NCOM Biker Newsbytes
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
NCOM Convention In Mobile Invites Names For Fallen Riders Tribute
With the 33rd Annual NCOM Convention in Mobile, Alabama just weeks away, the National Coalition of Motorcyclists is requesting that MROs, motorcycle clubs, and riding associations submit the names of those members and supporters who have died since last year’s Convention, so that we may honor their memories with the traditional “Ringing of the Bell” tribute to fallen riders during the opening ceremonies.
Dedications should be e-mailed in advance to Bill Bish at NCOMBish@aol.com, or can be hand-delivered at the Convention to “Doc” Reichenbach, NCOM Chairman of the Board.
Attendees are also encouraged to bring an item on behalf of their organization for the Freedom Fund Auction, with proceeds benefiting the motorcyclists’ rights movement nationwide through Getting Our People Elected donations, NCOM Speaker Program, lobbying activities and other pro-motorcycling projects as determined by the NCOM Board of Directors.
The 33nd annual NCOM Convention will be held Mother’s Day weekend, May 10-13, 2018 at the Renaissance / Riverview Plaza Hotel, located at 64 S. Water St., in Mobile, Alabama.
This annual gathering will draw bikers’ rights activists from across the country to discuss topics of concern to all riders, so reserve your room now for the special NCOM rate of $114 by calling (251) 438-4000.
Registration fees for the NCOM Convention are $85 including the Silver Spoke Awards Banquet on Saturday night, or $50 for the Convention only. All motorcyclists are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Meetings, seminars and group discussions will focus on legislative efforts and litigation techniques to benefit our right to ride and Freedom of the Road.
To pre-register, call the National Coalition of Motorcyclists at (800) 525-5355 or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.
Twin Peaks Update
On the eve of a Feb 7 hearing at which two Twin Peaks shootout bikers were seeking to disqualify McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna from prosecuting their cases, on a variety of grounds, Reyna instead dismissed one of those cases and recused his office in the other to avoid the disqualification hearing.
Subsequently, Reyna announced on Feb 28 that he’s seeking the dismissal of cases against 13 more bikers indicted for engaging in organized crime in connection with the deadly melee in Waco nearly three years ago, and dropping charges against 24 others who weren’t indicted.
Also, in early February, 73 indicted bikers had their cases dismissed, and eight unindicted bikers had their charges dropped.
Only one of the scores of bikers indicted in the shootout has gone on trial; Jacob Carrizal, President of the Dallas Bandidos chapter, whose trial on RICO and murder charges ended with the judge declaring a mistrial in November after a hung jury was unable to reach a verdict.
The May 17, 2015 shootout Ieft nine bikers dead and 20 more injured. Police arrested 177 bikers after the incident, all of whom were charged with engaging in organized crime and all of whom were initially ordered held in lieu of $1 million bonds.
DA Reyna has been highly criticized for his handling of the cases, and recently lost his re-election bid.
Trade War Could Impact Harley-Davidson
President Donald Trump’s recent announcement of tariffs on steel and aluminum would likely lead to global retaliatory consequences for iconic American industries such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Levis jeans and whiskey.
In response to Trump’s announcement of his intention to impose tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum to reduce an $800 billion trade deficit and protect the interests of American workers, European Union leaders threatened to target quintessential American goods such as blue jeans, bourbon and motorcycles.
H-D could suffer from a negative two-pronged effect from the tariffs on steel and aluminum; the costs of production will rise, causing the cost of the bikes themselves to increase; both of which would be passed along to the consumer.
“A punitive, retaliatory tariff on Harley-Davidson motorcycles in any market would have a significant impact on our sales, our dealers, their suppliers and our customers in those markets,” say Harley-Davidson officials. Roughly 16% of Harley-Davidson’s sales are to Europe, representing more than half of its international sales.
American-made Polaris is not as concerned because 50% of its sales are made to Canada where, like Mexico, the country would be exempt from the tariffs, so no retaliation is expected.
The U.S. has previously threatened to hike import duties up to 100% on European motorcycles in response to an EU ban on American bred beef from cattle raised on growth hormones.
Honda ‘Riding Assist’ System Could Advance Motorcycling
New patent images give a glimpse of Honda’s self-balancing technology that could be seen as a significant step forward for motorcycling. Although unthinkable until recently, the growth of automated systems such as traction control, stability control and anti-lock braking systems could soon lead to a bike that is virtually impossible to crash.
That could be a massive step for motorcycling and its acceptance on a wider scale, as most non-riders would cite the perceived risk as their number one concern.
Honda’s Riding Assist system, which adds a computer-controlled steering system between the bars and the front wheel, is the next step. Modern bikes can already intervene in your application of the throttle and brakes, but to really save us from ourselves they need to be able to override the stupidest of our steering mistakes as well. “If a novice could jump on a bike with zero fear of toppling off it, even if they come to a halt without putting a foot down, then it becomes as user-friendly as a car while offering all the congestion-busting and emissions-reducing advantages of a bike,” predicts Visordown.com.
While the new designs patents, just published on the European Union Intellectual Property Office website, shouldn’t be taken as evidence that the Riding Assist system is going to go into production anytime soon, they provide a fascinating glimpse into one of the most radical projects in motorcycling at the moment.
Riders Risk Permanent Hearing Damage At Highway Speeds
Motorcyclists are at risk of permanently damaging their hearing after just 15 minutes of riding at 62mph, seven minutes at 74mph or three minutes at 87mph, research has found.
The study, carried out by Germany’s automobile association, ADAC, has shown that riding a motorbike at 62mph typically generates a wind noise of 95dB, which can permanently damage hearing after a quarter of an hour. At 74mph, the wind noise can be expected to reach 98dB, which will prove harmful after just seven minutes of exposure.
Motorcyclists who regularly ride at highway speeds without earplugs are at risk of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), which can occur when exposed to long or repeated sounds 85dB or above. Prolonged exposure could result in tinnitus, a form of permanent ringing in the ears.
Helmets don’t help, and it isn’t the sound of the motorcycle causing all the noise; “It’s the wind noise that can cause permanent hearing loss,” explains Ohio A.I.M. Attorney Ralph Buss, who has represented a client who was ticketed for wearing earplugs. Using earplugs in Ohio while operating a vehicle has been illegal since 1989 and the law, which was enacted largely in response to stereo headphones in cars, doesn’t allow earplugs to be worn by motorcyclists or motorists.
That may soon change if ABATE of Ohio has its way, as legislation has been introduced to permit motorcyclists to wear earplugs for hearing protection. HB548 was introduced on March 13 by Representative Riordan McClain (R-Upper Sandusky) and would add motorcycle riders to a short list of mostly emergency personnel who are exempted from the law.
Similarly, a law in California allowed only for “custom earplugs,” but was amended in 2004 to allow individuals to wear earplugs that don’t block the sounds of horns or emergency sirens.
Aloha Freedom Of Choice
Resolutions have been introduced in the Hawaii legislature on March 1st “Urging the Department of Transportation to submit legislation for a universal helmet law in Hawaii requiring all operators and riders of motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds and bicycles to wear safety helmets.”
The partisan Democratic measures, House Resolution 41 and House Concurrent Resolution 53, call for the DOT to expedite implementation of its strategic goal for motorcycle, motor scooter, and moped safety by submitting legislation for a universal helmet law by the Regular Session of 2019. Both await consideration in the House Transportation Committee.
The Aloha State is currently one of 31 states that allow adult riders to choose to wear a helmet, with 19 states requiring all motorcyclists to wear approved headgear.
California Introduces Anti-Profiling Bill
Anti-profiling legislation, Assembly Bill No. 2972, has been introduced in the California legislature to define the term “motorcycle profiling” and prohibit peace officers from engaging in motorcycle profiling.
Introduced February 16, 2018 by Assemblymember Anna Marie Caballero (D-Salinas), AB2972 would define the term “motorcycle profiling” as the illegal consideration of the fact that a person is riding a motorcycle or wearing motorcycle or motorcycle club-related clothing as a factor in law enforcement decisions.
Further, the bill stipulates that “A person who has been subjected to motorcycle profiling in violation of this section has a private right of action to enjoin that action and to seek damages, including punitive damages and reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs, against the peace officer and the employing agency of the peace officer.”
Several other states have considered bills to prohibit profiling motorcyclists, but Washington became the first state to pass such a law in 2011, followed more recently by Maryland in 2016.
In addition, two bills in Congress seek to end profiling of motorcycle riders on the federal level; H.Res.318 and S.Res.154 — “Promoting awareness of motorcycle profiling and encouraging collaboration and communication with the motorcycle community and law enforcement officials to prevent instances of profiling.”
Portsmouth Police Prepare To Enforce Motorcycle Noise Levels
Police in Portsmouth, New Hampshire are making efforts to address loud motorcycles this riding season, as Police Commission Chairman Joe Onosko, citing complaints about motorcycle noise, has called for stricter enforcement of noise laws.
Police Chief Robert Merner said he is aware of a proposed ordinance currently in a Senate committee that would ban “motorcycle-only checkpoints,” but added that he has ordered decibel reading equipment for his officers to be used citywide.
The Portsmouth Herald newspaper reported that Merner said enforcement of noise levels will begin in the spring during motorcycle season.
However, a New Hampshire Superior Court has previously ruled that towns cannot impose their own noise limits that are stricter than state law.
Quotable Quote: “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
~ Warren Buffet, Investor and Philanthropist
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 Offices of Richard M. Lester. If you’ve been involved in any kind of accident, call us at 1-(800) ON-A-BIKE or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.