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Self Driving Cars

 

For Immediate Release

February 9, 2018

Lawmakers & Staff Gather to Discuss Self-Driving Cars & Motorcyclists’ Concerns

 

WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday, at a briefing put on by the Senate Motorcycle Caucus, the subject of automated vehicles or self-driving cars was examined through a different lens; the vieszpoint of a motorcyclist.

Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) opened the briefing as the Chairs of the Caucus. Both avid riders, they discussed the need to be inclusive of all roadway users when advancing legislation and regulations related to the emerging technology. Both agreed that the Senate Bill – the AV START Act – and which Peters helped to author, would achieve this. Specifically, they addressed a section of the legislation that required automakers and technology developers to include motorcycle recognition, identification and responsiveness in a required safety report that would be reviewed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Panelists chosen to address the audience (packed with Congressional and Administration staff from the Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration along with motorcycle industry representatives including Harley-Davidson, and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation) discussed that while automated driving technology could yield tremendous benefits for riders by helping to eliminate driver error, motorcyclists were wary of how they fit into this new driving environment.

At one point, the discussion turned to detection by other road users as a constant challenge for the nearly 8.5 million registered motorcycles in the U.S. Distracted driving is on the rise according the latest reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the failure by some motorists to “see” motorcycles with their smaller profile can end in disastrous – and often fatal – consequences. But whether self-driving vehicles would actually improve this problem remains up for debate.

Panelists recognized the obvious need to make sure that automated vehicles would appropriately detect and respond to motorcyclists. However, some feared that this message has been diluted. The recent NHTSA guidance on driverless vehicles failed to mention motorcycles in this context whatsoever. Further reinforcing this concern was an incident last year involving a Tesla vehicle operating on autopilot. The vehicle struck a police officer on a motorcycle in Phoenix, AZ. Even recently, news reports surfaced about Chevy Bolt which allegedly veered into a motorcyclist while traveling on a San Francisco freeway while on autopilot.

Panelist John Lenekit from Dynamic Research discussed his preliminary research which reviewed a driver assist technology that was currently on the road; forward collision warning systems. Designed to alert the driver if they were too rapidly approaching the vehicle in front of them, this technology is widely-used in the current market, even coming standard on some makes and models. Dynamic Research’s project looked at the reliability of this warning system and found that between car to car, the warning system worked over 90% of the time. However, with a car approaching a stopped motorcycle, the warning system failed 40% of the time either warning the driver too late, or failing to warn the driver at all.

This research lead into the discussion about what was needed to ensure motorcyclists’ safety and the entire panel agreed that more motorcycle specific research was needed – and fast.

The panel concluded by musing on a question raised by the audience. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s chief advocacy officer pressed the panel on how motorcycles fit into a world with truly autonomous vehicles. Citing potential disincentives to drive as a way to achieve market penetration for self driving cars, she asked panelists how motorcycles could co-exist, if at all. Harley-Davidson’s Director of Government Affairs Ed Moreland responded, “We need to continue to tell the story of motorcycles – they omit less emissions into the atmosphere, cause less stress, wear and tear on our nation’s infrastructure, decrease traffic congestion and improve travel times – there is a world for motorcycles. As long as there are riders, there will be motorcycles.”

And as for self-driving motorcycles? “I will NEVER ride a self-driving motorcycle,” stated Sen. Peters. “Doesn’t that defeat the entire purpose?” The riders in the audience responded with rousing applause.

 

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. The MRF is chiefly concerned with issues at the national and international levels that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. The MRF is committed to being a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle and works in conjunction with its partners to help educate elected officials and policymakers in Washington and beyond.

 

All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. Motorcycle Riders Foundation. All rights reserved. Ride With The Leaders ™ by joining the MRF at http://mrf.org/ or call (202) 546-0983

 

What About Us?

 

For Immediate Release

February 13, 2018

WHAT ABOUT US?
Why the Bikers of America Cannot Continue to be Ignored or Forgotten

 

I’ve held the position of Vice-President of Government Affairs for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation for roughly 18 months. And during those months I’ve sat in countless meetings, congressional hearings, public information sessions, symposiums, conferences and breakout sessions which have covered a gamut of issues that affect riders. Anything and everything from ethanol to self-driving cars to road design and infrastructure, I’ve sat, listened and taken detailed notes. However, during the last couple of months I’ve started to uncover

a deeper (and darker) underlying message in my meetings. I’m not one for conspiracy theories so I won’t suggest that my theory is the product of some sort of anti-motorcycle secret society, but what I am beginning to believe is that the future of riders – our future – is questionable.

I say this because as I’ve sat through these meetings and conference calls, my takeaway increasingly becomes that the U.S. population at large, just doesn’t give a shit about motorcycles. We’re ignored or perhaps forgotten. We’re relegated to the category of recreation. And dangerous recreation at that. We’re swept into the same column as shark cage diving, or bull running or cliff base jumping. And though I have no problem with any of those recreational activities, riding motorcycles is not the same. It’s not even CLOSE to the same! Though many of us ride for the fun and the thrill of it, our bikes also get us from place to place. Unlike swimming with the sharks or running with the bulls, riding a motorcycle is a form of transportation. Motorcycles get us to work, to the post office, to the dentist. So why, in America of all places, are we forced to say again and again and again, what about us?

There is surprisingly little research done about the benefits of riding motorcycles. And I am not talking about benefits to the rider. You ask any one of our MRF members and they’ll tell you that riding is cheaper than seeing a psychiatrist. So lets put that aside for a minute and talk about the benefits to society. In Europe several years ago, there was a study done to test mobility – that is moving from point A to point B. They looked at commuting routes from outside major cities and within major cities as well as rural areas over varying distances and compared the mobility of a motorcycle to that of a car. And out of the fourteen tests they conducted to measure mobility, the motorcycle won 85% of the time. So in other words, a motorcycle is more likely to get you to your destination faster (and not just because you’re speeding).

The impacts go on from there. Another study (also in Europe where motorcycles are better viewed and accepted as a legitimate form of transportation) showed the impact of what might happen if just 10% of cars were replaced by motorcycles. Time loss for all vehicles would decrease by 40%. That means a quicker commute for everyone whether they are on a motorcycle or not. And with less cars on the road and less sitting in traffic, that means an impact on emissions. Though I have not uncovered a comprehensive study on the specific issue of reduced emissions and motorcycle usage, a case study by Transport & Mobility Leuven (yep, Europe again) stated that, “New motorcycles emit fewer pollutants compared to average privat

e cars (less NOX, NO2, PM2.5 and EC, but more VOC). They also emit less CO2. Total external emission costs of new motorcycles are more than 20% lower than average private cars. On the section of motorway between Leuven and Brussels, total emission costs can be reduced by 6% if 10% of private cars are replaced by motorcycles.”

There are other benefits too. Things like fuel efficiency; most bikes get as many miles per gallon as a car if not much more. What about infrastructure? Right now, the Trump Administration is currently figuring out how to raise $200 billion to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure which is in dire shape in some parts of the country. What

may have helped our nations’ crumbing infrastructure? A motorcycle’s lighter touch could mean less wear and tear on a bridge or a road than a heavier, wider-set vehicle.

Given all the aforementioned benefits, you’d think I’d hear some praise from non-riders. Instead, I hear a lot about noise pollution. And that’s when they even talk about motorcycles. In many cases, they aren’t. Take the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); when they put out their initial guidance on autonomous vehicles and potential policies and safety factors, motorcycles weren’t even mentioned. They revised the document a year later, and though they did mention motorcycles, it was in the context of what vehicles NHTSA has jurisdiction over. Where it was blindingly not was in the section that has to do with the ability of this technology to identify and respond to objects on the road. Interestingly, the guidance names cars, trucks, pedestrians, bicyclists and animals. But not motorcycles.

Another instance of riders being forgotten (or ignored)? The newly minted U.S. version of Vision Zero, called Road to Zero. It’s a program with an admirable goal – to completely eliminate deaths on our nation’s highways in 20 years. The program spends very little time or resources on motorcycle and related issues in every meeting I’ve attended. Even the logo can’t be bothered to contain a motorcycle rider.

It is estimated that there are more than 300 million powered two-wheelers in the world. These are substantial numbers, so when it comes being viewed as a legitimate form of transportation, why are riders having to fight for a seat at the table? And an even bigger question is how we can change this dynamic? I don’t have the answers, but I bet if enough of us put our heads together we can start to chip away at the problem targeting not just society as a whole, but the different segments that contribute to this pervasive problem. From policymakers to media to public interest groups and everyone in between, we need to make sure that riders everywhere, regardless of what patch you hold or bike you ride, deliver the message that motorcycles have a place in the future.

Megan Ekstrom

Vice-President of Government Affairs & Public Relations

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation

 

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. The MRF is chiefly concerned with issues at the national and international levels that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. The MRF is committed to being a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle and works in conjunction with its partners to help educate elected officials and policymakers in Washington and beyond.

 

All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. Motorcycle Riders Foundation. All rights reserved. Ride With The Leaders ™ by joining the MRF at http://mrf.org/ or call (202) 546-0983

 

February Minutes

Due to weather our normal monthly meeting was cancelled, we had a short meeting on2/11 The meeting was called to order and pledge recited and a prayer with Roger Collis. Short meeting everyone was ready to bowl,! the Ross Jibson memorial bowling event went well good turn out, The March meeting will be held at Johnnys sports bar 2278 us 10 custer mich officers meeting at noon general meeting at  1;00. Another seminar has passed a lot of fun looking forward to next year The region 5 website is now live! you can find events calendar, newsletter etc check it out ! Dont forget membership Bash May 5 at Pats roadhouse hope to see everyone there !

 

Dec Minutes

Meeting started with pledge and moment of silence for the troops and those not able to be with us, Nominations for officers closed, Kevin Hutchison nominated for road cap, and Nicole Karnes nominated for A.C. for Mason county. voting at January meeting ! Our region 5  member of the year is Nicole Karnes, congratulations Nicole!, December is our shortest meeting of the year, Our January meeting will be at The Open Hearth grille and bar 2430 n. 56th ave Mears time remains the same, we hope to have the rest of this list done soon.hope to see everyone at the Open Hearth in January!!  It is with a Heavy Heart that I say RIP Bob Hall you will be missed!

 

 I hope every one has or had a Merry Christmas!

 

January Minutes

Meeting opened with the pledge, prayer with Roger Collis. congratulations to Ed Shockey our new events coordinator, and to Kevin”pops”Hutchins  our new road captain, looking forward to a good year! Bonnie”golddigger” Vandermolen our products officer has Bob Hall memorial patches, Membership holding steady hoping to see it rise and lots of new faces! We have the Ross Jibson memorial bowling coming up Feb.11 @ Muskegon Eagles sign up at noon bowling at 1:00 come on out and join us! Region 5 next meeting will be in Mason county at Buds taproom 519 E Dowland ludington