NCOM Biker Newsbytes
Biker Anti-Profiling Measures Under Consideration In Congress
H.Res.318/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,” was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on June 2, 2017. Concerned motorcyclists are encouraged to contact their federal lawmakers in the U.S. Senate & House of Representatives to co-sponsor and support these bills.
Under the companion measures in the Senate and House, “motorcycle profiling” means “the illegal use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle related apparel as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle with or without legal basis under the Constitution of the United States.
Federal Legislation Could Proliferate E15 Gas
Despite objections that the proliferation of E15 gasoline into the U.S. marketplace will negatively impact every American who owns a car, lawnmower or boat, two new federal bills have been introduced to expand availability of the higher concentrate ethanol fuel.
Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) and U.S. Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced the “Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act” (S.517 & H.R.1311) amending the Clean Air Act to allow the sale of E15 (15% blend ethanol gas) during summer months (June 1 – September 15).
Motorcycle and ATV owners risk damaging their machines by even inadvertently putting E15 in their tanks, as the higher blends of ethanol can cause engine and fuel system damage, void manufacturers’ warranties and violate federal law.
Motorcyclists should also be concerned about the availability of compatible fuel supplies if gas stations primarily provide E15 gasoline that’s EPA-approved for the majority of their driving customers — but no on- or off-road motorcycles or ATVs appear on the EPA’s list of vehicles approved to use E15.
Zero Motorcycles New “Don’t Wait For Washington” E-Bike Program
The recently launched program was created to advocate for electric motorcycles and assure buyers they will get the Electric Motorcycle Federal Tax Credit. “Don’t Wait For Washington” assures “up to $1,869 on a Zero motorcycle if the government fails to reinstate the Electric Motorcycle Tax Credit.”
The initiative serves the dual purposes of driving the conversation on electric motorcycles forward while legislation languishes in Washington, and of motivating would-be electric motorcycle riders to join the e-movement.
Should the federal government fail to reinstate the tax credit by the end of the year, then Zero will step up and send 10% cash back to buyers, matching the expired tax credit for new, eligible 2017 Zero motorcycles.
Mainstream Media Promotes Ridership
According to the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), a not-for-profit national trade association, their 2014 rider survey reports that “56% of Generation Y riders use their motorcycles as a primary means of transportation,” and that factoid recently appeared in a Ride To Work Day graphic on the front page of the June 19 edition of USA Today’s Life section.
“This major mainstream media placement is especially significant to the MIC as the industry association is actively promoting motorcycles as transportation and seeking new generations of riders,” says the MIC communications department, which has previously worked on Ride to Work Day segments with “Good Morning America,” ABC’s national morning news show, and with “The KTLA Morning News,” the biggest morning news program in Southern California.
The MIC exists to “preserve, protect and promote motorcycling through government relations, communications and media relations, statistics and research, aftermarket programs, AIMExpo, development of data communications standards, and activities surrounding technical and regulatory issues.”
Louisiana To Teach New Licensees How To Interact With Police
Louisiana Governor Bel Edwards has signed into law a requirement that driver education classes must include a segment on interacting with police in their course curriculum.
Introduced by Senators Ryan Gatti (R-Bossier), Wesley Bishop (D-New Orleans) and Gary Smith Jr. (D-Norco) on March 20, 2017, SB17 “Provides for driver education to include instruction on appropriate driver conduct when stopped by a law enforcement officer.”
The bipartisan measure was signed by the governor on June 16 as Act No. 286 with an effective date of January 1, 2018.
Handlebar Height Law Modified In Maryland
Maryland has become the most recent state to modify or repeal their antiquated and discriminatory handlebar height law, which many states enacted in the sixties to provide a law enforcement tool for pulling over bikers on their choppers.
Governor Larry Hogan approved Senate Bill 668 on May 25, 2017; “Increasing, from 15 inches to 20 inches, the maximum height that the handlebars of a motorcycle may be above a specified part of the motorcycle seat in order for a person to lawfully operate the motorcycle.”
SB668 was introduced February 3, 2017 by lead sponsor Senator H. Wayne Norman, Jr. (R-D35) and becomes effective October 1, 2017, and ABATE of Maryland advises to “Remember that the height is measured from the seat to the highest point on the handlebars, not from the bottom of the handlebar to the grips or highest point.”
New Hampshire Okays Colored Headlamps For Motorcycles, Same As Cars
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed HB458 into law on June 8, 2017, an Act relative to motorcycle headlamps. Sponsored by Rep. James Spillane (R-Deerfield), “This bill allows headlamp colors approved by the director of the division of motor vehicles for automobiles to be considered approved for motorcycle headlamps,” with an effective date 60 days after its passage (August 7, 2017).
Oregon Enacts Laws Effecting Trikes & Autocycles
In dealing with the increased popularity of three-wheeled vehicles, Oregon lawmakers have passed two new laws to make it easier for riders to get in the saddle. House Bill 3125 was signed into law by Governor Kate Brown on June 14, 2017 to define an “autocycle” and provides that a person may operate one without a motorcycle endorsement. The Act takes effect immediately under the Emergency clause.
Sponsored by the Committee on Transportation Policy, under HB3125 “autocycle” means a motorcycle that: (1) Is manufactured to travel on three wheels; (2) Has a steering wheel for steering control; and (3) Has nonstraddle seating, and (4) is equipped with a manufacturer-installed three-point safety belt or safety harness.
Senate Bill 36 “Provides that Department of Transportation may waive skills test for person seeking motorcycle endorsement to operate three-wheeled motorcycle [trike],” and was also signed by the governor on June 14.
License Plate Mounting Options For South Dakota Riders
Effective July 1, 2017, motorcycle owners in South Dakota will be allowed to mount license plates to their motorcycle “in any visible manner other than upside down.”
Governor Dennis Daugaard signed Senate Bill 79 into law on March 9, after overwhelmingly passing through both chambers of the state legislature.
Fair Warning: Most Drivers Know They’re Bad Drivers
Millions of drivers admit that they don’t always make thorough mirrors checks when pulling away, according a driver survey, with 25% admitting they don’t look in their mirrors when pulling out into traffic.
Of 2,025 drivers polled, 15% admitted not always looking at road signs, 68% admit rarely driving with both hands on the wheel, and over half (52%) believed bad habits such as these would ensure they failed the driving test if they had to do it again.
Too many people are injured on the roads due to poor judgment and a lack of road skills says David Carter, spokesman for Accident Advice Helpline in the U.K., which conducted the research, adding: “It is worrying that more people don’t feel confident in their own skills on the road and feel that they’ve developed bad habits which would cause them to not pass their driving test.”
Gone But Never Forgotten
This year has been tragic for our bikers rights family, suffering the loss of two past NCOM Board of Directors; Butch Harbaugh (NCOM Legislative Task Force) and Dennis “Big D” Watson (NCOM Region IX), both recipients of the Ron Roloff Lifetime Achievement Award (2003 & 2006) in whose memory the recent National Coalition of Motorcyclists’ NCOM Convention in Reno was dedicated, and now we regretfully report the passing of longtime biker advocate and Easyriders magazine writer “Twiggy” Blakeboro (73, of Lompoc, CA) who died June 11, 2017. Twiggy was much beloved by his peers and was a past recipient of the NCOM Silver Spoke Award – Media (1997). “Nuff said.” R.I.P. Brothers, Ride In Peace.
“If not me, then who?”
~ USMC 1st Lt Travis Manion (Nov 19, 1980 – April 29, 2007), upon his second Iraq tour; KIA saving his men from ambush (TravisManion.org)
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.