Reclassification of Motorcycles (Two or Three Wheeled Vehicles) in the Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics

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Reclassification of Motorcycles (Two or Three Wheeled Vehicles) in the Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics

On the Sparrow_EV mailing list Dana Myers (head of Myers Motors) posted something about how the government might be about to change the definition of motorcycles to redefine three wheelers as not motorcycles. Maybe.

The current effort is a data gathering proposal that's aimed at understanding why the fatality rate for motorcyclists is rising faster than the ownership growth rate.

The U.S. Government is collecting comments about this.

See: Reclassification of Motorcycles (Two or Three Wheeled Vehicles) in the Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics
http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#docketDetail?R=FHWA-2010-0010

Or:
1) go to: www.regulations.gov.
2) Click on "submit a comment"
3) Enter as your keyword: "FHWA-2010-0010"
4) Hit "Search"
5) Now, you can see everyone else's comments, if you want to read them.
6) Under "document type" click on the "rules (1)" option
7) Go to the bottom of the page and to the right under actions, click
"submit a comment" and you can then enter in your response to this.

[Federal Register: March 23, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 55)]
[Notices]
[Page 13809-13811]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr23mr10-120]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2010-0010]

Reclassification of Motorcycles (Two and Three Wheeled Vehicles)
in the Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice, request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This Notice proposes to update FHWA's guidance regarding State
reporting of motorcycle registration information disseminated to the
public in FHWA's annual publication Guide to Reporting Highway
Statistics. The intent of these actions is to improve FHWA's motorcycle
registration data to assist in the analysis of crash data relating to
these vehicles. Thus, it is critical that the motorcycle registration
data collected and published by FHWA is accurate, comprehensive, and
timely. FHWA's Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics (Guide) is the
guide by which FHWA instructs States on selected data required by FHWA
to perform its mission of informing Congress, the highway community,
and the general public on a wide variety of highway extent, condition,
use, and performance measures.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before 90 days after date of
publication in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: Mail or hand deliver comments to the U.S. Department of
Transportation, Dockets Management Facility, Room W12-140, 1200 New
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, or submit electronically at
http://www.regulations.gov. All comments should include the docket
number that appears in the heading of this document. All comments
received will be available for examination and copying at the above
address from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except
Federal Holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of comments
must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard or you may print the
acknowledgment page that appears after submitting comments
electronically.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ralph Erickson, Highway Funding and
Motor Fuels Team Leader, Office of Policy, HPPI-10, (202) 366-9235, or
Adam Sleeter, Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-8839, Federal
Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC
20590. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. e.t., Monday
through Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access and Filing

You may submit or retrieve comments online through the Federal
Docket Management System at: http://www.regulations.gov.
Regulations.gov is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year.
Electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines are available
under the help section of the Web site.
An electronic copy of this document may also be downloaded from the
Office of the Federal Register's home page at: http://
www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html and the Government Printing Office's
Web page at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov.
All comments received before the close of business on the comment
closing date indicated above will be considered and will be available
for examination in the docket at the above address. Comments received
after the comment closing date will be filed in the docket and will be
considered to the extent practicable. In addition to late comments, the
FHWA will also continue to file relevant information in the docket as
it becomes available after the comment period closing date and
interested persons should continue to examine the docket for new
material.

Background

FHWA has collected motorcycle registration data since 1914. In the
last few years, however, the population of motorcycles and related
vehicle types has risen dramatically. Additionally, there has been an
increase in motorcycle crashes due to factors including, but not
limited to, rider inexperience, rider impairment, decreased use of
helmets, and increased motorcycle use.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's
(NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) \1\ indicates that in
2008, motorcycle rider fatalities increased for the eleventh
consecutive year: From 2,116 in 1997 to 5,290 in 2008, an increase of
150 percent. Other trends include a dramatic rise in motorcycle
ownership and changes in other factors such as motorcycle size and new
designs for these vehicles. However, this increase in fatality data is
disproportionate to reported increases in motorcycle registration and
in reported miles traveled. Due to this disconnect, safety advocates
have encouraged improving the data collection process in order to
better analyze and identify rider exposure and crash causality.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

\1\ FARS data can be viewed on the following Web site: http://
www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

On October 3, 2007, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
sent a letter to FHWA containing an NTSB Safety Recommendation H-07-34,
which States:

Following the 2007 Motorcycle Travel Symposium, develop
guidelines for the States to use to gather accurate motorcycle
registrations and motorcycle vehicle miles of travel data. The
guidelines should include information on the various methods to
collect registrations and vehicle miles traveled data and how these
methods can be put into practice.

FHWA is committed to improving both sets of data. This notice
addresses the NTSB recommendation to gather

[[Page 13810]]

more accurate motorcycle registration data. Specifically, related to
vehicle registrations, FHWA has established an interagency review team
consisting of experts from FHWA's Offices of Safety and Research, and
various NHTSA offices, to assist in the following activities:
1. Review State laws to determine the State of practice for
motorcycle registrations by documenting State laws and practices;
2. Improve the definition of motorcycles in the Guide to Reporting
Highway Statistics;
3. Develop guidelines for the States to use to gather and report
more accurate motorcycle registration data;
4. Include information on the various methods to collect and report
registrations in the guidelines; and
5. Initiate actions to bring the best methods in wider practice.

Current Status

FHWA's current definition of a motorcycle is two-fold: (1)
motorcycles and (2) motor bicycles and scooters. The current language
for defining motorcycles is provided in FHWA's Guide \2\ as follows:

\2\ Guide, Chapter 3, Report Identifying Motor-Vehicle
Registrations and Taxation, page 3-2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Item I.E.2. Motorcycles: This item includes two-wheeled and
three-wheeled motorcycles. Sidecars are not regarded as separate
vehicles--a motorcycle and sidecar are reported as a single unit.
Item I.E.3. Motor bicycles and scooters: Mopeds should be
included with motor-driven cycles (motor bicycles) in the States
that require their registration.

The Guide has approval from the Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) under the control number 2125-0032. The information collected in
accordance with the Guide is authorized under 23 U.S.C. 315, which
authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to prescribe and promulgate
rules and regulations to carry out the requirements of Title 23 of the
U.S. Code. Under that authority, 23 CFR 1.5 provides FHWA with the
ability to request information deemed necessary to administer the
Federal-aid highway program. Data is used to relate highway system
performance to investment under FHWA's strategic planning and
performance reporting process in accordance with the requirements of
the Government Performance and Results Act \3\. Additionally, 23 CFR
420.105(b) requires States to provide data that support FHWA's
responsibilities to the Congress and the public.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

\3\ Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), Sec.
3 and 4, Public Law 103-62.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

States annually report data to FHWA from their motor vehicle
registration systems. As a result, such data is based on the
definitions developed by States which may or may not approximate FHWA's
definition of motorcycles, motor bicycles, or scooters.
FHWA researched State legislation (including the District of
Columbia, but not Puerto Rico) for definitions of motorcycles and
similar vehicles. We found several characteristics that specifically
differentiated motorcycle-type vehicles from other vehicle types.
Several States further defined the difference between motorcycles and
mopeds, or in a few States, motor scooters. The characteristics for
defining motorcycles included vehicles: with two to three wheels in
contact with the ground (48 States), with a seat or saddle for the
passenger(s) (36 States), with a sidecar or trailer (4 States), and
with a steering handlebar (2 States). Additionally, one State defined
motorcycles as having no enclosure on the vehicle for the operator
(driver) or passenger.
The following characteristics were used by some States to define
the difference between motorcycles, mopeds, and in a few cases, motor
scooters: speeds not in excess of 25 to 45 miles per hour (MPH) (3
States mention 25 MPH, 13 mention 30 MPH, 1 State each mentions 35 or
45 MPH); engine displacement of not greater than 50 to 150 cubic
centimeters (cc) (21 States mention 50 cc, 1 State mentions 55 cc, and
1 State mentions 150 cc). Some States used brake horsepower (HP)
instead of, or in addition to, displacement to identify vehicle power
(4 States mention 1.5 HP, 12 mention 2.0 HP, 1 State mentions 2.7 HP,
and 1 State mentions 5 HP). Wheel diameter for differentiating
motorcycles and mopeds from motor scooters is mentioned by 5 States (2
States mention wheel diameter greater than 10 inches, 1 State mentions
wheel diameter greater than 14 inches, and 2 States mention wheel
diameter greater than 16 inches); and 4 States mentioned a platform or
deck for a standing driver as a characteristic of a motor scooter.
Another identifier for vehicle type is provided by the Vehicle
Identification Number (VIN) which is recorded by States when vehicles
are registered for highway use. The VIN is a unique 17 digit
standardized serial number used by the motor vehicle industry to
identify individual motor vehicles. The standards are set by the
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 3779 (1979) and
3780 (1980). These standards are due for major revision in 2010.
The United States uses a compatible but somewhat different
implementation of these ISO standards for domestic use. Title 49, Code
of Federal Regulations, Transportation, Part 565, Vehicle
Identification Number Requirements, 565.15 Content, describes VIN
characteristics as follows: The VIN consists of four sections of
characters which are grouped according to given specifications. The
first section consists of three characters that occupy positions one
through three in the VIN. These numbers uniquely identify the
manufacturer, make, and type of the motor vehicle. The second section
consists of five characters, which occupy positions four through eight
in the VIN. This section identifies attributes of the vehicle. For
motorcycles, this would typically include the manufacturer's brand,
model designation, engine type (displacement for liquid fueled
engines), net brake horsepower (less than or greater than 2 HP), and
vehicle weight. All motorcycles would fall in the grouping of vehicles
weighing less than 3,000 pounds. The placement of characters within
this section is determined by the manufacturer, but the specified
attributes must be decipherable with information supplied by the
manufacturer in accordance with 49 CFR 565.15. In addition, the model
year, in place 10 of the 17 digit VIN code, may also be useful for
motorcycle registration information for identifying vehicle age. The
remaining sections of the VIN would not provide the type of information
needed to identify motorcycle vehicle types.

Reference Material

The Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics is FHWA's guidance to the
States for reporting a variety of data items, including two categories
of motorcycles: motorcycles and motorized bicycles.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) D 16.1 \4\ defines
a motorcycle as any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use
of its operator and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in
contact with the ground. This includes large motorcycles, motor-driven
cycles, speed limited motor-driven cycles, mopeds, motor scooters, and
motorized or motor assisted bicycles.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

\4\ American National Standards Institute, http://
webstore.ansi.org/
?source=google&adgroup=ansi&keyword=ansi&gclid=CPCrrZm5jJwCFQtN5Qodnz
kVXg.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

The definitions of motorcycle type vehicles found in 49 CFR 571.3
state that:

[[Page 13811]]

Motorcycle means a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat
or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not
more than three wheels in contact with the ground.
Motor-driven cycle means a motorcycle with a motor that produces
5-brake horsepower or less.

The Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) \5\ defines a
motorcycle as a two or three-wheeled motor vehicle designed to
transport one or two people. Included are motor scooters, mini-bikes,
and mopeds.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

\5\ Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria: http://www.mmucc.us/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

The FARS and National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) General
Estimates System (GES) follows the ANSI D 16.1 definition. The FARS and
GES data are used in traffic safety analyses by NHTSA as well as other
public and private entities. The information is used to estimate how
many motor vehicle crashes of different kinds take place, and is also
used in the analyses by researchers and highway safety professionals in
order to determine the factors involved in the crashes.

Discussion of the Proposal

FHWA is seeking to provide improved registration data to agencies
and the public to assist in the analysis of crash data relating to
these vehicles. For FHWA, the issue is two-fold: FHWA must provide the
States complete and comprehensive instructions on the data FHWA needs
to collect to perform its responsibilities, and FHWA must work with the
States to assure that they are providing accurate data to the extent
that they can in accordance with FHWA instructions. A corollary to both
issues is that FHWA must provide instructions that allow the States to
provide accurate and collectable data.
FHWA proposes to revise its definition of motorcycles and two-and-
three-wheeled vehicles to better differentiate motorcycles, mopeds, and
motor scooters. Further, FHWA proposes to build on the various existing
State definitions and to work with the States to build consensus
towards a uniform definition of these types of vehicles. An example of
potential revised definitions include the following:

Item i.e.2. Motorcycles: This item includes vehicles with the
following characteristics:

1. Two or three wheels in contact with the ground (excluding
trailers suitable for motorcycle hauling).
2. A seat or saddle for rider (operator) and passengers (if any).
3. A steering handle bar.
4. Motor capacity exceeding 5 Horsepower.
5. Wheel rim diameters exceeding 10 inches.
6. Do not include a full enclosure for the rider (operator) or
passengers.
7. Sidecars and trailers are not regarded as separate vehicles--a
motorcycle and sidecar or trailer is reported as a single unit.
Item i.e.3. Mopeds or motor bicycles: this item includes
vehicles with the following characteristics:

1. Two wheels in contact with the ground.
2. A seat or saddle for rider (operator) and passengers (if any).
3. A steering handle bar.
4. Pedals for operation without motor assistance.
5. Do not include a full enclosure for the rider (operator) or
passengers.
6. Have a brake horsepower not exceeding 5 Horsepower.
Item i.e.4 Motor scooters: this item includes vehicles with the
following characteristics:

1. Two wheels in contact with the ground.
2. Has a platform or deck for the use of a standing rider
(operator).
3. A steering handle bar.
4. Do not include a full enclosure for the rider (operator) or
passengers (if any).
5. Have a brake horsepower not exceeding 5 Horsepower.
6. Have a direct drive energy transmission from the engine to the
drive wheel(s) (no transmission).

In addition, FHWA seeks comments on the issues of identifying
vehicles with the following characteristics:

1. Two or three wheels in contact with the ground (excluding
trailers suitable for motorcycle hauling).
2. A seat for driver and passengers.
3. Wheel diameters exceeding 10 inches.
4. An enclosure for the driver or passengers.
5. Sidecars and trailers are not regarded as separate vehicles--a
motorcycle and sidecar or trailer is reported as a single unit.

FHWA also seeks comment regarding the types of three-wheeled vehicles
that are small and lightweight, with a minimal chassis and body that
may or may not be fully enclosed by doors and/or windows. Examples
include commercial vehicles such as the Zapcar and T-Rex. FHWA seeks
comments on all revised definitions above and on any other definitions
that would provide value.
Another approach would be for FHWA to request the States to report
additional information on the relevant sections of the VIN of every
motorcycle type vehicle registered with the States. FHWA could request
States to report the relevant digits of the VIN of the registered
motorcycle to gather additional details on the motorcycle
characteristics and avoid digits that indicate a specific vehicle. By
only asking for the characteristic-relevant digits, FHWA would avoid
gathering any unique identifier of the vehicle (and the owner of the
vehicle). FHWA seeks comments on whether the collection of this
information would raise privacy concerns.
Discussion with experts in the field indicates that motorcycle
attributes contained in the VIN are less standardized than those for
auto or truck type vehicles. This implies that VIN data may not be as
helpful in classifying motorcycle type vehicles as some may believe.
The VIN approach also adds considerable cost to FHWA's data collection
and analysis program and may not provide significantly new or
additional information. FHWA seeks comments on whether the collection
of information contained in the VIN would provide useful or valuable
information and if that information is useful, whether that information
could be collected in another way.
FHWA seeks comments on these proposed revisions and methods of
reporting.

Issued on: March 8, 2010.
Victor M. Mendez,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2010-6361 Filed 3-22-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P


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