House Sub-Committee Seeks to Improve Motorcycle Safety

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has reported that the Federal Highway Bill which went to the House of Representatives from the United States Senate has retained the language which would end federal funding for motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints. The bill was referred to the House Science Committee, Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

Besides approving the ban on motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints, the sub-committee approved language assigning a study to the National Academy of Sciences to determine the best methods of preventing motorcycle crashes. According to the MRF, the sponsor of the amendment, Representative Randy Hultgren (R-IL) was quoted as saying “If the federal government is providing grants to improve motorcycle safety, these grants should be focused on ways that actually improve the safety of motorcycle riders.” A federal study which focuses on crash avoidance is welcoming news to those of us in the motorcycle safety community who believe that crash avoidance should be the central aim of any motorcycle safety strategy. Learning to avoid an accident is superior to the “crash survival” strategy favored by many in Washington, which assumes from the outset that a crash will occur. The only safe motorcycle crash is the one that does not occur.

A second amendment to the bill, also sponsored by Representative Hultgren, would prohibit the Federal Department of Transportation from lobbying for actions at the federal, state and local levels of government. Currently the lobby ban is only applicable at the state level. This amendment represents an effort to shield motorcycle safety programs from the often devastating effects of unnecessary federal mandates upon states and localities. Currently states and localities are generally free to address the issues they deem to be important. This strategy has proven effective in the last decade. Since 2005, motorcycle fatalities per 100,000 registered motorcycles have steadily declined.

As the bill moves through the House of Representatives we will continue to report on its progress. Members of the MRF will also be monitoring it and working with legislators to make sure that the interests of motorcyclists are protected.

As always, if you have any questions or comments concerning what I have written please do not hesitate to contact me. If you are not a member of the MRF and wish to join you may do so at the following link:

Matt Danielson
McGrath & Danielson
The Motorcycle Law Group