NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
MANDATORY S.O.S. EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM FOR MOTORCYCLES
An emergency call system for cars has been available for a while, such as the GM OnStar safety device system that summons a quick response in case of an accident. An equivalent system called “eCall” will soon be mandatory in Europe on all new cars sold after April 16, 2018.
Reasoning that motorcyclists are more vulnerable in a crash than car drivers, the European Union now wants manufacturers to equip all motorcycles with an S.O.S alert system. Since 2017, some BMW motorcycles already offer the “Intelligent Emergency Call” sent automatically or manually by the rider to emergency responders.
Studies show that emergency crews would be able to get to the accident scene 40 to 50% faster, saving around 2,500 lives every year in Europe alone. Will the U.S. follow suit?
TWO WHEELS TV NETWORK SET TO LAUNCH
For motorcycle enthusiasts who can never get enough two-wheel action on television, TwoWheelsTV.com “all motorcycle network” is set to launch this Spring. Whether you’re seeking live racing action, or commentary from leaders within the industry, the new “over-the-top” (OTT) streaming network is dedicated entirely to motorcycles.
“Like Netflix for motorcycling,” according to founder Alan Smith, Two Wheels TV (TWTV) will be available on an annual and monthly basis, and promises to deliver live motorcycle racing that’s streamed from all over the world, plus an on-demand library of movies, shows, race archives and other exclusive motorcycling programs.
The soft launch is for iOS and Android devices; register at TwoWheelsTV.com. The full launch is expected in April, and TWTV will be supported by Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku.
The launch of Two Wheels TV coincides with a spike in the conversation about U.S. motorcycling, as efforts to reinvigorate the industry have come from the grassroots level (“Give a Shift” and “Plus 1”), as well as a new initiative from the Motorcycle Industry Council (“Ride”).
FLORIDA RIDERS FIGHT FOR STRICTER LAWS ON CRASHES INVOLVING CARS
More than a hundred motorcyclists made their way to the Capitol in Tallahassee on Monday, February 12, as riders with ABATE of Florida, Inc. spoke to legislators about some of the safety issues they face every single day.
The state president of ABATE, James “Doc” Reichenbach, told WCTV Eyewitness News that their main focus is trying to cut down on deaths due to drivers who are distracted. He wants to see a bill passed that protects the motorcyclists on the road.
Reichenbach said the most common type of crash involving a car and motorcycle is from left hand turns. Reichenbach said he’s had five times more motorcyclists die recently from accidents Involving distracted or careless drivers. He believes this type of accident should be considered manslaughter.
“We’re getting killed. We’re getting run over by cars and trucks and everything else and trying to stop that. We’re fathers, we’re mothers, and we have children. We’re just like anybody else, we just happen to ride motorcycles, and we shouldn’t be an endangered species,” said Reichenbach, who also serves as Chairman of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM).
SOUTH DAKOTA “GANG BILL” OPPOSED BY MOTORCYCLE GROUPS
Legislation addressing “gangs” in South Dakota is raising concerns among those in the motorcycle community, as House Bill 111 seeks to revise certain definitions regarding criminal street gang activity that some rider groups feel could target them.
“It jumped out at me that it’s basically a profiling bill,” said Bryon Farmer, Chairman of the South Dakota Confederation of Clubs, who told KDLT News ”There are some good issues to trying to keep street gangs out of our communities and out of our state, that part I’m okay with. It’s just the broad range of the way the bill is written, it could be used against way too many good groups that are out there.”
Motorcycle groups like ABATE of South Dakota are testifying in opposition of the bill they say targets them as gang members. “It’s not just motorcyclists; it’s so broad that just about anybody that’s wearing similar shirts could be defined as a street gang,” said Dave Brende, President of “Those Guys” ABATE Chapter. “We don’t want to be lumped in as a street gang member, we do a lot of good for this community and so do all the other clubs and organizations.”
NEW MEXICO MRO HONORED BY MSF & DOT
The New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization (NMMRO) was presented an award from MSF and DOT for all the work they do to promote Safety Awareness in the state and for providing support to motorcycle crash victims through their “Biker Down” program.
The award was presented during the annual Motorcycle Advisory Safety Program Committee Meeting, attended by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT), MSF Rider Coaches, local dealerships and the University of New Mexico Traffic Research Unit that keeps track of crash statistics for the state.
Among the top topics discussed was promoting basic rider and advanced rider training to enhance rider skills to all ages. “We have always concentrated on the campaigns such as Watch Out For Motorcycles which we will continue; but it is just as important that we also promote rider responsibility,” said Annette Torrez, NMMRO Chairperson. Torrez, who also serves on the board of directors for the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) added that “With enhanced riding skills there are many factors that we as riders can be more aware of to avoid or prevent a crash.”
The Motorcycle Safety Achievement Award states in part; “The NMMRO ceaseless efforts have made significant and enduring contributions to the safety of motorcyclists in the State of New Mexico. The professionalism, initiative and action demonstrated by NMMRO has contributed to saving lives.”
NCOM CHRISTIAN UNITY REPORT
In a recent Christian Unity Report submitted by Louie Nobs, Christian Unity Liaison to the NCOM Board, it was reported that “Over the past year, Christian Unity groups in the Midwest, Oklahoma and Texas have been growing and having regular meetings. As the result of information that was given in our Region II CU meeting in Oklahoma last November, some members have pursued certifications through FEMA for Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). This will help them get into areas in emergency situations to serve and assess with first responders.
“I was able to share some of my experiences as a CERT member during Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area. Some of the tasks I was able to do was rescue people from flood waters by air boat, serve in shelters, and get supplies to area shelters. I would like to thank those of on the NCOM board of directors and bikers across the country who responded to our call for assistance. Supplies were shipped to Central Harley-Davidson in Austin and then trucked into affected areas. Most stores were unable to keep simple things like respirator masks, tarps and box cutters on the shelves in the affected areas.
“A recent turn of events regarding the Waco case has brought relief to 20 affected families in that they have had their charges dismissed. Some of those folks have kept in contact with us and have also been recipients of assistance from Shield of Faith. We continue to keep praying for justice for all the bikers who were involved in this debacle. The article can be accessed at: www.kwtx.com/content/news/DA-to-seek-to-dismiss-charges-against-more-than-20-Twin-Peaks-bikers-473216573.html.
“We are looking forward to a good turnout for the NCOM Convention in May in Mobile, Alabama. We are currently seeking out Christian Unity members and motorcycle ministries to assist with the hospitality suite. If you are interested contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Louie at 936-443-4500.”
INJURED MOTORCYCLIST SUES AUTONOMOUS CAR FOR ‘NEGLIGENT DRIVING’
In the first of its kind lawsuit against an autonomous vehicle, a California motorcyclist has filed suit against General Motors, accusing one of the car maker’s robotic cars of “negligent driving.”
The rider was splitting lanes on a highway in San Francisco when a Cruise AV aborted a lane change maneuver in heavy traffic and swerved back into its original lane which was now occupied by the motorcyclist, knocking him to the ground in a crash that left him injured and unable to work, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
The police report on the incident blamed the motorcyclist, saying he shouldn’t have been passing on the right, though “lane-splitting” is allowed in California. But the report also noted that the car’s human overseer, who was operating the self-driving prototype in autonomous mode, tried to grab the wheel and avoid the collision, but was too late to prevent contact.
An attorney for the motorcycle rider claims the accident report actually supports his client’s claim in stating that the AV driver saw his client before the crash but didn’t have enough time to grab the wheel and swerve.
This news comes on the heels of GM announcing plans to release a Level 5 autonomous vehicle — without a steering wheel or pedals — in 2019.
The court case could prove a landmark given the involvement of an autonomous car.
TEN STATES OBJECT TO EPA REDUCING HARLEY-DAVIDSON EMISSIONS PENALTY
According to a recent report from Reuters news agency, ten U.S. states and the District of Columbia have announced they are challenging a decision by the Trump administration to drop a requirement that Harley-Davidson Inc spend $3 million to reduce air pollution under settlement the Obama administration announced.
In 2016, the Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer agreed to pay a $12 million civil fine and stop selling illegal after-market devices that caused its vehicles to emit too much pollution, in violation of the Clean Air Act, and was ordered by the EPA to spend nearly $3 million to instead retrofit or replace wood-burning appliances with cleaner stoves to mitigate air pollution.
The Justice Department in July cited a new policy by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and an ongoing review of the penalty by a government auditor in proposing to drop the $3 million penalty from the settlement. A U.S. District Judge must still decide whether to approve the revised agreement.
The Harley-Davidson settlement resolved allegations that Harley sold about 340,000 “super tuners” enabling motorcycles since 2008 to pollute the air at levels greater than what the company certified. Harley-Davidson did not admit liability, and said previously it disagreed with the government, arguing that the tuners were designed and sold to be used in “competition only.”
The Harley-Davidson settlement came amid greater scrutiny on emissions and “defeat devices” by U.S. regulators after Volkswagen AG admitted to using illegal software to evade U.S. emissions standards in nearly 600,000 U.S. vehicles in September 2015.
INDIA PULLS BACK ON PLAN TO ENFORCE APPROVED HELMETS
Police in India have withdrawn a rule requiring motorcycle riders and passengers to wear ISI-approved helmets, after a week of seizing non-approved helmets and fining riders.
Motor Vehicle Rules in Karnataka, a state in southwest India, require that helmets have the ISI mark (that certifies acceptable levels of quality and crash performance). Traffic police officials had set the deadline of February 1st for all riders and pillions (passengers) to switch to ISI branded helmets. Now though, this deadline has been withdrawn.
In announcing this sudden change, the Commissioner of Police said in a statement; “Traffic policemen on duty cannot decide the standard of helmets by a mere physical inspection and hence it is unfair to penalizing bikers for wearing sub-standard helmets… Each and every helmet we confiscate would have to be sent to the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) office and we could not impose a fine until we got the results.”
Many bikers who wear helmets branded with ECE and DOT marks, said to be better than ISI in terms of quality and crash performance, complained that the ISI-helmet rule was unfair. Now that the BIS has clarified that a helmet’s quality cannot be assessed by just looking at it, the traffic police department of Karnataka will no longer check for the ISI-mark on helmets worn by riders and pillions of two wheelers in India.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
~ John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th US President