NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
DESPITE PANDEMIC, MOTORCYCLISTS MEASURE SUCCESSES
“Even in the middle of a global pandemic, we’ve succeeded in getting pro-motorcycle legislation passed and advanced our political agenda,” said National Coalition of Motorcyclists’ Legislative Task Force Chairman Frank Ernst to open the LTF Meeting during the recent NCOM Convention in Indianapolis, Oct. 16-18, 2020.
In reviewing a legion of legislative victories over the past year, Ernst highlighted the fact that determined and resourceful bikers successfully lobbied to repeal a mandatory helmet law in Missouri and passed anti-profiling in Idaho, all the while dealing with the worldwide spread of Coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns, social distancing, travel restrictions, and related complications.
A few months later, on July 14, the “Show-Me” state showed the biker world how persistence and perseverance pays off by passing H.B. 1963 to repeal their helmet requirement for most adult riders 26 and older, on their fifth attempt since 1999
Additionally, the biker lobby worked with Congress to include several motorcycle-friendly provisions in the massive $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill, H.R.2 “Moving Forward Act,” including further prohibitions against motorcycle-only checkpoints, expanding profiling restrictions based on mode of transportation or style of dress, and furthering riders’ future advisory role with Congress. While this legislation will need a reboot with the new Congressional Session, bikers also succeeded in getting many key legislators re-elected to make the mission easier to accomplish with the new Senate and House.
Riders’ rights activists from across the country went on to present the gathering with their own examples of legal and legislative accomplishments despite the odds and obstacles. “If we can rise above a deadly plague to effectively promote our issues, imagine what we can accomplish when life gets back to normal,” summed up Ernst to conclude the productive Convention forum.
Stay tuned to www.ON-A-BIKE.com
for details on next year’s 36th annual NCOM Convention.
MOTORCYCLE SALES CONTINUE TO ROLL
The good times keep rolling, as the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) reports a new-model sales increase for the third quarter this year. Year-to-date sales of new motorcycles and scooters through September increased 10.2% compared to the same period last year.
Erik Pritchard, MIC President and CEO, directed a message specifically to the thousands of people who work in powersports across the nation: “Many of us have faced tremendous challenges and genuine hardship,” he said. “Think back on all the ways you’ve adapted your business to meet this crisis and get through the pandemic. Think back to how quickly you adapted to online commerce. Think back on your first home delivery. Recall all of your hard work. Recall the relief when the MIC’s government relations team persuaded the federal government to declare dealership employees essential. Our industry is enjoying the results of those efforts and you should enjoy the moment.”
RIDER FATALITIES CONTINUE DECLINE
Preliminary estimates of 2019 highway crash data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in October indicate that motorcyclist deaths continue to decline even as vehicle miles traveled or VMT increases.
Motorcyclist fatalities fell 0.5% to 5,014 last year, a third consecutive year of declines in rider road deaths, amid an overall 2% decline in vehicle fatalities in 2019 (from 36,835 in 2018 to 36,096 in 2019).
So far for 2020, data indicates a 3.3% decrease in motor vehicle fatalities through the second quarter, though notably total traffic volume decreased by more than 16% in the first half of the year during the Coronavirus pandemic.
RIDING OFF-ROAD BIKES ON ROAD
While some jurisdictions across the U.S. are developing new laws to allow the use of off-road vehicles on city streets, police in New Haven, Connecticut have launched a new task force specifically to identify people illegally riding dirt bikes, ATVs, or other “motorized recreational vehicles” on any public property within city limits. That includes streets, sidewalks, parks, and playgrounds.
The new ordinance increases fines for illegal riding to $1,000 for a first offense, $1,500 for a second violation, and $2,000 for a third conviction. In addition, the new law includes a $100 fine for service stations that sell fuel to anyone who arrives riding an off-road vehicle.
MICHIGAN MOTORCYCLISTS PROTEST UNFAIR INSURANCE LAW
As if riding a motorcycle wasn’t enough of a gamble, riders in Michigan now risk having an accident with a driver who chose to cap their own medical benefits at a level less than the amount the injured motorcyclist actually incurs in medical expenses. ABATE of Michigan members and supporters gathered on the capitol steps in September to protest the state’s new automobile insurance law that limits access to lifetime medical benefits available to motorcyclists to how much coverage the car driver chose to purchase for themselves.
Previously, motorcyclists involved in an accident with an at-fault car driver would have their medical bills covered under the state’s no-fault system, known as personal injury protection coverage or PIP. But motorcyclists no longer have the same coverages under a new law designed to drive down auto insurance rates — routinely ranked among the highest in the nation — by allowing motorists to purchase policies with limited personal injury protection benefits.
State Senator Peter Lucido (R-Macomb County) introduced legislation to rectify this dangerous defect in the system by allowing motorcyclists to file a claim against their own insurance policy.
TRADE WAR CEASE FIRE
This summer it was announced that proposed tariffs of up to 100% on motorcycles and parts imported from Europe were dropped by the U.S., and when it recently became the EU’s turn to impose extra charges on American products, motorcycles were likewise taken off the list of this ill-conceived ‘tax’ scheme stemming from a dispute over aircraft subsidies.
On October 26, the WTO gave the EU a green light to impose tariffs on American products for $4 billion per year, but on Nov 9 the European Commission published their list and motorcycles and related products were not included.
These trade sanctions would not only have negatively impacted the motorcycle sales industry, including the aftermarket equipment sector, it could have deeply affected motorcyclists who rely on imported parts for general maintenance.
This marked the third time that such irrational trade tariffs have been proposed, and once again it took an international effort of U.S. and European motorcyclists and trade industry to thwart a potentially devastating blow to the industry and marketplace.
COVID-19 TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS RETURN TO ENGLAND
With British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirming a return to nationwide ‘lockdown’ since November 5th, non-essential travel such as recreational motorcycling is once again on pause in the U.K., and it has also been confirmed that all motorcycle licensing tests and training sessions are likewise suspended for the duration of the lockdown.
Motorcyclists can still use a bike for essential journeys, such as going for food and medicine or visiting someone in your support bubble, but you can’t head out for a ride with some mates.
The new lockdown has also had a wider effect on motorcycling at large, with the cancelling of all permits for events and activities such as enduros, motocross and trials events. Any motorcycle related events will also be unable to run. Just like the first lockdown in Spring, the government has asked all non-essential retailers to close, which includes motorcycle dealerships.
However, given the huge rise in people taking to two-wheelers to avoid public transport, the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) petitioned the U.K. government to have motorcycle dealers included on the essential retailers list to help keep them open to the riding public.
‘HOME RECYCLING’ OF OLD MOTORCYCLES IN EUROPE MAY END
Europe has rules in place for the collection and destruction of cars that have come to the end of their life, but motorcycles are currently exempt from these rules. That may change, if it’s up to the European Commission.
According to the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA), these rules are part of the End-of-life Vehicles Directive aimed at the prevention of waste from vehicles that have come to the end of their life. The directive also tells EU Member States to set up systems for the collection and de-registration of all end-of life vehicles, and to have all vehicles that have reached the end of their life ‘transferred to authorized treatment facilities’ to be demolished in an environmentally friendly way.
“If motorcycles were to be included in the scope of the directive, that could mean the end of so-called home recycling,” says FEMA, explaining that “recycling” of motorcycles and motorcycle parts is an integral part of motorcycle use. “Home recycling, where you end the bike’s registration and take it apart for reuse of its parts, is a significant part of the motorcycle culture,” according to FEMA, adding that; “Home recycling helps to keep bikes on the road with used spare parts, instead of using new parts that have to be produced from raw materials.”
FEMA insists that the private reuse of motorcycle parts is one of the best ways to prevent waste and to prevent the unnecessary use of raw materials. This way, motorcyclists play their part in the circular economy as well as being environmentally friendly.
Luckily motorcycles and other powered two-wheelers are not included in the scope of the current directive, a position that was lobbied for by FEMA when the directive was written and adopted in the late 1990s, but the European Commission now plans to revise the End-of-life Vehicles Directive (2000/53/EC) and wants to explore the need to have powered two-wheelers (motorcycles) included in the scope.
“Inclusion of motorcycles in the scope of the directive could also mean a serious threat to historical motorcycles,” said Wim Taal, FEMA’s communications officer. “These bikes are especially dependent upon available and affordable original spare parts to keep them in working order. And who wants to see oldtimers disappear into state approved demolishing facilities?”
PHILLIPINE RIDER GROUP FILES CASE VS. “DOBLE PLAKA”
Motorcycle rider group, Riders of the Philippines (ROTP), has filed for a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition against Republic Act 11235 (Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act / Doble Plaka) in hopes of receiving a favorable ruling from the court and possibly the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary injunction.
Better known to the motorcycle community as the Doble Plaka Law, the Act imposes fines of up to PhP100,000 ($206 USD) and imprisonment of up to 6 years for those who are found in violation of its provisions governing the ownership and identification of motorcycles: including displaying large front and rear license plates and harsh penalties for failure to report the sale of a motorcycle or failure to transfer ownership of the motorcycle within 5 calendar days, including holidays and weekends.
Harley-Davidson’s “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” plan for the future called for opening the brand to the developing consumer market in Asia, but a newly released photo from China’s Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle Co., Ltd. via the Chinese Patent Office reveals a 350cc entry level parallel-twin developed in partnership.
When Harley originally announced the Chinese collaboration last year, the development of the QJ350 was a result of a diversification plan to bring the company customers in new markets and segments by radically departing from the air-cooled, V-twin cruiser norm, and isn’t intended for riders in the West.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.”
~ Erich Fromm (1900-1980
), psychoanalyst and author
ABOUT AIM / NCOM: The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) is a nationwide motorcyclists rights organization serving over 2,000 NCOM Member Groups throughout the United States, with all services fully-funded through Aid to Injured Motorcyclist (AIM) Attorneys available in each state who donate a portion of their legal fees from motorcycle accidents back into the NCOM Network of Biker Services (www.ON-A-BIKE.com / 800-ON-A-BIKE).