News and other info from NCOM
THE AIM/NCOM MOTORCYCLE E-NEWS SERVICEis 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)
CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS HOPE TO HUSH LOUD PIPES
California is home to the largest population of motorcyclists in the country, and if legislators have their way, it could also soon be home to one of the most onerous anti-motorcycle laws in America.
By a bare majority vote of 21-16 on August 30 the state Senate approved SB435 which will make it a crime to operate a motorcycle manufactured after Jan. 1, 2013 that fails to meet federal noise-emission control standards and that all new motorcycles sold after that date must display and maintain compliance labels from the Environmental Protection Agency.
A similar bill last session would have required biennial smog checks for emissions violations, but after meeting resistance from bikers’ rights groups it has since been amended to target illegally modified exhaust systems. Supporters of the bill say that many motorcycle owners modify their exhausts to make them louder, but swapping a compliant tailpipe equipped with a catalytic converter for one without emissions controls produces more smog-forming pollutants per mile.
Opponents of the measure counter that many aftermarket exhausts meet federal EPA emissions standards but aren’t labeled, and labeling on stock systems is often difficult to locate, meaning that law-abiding riders could be unfairly ticketed.
SB435 has already passed the Assembly and its fate now lies in the hands of the state’s most famous motorcycle rider, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose office has not yet taken a position on the proposed legislation.
SOUND REASONING SILENCES N.H. NOISE ORDINANCE
Although North Hampton, New Hampshire voters approved a noise ordinance in May that prohibits motorcycles without an EPA sticker from being operated or even parked in town, a lawyer for the federal agency has expressed that just because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires a label on all motorcycle mufflers indicating the noise the vehicle produces does not exceed 80 decibels doesn't mean a municipality has the authority to enforce that noise level.
"The Noise Control Act (NCA), which authorizes EPA to enact noise control regulations, states that 'nothing in this section precludes or denies the right of any state or political subdivision thereof to establish and enforce controls on environmental noise,” wrote EPA Senior Assistant Regional Counsel Timothy Williamson in an Aug. 31 letter to North Hampton Town Administrator Steve Fournier. "However, neither does it grant localities any additional authority to control environmental noise beyond that available to them under state and local law."
"The ordinance basically bans motorcycles from the town if they do not have an EPA label on their exhaust system even though the motorcycles comply with the state's noise level limit of 106 decibels," said Seacoast Harley-Davidson in court papers challenging the new law.
Even the town’s own legal counsel has indicated the ordinance is unenforceable, saying that the state has already determined the appropriate noise levels for motorcycles and that the town, therefore, does not have the option of creating its own more restrictive noise ordinance.
That opinion was clearly reiterated in Williamson's letter on behalf of the EPA. "Thus, neither the NCA nor the regulations in Part 205 (of the EPA code) grant municipalities the authority to enact or enforce ordinances that supersede any limitations on their authority under state law," he wrote.
Town officials decided not to fight the Harley dealer’s request for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the noise ordinance. "The ordinance will remain unenforced until we have a hearing," Fournier said, indicating that the town’s new noise ordinance will not be enforced until after the judge issues a ruling on the matter.
MASSACHUSETTS ENACTS RIDER TRAINING FOR JUNIOR MOTORCYCLISTS
The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA) announces that Senate Bill 2344, dubbed Ryan’s Bill, an “Act relative to assuring that motorcyclists between the ages of 16 and 18 are provided with adequate education relative to the proper safety and operation of a motorcycle.” has been signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick.
Recognizing the additional burden formal training may require, MMA Legislative Director Rick Gleason states, “A weekend of formal training sets the stage for a lifetime of motorcycling enjoyment and the skills acquired through training can help a rider avoid a crash.”
This new law does not make training mandatory, and only affects those under 18 who wish to earn their motorcycle license. MMA Chairman Dave Condon further clarifies that passage of Ryan’s Bill does not require a junior operator take a motorcycle training course. "A motorcycle permit in this state is good for two years. Therefore, a junior motorcycle operator can still ride on his\her permit beyond their 18th birthday, and take the road test offered by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.” Condon further stated, "The MMA was very careful in not taking anyone's choice away or interfering with a parent’s right to decide what is best for their child." Condon also pointed out that current state regulations require 40+ hours of formal training before a Junior Operator may obtain a license to operate an automobile.
Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) officials analyzed ten years of information from the Massachusetts RMV and found that just over 63% of those involved in fatal motorcycle accidents have never received any formal motorcycle rider training and 22.5% of motorcycle fatalities were from riders under the age of 21.
The MMA supported the legislation in honor of 16 year old Ryan Orcutt of Brockton who died in a motorcycle accident.
SAVING TIME CAN COST YOU MONEY
In the current economic downturn, cash-strapped states across the U.S. are charging huge fines for speeding violations and other traffic infractions. All across America, legislators have one eye on road safety and the other on depleted coffers, and depending on where you live a speeding ticket can cost from under a hundred dollars to a couple thousand or more, reports AOL Autos.
Drivers caught speeding in the states of Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Nevada and New Hampshire all are liable to be fined up to $1000, at a judge's discretion, for a first-time speeding offense, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The severity of the financial penalty also may depend upon the number of miles above the speed limit when clocked and the number of points on a driver's license, or if the offense occurred near a school or road works. A driver's license may also be suspended, their vehicle impounded, or they may face jail time.
Some states including Michigan, Texas and New Jersey, operate under so-called "driver responsibility" laws, which, in some cases, can result in a further fine of up to $1000 leveled a year after the conviction. Virginia, which until 2008 had some of the strictest penalties for speeders, repealed its driver-responsibility laws last year after a public outcry. Georgia, meanwhile, has just voted to add $200 to the fine of what it terms "superspeeders," who travel more than 10 mph over the speed limit. Other states with fines of up to $500 -- which in many cases is then compounded with additional court fees -- include Maryland, Missouri and Oregon.
ROAD DEATHS DECLINE WORLDWIDE
Data published by an international transportation group revealed Britain has the lowest road death tally of 33 countries surveyed, topping the charts with just 3.8 deaths per 100,000 population, and the declining global fatality rate has been heralded as “a record decade for road safety.”
The United Kingdom joins the Netherlands and Sweden as the countries with the safest roads, according to the report published by the Paris-based International Transport Forum, while Malaysia, Argentina and Greece rated highest of the 33 countries detailed in the survey. The United States ranked 27th with a traffic fatality rate of 11.1, nearly three times higher than the UK.
Further data from the survey revealed motorists are least likely to be killed on Swedish, UK and Swiss roads, while the chances of being involved in a fatal crash were highest in Korea, the Czech Republic and Malaysia.
The report found motorcycle accidents in the UK were down 23%, despite a 45% increase in the number of motorcycles on the road.
Figures for motorcycles figured badly in the worldwide survey, however, with huge rises in fatal crashes in Finland and Slovenia. On the flipside, bike-related deaths dropped significantly in Portugal and Korea.
The report found motorcycle deaths were on the rise in many developing countries. "These increases are only partly explained by the rise in the number of motorcycles," said Veronique Feypell-de La Beaumelle, ITF road safety expert.
ITF Secretary General Jack Short hailed the overall figures as "a record decade for road safety," adding: "Reducing fatalities around the world will be accelerated by rapid and effective transfer of knowledge, good practice and information from the best performing countries."
Road deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009: Malaysia - 23.8; Argentina - 18.4; Greece - 13.8; Cambodia - 12.6; Korea - 12.0; Poland - 12.0; US - 11.1; Lithuania - 11.0; New Zealand - 8.9; Belgium - 8.9; Czech Rep - 8.6; Slovenia - 8.4; Hungary - 8.2; Portugal - 7.9; Italy - 7.9; Austria - 7.6; Luxembourg - 7.2; Australia - 6.9; France - 6.9;Canada - 6.3; Spain - 5.9; Denmark - 5.5; Ireland - 5.4; Iceland - 5.3; Finland - 5.3; Germany - 5.1; Japan - 4.5; Switzerland - 4.5; Norway - 4.4; Israel - 4.2; Sweden - 3.9; Netherlands - 3.9; UK - 3.8
INDONESIAN CAPITAL LIMITS MOTORCYCLE TRAFFIC
City officials in Jakarta are mulling over schemes to limit the number of motorcycles allowed in certain areas during peak hours to help unsnarl the city’s acute traffic jams. The Indonesian Motorcycle Industry Association estimates there are about 35 million motorcycles in usable condition in the country, and in the capital city of 8.5 million people there are nearly one motorcycle for every person and growing by nearly a thousand new bikes every day.
This extraordinarily high number of motorcycles has exacerbated the city's already awful traffic, especially during rush hour, and plans are in place to begin banning bikes from a number of main thoroughfares in this mostly Muslim nation after the holy holiday of Ramadan, requiring riders to continue their journeys by public transportation.
Motorcycle numbers have been increasing for six years throughout the country, driven by affluence and affordable credit schemes. Today, a new motorcycle can be purchased with an initial down payment of Rp 500,000 (US$50).
An 18-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran and his female passenger were thrown from a motorcycle when they veered off the road near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. According to newspaper reports, both sustained painful injuries due to total lack of safety gear; no helmet, no gloves, no boots…and no clothes!
The naked riders landed in a ditch, and the Marine was knocked unconscious and awoke to charges of DUI, reckless driving, driving without a license, license revoked, expired inspection, no insurance and no helmet. His passenger walked nearly a mile for help despite a broken arm and leg, but was only ticketed for failure to wear a helmet.
Apparently, riding in the buff is not a traffic offence in Onslow County as neither were charged with exhibitionism or failure to exhibit common sense.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: "Das Beste oder nichts (The best or nothing).”
Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900), inventor of the motorcycle and the first automobile.