The March to Take Over State Programs Continues: NJ set to fall?

A dear friend was the first to tell me MSF took over the New York program. And yesterday, he sent me word of a bill in the New Jersey Assembly. He thought I’d be interested because it would establish cc. restrictions on motorcycle license test taken at the DMV on a small bike. I asked him to send me the bill and read it immediately then told him, “Dear, dear boy, you buried the lead!” And he did:

Here’s the real lead: Assembly 3292, amends the current motorcycle licensing and training course legislation to pave the way for MSF—or T3RG or something like that—to take over the state program the moment the bill is passed.

  • The bill also removes the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Committee from the ability to consult about the motorcycle safety education course.
  • New Jersey already had the skills test waiver for graduating from a training course, but the bill also removes “the written portion of the motorcycle examinations required for motorcycle endorsement, provided the individual enrolls in and successfully completes” an authorized motorcycle safety education course.
  • The legislation does not require that the motorcycle safety training have either written or skills tests at the end of the course.
  • The bill also adds restrictions on some riders:
  • Anyone who takes the endorsement test at a licensing center on a motorcycle or scooter that’s 231cc. or smaller is restricted to a motorcycle that’s 500cc or smaller. This, however, will not apply for a successful graduate of a motorcycle training course.
  • Those under 18 would be required to take the course.
  • And those who ride with a permit cannot ride from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise, nor carry a passenger, nor ride on any toll road or even on a limited access highway.
  • The bill removes the requirement that motorcycle permit holders under 21 have supervision while riding for the first six months.
  • It also raises the cost of a motorcycle license or endorsement from $18—which is what car drivers pay—to $24. That’s an 33% increase. $11 of that fee will go to the Motorcycle Safety Education Fund.
  • Immediately on the passage of the bill—and already part of the legislation—the administrator may charge a road test waiver fee and a course certification fee for each location. The amount of either fee is not in the legislation.
  • And it removes the limitation on how much students can be charged to take the course. Previously, only if the funds in the Motorcycle Safety Education Fund were not sufficient to cover the costs of the program could the chief administrator charge a registration fee. It would now read, “The chief administrator may impose a registration fee to be paid by the participants in the course.” It does not establish a ceiling on how much that registration fee would be.

Here’s the part of the bill that would allow MSF or a private business like T3RG to take over the program, “Notwithstanding subsection a. of this section, the chief administrator may enter into a contract with a public or private entity authorizing such an entity to implement and administer the motorcycle safety education course established by the chief administrator pursuant to this section The chief administrator may suspend or revoke an authorization to administer the motorcycle safety course on any reasonable ground.”

Subsection a. reads “shall establish a motorcycle safety education program. The program shall consist of a course of instruction and training designed to develop and instill the knowledge, attitudes, habits and skills necessary for the safe operation and riding of a motorcycle and shall meet or exceed standards and requirements of the rider’s course developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.”

Dealers already could offer motorcycle training but the bill also adds “private entities” can also offer motorcycle training. “The motorcycle safety education course provided by the private entity shall meet or exceed the standards and requirements developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation including but not limited to course curriculum, motorcycle range, and motorcycle instructor curriculum.”

This part is also not new—except the title of who does the setting. It’s still noteworthy: The Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission also sets “the minimum level of knowledge, skill and ability requirements for the successful completion of the motorcycle safety education course.”

Sponsor

The bill, was sponsored by Joseph Cryan (D), District 20 (Union). He’s the Deputy Majority Leader and on the Education and the Budget Committees. Cryan is also the chair of the Democratic State Committee.

The bill does not appear on his page but does here and has been referred to the Assembly transportation, Public Works and Individual Authorities Committee. It is not yet scheduled for a hearing.

When effective?

All but the restrictions on engine displacement and the increased fee for the license would be effective the moment the bill is passed. The cc. restriction and fee would be effective but inoperable until the Motor Vehicle Commission is prepared to implement them.

Lobbying

Both Harley-Davidson and the Motorcycle Industry Council were both represented by different lobbyists.

Pay-to-Play

As of January, 2008, New Jersey’s pay-to-play disclosure law does not apply to non-profits who contract with the government.

My analysis and comments will be found on Riderchick.

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6 Comments on “The March to Take Over State Programs Continues: NJ set to fall?”

  1. gymnast Says:

    If the Attorney Generals offices of the various states that have entered into agreements with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or those contemplating doing so, were to examine the documents in detail, particularly the liability waivers and hold harmless agreements. It is likely that, if they would do so, there would be some immediate changes in the basic form of the States relationships with the MSF and the MSF’s power over motorcycle safety policy and programs in those states and in the USA as a whole. It would also be “nice” if the GAO were to take a look at the contracts that the US DOT- NHTSA has entered into with the MSF-MIC over the years.

  2. gymnast Says:

    On the other hand, motorcycles, and motorcycle crashes in particular have created a reliable income stream for attorneys of all abilities and the entry level training of new riders assures that few lawyers in the “motorcycle accident business” will face the prospect of falling back on food stamps during these difficult times. Motorcycles are a win-win proposition for attorneys and legislators seeking campaign funds on many levels.

  3. wmoon Says:

    Gymnast, when MSF tried to get them to sign a blanket liability waiver, thanks to the brilliant John Bodeker noticing it and seeking his Attorney General’s advice and then alerting me, I was able to discuss it on the blog. Other states also discussed it with legal representatives and did not sign it as written. MSF then came out with a state version. Though many administrators still haven’t signed it, MSF continues to allow them to purchase products.

    Actually lawyers and motorcycle crashes are almost always between the lawyer and the offending driver’s insurance company. I don’t think there’s a strong connection between accident lawyers, campaign funds and legislators when it comes to motorcycles…though Richard Lester is doing well enough to have a ranch in Kenya…

  4. gymnast Says:

    Thanks for the additional information on the waivers.

    Right you are about the litigation usually always being between the the plaintiffs attorney and the defendants insurance carrier. I was being satirical in my comment. Satirical with the reservation that MSF lobbyists, actually do approach legislators (who tend to be attorneys) and seek to have them implement MSF’s version of proposed “motorcycle safety”-rider training legislation, as appears to be the case of what is currently taking place in New Jersey. There is usually a “guid pro quo” of “some sort” in activities involving lobbyists.

    Your response also reminded me of another attorney, likely to be known to you, who paid people to sit at a table in front of the Rock Store on Sundays and pass out free stickers, cards and “memberships”. It seems, based on some of the “toys’ featured along with his pictures in his magazine ads that he has done quite well for himself by filling a need for services required by injured motorcyclists.

  5. wmoon Says:

    Hey, that lawyer who hauled his ass up to the Rock Store many a Sunday did wonders for me when that BDC pulled into me. Thank you again, Russ Brown!!!

  6. gymnast Says:

    I assume by BDC you mean “Big Damned Car” rather than “Backup Digital Controller”?

    Having spoken with Russ on several occasions, I got the impression that he knew his “trade” well and that claims adjustors had good reason to respect if not fear him. I always enjoyed speaking with him about his latest “very high end” exotic one off machines. He had good reason to be proud of them and, more importantly, he used and enjoyed them.


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