Read this story. I don’t care how little you give a hoot about anything but actually riding your dirt bike, but your being able to do that in the future depends first on you reading further. Even if you don’t give a rat’s ass about anything political, economic or involving land use.Shortly, if things continue the way they are going, you will not have dirt bikes to ride or places to ride them. Your dirt bike experience might just come through the controller of a video game console, which is about one step up from having to read this magazine right now and not being able to go riding. Ever again. You know what it’s like to sit it out for a few months with an injury, right? No riding? Imagine that being permanent. Unless you do something about it starting right now.What can you do? I’ll tell you. But you need to know what you’re up against and what you have to do to be effective. It isn’t simple, it will take some effort. But the solution all begins with you. And yes, I mean you, the person reading this warning right now.This is bigger than just dirt bikes. It is an attack on recreation and the way we’ve lived our lives in America. It is rooted in the current political environment and being legislated into shape, headed to becoming laws that will change, regulate and outlaw what you love-whether that is your interest in hunting, fishing, where you will be allowed to go camping or the ability to own things like firearms, classic cars or dirt bikes. In the name of saving the planet, the stuff you love to do is being sold out from under you. Wilderness areas and National Monuments are being proposed, in the words of the enlightened, “to protect the land for future generations.” That means excessively restrictive regulations on lands that are doing fine supporting multiple-use recreation under their current designation. “Protecting the children” equals ridiculous laws that could ban any sort of child’s motorcycle for absurd reasons like the lead content of the cable ends, the engine cases or the battery. And the leap to an outright ban on children’s motorcycles-because kids can get hurt on them-can’t be too far off, can it? Your favorite motocross track can be instantly shut down because of sound, dust, riders getting hurt, runoff into watersheds or plainly and simply because some neighbor doesn’t like it. Or because the tracks don’t have riders who can afford to ride anymore.Think you’re safe? Wait until you’re informed that if you partake in an activity that might be construed as dangerous, like riding a dirt bike, new insurance regulations might have just left you uncovered. If you even ride a motorcycle, you might be automatically denied medical coverage.Try this on for size. No more modifying your motorcycle. Or car, truck or boat. It could soon be illegal for companies to produce, sell or install anything aftermarket unless it meets stringent EPA policy (that is almost impossible for small companies to comply with), not to mention additional state-mandated regulations that are even more complex. And this does not just apply to your dirt bike; sweeping regulations are planned for your car, truck, lawn mower and leaf blower. Leave it to the government to tell you how to make a spill-proof gas can; the results in California have been mind-bogglingly stupid, and the rest of the U.S. is just getting a taste for idiot-proof gas cans that an idiot designed. Astonishingly bad, and that is just the beginning of what the future could hold.There are plenty of issues related to importing products, and you know most of what you ride and what you wear while riding comes from foreign lands and is subject to import duties and taxation. As you can imagine, those costs are passed right along to the consumer. Costs associated with doing business are rising in the current political environment compounded by a weak dollar. Motorcycle-related businesses in the U.S. are struggling even more since this sport is paid for with discretionary spending. A lot of that money has dried up for Regular Joe. And the ones who are still doing OK or are progressing forward, waiting for a turnaround of the economy, are confused by the government while the line for the dole is getting longer and basic laws are being ignored or not enforced.
It is pretty simple to see the writing on the wall. If you don’t do something right now, it won’t take long for someone else to decide what’s best for you. For decades now we’ve been losing ground to ride on, the ability to choose what to ride, when to ride, and the losses aren’t slowing down one bit. The businesses surrounding our sport are just a drop in the bucket of suffering that our economy is going through. It trickles down. The minute you have no place to ride, the bike shop has no reason to exist, the gear company no reason to produce products, the whole wheel stops rolling. Exactly what our opposition wants to happen. Meanwhile, identifying our opposition is not an easy task. They are underhanded elitists who call themselves everything from environmentalists to greens to your representative in the government. And don’t think you can ignore this growing problem and it will go away. Or that they will never catch you, so you feel you can do what you what, when you want. Because as quickly as the casual rider disappears, we lose numbers fighting on our side (they will all be playing video games and watching 3-D TV) and you become a lot more obvious of a target.The important thing is that no matter how pissed off you are, no matter how insignificant you may feel, you have to play a role in turning the tide.It starts with you and only you.First, get informed and vote in the upcoming election. Both the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) have been working tirelessly to help the end user (you the consumer) and businesses involved in our sport get organized. It will take you less than one evening researching and then 15 minutes come November 2 to vote. If you don’t think you matter, then just remember you are the first in a long line of people who could have changed the outcome.Second, motivate your friends and family to vote-now you are making even more of a difference, one that can have a significant impact. If all of the 25 million people who “rode a motorcycle” in the U.S. voted, it would make a marked difference since it is believed that many, maybe even most, do not vote. Combine that with the over seven million magazines this company, Source Interlink Media, is sending out each month (and this month a similar story explaining the impacts to each enthusiast group is being published to get all of our readers motivated) plus the more than 13 million online unique viewers and there is no reason not to believe that like-minded recreationists and true-blooded Americans are in position to be heard and can turn the tide.THREATS
Top 10 Issues Affecting Your Right To Ride
Across all aspects of motorcycling, these are the issues that the American Motorcyclist Association is dealing with on a day-to-day basis. In no particular order, this is what is hot on the radar right now. If you want to help with any of these specific issues, the best place to start is the AMA website at www.amadirectlink.com
.1. Excessive sound is one of the most challenging issues facing motorcycling and off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding, including dirt bikes and ATVs.2. Following the passage of the original HIPAA legislation in 1996, bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services created a loophole that allowed insurance companies to deny benefits (known as “source-of-injury” exclusions) to people who are injured while participating in legal transportation and recreational activities, such as riding motorcycles or off-road vehicles.3. A recent call by the insurance industry for mandated ABS (Anti-lock Brake Systems) on all motorcycles can bring unintended consequences for riders.
4. Some states have enacted or are considering a requirement that all street riders complete a rider education training class prior to obtaining an operator’s license or motorcycle endorsement. Some state legislators are also considering compulsory training for OHV riders.5. Federal regulators may create unrealistic and burdensome regulations for motorcycles in their effort to control the design and performance of new vehicle designs that fall in between the definition of a car and a motorcycle. Airbags or training wheels, anyone?6. Efforts to increase the ethyl alcohol content in fuels pose the risk of serious damage to engines not designed for this fuel source.7. The federal government has banned riders from making modifications that can render a motorcycle noncompliant with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards. California also has stringent regulations.8. Millions of acres of public land have been designated as federal Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas, and millions more are currently being considered by Congress. In addition, the administration is considering designating large areas as National Monuments. Off-highway vehicles are barred from access to Wilderness areas, and access to National Monuments can be restricted or banned.9. Enacted in February 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), when fully implemented, calls for a ban on the making, importing, distributing or selling of any product intended for children 12 and under that contains trace amounts of lead in any accessible part. The sweeping legislation effectively banned the sale of youth-model OHVs (dirt bikes and ATVs) and jeopardized the very future of motorcycling by denying a broad range of products to families. Also at risk is the safety of young riders-whose families could only consider inappropriate adult-sized OHVs for their children, as well as the financial viability of thousands of dealers.10. If you don’t vote, you are adding to the problem.Take Action!
How To Get Informed: The AMA Way
The 2010 AMA Voter Guide, the first national voter guide of its kind for the motorcycling community, features a fuel-gauge rating for every federal and gubernatorial candidate of the major political parties who returned an AMA questionnaire. The rating shows how closely the candidates’ answers correspond to the positions held by the AMA. The Voter Guide also spells out where candidates stand on motorcycling-related issues. In addition, it features a scorecard for federal incumbents seeking reelection that demonstrates how closely their voting records match the positions held by the AMA.The 2010 AMA Voter Guide is available to AMA members in the Members Area of the AMA website at http://home.ama-cycle.org/membersonly/index.asp. Motorcyclists who wish to join the AMA and take advantage of this latest member benefit can do so at AmericanMotorcyclist.com/join/index.asp.”As a nonpartisan organization, the AMA does not endorse political candidates,” said Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. “However, we encourage our members to cast their ballots based on candidates’ positions on motorcycling-related issues, as well as other issues of importance to them. AMA members have long sought a voter guide, and we certainly hope they will take a hard look at our 2010 AMA Voter Guide to see where their candidates stand on issues important to the future of motorcycling before ultimately casting their votes.”SEMA’s Action Network
SEMA highlights pro-hobby legislators who are members of our Federal and State caucuses. The Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus was formed in 1996 in honor of the 100th year of the car and to recognize the contributions that the automotive performance and motorsports industry has made to the U.S. economy. The honorary Congressional Caucus, which now has almost 100 members, pays tribute to the quality, performance and safety of all motor vehicles and to America’s ever-growing love affair with cars and motorsports. Founded in 2005 and supported by SEMA, the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus is designed as a nonpartisan group of state legislators whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles. The caucus now numbers more than 450 total members from all 50 states.To learn more go to www.semasan.com and look for the Legislative Resources area.