IV. Alcohol content in fuels
Threat: Efforts to increase the ethyl alcohol content in fuels pose the risk of serious damage to engines not designed for this fuel source.
Status: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation are considering the introduction of E15 (a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent petroleum gasoline) into the nation's fuel supply.
• Political forces, including the Governors' Biofuels Coalition, have urged quick action.
• The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), together with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) and others, contend that mid-level ethanol blends can affect engine durability, and that engine deterioration can trigger engine controls to react in a manner that leads to catalyst damage.
• The MIC, AAM and others, who have expressed concern that EPA may decide to allow E15 based on limited or inadequate data, have urged the Department of Energy to help provide the necessary science, and have asked that any decision on introducing E15 into the national supply be made slowly.
• The AMA is concerned that the use of E15 in motorcycles and OHVs not designed for its use could result in engine damage and also void owners' warranties.
What riders can do: Contact their U.S. Senators and Representatives and urge them to fund the scientific studies necessary to determine the appropriate uses for E15. Contact information can be found at americanmotorcyclist.com/legisltn/rapidresponse.asp.
V. Mandated rider education
Threat: 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.
Status: The majority of states today offer voluntary training utilizing curriculum developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). These programs are frequently promoted by the motorcycling community and are frequently supported by user fees. The AMA believes that voluntary motorcycle rider training should be available as an incentive to increase licensure, however, mandates pose the following complications:
• State programs are already overextended with the demands of voluntary training.
• Compulsory training for riders of all ages would require a state to dramatically increase the number of training sites, qualified instructors, training motorcycles and equipment, and training schedules to meet increased demand.
• Mandatory training may require additional revenue and higher user fees, which can be a disincentive to licensing.
• Riding instructors who are forced to train students who don't want to be trained may become disenchanted and discontinue teaching.
• If training is not readily available to potential riders, new motorcyclists are discouraged from going through the necessary procedures to obtain the proper motorcycle endorsement.
• The AMA does not oppose laws requiring training for minors (under age 18) for on-highway motorcycle riders, believing that minors may lack the maturity to make wise decisions regarding proper riding strategies.
• AMA position statement: amadirectlink.com/legisltn/positions/ridered.asp.