NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
MOTORCYCLE FATALITIES DECLINE, DESPITE INCREASED OWNERSHIP
For the second straight year, nationwide motorcycle fatalities declined, in spite of a record number of motorcycles in usage across the United States.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released their 2018 motor vehicle fatality report, reflecting a 4.7% reduction in motorcyclist deaths from 2017 to 2018.
Meanwhile, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), a record 12,231,000 motorcycles were in use in the U.S., up more than 2 million from 2014, the last year of their ownership survey, and that American households owning motorcycles rose from 6.94% in 2014 to a record 8.02% last year (10,124,400 homes), an increase of more than 1.5 million homes.
Overall, motor vehicle crashes went down 2.4%, though vehicle miles traveled (VMT) were up.
WORLDWIDE MOTORCYCLE SALES PROJECTED TO INCREASE
The annual global demand for motorcycles, including electrically-powered machines, was forecast by market researcher Freedonia Group to expand 4.4% per annum through 2022 to 121.5 million units, when industry revenues were projected to reach $120 billion ($10.8 billion in the US). The Asia/Pacific region, which predominantly utilizes small and inexpensive motorcycles, will continue to dominate demand, representing 84% of all units sold in 2016.
E-bikes will account for the overwhelming majority of new electric product demand, as they continue to capture market share from conventional motorcycles and bicycles. Both developed and industrialized nations are expected to register strong growth as the availability of reliable electric models increases. The lower upfront and operating costs and environmental credentials of these machines – compared to ICE (internal combustion engine) motorcycles – also enhances their appeal.
Governments around the world at both the national and local levels will continue to support the transition toward e-bikes through subsidies and tax breaks, ride-sharing programs, and additional investment in the public charging infrastructure.
About a dozen countries and about 20 cities around the world have proposed banning the future sale of vehicles powered by fossil fuels within the next two decades, including India, China (the largest auto market globally), Japan (the third largest auto market globally), South Korea, Taiwan, the EU auto market nations of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal, as well as Costa Rica in Central America.
PETITION DRIVE TO BAN BLINDING HEADLIGHTS
A “Ban Blinding Headlights and Save Lives” online petition has been set up by the National Motorists Association (NMA) to lobby the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, its parent organization, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Congress to “ban all blue-light technologies on vehicles and to keep tail-lights, brake-lights and turn signals to a maximum brightness no greater than that allowed for traffic signals.”
More than 9,400 people who are concerned about the safety effect caused by the glare of overly bright headlights, taillights, and other exterior vehicle indicator lights, have already signed the petition at Change.org. Organizers have set a goal of obtaining over 10,000 signatures.
MOTORCYCLE CLUB HELPS SCHOOL DRIVERLESS CARS
Self-driving cars are already being tested and developed on public roads, but one of the frequent criticisms of the technology is its lack of ability to spot motorcyclists. Motorcycles are comparatively rare on the roads, so self-driving vehicles don’t get sufficient exposure to them.
Aurora is an autonomous vehicle technology company that is developing the software and sensor tech that will underpin a lot of autonomous vehicles in the future, and they’ve adopted a unique approach to the motorcycle problem. Aurora’s perception team devoted a machine-learning day to teach their driverless machines to become more familiar around this specific vehicle type by utilizing volunteers from the San Francisco chapter of the Iron Order MC to ride around their test car on a variety of motorcycles, performing regular traffic maneuvers.
Their data team then collected specific information from a variety of scenarios that autonomous cars are likely to encounter in the real world, and that data will be used to predict and react to future scenarios on the road.
The day-long test will now be used as a baseline for motorcycle detection within the Artificial Intelligence systems in Aurora’s self-driving technology. Ultimately, the system will be able to detect and recognize different styles of motorcycles and identify the difference between a cruiser and a sport bike. That’s important when it comes to predicting and managing closing speeds, merging patterns, and braking.
Self-driving vehicles are the future of transportation, so it’s important that autonomous technology “learn” how to interact with motorcycles in order to Share the Road safely.
AUTOMATED LICENSE PLATE READERS UNDER FIRE
A motorist recently won a legal decision involving the city where he lives violating his Constitutional rights in a ruling that could have major privacy rights implications for drivers.
Coral Gables, Florida resident Raul Mas Canosa sued the city over its penchant for surveilling its citizens with automated license plate readers or ALPRs. He had not been arrested nor even suspected of a crime, but was upset about having his car tracked all over town with the city monitoring and recording his vehicle’s movements.
Coral Gables began its ALPR program in 2015 and now has 30 recorders around town including surveillance of an adjacent section of Interstate 95. In 2018, the electronic devices captured the data of 30 million individual license plates, which it retains on file for three years as prescribed under Florida law.
Mas Canosa filed suit against the city for violating his Fourth Amendment rights against search and seizure without probable cause.
Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Abby Cynamon rejected the city attorney’s attempt to have the anti-camera lawsuit dismissed outright on the grounds that motorists have no expectation of privacy and that Mas Canosa, in particular, was not harmed because he was not the subject of an investigation. In finding favorably on the plaintiff’s behalf, Judge Cynamon agreed with Mas Canosa’s argument that Coral Gable’s use of ALPRs might indeed violate state privacy laws:
“This court finds that there is a bona fide, actual, present and practical need for a declaration as to whether the collection of such information violates the plaintiff’s privacy rights,” the judge ruled, adding that “There is nothing abstract, conjectural or ephemeral about the claim since the city has and continues to collect such information about the plaintiff’s vehicle.”
Having won the first round of his legal battle, Mas Canosa can now move forward with suing the city, seeking to have the data collected be immediately discarded if there’s no probable cause.
MAN SUES TOWN FOR REVOKING HIS CARRY PERMIT BASED ON MC AFFILIATION
A Rhode Island man is accusing the town of Burrillville, RI of violating his Constitutional rights by revoking his permit to carry a concealed weapon based on his alleged affiliation with “biker gang members.”
According to the Providence Journal, Pedro Alvarez Jr. has sued the town, local police and others in U.S. District Court, alleging that they violated his right to bear arms, due process rights, and First Amendment right to free association by revoking his permit based on photographs posted on his Facebook page that showed him socializing with members of the Thug Riders and Pagan motorcycle clubs.
Alvarez insists that he has “never been a member or associate of any motorcycle gang and has never been charged with a crime.”
At the time of the revocation, in June 2018, Alvarez was a U.S. Army recruit slated to attend basic training to become a military police officer — a post that he currently holds with the Rhode Island National Guard, according to his lawsuit.
Alvarez alleges that the revocation limits his employment opportunities and the security clearances he can obtain.
He is seeking unspecified damages and the reinstatement of his permit.
“RIDE FREE OR DIE” BIKER DOCUMENTARY
“The Biker community has been the target for false narrative for as long as I can remember,” notes Hessian MC member Spike of the Southern California Confederation of Clubs in a review of the new documentary film “Live Free Or Die” he wrote for the ABATE of California newsletter “The Bailing Wire.”
He continues; “Isolated incidence have been orchestrated, embellished and sensationalized by law enforcement and the media, from “Life” magazine’s infamous Hollister Biker cover, culminating with the media atrocity of the Twin Peaks’ COC meeting in Waco, Texas where nine lives were unnecessarily taken, 177 bikers were rallied up by awaiting police, arrested, detained and severely mistreated with no voice at all.”
Biker anti-profiling legislative efforts at State and Federal level are continually being hampered by the constant denial of profiling by the law enforcement lobby; “So what better than share actual profiling experiences through the story of Waco in a true documentary environment with input from all sides? Thus ‘Ride Free Or Die’ was born.”
Spike describes the nexus of the film as, “Bikers from all parts of our diverse community, from patch holders to MROs and independents from all US geographical locations rallied together, an impossible act according to the false narrative of law enforcement, then teamed up with award-winning film producer Randall Wilson of Guerrilla Docs and Centaur Productions.”
The official introduction on the documentary reads as follows: “Ride Free Or Die is an insider’s look into the political world of motorcycle clubs. The clubs are fighting for their constitutional rights against what they perceive as law enforcement profiling and harassment. The documentary features Mongols MC, Outsiders MC, Devils Diciples MC, Sin City Deciples, Ironworkers MC, ATF agents, and motorcycle clubs from all over America.”
Wilson has much experience working with and understanding the biker lifestyle and protocols, producing such previous documentaries such as “Hessians MC,” “Glory Road,” “Wheels of Soul” and a must-see, “American Biker.” Wilson adheres to the philosophy of “No boundaries. No censorship. No political correctness. And absolutely no bias. The documentary in its purest form.” The producer allows the viewer to listen to facts presented from all sides and develop their own experience and opinion. “It is the aim of the production to share with the Biker community and the general population the profiling and harassment perceived by the community with little or no recourse.,” explains Spike, concluding; “As more and more of our civil and constitutional rights are being taken and eroded away, we must take a stance and preserve our lifestyle and freedoms we love so much by sharing our plight, denying and exposing false narrative and making use of material such as ‘Ride Free or Die’ and encourage its viewing.”
The “Ride Free Or Die” documentary can be purchased and downloaded on Amazon Prime, while Randall’s other Biker titles can be found at www.guerrilladocs.com.
POW/MIA FLAG ACT SIGNED INTO LAW
On November 8, 2019, just in time for Veterans Day, President Donald Trump signed the National POW/MIA Flag Act into law; a bipartisan bill to require the POW/MIA Flag be displayed whenever the American flag is displayed on prominent federal properties to honor the more than 82,000 Americans who are listed as Prisoners of War (POW), Missing in Action (MIA), or otherwise unaccounted for from our nation’s past wars and conflicts.
“The flag is a steadfast reminder to the families of our missing and the public that our government has not forgotten those who did not come home,” said Rolling Thunder, Inc. National, which endorsed the measure, and Artie Muller, who co-founded the nonprofit POW/MIA service group in 1987 told The Washington Times, ““I want to thank Congress for passing the bipartisan National POW/MIA Flag Act, which will require the POW/MIA flag to be displayed alongside the American flag at federal buildings and memorials.”
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-68) civil rights leader
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).