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New Motorcycle Crash Causation Study Delayed
As rational beings, we'd all rather make important decisions with good and relevant data.
Several years ago, Congress offered $2.8 million, subject to industry matching funds, for a new study of the causes of motorcycle accidents. The AMA and MSF came up with $3.1 matching funds from the manufacturers, and kicked in an additional $130K from their own sources. In October 2008 they announced that the funding had been raised. A pilot study was done in Southern California.
The contract for the full study was awarded to the Oklahoma State University Transportation Center in the School of Engineering at Stillwater. This was an earmark of the House transportation committee chairman at the time, who was from Oklahoma.
At the time of writing, though the requested funds have been raised, OSU claim that the Feds had shorted the 2.8 million by only giving 2.1 million and they think the study will cost $9 million. The study has not been started and a principal investigator has not been appointed, as far as we can tell. Nothing is being done.
The AMA Role
The thinks the study should cost $7 million, and that about $6 million is pledged. They thinks that the shortfall of $1 to $3 million is too big to come from bikers and therefore has to come from government.
The study cash comes from bikers. The Federal portion comes from our gas taxes, the manufacturers’ part will eventually show up in what we pay for motorcycles, and the rest was directly from bikers and a few state DOT funds, which would also be our taxes. They are all arguing about our money.
AMA is heading up biker response.
- They want to approach all the 50 state DOTs, find the motorcycle DOT safety representative, and ask them to contribute state cycle study funds into the Federal effort using an open Pooled Fund study. State study money can’t do this type of research at the State level with the funds available, but pooling state funds into the Federal study will give states good bang for their study bucks.
- The House Transportation Committee is scheduled to approve an annual allocation for transportation by October 2009, and the next step will be to lobby US Representatives, especially those on the Transportation, Budget and Ways and Means committee. Any missing funding at that time needs to be added, and the study needs to be started immediately.
Our first priority is to support the AMA and MSF in their efforts to push these points. There's a contact list for state motorcycle safety administrators here, courtesy of the National Association of State Motorcycle Administrators. We have been phoning our state administrator asking that the state pitch some of their motorcycle safety dollars into the open Pooled Fund study. Support the effort by calling, emailing, writing and/or visiting your state administrator.
We're also asking folks to contact their Congressional reps in the Transportation, Ways and Means and Appropriations. Once you find your guy, look up the Rep contact details here, and don't be shy telling them why we want a new study fully funded in the October transportation bill, and staffed up and started as soon as possible. Let them know what you think.
Ask them about section 5511 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the surface transportation authorization bill.
We emailed our local House rep, Steve Cohen, who is on the Transportation Committee. Here's his response, which is full of useful background information.
We'll be following this issue closely in the Blog.