NCOM Biker Newsbytes
First Twin Peaks Case Goes To Trial In Waco
Following more than two years of examining trials, hearings, motions to recuse judges and to disqualify prosecutors, appeals court rulings and a host of speedy trial demands, the first case in the Twin Peaks melee has finally gone to trial in Waco, Texas.
Jacob Carrizal, President of the Dallas chapter of the Bandidos, appears before Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court on charges of directing the activities of a criminal street gang and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity.
Carrizal is the first to stand trial of the 154 bikers indicted in the Twin Peaks shootout that left nine bikers dead and dozens injured while attending a Saturday, May 17, 2015 meeting of the Coalition of Clubs and Independents, an affiliation of motorcycle groups.
Many questions will hopefully be answered, at long last, including how much of the bloodshed was due to a biker turf war and how much resulted from law enforcement actions.
Authorities tightened security measures around the McLennan County Courthouse, including a metal fence around the 115-year old building, and black curtains over the windows, while attorneys have whittled down a jury pool from nearly 150 prospective jurists to 11 men and three women, with two serving as alternates.
“Lowest Figures On Record” For U.K. Motorcycle Fatalities
In a promising message for motorcyclists, statistics recently released by England’s Department for Transport (DfT) show that U.K. motorcycle deaths are down by 13%, the lowest figure since records began in 2006, despite an overall increase in motorcycle traffic last year and amidst the highest total of overall road deaths since 2011.
In fact, statistics from the DfT’s “Reported road casualties in Great Britain: 2016 annual report” reveal that motorcyclists were the only road user to see a decrease in fatalities from 2015-16, even though they rode 2% more to cover 2.8 billion miles.
AAA Claims Baby Boomers At Higher Risk On A Bike
A new report from AAA claims that the baby boomer generation that made motorcycles cool are now more likely to sustain life-threatening or fatal injuries in a crash than younger riders.
The organization, analyzing federal crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), says older riders make up a disproportionate number of motorcycle fatalities. The mortality rate for riders who are 60 or older is more than four times the overall increase in motorcycle deaths for 2015-16, says AAA, with motorcycle fatalities rising 5.1% while deaths among older baby boomers increased 22%.
Important to note, the increase in overall motorcycle fatalities is partially the byproduct of a corresponding rise in the number of motorcycles on the road, increasing to 8.6 million motorcycles in 2015 compared with 8.4 million in 2014, according to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) data cited by the organization.
Life Sentences Proposed For Killer Drivers
U.K. drivers or riders convicted of causing death by dangerous driving could face life imprisonment if new Government proposals are adopted to increase maximum penalties.
The move follows a public consultation in which 70% of respondents believed that the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving should be increased to life — the top penalty that British law offers.
Under the same proposal, the crime of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will also be increased to life. Currently, both offenses carry a maximum term of 14 years imprisonment, while the average sentence imposed is four years.
The Government also proposes the creation of a new offense of causing serious injury by careless driving, with a prison sentence up to five years, a measure supported by 90% of those surveyed.
The punishment for cases that involve mobile phones, street racing or speeding would carry a sentence equivalent to manslaughter.
The Future Of The Engine In Question
Some world governments are already acting to curtail or eliminate gasoline-powered engines, and now the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, has announced that he is also considering ways to ban the sale of vehicles with internal combustion engines.
During a recent public meeting on U.S. Climate Alliance in New York, Brown stated; “We’re doing something in the face of inaction.”
“Eventually, Washington will join with us, because you can’t deny science forever, you can’t deny reality. And the reality is climate change is occurring.”
With a zero-emissions mandate currently in place, California is one of the U.S. states that is fully committed to carrying out the objectives of the Paris Agreement — which is an ambitious project from the United Nations aiming to tackle the problems caused global climate change.
Gov. Brown’s announcement follows a similar diktat from the British and French Governments, reflecting plans to move to electrically-powered vehicles within the next few decades.
Self-Driving Cars Closer To Home
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a bipartisan bill called the SELF-DRIVE act, the first of its kind to drive the unmanned market forward by putting federal regulators in charge and barring states from blocking autonomous vehicles or setting performance standards.
This legislation would supersede state-by-state rules, making it possible for autonomous testing to proceed on a level playing field across the U.S.
If it becomes law (which still requires it to pass the Senate), then it would make it possible for companies working on self-driving to field a lot more vehicles per year – as many as 100,000 autonomous test cars annually, in fact.
The proposal would make it possible for car companies such as Ford, GM and others to bypass certain safety standards that currently apply to human piloted cars, including equipment and controls.
The Senate has also been working on its own self-driving bill, which may cover trucking as well.
California Measure Will Ensure Traffic Lights Detect Cycles
Two-wheelers will be detected by all newly installed and replacement traffic signals throughout California, as recently passed Senate Bill 672 will “ensure that local transportation agencies will replace current traffic-actuated signals during the course of regular maintenance and upgrade cycles to adopt motorcycle-and bicycle-sensitive signals.”
Existing law due to sunset provides that, in due course of maintaining or replacing traffic control devices, local governments ensure that the systems are set at a level to that can detect cyclists and motorcycles, thus this bill indefinitely extends these provisions without a specific mandate from Sacramento.
“Since I authored the original law ten years ago, this common sense measure has proven to be effective at making our roads safer,” said Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield).
Signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 3, 2017, SB 672 specifies that “Upon the first placement of a traffic-actuated signal or replacement of the loop detector of a traffic-actuated signal [responding to the presence of traffic detected by mechanical, visual, electrical, or other means], the traffic-actuated signal shall, to the extent feasible and in conformance with professional traffic engineering practice, be installed and maintained so as to detect lawful bicycle or motorcycle traffic on the roadway.”
Advanced by ABATE of California, the motorcycle rights organization says of the legislation; “Thanks to Governor Brown for signing this permanent extension,” stated Chairman of the Board Glenn Phillips, adding that “With over a Million Motorcyclists in our state, this legislation is imperative to protect riders on California roads.”
New York Measure Would Ban Children From Riding
Assembly Bill 8700 would prohibit children under the age of twelve from riding on a motorcycle. Introduced by Assemblymember Aileen M. Gunther (D-Dist.100), the bill states; “No person shall operate or ride a motorcycle on a public highway, road or street in this state with a child under the age of twelve on such motorcycle.”
A8700 has been referred to the Assembly Transportation Committee.
Help “Lemon Law” Pass For Riders In Pennsylvania
ABATE of Pennsylvania has issued a Legislative Call To Action regarding House Bill 74, a bill introduced by Representative Pam Snyder that would include motorcycles in the current PA Automobile Lemon Law. HB 74 was introduced and referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee. On June 12 the House Consumer Affairs Committee approved HB 74, and the measure is now facing consideration by the full House.
“Contact House of Representative members and ask them to support HB 74 to include motorcycles in the state’s “Automobile Lemon Law,” urges the state office of ABATE of PA. “You can call them, email them or visit them. But you have to do something if we are to have success in having HB 74 pass the House and be sent to the Senate for their consideration.”
Motorcycle Thefts Are On The Rise
The annual theft report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows bike thefts rose 2% nationally across the U.S. in 2016, with a total of 46,467 motorcycles were reported stolen, up from 45,555 in 2015.
For the second year in a row, California is the top state for stolen bikes, where 7,506 motorcycles were reported taken — compared with 4,482 stolen in Florida and 3,692 in Texas, the next most troublesome territories. Vermont had only 24 motorcycle thefts in 2016, the least amount of all the states.
New York was the most-plagued city, followed by San Diego, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, while Los Angeles County was the top county.
The NICB study reveals that the bulk of motorcycle thefts predictably occur during the summer months, when more bikes are on the street. August was the top month, when almost twice as many motorcycles disappeared than in December or January.
Some bikes are more popular targets than others or are simply easier to steal, and a disproportionate number are Japanese models top the theft list: Honda (9052 thefts), Yamaha (7,723), Suzuki (6,229), Kawasaki (5,221), Harley-Davidson (4,963)
The recovery rate for stolen bikes isn’t encouraging, according to the NICB report, with only 17,463 of the 46,467 motorcycles reported stolen in 2016 being returned to their owners, about a 40% nationwide rate of recovery. The recovery rate in Hawaii was highest at 94%, while the New York rate, at 19%, was the lowest in the nation.
By brand, Honda owners had about twice as good a chance of getting their bikes back than owners of Ducatis, which had only a 29% chance of coming home.
On a more positive note, bike thievery is down considerably — about 30% — from what it was a decade ago.
Philippine Government Seeks Strict Helmet Law Enforcement
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in the Philippines is seeking to strengthen enforcement of the Mandatory Helmet Law (RA 10054) nationwide. In a Memorandum issued Sept 6 to all governors, mayors and others, the DILG directs local officials “to implement said (Helmet Law) Act, and ensure that the provisions are strictly complied with.”
Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento directly addressed DILG during the department’s budget hearing in Congress and said he observed that several motorbike riders and drivers forget to use their helmet resulting in road accidents and deaths.
The Subject of the memo calls for the “Observance of the provisions of Republic Act No. 10054; an Act Mandating All Motorcycle Riders to Wear Standard Protective Motorcycle Helmets While Driving and Providing Penalties Therefor (sic).”
Quotable Quote: “A man wearing a helmet defending our country is more valuable than a man in a helmet defending a football.”
~ Seen on a T-Shirt
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