Several issues and proposals have attracted attention in recent months for their potential impact on motorcyclists across the country.
From distracted driving and lane splitting to a massive tax on European bikes, where do you stand on these hot topics?
Hot Topics for Motorcyclists in 2017
1. Higher Fees on European Imports
Fans of European motorcycles could soon be forking over double the cash to get their hands on a new bike. The Office of United States Trade Representative (USTR) recently requested comments on a proposal to place a 100 percent or higher import tariff on European motorcycles with sub-500cc engines. Fifteen manufacturers, including BMW, Ducati, Piaggio and Husqvarna, would be affected. As RevZilla notes, the idea of this tariff has been around for years without action, but it would dramatically change the American motorcycle industry if it was put in place. USTR held a public hearing on the issue earlier this month, but has not offered a timeline for its decision.
According to the American Motorcyclist Association, the proposed tariff would “cause serious and potentially irreversible harm” to owners and employees of American dealerships that sell affected models, leading to job loss and other consequences. The tax would also prevent many American motorcyclists from purchasing the bike of their choice. AMA is calling for motorcyclists to oppose the action by signing this petition before March 7.
2. Distracted Driving
When it comes to the dangers of distracted driving, no one on the road is more vulnerable than motorcyclists. In an ongoing effort to address the issue, the NHTSA recently requested comments on Phase 2 of its Driver Distraction Guidelines. The proposal encourages the development of simplified interfaces and functional limitations, such as “Driver Mode,” aiding the organization’s goal of reducing temptations and distractions behind the wheel.
The American Motorcyclist Association’s position statement on distracted and inattentive vehicle operation addresses the issue as a major concern in the motorcycling community, while acknowledging that all motorists share the responsibility of keeping the roads free from distractions. AMA supports the NHTSA’s proposed guidelines and praises the organization for its efforts to put an end to the dangerous practice.
3. Lane Splitting
Even the smallest amount of contact with a larger vehicle could result in serious injuries for an unlucky motorcyclist. The risk of being involved in this type of crash dramatically increases when a rider is stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic with limited space to maneuver between stopped or slowed vehicles. Under these conditions, many motorcyclists feel safer riding between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, also known as lane splitting. California recently became the first state to legalize the riding strategy, and several others have introduced bills to define and regulate it.
American Motorcyclist Association generally supports lane splitting and believes that, when practiced responsibly, it can help create safer environments for motorcyclists riding in heavy traffic. AMA is committed to supporting motorcycle groups and individual riders in their efforts to have the practice recognized under traffic laws in their respective states.
Where do you stand on these issues? Share your opinions and experiences below.