MIC: Priority regulatory, legislative issues for 2014

Publish Date: 
May 23, 2014

The following is a list of issues deemed “priority” by the Motorcycle Industry Council for the 2014-15 regulatory year.

On-Highway

Priorities for the 2014 transportation reauthorization bill in Congress include issues related to rider safety, infrastructure needs, and access to parking and high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Increase commitment for motorcycle safety programs. Grants for these programs were reduced to 1.5 percent of Section 405 funds that pay for national priority safety programs. Since motorcycle riders make up about 3 percent of the vehicle traffic mix, the MIC is asking Congress to increase the grant allocation closer to 3 percent.

Infrastructure considerations. The MIC asks that the next transportation reauthorization bill direct the Federal Highway Administration to make roadway safety for motorcycles a focus of the highway safety program, and incorporate it in its guidance to states. The reauthorization legislation also should include provisions that consider motorcyclists when planning, designing, constructing, equipping, operating and maintaining infrastructure.

“Motorcyclist safety can often inadvertently be overlooked during roadway construction or maintenance,” MIC says. “Steel plates, slippery lines and road barriers are just some of the roadway features that may not pose a danger to four-wheeled vehicles but potentially pose very serious threats to riders.”

Parking and HOV considerations. The MIC advocates facilitating motorcycle parking and continuing to allow motorcycle use in HOV lanes.

“Well-designed, designated motorcycle parking areas located where employees are concentrated will encourage more motorcyclists to ride to work,” the association notes. This would reduce parking congestion in urban areas during riding season, given that as many as four bikes can be parked in an area normally taken up by one automobile.

“If, however, no motorcycle or motor scooter parking facility is provided in the area, those same four motorcycles or scooters will take up to  four separate automobile spaces. All that is needed to increase the efficiency of a parking facility or on-street parking is some white paint, and a sign or two,” MIC adds.

A way to include a provision for motorcycle parking in the transportation reauthorization bill would be to expand the eligible activities under the Transportation Alternatives Program to include “the construction, planning and design of facilities for on-highway motorcycle and scooter parking. If the Transportation Alternatives Program is eliminated in the reauthorization, the legislation should include a pilot program to provide federal funding for motorcycle and scooter parking in key urban areas,” the MIC says.

The association also advocates continuing the ability for motorcycle riders to use HOV lanes, and offering free or reduced tolls for motorcycles using high-occupancy toll lanes. This provides an incentive to ride to work, the MIC says, which reduces overall fuel consumption and cuts wear and tear on roadways.

Off-Highway

Priorities include issues related to land access and Consumer Product Safety Commission activities.

Recreational Trails Program funding. Motorized off-road trail users pay a gas tax on fuel they purchase for their vehicles; a portion of these funds are used for trail building, maintenance and related expenses through the RTP. The program requires that 30 percent of the funds be assigned to motorized uses, 30 percent to non-motorized use and 40 percent for mixed use. The RTP is funded through federal surface transportation programs, so it should be included in the transportation reauthorization bill, MIC says.

Land access issues. MIC asks members to oppose wilderness designations that are “inappropriate in size and/or do not fit the statutory definition of wilderness,” such as areas that have trails, bridges, roads, campsites and other structures. The association urges support for locally developed public lands bills that “couple smaller appropriate wilderness designations with other designations that protect responsible access.”

With regard to areas considered for National Monument designation, the MIC says all efforts should be, again, locally driven and include support for all stakeholders. “Presidents of both parties have, in our view, inappropriately designated enormous swaths of public lands as national monuments,” sometimes when a wilderness designation effort has failed, MIC states. “Anti-access proponents support monument designations as a way to functionally manage an area as wilderness without going through the formal congressional wilderness designation process.”

The MIC urges reauthorization of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, which authorizes public lands agencies to charge fees at developed recreation areas on public lands. Without reauthorization, “several key OHV riding areas like the Imperial Sand Dunes [in California] would likely lose the necessary funding to remain open.” Funds generated by these fees will become more important as appropriations are reduced for public lands agencies, MIC says.

With regard to the Endangered Species Act, the MIC supports reform measures H.R. 4315, 4316, 4317 and 4318 that “will provide much-needed transparency to ESA listings and litigation, and represent realistic attainable first steps towards the ultimate overhaul” of the act.

CPSC activities. The MIC is particularly concerned with ongoing Consumer Product Safety Commission efforts to develop mandatory standards for ROVs and ATVs despite the fact, the association says, that suitable standards are in place and working.

The commission has a four-year-old open rulemaking to develop mandatory safety standards for ROVs “in spite of robust voluntary standards already in place,” MIC says. ROHVA is developing a new version of the voluntary standards that incorporates additional suggestions from CPSC staff, MIC notes.

In another long-term open rulemaking process, the CPSC has so far failed to act on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in 2006 for an ATV safety standard. Certain commission members continue to show interest in options previously examined and rejected, such as a rollover protective structure, MIC maintains.

The association contends that the ANSI/SVIA ATV standard issued in 2009 and made mandatory as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is robust and still works, and notes that “more than 92 percent of ATV-related fatalities involve one or more behaviors that the industry strongly and visibly warns against in its rider education programs, in all its literature and on the vehicles themselves.”

For more information, contact the Motorcycle Industry Council at www.mic.org