Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,

National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

In very broad strokes, the Green New Deal legislation laid out by Congressional Democrats sets goals for some drastic measures to cut carbon emissions across the economy, from electricity generation to transportation to agriculture.

The nonbinding resolution calls for “10-year national mobilizations” toward accomplishing a series of objectives that the legislation lays out. Among the most prominent, the deal calls for “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.” The ultimate goal is to eliminate fossil fuels, shifting away from oil, coal and nuclear power, in favor of eco-friendly energy such as wind and solar power.

The Green New Deal calls for “replacing non-essential individual means of transport with high-quality and modern mass transit,” which is a flowery way of calling for a ban on gas-powered passenger cars, trucks and motorcycles, as well as airplanes.

According to the legislation, within the decade;
– Achieve a net-zero carbon economy with 100% clean renewable energy
– Eliminate internal combustion engines and expand electric car manufacturing
– Overhaul transportation systems and make air travel obsolete by expanding high-speed rail
– Retrofit all existing buildings for energy efficiency
– Work with farmers “to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions” such as cow farts
– “Economic security” for all, including higher education, jobs, wages, housing and health care

In short, the legislative framework combines climate-change-related ideas with a “dream” list of progressive economic proposals that would affect every American and overhaul the U.S. economy, all at an initial estimated cost of up to $6.6 trillion a year over the decade.

Importantly, the bill, introduced on Feb 7 by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), is a nonbinding resolution, so even if it were to pass it wouldn’t itself create any new programs but would instead establish a lofty set of ideals the House should pursue in the coming years.

More U.S. households than ever before now own one or more motorcycles. A recent study conducted by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) shows that the number of American households with at least one motorcycle in their garage has reached 8.02% in 2018. According to the MIC, in decades of surveying, this is the highest percentage ever reached, and represents a 15.6-percent increase over 2014 (when ownership was 6.94%); an increase of more than 1.5 million homes.

“The household penetration numbers have always been among the most important figures to us,” said MIC President and CEO Tim Buche. “We’re certainly happy to see more homes that have a motorcycle. Riders who talk about motorcycling to friends and neighbors help to inspire people who don’t yet ride.”

Out of an estimated 126,224,000 households in the United States, over 10 million now own (at least) one bike. In fact, the number of motorcycles per household has been calculated to average around 1.30, meaning some families own more than one bike.

According to the MIC survey, the total number of motorcycles owned also reached record levels, jumping to 13,158,100 last year, an increase of more than 2.5 million motorcycles compared to 2014, the last time the MIC conducted the survey. It is even higher than the previous record from 2009 (11,704,500), which followed a long period of high-volume new-bike sales.

The estimated number of motorcycles in use rose to 12,231,000 in 2018, an increase of more than 2 million since 2014. And that number was more than 1 million better than the record figure from 2009, when 11,015,105 motorcycles were in use.

“Modern motorcycles are high-quality machines, enabling the pre-owned market to be a key part of the overall growth in the motorcycle and rider population,” said Jim Woodruff, secretary/treasurer of the MIC Board of Directors and COO of National Powersport Auctions. “The annual pre-owned market is actually three times larger than the new market. Used bikes appeal to many riders because there are so many options in terms of price and style.”

The percentage of motorcycles in running order was down 3 percentage points, from 96.1% in 2014 to 93% in 2018. “As used units become a larger part of the overall motorcycle population, it’s not surprising to see a slight decrease in the percentage of operating units,” Woodruff said. “Our research shows that the average age of a pre-owned motorcycle sold in the U.S. is approximately eight years old. Plus, vintage bikes are on trend now and many riders are keeping non-runners as part of their collection.”

A federal judge presiding over the high-profile Mongols motorcycle club trial has put out a wide-ranging call for expert legal input on the implications of the government’s unprecedented efforts to gain control of the trademarked insignia worn by club members.

After a Santa Ana, Calif. jury decided in December that the club must forfeit the trademark to its logo, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter’s decision to solicit briefs from a variety of experts, including trademark attorneys, law school professors, civil rights organizations and think tanks, highlights the new legal ground being broken in the first-of-its-kind Mongols racketeering and forfeiture case, which has drawn national attention and is virtually guaranteed to go before the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court.

The judge has yet to rule on key legal issues regarding the government’s attempts to take the Mongols trademarks, including whether stripping the club of the rights to its patches or blocking riders from using them would constitute a violation of its members’ First Amendment rights.

Unlike a typical racketeering case, in which specific members of an organization are charged with crimes, the sole defendant in the current legal battle is the Mongols organization itself. As a result, attorneys for the Mongols also requested the judge to ask legal experts to weigh in on whether an organization is capable of forming the intent to commit crimes.

Judge Carter is scheduled to hear arguments on Feb. 28 over whether the verdicts in the Mongols case should be tossed out over legal technicalities or on constitutional grounds, according to the Orange County Register.

After extensive lobbying by numerous motorsport organizations, the European Parliament has agreed to exempt bike racing from the European Union’s Motor Insurance Directive (MID, also known as Vnuk) which would have required all motorcycles to have a form of road traffic insurance, even if they were specialist vehicles not meant for the road.

As no insurance of this kind is commercially available, this could have seen the end of motorcycle racing as we know it across Europe.

IMCO, the European Parliament committee responsible for the MID, voted overwhelmingly in favor of exempting motorsports by a vote tally of 32 to two. During the discussion, members of IMCO adopted a report recommending excluding “vehicles intended exclusively for motorsports” as “these vehicles are generally covered by other forms of liability insurance.”

The report also made clear that it was necessary a line should be drawn between ‘in traffic’ and ‘non-traffic’ situations.

The MID was proposed after Damijan Vnuk, a Slovenian farm worker, was knocked off a ladder by a tractor reversing across a farmyard. After this incident, it was decided that all vehicles, even those not destined for road use, should be insured.

The MCIA (Motorcycle Industry Association in Europe), together with U.K. bodies including the Auto Cycle Union, Motorsport Industry Association and Department for Transport lobbied against the European Parliament alongside the FIA, FIM and European Motorcycle Industry Association.

“This is great news and a big relief for motorsport of all types,” said Tony Campbell, CEO of the MCIA. “The potential impact would have been catastrophic and likely to result in the end of motorsport as we know it.”

There are still some legislative hurdles to overcome; including gaining the agreement of the EU Council, but a positive final verdict is expected later this year.

Winter may not be the most convenient time to ride a motorcycle, particularly in snowy northern climates like in Canada, but it is possible, even in extremely cold temperatures. But buried within a proposed law is a provision that would ban motorcycles from the streets of Quebec completely during the winter months, according to Canada Moto Guide.

Since 2008, Quebec has required that all vehicles registered in the Canadian province be equipped with snow tires rated for severe snow and winter traction between December 15 and March 15. This effectively banned motorcycles from the street, until recently. Now there are motorcycle snow tires available that meet Quebec’s winter tire qualifications, making it legal to take advantage of an unseasonably warm day and go for a ride. Even the Sûreté du Québec, the provincial police force, recommended that motorcycles equipped with proper winter tires be expressly permitted on the road during this time of year.

Included in Bill 165, a bill to “better define the vehicles covered by the mandatory use of winter tires,” however, is a provision that could put an end to all winter riding under any circumstances. The bill reads, “In order to regulate such a practice, we are of the opinion that motorcycles and mopeds must be exempted from the application of section 440.1,” the winter tire requirement. “In addition, it would be necessary to add a provision [to the safety code] to prohibit their use between December 15 and March 15.”

In other words, if the bill becomes law, it wouldn’t matter what tires were on a motorcycle during the winter — it won’t be allowed on the road no matter what. Another part of the bill proposes extending the winter tire requirement, and therefore the motorcycle ban, back two weeks to begin December 1.

With the advent of heated riding gear and motorcycle tires that meet all requirements for severe snow and winter traction, bikers can safely operate their machines year-round and legally comply with Quebec’s existing law…so why not let them?

Entering the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Madrid on a motorcycle will now be a lot more difficult, as new rules designed to reduce congestion and pollution have come into play.

Madrid features a number of APRs (Áreas de Prioridad Residencial), areas where non-residents are not allowed to drive, and speed limits on roads into the capital have been lowered in order to cut pollution. Until now, motorcycles have been exempt from any restrictions, but that has changed as of November 30, 2018. According to Spain’s motorcycle association, the AMM (Asociación Mutua Motera), Madrid will extend its current APRs into one big APR, called Central Madrid. The new APR will cover practically the entire downtown area of Madrid and motorcycles will now be party to these new regulations.

Motorcycles that were registered before 2003 will be completely banned from the city centre (38.79% of motorcycles in Madrid are registered before 1 July 2003), whereas those registered after that date can only enter the city between 07.00-22.00h. People found to be riding a bike into the city outside these parameters will be fined 90 Euros ($102.29 USD).

Trials riding is an amazingly difficult sport requiring years of practice, peak athleticism, and incredible control, and it may soon be an Olympic-caliber sport if the International Motorcycling Federation has anything to say about it. The FIM is appealing to the International Olympic Committee to have Trial-E (trials riding on electric bikes) added as a sport to the 2024 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Paris, France. If it is successful, Trial-E will be the first officially-recognized Olympic motorsport.

New sports are being added to the Olympics every year. In 2020, the Tokyo Olympics will be the first time we will see baseball and softball, surfing, sports climbing, karate, and even skateboard, all officially included as Olympic sports. The current policy for inclusion of a sport, according to IOC, is that it be: youth-focused, equally accessible for men and women, sustainable, spectacular, practiced on all continents and requires no new infrastructure, so trials riding measures up to all of these requisite metrics.

QUOTABLE QUOTE: “A people unused to restraint must be led, they will not be driven.”
~ George Washington (1732-99), American military and political leader, 1st U.S. President