CROSSROADS CHRONICLES 123 - NCOM News Bytes
Compiled and Edited by Bill Bish
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.
NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
CITY IN WASHINGTON SETTLES PUBLIC RECORDS LAWSUIT WITH BIKERS
The city of Kennewick, Washington has settled with a Tacoma motorcyclist and a group of motorcycle clubs who accused the city of violating the state Public Records Act. The city will pay $45,000 as part of the settlement of two lawsuits and will release some of the disputed records, City Attorney Lisa Beaton recently told the city council. The city has not admitted any wrongdoing in the handling of the records requests filed by Edward Goehring and the Washington Confederation of Clubs (COC).
Both separately sued Kennewick after they claim they were improperly denied documents, including photos and videos, that Kennewick police took when they cited motorcyclists in separate incidents. Goehring was one of eight motorcyclists stopped by Kennewick police and Benton County sheriff's deputies in August 2012 and cited for traffic violations. And in April 2013, authorities stopped some motorcyclists from the Washington Confederation of Clubs and cited them for traffic infractions during a gathering in Kennewick. In both cases, Kennewick police pursued information about outlaw motorcycle gangs, according to Beaton.
The city, Goehring and the motorcycle club still disagree about some records. However, they agreed to have a third-party arbitrator review those records to decide which should be withheld or redacted and then released, Beaton told the Tri-City Herald. The $45,000 will come from the city's risk management fund. Insurance does not cover public record lawsuits, she said. About $12,400 will go to the WA COC, and Goehring will receive the remainder.
As part of the agreement, Goehring and the motorcycle clubs will dismiss their lawsuits with prejudice, which means they can't be filed again, according to city documents.
Goehring and the Washington Confederation of Clubs are represented by the same attorney group, Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) Attorneys Marty Fox and Mike Meyers.
CHIEF OF POLICE CANCELS OCEAN CITY BIKE WEEK "NO COLORS” POLICY
A.I.M. Attorney addresses Ocean City's No Colors Policy... GOOD NEWS (Sept 12, 2014): The Maryland Confederation Of Clubs Attorney Mitchell Greenberg approached the Ocean City Police on Thursday, Sept. 11 to address the “NO COLORS” policy stated on the Chief of Police Bike Week Rules and Regulations page on the OCPD website.
The matter was brought to a quick and friendly close including a personal call to Mitch from Chief of Police Ross Buzzuro who assured the Maryland Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) Attorney that all Clubs and Colors are welcome in Ocean City. Mitch in turn assured Chief Buzzuro that the leaders of each Club share his hope for a Safe and Incident-Free bike week. The OCPD also assured Mitch that the “No Colors” language will be removed as soon as possible and that Colors are welcome in Ocean City public areas.
NHTSA WAIVES BUY-AMERICAN REQUIREMENT FOR MICHIGAN RIDER TRAINING
Because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that American makers don’t offer a small and light enough motorcycle for a Michigan Rider Training Program, the agency has approved their request to waive federal Buy-American rules to allow the state to purchase foreign-made motorcycles for their courses.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning will now use government grant money to buy a fleet of 20 Suzuki training motorcycles, though so-called “Buy America rules” say NHTSA cannot award any funds “unless steel, iron, and manufactured products used in such project are produced in the United States.”
However, NHTSA is allowed to waive the rules if they are “inconsistent with the public interest” or such materials and products are not produced in the United States in reasonably available quantities or “the inclusion of domestic material will increase the cost of the overall project contract by more than 25 percent.”
Finding that “a cost waiver is appropriate for the twenty training motorcycles because domestically produced motorcycles would increase the cost by more than 25 percent,” NHTSA awarded Michigan grant funds to improve rider training.
VIRGINIA COPS SPIED ON MOTORISTS AT POLITICAL RALLIES
Documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia confirm that the Virginia State Police used cameras to track motorists attending political events. Automated license plate readers (ALPR) are used by law enforcement agencies throughout the country, ostensibly to fight crime by finding stolen cars. But a March 18, 2009 state police memo also documents the use of the “Help Eliminate Auto Theft” (HEAT) camera to identify attendees at 2008 campaign events for then-Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
It was not until 2012 that the state police chief asked for an official determination of the legality of the license plate reader program, and in a February 13, 2013 ruling, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli blasted the "passive" use of recording the comings and goings of innocent drivers who are not part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
"Its future value to any investigation of criminal activity is wholly speculative," Cuccinelli wrote. "Therefore, with no exemption applicable to it, the collection of license plate reader data in the passive manner does not comport with the Data Act's strictures and prohibitions, and may not lawfully be done."
TAG, YOU’RE IT
In a survey of 2,000 licensed adult men and women across the country, Carinsurance.com found that half or more of America’s drivers would support the use of special license plates to identify certain drivers on the road:
- 49.4% support license plates identifying drivers older than 70.
- 57.9% support license plates identifying novice drivers.
- 59.8% support license plates identifying those convicted of texting while driving.
- 69.1% support license plates identifying those convicted of a DUI.
ANTI-POLLUTION RULES IN SPANISH CAPITAL FAVOR MOTORCYCLES
New anti-pollution regulations in Spain’s capital Madrid exempt motorcycles during restrictive hours. Effective the first day of 2015, no non-resident will be allowed in the center of the city, but these restrictions do not apply to motorcycles, which are free to roam the center of Madrid.
Still the exemption is only valid between 7am and 10 pm, but it’s important to note that the mayor of a big city understands that bikes are a solution in the urban clutter and not the problem.
BIKERS VS. ISIS: “NETHERLANDS OKAYS BIKER GANGS TO FIGHT ISLAMIC STATE”
The Dutch public prosecutor has announced that “motorbike gang members” who have joined Kurds battling the Islamic State group are not necessarily committing any crime. Members of the infamous 'No Surrender' motorcycle club are fighting against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq, and public prosecutor spokesman Wim de Bruin told the AFP news service, "Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable, now it's no longer forbidden."
Many countries including the Netherlands have been clamping down on their nationals trying to join ISIS jihadists who have taken over swathes of Iraq and Syria. Measures include confiscating would-be jihadists' passports before travelling and threatening prosecution should they return.
"You just can't join a fight against the Netherlands," he told AFP after reports emerged that the Dutch bikers were fighting ISIS insurgents alongside Kurdish troops in the Middle East.
In November 1965, Ralph “Sonny” Barger of the Hells Angels MC sent a letter to President Lyndon Johnson at the White House offering tactical support for the war effort: "I volunteer a group of loyal Americans for behind-the-line duty in Vietnam. We are available for training and duty immediately."
SNITCH ALERT -- AUSTRALIAN BIKER REWARD SYSTEM DEEMED UNSUCCESSFUL
In October 2013, Police Minister in the Australian state of Queensland, Jack Dempsey, announced Queensland’s Crime Stoppers would be allocated $5 million in reward funding for information about criminal gangs or bikers. But so far only $1,150 has been paid out.
Dr. Terry Goldsworthy, Bond University Criminologist, said the information being provided has not necessarily helped the crackdown on bikers. “[Crime Stoppers] have received about 1200 pieces of information,” he said. “124 offenders have been arrested in relation to drug and property and weapon matters, but interestingly though, only 22 people can actually be able to have shown to have any links to any criminal organizations - it’d interesting to see how many of those 22 were actually bikers.”
Between 2000 and 2010 the Queensland police -- a separate organization from Crime Stoppers -- paid out $900,000 in rewards, and although figures weren’t available for Crime Stoppers, Dr. Goldsworthy said they’d be quite different to QPS figures. He said the reward campaign has not had the outcome the Government anticipated… “This reward system has been highly advertised, and to only have one successful pay out, indicates to me that I don’t think it’s a success.”
BRITISH POLICE APPEAL FOR INFO ON BOOBY TRAP
Police in Totton, Hampshire U.K. are investigating after a piece of thick string was found tied across a road at neck height, posing a distinct danger to motorcyclists.
It had been tied between lampposts either side of a residential street, and “The string could have caused serious injury and even a broken neck,” according to the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG-UK). “It was spotted by a passer-by at night time, when it would have been difficult for riders to see.”
Totton councillor Chris Lagdon said: “The morons responsible must be tracked down by the police and made to face the full force of the law. As a motorcycle rider myself I know how dangerous something like that can be. It was an atrocious thing to do and I’m absolutely disgusted that an incident of this sort has occurred in Totton.”
Mog Morrison, head of the New Forest Motor Cycle Action Group, said: “If this was some sort of prank involving youngsters I hope the police or their parents take them to one side and educate them about the potential consequences of their actions… This sort of thing has killed people in the past.”
Totton Police Tweeted following the incident on Tuesday, October 13: “Unknown persons have placed green string across Water Lane near Bagber Road. Any information?”
WEIRD NEWS: HORMEL MOTORCYCLE RUNS ON BACON GREASE
Hormel Foods Corp. headed out on the highway with a motorcycle designed to run on bacon grease. The Austin, MN-based company created a new marketing campaign in time for the International Bacon Film Festival in San Diego in late August, and rode the bacon bike from Minnesota to California.
America runs on bacon, and so does this bike -- getting about 100 mpg -- and the exhaust smells like bacon! Hormel and marketing firm BBDO Minneapolis sponsored the world’s first motorcycle that runs on organic biodiesel made of refined bacon grease, and a team of 12 travelled with a rider during the trip to document the journey for a film, “Driven By Bacon,” which was shown at the film festival this year.
Charlie Smithson of CSE Engineering and Taylor Bamber, Smithson’s work partner, custom designed the motorcycle based on a rare 2011 Track T-800CDI diesel model. Grease is an abundant fuel source, as hotels and restaurants in the United States generate 3 billion gallons of waste cooking oil per year, which could fill tanker trucks parked bumper-to-bumper from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. and back.
Hormel representatives say the marketing push is an exciting opportunity to spread the word about Hormel’s Black Label Bacon brand and the pig-powered hog will likely be used as a promotional tool in the future. Once the film is complete, the motorcycle could be displayed at the Spam Museum.
“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”
~ Government posters in the city of Chicago (1928) - original authorship unknown