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NCOMNCOM Biker Newsbytes

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

Congressional Ethanol Bill Would Limit E-15 Fuel
A measure to limit proliferation of E-15 fuel (gasoline containing 15% ethanol) has been introduced in the U.S. Congress.  The “Growing Renewable Energy through Existing and New Environmentally Responsible Fuels Act” has been introduced in the U.S. House (H.R. 5212) by

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and in the Senate (S. 2519) by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM).

This proposed legislation intends to cap mandated ethanol content in the nation’s fuel supply at 9.7% and would stop the federal government from forcing E15 fuel into the market.  Capping the ethanol mandate would ensure continued availability of fuels deemed safe for motorcycles, such as E-10, since E-15 fuel is not approved for use in motorcycles and can damage fuel systems and void manufacturers’ warranties.

Harley Gets Reprieve As Europe Exempted From Trump Tariffs
Harley-Davidson is breathing a sigh of relief at news that the European Union will be temporarily exempted from America’s new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.  European ministers had specifically named the Motor Company, along with Levi’s jeans and Jack Daniels whiskey, as a target for punitive European import duties in retaliation against President Trump’s announced 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% tariff on foreign aluminum.

At least for now, the EU, along with Argentina, Brazil, Australia and South Korea, has been temporarily exempted from the U.S. tariffs, giving those countries time to try to negotiate permanent exemptions.  For other countries including Russia and Japan, the tariffs are set to go into effect.

Despite the exemptions, prices may still be driven up by the additional costs that Harley, and other American manufacturers, will encounter due to the new American import tariffs.

Appeals Court Strikes Down Gag Order In Waco Case
A Texas appeals court has struck down a gag order issued in a case arising from the 2015 shootout involving motorcycle clubs and police outside a Waco restaurant that left nine bikers dead and dozens more injured.

In a six-page opinion issued Wednesday, March 21, a three-judge panel of the 10th Texas Court of Appeals ruled that the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office had failed to make a case for the order.

State District Judge Doug Shaver of Houston had issued the order at District Attorney Abel Reyna’s request in the case of Matthew Clendennen, one of 154 motorcyclists indicted after the shootout.  The order prevented prosecutors, attorneys and investigators from commenting publicly on the case.

Clendennen’s attorney appealed, supported by media groups that included The Associated Press, arguing the order was overly broad and unconstitutional.

Deadwood Casinos To Implement ‘No Colors’ During Sturgis Rally
Following a February 16 request from law enforcement for the South Dakota Commission on Gaming to ban colors in casinos during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the commission put the onus on the city of Deadwood and the individual gaming properties in coming up with a solution, tasking them with “taking the lead” to implement policies to monitor potential increased bike gang presence during Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Deadwood Gaming Association (DGA) Executive Director Mike Rodman briefed the commission on the industry’s response plan at the April 3 gaming commission meeting in Deadwood.  “We believe that the best path forward to keep Deadwood safe is for each individual property to have their security and management teams work with the city of Deadwood and its safety officials on proper safety planning that takes their unique properties into consideration.  We do not believe there is a ‘one solution fits all’ approach that would be effective overall,” said Rodman in a letter to South Dakota Commission on Gaming Executive Director Larry Eliason.

The letter was drafted in response to correspondence from Eliason requesting proposals from the city and the industry as to how they would proceed to comply with the commission’s directive.

The commission asked for a list of DGA member casinos that will and won’t allow colors during the Rally.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown Signs Driver Accountability Law
Oregon Governor Kate Brown formally signed House Bill 2598, the Driver Accountability bill, into law on February 28, 2018, providing some relief for riders who are victims of reckless drivers.

“HB 2598 makes it a crime for a driver who recklessly injures a motorcyclist,” explains the Oregon Confederation of Clubs website, www.oregoncoc.com“This law also covers the passenger on a motorcycle.  If convicted, the reckless driver can be charged with vehicular assault and will have a Class A Misdemeanor on their record.  The punishment can be doing time up to one year in prison with a maximum fine up to $6,250.”

Great thanks to Oregon Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (AIM) attorney Christopher Slater, “who took a brilliantly simple idea and seeing that concept to its very end and conclusion.”

This will be a powerful tool to punish those who violate a biker’s right of way or otherwise injures a rider due to a driver’s recklessness. “Too often drivers have crashed into a motorcyclist getting away without even a ticket.  With this law, there will finally be some teeth in ensuring that reckless drivers who injure riders or their passengers will be convicted of a crime,” wrote Mike of the Oregon COC on their website.

Much thanks to BikePac and ABATE of Oregon for their skillful efforts of organizing the hearing testimony, and great appreciation for the riders that testified.

Female Riders Worldwide To Ride In Unison For “Female Ride Day”
Lady bikers around the globe will take to their motorcycles on Saturday, May 5th for the 12th edition of International Female Ride Day (IFRD).  Celebrations will be hosted in countries worldwide by women’s clubs, foundations and individuals, and the organization will host an open house at SF Moto in San Francisco featuring guest speakers, test rides and some of the latest motorcycle products designed for female motorcyclists.

Created in 2007 by Vicki Gray, a Toronto-based road and race instructor, IFRD’s purpose was to highlight and celebrate the tens of thousands of women who ride globally.  The event takes place annually on the first Saturday of May each year.

Other countries taking part in the 2018 event include Canada, the USA, Iceland, India, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean, Germany, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Japan, China, and Israel.

Sikhs In Alberta Exempted From Helmet Law
Turban-wearing Sikhs in Alberta, Canada will be allowed to ride motorcycles without a helmet starting April 12, joining the Provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia in granting the exemption.  For decades, the Sikh community in North America has been fighting to pass a legal exemption that would allow members of the religion to legally ride a motorcycle while wearing a turban, and not a helmet.

The exemption to the vehicle equipment regulation in the Traffic Safety Act was amended by an order from Transportation Minister Brian Mason, the provincial government announced March 29th.  Mason told CBC News that the province’s Sikh community has requested the exemption for the past 30 years, which applies to drivers and passengers over the age of 18 who are practicing members of the Sikh religion.

Mason said the exemption was granted at the request of the Sikh community as recognition of their civil and religious rights.

The Sikh Motorcycle Club of Edmonton says the law change is a “milestone and memorable day” in Alberta history, adding “This change will bring some new opportunities/businesses to bike repair shops/aftermarket accessories shops and Motorcycle Dealerships etc.”

Back in 2014 this issue came up in Ontario, Canada where lawmakers, after careful and calculated consideration, denied the request to allow the exemption.

Three-Wheel ‘Autocycles’ Don’t Require Motorcycle License
More and more states are adjusting their regulations towards three-wheelers that aren’t quite cars and aren’t quite motorcycles; like the Polaris Slingshot.  The latest state to do so is Mississippi, where all you need to drive a Slingshot is a regular driver’s license with no motorcycle endorsement necessary.

The new vehicle classification means residents of the Magnolia State can now legally drive “autocycles” sans motorcycle endorsement, thanks to three-wheelers that have traditionally been classified as motorcycles being re-designated as “autocycles.”  This makes Mississippi the 43rd U.S. state where driving an autocycle only necessitates a class C license, but you do need to follow the state’s motorcycle helmet laws if you want to drive a Slingshot.

Far-East To Reward Riders Who Scrap Older Bikes
Riders in Far East countries such as Singapore will be offered cash incentives if they de-register bikes that are more than 15 years old in an attempt to cut emissions and traffic congestion.  Motorcyclists who registered their vehicles before July 1, 2003 will receive cash incentives of up to S$3,500 (USD$2650) to owners who will de-register their pre-2003 registered motorcycles over the next five years, on or before April 5, 2023.

In justifying the new regulations, Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a statement that older motorcycles are more pollutive; “Those registered before July 1, 2003 – before the introduction of Euro I emission standards for motorcycles – emit up to about 10 times more CO and 30 times more hydrocarbons compared to a Euro IV motorcycle today,” it said.

After the incentive scheme ends on Apr 6, 2023, NEA will tighten the in-use emission standards of such older motorcycles.  After 2028, these motorcycles will not be allowed on the roads.

Appeals Court Sides With Cops Using Biker Photos To Lobby
Fighting a bill that would have allowed Floridians to openly carry guns, two Orange County sheriff’s deputies in 2011 moved forward with a plan to give lawmakers a glimpse of some people who might be able to pack heat publicly; such as outlaw bikers.

The deputies pulled together booking or driver’s license photos of “one percenters” — members of outlaw motorcycle clubs — who might be able to openly carry guns, and provided the photos to the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to the measure.

In the end, lawmakers did not approve a broad open-carry proposal for people with concealed-weapons licenses, but their use of the photos led to a lawsuit that resulted in a federal appeals court rejecting arguments by three members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club that the officers had violated a privacy law in using the photos without their knowledge or permission.

The civil case focused heavily on whether the officers violated a federal law known as the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, but the ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the officers, upholding a lower-court ruling that an exception to the federal privacy law covered lobbying, and additionally that the officers were entitled to “qualified immunity”.

NCOM Convention In Mobile, Alabama Welcomes Riders Nationwide 
The 33rd annual NCOM Convention is coming soon, so plan now to be a part of one of the largest gathering of motorcycle rights activists in the world.  This year’s 2018 NCOM Convention, to be held Mother’s Day weekend, May 10-13 in Mobile, Alabama, will draw hundreds of concerned motorcyclists from across America to “The Port City” to address topics of concern to all riders.

Agenda items will cover legal and legislative issues, with Special Meetings for Veterans Affairs, Women in Motorcycling, Clean & Sober Roundtable and World of Sport Bikes, as well as the Christian Unity Conference and Confederation of Clubs Patch Holders Meeting.

Among this year’s featured seminars, the NCOM Legislative Task Force will host a Mock Legislative Session to provide attendees with insight into the process of making laws; Jesse McDugald will present “You & Our Constitution”, and Slider Gilmore will discuss “What Successful People Do.”

For more information, or to register for the 2018 NCOM Convention, contact the National Coalition of Motorcyclists at (800) ON-A-BIKE or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.

Quotable Quote:  “The secret of Happiness is Freedom; the secret of Freedom is Courage.”

~ Thucydides (460-395 BC), Greek historian

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.

 

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