WASHINGTON – Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH), along with three bipartisan colleagues, today introduced the Motorcycle Advisory Council Reauthorization Act, which extends the Motorcycle Advisory Council (MAC) at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for 6 years and outlines clear guidelines of operation.
“As a rider, I know how important communication is between those who ride and those who design the roads we ride on,” said Balderson, a Congressional Motorcycle Caucus member. “From a 30,000-foot perspective, you may not understand how things like left turns and guardrails impact motorcyclists, but they’re what I notice each time my fellow riders and I hit Ohio’s roads.”
First authorized by the FAST Act of 2015, with no defined timetable, MAC produced one report before ceasing functions. The Motorcycle Advisory Council Reauthorization Act establishes a 6-year timeline for the council’s operation and requires it to submit recommendations reports to DOT every two years. DOT will have 60 days from receipt of each report to review the council’s recommendations and submit its own report to Congress outlining which recommendations were accepted, rejected, or under review.
Further, this legislation clarifies the membership of MAC, including five highway engineering experts from state or local governments, one state or local traffic safety engineer who is a motorcyclist, one roadway safety data expert on crash testing and analysis, and one representative from each of the following groups: a national association of state transportation officials, a national motorcyclist foundation, a national motorcyclist association, a national motorcycle manufacturing association, and a national safety organization.
“ABATE of Ohio, Inc. is in support of the Motorcycle Advisory Council Reauthorization Act. With the number of motorcycles currently on the road, it is critical that the road designers and transportation engineers understand the way that motorcycles and motorcyclists interact with the roadways as well as other vehicles using those same roads,” said Ed Schetter, State Executive Director of ABATE of Ohio. “A motorcycle’s needs may be different than a vehicle with 4 or more wheels. Motorcyclists need to be present to help recognize those needs and ensure that motorcycles maintain their place on the road and can be safely operated into a future where technology is creating more and more challenges.”
Nationwide motorcycle usage has increased 25 percent since 2012, with 9 million motorcycles registered in the United States in 2017—more than 400,000 of which were registered in Ohio. Simultaneously, the number of fatal motorcycle crashes in the U.S. have increased—5.1 percent between 2015 to 2016, from 5,029 to 5,286—according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).