National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
THE AIM/NCOM MOTORCYCLE E-NEWS SERVICE is brought to you by Aid to Injured
Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) and the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM), and is
sponsored by the Law Offices of Richard M. Lester. If you’ve been involved in any
kind of accident, call us at 1-(800) ON-A-BIKE or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.
NCOM CONVENTION HONORS FALLEN RIDERS; INVITES NAMES FOR TRIBUTE
With the 31st Annual NCOM Convention in Atlantic City just weeks away, the National Coalition of Motorcyclists is requesting that MROs, motorcycle clubs, and riding associations submit the names of those members and supporters who have died since May 2015, so that we may honor their memories during the traditional “Ringing of the Bell” tribute to fallen riders during the opening ceremonies. Dedications can be hand-delivered at the Convention to “Doc” Reichenbach, NCOM Chairman of the Board, or e-mailed in advance to Bill Bish at NCOMBish@aol.com.
Attendees are also encouraged to bring an item on behalf of their organization for the Freedom Fund Auction, with proceeds benefiting the motorcyclists’ rights movement nationwide through Getting Our People Elected donations, NCOM Speaker Program, lobbying activities and other pro-motorcycling projects as determined by the NCOM Board of Directors.
The 31st annual NCOM Convention will be held Mother’s Day weekend, May5-8, 2016 at Harrah’s Resort, located at 777 Harrah’s Blvd in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This annual gathering will draw bikers’ rights activists from across the country to discuss topics of concern to all riders, so reserve your room now for the special NCOM rate of $109 by calling (888) 516-2215.
Registration fees for the NCOM Convention are $80 including the Silver Spoke Awards Banquet on Saturday night, or $45 for the Convention only. All motorcyclists are welcome and encouraged to attend. Meetings, seminars and group discussions will focus on legislative efforts and litigation techniques to benefit our right to ride and Freedom of the Road.
To pre-register, call the National Coalition of Motorcyclists at (800) 525-5355 or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.
ANTI-PROFILING BILL HEARD IN MINNESOTA
A minority group claims its members are being unfairly profiled and stopped by police, and it’s demanding a bill to prevent it. That group is motorcyclists, and the legislation, put before Minnesota’s Senate Judiciary Committee by State Senator David Osmek (R-Mound), would require Minnesota’s Board of Peace Officer Standards & Training to develop a statewide policy to eliminate motorcyclist profiling, including methods to identify and avoid it. SF1509 in the Senate, and companion bill HF59 in the House, would also require every law enforcement agency in the state to have “a written anti-motorcycle profiling policy.”
In testimony, several members of Minnesota motorcycle clubs laid out a litany of their own experiences: Officers they believed had pulled them over on trumped-up pretenses questioned them about who they were and why they were in their community and, in some cases, photographed their tattoos & patches. “It’s my constitutional right to be in a Motorcycle Club,” said Jim Jahnke of Rochester, the National V.P. of the Sons of Silence MC.
Frank Ernst of Chanhassen, MN representing ABATE of Minnesota, and also chairman of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists -Legislative Task Force (NCOM-LTF), described an instance in which he said he was pulled over by an officer who claimed he hadn’t seen Ernst’s protective eye wear, which he was wearing, but Ernst didn’t file an official complaint.
Sen. Osmek admitted the bill is based largely on anecdotal evidence, but told the state’s Daily Globe newspaper that “I’m focusing on something that constituents brought to me that they had issue with,” and he urges motorcyclists to file complaints and collect data on their own in order to make a stronger case.
Meanwhile, a motorcycle profiling bill is gaining momentum in Maryland, having passed the state Senate unanimously on March 3 and now moves to the House, positioning Maryland to become the second state in the country behind Washington to pass such anti-discrimination legislation.
FEWER AMERICANS GETTING A DRIVER’S LICENSE
It used to be a rite of passage into adulthood, but today fewer and fewer U.S.residents are lining up at their local DMV to get a driver’s license, and new data indicates that all age groups are affected.
Analyzing decades of data from the Federal Highway Administration, a team from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that since 2011, the number of U.S. citizens with drivers licenses across all age groups, from 16 to 70, has decreased.
A recent University of Michigan report analyzed decades’ worth of Federal Highway Administration records to show how licensure across all age groups has declined in the period stretching from 1983 to 2014.
Last year, nearly 77% of 20- to 24-year-old drivers held a license; in 1983, nearly 92% in that age bracket had one. Four years ago, the number was about 80%. For 16-through 44-year-olds, there has been a continuous decline in the percentage of people with a driver’s license.
The news may not be surprising for younger generations, who are more likely to use public transit or a ride-sharing company, or telecommute, but researchers also found a decline in the number of older adults with a driver’s license.
Other reports have detected related trends, such as a decrease in the distance driven per person and less travel time overall, but even as the age of driver-less cars approaches, a driver’s license will continue to be mandatory for years to come.
WHITE HOUSE PUSHES DRIVER-LESS CARS
The Obama administration aims to remove hurdles to making autonomous cars more widespread, and the President’s fiscal 2017 budget proposes spending $4 Billion over the next decade to accelerate the integration of driver-less cars on U.S. roadways.
The administration’s multi-billion dollar proposal, which would require Congressional approval, calls on federal regulators to work with auto makers and others to craft policies and rules regarding autonomous vehicles and their development.
“We are going to do everything we can to advance safe, smart and sustainable
Transportation innovations,” announced Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at the Detroit Auto Show, “We are bullish on automated vehicles.”
In addition to the new testing programs, Foxx also unveiled ambitious federal
Guidelines that he says will get self-driving on the roads quicker — and more safely — than ever thought possible. “(These actions) will provide the foundation and the path forward for manufacturers, state officials and consumers to use new technologies and achieve their full safety potential” he said.
Now, NHTSA will seek input from automakers and others as the auto agency tries to wrap its arms around the deployment and operation of fully self-driving cars as the norm, not an anomaly.
In addition, the agency plans to team up with state partners and the American
Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators to develop a model driverless car policy states can implement, hopefully laying the groundwork for a consistent national policy.
CONGRESSIONAL RPM ACT WOULD PROTECT THE SPORT OF RACING
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is attempting to regulate racing by prohibiting the conversion of street motorcycles and automobiles into competition-only racing vehicles, but newly-introduced legislation in Congress would prevent the EPA from impacting the lives of tens of thousands of armature and professional racers, their support teams and millions of race fans across the country.
Members of both chambers of Congress have introduced bipartisan versions of a bill that would protect the sport of racing by blocking the EPA from over-regulating the industry and ensuring that it remains legal to convert street legal motor vehicles for racing purposes.
The RPM Act (Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016); “A bill to exclude vehicles used solely for competition from certain provisions of the Clean Air Act” H.R.4715, was introduced March 7,2016 in the House by U.S. Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) with 13bipartisan co-sponsors, while companion measure S.2659 “to reaffirm that the EPA cannot regulate vehicles used solely for competition” was offered in the Senate on March 9 by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and three originals-sponsors.
H.R.4715 states, in part: “at the time the Clean Air Act was written, and each time the Clean Air Act has been amended, the intent of Congress has-been, and continues to be, that vehicles manufactured for, modified for, or utilized in organized motorized racing events would not be encompassed by the Clean Air Act’s definition of “motor vehicle”.
The EPA recently re-opened the proposed regulation for more public comment. The regulation is scheduled for final approval this summer, so the time to act is NOW.
WISCONSIN BILL WOULD RESTRICT ACCESS TO BLACK BOX DATA
A bill that would require an owner’s consent to access data in “black boxes” in cars
and motorcycles seems more likely than ever before to come up for a vote in January 2017, according to members of ABATE of Wisconsin, a grassroots lobbyist group that deals with motorcycle issues but now finds itself leading the charge in fighting for privacy.
The bill covers not only Event Data Recorders or EDR’s but any device that is
recording any information or tracking user behavior. Anyone that took the information without consent faces potential fines ranging from $200 to $2000 per incident.
The bill says insurance companies would not be able to link the issuance or renewal of a liability policy to whether the vehicle has such a box, or whether the motorist allows the insurer to access or use data it collects.
Currently, the boxes record such data only in the seconds before, during and after a crash. But critics like ABATE, worry about how much more information the devices might collect as they become more sophisticated. ABATE says while the timing of the recordings may be limited now, safe guards need to be in place should that change.
At least 23 other states have passed laws defining who owns EDR data, according to Steve Panten, a spokesman for ABATE of Wisconsin, which supports the bill.
EX-COP SUES OVER MOTORCYCLE NOISE
A former Texas police officer is suing Arkansas officials over motorcycle noise. Rick Holtsclaw, a 31-year veteran of the Houston police department who placed an emphasis on noise enforcement, has sued city officials in Fort Smith and Fayetteville, Arkansas for their failure to enforce federal, state, and local laws regarding motorcycle noise.
Holtsclaw’s lawsuit cites the Noise Control Act of 1972 that makes it illegal for motorcycle exhausts to be altered or removed for the purpose of making noise. In addition, the Arkansas muffler statute requires every motor vehicle to be equipped with the quiet factory-installed muffler or a muffler duplicating the specifications of the factory-installed muffler.
Holtsclaw stated that “the law enforcement community in Arkansas has failed to intercede on behalf of the noise-beleaguered citizenry,” particularly at rallies “where there are thousands of motorcyclists making illegally loud noise,” and is seeking $1,000,000 (one million) in damages from each municipality.
DRIVER WHO DELIBERATELY ASSAULTED MOTORCYCLISTS STILL IN JAIL
A viral video showing a Texas driver who without provocation intentionally crashed into a motorcyclist last October, causing serious injuries to the rider and his passenger, has been languishing in jail unable to post bail since the incident.
William “Bill” Sam Crum was indicted by a Hood County grand jury on two aggravated assault counts carrying punishment of up to20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000 and is currently being held on$150,000 bail in Hood County Jail since his arrest October 20, 2015.
While motorcyclists can take comfort knowing that Mr. Crum has been in jail nearly 6 months awaiting trial on criminal charges, because he purposefully crashed into the victims, his auto insurance won’t cover any civil judgment due to the intentional act exclusion in every policy.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” ~Mary Flannery O’Connor (1925-64) American writer and essayist.
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)