CROSSROADS CHRONICLES 125 - NCOM NEW BYTES
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)
MINNESOTA ANTI-PROFILING MEASURE INTRODUCED
A proposed anti-profiling bill before the Minnesota House would create rules to reduce perceived profiling of motorcycle riders and would require several law enforcement groups to draft anti-profiling practices when dealing with the riders.
Once drafted, law enforcement agencies would then have to train every officer and verify that with the state.
House File 59, “Motorcycle Profiling,” was filed on January 12, 2015 in the state House of Representatives and referred to the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee, and the bill stems from claims that police have been pulling over motorcyclists without reasonable cause: “Purpose. The legislature finds that the reality or public perception of motorcycle profiling alienates people from police, hinders community policing efforts, and causes law enforcement to lose credibility and trust among the people law enforcement is sworn to protect and serve. No stop initiated by a peace officer should be made without a legitimate reason; the fact that someone rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle paraphernalia is not a legitimate reason. Law enforcement policies and training programs must emphasize the need to respect the balance between the rights of all persons to be free from unreasonable governmental intrusions and law enforcement's need to enforce the law.”
The measure defines “motorcycle profiling” as “(T)he illegal use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related accouterments as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle with or without a legal basis under the United States Constitution or Minnesota Constitution.”
HF 59 is co-sponsored by Rep. John Petersburg (R-Waseca) who said that he signed on to the bill in part because he heard claims of profiling on the campaign trail. In October, he attended a forum hosted by American Bikers for Awareness, Training and Education, or ABATE. “Because they’re riding motorcycles and wearing motorcycle gear, they’re getting stopped,” Petersburg said.
A representative for ABATE of Minnesota told the Owatonna People’s Press that an anti-profiling bill was among the group’s top legislative priorities. Minnesota was the first and only state in the country to enact a biker anti-discrimination law; Minnesota Statute Section 604.12, enacted in 1998 states in part: “A place of public accommodation may not restrict access, admission, or usage to a person solely because the person operates a motorcycle or is wearing clothing that displays the name of an organization or association.”
S.C. BILL AIMS TO REQUIRE CHILD SAFETY SEATS AND BELTS ON MOTORCYCLES
A bill that would require babies and small children to be secured to a motorcycle with seat belts is under consideration by South Carolina lawmakers.
S.C. state Rep. Joseph Daning (R-Berkely Co.) filed legislation (H. 3040) that would require a standard, rear-facing child safety seat to be used for motorcycle passengers from birth up to 1 year of age, and for a belt-positioning booster seat with both lap and shoulder belts for children younger than 7 and weighing 40-80 pounds. “We take care of our children in cars, but they’re so unprotected on the back of motorcycles” said Daning, who added that the bill was prompted by constituents who feared an ex-spouse would ride their children on a motorcycle.
Rep. Bill Taylor called Daning’s proposal “government overreach” and said motorcyclists are a safety-conscious community, but child-safety advocates support Daning’s efforts. Only a handful of states impose a minimum age for riders, and South Carolina is not one of them according to the Children’s Trust of South Carolina, pointing out that 25 children required emergency medical attention due to motorcycle injuries in the state from 2007 through 2009.
ABATE of SC state coordinator, Ralph Bell, emphasized that there have been no fatalities of passengers under 7, and said changing the law would hinder charity events. Dennis Welborn, the state legislative coordinator for ABATE told the Morris News Service that “Its passage would cause much more harm than good," and in particular, mounting a child safety seat on a motorcycle would change its center of gravity, making it unwieldy, affecting its handling and braking abilities.
MSF CONTRACTED TO MANAGE INDIANA MOTORCYCLIST SAFETY PROGRAM
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has been awarded a four-year contract by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to provide motorcycle training, beginning March 1, 2015. The contract award marks the end of the state’s training relationship with ABATE of Indiana, which had been training riders since the 1970s. According to Jay Jackson, ABATE executive director, more than 125,000 students completed its courses during that time. The ABATE board of directors voted not to renew its contract.
The MSF will oversee Indiana’s statewide training locations, provide an Indiana-dedicated website and online class enrollment function and administer all aspects of training, including MSF’s extensive quality control program.
Indiana law requires would-be motorcycle riders to first obtain a learner’s permit, and then pass a motorcycle skills test or present a certificate of completion from a BMV-approved motorcycle safety course. After March 1, Hoosiers who pass the MSF Basic RiderCourse will not need to take Indiana’s on-cycle skills exam.
“We’d like to recognize ABATE of Indiana for their achievements in providing motorcycle training over the past several years through the state’s network of training sites and trainers,” said MSF Vice President Robert Gladden.
More than 7.5 million riders internationally have completed motorcycle training using MSF’s curricula in the foundation’s 40-plus year history.
Vehicle data privacy concerns VOICEd in montana
A Montana House panel recently heard a bill to give vehicle owners more control over the large stores of information now accumulated by newer cars and trucks, and motorcycles. House Bill 78, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Lynch (D-Butte), would give vehicle owners more control of that data by codifying provisions stating that only owners, lessees and authorized representatives can gain access to recorded data in the event of a crash.
Insurance companies already make use of telemetrics -- the many pieces of data that reflect driving habits -- but insurance lobbyists say they're willing to sit down with supporters and hammer out a bill that's agreeable to everyone.
This is just one of several privacy bills the Montana Legislature will consider this session and, if enacted, the law would become the nation’s strongest driver-privacy act.
GLOBAL MOTORCYCLE MARKET PROJECTED TO EXPAND
The worldwide demand for motorcycles is forecasted to grow by 6% annually to over 132 million units by 2018, valued at $120 billion, according to a 502-page study released this past December by Freedonia Market Research.
Four major trends will drive growth through 2018: 1- An increasing number of households in industrializing countries will be able to afford motorcycles as personal incomes rise. 2- Sales of electric bicycles (e-bikes) and other electric models are projected to rise sharply outside of China from what are currently very modest levels of demand. 3- Motorcycle sales in a number of countries will be spurred by government programs aimed at reducing environmental pollution caused by automobiles. 4- Market advances will accelerate in a number of important markets such as Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, the U.S., and Vietnam.
However, further gains will be restrained by slowing growth in China, the world’s leading market for motorcycles, because of the large number of motorcycles already in use there. Market gains will also be dampened due to substitution by consumers of light vehicles for motorcycles in China and other industrializing countries.
MOTORCYCLE INJURIES & FATALITIES ON DECLINE
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that motorcycle fatalities have dropped for the second year in a row, representing the largest drop in fatalities for any road user. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, motorcycle fatalities for 2013 dropped from 4,986 to 4,668; and the 6.4% decrease was the largest percentage drop of all vehicle categories.
Fatal motorcycle crashes involving alcohol dropped by 117 deaths, or 8.3%, also the largest decrease in the category.
NHTSA also reported a drop in the number of injured motorcyclists from 93,000 to 88,000, a 5.4% drop, again the largest decrease in the category.
Motor vehicle fatalities overall decreased by 3.1% from 2012-2013 and injuries declined 2.1%.
FEDERAL LEGISLATION REINTRODUCED TO CURB MOTORCYCLE-ONLY CHECKPOINTS
Motorcycle-only checkpoints would be discouraged under a bipartisan bill reintroduced January 8, 2015 by a group of senators in the new 114th Congress. The bill would prohibit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from issuing grants to states to fund motorcycle-only checkpoints.
Sponsoring senators say such roadblocks are discriminatory, where riders are specifically targeted by police to check that their vehicles meet state standards for noise, handlebar height, tire condition and other requirements, including helmet compliance.
The states of California, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Illinois, New Hampshire and Virginia have all passed legislation to prohibit motorcycle-only checkpoints.
CONGRESSIONAL BILL CALLS FOR ETHANOL STUDY
Once again, on January 6, 2015, U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) reintroduced a bill in the new Congress calling for further study of ethanol and its effect on internal combustion engines.
H.R. 21 would repeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s waiver decision related to E15 fuel and the authority of the agency to grant further decisions in the matter, until the EPA seeks an independent scientific analysis of the effects of gasoline containing up to 15% ethanol.
Sensenbrenner said, “Our constituents use boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, cars, lawnmowers and tractors. They deserve to definitively know what E15 will do to the engines they rely upon.”
No motorcycles or ATVs are currently on the approved EPA list for E15 use, and the use of E15 can void manufacturers’ warranties.
YOUTUBE VIDEO LEADS TO STUNT RIDER ARREST
A cop couldn’t corral dozens of reckless riders who took over a California highway, performing dangerous stunts and taunting the officer, but the marauders left an obvious trail on social media.
One stunter, armed with cameras mounted on the front of his motorcycle and helmet, filmed what turned out to be incriminating evidence that later led to his arrest.
The video, posted to YouTube and garnering over 1.5 million views, shows several brazen bikers popping high speed wheelies and buzzing a California Highway Patrolman, who is also on a motorcycle and attempting to pull over one or more riders before giving up due to safety concerns. As the officer backs off, bikers are seen exuberantly pumping their fists in the air in a short-lived victory celebration.
Three weeks later, following an internet trail including personal information posted in social forums, police busted the 32-year old stunt rider who recorded -- and shared -- video of the wild ride and arrested him at his house in Brentwood on felony accessory and obstruction charges, as well as a marijuana grow operation in his home.
“The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.”
George McGovern (1922 - 2012) American politician, historian & author