Captain