NCOM Biker Newsbytes
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
EPA Admits Ethanol Causes Environmental Damage
“The federal requirement to blend ethanol into gasoline on the theory that it will reduce the hypothetical global warming that hasn’t appeared yet has been a joke from the start,” states a newsbit circulated by Bikernet.com, and that “By adding a huge amount of demand for corn, it did push up prices for that commodity, and made vast swaths of the rural Midwest prosperous, though it has injured poor Mexicans and others who depend on corn for a substantial portion of their nutrition and driven up the price of feed used for animals, raising meat prices.”
The net energy balance of ethanol production – subtracting the amount of energy necessary to grow the corn, transport it to refineries, and then transport the ethanol to gasoline producers, has been considered a substantial net energy gain. But now the EPA has finally issued a new report and admits that the ethanol mandate comes at a considerable environmental cost.
The Public News Service summarizes: “Federal law requires the EPA to assess the environmental impact of the fuel standard every three years, but the new report, issued in July, was four years overdue. According to David DeGennaro with the National Wildlife Federation, the report documents millions of acres of wildlife habitat lost to ethanol crop production, increased nutrient pollution in waterways and air emissions and side effects worse than the gasoline the ethanol is replacing.”
“The bigger surprise is the fact that ethanol production and combustion significantly increases the production of nitrous oxides (Nox),” notes HotAir.com. “This combines with oxygen in the atmosphere when exposed to sunlight, producing ozone…and actually contributes to the formation of smog and leads to respiratory ailments for many people.”
None of this speaks to the excessive costs that ethanol forces on drivers and auto manufacturers, says Bikernet.com, concluding that; “Alas, the mandate is so popular with corn farmers in Iowa, home of the first round of presidential nominations, that President Trump (and other politicians) not only maintain the mandate, President Trump recently told an audience in Iowa that he was ‘very close’ to having EPA issue a waiver to the Clean Air Act to allow year-round sale of E-15.”
Synthetic Petrol Is On Its Way
The concept of fuel for your bike that doesn’t drain our dwindling oil reserves and offsets its C02 emissions with its very production is closer than we think, according to MotorcycleNews.com. “For decades, boffins have been trying to work out ways to synthesize petrol (gasoline) and diesel, but with recent strides by Ducati owners Audi and tech giants Bosch, synfuels could hit our pumps within the next decade.”
The theory is to harness our natural resources to make petrol and diesel and be able to produce it on an industrial scale so that prices can match current fuel costs.
“The new fuel has many advantages. It isn’t dependent on crude oil, it is compatible with the existing infrastructure and it offers the prospect of a closed carbon cycle,” says Reiner Mangold, head of sustainable product development at Audi.
A huge amount of energy is necessary to process the fuel, but Audi and Bosch’s plans involve a renewable energy source, such as solar or hydroelectric, to power the process. They say renewable electricity can make the process carbon neutral.
When combined with a potential carbon-free production process, it means internal combustion could be part of the environmental solution rather than the problem.
While all this might sound like science fiction, Audi produced their first synthetic petrol earlier this year, called e-Benzin, and is currently constructing a diesel production plant in Switzerland powered by hydroelectricity from a nearby dam. Mass production of this petrol is the next obvious step.
Accidents & Fatalities Down At Sturgis, Despite Bigger Crowd
The number of fatal crashes during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was half that of last year’s count, according to statistics released by the South Dakota Highway Patrol. During the two-week event, there were four fatal crashes, compared to eight during the same time period last year. Both injury and non-injury accidents were down more than 10% compared to 2017, and total citations issued during Sturgis were also down nearly ten percent to 987.
Meanwhile, more than half a million vehicles rolled into the small western South Dakota town of 6,900. Data gathered by the South Dakota Department of Transportation from nine locations around Sturgis show a nearly 8% increase in traffic over last year, which saw 469,100 vehicles.
For this year’s 78th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the tally was 505,969 vehicles, which includes motorcycles, automobiles, trucks and motor homes. Still, the number was shy of the 2015 traffic, when 747,032 vehicles rolled into the city for the 75th annual rally.
Motorcycle Industry Trying To Attract New Riders
Motorcycling in America is getting a makeover, as industry stalwarts and upstart competitors are trying to attract new riders who want something different from Harley’s big burbling cruisers or screaming Japanese and European performance bikes, says CNNMoney.
The changes are in response to younger riders who are attracted to the efficiency and fun of two-wheel travel, but who don’t want to buy into all the “biker” baggage.
“Millennials and Gen X’ers, they aren’t always seeking to make motorcycling a lifestyle, where it’s kind of everything you live for,” said Tim Buche, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council. These younger riders are looking for motorcycles suited to a more casual relationship rather than a serious commitment.
With shifting tastes, some start-up motorcycle makers are offering “green” electric bikes, without the noise, vibration and pollutants of an internal combustion engine, while more well-established brands are putting design emphasis on spare simplicity, targeted at a more casual rider.
Even long-venerated Harley-Davidson announced it will start offering products aimed at reaching customers who aren’t traditionally drawn to its renowned American retro-styled offerings, and will produce their first electric motorcycle — the all-new LiveWire — in 2019.
Harley Refutes ‘Misinformation’ About Moving Production Offshore
Harley-Davidson Inc. Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich pushed back against what he called “misinformation” surrounding the Motor Company’s announced plans to move some production overseas.
The iconic American motorcycle maker has been the subject of angry tweets from President Donald Trump since announcing in June it would move some production abroad to sidestep tariffs the European Union slapped on its bikes in retaliation to Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
According to Bloomberg business news, “the spat heated up recently when President Trump said he would support a boycott of the company if it moved production overseas.” Trump’s pronouncement that “A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never!,” came a day after he welcomed nearly 200 ‘Bikers For Trump’ supporters to his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, and a New York Times article cited some Harley-Davidson owners criticizing the company at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally saying this was their last Harley.
Levatich said that the uproar surrounding the company’s earlier announcement that it would move some of its production overseas “misinformation”. He reminded employees and dealers that the purpose of this move is to keep their products competitive in their second biggest market. Harley doesn’t sell motorcycles in the U.S. that are built overseas, and that won’t change, Levatich said.
New Mexico MRO Calls Out Sheriffs Deputies For Profiling Bikers
A motorcycle rights group in New Mexico is calling out the Bernalillo County Sheriff, claiming his deputies are profiling motorcyclists. “Being profiled, it’s not a comfortable feeling,” said Raymond Gallegos of the New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization (NMMRO), saying there’s been a string of incidents with BCSO, prompting them to write a letter to Sheriff Manuel Gonzales.
Some see the patches, the leather and certain colors on riders and assume criminal. However, Gallegos, vice chair of the NMMRO, says that’s far from the truth. “So many of our organizations really benefit the community. We’re working for charities, we’re raising money for this organization or that organization,” he told KRQE News 13.
Gallegos says members of the NMMRO have reported three incidents over the last year that call into question BCSO’s practices. It led the group to write a letter to Sheriff Gonzales that calls out the department for harassing, intimidating and even photographing riders.
So, NMMRO set up a meeting for July 30 with the sheriff. “We really wanted to see how our community and BCSO could work together to get ahead of this profiling issue,” he said. “That was the intent of this meeting with the sheriff’s department.”
However, the meeting was canceled at the 11th hour and the department told KRQE that there’s an ongoing operation to address reckless motorcyclists, but that deputies do not profile riders.
A re-do meeting has since been rescheduled, though NMMRO says it’s also pursuing anti-profiling legislation, and is encouraging its members who were allegedly profiled to seek legal counsel.
Waco ‘Twin Peaks’ Update
To keep readers apprised of the ongoing travesty of ‘Waco’ — the May 2015 shootout involving police and club members attending a legislative meeting at the Twin Peaks Restaurant that left nine bikers dead and 20 wounded — AIM/NCOM Founder Richard Lester would like to share the following information gleaned from Southwest Scooter News:
Prosecutors and an attorney for Jacob Carrizal, the Dallas Bandidos chapter president, have agreed to postpone the retrial of the Twin Peaks biker shootout defendant, which had been set for September 10, 2018. Carrizal is the first and only defendant to stand trial so far, and his first trial ended in a hung jury and mistrial in November 2017.
In a joint motion for a continuance, Robert Moody, McLennan County first assistant district attorney, and Chris Lewis, Carrizal’s attorney, cite the volume of evidence needed to be reviewed, plus evidence federal prosecutors have agreed to share from the separate trial of two former Bandidos national leaders that both sides want to see, according to the Waco Tribune.
Besides McLennan County prosecutors, attorneys representing defendants in federal civil rights lawsuits filed over the mass arrests of 193 bikers after the Twin Peaks incident also have cited the need to see federal evidence from a Bandidos racketeering case in San Antonio as a reason for postponing proceedings in the civil cases.
Prosecutors re-indicted Carrizal and 23 other Twin Peaks defendants earlier this summer on riot charges and have said they do not intend to pursue the identical ‘engaging in organized criminal activity’ charges on which 155 bikers were indicted three years ago. Of those 155 cases, with defendants being held in jail for months on a million dollars bail each, all but 27 have been dismissed.
In the meantime, as his term grows short, Waco District Attorney Abel Reyna — who failed in his re-election bid largely over his mishandling of the “Twin Peaks Shootout” cases — is settling old scores before leaving office by firing prosecutor Amanda Dillon, the last of Reyna’s remaining employees who provided information to the FBI during its investigation of DA Reyna, effectively blaming her for the mistrial in the Carrizal case.
Hanoi To Ban Motorcycles
Vietnamese authorities have announced plans to ban motorcycles in Hanoi by 2030 in a bid to cut air pollution and improve locals’ quality of life. The country’s capital, Hanoi, is home to 7.7 million people and is one of the most polluted cities in Southeast Asia and only 38 days last year had air quality that was considered good by the World Health Organization.
The city is famous for its millions of motorcycles (5m), and it is these — together with coal-fired power plants, heavy industry, a surge in construction projects and the seasonal agricultural burning — which authorities are blaming for the pollution.
In an attempt to combat the air quality problem and boost public transport, Hanoi city council announced in early August that powered two-wheelers would be banned by 2030.
Quotable Quote: “If you want to call the NFL to make your voice heard,” ask for Mike in the P.R. Office (212-450-2000) and “let them know the players need to respect our National Anthem and the Veterans of the United States. No profanity, be polite!”
~ from Gill Mellon, ABATE of California board member and liaison to the Confederations of Clubs
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.