Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
Congressman Tim Walberg Accepts NCOM Silver Spoke Award
Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) was selected as this year’s recipient of the NCOM Silver Spoke Award for Government. Unfortunately, he was not able to attend the 34th Annual NCOM Convention in Orlando, Florida to receive the award in May, so it was brought to Washington, D.C. recently and presented there by several members of the NCOM Board of Directors.
NCOM Confederation of Clubs Liaison “Boar”, Region IV Co-Director Ed Schetter and Region VII Co-Director John Bilotta were in the nation’s capital taking part in the Motorcycle Riders Foundation “Bikers Inside the Beltway” and meeting with their legislators and staff members. During the visit to the Capitol, they met with Congressman Walberg and personally presented the award on behalf of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) in recognition of his work in Congress for the benefit of all of America’s motorcycle riders.
Representative Walberg introduced the recently-passed House Resolution that addresses profiling of motorcyclists and he and Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX) head up the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus.
Missouri Governor Vetoes Repeal Of Motorcycle Helmet Law
Missouri Governor Mike Parson vetoed Senate Bill 147 on Friday, July 12, a bill that would have allowed most adult motorcycle riders to ride without helmets. Despite voting in favor of such legislation in the past as a state legislator, the Republican governor blocked the omnibus transportation measure which, among other things, would have repealed Missouri’s helmet requirement for motorcyclists 18 and older who carry medical insurance.
Gov. Parson didn’t express opposition to relaxing helmet requirements for motorcyclists, but in a letter to lawmakers he wrote that he vetoed the bill because of a section that dealt with suspending driver’s licenses over unpaid fines related to traffic violations, which his office deemed to be unconstitutional.
Bikers rights activists and state lawmakers have been trying decades to repeal the helmet requirement, passing bills to do so in 1999 that was vetoed by then-Gov. Mel Carnahan, and again in 2009 that was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon, both Democrats.
“The Governor was looking forward to signing this bill and still supports freedom of choice,” wrote Jay Widmer, Legislative Coordinator for Freedom of Road Riders (FORR-MO) on their Facebook page. “We are working toward a meeting with the Governor and his staff to work with them towards a remedy.”
North Carolina Legalizes Motorcyclists Wearing Face Masks
Like many states, North Carolina law generally “prohibits a person from wearing a mask, hood, or other device, to conceal the identity of the wearer,” with limited exceptions which now includes; “a person may wear a mask for the purpose of protecting the person’s head, face, or head and face, when operating a motorcycle.”
House Bill 257/Senate Bill 321 “An Act to permit the use of a face mask while operating a motorcycle,” was signed into law by Governor Ray Cooper (D) on July 11, 2019 and goes into effect December 1st.
Amidst nationwide furor over political groups like Antifa wearing masks while engaging in civil unrest, HB 257 passed the House on March 27 by a vote of 111-1 and companion bill SB 321 passed the Senate unanimously on June 27, 48-0.
Law enforcement officers in some states had begun stopping and citing motorcycle riders, particularly patch holders, for violating local anti-mask laws.
The new law will “require the person to remove the mask during traffic stops, checkpoints, roadblocks, or when approached by a law enforcement officer.”
New Washington Law Requires Liability Insurance For Motorcycles
Washington motorcycle owners must make sure their rides are insured once a new law goes into effect on July 28, 2019, requiring motorcycle operators to obtain and carry proof of liability insurance coverage when cruising on Washington’s roadways.
The new rules stem from House Bill 1014, which was signed into law in April by Governor Jay Inslee (D). Unlike other motor vehicle drivers, in virtually every other state, motorcycle riders in Washington have previously been exempt from obtaining and carrying proof of insurance.
According to an April 23 statement from the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bill Jenkin (R-Prosser), the law will require those operating a motorcycle to meet the insurance requirements, or equivalent, for registered motor vehicles under current law; 25/50/10 – Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, and Property Damage Liability Coverage: $10,000.
Oregon To Include Motorcyclists Under “Vulnerable Roadway User”
Back in 2007, the Oregon legislature passed House Bill 3314, creating an enhanced penalty for careless driving if it contributes to serious physical injury or death to a “vulnerable user of a public way”, providing legal protections for non-motorized roadway users such as bicyclists and pedestrians.
The concept of “vulnerable roadway user” had previously been widely used by planners and safety organizations in Europe to categorize and describe non-motorized roadway users, incorporating the inherent vulnerability of humans who use the roads without the benefit of being encased in a 4-wheeled protective steel cage.
On June 11, 2019, Governor Kate Brown (D) signed Senate Bill 810 into law, modifying the definition of “vulnerable user of a public way” in Oregon to now include persons operating or riding on a moped or motorcycle.
Thousands Ride To Honor Seven Bikers Killed In New Hampshire Crash
More than 3,000 motorcyclists rode across New Hampshire on Saturday, July 6 on the “Ride for the Fallen 7” to honor seven bikers killed and three injured in a collision with an oncoming pickup truck in June, as state police escorted the group along the 90 mile route to the site of the deadly crash.
The victims were Marine veterans and their spouses, members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, who were traveling west on Route 2 on their way to a charity event, when a pickup truck and trailer crossed into their lane from the opposite direction, plowing through the pack, according to a criminal complaint.
Commercial trucker, 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy of West Springfield, Mass., an immigrant from the Ukraine with a documented history of multiple drug and alcohol arrests and convictions in numerous states, has pleaded not guilty to seven charges of negligent homicide.
In the days following the fatal accident, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation revealed Zhukovskyy had received an intoxicated driving charge in Connecticut in May, which should have led to the termination of his Massachusetts commercial drivers license.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) has announced changes to the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles, which include running all 5.2 million licenses through the National Driver Register to keep suspension information up to date and creating a new position to oversee safety and set requirements for commercial drivers in the state.
On July 13, as thousands more gathered at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., for a memorial service organized by the Jarheads MC, New England Patriots NFL team owner Robert Kraft made a surprise appearance to present a $100,000 donation to the crash victims’ GoFundMe campaign.
Prank Lands Man In Jail For Attempted Murder Of Motorcyclist
Late one night, on the morning after Christmas, a 45-year-old motorcyclist in Japan got a rope tangled around his neck causing him to dump his bike, severely injuring his back and hip. Luckily, the man who strung the rope across the road was caught on security camera footage, and Japanese police quickly tracked him down and charged him with attempted murder.
Japan Today reports that police arrested Koichi Deki, 41, who claims the rope strung across the road was nothing more than a “stress relieving prank.” There is no indication whether Deki knew a motorcyclist was coming down the road when he tied a rope to a sign and a pole on the other side of the street, and he is quoted as saying he did it to relieve his stress and didn’t think his “rope prank” could kill anyone.
The motorcyclist hit the rope roughly 15 seconds after the rope was stretched across the road, according to the time code on the surveillance footage, and now the prankster faces a prison sentence of several years.
Ireland May Ban All New Gas-Powered Vehicle Sales After 2030
The Irish Government has reaffirmed its plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, as part of a new strategy aimed at protecting the environment.
In 2015, the United Nations agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and Ireland’s recently released Climate Action Plan details how that nation intends to achieve them. The greatest potential impact on Irish motorcyclists, according to Motorcycle Consumer News (MCN) involves halting the sale of all new non-electric vehicles by the year 2030, adding “It’s worth noting that nowhere in this plan is any mention made of motorcycles or other two-wheeled vehicles as having any considerations separate from those of all other vehicles.”
There is an ambitious plan to refine and develop an EV (electric vehicle) charging infrastructure throughout the country that can sustain 800,000 EVs by the 2030 deadline included, as well as possible consideration of an ICE (internal combustion engine) car scrappage program to be implemented as soon as 2020.
This is, according to MCN, partially in response to the UK potentially moving its 2040 ICE ban forward to 2032. At this point, nine countries around the world have plans in place to begin phasing out ICE vehicles in the very near future.
Norway’s approach of incentivizing its citizens to adopt EVs over ICE vehicles resulted in an impressive 52% of cars sold in 2017 being EVs, according to Reuters.
The city of Amsterdam has also come forward to state it’ll be banning non-electric vehicles by 2030.
Ethiopia Bans Motorcycles In Capital City To Control Crimes
Officials in Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa said a ban on motorcycle use will be implemented in the city starting from July 7, in a bid to curb rising criminality.
The capital city of an estimated 5 million plus population is generally considered a safe city, but rising incidences of violent crimes using motorcycles has alarmed residents and officials.
Mayor Takele Uma said criminals have in recent months been using motorcycles to engage in assaults and robberies, and that the motorcycle use ban was implemented in the city after a one-week long study revealed many criminal activities are done using motorcycles.
German Court Rules Sikhs Must Wear Helmets, No Exception
One of Germany’s top five federal courts has ruled that Sikh individuals are not exempt from country-wide motorcycle helmet laws. The ruling was in response to an appeal by a Sikh man, who had argued that he could not successfully fit a helmet over his dastaar, the traditional turban that Sikh men (and some women) wear within their faith.
Federal Administrative Court of Leipzig presiding judge Renate Philipp said, in his ruling, “People wearing a turban on religious grounds are not for that reason alone exempt from the obligation to wear a helmet,” according to Deutsche Welle newspaper.
One argument the court made against the man’s claim is that wearing a helmet doesn’t only protect the rider — it also helps drivers avoid trauma if they cause injury to a rider without a helmet, and that any riders wearing helmets would more readily be able to assist others in an accident.
Several countries have exemptions from existing helmet laws for Sikh motorcyclists, including the UK, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba. Around the world, in places including Australia and India, exemptions and even proposals for exceptions draw a range of opinions from both Sikh and non-Sikh motorcyclists alike.
Quotable Quote: “I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.”
~ Friedrich August von Hayek (1899 – 1992), Austrian-born British economist & philosopher
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.