NCOM Biker Newsbytes
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
BIGGEST LITTLE NCOM CONVENTION IN RENO
Like “The Biggest Little City in the World,” this year’s 32nd annual NCOM Convention in Reno NV may have experienced a slight reduction in numbers, but it continues to be the largest gathering of bikers’ rights advocates on the planet with hundreds of representatives from Motorcyclists Rights Organizations (MROs), clubs and associations across the country.
The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) board of directors moved to broaden the spectrum of programs aimed to assist bikers’ rights groups while expanding outreach to active segments of the motorcycling community such as the Confederations of Clubs, women riders, clean & sober, Christian Unity, sportbikers, tourers and veterans. The NCOM Legislative Task Force likewise took action to provide supportive services on the legislative front, while the Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (AIM) nationwide network of biker attorneys continually develops new strategies for litigation on a litany of motorcycling issues.
In addition to meetings and breakout sessions conducted Mother’s Day Weekend, May 11-14 at the Silver Legacy casino, the NCOM Convention featured seminars on Federal Anti-Profiling Legislation, Civil Rights And How To Protect Them, Driverless Vehicles, and a special presentation by Sr. EMT Instructor Slider Gilmore on “The Diabetic Rider”.
During the Silver Spoke Awards Banquet on Saturday evening, several honorees were recognized for their contributions to “Improving The Image of Motorcycling”, including; GOVERNMENT: U.S. Senator Jodi Ernst of Iowa; MEDIA: Scott & Denise High of Thunder Roads Magazine – Tennessee; LEGAL: Christopher Slater, AIM Attorney for Oregon & Washington; ENTERTAINMENT: Frank Fritz of “American Pickers” TV Show; SPECIAL RECOGNITION: Stephen Stubbs, NCOM Attorney – Nevada; and NCOM’s highest honor, the Ron Roloff Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to Boar, NCOM Liaison for Confederation of Clubs.
Next year’s 33rd Annual NCOM Convention will be held May 10-13, 2018 at the Renaissance – Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile, Alabama. For further information, contact NCOM at (800) ON-A-BIKE or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.
ANTI-PROFILING LEGISLATION FILED IN U.S. HOUSE & SENATE
A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers introduced a resolution to address the issue of motorcycle profiling and promote collaboration between the motorcycle and law enforcement communities. U.S. Representatives Tim Walberg (R-MI), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Michael C. Burgess, M.D (R-TX) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) led the effort in the House (H.Res. 318), and U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Senate version (S.Res.154).
“This bipartisan resolution should send a clear message to relevant regulatory and law enforcement agencies across the country: motorcycle profiling has no place on our roads. Instead, we must foster collaboration and cooperation between these agencies and the riders in order to promote safety and ensure all motorists are treated fairly under the law,” stated Rep. Pocan in a press release issued by Rep. Walberg, co-chair of the House Motorcycle Caucus.
“From coast to coast, Americans of all backgrounds responsibly ride a motorcycle as their means of transportation or simply to enjoy the open road. This bipartisan resolution aims to raise awareness about the reality of motorcycle profiling and foster an open dialogue between motorcyclists and law enforcement,” said Walberg.
H.Res.318 – “Promoting awareness of motorcycle profiling and encouraging collaboration and communication with the motorcycle community and law enforcement officials to prevent instances of profiling,” has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, and defines profiling as; “motorcycle profiling means 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.”
CONGRESSIONAL MOTORCYCLE CAUCUS SEEKS MEMBERS
Since 2009, the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus has provided a forum for members of Congress who ride to support motorcyclists “through education and awareness in order to encourage responsible motorcycling.” The CMC also “serves to ensure that the motorcycling community is treated equitably by Congress as it considers infrastructure and environmental policies, as well as safety and education programs.”
U.S. Representatives Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) head the caucus, and with the new Congress being recently seated the two sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to their peers in the U.S. House of Representatives soliciting CMC memberships from those who ride or have an interest in motorcycle issues: “We invite you to join the CMC to help promote these and other initiatives,” and in addition to promoting sound policy, “CMC members can help highlight the safety of motorcyclists through the recognition of Motorcycle Awareness Month, hosting and participating in industry fly-ins, drawing attention to the national ‘Ride to Work Day,’ promoting rider awareness and safety at national events — such as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Summer X Games — ensuring motorcycle safety is remembered in the transportation reauthorization process, and working to remind operators to be aware of motorcycles with whom they share the roads and highways.”
If he or she rides, please encourage your Congressional Representative to join the CMC by contacting Rep. Burgess’ office at 5-7772 or Rep. Walberg at 5-6276.
HISTORIC VEHICLE REGISTRATION
A federal bill has been introduced in the 115th Congress “to establish a program to accurately document vehicles that were significant in the history of the United States.”
The National Historic Vehicle Register Act of 2017 (S.966) was introduced April 27, 2017 by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and would require the U.S. Department of the Interior to create a register housed in the Library of Congress to preserve examples of historically significant automobiles, motorcycles, trucks and commercial vehicles.
This project is the first of its type to create a permanent archive of significant historic vehicles that would include short narratives, photographs and engineering drawings of each vehicle. To be eligible for the register, vehicles must be connected to a significant person or event in American history, have a unique design or be a rare model.
The Senate bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
LIQUOR SALES CHARGE AGAINST MOTORCYCLE CLUB DISMISSED
A North Dakota district court judge has dismissed a liquor sales charge against a Minot motorcycle club, following motions to dismiss filed by Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) Attorney Justin Vinje and the prosecuting attorney.
The Ice Cold Ryders Motorcycle Club had been charged with engaging in the unlicensed sale of alcohol at their clubhouse. A police investigation of a nearby disturbance during the morning of November 29, 2015, led law enforcement to peer inside the clubhouse during a social gathering.
Inside, officers saw a large number of people socializing and drinking alcoholic beverages. Law enforcement concluded that unlicensed liquor sales were occurring. One officer testified in support of a search warrant, falsely claiming to have also seen a cash register in the clubhouse.
Law enforcement received a search warrant and entered the clubhouse later that morning, seizing the club’s security equipment, sound system, coolers, alcoholic beverages, and paper documents. Law enforcement also froze the club’s bank accounts.
On October 6, 2016, nearly a year after the raid, law enforcement charged the club with the unlicensed sale of alcohol. A.I.M. Attorney Justin Vinje represented the club and requested law enforcement’s investigative reports. Those reports mainly consisted of an analysis of the club’s banking records and an inventory of items seized. The reports also revealed that law enforcement never seized a cash register from the premises.
During the case, a confidential informant with ties to local law enforcement contacted Vinje, telling the club’s lawyer that law enforcement asked her to attend club gatherings and wear a wireless recording device to capture proof of unlicensed alcohol sales.
The informant wore a wire and attended two club gatherings in the spring of 2016. A SWAT team stood at the ready to raid the club in the event of illegal activity. No unlawful alcohol sales took place, but the government failed to provide any records of this to the defense.
Attorney Vinje filed a motion to dismiss the charge, due to the government’s failure to turn over records related to the confidential informant’s activities. Vinje also filed a motion to suppress evidence from the search, arguing that law enforcement testified falsely about the presence of a cash register during its application for the search warrant.
Three days later, the government filed a motion to dismiss the charge, citing insufficient evidence to proceed and that dismissal would serve the interest of judicial economy. The case was dismissed.
NEW HAMPSHIRE REPEALS HANDLEBAR HEIGHT LAW
Without a federal standard, the regulation of handlebars on motorcycles rests with the states, and until recently New Hampshire was among more than 30 states that limit the height of handlebars.
On May 15, 2017 N.H. Governor Chris Sununu signed SB27; “RSA 266:77, relative to grips and handlebars on motorcycles, is repealed.”
The Granite State began regulating handlebars in 1967, a time when many state legislatures associated motorcycling with the counter-culture captured by films like “The Wild Ones” and “Easy Rider,” explained Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association. “Law enforcement pulled people over for high bars as a tool for probable cause,” he said in applauding the bill’s passage, adding, “I have never heard of handlebars presented as a safety issue.”
Unfortunately for attendees of this year’s Laconia Motorcycle Week, held annually since 1923 during the nine days in June ending on Father’s Day, the law becomes effective 60 days after passage, which will be July 11, 2017.
BILL ADDRESSES “MASKED” MOTORCYCLISTS BEING CITED IN LOUISIANA
Louisiana has a law prohibiting the wearing of masks in public, and according to an article in the Baton-Rouge Times-Picayune, motorcycle riders are being “pulled over and ticketed under the mask-wearing law because they were wearing helmets that concealed their faces.” Louisianans are banned from “concealing their faces with masks or hoods, except during Mardi Gras, Halloween or for religious reasons.”
Now a bill authored by Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), HB161, would revise the law to exempt motorcycle safety helmets. By all indications, the bill will pass, and it is currently pending Senate final passage. Speaking before the Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice, Rep. Seabaugh said his bill arose out of complaints from motorcyclists in his district who said they have been harassed by “overzealous law enforcement officers.” Riders have been pulled over at random, according to testimony by ABATE of Louisiana, claiming one officer in particular has targeted motorcyclists whose helmets and face shields concealed their faces.
Apparently recognizing the absurdity of ticketing motorcyclists for wearing helmets, when helmets are required by law, committee members unanimously agreed that the mask-wearing ban needs revision. They tacked on an amendment “clarifying that the exemption only applied to motorcycle helmets being used during a ride,” then recommended the bill for full House approval.
Rep. Terry Landry (D-New Iberia), a former Louisiana State Police superintendent, thanked the committee for supporting the bill. “I think it corrects a wrong.”
WEIRD NEWS: MAN ATTEMPTED SEX WITH MOTORCYCLE
A man has appeared in court in Canterbury, England for allegedly attempting to have sex with Suzuki’s most alluring model, a GSX-R. Mechanophilia, where a person is sexually attracted to cars, motorcycles, helicopters, ships, planes and other vehicles, is a crime in the U.K. and if found guilty, perpetrators can be placed on the sex offenders’ register.
The 33-year old chap reportedly exposed himself in public and tried to engage in a tempestuous relationship with his motorcycle, after previously being seen punching and kicking the bike on the same day. Apparently drunk and on drugs, he claimed in court to remember dropping his trousers but denied exposing himself and has pleaded not guilty to indecent exposure and criminal damage.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
–Harper Lee (1926-2016) author of the classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”