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HOT NEWS – June 27, 2005

June 27, 2005
Filed under News

Motorcycle Health Care Bill Introduced
A bipartisan bill to end health-care discrimination against motorcyclists and ATV enthusiasts has been introduced in the U.S. House.
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) introduced H.R. 2793 – “The HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act,” which would bar health-care discrimination against those who take part in legal transportation and recreational activities such as motorcycling, ATV riding, snowmobiling, or horseback riding.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) introduced similar legislation in the Senate: S. 577, “The HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Correction Act.”
On Aug. 21, 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to prohibit employers from denying health care coverage based on a worker’s pre-existing medical conditions or participation in legal activities, such as motorcycling.
Later, federal bureaucrats reversed the law, writing rules to allow health-insurance discrimination against motorcyclists and others who engage in legal activities like ATV riding, or horseback riding.
“It’s shameful to allow health insurers to discriminate against individuals who take part in perfectly legal hobbies and activities” said Rep. Strickland. “According to this rule, a person injured while drinking and driving would be covered by their health insurance, but an individual who falls from a motorcycle may not. It just makes no sense.”
Groups lobbying for insurance rights include the AMA, BlueRibbon Coalition, Motorcycle Riders Foundation, ABATE of Wisconsin, ABATE of Ohio, the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, and the American Horse Council.
“This loophole written by federal bureaucrats must be changed,” said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. “We need all AMA and ATVA members and all motorcyclists to contact the members of their congressional delegations to support legislation to fix this.”

Slavik Retires from Honda
Paul Slavik, a 29-year employee of California-based American Honda, has retired from his position as the manufacturer’s OHV coordinator.
Slavik joined American Honda in 1976 as a senior customer service representative. After holding a variety of positions with Honda, Slavik served as Honda’s OHV press coordinator from 2000 to 2002; and served as OHV coordinator from 2002 to his retirement.
During his time with Honda, Slavik coordinated the OEM’s involvement in the American Frontiers Trek – a north to south expedition on public lands – and conceived and helped implement Honda’s first Environmental Learning Center.
“Although I will be leaving Honda I do not intend to give up the good fight,” he said. “I hope to continue as a consultant on OHV issues for some time to come.”

Training planned for BRP’s 2-up ATVs
Customers of two-up ATVs built by Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc. (BRP) will qualify for the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) rider training courses in July.
The SVIA says its ATV Rider Training Certificate and Owner Registration course – dubbed the ATV RiderCourse – will be applicable for Bombardier MAX Series ATV owners as of July 1.
The course is provided free to consumers via backing by vehicle manufacturers who are members of the SVIA.
“(This) means that, after July 1, 2005, our dealers will no longer have to be involved in providing their own 2-up ATV course, said Bob Lumley, BRP’s vice president of North American sales
For more information, contact the SVIA’s ATV Safety Institute at their toll-free ATV enrollment express number: 800/887-2887.

Operator Error Cause Scooter Injuries
The result of a year-long study, released June 14 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), has found there were an estimated 10,000 emergency room injuries involving powered scooters from July 2003 through June 2004, the first year for which there is reliable data.
Seventy-one percent of the incidents were related to the operator, and about one in five incidents was blamed on scooter problems, including brake failure, loose handlebars, the accelerator sticking and cuts on sharp edges of the unit.
Scooters targeted by the study are stand-up models powered by either electric or small displacement gasoline engines.
According to the CPSC staff report, less than half of all victims were wearing helmets at the time of the incident, and few were wearing other safety gear such as knee and elbow pads. Approximately two-thirds of all injuries occurred in children under 15 years old.
Because 7 out of 10 incidents were behavior or environment-related, following local laws and CPSC safety guidelines can play a strong role in protecting children.

Proton Launches Web-based System
Malaysia-based Proton Holdings Bhd. has implemented a web-based product data management (PDM) system linking all of the company’s domestic and international interests into one network and providing real-time design and engineering data to its 1,500 engineers and designers worldwide.
Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff, Proton CEO, said simultaneous collaboration in research and development, production, and after-sales service will better support Proton’s global expansion plans.
Proton currently has manufacturing facilities in Shah Alam and Tanjung Malim, both in Malaysia. These will now be able to easily communicate with Lotus Engineering in the UK and MV Agusta in Italy, as well as with operations in Iran and China.

Yamaha Pays Employees for “Eco-Commuting”
Japan’s Yamaha Motor Co. has introduced a program through which it pays its employees for commuting in ecologically friendly ways.
Last December, the company started giving financial assistance to its commuting employees who purchased Yamaha motorcycles or rented electric-powered Passol scooters for the purpose of commuting, and offered free lessons for obtaining motorcycle licenses.
Last January, Yamaha began issuing a monthly allowance of 1,000 yen ($9.70) to employees who walk and/or ride a bicycle more than one mile each day in the course of their commute to work. An allowance was also instituted for employees who use public transport Park & Ride services.
Then, in February, Yamaha opened a “Return Riders School” for beginners as well as drivers who have not operated a motorcycle for an extended period.

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