Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1980's

Cycle News 1988 06 01

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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~ Wilson set to ~ sell 'out on 57 Sen. Pete Wilson ( R- C~lifornia) appears to be ready to cave in on the Californ ia Deser t Protection Act, also known as Senate Bill 7, sponsored by Sen. Alan Cran ston (D-' California). After months of playing both sides of-the fence, Wilson has joined Cranston in requesting the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to schedule 57 for "markup" by the end of June. . In a letter recently .sent to Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-Louisiana), chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Wilson stated, "We (Cranston and Wilson) met at some length on 57 and found ourselves in agreement on many of the paramount provisions of the bill." It was following his April 11, 1988 meeting with Cranston that Wilson agreed to sign a pact that would sell out the motorcycle community and the California Desert. Wilson, who is up for re-election this year, has been trying not to alienate voters before the November ballot, especially ,members of the various environmental organizations. Until now, though, Wilson has also attempted to court people who oppose 57 by remaining neutral on the issue. However, staff members of Wilson's Washington, DC, office have indicated that the senator's incoming mail has been heavily in support of 57, by approximately a 5 to I ratio. Such widespread support for the bill has made it acceptable for Wilson to ignore the opposition's point-of-view and to seek an agreement with Cranston on 57, rather than opposing the bilL 57 proposes to shut-down access to over nine-million acres of land in the California Desert. This measure would not only affect off-road vehicle users, but such interest groups as mining operations, ranchers and "weekend family campers." In addi- , tion, military operations would also be severely limited, threatening our national security. According to Sen. Johnston, should 57 pass the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, " L ittle will remain to prevent its passage by the full Senate." The California Desert issue and Wilson and Cranston's involvement in it as well as the major implications of 57 are the subject of an in-depth, investi~tive article set -to be published In the July issue of American Motorcyclist (AM ) magazine, the monthly journal of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA ). The article promises to be the most comprehensive, detailed account published to date on the California Desert issue. Entitled "Desert Warfare," the article is a resuh of more than two months of investigative work done by Ralf Pansch, AMA communications coordinator for government relations, Roger T . Young, associate editor of AM, and Bill Wood,managing editor of AM. The July issue of AM is set for release the first week of June. AMA members receive AM monthly; for information on becoming an AMA member, call (toll -free) 800/AMA-JOIN. "It's of utmost importance for all motorcyclists to wri te letters of opposition on 57 to Wilson now," said Robert Rasor, AMA vice president for government relations. "This is not a 'California only' issue. It's going to be voted on by every senator in the United States and Wilson is the key. If he supports it, . , it passes. If he opposes it , it dies ." Motorcyclists are urged to write Wilson and Johnston immediately. Letters should be addressed to: The Honorable Pete Wilson, U.S. Senate, 720 Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-0502. To reach Sen. Johnston, write to: The Honorable J. Bennett Johnston, 136 Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-1801. In addition, Californians should write to Governor George Deukmejian and request that he use his influence on Sen. Wilson, a fellow Republican, to ensure that the California Desert remains open for use by the state's citizens. Write to : The Honorable George Deukrnejian, Office of the Governor, State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA 95814. Helmet bill clears California S.enate SACRAMENTO, CA, MAY 19 The California Senate today voted 23-12 to approve AB36, a mandatory helmet bill introduced in 198 7 by Assemblyman Rich ard FIgyd (D-Gardena). The bill will return to the assembly, where it was passed last year, for approval of minor amendrnents, The . measure, which would require all motorcyclists to wear helmets whi~e op~ratiI.Ig a rnotorcycle on Cahfor~~a ,~ I gh ways and streets, should fly through the assembly and cO.l;'ld ,be on G?vt;rnor George Deukrnejian s desk within 1,0 days, according to Bob Terry, Floyd s .. traffic safety con~ultant. When asked If Deukrnejian has taken a position on the bill Donna Lucas, deputy press secretary for the governor, said, "No, he has not. He will look at the bill in its final form and make a decision at that time." If Deukmejian signs AB36, it will go into effect January 1, 1989. A first offense infraction under Floyd's measure would be punishable by a fine of up to $100, with increasing fines for subsequent violations. The narrow approval of AB36 it collected 23 votes in a 40-member house that requires 21 votes for a bill to pass with a simple majority _ came after heated debate on the senate floor. Proponents of the measure said a mandatory helmet law would help relieve a "public burden" of $65 million per year in medical expenses, the claimed cost to California taxpayers from uninsured motorcyclists who suffer injuries in highway accidents. Opponents .of the bill, however, ~aid the $65 million figure is grossly inflated and added that AB36 violates the constitutional .r ig h ts of motorcyclists. Senator Wadie Deddeh (D-Chula Vista), who voted against the bill both today and when it was considered by the Senate Transportation Committee, said a mandatory helmet law would take from motorcyclists " th eir constitutional rights as Arnericans to do as they please, provided they do it within the law. " Deddeh called for more motorcycle education programs in place of AB36. Senator Don Rogers , (RBakersfield) asked his colleagues; "How. far is g?verriment supposed to go m"mtrudl!1g up?n the hves of people? He chided hIS fellC?w senators WIth a remark suggesting that the "next step" would see state le~islators requiring automobile drivers to wear helmets. Senator Art Torres (D-Los Angeles), who led the push in the senate to pass AB36; said personal freedom does not give motorcyclists the right to ride without helmets when medical costs incurred by riders are paid for by the public. '" . . . In the great majority of cases, the taxpa):'ers ,had to. pay nearly all. of the ~~ker s . m~dl~l. and hospital costs, he said. . This IS becaust; most of the hospitalized not only rejected the safety P!ecau~lon of a h~!met, but had JIO accident insurance. . Torres agreed that the Issue "comes down to personal choice," but asked, :'At what point ' does , government intervene to protect the majority of a .soc:!etY terms of our ,!n fiscal responsihliity? .' Sen:ttor Quentin L Kopp (I-San FranCISCO) - who recently replaced Deddah as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee when Deddah angered senate Democratic leaders by voting to confit:ID Long Beach Congressman Damel Lungrum as state treasurer - voted for AB36. . Kopp said ~e ~.S. Constitution gt:ves no sl?eclal ng~ts to motorcychsts, adding that If a 1986 law requiring automobile drivers to wear seat belts IS constitutional, then mandatory helmet use IS consututional. ~e..said the same "freedom of choice argu~ent was used, unsuccessfully, dunng debate on the seat belt law. Helmet law prop~nen.ts h~ve ~t.tempted to enact legislation similiar to ~B36 for more than 20 years, b~H until 1987 m.and,atory ht;lmet bjlls have always died In commltt~. Mot?:cychsts shoul.d express ~~elf opposrnon to the bill by wnung It;tters to G?v. Deukmejian irnmediately, Write to: The Honorable George Deukrnejian, Office of the Governor, State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA 95814. Write today! Tomorrow will be .t oo late. ., 2

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