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. For more information, call us at 1-(800) ON-A-BIKE or visit us on our website at www.ON-A-BIKE.com.
NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
MULTI-FACETED MOTORCYCLE BILL ENACTED IN TEXAS
Senate Bill 1967, authored by Texas State Senator John Carona (R-Dallas) and sponsored by Representative Norma ”Da’Lady” Chavez (D-El Paso), introduces many motorcycle-related changes in the Lone Star State.
Included in the bill are 1) funding by Texas Department of Transportation for a public awareness campaign to promote motorcyclist safety and the concept of sharing the road with motorcyclists; 2) changes to the definition of a motorcycle to include certain enclosed three-wheeled passenger vehicles; 3) changes to the licensing requirements for enclosed three-wheeled passenger vehicles; 4) a requirement for all applicants for a motorcycle license or endorsement on a regular or commercial driver's license to provide proof of successful completion of a basic motorcycle operator training course; 5) penalties for failure to yield the right-of-way violations resulting in bodily injury range from $500 to $2,000 while those resulting in serious bodily injury range from $1,000 to $4,000; 6) a prohibition against stopping or detaining a motorcycle operator or passenger solely to determine whether the person has successfully completed a motorcycle operator training and safety course or is covered by a health insurance plan; 7) a requirement for the Department of Transportation to develop a standard of proof of health insurance coverage for adult motorcycle operators and passengers; and 8) a requirement that all driver education courses or driving safety courses include information on motorcycle awareness, dangers of failure to yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists, and the need to share the road with motorcyclists.
Governor Rick Perry signed the bill into law on June 19; it becomes effective September 1, 2009.
“We made history, Warriors,” exclaimed Sputnik, State Chairman of the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association (TMRA-II) and Chairman of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists Legislative Task Force (NCOM-LTF). “We owe Da’Lady and her entire staff a huge debt of gratitude for all the work they did for riders this session.”
MISSOURI RIDERS SEEING RED
For most drivers, red means stop. But if you're riding a motorcycle or a bicycle in Missouri, it will soon mean stop, but only sort of. A new Missouri law that takes effect Aug. 28 allows motorcycle and bike riders to run red lights, but only if they stop first and the signal remains red for an "unreasonable time."
Missouri will join a growing number of states that have enacted similar laws, which are intended to address occasions when motorcycles or bikes aren't detected by traffic signal sensors in the road. Many traffic signals are triggered by a magnetic reaction coupled with wires embedded in the pavement. The wires are sized in such a way that they are more likely to be tripped by a car or truck, but some motorcycles and bikes tend not to trip the signal because they have less mass and are made with parts that aren't attracted to a magnet.
In cities with intersections patrolled by red-light cameras, when a picture is taken of a red-light runner, police should be able to apply the law by looking at video of the possible violation, and if a rider does get a ticket the new law will provide a defense.
Missouri is the eighth state to pass this kind of law since 2002, and three other states considered similar legislation this year.
NY STATE POLICE SUED OVER MOTORCYCLE-ONLY ROADBLOCKS
Upstate New York has earned a reputation as the speeding ticket capital of the country, but even with overeager state troopers patrolling the highways, motorcyclists feel singled out by law enforcement. That's why one rider/attorney is taking the state police, along with county and state officials to court.
According to legal documents filed by Mitch Proner, Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (AIM) Attorney for New York, the state's institution of roadblocks exclusively for motorcyclists is unconstitutional: the motorcyclist and personal injury lawyer claims that without justifiable cause, the checkpoints infringe on riders' First Amendment rights to freedom of assembly and association and their Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.
For nearly two years now, the New York State Police (NYSP) have been conducting highway roadblocks diverting only motorcyclists from the state’s roadways to perform “safety checks”. According to ABATE of New York, “Since motorcycles operated in New York are already required to pass annual safety inspections, the current NYSP initiative continues to serve only to harass, intimidate and inconvenience motorcyclists traveling upon the state’s roadways. Further, motorcycle-only roadblocks of this nature are a discriminatory and unconstitutional infringement upon an individual’s right to travel without interference, and an abuse of discretionary power as acknowledged by the New York State Court of Appeals.”
Proner told Autoblog.com that he is filing the federal class action suit at the Federal Court for the Northern District of New York on behalf of his fellow riders. ABATE of New York has pledged support of the class-action initiative brought on behalf of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM).
CITIES MUFFLE MOTORCYCLE NOISE
Many state legislatures and city councils are making lots of noise about motorcycles, with new ordinances popping up across the country to silence loud exhausts. “Loud Pipes Save Lives” has been a biker mantra for years, but politicians spurred by citizen complaints have discovered new ways to muffle unwanted exhaust tones.
The Albuquerque City Council voted 6-3 earlier this month to approve an ordinance making revving of motorcycle engines downtown a vehicle nuisance. Amending Section 7-10-3 ROA 1994, The Vehicle Nuisance Ordinance now reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in exhibition driving in the Downtown Quiet Zone by operating a vehicle in a manner that willfully creates excessive engine noise because of revving the engine to magnify the engine noise.”
Bikers blasting through East Greenwich, Rhode Island may want to steer clear of town if their exhaust systems aren’t the proper match for their bikes. The Town Council unanimously passed an emergency ordinance in late July allowing the police to pull over and levy fines on bikers if the noise-rating data stamped into the chrome of their exhaust doesn’t match the label on the bike frame. Modified exhaust systems are outlawed.
The ordinance, now in effect, provides for fines $500 for the first offense, and jumps to $700 the second time and $1,000 for the third and each subsequent violation. Buddy Cardoso, president of the Rhode Island Motorcycle Association, who said his group supports courteous riding, inquired that if the labels have to match, “What do you do, throw away the motorcycle if the exhaust wears out?” Owners of other vehicles are allowed to use after-market exhaust systems, and it is unfair to single out bikers, he said.
In West Virginia, the Charleston City Council let it be known loud and clear that nuisance noise will not be tolerated, and unanimously passed an ordinance on August 17 to crack down on loud music, barking dogs and revving of car and motorcycle engines in residential areas, with fines up to $250.
In an attempt to silence community concerns regarding excessive motorcycle exhaust sound, the Boston City Council fast-tracked enactment of Docket 0658 on June 3, 2009. The new ordinance mandates that all on-highway motorcycles built after December 31, 1982 must have either OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or aftermarket exhaust systems that comply with the US EPA labeling provision in the Code of Federal Regulations. Violations will result in a $300 fine.
Earlier this year in California a bill was held over that would have required periodic emissions testing for 2000-and-newer on-road motorcycles in an effort to make aftermarket exhaust systems illegal if they do not comply with EPA labeling.
Meanwhile, the Motorcycle Industry Council has teamed with the Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) to produce a stationary roadside sound test standard that can be used to determine whether a streetbike exhaust system emits excessive sound. "The new SAE standard provides a much-needed alternative to outright bans, restrictions and sound test standards that vary state to state and city to city, frustrating riders, exhaust system manufacturers, and municipal governments alike," said MIC President Tim Buche.
ANTI-BIKER LAWS UNITING MOTORCYCLE CLUBS
Designed to dismantle “Bikie Gangs”, South Australia's recently adopted anti-biker legislation appears to be having the reverse effect - serving to unite rival clubs.
Gypsy Jokers, Hells Angels, Rebels, Finks and Descendents motorcycle club members are coming together in protest against the Serious and Organised Crime Control Act, which came into effect in June last year. The Act is described by the Government as being the toughest law of its kind in the world, and is intended to disrupt biker “gangs” by declaring membership or association with outlawed clubs illegal.
The Act also includes new charges, which carry up to 10 years jail, for bikie club members and their associates who engage in group violence.
Hundreds of members of rival clubs participated in a Freedom of Association Protest Poker Run, and as if that wasn't a defiant enough show of unity, a group of motorcycling enthusiasts, including members of opposing clubs, are only a few application process steps away from forming a legitimate political party.
The unlikely alliance, known as the FREE Australia Party, hopes to hit South Australia's premier where it hurts - in parliament.
The party's leader, Paul Kuhn - a committee member of the Motorcycle Riders Association of SA and a Justice of the Peace - said the group was formed because of deep concern anyone associated with a member of a club would be found guilty under the law.
"The Government is now controlling and dictating relationships," he said. Kuhn is not the only member of the public questioning the civil liberties said to be lost under the Act. The SA Law Society, the SA Council of Social Services, various Aboriginal groups, the Greens and the Australian Democrats have all voiced concern about the legislation.
A member of the Gypsy Jokers MC told the press services that the unified event proves that bikie clubs could get along, despite what the Government was trying to show. "These laws have brought the clubs together," he said.
WEIRD NEWS: TURKEY GOES WILD OVER BIKERS
Freddy the turkey, the famous and notorious foul who trotted around town much to the delight of Easton, Massachusetts residents, met his demise this month after becoming a menace to motorcyclists.
The wild turkey wandered out of the woods and became a common sight and mascot in the Five Corners area, where he ruled the roost and was often seen gobbling up bargains at the local stores and strutting across busy streets like he was on parade.
But the gadabout gobbler went from docile dollar-store shopper to motorcycle menace over the past few months, prompting police to put him down. “Things had really gotten nasty,” said Police Chief Allen R. Krajcik. “We were thankful there had been no accidents yet. It was only a matter of time before something happened.”
Police began received calls and e-mails from motorcyclists asking whether police were waiting for an accident before taking action. “One motorcyclist told police that the bird flew at his face with his feet forward to attack him,” the chief told the local newspaper. To escape, the driver drove through a red light, narrowly avoiding an accident. Similar attacks had been reported in increasing numbers, and like other repeat offenders Freddy was racking up a long record of dangerous activity, victimizing mostly motorcyclists.
Meanwhile, police stood by their actions, saying they initially intended to capture the turkey and relocate it to a less populated environment. But the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife advised against it, saying the turkey could introduce diseases to its new habitat, and advised euthanizing it, according to Chief Krajcik.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: "History does not entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid."Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) 34th President of the United States