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)
CONGRESSMAN CHALLENGES THE SCIENCE OF E15 GAS
U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has introduced legislation to require the Environmental Protection Agency to “seek independent scientific analysis on the effects of 15 percent blend ethanol gasoline” (E15), which the EPA recently allowed to be sold for use in 2001 or newer vehicles; though motorcycles and ATVs are not approved for its use, nor are most small air-cooled engines, and using the hotter-burning fuel could cause premature wear, engine damage and void the manufacturer’s warranty.
"The EPA's decision to allow E15 into the marketplace will impact every American who owns a car, lawnmower, or boat,” said Sensenbrenner in announcing his bill, H.R.3199. “Automakers insist that using E15 will void warranties, lower fuel efficiency, and cause premature engine failure. In off-road engines, the effects can even be dangerous for users.”
Motorcyclists should be concerned about the availability of compatible fuel supplies if gas stations primarily provide E15 gasoline that’s EPA-approved for the majority of their customers -- but no on- or off-road motorcycles or ATVs appear on the EPA’s list of vehicles approved for use of E15.
"There are serious concerns that the EPA used only one Department of Energy test and rushed E15's introduction into the market place. This test was limited in scope and ignored a plethora of evidence - albeit inconvenient evidence for the EPA - that shows E15 gasoline has a negative effect on engines,” according to Sensenbrenner. “I introduced this legislation to ensure a decision of this magnitude will be vetted by independent scientific research, rather than political expediency."
Earlier this summer, Congressman Sensenbrenner, who is the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Science,introduced H.R. 748 to prohibit the EPA from authorizing the use of gasoline containing greater than 10% ethanol (E10).
BIKERS’ RIGHTS TO HEALTH CARE
Akin to some Unions that have negotiated lower health care costs by excluding insurance coverage for so-called “risky” behavior such as horseback riding, skiing and riding motorcycles, the state of Georgia may soon exclude motorcyclists from their healthcare benefits.
The chairman of a House study committee looking at Georgia's health benefit plan said the state might require employees to disclose dangerous activities like skydiving and riding motorcycles.
State Rep. Carl Rogers (R-Gainesville) said that the panel is looking to bring down skyrocketing costs in the state health plan. Earlier this year, lawmakers were forced to scramble to fill a $300 million budget hole for the health benefits.
Rogers told the Associated Press that state employees who take part in risky activities might eventually pay higher premiums.
TRUE COLORS: COPS VS. BIKERS
“Nowadays, officers also have to worry about lawsuits when they pull over a ‘one-percenter’,” reported the Philadelphia Daily News in response to a civil rights lawsuit claiming profiling and police harassment, adding that “Biker gangs might have a well-deserved reputation, but one local attorney who represents several clubs says that ‘reputation’ isn't a valid reason for a traffic stop.”
"Some of this tension between the cops and the bikers is because the cops hassle them ALL the time," said Aid to Injured Motorcyclists(A.I.M.) Attorney Boyd Spencer, who represents the Eastern Pennsylvania Confederation of Clubs.
Spencer is representing three bikers in a civil-rights lawsuit stemming from a July 30, 2009, traffic stop involving six motorcyclists, two of the defendants are Pagan’s M/C members and a third defendant was a Tribe M/C member.
According to the complaint, the bikers were ticketed for not having approved helmets and were told to remove their "colors", the patched jackets members wear. The whole traffic stop, which lasted more than an hour, was captured by mounted cameras in the police cruisers.
"Now you're all going to take your jackets off, because on this highway, these are the only colors," one of the state troopers, referring to State Police blue and gold, told the group after nearly 50 minutes had passed.
The bikers didn't budge. None of them took off his colors. The helmets were later found to be legal, and a prosecutor dismissed the charges. Spencer, who said the demand to take off their colors was out of bounds, chalks up the traffic stop to harassment.
Spencer said he always hears about bikers getting harassed. "I've got a guy in Upper Darby who gets pulled over every time he goes out on his bike," he said.
Upper Darby police Superintendent Michael Chitwood Sr. told the newspaper that bikers get pulled over if they break traffic laws, like anyone else. Police keep tabs on them, though. "These operations have become very sophisticated. They know what their rights are and what the police can do," he said.
“NO COLORS” RULE RESCINDED AT KENTUCKY EVENT
Following failed negotiations with Beech Bend Park near Bowling Green, Kentucky upon announcing they would no longer allow club colors of any kind at their All Harley Drags, the Kentucky Motorcycle Association/KBA called for a boycott of their events until this discriminatory policy was changed.
“After the word went out it is my understanding that several hundred phone calls went to the offices of Beech Bend Park,” said Jay Huber, President of KMA/KBA. “As a result of those calls the management at Beech Bend has reversed its decision regarding NO COLORS at its events.”
“The KMA/KBA along with the Kentucky Confederation of Clubs is committed to eliminating this type of discrimination as it hurts the entire biker community,” said Huber, adding that his organization will post listings on their website of businesses that discriminate with regard to No-Colors and urge “that ALL bikers please refrain from using the services of any business that participates in this type of action.”
SUIT CHARGES DISCRIMINATORY ENFORCEMENT OF NEVADA HELMET LAW
A dozen motorcycle riders recently filed a class action lawsuit charging arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement of Nevada’s helmet law.
The suit filed in U.S. District Court charges "defendants, through their agents, have an ongoing pattern and practice of issuing helmet tickets to the class members that are not supported by constitutionally sufficient probable cause, thereby violating the civil rights of the class members." The action blames Clark County and the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Mesquite; and Boulder City, and their police departments for the disparity in enforcement, and if certified as a class the suit could represent more than 40,000 motorcycle riders in the county.
The group is hoping to ultimately win the repeal of Nevada's helmet law, but this lawsuit is not about whether the government has the right to require motorcycle riders to wear helmets, which the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that it does, but instead the action accuses local police and prosecutors of selectively enforcing the helmet law and of using it unconstitutionally to hassle bikers.
“This violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution barring unreasonable search and seizure,” commented A.I.M. (Aid to Injured Motorcyclists) Attorney Sam Hochberg in The Gunny’s Sack monthly e-column. “The suit also alleges violations of the 14th Amendment protections against arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. They are saying the fines are all over the map with no balance. The suit essentially says that law enforcement folks are using the Nevada helmet law to harass motorcyclists.”
Dubbed the Class M class action, the suit seeks to include some 40,000 Nevadans holding motorcycle endorsements on their driver's licenses.
NATIONWIDE MOTORCYCLE THEFTS DOWN
A motorcycle is stolen every 9.5 minutes in America, but according to a report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, motorcycle thefts last year were down 24% from their 2007 total. There were 65,678 motorcycles reported stolen in 2007 compared with 49,791 in 2010, according to data from theft reports contained in the National Crime Information Center.
The top five makes stolen last year were: (1) Honda, 12,260; (2) Yamaha, 9,853; (3) Suzuki, 7,869; (4) Kawasaki, 5,470; and (5) Harley-Davidson, 3,301. Combined, these five brands accounted for 38,753 thefts in 2010, or 77.8 percent of the total.
The top five states with the most motorcycle thefts in 2010 were: (1) California, 5,662; (2) Texas, 4,394; (3) Florida, 4,148; (4) North Carolina, 2,649; and (5) Indiana, 1,925. These five states accounted for 18,778 thefts, or 37.7% of the total.
FACT OR FICTION: MOTORCYCLES ARE ECO-FRIENDLY
In the popular belief that since motorcycles get better mileage they must be greener than cars, "People are trading in their cars and driving motorcycles instead because they believe that's the more environmentally friendly choice," said “MythBusters” television host Adam Savage in the season opener of the popular Discovery Channel show. "The logic is because motorcycles are generally more fuel-efficient than cars, they burn less gas and thus they must be better for the environment."
As the MythBusters have done with each of the show's previous seven seasons, Savage and his co-host Jamie Hyneman set out to test the theory, and the Los Angeles Times recently reported on the show’s findings.
The MythBusters duo selected three motorcycles and three cars that were common in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s and put the undisclosed vehicles through a 30-minute, 20-mile real-world course, 75% of it consisting of highway driving and 25% city driving.
Savage drove all three cars while Hyneman trailed him on the bikes, each one equipped with portable emission-measuring systems that tracked exhaust gases from a probe in the tailpipe and collected engine information from the engine control unit to determine each vehicle’s fuel economy and emissions profile.
The upshot of the experiment was that the newer two-wheeler was indeed 28% more fuel efficient than the comparable car and emitted 30% less of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, however the same motorcycle emitted 416% more smog-forming hydrocarbons, 3,220% more oxides of nitrogen and 8,065% more of the toxic air pollutant carbon monoxide.
The MythBusters' conclusion: "At best, it's a wash. Motorcycles are just as bad for the environment as cars," Savage said on the show. "At worst, they're far worse."
But emissions are only one factor in the equation that measures a vehicle's true impact on the environment, and as LA Times columnist Susan Carpenter concludes; “Despite the MythBusters' findings, emissions are only part of the story of a vehicle's true greenness. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, motorcycle manufacturing requires thousands fewer pounds of raw materials than automobiles. They require less fossil fuel, so they require less energy to pull that fossil fuel out of the ground. They use fewer chemicals and oils than cars. And motorcycles produced today are 90% cleaner in California than they were 30 years ago. Note to MythBusters: How about a cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment for cars and motorcycles for the Season 9 opener?”
WEIRD NEWS: MOTORBIKERS TAKE BITE OUT OF APPLE
Just like in the movies, seven motorbike riders carrying passengers wearing full face helmets recently conducted an early-morning “smash-and-grab” robbery by busting a window of an Apple Store in central London and plundering thousands of dollars in Mac laptops, iPads and iPhones. “Apple is a big ticket item and a very easy sell,” deputy inspector Gregory Antonsen told the International Business Times, calling this one “primarily an Apple case”.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean
politics won't take an interest in you!”
~ Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BC), Greek Statesman
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