Late Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve a bill reaffirming Congress’ intent to prevent the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from lobbying states and their legislators over the issue of motorcycle safety.
Originally, in a revocation of a ban in place since 1995, Section 102 of H.R. 4745, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, would have allowed the NHSTA to lobby states – using taxpayer dollars – to adopt mandatory helmet laws and other intrusive regulations on motorcyclists.
According to the AMA, an amendment to remove Section 102 of H.R. 4745 was put forth by U.S. Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.)and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and passed with a vote of 229–192.
“As a rider, I know that educating riders and the driving public is the best way to keep motorcyclists safe,” Walberg said. “I’ve always thought that what you put between your ears is equally as important as what you put on your head or body, and I’m glad the House passed this commonsense amendment so we can focus on promoting motorcycle safety, not wasting more taxpayer dollars.”
“We are happy that the House members accepted the language in the amendment,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. “Lifting the ban on NHSTA lobbying would have given Washington bureaucrats free rein to spend taxpayer money to lobby states and legislators to create laws that infringe on our rights as motorcyclists.”
Now that the House has passed the bill, the AMA focuses its attention on the Senate version of the appropriations bill which remains under consideration. The AMA continues to pursue the rights of motorcyclists with its helmet law policy as stated:
“The AMA believes that adults should have the right to voluntarily decide when to wear a helmet. The AMA does not oppose laws requiring helmets for minor motorcycle operators and passengers. The AMA asserts that helmet use alone is insufficient to ensure a motorcyclist’s safety. To read the AMA’s full position on voluntary helmet use, visit this site:www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/PositionStatements/VoluntaryHelmetUse.aspx.”