NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
SAVE THE DATE: NCOM CONVENTION IN MOBILE
The 33rd annual NCOM Convention will be held Mother’s Day weekend, May 10-13, 2018 at the Renaissance / Riverview Plaza Hotel, located at 64 S. Water St., in Mobile, Alabama, so reserve your room now for the special NCOM rate of $114 by calling (251) 438-4000.
The largest gathering of motorcycle rights activists in the world, this year’s NCOM Convention will draw hundreds of concerned motorcyclists from across America to “The Port City” to address topics of concern to all riders.
All motorcyclists are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the many meetings, seminars and group discussions that focus on legislative efforts and litigation techniques to protect our riders’ rights and preserve Freedom of the Road.
Agenda items will cover legal and legislative issues, with Special Meetings for Veterans Affairs, Women in Motorcycling, Clean & Sober Roundtable and World of Sport Bikes, as well as the Christian Unity Conference and Confederation of Clubs Patch Holders Meeting.
NCOM has successfully outreached to numerous segments of the motorcycling community in an effort to unite for our rights, in both the courthouse and statehouse, and has become a unifying voice amongst North America’s motorcycle rights organizations (MROs), motorcycle clubs, women riders, religious riding organizations, touring groups, trikers, sportbikers, and minority motorcyclists.
For more information, or to register for the 2018 NCOM Convention, contact the National Coalition of Motorcyclists at (800) ON-A-BIKE or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.
SECOND BIKER SET FOR TRIAL IN WACO REJECTS PLEA DEAL
Following a hung jury in the first of 171 Twin Peaks cases to go to court, resulting in a declared mistrial, the second defendant set for trial on charges stemming from the deadly May 17, 2015 shooting has rejected a plea deal.
Dallas trucker George “Scooter” Bergman declined a deal in court to plea to a misdemeanor with one year probation, and the District Attorney dropping murder charges, but he instead demanded his day in court by pleading not guilty to engaging in organized criminal activity resulting in deaths and injuries. Nine bikers were killed and 20 injured in the 2015 shootout involving police and bikers at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas.
Describing how he was on his way to the bathroom when the first shots rang out, and how he ducked for cover until the firing stopped, Bergman says “How can I say I am guilty for something when that is what I did?” Defense attorney Clint Broden says the state has no evidence against his client “other than he was present at Twin Peaks and was wearing a motorcycle jacket.”
The prosecutor’s office has since sought a continuance of the case until July, after the upcoming March 6 election primary, in a move many believe is so the D.A. doesn’t suffer a loss or another mistrial before facing local voters.
Last November, Bandidos MC leader Christopher “Jake” Carrizal was the first biker to face trial. The jury in that case told the judge that even after several hours of deliberation they could not reach a unanimous verdict, which forced the judge to declare a mistrial.
STUDY URGES MOTORCYCLE AWARENESS TRAINING IN DRIVER’S ED
Motorcycle awareness should be included in all driver training and increased in safety campaigns, according to the authors of an Australian National University study which found that drivers are twice as likely to miss seeing a motorcycle compared with a taxi and admit they do not expect to see motorcyclists.
Referred to it as “inattentional blindness” resulting in “looked-but-failed-to-see” (LBFTS) crashes, these are the most common type of collision involving motorcycles, according to the 2017 US Motorcycle Crash Causation Study.
Now, a new Australian National University study, “Allocating Attention to Detect Motorcycles: The Role of Inattentional Blindness”, has found that drivers are overloaded with more sensory information than the brain can handle. “So our brain has to decide what information is most important,” the study reports.
Researchers showed photographs of “safe” or “unsafe” situations involving a motorcycle and a taxi, and 65% did not detect the motorcycle while only 31% did not notice the taxi. In other experiments, drivers modulated their attention to accommodate motorcycles when necessary, suggesting that motorcycles are given the least amount of attention.
Participants said they believed a motorcycle was just as likely to be on the road as a taxi, but admitted they would be far less likely to notice the motorcycle. However, participants who have a motorcycle license were more likely to notice the motorcycles.
“Motorcycles appear to be very low on the priority list for the brain when it is filtering information,” University researcher Kristen Pammer says. Co-authors say their study highlights the need to encourage drivers to be more motorcycle-aware with special training for novice drivers to “put motorcyclists higher on the brain ‘radar’ of the driver.”
Pammer notes many ways drivers can be made rider-aware, including advertising campaigns. “I would put it into driver training programs where everyone who drives must also experience what it is like to ride a motorbike,” she says, adding that “If we could have everyone pass a simulator motorbike riding test — I bet it would make a big difference.”
TRAFFIC STOP 101 REQUIRED LEARNING
A legislative trend has started amongst states passing laws requiring licensees be taught the basics of being pulled over, and by knowing what to do drivers can avoid negative interactions with law enforcement during traffic stops.
As of the New Year, three more states have introduced such legislation;
In Kentucky, HB104 would require that a driver’s education program includes “instruction regarding a driver’s conduct during interactions with law enforcement officers” and amend the state’s Driver Manual to contain the information needed for an operator’s license examination; and require driver training schools to include it in the course of instruction for new drivers. House Bill 104 was introduced January 2nd and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
House Bill 1244 in Missouri “Requires driver’s license examiners to demonstrate to applicants what he or she is likely to experience during a traffic stop and requires driver’s education providers to include curriculum on traffic stops.”
Likewise, S7239 in New York would mandate “driver education courses to include a description of law enforcement procedures during traffic stops and the actions a motorist shall take during such stop including appropriate interactions with such officers.” It was introduced January 5th in the Senate and referred to the Transportation Committee.
SLUMPING BIKE SALES BLAMED ON UNCLE SAM
“To say sales of new motorcycles have been slow is an understatement right up there with advising the captain of the Titanic that there’s a ‘little leak’ down in the hold,” observes the National Motorists Association (www.motorists.org), then rhetorically asking ‘Why?” in a recent blog…”Could it be … Uncle?”
“It is because of Uncle that motorcycling isn’t what it was once — freeing, in particular,” claims NMA columnist Eric Peters, adding that it has also become too expensive for Millennials — the next-up generation that ought to be swelling the new rider ranks, but aren’t, because they’re already saddled with plenty of debt.
Some telling statistics indicate the median age of a rider today is 47 — up from 32 in 1990 — and even more alarming is that the number of first-time/new riders in the 18-24 cohort of people who will form the backbone of the buyer base for the next 20-30 years is down from 16% of the total pool back in 1990 to a depressing 6% today. Probably because they can’t afford it, says NMA.
“Motorcycling has become not-cheap for several reasons — all traceable to Uncle.”
Bikes are now mandated to have the same expense-padding equipment — especially anti-pollution equipment like cars have had for decades, even though motorcycles overall have a negligible impact on the environment because of small engines in small numbers.
“New bikes must now be very much like new cars — computer-controlled EFI, catalytic converters…They are not only expensive as a result — especially to service, which most people can no longer do themselves.”
So instead of being an inexpensive hands-on experience, motorcycling is becoming the pastime of the old — and affluent.
The median household income of a motorcycle owner is now $62,200 according to stats compiled by the Motley Fool and 65% bring in more than $50,000. That largely rules out the 18-24 crowd (Millennials) as a class. It’s not that they “don’t like motorcycles,” as asserted by some analysts… “It’s simply that they can’t afford them anymore.”
GM TO LAUNCH SELF-DRIVING CARS BY 2019
General Motors has filed a petition asking the federal government permission to deploy self-driving cars on U.S. roadways without backup drivers or any manual controls.
The U.S. auto manufacturer announced it will mass produce vehicles without steering wheels or pedals, and that it plans on rolling them out in 2019. Some other autonomous cars allow human drivers to take control if something goes wrong.
All vehicles that are allowed to operate on public roads must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards — 16 of which include human-driver-based requirements. GM is asking NHTSA to allow the company to meet those safety standards through alternate means — a process that the U.S. House of Representatives intends to include in a self-driving bill that was recently passed.
GM is facing competition from Google, which started testing driverless cars on public roads late last year.
The petition is the latest step toward the company’s goal of deploying a commercial robotaxi service. GM wants permission from federal regulators to begin testing driverless robo-cabs on public roads, starting in 2019; a move that could position the Detroit automaker as one of the leaders in the development of autonomous vehicle technology.
“We believe this is a pretty notable milestone on the journey to AV deployment where we’re talking about a real production car with no manual controls,” said GM President Dan Ammann, adding that, “this technology will have a huge impact on the world.”
GM’s announcement came on the same day the Boston Consulting Group issued a new report looking at the impact technologies like autonomous driving and electrified vehicles will have on the auto industry over the next two decades. Among other things, the study forecast that about 20% of the miles Americans travel by automobile in 2035 will be in robo-cabs operated by ride-sharing services.
AIRBAG SUITS NOW MANDATORY IN MOTORCYCLE RACING
Motorcycle suits with airbag technology have been used voluntarily by most of the world’s fastest riders for nearly a decade, though never mandatory, but that has now changed for all classes across the 2018 MotoGP World Championship races.
Thanks to a new official ruling by governing body Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the high-tech devices are becoming mandatory across the board in MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 for the 2018 season. The FIM’s new mandate states that all full-time riders must wear leathers fitted with an airbag system at all times during every session.
The new regulations also require that every airbag system pass a series of rigorous tests which each manufacturer is responsible for self-certifying that its respective suit passes all regulations and standards.
“These regulations mark yet another step towards increased rider safety, with the FIM, IRTA and Dorna all committed to making sure MotoGP is as safe as possible — and always evolving,” according to MotoGP.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-68) Civil Rights Leader