2019 Bikerday Talking Points

No Change to the Motorcycle Helmet Law

The motorcyclists of Minnesota ask that you continue to support the current Minnesota motorcycle helmet law, which requires those under 18 and those on a learners permit to wear a helmet while allowing endorsed adults the choice to wear or not to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle. No helmet on the market can prevent a crash. The best way to prevent injuries is to prevent crashes. Crash avoidance and holding those who use our roadways accountable for their actions are the key factors for injury prevention.

Support Efforts to Reduce Distracted Driving

Minnesota motorcyclists believe distracted driving is a huge problem in our state. We have been on the leading edge of this topic for many years. We continue to pursue the reduction of distracted driving through awareness campaigns and legislative efforts including:

SF91(Newman) – HF50 (Hornstein)

Cell phone use while driving prohibition, hands free mode exception.

SF75 (Osmek)- HF104 (Dettmer)

Cell phone use while driving provisions modified, penalties for texting while driving increased, forfeiture of wireless communications devices used in certain violations authorized, criminal vehicular operation crime expanded, driver education and drivers manual to cover distracted driving requirement.

SF129 (Draheim) – No House Bill at This Time

Driver education and drivers manual coverage of distracted driving requirement.

Curtail Profiling of Motorcyclists in Minnesota

SF45 (Osmek) – No House Bill at This Time

Motorcyclists are frequently stopped by police as they travel simply because they ride a motorcycle or are wearing motorcycle riding apparel. Often these stops are accompanied with the explanation that a traffic infraction has occurred, which is not always the case. In some cases people have been told they are violating a law that does not exist. In other cases the violation cited simply has not occurred. Motorcyclists come from all walks of life and most are law abiding citizens. Motorcyclists should not be treated differently from other members of the transportation mix. We support legislation that assures chief law enforcement officers, at the state and local level, establish and enforce a written policy governing the conduct of peace officers engaged in stops of motorcycle riding citizens. 

Separate Endorsement for 3 wheeled Motorcycles

Currently, a motorcyclist who passes a proficiency test or a certified Basic Riders Training Course receives a motorcycle endorsement that permits the use of two or three wheeled vehicles. A person who passes a proficiency test on a three wheeled vehicle receives a restriction on their license for a three wheeled vehicle such as a trike or a motorcycle with a sidecar. They are not legal to ride a two wheeled motorcycle.

While we support the creation of a three wheeled endorsement, We Cannot Support:

SF128 (Draheim) – No House Bill at This Time

The current language would allow a person who has passed a proficiency test on a three wheeled motorcycle to be legally endorsed to ride a two wheeled motorcycle. We believe two wheeled vehicles require an additional skill set to be demonstrated.

Note: Autocycles such as the Polaris Slingshot are a separate category and only require a drivers license because their handling characteristics are similar to a car.

Improve Funding for Motorcycle Training and Motorist Awareness

Due to a reduction in the number of new riders and the aging of the motorcycling demographic, training class enrolment in Minnesota is declining. Some training facilities find that rider training classes are not able to operate at a cost effective level. The result of this could be closing or consolidating some rider training locations, adding additional travel distance for many students. In an attempt to reduce the risk of a diminished rider training product, ABATE of Minnesota will propose small fee increases in motorcycle permit applications and license renewals. The permit fee will rise a few dollars and the license renewal fee to keep your motorcycle endorsement on your drivers license will rise from $13 per renewal to $17 per renewal. This fee is paid every four years when a drivers license is renewed. While the dollar amounts are small, multiplied by the 420,000 people who have this endorsement will mean that motorcycle rider training will continue to be a local option. This proposal will also benefit motorist awareness of motorcyclists programs and available motorcycle rider training.

We will also propose language to introduce a three wheel (trike/sidecar) license endorsement (currently a three wheel restriction). Then the riders of three wheel motorcycles will contribute to rider training and motorist awareness programs similar to two wheeled riders. Currently they do not.

We are currently drafting bill language. Please watch for Senate and House bill numbers in the near future. Thank you.