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 Ofﬁ ces 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.
PROSECUTOR DROPS EFFORT TO SEIZE DEVILS DICIPLESTRADEMARK ‘COLORS’ As Motorcycle Clubs continue to ﬁght to save their patch, federal prosecutors have dropped a controversial bid to seize the trademark owned by the Devils Diciples MC, though the move does not end trademark challenges involving club colors.
In ﬁ lings made on August 29, 2016 in federal court in Detroit, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan ﬁled a notice dismissing the DDMC Trademark forfeiture, which states; “The government hereby provides notice that it is not seeking to forfeit the DDMC Trademark in this criminal proceeding and hereby dismisses it from the First Forfeiture Bill of Particulars.”
Most law enforcement asset-forfeiture efforts target conventional property, but prosecutors began trying to seize the Devils Diciples’ trademark as a byproduct of a criminal case in which prosecutors in October 2014 itemized property they wanted to seize, from guns to slot machines,and at the end of the 32-page property listing prosecutors included the club’s trademark.
“These trademark cases are important to the clubs, whose free association has been threatened by the attempts by (prosecutors) to enjoin use of their membership (marks) by non-indicted persons,” Devils Diciples attorney Fritz Clapp told the McClatchy DC news site,adding that such cases have established important precedents regarding forfeiture of collective membership marks and the implications of free speech and association.
The prosecutor’s decision now to leave the Devils Diciples’ trademark alone does not put the brakes on other attempts to seize clubs’ colors as, most notably, the government is still taking aim at the Mongol Nation, whose intellectual property has been sought by federal prosecutors since 2008. A federal appellate court is now considering the Mongol Nation case.
OREGON BIKER SCORES A WIN IN DISCRIMINATION CASE After 14 years of spotless service, Ron Godwin was ﬁ red from his job as an Oregon youth corrections ofﬁ cer because of his club patch. A Grants Pass, Oregon police ofﬁ wearing his club patch, called his boss and said Godwin was a member of a “criminal gang.” After a brief, so-called investigation, Godwin’s boss ﬁ red him.
Oregon’s AIM (Aid to Injured Motorcyclists) and COC (Confederation of Clubs) Attorney Sam Hochberg took up the case and ﬁ led suit in Federal Court in Medford, with assistance from lawyer Chris Bottoms. Depositions were taken, and with the help of ACLU volunteer lawyer Sara K. Staggs, the case was thoroughly briefed. The trial court ruled that, based on statements in depositions, Godwin had no case under the law. The case never got to the jury,but the ruling was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and argued by ACLU volunteer lawyer Cody Hoesly.
On August 10, 2016, a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit issued a 17-page Memorandum opinion, including one dissent, and reversed that decision, sending it back to District Court for trial.
The panel analyzed cases about government employees’ rights of free speech and association, and found the State showed no legitimate interest that outweighed Ron Godwin’s First Amendment rights.
As a Memorandum decision, the “unpublished” ruling can be cited in any Federal Court, so it’s useful nationwide.
“This is an important decision for the free speech and free association rights of all bikers, and club members in particular,” says Hochberg, now “Of Counsel” to Christopher Slater, the new Oregon and Washington AIM and OregonCOC Attorney.
The case of Ronald Godwin v. Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility, et al,now goes back to the trial court, absent further appeal or settlement.
TRAFFIC STATISTICS SHOW RISE IN FATALITIES, FEDSISSUE CALL TO ACTION Statistics compiled by the U. S. National Highway Trafﬁ c Safety Administration show that 35,092 people died in traffic crashes in 2015, ending a 5-decade trend of declining fatalities with a 7.2% increase in deaths, reﬂecting 2,348 more fatalities from motor vehicle crashes than in 2014.
Fatalities increased from 2014 to 2015 in almost all segments of the population—passenger vehicle occupants (+6.6%), passenger cars (+5.7%), large trucks (+11%), SUV occupants (+10.1%), van occupants (+9.3%), pickup truck occupants (+4.7%), pedestrians (+9.5%), bicyclists (+12.2%), motorcyclists (+8.3%), alcohol-impaired driving fatalities (+3.2%), male (+7.0%) / female (+7.4%), daytime (+7.2%) / nighttime (+7.1%).
The estimated number of police-reported crashesincreased by 3.8%, from 6.0 to 6.3 million, and there were 105,000 more people injured in motor vehicle crashes.
According to NHTSA, job growth and low fuel prices were two factors that led to increased driving, including increased leisure driving and driving by young people. More driving can contribute to higher fatality rates.
In 2015, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased 3.5 percent over 2014, the largest increase since 1992, nearly 25 years ago,though the fatality rate per 100 million VMT increased to 1.12 from 1.08 in2014 which was the lowest since NHTSA began collecting fatality data through the Fatality Analysis Reporting System in 1975.
Upon releasing this new data, the U.S.Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Call to Action: “We are calling on data scientists, public health experts, students and researchers — even if you have never thought about road safety before — to dive in to these data and help answer these important questions, especially on tough issues like pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities.”
Interested organizations, companies and concerned citizens can download and analyze the data (ftp://ftp.nhtsa.dot.gov/fars/2015/) and share your insights email@example.com.
CALIFORNIA ENACTS MOTORCYCLE TRAFFIC SCHOOL A bill to give motorcyclists the option of attending a California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) course to satisfy the requirements of traffic school passed its ﬁ nal legislative hurdle on August22, 2016 after passing unanimously through both houses of the state legislature with strong bipartisan support, and now awaits Governor Jerry Brown’s signature.
Trafﬁ California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and allow drivers who attend to avoid having points added to their record when they receive an eligible violation. While traffic school can be educational for car operators, the information presented is not always applicable to those who received a violation on a motorcycle. The CMSP offers safety courses for new and experienced riders that are more appropriate for motorcyclists, but until now, these courses have not been allowed to double as trafﬁ c schools.
Assembly Bill 1932 by Assemblyman Jay Obernolte’s (R-Hesperia fixes this by updating California)
law to allow CMSP providers to become licensed traffic violator schools pursuant to DMV curriculum requirements.
These new courses would offer riding instruction in addition to education in the state’s trafﬁ c laws, which would better equip motorcyclists to ride safely on California roads.
“AB 1932 makes our roads safer and provides motorcycle owners with an educational option for removing a point from their driving record in the event that they receive an eligible moving violation,”Assemblyman Obernolte said. “The more training opportunities that we can provide for motorcyclists, the safer both riders and drivers in California will be.
GEORGIA EXTENDS HANDLEBAR HEIGHT Affective July 1, 2016 legislation in Georgia has modified the state’s handlebar height law to allow for taller bars. Signed into law by Governor Nathan House Bill 166, the “Motorcycle Mobility Safety Act” increased the maximum measured height of a motorcycle’s handlebars from 15 inches above the seat to 25 inches.
Georgia is among 30 states that limit the height of handlebars. Without a federal standard, the regulation of handlebars on motorcycles rests with the states. Currently, 11 states limit the height of handlebars to 15 inches above the saddle. Five others require the handle bars to be below the height of the shoulder. Last summer, South Dakota, which hosts the annual Sturgis Rally became the most recent state to repeal its shoulder level statute, legalizing so-called “ape hangers” just in time for the 75th annual rally.
Discriminatory in nature, handlebar height laws have no impact on rider safety, and most were adopted by states decades ago to provide police with an excuse to pull over bikers on choppers.
VULNERABLE ROAD USERS COMPONENT ADDED TO ACTDRIVER’S LICENSE TESTS Young drivers in the Australian CapitalTerritory (ACT) around Canberra, Australia’s capital city, will have to be able to prove they can share the road safely with cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians before they’ll be granted a license, the ACT government has announced.
People applying for learner permits or provisional licenses must demonstrate they can drive around vulnerable road users or risk failing their test, the ACT’s Road safety Minister Shane Rattenbury told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s really exciting that more and more Canberrans are choosing to walk and cycle around Canberra,” he said. “However, it’s important that we ensure that our road rules can accommodate all road users safely, and that all road users are aware of these rules.”
Twenty extra questions will be added to the road rules knowledge test. Applicants must score 100% on this section to gain their learner’s license. During their practical driving test, learners going for their “Ps” (Provisional P1 license) must demonstrate they can navigate roads with bicycle lanes and move through areas of slow traffic where motorcyclists may be lane-filtering. Applicants will be tested in areas frequented by cyclists and pedestrians, including shared zones, town centers, group centers, aged- care facilities and school zones.
HANOI PLANS MOTORCYCLE BAN The city of Hanoi, Vietnam, has announced a plan to completely ban motorcycles by 2025. The plan is based on an effort to reduce traffic congestion by promoting public transportation.
The proposal may have been prompted by a recent decision in Paris, France to ban motorcycles made before 1999.
extreme and may prove a difﬁ Hanoi now has an estimated 4.9 million motorcycles and scooters on the roads, so a total ban seems cult matter to successfully employ. Last year, the monthly motorcycle registration figures ranged from 8,000 to 20,000. Officials estimated that within the next four years the city would have nearly 7 million two wheelers on Hanoi streets.
Hanoi’s air quality has been regularly listed as Unhealthy by the Real Time Air Quality Index, and officials say the plan is to encourage bikers to use public transportation instead.
Currently Hanoi has a fleet of some 1000 buses,accounting for 27 million passenger rides each month. The new plan would create six more metrolines, three Bus Rapid Transit Lines and 18 new bridges within the next 14 years.
DO YOU TRUST YOUR NEWS SOURCE? When Gallup pollsters recently asked the question:“How much trust and confidence do you have in the media?” respondents cited “Great Deal / Fair Amount” by only 32%, the lowest number on the subject in Gallup’s 34 year history.
In contrast, the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) has been disseminating timely and accurate motorcycle news and information for over three decades, and the AIM/NCOM Motorcycle E-NewsService now reaches over a million motorcyclists across the country and around the globe with each monthly edition of NCOM Biker Newsbytes, Calls-To-Action, and important news releases of interest to ALL motorcyclists in the riding community.
Concerned clubs, organizations and riders’ rights activists are encouraged to subscribe to this free biker news service at www.ON-A-BIKE.com or by calling AIM/NCOM at 1-(800) ON-A-BIKE.