Fatalities Continue to Rise
Motorcycle crash fatalities were on the rise in 2015 for the third year in a row. According to estimates from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) motorcycle fatalities on U.S. roads rose nearly 10% in 2015 with a total estimate of more than 5,000 motorcycle rider fatalities, up from 4,548 in 2014. In Minnesota for 2015 preliminary reports show there were 61 motorcycle fatalities, up from 44 fatalities in 2014, disturbing 39% increase.
The increases are blamed a variety of reasons including more motorcycles on the road and a mild winter meant a longer riding season. Crash researchers do warn against viewing year-to-year statistics without also looking at longer trends. These statistics are a reminder for the need to use good safety gear, be a licensed rider, and take rider training.
On the bright side, the same study showed that ABS brakes are effective in reducing the chance of a fatal crash. According to the GHSA a motorcycle equipped with ABS is 31% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
Supercross Returns to Minnesota
Supercross promoter Feld Entertainment has announced that the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, series is scheduled to return to Minneapolis on February 18, 2017. The 17-race championship will be making it debut making its debut at U.S. Bank Stadium after a three year absence from the state.
“I’m really looking forward to chasing my fourth 450SX Class title in 2017 and what could be three straight championships with Team Red Bull KTM,” said 2016 Monster Energy Supercross 450SX Class Champion Ryan Dungey. “It’s been a dream to achieve so much success together the last two seasons, and I’m ready for the challenge of another title run. It’s amazing to see Minneapolis back on the schedule. It’s my hometown race, and I have a lot of great memories there racing in front of the hometown crowd, including a win the last time we raced there in 2013. It’s been cool to watch the progression of U.S. Bank Stadium, and I can’t wait to bring Supercross into that state-of-the-art facility. It’ll be memorable, for sure.”
Tickets go on sale in October.
EPA Retracts Emissions Standards for
After intense pressure from the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) and racing sanctioning bodies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced it has withdrawn its plan to regulate the emissions from motor vehicles, including motorcycles, built or used exclusively for racing.
The regulations were issued in July 2015 as part of the Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles. Buried in the standards was what the EPA described as “clarifying language” that would have placed new restrictions on competition-only vehicles. The standards would outlawed owners from modifying engine and exhaust systems on street bikes used in competition events.
Several groups, including the AMA and SEMA banded together to oppose the new restrictions and to support a bill in Congress to prevent EPA intrusion into motorsports. In response five members of Congress introduced a bill that would prevent the EPA from regulating the conversion of street bikes and other motor vehicles into competition-only racers. The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (H.R. 4715, RPM Act) would create and clarify an exemption from a proposed EPA regulation for motor vehicles used solely for competition. The AMA included language in the RPM Act that specifically exempts competition motorcycles from EPA regulation.
Despite the EPA’s withdrawal of its plan to regulate the emission of competition-only motor vehicles, the AMA and SEMA believe the RPM Act remains an important piece of legislation because it would prevent the EPA from ever initiating action to regulate emissions produced by race-only vehicles.
In an April announcement, the EPA said it “supports motorsports and its contributions to the American economy and communities all across the country.” They also stated, “EPA’s focus is not on vehicles built or used exclusively for racing, but on companies that don’t play by the rules and that make and sell products that disable pollution controls on motor vehicles used on public roads.” “The proposed language in the July 2015 proposal was never intended to represent any change in the law or in EPA’s policies or practices towards dedicated competition vehicles,” the EPA said. “Since our attempt to clarify led to confusion, EPA has decided to eliminate the proposed language from the final rule.”
In April Yamaha announced it has invested $2 million in a California based startup company that is developing wireless networking, which provides communication between moving vehicles and stationary objects. The company, Veniam, is already working with transportation companies in Europe developing communication devices, data management and security. The announcement raises interesting speculation about various wireless technologies for motorcycles such as transponders that would warn other vehicles with they are about to turn in front of a motorcycle or provide warnings to a rider of things like corner speed or road surface conditions. Yamaha has not formally announced their intention to utilize such system on their product line.
Ride to Work Day
Monday June 20th is Ride to Work (RTW) Day for 2016. Every year RideToWork.org declares one day in June as RTW Day. All motorcycle and scooter riders are encouraged to ride their machine to work on that day. The idea is it’s a chance to demonstrate that motorcycling is good thing to you, your co-workers, boss, politicians, and the general public. RTW was first started in 1992 by Minnesota’s own Andy Goldfine as grassroots way to promote motorcycling as a social good. RTW’s goals are to show the following:
- The number of motorcyclists to the general public and to politicians.
- That motorcyclists are from all occupations and all walks of life.
- That motorcyclists can reduce traffic and parking congestion in large cities.
- That motorcycles are for transportation as well as recreation.
RTW Day get MMM’s highest stamp of approval. Make sure you join us in riding to work June 20th.