By Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations
As I am diving into the issues facing ATV riders and
motorcyclists as the new AMA vice president for government relations, two facts
First, 2011 was a remarkably successful public policy year
for the ATVA and AMA, highlighted by Congress passing and the president signing
legislation that included the "Kids Just Want to Ride" provisions, which
exempted kids' ATVs and dirtbikes from the lead law.
Second, ATV- and motorcycle-related laws and regulations
won't go away.
The riding community faces attacks from your city, county,
state and federal government, with old and new challenges facing the ATV
community. The ATVA provides the forum that can carry the fight forward
for ATV riders' rights.
Overturning the lead law transformed an ill-advised federal
provision into an opportunity. It demonstrated that the riding community can
come together under the ATVA's and AMA's leadership. This victory has created a
blueprint for future successes, reminding ATV riders and motorcyclists that we
can make a difference on issues that affect our daily lives, even in Washington, D.C.
The victory also showed that those not old enough to vote
can influence policymakers. In this case, kids' involvement created a lifetime
of memories for them and their families.
A key future challenge consists of preserving available
riding opportunities while well meaning but ill-advised policymakers try to
take away our freedoms. This is true whether you race or ride off-highway.
It is an educational process that the ATVA and AMA are
prepared to undertake, but your support and encouragement are needed. If you
are reading this and are not a member, the ATVA's public policy push is an
important reason to join.
If you are an ATVA member, look beyond your regular modest
dues, sign up to receive Action Alerts by e-mail on issues affecting you,
remember to register to vote, get to know your elected officials on a personal
basis, write letters to the editors, affiliate your business with the ATVA or
AMA and support the American Motorcyclist Political Action Committee with a
donation no matter how small. We need to support those who support us.
As a rancher, veterinarian and outdoor advocate, I have been
an involved citizen, small businessman and an official who has served at all
levels of government, from a local health officer to a U.S. senator.
You, too, have this opportunity, no matter who you are. You can make a
Today, I am again a private citizen using my experience to
make this a better place for ATV riders and motorcyclists and I am proud to be
a part of this respected organization.
The ATVA website-ATVAonline.com-provides a plethora of
information that you can use, including how you can make a difference with
policymakers. Your freedoms are unique to America, and the ATVA and AMA are
here to help protect them.
The rest is up to you.
To read this article online, go here: http://www.atvaonline.com/news/12-01-11/Your_ATVA_at_work_by_Wayne_Allard_AMA_vice_president_for_government_relations.aspx