NCOM Biker Newsbytes
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
Hawaii Approves Shoulder Surfing
Some places allow lane splitting, riding between lanes of slow moving traffic, and others allow lane filtering where riders can filter through traffic at stop lights and proceed ahead of other vehicles when it turns green, but as an alternative Hawaii will now allow motorcycles to ride on the shoulder of the roadway.
Authorities have been debating allowing riders to practice lane filtering, as opposed to lane splitting, but after much deliberation Hawaiian riders will get neither, and instead will be the first state to get shoulder surfing: House Bill 2589 will allow two-wheel motorcycles to travel on the shoulder in designated areas of state roads, when there is congestion.
In Hawaii, the lanes are narrow, which makes lane splitting and filtering a greater concern. The motion was approved, however, Governor David Ige (D) was initially against the idea, stating that the shoulder lane was reserved for stopped vehicles and emergency services. He considered that allowing motorcyclists to surf the shoulder would equate to higher risks of accidents.
Despite the Governor’s initial intention to veto the motion, on July 12th, 2018, it was passed by default, without the Governor’s signature. In Hawaii, any bill left unsigned and un-vetoed automatically becomes a law. Effective January 1, 2019 riders will be allowed on the shoulder on roads of at least two lanes in each direction and with a shoulder lane wide enough for a vehicle to circulate safely.
This experiment will also serve as an indication of whether this kind of measure concretely helps the flow of traffic or not.
Lane Splitting May Be Allowable In More Places
Although practiced by motorcyclists around the globe, lane splitting is legal in only one American state; California, though theoretically the practice could be permissible in 12 other states and Washington, D.C., reports RideApart.com; “California is the only state where lane splitting has any sort of official legal status, but that has only been the case since 1 January 2017. Before then, the commonly practiced riding technique was something of a gray area — not specifically legal, but equally not specifically illegal. According to attorney Michael Padway, lane splitting exists in the same legal gray space in the following states: Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia.”
So, perhaps the only reason people think it’s against the rules in the states mentioned is precedent, but since lane splitting is not necessarily protected it would be up to an officer’s discretion to determine whether the practice is safe.
Michigan Modifies Handlebar Height Law
Michigan recently became the latest state to modify or repeal their antiquated handlebar height law, which many states enacted decades ago to give police a reason to pull over bikers. Currently, Michigan law prohibits anything with a handlebar height over 15 inches (measured from the lowest point on the saddle to the highest point on the handlebars), but Senate Bill 568, signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder (R) increases the maximum allowable height of handlebars on motorcycles and mopeds from 15 inches to 30 inches.
“Motorcycles have changed drastically over the years and customization is very popular among riders,” said Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) who sponsored the legislation. “One area where they are often doing so is with the height of the handlebars to offer a more enjoyable ride…by allowing for additional rider customization that does not expose a safety hazard.”
Additionally, many motorcycles on the road today may not even be compliant with current state law.
In recent years, states like Wisconsin and Ohio have eased their restrictions; “I look forward to the governor putting Michigan on par with some of our neighbors concerning handlebar restrictions,” commented Sen. Jones, adding that some states have no height restriction at all.
Jones said the bill was brought to him by the group American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE) after a member of the riding community proposed the idea.
Interior Department Promotes Powersports
A new U.S. Department of the Interior summer video posted on YouTube and other social media sites features exciting scenes of off-road motorcycling on public lands, and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) is calling on all riders to applaud the efforts of the department and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR).
The Interior Dept. video, “Recreation’s New Look,” is the latest result of combined Interior and industry efforts to give outdoor recreation a new look for the 21st century, and one that clearly includes powersports.
“Along with Interior and the ORR, the Motorcycle Industry Council, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) have worked hard to make powersports an even more recognized outdoor activity on public lands and this new video really showcases that effort,” said Tim Buche, MIC president and CEO.
The ORR works to promote policy and legislative reforms needed to enhance the outdoor recreation economy, which accounts for $673 billion in annual economic output. Since early 2017, the MIC, SVIA, ROHVA and other outdoor industries have been meeting with Secretary Ryan Zinke and officials from Interior and the U.S. Forest Service to discuss ways to improve visitor experiences on America’s public lands and waters, including providing more and better access to trails.
H-D Shifts Overseas Citing Tariffs, Trump Lures Other Bike-Makers To U.S.
A few weeks ago, Harley-Davidson announced that it was moving some production offshore claiming it was due to President Trump’s trade war tariffs, stating in prepared remarks; “Increasing international production to alleviate the EU tariff burden is not the company’s preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the EU and maintain a viable business in Europe. Europe is a critical market for Harley-Davidson.”
To briefly recap: Trump enacted tariffs on imported steel and aluminum earlier this year, prompting the European Union to place tariffs on a broad range of American imports, including motorcycles. That, in turn, prompted Harley, already facing headwinds, to move some of its jobs overseas, announcing plans to open a motorcycle assembly plant in Thailand this year.
In response, according to a report by Business Insider, the President is now looking to foster foreign manufacturers in the US, tweeting; “Now that Harley-Davidson is moving part of its operation out of the U.S., my Administration is working with other Motor Cycle companies who want to move into the U.S. Harley customers are not happy with their move – sales are down 7% in 2017. The U.S. is where the Action is!”
Scotus Sides With Motorcycle Thief
It’s not often that a motorcycle-related legal case ends up in the U.S. Supreme Court, but as the result of a dispute over a stolen bike in Virginia, the case of Collins v. Virginia, 16-1027 focused on the Fourth Amendment, and whether or not police violated the defendant’s Constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures during a 2014 investigation.
Now, several years after the initial incident, the highest court in the land has concluded that the defendant’s fourth amendment rights were indeed violated when a Albemarle County, Virginia, police officer strolled onto the defendant’s (or rather his girlfriend’s) property, lifting a cover to reveal a stolen motorcycle.
In this particular case, the Supreme Court Justices voted 8-1 in favor of Collins, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor asserting the search was an “invasion of the sanctity” of Collins’ curtilage (basically the land/area surrounding one’s house).
Regarding the “automobile exception” which allows certain types of searches to be conducted on vehicles without a warrant since, unlike a house, cars can be moved at a moment’s notice, Sotomayor contended it “does not justify an intrusion on a person’s separate and substantial Fourth Amendment interest in his home and curtilage.”
So in the end, Collins’ “receiving stolen property” conviction previously handed down by the Virginia Supreme Court was overturned, though the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to close the book on the potential for Collin’s convictions to be upheld on different grounds.
Of particular importance to the motorcycling community, irrespective of guilt or innocence, ownership of a motorcycle does not invite an unwarranted search.
World’s First Motorcycle-Themed Amusement Park Breaks Ground
What could be more exciting than a theme park dedicated to motorcycle-riding, including a high-speed head-to-head roller coaster race?
To be identified as “Ducati World”, Ducati laid the first stone to the world’s first theme park dedicated to all the motorcyclists, young or old, that will include a showroom, children’s attractions, virtual reality and many more indulging experiences fully showcasing the Ducati brand in a larger than life format.
Located at Mirabilandia, the “Ducati World” will be the world’s first entertainment arena themed after a motorcycle brand. It will become a part of the Mirabilandia leisure park which is in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, the birthplace of Ducati.
It will be spread across 35,000 square-meters and feature a unique new-gen roller coaster that will “turn each visitor into a Ducati rider” as a major attraction. It will also be home to motorcycle simulators allowing visitors to have the feel of the road on superbikes and track machines going at full throttle.
The highlight of the amusement park would be a racing-inspired interactive roller coaster, which simulates a ride on a Panigale V4 with the power to control the acceleration and braking; “An authentic head-to-head between bikes roaring along parallel rails.”
A museum will showcase the rich history of the iconic brand, and of course you’ll have fine multi-cuisine Ducati and Ducati Scrambler-themed restaurants and Michelin-starred kitchens cooking delicious meals. The Ducati shop will give the visitors the opportunity to buy all sorts of official Ducati and Ducati Scrambler apparel and merchandise.
Gates to the “most engaging and innovative experience for motorcycling fans” will open to the public in 2019.
SOA Blamed For Rising ‘Biker Gang’ Numbers
We blame a lot on television shows and on movies…violence, sexuality, food – but we can apparently now add fictional dramas to the long list of things that are bad for us on TV, as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) recently released a statement that blamed the FX series “Sons of Anarchy” for the rise in “outlaw biker gangs’ numbers” in the province of Nova Scotia. The show ended four years ago, but it apparently keeps inspiring edgy riders to jump in the saddle and seek out their peers.
According to RCMP Constable Scott Morrison, the spirit of camaraderie is the big selling point. “They think the camaraderie is there based on the television show and they’re joining up,” he told CBC News.
Dutch Judges Ban ‘Homegrown Biker’s Gang’
In The Hague on June 18, Dutch judges banned a national motorcycle club and seized all its assets, ruling members had spread a culture of violence and criminal activities in the Netherlands: “The court in The Hague has decided today that the motorcycle club Satudarah is banned with immediate effect,” the judges said in their ruling.
The judges also ordered that the club should lose all its assets including access to its clubhouse.
The case had been brought by the Dutch prosecution service, as part of an ongoing clampdown on gang violence. Last year prosecutors successfully shut down the Bandidos MC when a court in Utrecht ordered all the club’s chapters to close, saying it posed a public threat. Dutch justices have also tried in vain several times to outlaw the Hells Angels as a criminal organization, but a new case against the club is due to be heard soon.
Quotable Quote: “It is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.”
~ U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Parker (1892–1969), American jurist
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.