Legislative Recap at the Half Way Point
Jerry Abboud
Executive Director

With about 60 of the 120 days remaining in the Session, there have been a number of bills PDAC has been working successfully that impact dealers. We can take them one at a time:

HB1050 This is a bill by Representative Marostica to provide trike operators the ability to receive training and take the test for an endorsement on their driver’s license for a 3 wheeler endorsement. Currently, a person who wants to ride a 3 wheeler; amputees, small stature adults and those who are just not comfortable were forced to get a 2 wheel endorsement or ride without an endorsement (not particularly kind to vets with disabilities). It allows individuals that hold a current or future motorcycle endorsement to continue to operate a trike. Only trike endorsement holders would need to “move up” to the 2 wheel endorsement if they choose to do so. This was an excellent concept: until it got to the drafter.

Unfortunately, in a zealous move to take 2 and 3 wheel endorsements and place them together in the same statutory section, the drafter made two errors. He gave the Director of the Department of Revenue the unrestricted ability to go beyond just testing standards and allowed for “requirements” and at the same time inadvertently added a special endorsement for 6hp scooters! The Director could have required mandatory training, annual field testing, different renewal standard—you get the picture.

Representative Marostica did not realize this, and immediately allowed PDAC to provide an amendment to fix the problem by returning to the original language on testing. The bill has passed and is on its way to the governor. Thanks to representative Marostica, Senate sponsor Lois Tochtrop, and ABATE for addressing a real issue that your customers care about.

HB1069 What began as a genuinely ill-defined grant of authority to the Division of Wildlife and other Colorado law enforcement to enforce Federal Travel Management Plans (read stay on designated roads and trails), has been completely reworked into a more reasonable and tolerable form. No doubt this bill will still drawn some controversy.

The issue mostly revolves around hunters and ATVs and the fact the Wildlife Commission brought the bill forward to satisfy sportsmen’s and environmental groups concerns with impacts from vehicles going off-road during hunting season. What this amounts to is adding CO law enforcement to the near non-existent federal presence with the hope more people will obey the law. The bill was worked on by a huge shareholder group of which PDAC was a member.

The short version is, COHVCO/PDAC amended the bill to a very strict enforcement focus with plenty of public notice (route markers) so the public can comply. This was an effort to resolve the controversy over the Forest Service Travel management Rule that de-emphasizes signage. The amendments require route markers for roads and trails while requiring an annual report to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to keep an eye on how the law is being enforced. If the bill is enforced as intended it will have a positive impact. The bill is on its way to the governor.

SB179 This bill is intended to close a loophole in Colorado’s motor vehicle franchise law created by a recent Colorado Court of Appeals’ decision. The decision allows manufacturers to sell their used product directly to the consumer. It all results from the simple interpretation of “motor vehicle dealer”. The franchise laws refer to motor vehicle dealer International Harvester who sells used trucks and challenged their denial of a used motor vehicle dealer’s license on the grounds that the statute did not address used, only new. The Court agreed.

So this opens the door to dealer competition in the used market with their OEMs. There is a substantial probability that the proposed bill may be withdrawn until next year at the sponsors request for “repairs.” In the meantime it will be interesting to see if other manufacturers follow IH at the risk of having their investment yanked next year.

SB63 This legislation preempts counties from setting noise standards for OHVs and snowmobiles that are more restrictive than federal law. The 96dbA stationary sound test is becoming the standard nationwide. SB63 does not apply to either vehicles used for closed course competition or used vehicles at the time of sale. Only new vehicles are covered as is the case in current law.

Operationally the sound standard applies to new and used vehicles with vehicles manufactured prior to 01/01/98 allowed 99dbA. So, dealers have nothing to change in the way they do business except encouraging the sale of aftermarket exhausts that meet EPA guidelines if the vehicle is being used for non-closed course competition. Of course, spark arrestors are still required for use on public lands.

The snowmobile stationary test and bill language are similar and also result in no change to current business practices. What will be gained are two very important positions: counties cannot outlaw OHV? Snowmobile sales or use by creating sound emission standards that cannot be met and the old saw “less sound more ground”, a reduction in motorized non-motorized conflicts over excessive noise.

The bill is out of the Senate and in the House.

HB1009 The return of PIP yet again Requires an automobile insurance policy (motorcycles too) issued, delivered, or renewed on or after January 1, 2009, to contain emergency medical care coverage of at least $15,000 to cover the costs of all medically necessary and accident-related emergency medical care services provided to a person injured in a motor vehicle accident. The bill establishes a presumption that the minimum amount of emergency medical care coverage required by law is included in an automobile insurance policy if the insurer fails to include any emergency medical care coverage in the policy. SB1009 reserves the right of the insurer to offer, and the insured to purchase, emergency medical care coverage in excess of the minimum coverage required by law. Specifies the providers to whom the emergency medical care coverage benefits are to be paid for providing emergency medical care services to an injured person.

SB11 The return of PIP on top of PIP Force. Establishes the emergency responders and trauma care reimbursement program in the department of public health and environment to reimburse emergency and trauma care providers for uncompensated care provided to patients injured in a motor vehicle accident. SB11 allows reimbursements for uncompensated trauma care to licensed ambulances, licensed air ambulances, trauma physicians, and trauma centers that satisfy specified criteria.

Establishes the program fund in the state treasury, consisting of moneys credited to the program fund from a $16 fee on motor vehicle registrations and moneys recovered from responsible parties for the payment of trauma care that was reimbursed by the program Mandates all automobile insurance policies issued, delivered, or renewed in the state to contain emergency medical care coverage with benefits of at least $15,000.

Increases the fee for registering a motor vehicle, other than a fleet vehicle, by $16 and directs that the moneys from the increased fee be transferred to the program fund.

Yes, PIP is back for the 3rd year in a row. These bills have yet to be placed on the calendar for committee hearings but clearly together require $30K of medical insurance PIP. Potential premium increases for motorcycles insurance are estimated $250 to $600. PDAC is on top of the issues. We are working on the old motorcycles are exempt language.

Powersport Vehicle Dealers License Application
PDAC board members and the executive director worked diligently with the Department of Revenue in order to facilitate a process to get the state’s powersports dealers licensed quickly and easily. The PDAC has grouped all the forms you need to apply for your powersport vehicle dealers license in one place and has created a Helpful Hints document to give you tips on how to complete your application packet.

If you are already a licensed motor vehicle dealer, please click here to download the appropriate forms and PDAC Helpful Hints from www.pdaco.org for obtaining your powersports vehicle dealers license.

If you do not already have a motor vehicle dealers license, go to the Colorado Department of Revenue, Auto Industry Division website at www.revenue.state.co.us/dlr/home.asp to download the appropriate forms.

Bikers Watching Legislature

The Colorado Legislature is busily filing bills to make new legislation to govern by, and state motorcycle rights organizations are keeping a close eye on what is being filed…expecting an attempt at a universal helmet law to surface during the current session.

While no such bill has yet been filed, a few bills of interest to motorcyclists have been filed.

Right-of-way violations and penalties are up for consideration again. Rep. Don Marostica of Loveland filed House Bill 08-1104, which creates the "aggravated right-of-way-offense." The Bill will make it a class 1 misdemeanor if a motorist turning left into a motorcyclist’s or bicyclist’s right of way strikes the rider. That driver would then be required to pay restitution to the rider.

Marostica points out that in 2006 and 2007, 39 motorcycle deaths and nine bicycle deaths caused by such violations, the fine for which is $30.

"It’s been in a gray area," Marostica said. "These folks need to understand you look two to three times."

The bill promises to be controversial due to a flippant "accidents happen" attitude. Marostica says if drivers pay attention and look carefully, these accidents don’t have to happen.

The bill is in the transportation Committee.

Another motorcycle related bill is Hose Bill 08-1050, also sponsored by Marostica. The bill, if approved, will create a limited motorcycle endorsement for trike riders, and create a test specific to those vehicles. Currently, in order to legally operate a trike, riders must have a motorcycle endorsement, but individuals riding trikes often are limited in their ability to pass that endorsement test. The limited endorsement would restrict riders to three-wheel vehicles, prohibiting regular motorcycle operation.

House bill 08-1010 is a much broader piece of legislation. It increases the penalties and fines for a laundry list of traffic violations. Many fines would at least double from what they are currently, including most motorcycle-specific violations.

Another broad bill, House Bill 08-1184, will require police to arrest driver suspected of driving with a forged or illegal license.

And, off-road vehicles and snowmobiles will come under scrutiny with Senate Bill 08-063. The Bill would impose a $100 fine for vehicles emitting sound ranging from 99db to 88db depending on the type of vehicle and it’s age.

Motorcycle deaths soar
Numbers prompt advice to drivers, riders on safety
By Bill Gallo, www.rockymountainnews.com

Motorcyclists are dying in greater numbers across the nation and in Colorado, setting off alarms about rider safety and prompting an array of government and private countermeasures.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, a longtime rider, appears in some of that department's new TV commercials, offering a familiar warning: "We could save more than 700 lives each year if everyone put on a helmet every time they got on a bike."

Nationwide, motorcycle-related deaths have risen from about 2,100 in 1997 to more than 4,800 last year. The Colorado Department of Transportation counted 37 fatalities in 1997 and 71 in 2006. Through the first nine months of this year, Colorado had 64 motorcycle-related deaths.

The simplest explanation for the increase is that more bikes are on the road. Colorado is typical: Ten years ago, 97,500 motorcycles were registered here; in 2007, there were 139,264.

Observers inside and outside the industry point to other causes: maddening traffic congestion, poorly trained riders and drivers of four-wheel vehicles who don't watch out for motorcyclists. Advocates charge that motorists are increasingly distracted - especially when talking on cell phones.

"The primary cause of serious accidents involving motorcycles is motorists' failure to yield the right of way," says Ari Levenbaum , spokesman for the Law Tigers, a Phoenix-based, eight- state network of lawyers specializing in motorcycle-crash claims.

"The second-most prevalent is the car that cuts off a cyclist riding behind it," Levenbaum said. "Cycles are rarely involved in single-vehicle accidents."

Colorado State Patrol officers agree.

"(Four-wheel) drivers need to be extra-vigilant around motorcycles," CSP spokesman Sgt. John Hahn said. "Especially at those times of year when there are many bikes on the road - in spring and summer. Drivers are at fault in the majority of these crashes."

Since 1973, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, funded by 12 motorcycle manufacturers, has set guidelines for bikers - including stiff warnings against drinking and riding - and developed rider-education courses. Almost 400,000 U.S. riders got their MSF diplomas in 2007.

But that's not enough.

"Fewer than half of all riders take any kind of formal training course," MSF President Tim Buche says. In 2003, a Motorcycle Industry Council report said only 38 percent of U.S. riders had been to school.

In June, the MSF launched the $2.8 million Motorcycle Crash Causation Study at Oklahoma State University, the first such research project in more than 30 years. The findings won't be released until 2013, MSF spokesman Dean Thompson says.

But seeing blood on asphalt has already led the MSF, based in horsepower-crazy Southern California, to several conclusions.

"Rider training is essential," Thompson says. "We need more involvement from government in our safety mission. It would be good if road-builders paid attention, too. Motorcycles react differently from cars."

On the hot-button helmet issue, the Law Tigers are ambiguous. "Safety studies make good cases for and against helmet use," Levenbaum said. Helmets restrict peripheral vision and reduce the ability to hear, many riders say.

But the MSF is unequivocally pro-helmet. "One of our mottos is 'All the Gear, All the Time,' " Thompson said, "and we believe wholeheartedly that you should wear a helmet - a full-face helmet - always. Pavement is an unforgiving surface."

Twenty U.S. states mandate helmets for all cyclists, but Colorado law requires them only for riders under 18. The state patrol reports that 87 people were killed in motorcycle crashes in 2005. In more than 76 percent of the cases, helmets weren't used.

The Colorado State Patrol has no official position on helmets, Hahn said, "but we're certainly in favor of anything that increases safety."

Even in states where headgear is required, transportation chief Peters says, only 58 percent of riders actually wear it, a 13 percent decrease over the last four years.

In March, CDOT will launch its own $100,000 motorcycle-safety campaign with public service announcements, fliers and posters. TV spots would be too expensive, says CDOT safety spokeswoman Heather Halpipe.

In general, she sees the same accident causes as other experts: oblivious motorists who don't check their mirrors for motorcyclists and inadequate rider training.

Of the 71 Colorado motorcycle-crash fatalities in 2006, 34 involved alcohol use by a motorist or rider, according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. A fourth of 2007's 64 deaths fell into that category.

Veteran biker Van Emmerich, who's ridden big Harleys since 1971, has his own view from behind the handlebars.

"It can be a dangerous world out there," the Aurora native says. "Especially when some (expletive) driving an SUV the size of my house, talking on the phone, eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts and combing his hair, all at the same time, decides that I don't exist and runs me off the road.

"But that's the chance you take for the freedom you get."

Board of Directors
Chairman, Kurt Finley - Colorado Powersports
Vice-Chairman/Treasurer, Jason White - Fay Myers Motorcycle World
Director, Donavan Facey - Xtreme Performance
Director, Dave Burke - Sun Enterprises
Director, Bill Comegys - Grand Prix Motorsports
Director, Brian Harris - Fort Collins Motorsports
Director, Jack Starr - RPM Motorsports
Director, Gary Wilkerson - Handlebar Cycle
Director, Mike Hendry - Foothills BMW/Triumph
Director, Steve Larsen - Greeley H-D, Honda, Yamaha
Director, Marshall Van Thorne - Interstate Honda

Executive Director, Jerry Abboud
All Sports Honda
Alpine Motorsports
Apex Motorsports
Aurora Honda
Colorado Powersports
Coyote Motorsports
Davis Service Center
Fay Meyers Motorcycle World
Foothills BMW/Triumph
Fort Collins Motorsports
Grand Junction HD
Grand Prix Motorsports
Greely HD, Honda, Yamaha
Handlebar Cycle
Hi Country Motorsports
Interstate Honda
Motorcycle Accessories
Pikes Peak Harley Davidson
Rocky Mountain Kawasaki
RPM Motorsports
Sun Enterprises
Sun Sports Unlimited
Twin Peaks Motorsports
Vickery Motorsports
Xtreme Performance Center
Tucker Rocky Dist
Western Powersports
Retail Powersports Mang. Group