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HOT NEWS – August 14, 2006

August 14, 2006
Filed under News

Recreation movement ‘finding its voice’
The significance of public land recreation and access was specifically recognized in recent bills from Oregon, California and Idaho.
Congressman Greg Walden, chairman of the House subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, said existing motorized recreation should be considered and codified in new land designations, such as the Mount Hood Stewardship Act (HR5025), the Central Idaho Economic Development Act (HR3603) and the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act (HR233).
Walden said on the floor that HR3603 “meets the needs of today’s users … and locks in existing motorized uses.” Similar statements were made about the other bills.
“I think it shows that the recreation community is finding its voice,” said Brian Hawthorne, public lands director for the BlueRibbon Coalition. “Legislators specifically addressed and provided for recreation in each of these bills. It shows trail users are no longer relegated to the back of the bus when wilderness bills are proposed.”
Hawthorne stressed his group does not support the Idaho and Oregon bills and will be working hard in the Senate to defeat the Idaho bill. However, in each case, legislators recognized that Americans’ ability to access the lands will be substantially reduced. Each bill provides specifically for recreational uses, in some cases codifying that use in law.
“I think this current wilderness debate shows that the recreation movement is maturing and has rightfully earned a seat at the table,” Hawthorne said. But he also said that much more involvement is needed from recreationists. He noted all of the legislation reduces public access while providing little in the way of true resource protection.
California board adopts new standards for dune buggies
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted on July 20 to create a special category to regulate the emissions of dune buggies — a move that saved dune buggy and engine manufacturers the possibility of severe fines and even the closing of their businesses as a result of being out of compliance.
Previously dune buggies were regulated under the “Off-Road Large Spark Ignition” standard, which focused on things like forklifts and industrial engines. This standard was problematic for engine and dune buggy manufacturers because of the expensive testing equipment and an overly aggressive durability requirement.
The new sandcar category requires manufacturers to comply only with current federal EPA standards. For a buggy to fit into the CARB “Sandcar” category, it must have an engine greater than one liter. If a buggy has an engine equal to or less than one liter, it will be considered an “Off-Road Sport Vehicle” by CARB.
In the future, CARB would like to look at enacting regulations for “Sandcars” that are more stringent than the current federal EPA requirements. The CARB board said it would continue to meet with industry officials to discuss any possible changes.
CARB worked with a few key individuals in the dune buggy industry, including John Begin of Suspensions Unlimited, Grant George of Funco Motorsports and Bill Dart, land-use director for the Off-Road Business Association.
“CARB normally regulates huge multi-billion dollar industries so it was essential that they understand the sandcar industry has extremely limited resources,” Dart said.
Honda to Begin Sales of HondaJet
Japan’s Honda Motor Co. Ltd. plans to establish a new U.S. company to begin commercializing the HondaJet. The company made the announcement July 25 at the world’s largest annual aviation gathering, the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture 2006 in Oshkosh, Wisc.
Honda plans to enter the HondaJet in the growing Very Light jet market, with the process of accepting sales orders expected to begin in the United States in the next couple of months.
KTM taps PSN for dealer Web sites
KTM North America, Inc. has selected PowerSports Network (PSN) as its preferred Web site vendor for KTM dealer Web sites across North America. The PSN dealer Web site program for KTM dealers includes a complete dealer Web site with comprehensive vehicle showrooms, ecommerce capabilities and Integrated Lead Management, plus inclusion on the PowerSportsNetwork.com portal Web site. For more information, visit www.powersportsnetwork.org
CycleTrader.com starts online resource for women
CycleTrader.com recently added a women riders resource page to its Web site. The new page offers statistics, stories and links to motorcycle resources that are geared toward the female market.
“On a monthly basis, 46 percent of the visitors to CycleTrader.com are women. Many companies within the motorcycle community are addressing the needs of women riders with new products and colors and we wanted to provide a place to locate all of the latest information,” said Charles Bowles, III, general manager for CycleTrader.com.
Italian cycle group changes its name
Italy’s Bicycle, Motorcycle and Accessories Association (ANCMA) changed its name to Confindustria ANCMA at the organization’s annual general assembly, held in July.
The Italian two-wheeler market makes up one-third of all registrations in the European Union (as high as 60 percent for scooters). Approximately 422,000 two-wheelers were registered there in 2005. psb

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