THE AIM/NCOM MOTORCYCLE E-NEWSSERVICE 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 at1-(800) ON-A-BIKE or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.
CONGRESS TO CONSIDER ANTI-MOTORCYCLE PROFILING RESOLUTION
House Resolution 831 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 13, 2016 to “Promote awareness of motorcycle profiling and encourage collaboration and communication with the motorcycle community and law enforcement officials to prevent instances of profiling.
“The non-binding resolution defines motorcycle profiling as “the arbitrary practice of law enforcement using the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle related apparel as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle wither without legal basis under the United States Constitution,” and cites complaints surrounding motorcycle profiling in all 50 states.
The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) is working with other state and national motorcycle organizations to address profiling legislatively, and with Washington enacting the first anti-profiling law in 2011, followed recently by Maryland, a national motorcycle anti-profiling measure would advance the efforts in every state.
H.Res.831 specifies that the House of Representatives:(1) promotes increased public awareness on the issue of motorcycle profiling;(2) encourages collaboration and communication with the motorcycle community and law enforcement to engage in efforts to end motorcycle profiling; and (3) urges State law enforcement officials to include statements condemning motorcycle profiling in written policies and training materials.
H.Res.831, introduced by Congressmen Reid Ribble(R-WI) and Tim Walberg (R-MI), has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, and concerned motorcyclists are encouraged to contact their federal representatives to support the bill.
MARINE CORPS PROHIBITS “GANG COLORSOR SYMBOLS”ON CAMP PENDLETON
“Open and visible association with supremacist, extremist, or criminal gangs, to include outlaw motorcycle gangs, by individuals aboard Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton (Calif.) poses a criminal and security threat; inhibits the mission of MCB Cam Pen; interferes with the loyalty, morale, good order, and discipline of MCB CamPen personnel; and discredits the reputation of the installation and the United States Marine Corps, “states MCIWEST-MCB CAMPEN ORDER 5530.2dated 30 June 2016, and orders that “…the wearing or displaying of supremacist, extremist or criminal gang colors and symbols by any person aboard MCB Cam Pen is hereby prohibited.
” Effective upon the date of signature, the order from Brigadier General Edward Banta, commanding general of Camp Pendleton, is pursuant to an earlier directive in which “the Secretary of Defense was directed to prescribe regulations prohibiting active participation by members of the Armed Forces in a criminal street gang. “In compiling their “list of ‘outlaw’ motorcycle clubs/gangs whose conduct is prohibited,” among the twenty enumerated clubs named are the Legacy/Vietnam Vets, Booze Fighters and Iron Order, and “Therefore, wearing identifying gang symbols or colors of clothing (to include motorcycle vests) associated with these organizations is prohibited.”
YELP CENSORS CHRISTIAN BIKERS in a July 18th e-mail feedback from internet business review giant Yelp, the Yelp Support Team in San Francisco informed the elder of a Christian motorcycle group that his review of a coffee shop had been removed after it “was brought to our attention by the Yelp community, and we found that it fell outside our Content Guidelines…” which were attached.
The offending post? “Removed Content: The Bikers for Christ Motorcycle Ministry is a Christian clean and sober group. We meet there (The Coffee Bean& Tea Leaf) because they just serve great coffee with a great group of baristas, and a clean and neat facility and no political agenda like Starbucks. Pastor Tom, BFC M/M, State Elder “
REGISTERING “AUTOCYCLES” ASMOTORCYCLES IN NEWJERSEY; VETO S-1155
Despite lobbying efforts launched by ABATE of the Garden State, the New Jersey state Senate and Assembly disregarded input from motorcyclists and approved a bill that will register so-called “Autocycles” (typically a 3-wheeled vehicle with a steering wheel and cockpit) as motorcycles.
As states across the country legislatively define Auto cycles as a separate class of vehicle, and similar federal regulations loom, Trenton bucks the trend. “Both Houses have approved a version that will register Autocycles as Motorcycles,” writes ABATE of the Garden State in an e-mail request for legislative action, further disseminated through the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) to NCOM Member Groups; “The only hope is to convince the Governor that this is an inappropriate action so he the vetoes the bill.
“Please address your concerns to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at firstname.lastname@example.org, and ask that he vetoS-1155 (Regulates Autocycles as motorcycles), because “Autocycles bear no resemblance to motorcycles and have more in common operationally with two-seater sports cars, “and in addition “NHTSA is currently in the process of issuing a nationwide regulation that would mandate a completely new class of vehicle called ‘Autocycle’,
”so “if S-1155 is enacted it will have to be repealed to comply with the new federal regulation. “ABATE further explains; “This will cost the taxpayers of New Jersey a lot of unnecessary expenditures, and allow them as classified Autocycles to avoid vehicle safety regulation in the interim. “
MICHIGAN CITY MAKES IT EASIER TO TICKET LOUD MOTORCYCLES
Royal Oak, Michigan is making it easier for police to ticket revving motorcycles, noisy cars and loud music. City Commissioners recently approved a new ordinance making it a civil infraction with a fi ne of up to $100 for vehicles to emit music, vibrations or noise that can be heard from 50 feet away or more.
The Police Chief requested the ordinance amendment under the city’s disorderly conduct code that covers disturbing the peace and noise. Previously, such violations were a criminal misdemeanor, which have a higher burden of proof for police. The new measure adopted July 13, 2016 makes the noise violations a civil infraction with no criminal penalties and a lesser burden of proof to make violations stand up in court.
With noise tickets being handled as criminal misdemeanors and requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt, police have had a challenge stopping violators. “It’s above a seat belt violation but below a moving violation,” said the Chief of the civil infraction penalty, adding that the new local law will help police address public noise problems from motorcycles and other vehicles with after-market upgrades and louder mufflers.
Officers writing tickets for noise violations before the new change in the ordinance had to carry devices to measure decibel levels at the time the violations happened. Under the new measure, the City Attorney said it would be sufficient for officers to use the patrol vehicle cameras and outside microphones when issuing noise violations.
SOUTH CAROLINA LAW RESTRICTS OPERATORS WITH BEGINNER’S PERMITS
A person with a beginner’s permit in South Carolina is only allowed to operate a motorcycle solo between the hours of 6am and 6pm, and under the new traffic code changes “A permittee may not operate a motorcycle at any other time unless accompanied by a licensed motorcycle operator twenty-one years of age or older who has at least one year of drivingexperience.”
S689, signed into law on June 7, 2106 by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a staunch supporter of motorcyclists’ rights and safety, further requires that the supervising driver must “be within a safe viewing distance of the permittee when the permittee is operating a motorcycle or a three-wheeled vehicle.“
FLASHING BRAKE LIGHTS NOW ALLOWED ONBIKES IN DELAWARE
As promoted in the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles Motorcycle Operator Manual, it is recommended to motorcycle operators that they temporarily flash brake lights when stopping in order to increase visibility to other motorists. There are aftermarket products available that will automatically flash the brake lights up to five times, but such strobes have been illegal in the Delaware Code under the prohibition on flashing lights.
House Bill No. 114, signed into law by Governor Jack Markell on June 9, 2016, amends the traffic code to now allow bikes to be equipped with this safety equipment “when included in a motorcycle, Moped, or Motorized scooter brake light system in which the brake lamp pulses rapidly for no more than five (5) seconds when the brake is applied, and then converts to a continuous light as a normal brake lamp until the time that the brake is released. “
BIKERS ARE MORE ATTRACTIVETHAN DRIVERS
The results of a new research study in England finally validate what we all know to be true: motorcycle riders are more attractive than car drivers. The study, by U.K. insurance specialists Carole Nash, asked over 1000 adults to rate the looks of the opposite sex when dressed in normal attire and riding kit. The aim of the experiment was to try and change perceptions of motorcyclists and overturn any negative stereotypes.
In five out of six cases, members of the public dressed as motorcyclists were voted as more desirable than when dressed as drivers. It’s not just levels of attractiveness which came out in the bikers’ favor, because riders are also seen to have more positive personality traits – people who own a motorcycle are viewed as adventurous by a third of the opposite sex(34%), closely followed by daring (28%) and fun (26%).
The research also revealed that “one in four blokes would pretend they owned a motorbike to impress a woman and almost a third (31%) said they’d go the whole way and learn to ride one if they knew it would impress a potential partner. “
GOLDWING AIRBAG RECALL
Recall, after recall, after recall, one thing has remained constant in the Takata airbag quagmire: The disaster has been confined to the four-wheeled realm. Not any longer, as the Honda Goldwing, the first and so far, the only motorcycle equipped with an airbag from the factory, has now been recalled.
The gist of the recall is the same, two wheels or four– Takata’ s airbag inflators can rupture, potentially propelling shards of metal shrapnel at the vehicle’s occupants. Or in this case, the motorcycle riders.
A total of 2,701 motorcycles are involved in this recall, spanning the 2006through 2010 model years, and only in certain regions. Only Goldwing’s sold or operated in areas with high humidity or frequent temperature cycling are being recalled at this time.
LONDON SET TO SURCHARGEOLDER MOTORCYCLES
Another European capital city has committed to hitting riders of older motorcycles with a fee in an attempt to improve EU air quality. Recently, Paris announced a ban on motorcycles made before1999 from certain parts of the city during the day. Violators of the ban face a €35 (US$40) fine.
The French capital has some of the worst air pollution in the world, and the thinking behind the new law is that older motorcycles will not have been built to meet Euro emissions standards and are, therefore, inclined to pollute disproportionately.
London, too, is desperate to reduce its pollution levels, which are consistently in violation of EU regulations. Within the first week of 2016, London exceeded its pollution limit for the entire year. The British capital has long had a daily congestion charge– currently set at £11.50 (US $17) — to discourage cars from entering the heart of the city.
Motorcycles and scooters have hitherto been exempt from the charge, but plans are in the works to start charging two-wheeled vehicles made before2007, when Euro 3 emissions standards were first applied to motorcycles. London motorcyclists have known about this and were expecting to see the charge applied when London introduces its new Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2020, but it is now being reported that the charge could be implemented as soon as next year, and concerned riders have expressed anger at the possibility of a sped-up schedule.
ROCKFEST RESCINDS “NO COLORS” BAN
When Rockfest announced on their website that no motorcycle club colors would be allowed in the Kansas City music festival, members of the motorcycle club community and the Kansas Confederation of Clubs (www.kscoc.net) reacted promptly, and within 24hours event promoters rescinded the policy.
“This ban is tantamount to profiling motorcycle club members based on how they look and prevents them from exercising their rights of free association and expression guaranteed under the First Amendment to the US Constitution,” wrote spokesperson Brian Cohoon in an open e-mail to Rockfest promoters, sponsors and every club in the Kansas COC condemning “in the strongest terms this outrageous ban on Motorcycle Clubs wearing their colors to Rockfest.
News of this ban and our reaction to it is being disseminated by the most expeditious means possible to every Motorcycle Club in this region. We strongly encourage you to reconsider this ban and allow Motorcycle Club members to attend in whatever attire they deem appropriate in their individual judgment.
“In addition to many individual clubs and representatives also voicing their disapproval to the radio station promoting “North America’s largest one-day music festival,” the Chairman of the neighboring Missouri Confederation of Clubs e-mailed Rockfest promoter KQRC-FM 98.9 The Rock in protest of the policy, and the Kansas A.I.M. Attorney (Aid to Injured Motorcyclists) was tasked with sending a letter condemning the ban.
As a result of their coordinated activism, online language referring to the colors ban was immediately taken down and the show went on as usual May 14without incident, just as it has since 1992.
CLUB COLORS BARRED FROM HEADSTONE
Before biker Richard Cody died on Sept. 5, 2013, he told his family and friends he wanted the logo of his beloved South Madison Motorcycle Club on his headstone, but nearly two years later his son Jeremy was forced to fi le a lawsuit against the city of Painesville, Ohio to make sure his father gets his last wish. Representing the family and club, Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) Attorney Ralph C. Bussfi leda motion for preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent city officials from removing, defacing, touching or changing the headstone of the Vietnam veteran buried in Riverside Cemetery, after officials informed the Plaintiff that the club colors engraved into the back of his father’s grave marker, “is not deemed appropriate” and ordered the S.M.M.C. artwork to be removed within 60 days at their own expense.
Buss told The News-Herald in a May 10 interview with the newspaper that “the headstone’s logo is not vulgar or offensive in any way, and it complies with the requirements that were in place in 2014 when it was installed” and further charged that new regulations “conveniently” passed afterwards violate the First Amendment and “are nothing more than a license allowing city employees or agents to judge a person’s expression and deny it without any reasoning.
“All the media attention and ensuing barrage of publicity, including a 3,500-signaturepetition asking city council to allow the headstone to remain unaltered, and accompanying legal actions, resulted in the desired effect. “When I first got the letter from the City of Painesville telling me that after two years I had to remove my father’s headstone due to it being “offensive”, I was outraged,” Cody recently told Riding’
On Motorcycle Magazine (www.RidinOn.com). “My only thoughts were ‘I don’t think so!’ For two months I pleaded with the city to change their minds and they were not budging. So I then got social media involved and contacted my attorney Ralph C. Buss, who just happens to be known for helping other motorcycle enthusiasts when in need. Within three days the City of Painesville decided it was in their best interest to let the stone be left there. It was my father’s wishes to have his club patch engraved on his headstone and I was not about to let that wish be taken from him.”
NEW IMPROVED LANESPLITTINGBILL AMENDED IN CALIFORNIA
Motorcyclists in California are allowed to travel between lanes of traffic because unlike the other 49 states there is no law against such maneuvering, creating a legal gray area, so AB 51 was introduced last year to codify the act of lane splitting and provide legal guidelines (no faster than 50 mph, and no more than 15 mph faster than traffic).
But if it isn’t defined, it isn’t breaking the law, so motorcyclists generally opposed regulating “lane splitting”, preferring to leave well enough alone and not create another new crime, and so AB 51 was pulled by its sponsor, Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward),because “Lane splitting is a very complex issue and the author feels he needs more time to work out the details so that it’s more likely to be signed.” At the time, the bill had passed the state Assembly and was on its way to the California Senate floor.
Now, AB 51 was recently resurrected and amended to its purest form, simply riding between cars, with no limiting language in the current wording of the bill, retaining the spirit of lane splitting and let the rider decide what’s safe. Even under current statutes, a rider can be cited with other violations for unsafe maneuvering.
The new improved AB 51 strikes all references to miles per hour conditions, and simply defines “lane splitting” as “driving a motorcycle between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane, including both divided and undivided streets, roads, or highways. “Quirk’s office said the current bill has the expressed support of more than a dozen key organizations, among them motorcycle organizations such as ABATE of California, as well as multiple law enforcement agencies.
AB 51 was swiftly approved by the State Assembly on May 28, 2016 by a vote of 58-14 and sent to the Senate where it passed Transportation and Housing Committee unanimously11-0 on June 14 then rereferred to Appropriations Committee before coming up for a floor vote. Although lane “filtering” is common throughout Europe and Asia and many other countries, California is the only state where it is not expressly illegal. A bill to legalize lane-splitting in Nevada was voted down in 2013. A similar bill in Oregon was defeated in2015. Other bills have surfaced and died in Arizona and Texas.
SUZUKI RIDERS THE ANGRIEST, SAYS SURVEY
Suzuki riders experience the highest levels of road rage followed closely by owners of Harleys and then Triumphs, according to a recent survey in Britain. A thousand British motorcyclists were asked to assign a road rage score from 0-10 to a series of hypothetical scenarios such as drivers texting at the wheel. Suzuki riders typically assigned higher levels of rage to the scenarios than owners of other bikes, earning an “average road rage score” of 71%. Harley riders scored 68.7% and Triumph riders 67%.
The survey, performed by dealer chain Jennings Harley-Davidson in the U.K., also found the thing that angered riders most was drivers texting, with a score of 86.5%, followed by “bike blindness” at83.2% and “getting cut up (cut-off)” at 82.5%. “We wanted to highlight the fears that many motorcyclists have around idling on the road, and the ignorance that often comes with motorcyclists ‘safety,” said Jennings H-D director Sohail Khan. “It was important for us to show the severity of their fears amongst sharing the road with car drivers.”
MOTORCYCLIST FATALITIES UP IN 2015
Following two consecutive years of decreasing motorcycle fatalities nationwide, the Governors Highway Safety Association(GHSA) reports that more than 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in the U.S. in 2015, which represents an estimated 10%increase over 2014.The annual study attributes the increase mainly to increased travel nationwide and better weather leading to a longer riding season in many states. Low fuel prices also contributed to a 3.5% rise in motor vehicle miles traveled last year over 2014, according to federal data.
This crash data — based on an early look at current data, trends, and developing issues — reports that this is more than 450 motorcycle fatalities over 2014.
GHSA says it projects the final motorcyclist fatality total for 2015 will be 5,010 — only the third year in U.S. history, and the first time since 2008, in which the fatality number topped 5,000.
The increase is consistent with preliminary numbers from the government that show traffic deaths overall rising an estimated 8% last year after trending downward for the past decade, marking the largest year-to-year percentage increase in a half-century and making 2015 the deadliest driving year since 2008.
The report takes data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and compared to 2014,motorcycle deaths by state increased in 31 states, decreased in 16, and remained the same in three others along with the District of Columbia.
While acknowledging contributing crash factors such as alcohol and drug use, increased speed limits, and a record number of vehicles on U.S. roads, the GHSA calls for restoring helmet laws in the 31 states that don’t mandate helmets, and requiring DOT standards.