NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
“We love the bikers,” exclaimed presumptive Presidential GOP nominee Donald Trump in remarks made during the 29th annual Rolling Thunder POW/MIA motorcycle run held Memorial Day week- end in Washington, D.C., months before the general election.
Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, the blunt-spoken New York real estate mogul and television celebrity told the crowd about seeing large numbers of bikers at his campaign events, including a group called “Bikers For Trump” (www.BikersForTrump2016.com). Chris Cox, a biker from South Carolina who founded BFT, had met with The Donald who told him “we’re his favorite demo- graphic.”
Stressing his desire to strengthen the military and improve how veterans are treated, the Presidential- hopeful found a receptive audience. “I’m not a huge biker, I have to be honest with you, O.K.?” lamented Trump to the throng of motorcyclists gathered at the Lincoln Memorial last May, “I always liked the limo better.”
“I don’t ride motorcycles,” the candidate told an- other biker at a Trump Rally in Ohio, “but if I’m elected, I’ll fix all the potholes”; and he’ll soon get the opportunity to make good on his campaign promise.
On Tuesday, November 8, 2016 America voted Donald J. Trump to be the 45th President of the United States, and although he’s not a quintessential “motorcycle guy”, his running mate is.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence is a motorcyclist himself and has participated in numerous charity rides in his home state of Indiana, where as governor he supported bikers’ rights and worked closely with ABATE of Indiana.
DISTRACTED DRIVING LEADS TO BIGGEST SPIKE IN TRAFFIC DEATHS IN 50 YEARS
When distracted driving entered the national consciousness a decade ago, the problem was mainly people who made calls or sent texts from their cell phones. The solution then was to introduce new technologies to keep drivers’ hands on the wheel.
Innovations since then, such as car Wi-Fi and a host of new apps, have since led to a boom in internet usage in vehicles that safety experts now say is contributing to a surge in highway deaths.
After steady declines over the last four decades, highway fatalities last year recorded the largest annual percentage increase in 50 years, rising to the highest level since 2009, and the numbers so far this year are even worse.
In just the first six months of 2016, highway deaths have already jumped 10.4%, to 17,775, from the comparable period of 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The fatality rate for the first half of 2016 increased to 1.12 deaths per 100 million miles driven, up from 1.05 for the same period last year; but the number of miles traveled have only increased 3.5%.
NHTSA says recent reports suggest this uptick in fatalities is due in part to increasing use of electronic devices leading to more distracted driving.
Alarmed by these statistics, the New York Times reports that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has outlined a plan to work with the National Safety Council (NSC) and other advocacy groups to devise a “Road to Zero” strategy, with the ambitious goal of eliminating roadway fatalities within 30 years.
A second, related effort would speed up the introduction of autonomous-driving technologies that many safety experts believe can potentially prevent accidents by removing distracted humans from the driving equation.
A TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTION TO ETHANOL DEBATE
None of the estimated 22 million motorcycles or ATVs in the United States are approved by the EPA to operate on ethanol blends higher than 10% (E- 10), which can damage smaller engines when E-15 gas remaining in the fueling line at the pump is inadvertently introduced into the customer’s fuel system, so NHTSA’s resolution to this unwanted mixing is to require a 4-gallon minimum fuel purchase at blender pumps to adequately dilute the higher ethanol fuel.
But a more technological solution was suggested recently during a podcast involving a representative of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), a group that represents the Ethanol industry and advises the EPA on polices which decide how much of the different types of gasoline are made available at gas stations around the United States.
During a discussion of ethanol-blended fuels on Clutch and Chrome’s ‘Another Motorcycle Podcast’ (www.clutchandchrome.podbean.com), “we learned (from Robert White of the RFA, a longtime motorcyclist) of a mechanical solution being developed that would prevent the accidental mixing of fuel by the very blender pumps at the heart of the minimum fuel purchase proposal.”
The new solution, which is reportedly being devel oped outside of the ethanol industry and is currently in the patent process, would prevent any fuel from being stored in the fueling hose. This would allow for users to only pump the fuel they want, and prevent accidental misfueling.
“Obviously, the product needs to come to market and make its way onto pumps at the different gas stations,” reports Clutch and Chrome, “but this opportunity appears to be the best solution for a difficult problem.”
“BAD BIKER” GUN TARGETS
Motorcycle riders are being portrayed as “Bad Bikers” worth shooting at and aiming to kill by police and others in firearms training, as Baker Targets markets a target bearing the image of an outlaw on a motorcycle.
“Bad bikers need to be terminated!,” advertises Baker Targets to the general public, highlighting red dots printed on the practice target that indicate “high value” shots to cause maximum damage to the bike and rider when shooting.
The Florida-based target company quickly responded to an outcry from concerned motorcyclists by taking the “Bad Biker Targets” off their website and discontinued offering them for sale.
MICHIGAN BILL INCREASES PENALTY FOR RIDING WITHOUT PROPER ENDORSEMENT
Unlicensed riders in Michigan will face higher fines under legislation signed by Governor Rick Snyder on Wednesday, November 9, 2016
“This bill stiffens the penalty for operating a motorcycle without the proper endorsement, helping to ensure both motorists and motorcyclists stay safer on Michigan’s roads,” Gov. Snyder said.
House Bill 4651, sponsored by the late state Rep. Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights), increases the penalty for operating a motorcycle without a motor- cycle endorsement on the operator’s driver’s license from $100 to $500.
This is the first Public Act to bear the name of Rep. Plawecki, 54, who passed away in June from an apparent heart attack while hiking.
The measure is now Public Act 318 of 2016.
“HAVE A GOOD RIDE III” TO HELP REDUCE MO- TORCYCLE ACCIDENTS IN CALIFORNIA
As more Californians choose motorcycles for work, weekend getaways, and entertainment, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is increasing its focus to keep motorcyclists safe.
The number of victims from motorcycle-involved collisions in CHP jurisdiction has increased every year since 2013, and to address this problem the CHP has implemented the “Have A Good Ride III” (HAGR III) program to promote motorcycle safety and awareness.
From October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017, the goal of the HAGR III grant is to reduce the number of motorcycle-involved fatal and injury collisions, and the number of victims of these collisions.
“With a combination of grant-funded education and enforcement efforts, we strive to raise awareness and reinforce the concept of sharing the road in order to save lives,” CHP Commissioner Joe Far- row said.
“In regions with higher numbers of motorcycle incidents, CHP officers will increase motorcycle safety enforcement operations. Motorcycle traffic safety education campaigns, including the “May is Motor- cycle Safety Awareness Month” and a summer safety campaign by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will be conducted at appropriate venues.
The campaigns will promote the use of properly approved helmets for all riders, raise motorists’ awareness of sharing the road with motorcyclists, and urge riders to refrain from actions most commonly identified in motorcycle-involved collisions, such as speeding, improper turning, and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.”
Throughout the HAGR III campaign, the CHP will work with the California Department of Transportation to display “Share the Road – Look Twice for Motorcyclists” on changeable message signs on state highways.
FIRST TRIAL SET FOR WACO TRAVESTY
During the recent National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) board of directors meeting and Regional Meeting held November 12 in Irvine, California, NCOM Executive Coordinator Sarge Matthews presented an update on the Waco shootout that left nine dead and dozens injured at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents (COC&I), the statewide biker club coalition involved in political issues regarding the rights of motorcyclists. Almost 18 months after nearly two hundred bikers were arrested, although little has been made public due to gag orders and non-association, and with most still incarcerated, the first of 154 bikers in- dicted in the May 17, 2015 incident has received a trial date.
Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court set James Rosas’ trial on first-degree felony engaging in organized criminal activity charges to begin January 23, 2017 after his attorney Tom Clarke announced he was ready for trial and asked for a trial setting.
The request comes as the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office continues to inundate bikers’ defense attorneys with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pages of discovery materials, including copies of police reports, hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings of the incident and subsequent interviews with bikers, 700,000 pages of cell phone records, tens of thousands of photographs and Facebook posts.
“I think they have gotten into a circle-the-wagons mentality over there in the DA’s office because of all the civil lawsuits being filed and the attempt to disqualify the DA from handling the cases,” Clarke told the Waco Tribune. “There has been a lot of discovery released, and I slog through it and I don’t see anything on my client at all.”
In the meantime, county officials are contemplating how to fund the huge expense of prosecution as the cases drag on and as the 70 to 80 court-appointed attorneys continue to review the mountain of discovery at $75-80 an hour.
As more bikers go to trial, their attorneys likely will hire experts in a number of subjects, including ballistics, crime scene analysis, DNA and others, which also will increase the costs to the county.
As the first “Twin Peaks cases” are tried in McLennan County, the potential also remains for changes of venue for remaining defendants, and trying the cases away from Waco would double or triple the cost to the county, officials say.
WELCOME TO NCOM – UNITY IN THE BIKER COMMUNITY
The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) proudly welcomes the following motorcycle organi- zations approved by the NCOM Board of Directors 11/12/16 as our newest NCOM Member Groups, joining in unity with over 2,000 other rider groups, clubs and associations, including motorcyclists’ rights organizations from nearly 40 states and over 60 Confederations of Clubs from 37 states and three Canadian Provinces: – Confederation of Clubs – South Dakota – Messiah’s Road Warriors MC.
NCOM serves as a nationwide umbrella organization that provides legislative assistance, information network and legal resources; and also reaches out to various segments of the motorcycle community such as the Christian Motorcycling community, women riders, sport bikers, independent motorcycle shops, touring associations, clean & sober groups and minority motorcyclists – helping to form coalitions and foster cooperation between all segments of motorcycle riders.
Also, the NCOM Board of Directors wishes to welcome the following new NCOM Region Directors: – Ed Schetter, Executive Director of ABATE of Ohio as co-director for Region IV, replacing retiring direc- tor Haskell Combs, Jr. – Randy Postlethwait, President of ABATE of Louisiana as co-director for Region V, replacing re- tiring director Ollie “Laddie” Elkins.
“Conformity may give you a quiet life; it may even bring you to a University Chair. But all change in history, all advance, comes from the nonconformists. If there had been no trou- ble-makers, no dissenters, we should still be living in caves.” ~ A.J.P. Taylor (1906-1990), British historian and journalist