Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
NCOM Convention In Orlando Stresses Unity
The underlying theme of the 34th annual NCOM Convention in Orlando, Florida, May 10-12, was “Unity” and welcomed back many past supporters and saw lots of new faces in the crowded conference rooms of the Doubletree by Hilton – Universal host hotel.
During the General Session, Outsiders MC member David “Double D” Devereaux, founder of the Motorcycle Profiling Project and member of the NCOM Legislative Task Force, spoke convincingly of the need for Unity in attaining our common goals, particularly in regards to state and federal anti-profiling legislation, and NCOM Chairman James “Doc” Reichenbach echoed those sentiments to the assembled representatives of hundreds of clubs, organizations and NCOM Member Groups.
One of the largest NCOM Conventions to date, this year’s gathering drew biker activists from motorcycle rights organizations (MROs) and Confederations of Clubs (COCs), as well as independents and other allied riders from across the country.
Motorcycle Profiling and “Save the Patch” were hot topics considering the recently victorious Mongols MC court case as well as the eventual dismissal of charges in the Waco catastrophe, while other important issues of concern to our nation’s motorcycle community included various legal and legislative seminars regarding RICO And Its Effect on Your Organization, Restoring Your Rights, Leadership 101 and “Share the Road” Motorcycle Safety.
Capping off a productive Convention weekend, the Silver Spoke Awards Banquet recognized outstanding freedom fighters; Congressman Tim Walberg of Michigan (GOVERNMENT), James “Hollywood” Macecari of Insane Throttle Motorcycle Magazine (ENTERTAINMENT), Jim Wear, founder of the Salute to American Veterans Rally (COMMERCE), with SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARDS presented to David Duff of ABATE of Iowa, William Bird of ABATE of Florida and Mike Friend of Bikers For Christ. NCOM’s highest honor, the Ron Roloff Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon “JR” Reed -1%er of Sons of Silence MC and Smitty 1%er of the Outlaws MC.
Next year’s 2020 NCOM Convention is scheduled for Indianapolis, and for more information contact the National Coalition of Motorcyclists at (800) ON-A-BIKE (662-2453) or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.
Support Federal Anti-Profiling Resolution In U.S. House
All motorcyclists are encouraged to contact their Congressional Representatives to ask for their support of House Resolution 255, a bipartisan anti-profiling measure introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that is identical to Senate Resolution 154 passed by unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate late last year.
H.Res.255; “Promoting awareness of motorcycle profiling and encouraging collaboration and communication with the motorcycle community and law enforcement officials to prevent instances of profiling,” was introduced March 26 by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and currently has 22 co-sponsors.
Both nonbinding resolutions, S.Res.154 & H.Res.255, call for cessation of law enforcement discriminatorily profiling motorcyclists by thwarting “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,” as profiling is defined by each resolution.
Concerned riders can contact their U.S. Rep. by calling the Capital Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and request that they join their colleagues in cosponsoring H.Res.255 to put an end to law enforcement unfairly targeting motorcycle riders for traffic stops, questioning and citations.
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Congressional Resolution
On May 1, 2019 U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) submitted House Resolution 338 in the U.S. House of Representatives; “Expressing support for the designation of May 2019 as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month,” which reads:
- “Whereas motorcycling is a great American tradition enjoyed by an estimated 27 million people annually, representing almost 9 percent of the population;
- Whereas motorcycles are a valuable component of the transportation mix;
- Whereas motorcycles are fuel-efficient and decrease congestion while having little impact on our Nation’s transportation infrastructure;
- Whereas the motorcycling community promotes rider education, licensing, and motorcycle awareness;
- Whereas the motorcycling community is committed to decreasing motorcycle crashes through training and education, personal responsibility, and increased public awareness;
- Whereas approximately 91 percent of motorcycles are operated on highways in conjunction with other vehicles;
- Whereas motorcyclist deaths occur more frequently than fatalities in passenger vehicles;
- Whereas motorcycle awareness is beneficial to all road users and will help decrease motorcycle accidents; and
- Whereas the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration promotes Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month to encourage riders to be properly licensed, receive training, and to remind all riders and motorists to always share the road: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives —
- supports the designation of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month;
- recognizes the contribution of motorcycles to the transportation mix;
- encourages motorcycle awareness by all road users;
- ecognizes that motorcyclists have a right to the road and that all motorists should safely share the roadways;
- encourages rider education and training for safe motorcycle operation; and
- supports the goals of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.”
H.Res. 338 has been referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and currently has 7 cosponsors.
Motorcyclists Among Those Benefiting From Public Lands Access
Recreation industry leaders and off-road vehicle enthusiasts applaud Congress for the passage of the Natural Resources Management Act, S.47, now Public Law No: 116-9 after being signed March 12, 2019 by President Donald Trump, affirming the existence and proper management of millions of acres of public lands and parks, including Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) areas, for years to come.
The law permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Every Kid Outdoors Act for seven years. Collectively this legislation will benefit thousands of parks, public lands, and waters as well as providing access to the outdoors to millions of off road motorcycle and ATV riders across the country.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is America’s most important conservation program, responsible for protecting parks, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas at the federal, state, and local levels. Many of the lands that NPT has transferred to the National Park Service were purchased with funding from LWCF, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, Glacier National Park, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, and Zion National Park.
The sweeping Act reflects the bipartisan Senate-House agreement reached near the end of the last Congress to bundle together over 100 individual lands bills, striking a balance between creating new opportunities for natural resource and community development with limited, locally-supported conservation. It will improve public lands management, protect treasured landscapes, and increase public access for recreation while protecting private property rights.
Last year, the government released national data demonstrating the importance of an outdoor recreation economy that accounts for 2.2 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product and directly supports 4.5 million jobs.
Mongols Fined $500,000 & Given Probation, But Retain Trademarked Logo
At a sentencing hearing on Friday, May 17 a federal judge in California fined the Mongols Motorcycle Club $500,000 and put the club on probation for five years following its racketeering and conspiracy convictions, but rebuffed yet another attempt by prosecutors to strip the group of its trademark protected back patch logos, citing constitutional protections against intrusions on free expression and excessive penalties.
Last December, a jury found the Mongol Nation as a whole guilty of RICO charges in a decade-long case in which prosecutors said the group operated an organized criminal enterprise. That jury further decided at the time that the government could seize the Mongols intellectual property, but in February U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter intervened and refused to approve the asset forfeiture.
Stephen “Bowtie” Stubbs, lead attorney for the Mongols, called the judge’s decision to not strip its identifying insignia a victory for all motorcycle clubs, but said that the $500,000 would be a “major burden” to bear for current members who had nothing to do with any of the alleged behavior of past members, and told NBC News that the club plans to appeal the entire case.
“The Mongols Motorcycle Club is very pleased that Judge Carter shut down another attempt by the government to limit symbolic speech,” said Stubbs, of Las Vegas, who is a member of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists Legislative Task Force (NCOM-LTF) and also serves as legal counsel for the Southern Nevada Confederation of Clubs (COC).
Prior to the sentencing hearing, prosecutors tried again, requesting the Mongols be prohibited from preventing others from using their image, which Stubbs said the judge also denied.
Show-Me Freedom Of Choice
Missouri is the latest state looking to give motorcyclists the freedom to choose whether or not to wear a helmet while riding, and hopes to soon become the 32nd state behind Michigan in 2012 to allow adult Freedom of Choice. The legislative package, including other transportation provisions, passed the Senate 21-12 on Thursday, May 16 and on Friday the House advanced Senate Bill 147 to Governor Mike Parsons (R) on a 94-46 vote.
If signed into law, SB 147 would repeal their decades-old helmet law and allow motorcyclists 18 and older the option to ride without a helmet, provided they carry proper health insurance.
Like Michigan, which shook off the sting of two previous gubernatorial vetoes of their helmet law repeal bills before bouncing back to amend their mandatory helmet law, Missouri’s legislature previously passed a helmet law repeal in 2009 which was vetoed by then-Governor Jay Nixon (D), and in 1999 a helmet repeal bill reached the desk of former Gov. Mel Carnahan (D) who vetoed it — members of Freedom of the Road Riders (FORR-MO) and ABATE for Missouri are hoping this time’s the charm!
“SB 147 has passed through both chambers, and only needs a signature from the governor (who can be reached at (573) 751-3222),” reports www.forr.net. “Yes, everybody Happy Happy,” commented Tony Shepherd of ABATE, a past member of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) board of directors, who has worked diligently towards passage with FORR-MO Legislative Coordinator Joe Widmer.
Connecticut May Extend Helmet Law From 18 To 21 And Under
Helmet laws vary from one state to the other, with some rules being more flexible than others, and at least until now motorcycle helmets were not mandatory in Connecticut for riders aged 18 and over. Prior to January 1, 1990, Connecticut was one of just four states that had no helmet requirement, but if passed House Bill 6161 would increase the minimum age for compulsory helmet use from Under 18 to Under 21.
HB 6161 passed the House by a vote of 113-13 on May 14th and is now heading to the Senate for consideration and vote.
Language instituting a universal helmet law for all riders was stripped from a larger bill, and although they still express opposition to any further attempt to mandate helmet use by adults, the Connecticut Motorcycle Riders Association (CMRA) has already claimed a victory in defeating that measure; but advocates hoping to finally reinstate Connecticut’s full motorcycle helmet law after 43 years still hope they can pass legislation next session, despite their setback.
Quotable Quote: “Freedom is never granted; it is won. Justice is never given; it is exacted.”
~ A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979) Leader in Civil Rights & the American labor movement
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.
About AIM / NCOM: The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) is a nationwide motorcyclists rights organization serving over 2,000 NCOM Member Groups throughout the United States, with all services fully-funded through Aid to Injured Motorcyclist (AIM) Attorneys available in each state who donate a portion of their legal fees from motorcycle accidents back into the NCOM Network of Biker Services (www.ON-A-BIKE.com / 800-ON-A-BIKE).