NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
AVID MOTORCYCLIST ELECTED AGAIN TO NEW HAMPSHIRE HOUSE
Delight, displeasure, or distrust, the November 8 midterms meant a lot of things to a lot of people, but for motorcyclists there was at least one bright spot in New Hampshire where longtime biker Charlie St. Clair won election to the State House of Representatives, again.
St. Clair is well known to riders everywhere as the coordinator of Laconia Motorcycle Week; “The World’s Oldest Motorcycle Rally,” going on 100 years!
Democrat victor and former representative St. Clair previously served one term in the State House, until this past election cycle when he lost to now-incumbent Republican Rep. Richard Littlefield in 2020, the same person St. Clair just defeated to now reclaim his old House seat!
St. Clair told The Laconia Daily Sun that once he’s back at the Statehouse, he’d like to return to his previous seat on the Transportation Committee, where he can best serve his community, rally-goers and motorcyclists who live in or visit New Hampshire; “I have a lot of questions on projects [that were] supposed to be done two years ago [in the transportation committee] and I will also be listening to the residents of Laconia and their concerns and following their direction,” he told the local newspaper.
As a candidate, St. Clair emphasized placing constituents above party lines and demands, saying “I always encourage people not to vote by party but on the individual.”
With record-setting voter turnout across the country, many races nationwide are still in Limbo or dispute, with outcomes determining the political direction of many states and our nation, and with Donald Trump once again throwing his hat in the Presidential ring for 2024, American politics is about to get even more interesting.
ARIZONA SENATOR CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF THE RPM ACT
Since being elected to Congress in November 2020, U.S. Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) has proven himself to be a strong ally and defender of motorsports, and as an original cosponsor of S. 2736, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2021 (RPM Act), and according to SEMA (the Specialty Equipment Market Association) he has championed the bill both publicly and behind the scenes.
Sen. Kelly recently spoke at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing about the importance of the RPM Act and amateur racing, noting that his wife, former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords, raced motorcycles on the track. “Racing is important to many Arizonans — and it’s a part of our state’s legacy,” he testified. “The RPM Act will help provide certainty to Arizona’s amateur racers and auto mechanics from EPA regulations, which could harm their ability to enjoy the hobby of motorsport.”
The RPM Act of 2021 was re-introduced in Congress last September 14 by U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), currently with 33 cosponsors, and is common-sense, bipartisan legislation to protect Americans’ right to convert street vehicles into dedicated race cars and the motorsports-parts industry’s ability to sell products that enable racers to compete.
Racing cars and motorcycles has remained an unquestioned American tradition until 2015 when the EPA took the position that converted vehicles must remain emissions-compliant, even though they are no longer driven on public streets or highways.
U.S. LAWMAKERS PURSUE “RIGHT TO REPAIR” CONSUMER PROTECTIONS
Lawmakers in both the U.S. House and Senate are actively pursuing federal legislation intended to level the playing field for independent repair providers, including for motor vehicle repair shops.
U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S.3830, the Fair Repair Act of 2022, a bipartisan bill that seeks to ensure that manufacturers do not lock out owners and independent service providers from providing repairs by denying access to parts, tools, and documentation. The Fair Repair Act would require manufacturers of electronic equipment to make the same tools, parts, and documentation available to owners and independent repair providers, covering a variety of industries such as agricultural equipment, consumer electronics, medical equipment, and motor vehicles.
Similarly, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL), a senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has introduced the Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act (H.R.6570). This legislation would ensure that vehicle owners and independent repair shops have equal access to repair and maintenance tools and data as car companies and licensed dealerships.
Vehicle makers have long argued that they shouldn’t have to share proprietary performance information, but for independent repair shops this practice makes for an unfair marketplace.
Although industry advocates for years have pushed for the right to repair, the issue gained momentum last year when President Biden issued a sweeping Executive Order directing federal regulatory agencies to take a variety of steps that would fundamentally alter the government’s regulation of businesses’ competitive practices.
Specifically, the order directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to address “unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair items, such as the restrictions imposed by powerful manufacturers that prevent farmers from repairing their own equipment.”
HARLEY HIT WITH ANOTHER RIGHT-TO-REPAIR LAWSUIT
This past June, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued a sternly-worded order to Harley-Davidson, requiring it to honor existing right-to-repair laws, citing illegal warranty language that restricted customers from using aftermarket parts, or taking their bikes for service by anyone other than a Harley dealer. Such actions, the warranties stated, could void the owners’ warranties.
Secondarily, the FTC pointed to the fact that the full terms of such warranties weren’t fully disclosed to customers in a single document, but rather customers were directed to contact an authorized dealer to learn the full details. The federal trade agency also ordered Harley to cease this behavior, as well.
While this was seen as a positive step by many interested in right-to-repair reform within the U.S., this action by the FTC couldn’t recoup the losses experienced by Harley customers who felt that they were effectively held hostage to the terms of their warranties. Thus, in August, 2022, two right-to-repair class action lawsuits were filed in federal courts: one in Wisconsin, and one in California. But, as you may already have suspected, that’s not the end of the story.
Now, RideApart.com reports that on November 3, 2022, a third class-action lawsuit was filed in Chicago federal court. It claims that the Motor Company’s warranty policy violates existing U.S. antitrust laws because it disallows the use of aftermarket parts. The 55-page class action complaint demands a jury trial to hear its claims, and spells out in detail the nature of both its claims and the multiple classes across multiple states (and the District of Columbia) enveloped within. It alleges that the Harley-Davidson warranties in question violated both federal and state antitrust laws, and requests unspecified financial relief for members of the Class, including payment of legal fees.
The filing argues that since Harley makes approximately 15% of its annual revenue from parts, it is clearly in the company’s best interest to maximize that revenue as much as possible — including using its warranties as tools to force owners to use H-D’s OEM parts. It also makes a case for how a Harley warranty can effectively cost owners an excessive amount of money.
EUROPE MOVES TO BAN INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINES
On October 27, 2022, the European Commission, European Parliament, and the member states, united in the Council of the European Union, reached an agreement about the emission limits for cars and vans, and following a few steps to lower the emission of the fleet, from 2035 the sale of new cars that have no zero CO2-emission will be banned in the European Union.
Environmentalists celebrated this as a victory of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) against vehicles with an internal combustion engine (ICE), claiming this means a ban on gasoline-powered engines. Consequently, this would not only affect cars and vans, but also motorcycles.
“The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations will resist any attempt to ban the internal combustion engine for motorcycles,” stated Dolf Willigers, FEMA’s General Secretary, explaining that, “In our view, the emissions of motorcycles are already negligible and the alternatives for both fossil fuels and electricity are still in the development phase. To focus solely on battery electric vehicles the problems of air quality and climate change will just be redeemed to other, equal serious problems: the social and environmental aspects of the mining of raw materials that are needed to make batteries and the geo-political consequences of getting dependent to countries like China to acquire these raw materials and the batteries should not be underestimated.”
INTERNATIONAL TREATY AGAINST FOSSIL FUELS FLOATED AT U.N. CLIMATE SUMMIT
The world should confront climate change the way it does nuclear weapons, by agreeing to a non-proliferation treaty that stops further production of fossil fuels, a small island nation leader urged during the recent United Nations’ climate summit in Egypt.
“We all know that the leading cause of climate crisis is fossil fuels,” Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano told his fellow leaders. The Pacific country is joining with “other nations calling for a fossil fuels non-proliferation treaty,” Natano said citing recent climate-related disasters. “It’s getting too hot and there is very (little) time to slow and reverse the increasing temperature. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize fast-acting strategies.”
The idea of a non-proliferation treaty for coal, oil and natural gas has previously been advanced by campaigners, religious authorities including the Vatican, and some scientists, but Natano’s speech gave the plan a boost in front of a global audience.
WORLD’S BIGGEST BIKE SHOW BREAKS NEW RECORDS
Apparently, 2022’s iteration of the largest motorcycle show on the planet was a resounding success, judging by the numbers; 1,370 Brands present, representing 45 different Nations, and a 38% increase in attendance at this year’s EICMA (acronym for International Motorcycle and Accessories Exhibition) hosted annually in Milan, Italy where manufacturers debut new models to crowds of over a half million.
Given the lineup of marques, influencers and diverse ranges of advancing technology, it was only natural that the build-up of anticipation would give rise to even bigger attendance numbers.
“It is these numbers, the embrace of the general public, the massive presence of exhibitors who have emphasized their solid satisfaction and whom we thank for having always believed in EICMA,” added EICMA S.p.A. president Pietro Meda. “…the attractiveness and international centrality, the positive increase in every performance indicator that affirm the unique value and indispensability of our event…EICMA unquestionably remains in its place: on the highest step in the entire international scene.”
SUZUKI-POWERED DRONE TAKES FLIGHT
Ever since watching ‘The Jetsons’ on TV in the 60s we’ve been waiting for the future to get here so we can take to the skies in our flying cars, so perhaps for now we’ll settle for a motorcycle-powered flying machine, as a Suzuki-engined drone has been developed in Japan that can lift 150kg (330lb) and fly for up to six hours.
Utilizing one of the most legendary sports motorcycle engines of all time, the Suzuki GSX-R1000, the ‘Kunio’ AZ1000 “Super Drone” was developed by Arase Aizawa Aerospace with the concept of the vehicle being to, literally, have a flying engine, maximizing the performance of the aircraft and the payload it can carry. The motorcycle engine was chosen due to its lightweight, high-output design.
The quadcopter stands over a meter tall (3.28 feet) with a length of over three meters (nearly 10 feet), and the mammoth 55-litre fuel tank can carry the unladen 110kg (242.5 lbs) drone aloft for an impressive six-hour road trip, sans the roadways.
George Jetson was born this year, on July 31, 2022 in Orbit City, with Hanna-Barbera’s 21st-century cartoon series set a hundred years into the future in 2062; so maybe the future starts now?
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “Jane! Stop this crazy thing!”
~ George Jetson (b. 2022-?), Digital in
ABOUT AIM / NCOM: The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) is a nationwide motorcyclists rights organization serving over 2,000 NCOM Member Groups throughout the United States, with all services fully-funded through Aid to Injured Motorcyclist (AIM) Attorneys available in each state who donate a portion of their legal fees from motorcycle accidents back into the NCOM Network of Biker Services (www.ON-A-BIKE.com / 800-ON-A-BIKE).