|AMA Testifies on Capitol Hill for Steps to Improve Motorcycling Safety
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Edward Moreland, vice president for government relations at the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), called on Congress to fund a new in-depth study into the causes of motorcycle crashes, in testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Thursday. "The last such study was completed and released over 21 years ago," Moreland testified. "The changing dynamics of motorcycling, infrastructure and safety measures demand modern, comprehensive and impartial research." The decades-old research Moreland referred to is "Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures," commonly called the Hurt Study after lead researcher Harry Hurt. The research is still the most comprehensive study to date on the causes of motorcycle crashes.
Moreland was testifying on congressional plans to renew the Transportation Equity Act of 1998, which relates to a variety of transportation issues. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation also testified.
In addition to calling for comprehensive research into the causes of motorcycle crashes, Moreland asked lawmakers to make motorcycle safety a priority, to include motorcycles in research involving vehicle collision-avoidance systems, to continue the ban on lobbying at the state and local level by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and to retain provisions in the law that give motorcycles full access to any highway or portion of a highway that used federal funds for planning, design, construction or maintenance.
Moreland also asked lawmakers to stay away from imposing penalties on states that don't adopt mandatory helmet-use laws, to require motorcycle parking in parking facilities built with federal funds, and to establish lower tolls for motorcycles on highways, bridges and tunnels that collect tolls.
Moreland also noted that off-highway riders continue to struggle to get their fair share of federal Recreational Trails Program money that goes to build and maintain motorized and non-motorized trails.
"The Recreational Trails Program allows motorized and non-motorized users to benefit from qualifying trail projects that are funded by the host state's portion of gas tax revenues attributable to non-highway use," Moreland testified.
"It is unfair that those directly supporting the program receive the least benefit," he said.
Finally, Moreland suggested that the law be strengthened to ensure that the NHTSA focuses on crash prevention rather than injury prevention. "Each of these issues is an important piece in a comprehensive approach to safer riding, less congestion, more parity (with cars) and a better quality of life for everyone on America's roads and highways," Moreland testified.
The American Motorcyclist Association is a nonprofit organization with more than 250,000-members. Established in 1924, the Association's purpose is to pursue, protect and promote the interests of motorcyclists, while serving the needs of its members. For more information, visit the AMA website at www.AMADirectlink.com.