News and other info from NCOM

5/25/2011 6:54:46 AM
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THE AIM/NCOM MOTORCYCLE E-NEWS SERVICEisbrought 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



Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,

National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)



Motorcycle riders routinely report being profiled by law enforcement, but a new law in Washington State is intended to prohibit police from singling out bikers for stops without clear and legitimate reason.


Modeled after a 2002 state law outlawing racial profiling by police, the nation’s first “anti-profiling” bill passed unanimously through both the House and Senate, and was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire on April 13. Sponsored by Rep. Steve Kirby (D-Tacoma), the new law will force local law enforcement agencies to adopt a written policy designed to condemn and prevent the profiling of motorcyclists, and it institutes training to address the problem.


Motorcycle enthusiasts presented compelling evidence to legislators, including a video of a state trooper crawling through bushes near the Legislative Building in Olympia two years ago and writing down motorcycle license plates while bikers were holding their annual “Black Thursday” legislative rally and lobby day.


Outsiders M/C member David “Double D” Devereaux, spokesperson for the Washington Confederation of Clubs and US Defenders of Washington State, testified in Olympia that almost every member of every club, and even motorcyclists who aren't in clubs, has been profiled. He said many lawmakers were unaware of the problem until they saw the video of police gathering information on the bikers as they were inside the Capitol building ironically seeking sponsorship for a bill that would stop motorcycle profiling.


Also lobbying on behalf of the bill was Donnie “Mr. Breeze” Landsman, Legislative Affairs Officer for ABATE of Washington, who told The News Tribune that he’s been denied service at restaurants for wearing a bandana and a leather vest; “Motorcyclists aren’t looking for special rights,” Landsman told the newspaper. “We want the same rights that are afforded to every other section of the population as American citizens.”


Double D and his club brother Jeff “Twitch” Burns, who produced an 86-minute video that chronicles the growth of the emerging anti-profiling movement within the motorcycling community, reported their success at the Patch Holder Meeting during the recent NCOM Convention in Albuquerque, N.M., to the resounding approval of bikers rights activists and COC reps attending from all across America. “This is something that could be done in every state,” Double D told the enthusiastic crowd…and should be.



Calling motorcycle-only roadblocks discriminatory and unconstitutional, ABATE of California is pushing a bill that would ban state and federal funding of such so-called “safety checkpoints”.


New York and Georgia have initiated roadside barricades under the auspices and guidance of NHTSA to coral motorcycle riders en route to major motorcycle events to check paperwork and equipment for violations, and for other illegal activity.


AB 1047, authored by Kevin Jeffries, Vice Chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, would prohibit the CA Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) from issuing grants to law enforcement agencies to stage Motorcycle-Only Checkpoints and also require the OTS to conduct audits of the safety checkpoint grants to insure that law enforcement is complying.


Similarly, North Carolina is currently considering two bills (H375 & H381) aimed at preventing law enforcement agencies from establishing patterns for vehicle stops at checking stations based on a particular type of vehicle.


In Congress, Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) andsome of his colleagues have authored legislation to de-fund the checkpoints.  US House Resolution 904 would prevent the US DOT from providing funds to states which would be used for motorcycle roadblocks.



Motorcyclists across the country are also awaiting a court ruling on the constitutionality of the New York checkpoints, being challenged by N.Y. Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) Attorney Mitch Proner, which could wind up on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court.



Motorcycle fatalities declined in 2010 by at least 2%, according to a new state-by-state report released on April 19 by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).


Based on preliminary data, GHSA’s motorcycle fatality report projects that deaths declined from 4,465 in 2009 to 4,376 or less in 2010. The projection is based upon data from 50 states and the District of Columbia for the first nine months of 2010. The decline comes on the heels of a 16% drop in 2009, which followed 11 straight years of steady increases in motorcycle deaths which mirrored annual increases in motorcycle sales and registrations.


GHSA is projecting declines in approximately half of the states, with notable declines in many. In Texas, for example, based upon data for the first nine months of 2010, motorcycle deaths are expected to be down 16%, while Oregon and Oklahoma are down 27% and 30%, respectively.


But fatalities had started to climb back up during the last three months in the study, prompting fears that the improving economy and surging gas prices will lead to increased motorcycle travel and thus increasing exposure to risk.



The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has updated the federal motorcycle helmet standards (FMVSS 218) in an attempt to stop riders from wearing non-DOT approved “novelty” helmets. The new standard does not affect the construction of helmets directly, but changes the way they're labeled to make it more difficult to mimic DOT compliance certifications.


Effective immediately under the final rule issued May 13, helmets that conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 will carry a sticker with the manufacturer's name, the helmet model and the words "DOT FMVSS No. 218 Certified." The move to make non-compliant helmets harder to sell comes after the number of riders sporting novelty helmets increased dramatically in 2010 over 2009.


According to NHTSA statistics, in 2010, only 54% of motorcyclists wore a DOT-approved helmet. Around 14% wore a novelty helmet, and 32% rode without a helmet. In 2009, those numbers were 67%, 9% and 24%, respectively. In 2010, 75% of riders who did elect to wear a helmet wore a DOT-compliant one. In 2009, that number was 86%.


NHTSA says 5.2 million helmets are sold annually. Twenty states require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets, but only 13 states specify that the helmets must meet federal standards.



Motorcyclists in several states have been given a green light to run red lights, and now riders in Kansas can proceed with caution through a stuck signal if it has failed to change green within a reasonable amount of time because the signal has malfunctioned or failed to detect the cycle.


HB 2192, The Dead Red Law, has been signed into law by Governor Sam Brownback and goes into effect June 1 for intersections across the state with sensors. Traffic sensors imbedded in the roadway normally tell the light to change when a vehicle approaches, but motorcycles often aren't heavy enough to trigger it, argued ABATE of Kansas in support of the legislation.


The measure was packaged with a series of road-related measures, including provisions raising the state's maximum highway speed to 75 mph.


Nine other states currently allow motorcyclists to proceed through a signal that fails to detect their presence, and similar legislation is being considered in Illinois where HB 2860 passed the House 104-0 and is awaiting further action in the Senate.



Motorcycle sales in the U.S. rose 7.2% during the first quarter OF 2011, compared with the same period a year earlier, says the Motorcycle Industry Council.


In its retail sales report, which tracks sales among the 18 leading brands sold in the U.S., the industry trade group said scooters posted the biggest sales increase of nearly 50%. Sales of dual-purpose motorcycles, which are designed for highway and off-road use rose almost 25%, attributed in part to the segment’s overall fuel efficiency.


In a separate but related report, a recent survey of Harley-Davidson dealerships suggests that retail sales improved in the first three months of the year. According to an analysis by Raymond James & Associates, 55% of the dealerships surveyed said they had a year-over-year sales increase in the quarter, and nearly all reported that inventories were “ideal” or “light”.


The MIC also reported that tire sales, which it says are an indicator of motorcycle use, also rose in the first three months of the year. Motorcycle and scooter tire sales increased 29%, while sales of tires for on-highway bikes rose 28% and scooter tires jumped 49%.


The industry council’s owner survey estimates the number of motorcycle miles traveled rose 5% to 27.6 billion miles from 2008-09. The percentage of U.S. households with at least one motorcycle grew to 6.8% in 2009 from 5.4% in 2003.



More and more motorcycles and scooters powered by electricity are hitting the road, and some experts predict that the number of electric two-wheel vehicles could swell to more than 100 million worldwide within the next 5 years.


Currently, there are about 17 million electric motorcycles and scooters on the road, but a new study by Pike Research shows that that the global market could expand to more than 138 million by 2017.


“Electric motorcycles and scooters have strong appeal for many consumers,” says senior analyst Dave Hurst. “They are relatively low cost to own, do not take a lot of space, and are easy to maintain.”


Electric motorcycles are becoming more capable every day. Chip Yates recently set a land speed record with his electric motorcycle, reaching nearly 200 mph, and the TTXGP racing series was just officially sanctioned by the FIM.



America’s oldest motorcycle brand now has a new owner. Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) has announced the acquisition of Indian Motorcycle, adding one of motorcycling’s legendary brands to its stable of Victory cruiser and touring bikes.


Polaris, which has manufacturing plants in Roseau, Minn., and Spirit Lake, Iowa, will close down the Indian Motorcycle production facility in Kings Point, N.C., and move all production to Spirit Lake.


Polaris said it hopes to capture a bigger share of the $11 billion heavyweight cruiser market by operating Indian as an independent business unit, combining Polaris' "engineering acumen and innovative technology" with Indian's "premium brand, iconic design and rich American history."



Every year more and more riders are finding cycles and scooters to be an economical, efficient and fun way to commute. Because of this, the 20th annual worldwide Ride To Work Day, scheduled for June 20, 2011 is expected to be one of the largest ever.


On Ride to Work Day, the practical side of riding becomes more visible as a large number of America's 8,000,000 cycles and scooters are ridden to work, which helps to demonstrate how these vehicles make parking easier and help traffic flow better. Studies have shown that across equal distances, commuting motorcyclists reach their destinations in less time than those using automobiles, and that motorcycles and scooters consume less resources per mile, and that they take up less space on roads.


For further information and promotional materials, visit


QUOTABLE QUOTE:  “One man can make a difference, and every man should try.

-- John Fitzgerald Kennedy(1917-1963), 35thUS President

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