NCOM Biker Newsbytes
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
President Trump Authorizes EPA To Make E-15 Fuel Available Year-Round
President Donald Trump has given the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to lift current restrictions on E-15 gas (containing 15% ethanol) to allow year-round sales of the higher ethanol blend. Following the federal rulemaking process and public comment period, the expanded sales are expected to begin during the summer of 2019.
In 1978, a Clean Air Act waiver allowed the use of 10 volume percent ethanol in gasoline (E-10), and today almost all fuels are E-10 blends. In June 2011, EPA approved a partial waiver for blends of 15 vol% ethanol in gasoline for use in model year 2001 and newer passenger cars, light-trucks and medium-duty vehicles. However, the EPA does not approve the use of E-15 in small engines such as motorcycles or ATVs, and its use can damage vehicles and void manufacturer warranties.
Currently, gasoline retailers throughout most of the country are prohibited from offering E-15 during the summer months. The President’s directive to the EPA is to change that.
CHP To Address Motorcycle Safety With Federal Funds
The California Highway Patrol is using a federal grant to promote motorcycle safety throughout the state, with the goal of reducing the most dangerous traffic violations which they say are speeding, improper turning, and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
There are more than 1.4 million people with a motorcycle license in the state. The education campaign is called GEARS, or Get Educated And Ride Safe.
The year-long campaign will include the CHP deploying officers on enhanced motorcycle safety enforcement operations in regions with a high number of motorcycle incidents. There will be a series of motorcycle traffic safety education campaigns, including the May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Officers plan to stress the use of properly approved helmets for all riders and raise motorists’ awareness of sharing the road with motorcyclists.
According to provisional data from 2017, the number of motorcycle accident victims shows a 6% decrease compared to the previous year.
ABS Is Now Mandatory For New Bikes In Japan
In an effort to reduce the number of traffic-related motorcycle accidents and fatalities, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) made amendments to the country’s safety standards for road transport back in January, 2015, including the requirement for all new motorcycles, 125cc or larger, to be equipped with standard Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) effective on October 1, 2018.
Additionally, newly launched two-wheelers from 125cc and below must come with either ABS or CBS (Combined Braking System, which allows simultaneous front and rear brake application with a single input). Continuous production motorcycles have until October 1, 2021 to comply.
Dirt bikes specifically designated for off-road use and competition are exempted from the law.
Europe has had ABS laws since 2016, and India’s obligatory braking system regulations came into effect earlier this year. Taiwan and China are expected to follow in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Here in the U.S., the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has made recommendations to the federal government to enforce the same measures, while countries like Australia and Brazil are also considering similar regulations.
As more countries get on board, vendors around the world have reportedly been bracing themselves for possible slowdowns in motorcycle sales due to higher manufacturing costs.
Philippine Police Seize Modified Motorcycles & Accessories
The past few months have been very busy for law enforcement officers in the Philippines, where police have apprehended traffic violators, cited smoke belching vehicles, and impounded erring motorcycle riders’ property.
Among those apprehended were motorcycles fitted with certain modifications, which have been serving as a bone of contention for both riders and enforcers, according to MotoPinas.com. Among those accessories confiscated were auxiliary LED lighting systems, aftermarket mufflers, aftermarket side mirrors, and upgraded brakes which aren’t compliant with Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) guidelines.
The Motorcycle Rights Organization (MRO-Philippines) suggests that when apprehended for fitting illegal accessories, refuse the order to remove your accessories and insist the apprehending officer remove the accessories from your motorcycle “because as far as the LTO (Land Transportation Office) is concerned, you are within set regulations,” adding “Do not argue with the apprehending officers. There is always a proper/lawful venue for contesting the apprehension.”
Driver Found Guilty Of Homicide In Racer Nicky Hayden’s Fatal Crash
On May 17, 2017, a speeding driver struck renowned MotoGP motorcycle racer Nicky Hayden as he was riding a bicycle in Italy, tragically passing away from his injuries five days later. Nearly a year and a half later, we have learned that the driver was charged with murder.
The unidentified 31-year-old driver at the wheel of a Peugeot 206 was reportedly driving at roughly 43 miles per hour (70 kph) in a 30 zone. Although Hayden was zipping down a crossing street and ran through the intersection, the judge in charge of the ruling considers had the driver respected the speed limit, he would have had time to react to Hayden’s presence.
The driver has been found guilty of “road homicide” and sentenced to a year in prison. His license has also been revoked and he will be expected to pay all the court fees. The driver’s attorney has said they will appeal the ruling.
The driver is not only facing a criminal sentence but also a civil lawsuit, as Hayden’s family is suing the driver for $6 Million, the maximum covered by the Italian insurance policy.
Nicknamed “The Kentucky Kid”, 35-year-old Nicky Hayden began his career in MotoGP in 2003 with Repsol Honda and went on to win the MotoGP championship in 2006. He also competed in American dirt track racing, winning a few Grand National events. Hayden continued racing in MotoGP through 2015, competing for Ducati Team (2009-2013) and Aspar Honda (2014-2015). Hayden made the jump to the World Superbike Championship for the 2016 season, becoming the sole American in the series until his untimely death last May.
Motorcycle Racing Incident May End Up In Court
Moto2 rider Romano Fenati was disqualified after he astonishingly grabbed the brake of rival motorcycle racer Stefano Manzi at high speed during a mid-September race in Misano, Italy, and has since been banned for two races, the FIM racing authority suspended his license, and his team contract has been cancelled.
But now the fallout from the disgraced racer’s brake-grabbing incident continues, with Italian news agency ANSA reporting he could now face a charge of “private violence.”
The Public Prosecutor of Rimini (in Italy) is said to have opened the investigation for the less serious charge, rather than that of “attempted murder.”
“Private violence” is akin to a motorist cutting off another driver on the road. However, the use of such a charge for competitors in a motor race would set a very worrying precedent.
Fenati pulled Manzi’s front brake after the pair had clashed repeatedly during their home race, and although extremely dangerous, both riders remained upright.
Trade Deal Nets Cheaper Motorcycles For EU, But Brexit Rules Out Brits
A trade agreement between Japan and the European Union could spell disaster for British bike buyers, as the British Motorcyclists Federations (BMF) reports that the deal removes common EU external customs tariffs from Japanese manufacturers’ imports.
Under the EU-Japan Economic Partnership signed earlier this year, the 6% tariff affecting motorcycles will be abolished over the next five years — meaning cheaper bikes for EU buyers. European consumers will also benefit from common standards of type approval on product safety as well as emissions.
However, this free trade deal is unlikely to apply to the UK due to Brexit, with that country’s exit from the EU. EU-based manufacturers will also enjoy more competitive access to the Japanese market, while those in the UK will continue to face tariff constraints.
But Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe did recently state that Japan would welcome Britain with “open arms” to the 11 country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), though the timeframe is not likely to be soon.
So while EU riders look to benefit from less expensive bikes and Japanese-standard type approval, Brits are still in the dark as to what this means…
Singapore Biker Groups Aggrieved By Ban On Older Motorcycles
When the National Environment Agency (NEA) announced on April 6 that motorcycles registered before July 1, 2003 would be banned from the roads after June 30, 2028, many riders’ dreams of having an older classic motorcycle or “hand down our precious bikes to our children,” went “down the drain.”
Calling it a “Plain injustice,” bikers say the ban “will push rare, vintage bikes into oblivion.”
The NEA told ChannelNewsAsia that the government is trying to reduce emissions from some 27,000 older motorcycles as part of a push to meet Singapore’s air quality targets by 2020. Owners of older motorcycles have been offered up to S$3,500 to de-register their bikes within the next five years. Beyond that, emission standards for such motorcycles will be tightened, before the 2028 ban kicks in.
These initiatives come as NEA figures indicate that older bikes emit up to 30 times more pollutants than new bikes, and contribute 40% of the total carbon monoxide emitted by motorcycles on the road. Bikers counter that all motorcycles, regardless of age, must pass inspection and emissions testing, though older bikes are subject to less stringent standards.
Explaining its rationale for the July 1, 2003 cut-off date, NEA said Singapore adopted Euro 1 type approval standards for new motorcycles on that date. Motorcycles registered before that are more pollutive than newer models which comply with the Euro 4 standard.
Some of these bikes, however, may be able to stay on the roads even after the ban — provided they are converted under the Classic Vehicle Scheme, which allows vehicles to be used for up to 45 days in a calendar year. But the catch is that to qualify for the scheme, the bikes must be at least 35 years old; meaning that when the ban begins in 2028, affected bikes registered after June 1993 will not qualify…so “nearly two decades of bikes will be destroyed…put into storage…or exported.”
Dumb News: Youtube Posting Gets Man 1-Year Motorcycle Ban
A motorcycle rider who ran from police at speeds up to 143 mph was caught when his own helmet cam video posting was spotted on YouTube. The rider had fled from a St. Charles, ILL officer who spotting him making an illegal turn and riding a bike without a registration plate, according to a report in the Daily Herald.
The incident was included in a compilation video of motorcycles running from police that was posted to the FailsandFlights YouTube account, and shows the elusive motorcyclist waiting at a red light, turn his head toward the officer who is signaling for him to shut the motorcycle off, but instead pulls away through several stopped cars, runs the light and accelerates down the road.
At one point, the video displayed a link to the film star’s personal YouTube page, which investigators used, along with his other social media channels, to track him down and make an arrest. He was charged with several felonies, but agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor reckless driving and will perform 100 hours of community service and cannot own or ride a motorcycle for one year.
Quotable Quote: “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
~John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) sixth U.S. President
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.