NCOM Biker Newsbytes
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
Butch Harbaugh, Gone But Not Forgotten
It is with great sadness that we report the death of longtime Freedom Fighter, Butch Harbaugh, former Chairman of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists – Legislative Task Force (NCOM-LTF), among other positions. Butch passed away February 7th from heart failure and cancer.
“When I began as the AIM (Aid to Injured Motorcyclists) and NCOM Attorney for Oregon back in the late 1980’s, Butch was actively involved with ABATE, and with BikePAC since it was founded,” recalls Sam Hochberg, AIM Attorney Emeritus, and now Of Counsel to Christopher Slater, Oregon & Washington AIM Attorney. “He spent many years as the lobbyist for ABATE, and was well-known, respected and liked by many in the legislature in Salem.”
A biker rights activist since the 1970s, Butch attended and helped organize many STEAM conferences and ABATE/BikePac planning retreats. He was a regular at many ABATE runs around the state, often helping AIM Chief of Staff “Gunny”, now retired, at the AIM/NCOM tables, and was known and highly respected in the biker’s rights community nationwide.
Butch also participated in many NCOM Conventions, and in 2003 was bestowed with the Ron Roloff Lifetime Achievement Award, NCOM’s highest tribute. This year’s 32nd Annual Convention, to be held over Mother’s Day weekend May 11-14th in Reno, Nevada at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino, will be dedicated in his honor.
For the past dozen or so years, Butch lived with his loving wife Laura in Rigby, Idaho, where he enjoyed riding his Panhead and was active in the home-brewing community. Always friendly, engaging and enthusiastic about motorcycles and biker’s rights, he will be greatly missed.
With the 32nd Annual NCOM Convention in Reno just weeks away, at this time the National Coalition of Motorcyclists is requesting that MROs, motorcycle clubs, and riding associations submit the names of those members and supporters who have died since last May, so that we may honor their memories during the traditional “Ringing of the Bell” tribute to fallen riders during the opening ceremonies. Dedications should be e-mailed in advance to Bill Bish at NCOMBish@aol.com, or can be hand-delivered at the Convention to “Doc” Reichenbach, NCOM Chairman of the Board.
NHTSA Seeks To Curb Driver Distractions
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing new federal guidelines to provide a safety framework for developers of portable and aftermarket electronic devices to use when developing visual-manual user interfaces for their systems. According to NHTSA and the Department of Transportation (DOT), their “Visual-Manual NHTSA Driver Distraction Guidelines for Portable and Aftermarket Devices” [Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0137] will “encourage innovative solutions such as pairing and Driver Mode that, when implemented, will reduce the potential for unsafe driver distraction by limiting the time a driver’s eyes are off the road, while at the same time preserving the full functionality of these devices when they are not used while driving.”
Driver distraction is a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention away from the driving task to focus on another activity. This distraction can come from electronic devices, such as texting or emailing on cell phones or smartphones, and more traditional activities such as interacting with passengers, eating, or events external to the vehicle.
The crash data indicate that visual-manual interaction (an action that requires a user to look away from the roadway and manipulate a button or interface) with portable devices, particularly cell phones, is often the main distraction for drivers involved in crashes.
In 2015, 10% of the 35,092 traffic fatalities involved one or more distracted drivers, and these distraction-affected crashes resulted in 3,477 fatalities, an 8.8% increase from the 3,197 fatalities in 2014. Of the 5.6 million non-fatal crashes in 2014, 16% were distraction-affected crashes, and resulted in 424,000 people injured.
At any given time, an estimated 542,073 drivers are using hand-held cell phones while driving.
Currently no safety guidelines exist for portable device technologies when they are used during a driving task.
Researchers Blame “Other Drivers” For Most Motorcycle Accidents
An Australian study states “failure of other drivers to give way” as the most common factor in motorcycle accidents. Research by Monash University in Melbourne has found that human error was the primary contributing factor for 94% of bike accidents. “Whilst with single-bike crashes, rider error and loss of control were found to be the most common causes, for incidents involving more than one vehicle, it was found that ‘motorcycle crashes occurring in lighter traffic more likely involved an error by another driver, including such things as failure to give way’.”
The motorcycle crash research studied over two hundred and thirty accidents between January 2012 and August 2014, with nurses at the hospitals and crash scene investigators aiding with the compilation of the data.
“Whilst car drivers were responsible for the majority of accidents in less-dense traffic, it was the motorcyclist to be more likely at fault for most ‘urban’ crashes and collisions however,” Trevor Allen of the Monash University Research Centre told The Herald Sun newspaper, adding that this was most likely due to the greater frequency of danger; “Higher traffic density leads to more hazards and a higher level of difficulty for riders to move safely in and among traffic, compared with other vehicles.”
The research also found that the older the rider, the less likely it was that the rider was primarily to blame for the accident. Read More