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NH- Transportation Committee Hearings – Video‏

February 1, 2010

http://www.nhmro.org/LegislativeNews.html

NHMRO

Transportation Committee Hearings – Video

Videos of the hearings are available here, thanks to NHMRO member Bill Alleman.  Thanks Bill!!

LEGISLATIVE  UPDATE!!

On January 28, 2010 The New Hampshire House Transportation committee held
hearings on the two hearings that, if passed would have a impact on New

Hampshire Motorcyclists.

NHMRO members were joined by representatives from the AMA and MRF and
MMA.  Below are excerpts taken from a letter that MMA had sent out to their
members sumarizing the day’s hearings.

“…the support was overwhelmingly against both bills, including testimony from
AMA Government Affairs Manager Imre Szauter, MRF Vice President of
Government Relations Jeff Hennie, NHMRO Vice President Candy Alexander, and
MMA Safety & Education Director Doc D’Errico.

First heard was NH HB 1261, which would require an EPA stamp on your
motorcycle exhaust.  This is the same misguided attempt as filed in Boston and
defeated in numerous other towns and municipalities, most famously
Portland,
ME last year.  The bill would essentially create the same challenges as last year’s
NH HB 95, eliminating after-market exhaust, many of which are perfectly legal

under current law everywhere else.

In support of the bill, emotional testimony was heard with regard to how one’s
person’s rights do not extend to the violation of another’s, yet no facts were
delivered.  Representative Day also presented an amendment to the Bill which
would make it “enabling legislation” allowing towns to enact it as a local

ordinance.  Although the amendment was accepted by the committee chair,
Representative Williams, most speakers commented that it would be impossible
for riders to know where a law ended and where another began.

Numerous facts were presented in opposition of the bill by the AMA, MRF, MMA,
and NHMRO concerning the EPA “Title 40” regulations, specifically that the EPA
stamps:

· are targeted towards Motorcycle Manufacturers, NOT Consumers

· are designed to protect the consumer, not be used as law enforcement
tools

· expire after an “acoustical adjustment period” of 1 year or 3,729 miles

· are not always easily visible as covered by bike parts, heat shields, etc

· do not mean a bike is illegal per current law


The second bill heard was NH HB 1162, which challenges long-standing NH Law
giving riders the freedom of helmet choice in the State of
New Hampshire.As
with her sound bill, Representative Day also presented an amendment to the
Bill which would make it “enabling legislation” allowing towns to enact it as a
local ordinance.  Again accepted by the committee chair, Senator Letourneau
was the next to speak and scoffed at how riders would have to stop at every
town border to determine if they had to wear a helmet or not – assuming they
could determine where a rural town border was!

A representative of the NTSB also stood in opposition citing NH as one of only
3 states to not have a helmet law.  The NTSB Representative obviously did not
do his homework since his comment was challenged by Representative Packard
as the author of NH’s 33 year-old Helmet Law.

A few speakers spoke in support of the bill, including a brave and passionately
emotional plea from a Selectman whose husband was in a wheelchair as the
result of head injuries from a Motorcycle Accident.  A bill co-sponsor, also from
Rockingham 13, as is Representative Day, commented that he wore a helmet
when racing cars as a youth.  Asked by the committee if he was also
recommending helmets for cars, he responded, “no”; he understood the risks
as a racecar driver and made that choice, but does support seat belts.

Apparently, the representative missed his own point that he understood the
risks and made a choice.
Many riders who spoke in opposition to the bill stated that they wear a helmet,
but believe it’s their personal choice to wear one, and they respect the rights of
those who ride without one to be able to make that choice as well.  Many spoke
on behalf of NHMRO’s mantra, “let those who ride decide”.

Speaking in opposition to the bill, facts concerning the potential revenue impact
to the economy were presented, drawing parallels between Laconia and the
significant $100’s Million lost by the city of
Myrtle Beach, SC last year.  Other
facts were presented including some rebuttals to misleading facts:

·         Federal law requiring states to have a motorcycle law on the books in
order to qualify for federal funds was written in 1990, but also repealed in 1995

·         NH *does* have a state Helmet Law, which written in 1977, requires
riders under the age of 18 to wear a helmet and was valid under then federal
law

·         30 states (not 3) have Helmet laws allowing adults the choice.

·         According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately
1.16% of total U.S. Health costs are attributable to motor vehicle accidents,

and the costs associated with the treatment of motorcyclist injuries account for
less than 0.001% of total
U.S. health care costs. Only a portion of that less-
than-0.001% cost is attributable to un-helmeted motorcyclists, and the
majority of that cost is paid by privately purchased health insurance.

Overall, the tone of the meeting was extremely respectful, and the NH House
Transportation Committee is expected to consider the bill disposition in
executive session within the next week or two. New Hampshire’s legislative
process would require the committee to render an “ought to pass” or an

“inexpedient to legislate” (ITL) before passing the bill to the full House.”

Thanks again, to the MMA for the onging support and for the great write-up!

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