NCOM Biker Newsbytes October 2010

News and other info from NCOM

10/14/2010 11:10:35 PM
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NCOM Biker Newsbytes October 2010

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)
 
FEDS PUSH HELMET LAWS AND MOTORCYCLE-ONLY ROADBLOCKS
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking applications from law enforcement agencies across the country to conduct federally-funded motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints.
 
Now mirrored in other states, “Motorcycle-Only Safety Checkpoints” were initiated in New York last year and are set up during large motorcycle rallies or near large biker gathering spots to check not only license, registration and insurance, but also for DOT-compliant helmets and legal exhaust systems. ABATE of New York is working with NY A.I.M. (Aid to Injured Motorcyclists) attorney Mitch Proner on legal actions to halt these discriminatory roadblocks in the Empire State.
 
But police forces across the country may soon receive public funds to target motorcyclists, though U.S. Reps F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) and Tom Petri (R-WI) along with several colleagues in Congress have written to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking him to suspend funding of the federal grants for the NHTSA checkpoint program.
 
In addition, after learning that NHTSA recently testified to the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation that “The most important step we could take would be to assure that all riders wear a DOT-compliant helmet,” according to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, who added “NHTSA will actively work with Congress to promote helmet use," Congressman Sensenbrenner and fellow Congressional lawmakers have also introduced H. Res. 1498 which “supports efforts to retain the ban on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ability to lobby state legislatures using federal tax dollars and urges NHTSA to focus on crash prevention and rider education.”
 
The US Defenders have joined with other state and national motorcycle groups in urging riders to contact their Congress members to support H. Res. 1498, and to write DOT & NHTSA to oppose federally-funded motorcycle-only safety checks. “This is one more piece of evidence of the constant profiling attempts targeting our community at large,” said Escondido Paul, National Lt. Commander of the US Defenders, in issuing a nationwide Call To Action through all Confederations of Clubs and coalitions in every state. For further information, consult www.USDefenders.org.
 
BLACK MOTORCYCLISTS AT HIGHER RISK
African-American motorcyclists are more likely than others to die in crashes, even though they are more likely to wear a helmet, according to a study done to determine if race had anything to do with motorcycle crash mortality; and the results stood out in black and white.
 
Researchers at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions analyzed statistics from the National Trauma Data Bank of 68,840 people involved in motorcycle crashes from 2002-2006, and found that black motorcycle crash victims were 1.5 times more likely to die than similarly injured white riders.
 
The findings do not help support the push for helmet laws since African-Americans mortality rates were still 50% higher even though they were 30% more likely to wear a helmet; although the highest mortality rates are among African-American motorcyclists without helmets. Whites who weren't wearing helmets were less likely to be killed in crashes than blacks who wore protective headgear.
 
The study, published in the American Journal of Surgery, raises questions about the efficacy of injury prevention strategies such as state helmet laws that may not be protecting all riders equally.
 
"For reasons that we are still trying to figure out, one size of injury prevention does not fit all groups of people and just wearing a helmet is not enough," senior author Dr. Adil Haider says in a statement. "Helmet for helmet, African-Americans have more lethal injuries."
 
Haider suspects several factors -- such as lack of health insurance, reduced access to healthcare, poorer quality of care and a greater number of pre-existing illnesses/injuries -- may be combining to account for the survival gap.
 
It is possible, he says, riders of different races may prefer different types of helmets or style of motorcycles, suggesting that more research is needed.
 
MOTORCYCLE FATALITIES PLUMMET IN 2009
It's not surprising when accident rates increase in proportion to increased usage and number of miles travelled, but last year motorcyclist fatalities decreased more than any other category of road users despite more motorcycles being ridden more miles!
 
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System reports that 4,462 riders died in 2009, 850 fewer than in the previous year, representing a 16% drop in fatalities despite a 5% increase in miles traveled and 4.5% increase in the number of motorcycles on the road. The Motorcycle Industry Council recorded half a million more motorcycles in use in 2009, up from 11 million in 2008, and according to the MIC 2009 Motorcycle Owner Survey, they were ridden 1.3 billion more miles.
 
There was also a decrease in motorcycle accident injuries, down 6.3% from 96,000 in 2008 to 90,000 last year.
 
Overall U.S. traffic fatalities hit the lowest level ever recorded, since 1950 when the government began tracking such statistics, and the 33,808 road deaths in 2009 was down 9.7% from the year before. All traffic accidents, fatal or not, declined by 5.3% between 2008 and 2009, though motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 3 and 34, NHTSA said.
 
CALIFORNIAENACTS ANTI-MOTORCYCLE NOISE LAW
Motorcycle-riding California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has put his stamp of approval on a controversial law aimed at cracking down on motorcyclists who replace stock exhaust systems with aftermarket pipes that don’t comply with federal EPA noise and emissions standards.
 
Under SB 435 by State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act makes it illegal for motorcyclists to remove and replace federally required emissions equipment, and motorcycles manufactured after January 1, 2013 will be required to display a readily visible and unalterable label stamped into the pipes that indicates that they meet federal standards. Bikers will still be able to install aftermarket exhausts, but for bikes built after 2013 the replacement parts must be EPA-certified and permanently stamped.
 
Similar anti-noise laws have been enacted recently in Boston and Denver.
 
Illegal tampering with emissions systems in California will be a secondary violation, meaning that motorcyclists would have to first be pulled over for some other infraction before officers could inspect for the presence of the EPA stamp and issue a citation. First time offenders could face up to $100 fine, but it will be considered a "fix-it" ticket and proof of repair would get the violation dismissed, though subsequent infractions could result in fines of up to $250.
 
Pavley’s original bill sought to include motorcycles in the state’s SMOG emissions testing program, but after being stymied by intense lobbying by state and national motorcyclists rights organizations, she later reintroduced the measure to instead force motorcycles into compliance with existing federally-mandated sound and air pollution levels.
 
USSUPREME COURT TO RULE ON PROTESTS AT MILITARY FUNERALS
A group of patriotic motorcyclists recently staged a counter-demonstration during the Arlington National Cemetery burial of a local Navy SEAL, parking motorcycles and revving engines to oppose a protest staged by members of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas.
 
Similar scenes play out across America, as a grieving family lays their loved one to rest, the funeral of a service member killed in action is disrupted by vocal protesters shouting vindictive and incendiary remarks at mourners and wave signs that read "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates the USA".
 
The motorcyclists, mostly veterans who are members of the Patriot Guard Riders, led the funeral procession and then strategically parked their bikes in between the family and the protesters and revved up their engines to drown their chanting, and saluted in respect as the funeral cortege passed by giving them a thumbs up.
 
The church protesters, who contend that God is killing members of the military because of the nation's sins, often demonstrate at military funerals, and are now the subjects of a United States Supreme Court case that will decide if the Constitution protects highly offensive hate speech from civil claims filed by grieving relatives.
 
In Snyder v. Phelps, the father of a Marine killed in Iraq in 2006 was awarded $5 million in his lawsuit against the church for “intentional infliction of emotional distress”, but a federal appeals court overturned the ruling on free speech grounds, and now Albert Snyder is asking the High Court to reinstate the verdict.
 
Justices heard oral arguments in the case on October 6th and the Supreme Court is expected to render a decision late next Spring.
 
ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLES MORE DEADLY THAN MOTORCYCLES
If you think 3 or even 4 wheels are safer than 2, research suggests you think again as more people die after ATV accidents than after motorcycle accidents.
 
According to trauma surgeons and public health researchers in a presentation during the annual meeting of the American College of Surgeons, even when the severity of injuries was the same, the patients who had been riding ATVs were 50% more likely to die, and 50% more likely to need treatment in an intensive care unit and mechanical ventilation, compared to the motorcycle riders.
 
Researchers gathered information from a national trauma bank on nearly 60,000 accidents that occurred between 2002 and 2006 (13,749 from off-road motorcycle riding and 44,509 from ATV mishaps). There are somewhere between 800 and 900 deaths due to ATV accidents each year, according to ATVSafety.gov, a government web site.
 
Dr. Adil Haider, a surgeon from the Johns Hopkins Center for Surgery Trials and Outcomes Research in Baltimore, Maryland, who headed the study, said he and his colleagues don't know yet why the ATV riders are more at risk than the motorcyclists.
 
"We think there are much more energy transfers when an ATV turns over, but we can't tell whether that is because of the stability of the vehicle or the weight of the vehicle as it rolls over on a rider," he said in a statement prepared before the presentation.
 
YEMENBANS MOTORCYCLES DUE TO TERRORISM THREAT
Riding a motorcycle is a popular pastime in Yemen, but fearing al-Qaida assassins on wheels authorities in Yemen’s Abyan Governorate, a growing terrorist stronghold in the Arabian Peninsula, have banned motorcycles from cities in the region’s urban centers.
 
"Using motorbikes in terrorist operations to assassinate intelligence officers and security personnel have been massively mounted over the past nine months in the province," a Yemeni Interior Ministry official told the Xinhua news agency following a series of assassinations by al-Qaida militants throughout Abyan and will affect some 5,000 two-wheeled vehicles.
 
“Motorcycles are typically used by terrorists and insurgents to deliver weapons directly if it’s a suicide attack or to make a quick getaway,” Dr Theodore Karasik, Director for Research and Development at the Institute for Near East Gulf Military Analysis told The Media Line. “The banning of motorcycles is indicative of how the government, with help from US officers, is trying to cut down on the movements of al-Qaida members and tribal members who support them.”
 
But while the Yemeni government has shown some concern over al-Qaida’s presence in the country, this is a relatively recent development seen by many as a ploy to please the United States.
 
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “The world is run by those who show up.”
- Anonymous
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