Thursday, October 4, 2007

US House Forms MC Caucus


Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice-President of Government Relations (e-mail)

U.S. House of Representatives Forms Motorcycle Safety Caucus

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has learned that the U.S. House of Representatives recently formed the first official motorcycle safety caucus. The group is open to all sitting U.S. Representatives and will focus only on motorcycle safety, and more specifically what Congress can do to support motorcycle safety.

The caucus does not have any funding from the government, nor does it have office space, official staff or anything else designated for official committees of Congress. In other words, this group was created simply because the co-chairs thought it was time to address this important issue and dedicate precious staff time toward the cause. The caucus is co-chaired by Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and Michael Burgess (R-TX). Mrs.
Giffords is a freshman member of Congress and an avid motorcyclist herself. Mr. Burgess is a longtime supporter of motorcyclists, most notably as one of the lead sponsors on the legislation to close the discriminatory HIPAA loophole (HR 1076).

Congressman Burgess had this to say about his role with the group, "As co-chair of this first of its kind caucus, I look forward to working with motorcyclists across the country as we address important motorcycle safety, education and awareness issues."

"We are pleased that Congress is searching for ways to assist the organizations like the MRF and motorcyclists nationwide in continuing to improve motorcycle safety and awareness," said Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice President of Government Relations. "All of the motorcyclists of this country owe the co-chairs of this important new caucus a debt of gratitude for drawing attention to these important issues, and the MRF looks forward to working with them."

This isn't the first time Congress has addressed motorcycle safety. The most recent highway bill, SAFE-TEA-LU (PL 109-59), contained a generous 4-year / $25 million grant program, as well as funding for a comprehensive motorcycle crash causation study. The grant program, initially authored by the MRF and state motorcyclists' rights organizations across the country, is the first of its kind in history. The crash study is a follow up to the Hurt report, a 27-year-old study named for its author.

Congresswoman Giffords went on the record as a serious motorcyclist saying, "I have enjoyed riding motorcycles for many years. One day, I hope to fulfill my dream of going by motorcycle to Argentina. Those of us who ride know that it is an incredibly enjoyable way to travel." She continued, "We know from national studies that in almost two-thirds of fatal car/motorcycle crashes, the fault was with the driver of the car.
We can do more to address this critical problem, and public education is a key to bringing about awareness and a reduction in such accidents."

Please connect with your U.S. Representative and ask him/her to join the motorcycle safety caucus today. They can officially join by contacting either of the co-chairs' Washington DC offices.

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