CARB On Road Motorcycle Emissions
We submitted comments on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) proposal to implement new, tighter rules for on road motorcycles. I take a keen interest in this because I ride motorcycles on and off road and worry about future model availability. CARB’s first proposal included a mandate for catalyzers. This is patently wrong, in my opinion. It is not the place of an agency to say how clean emissions are achieved, only that they are. I was relieved when the final proposal did not include a catalyzer. Its proposal is still strict, even more strict than Euro 5 level. I take issue with its proposal because it has not changed standards in 24 years and now it wants to require extremely tight levels that are markedly different from Euro 5. Euro 5 requires five sensors in on board diagnostic (OBD); CARB is proposing a sixth one on fuel that has never been developed for motorcycles. CARB also wants a longer diurnal test (they put the bike in a small room and see how much emissions come off) and longer system reliability.
We told CARB it will get much cleaner air with just the Euro 5 standards. By asking manufacturers to go above and beyond, CARB will reduce their desire to sell bikes in California, limiting consumer choices in the future. We pointed out that small bikes, like the Honda Grom, are seldom ridden very far. I looked up Honda Groms for sale and didn’t find a used one with over 2,000 miles. This proposal will very likely cause bikes like the Grom to go away from California. We told CARB that Euro 5 is a very difficult level to achieve; going beyond will not make the air any cleaner, but will hurt people who just want to ride.
Riverside OHV Park
Last month we wrote about the county of Riverside and its quest to build an off-road park. Since then, the county had a virtual meeting to explain the process it has gone through and how it is proceeding. It is taking a very pragmatic approach to this project. It started by putting a dot on a large county map where each off-road vehicle is registered. It showed the map and there are three areas of concentration. It also put on the map a couple dozen places where suitable OHV park land is available. It then narrowed down the candidate spots to six closer to the high concentration of registrations and is asking for comments on these six sites. During the Zoom, participants could comment, so I read the comments as they came. Most were from haters and at least one threatened to sue regardless of how the siting and environmental work goes. The county has its work cut out and we wish it the best of luck.
Desert Advisory Council
The BLM and Desert Advisory Council have announced they are forming three subgroups to gather specialized input regarding the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (Glamis), Dumont Dunes and the Mojave Trails National Monument. Members of the public are encouraged to apply for any group that interests them. I will be working with the Mojave Trails National Monument. To apply, look near the lower right of this page.
Oceano Dunes APCD SOA
The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission had a meeting to discuss the Stipulated Order of Abatement (SOA) between the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) and California State Parks. The APCD is having a meeting in March to discuss the SOA. The issue is the Scripps report recently released that says off-roading is not a cause of toxic dust exceeding standards. We believe that the SOA may be modified based on the Scripps report, but probably not that much. The APCD does not like the Scripps report and will likely only propose modest changes to the SOA. The SOA has been very unreasonable and is the cause of closures and fencing around the park. Achieving levels of airborne particulate the SOA requires is probably not possible. This may play into Friends of Oceano Dunes favor, as they may sue, claiming that that the SOA is impossible to reach and should be scrapped.
This entire topic is separate from the Coastal Commission’s order to stop off-roading at the park. Users are hoping that one of the lawsuits against the Coastal Commission will win and that the SOA will also be set aside or reduced. We are talking about taking a trip to Oceano Dunes to see it for ourselves this May. Let us know if you want to join us.
The legislative session has just begun and a new red sticker bill has been introduced by Senator Brian Jones again. This one is SB894 and is a little simpler than last year’s SB227. The California Air Resources Board decided to end the red sticker program as of the end of year 2021 with no provision on how to register racing motorcycles after. As of now racing motorcycles have no way of being registered with the state; i.e., no pink slips or stickers. Reports are coming out that owners of 2022 race bikes are getting pink slips and red stickers anyway. A personal friend of mine bought a new 2022 450 and got a red sticker shortly after. This reminds me of 1998-2002 when red sticker first started. Many buyers of red sticker bikes received green stickers from DMV by mistake. So many did that they restarted the red sticker program in 2003 and gave green stickers to all bikes from 2002 back. This leads me to believe this whole end of red sticker fiasco will be pushed forward a year or more because of the DMV errors. I’d be willing to bet that if Jones’ bill passes and begins in year 2024, that all bikes 2023 and back will get red or green stickers.
SDORC is a membership organization and you can join us here. You can also hear old recordings of our weekly radio show on our website or tune in for live shows on KCBQ AM 1170 Sundays at noon. See you at TDS Safari in Salton City March 5.