NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish, National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
NCOM CONVENTION ROLLS INTO ATLANTIC CITY
Odds are, it may not have been the largest Convention ever, but you can bet it was the largest venue, as nearly a thousand biker rights activists from across the U.S. converged at the sprawling Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey for the 31st Annual NCOM Convention, May 5-8, 2016.
For more than three decades over Mother’s Day weekend, the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) has provided a platform for diverse factions of the motorcycle community to come together in the spirit of unity and teamwork to address issues of mutual concern, such as pursuing Biker Anti-Profiling legislation; supporting Save the Patch litigation; and reviewing Freedom of the Road victories & defeats; as well as attending seminars on Holding Effective Fund Raisers, Organizational Effectiveness, and Law Enforcement Interaction.
A Safety & First Aid seminar was hosted by Master Motorcycle Trainer Christine Firehock of the Kickstart Motorcycle Training Series, followed by Sr. EMT Instructor Dick “Slider” Gilmore’s popular life-saving presentation “The Golden Hour – How to Save a Biker’s Life”.
Special Meetings were on the weekend’s agenda in support of NCOM’s many outreach programs for Women In Motorcycling; Clean and Sober Roundtable; National Sport Bike Association (NSBA); and Christian Unity Conference, in addition to the Confederation of Clubs General Patch Holders Meeting, U.S. Defenders Program, NCOM-Legislative Task Force Meeting, and A.I.M. Attorneys Conference.
During the Silver Spoke Awards Banquet on Saturday evening, several honorees were recognized for their contributions to “Improving The Image of Motorcycling”, including; MEDIA: Jimmy & Pat Kay of Two Wheel Thunder TV; LEGAL: William Swatek, AIM Attorney for Alabama; ENTERTAINMENT: Singer/Songwriter Arlo Guthrie; SPECIAL RECOGNITION: NCOM Christian Unity, and Bill Foley, former NCOM Board Member from ABATE of Pennsylvania. NCOM’s highest honor, the Ron Roloff Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to Louie Nobs, Liaison for NCOM Christian Unity.
Next year’s 32nd Annual NCOM Convention will be held May 11-14, 2017 at the Silver Legacy Resort & Casino, 407 N. Virginia St., in Reno, Nevada. For further information, contact NCOM at (800) ON-A-BIKEor visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.
MARYLAND GOVERNOR SIGNING ANTI-PROFILING BILL INTO LAW
Hundreds of bikers descended on the State House in Annapolis on Thursday, May 19, for a historic bill signing ceremony with Governor Larry Hogan signing only the second Motorcycle Profiling measure in the country into law in Maryland.
The motorcycle anti-profiling legislation passed unanimously through both chambers of the legislature, and without opposition from law enforcement, and emulates anti-profiling legislation passed in the state of Washington in 2011.
HB785/SB233, passed 47-0 in the Senate on 4/4 and 137-0 in the House on 4/7, requires a specified statement condemning motorcycle profiling to be included in police policies and require training of officers on “motorcycle profiling,” defined in the legislation as “The arbitrary use of the fact that an individual rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related clothing or paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop, question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search the individual.”
HIGH PERFORMANCE RACING MODIFICATIONS NEED PROTECTED
Bowing to political pressures and public outcry, the federal EPA announced on April 15, 2016 that it would remove provisions from proposed regulations that would have prohibited street-legal vehicles, including motorcycles, from being modified for racing.
But regardless of the Environmental Protection Agency backing off this issue at this time, Congress is considering bi-partisan legislation in both the House and Senate to guarantee that vehicles can continue to be modified for competition on the track.
HR 4715 & S 2659, the RPM Act (Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016), would ensure that the American tradition of modifying vehicles into dedicated racetrack competitors is not only continued for today, but will be protected for future generations of race fans as well.
CONGRESS ACTS TO CURB HIGHER ETHANOL BLENDED FUEL
In response to recent Congressional legislation promoting the use of E15 gasoline (HR 4673 REFUEL Act), members of the U.S. House of Representatives have co-sponsored a measure to prevent the EPA from further forcing the controversial fuel onto the U.S. marketplace. E15 contains 50% more ethanol than previously-approved E10 gas, and has not been approved for use in motorcycles, ATVs and other small engine applications. In fact, even its inadvertent use can invalidate manufacturer warranties and cause damage.
HR 5108 (the “Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act of 2016) was introduced May 10, 2016 by U.S. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) “to alleviate the ethanol blend wall under the renewable fuel program.” Specifically, the bipartisan bill would cap the ethanol content of fuel at 9.7%, and would also effect the EPA’s Renewable Volume Obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Under proposed RFS volume requirements for 2017, the EPA calls for 18.8 billion gallons of biofuel next year, representing a nearly 4% increase despite lower demand for higher ethanol blends. HR 5108 would also ensure continued availability of ethanol-free gasoline for older motorcycles.
EUROPE’S CHANGING EMISSIONS LAWS WILL CHANGE MOTORCYCLES
Your favorite bike may be influenced from afar. “This year promises to bring a record crop of new and updated models from virtually every manufacturer thanks to wide-ranging law changes coming into force thousands of miles away in Europe,” according to Motorcyclist Magazine. “Those changes might not directly affect us, but given the way bikes are developed with global sales in mind many of the new models being developed to meet the latest European regulations are sure to be coming here too.”
On January 1, 2016, a whole new set of rules was adopted across Europe. “Regulation (EU) No 168/2013” makes significant changes — in particular to exhaust emissions limits but also to things like braking systems and electronics. Tests for noise levels have also been changed.
The emissions limits are of course much tighter; called “Euro 4,” the new limits reduce the permissible levels of carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and oxides of nitrogen in exhausts. Previously America’s rules on emissions were tougher than Europe’s, but now in order to pass the Euro 4 tests new bikes are being fitted with much larger exhausts and kits that include charcoal canisters to reduce evaporative emissions.
“Next year we’ll be seeing a lot more things like that,” predicts Motorcyclist author Ben Purvis, explaining that “While the rules were passed into law back in 2013 and came into force at the start of 2016, their implementation is staggered to give manufacturers a chance to adapt.”
Since January 1st, all newly launched models have needed to comply to be legally sold in the EU. But the more important date is January 1, 2017, because that’s the deadline when existing models must also come into line, though manufacturers can apply for a two-year extension.
What else is changing? Emissions aside, the big change is that in Europe all bikes over 125cc will have to be fitted with ABS while smaller bikes will need to have either ABS or a combined braking system. There are also changes to the lighting rules, with daytime running lights becoming mandatory as well as US-style side reflectors.
Europe is the closest to America in terms of the types of bike that are popular, but while Americans consume less than a half million motorcycles a year, riders in the EU purchase well over a million.
Like lower emissions exhaust systems, economies of scale will likely dictate that even what’s not legally required in the states — like ABS — will become standard equipment on increasing numbers of our U.S.-imported bikes, as it won’t make sense for manufacturers to build different versions just to suit a relatively small number of American customers.
Unfortunately, Regulation (EU) No. 168/2013 also provides for the next-generation “Euro 5” emissions tests, tougher still, and the deadline for their implementation is less than five years away, beginning with 2020 new models.
BMW TO INSTALL “SOS” BUTTON FOR EMERGENCIES
BMW Motorrad has announced plans to offer a safety option on its bikes that would automatically contact emergency services in the case of an accident or emergency situation.
The “Intelligent Emergency Call” system features a vehicle-integrated eCall system that’s been available in BMW’s cars in Europe since 1999. The system will be extended to BMW motorcycles starting next year.
According to BMW, in the case of an emergency or an accident, the bike’s emergency system sends out the position data to a BMW Call Center to initiate the rescue chain. The system can either be triggered automatically by the bike, or manually by the rider.
NO HELMET = NO GAS
Due to a rise in motorcycle crashes attributed to “non-use of helmets,” under a new penalty instituted in Bhagalpur, India, motorcyclists caught riding without a helmet will not be allowed to buy fuel, in addition to other fines and penalties.
PARIS OFF-LIMITS TO OLDER MOTORCYCLES
Bikers with pre-2000 motorcycles will be banned from Paris, France. From July 1 all private cars registered before January 1, 1997 (for gas) and 2001 (for diesel) and all two-wheelers before June 1, 2000, will be banned from Parisian streets on weekdays as part of the city’s efforts to cut pollution that has at times seen the air in the capital more polluted than Beijing.
The anti-pollution measures will be progressively extended so that by 2020 Paris will ban all cars registered before 2011 and all motorcycles before July, 2004.
VESPA SCOOTERS BANNED IN GENOA
The mayor of Genoa, Italy, birthplace of Vespa inventor Enrico Piaggio, has decreed that Vespa motor scooters built before 1999 will be banned from the city’s streets for 12 hours each weekday to reduce air pollution.
DELAWARE INCLUDES MOTORCYCLES IN LEMON LAW
Although Delaware’s “Lemon Law” previously excluded motorcycles and motor homes, SB 173 by Sen. Gary Simpson (R-Dover) now brings new motorcycles within the scope of the automobile Lemon Law.
So-called “Lemon Laws” are consumer protections that provide a remedy for purchasers of new (and sometimes used) motor vehicles in order to compensate for products that repeatedly fail to meet codified standards of quality and performance. Every state has lemon laws on the books, but some specifically exclude motorcycles, though federal lemon law protections also apply.
With bi-partisan support, Senate Bill 173 passed both chambers unanimously, 21-0 in the Senate on January 26, and 38-0 in the House on April 12, 2016, and was signed into law by Governor Jack Markell (D) on April 20th.
SETTLEMENTS & VERDICTS: Oregon Biker Settles for $1.125 Million
In an ongoing effort to keep motorcyclists informed as to the results of the continuing battle for their legal rights, Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) submits the following case study:
About two years ago, an Oregon biker was hit by a delivery vehicle making a left turn across the biker’s path. The biker suffered permanent damage to his leg and foot. Oregon A.I.M. Attorney Sam Hochberg had the case worked up right away by a private investigator. The corporate defendant approached Hochberg’s law office, asking to settle. The case resolved in a mediation session for $1,125,000.00.
Sam Hochberg, incidentally, after 29 years with A.I.M. and NCOM, is now associated as “Of Counsel” with the new Aid to Injured Motorcyclists lawyer for both Oregon and Washington, Christopher Slater.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end.”
~ C.S.Lewis (1898-1963) Irish author and scholar