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NCOM Biker Newsbytes for April 2021

Industry news from National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish
4/23/2021


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NCOM CONVENTION IN DES MOINES WELCOMES RIDERS NATIONWIDE

The 36th annual NCOM Convention is right around the corner, so plan now to be a part of one of the largest gatherings of motorcycle rights activists in the world.  This year’s NCOM Convention, to be held JULY 23-25, 2021 at the Holiday Inn Des Moines - Airport, located at 6111 Fleur Drive in Des Moines, Iowa (515-287-2400), will draw hundreds of concerned motorcyclists to America's Heartland to address topics of concern to all riders.

All motorcyclists are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the many meetings, seminars and group discussions that focus on legislative efforts and litigation techniques to protect our riders’ rights and preserve Freedom of the Road.

Agenda items will cover legal and legislative issues, with Special Meetings for Veterans Affairs, Women in Motorcycling, Clean & Sober Roundtable and World of Sport Bikes, as well as the Christian Unity Conference and Confederation of Clubs Patch Holders Meeting.

For more information, or to pre-register, call the National Coalition of Motorcyclists at (800) 525-5355 or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.

 
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FEDERAL HIGHWAY BILL PRIORITIES

In recent years, our nationwide biker community has worked diligently with Congress to include several key motorcycle-friendly provisions in the federal highway bill that died last session; H.R.2 “Moving Forward Act,” including further prohibitions against motorcycle-only checkpoints, expanding anti-biker profiling restrictions based on mode of transportation or style of dress, and furthering riders’ future advisory role with Congress to ensure our voices are heard when determining traffic and transportation laws, as well as advancing safety funding and autonomous vehicles protections.

Because H.R. 2 failed to pass, our lobbying efforts will need to be redoubled in the U.S. House and Senate once a new transportation measure is introduced in the 117th United States Congress, which now has an extended deadline of September 2021.

The Biden Administration may utilize a new highway reauthorization bill to pass a massive infrastructure spending plan, hoping to authorize some $2.25 trillion on such items as road construction, mass transit, passenger and freight rail, airports and electric vehicles, with more than a trillion-and-a-half going toward expanding broadband, improving the electric grid, and a growing wish list of additional items.

As Congress begins deliberations on the package of transportation and infrastructure spending, it will once again fall on motorcyclists to ensure that riders’ priorities are included in the “Wish List” as this 2021 version of the highway bill develops.

You can contact your federal legislators by calling the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or contact their local office and set up a meeting to discuss these issues of importance to all motorcyclists!
 

 
MOTORCYCLIST ADVISORY COUNCIL BILL IN CONGRESS

A bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives has introduced a bill to reauthorize the Motorcyclist Advisory Council, a committee comprised largely of motorcycle riders established to advise Congress and the Department of Transportation on matters involving motorcycle safety, and make recommendations regarding infrastructure issues such as road design, traffic issues, and intelligent transportation systems.

H.R. 2141, introduced March 23, 2021 by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), would reauthorize the MAC for six years; require biennial reports; clarify that specific seats on the 12-member board would be occupied by motorcycle riders and advocates.

If Congress doesn’t take action prior to the September 30, 2021 deadline, the MAC is set to expire and will be disbanded, so contact your Congressional representatives today and ask them to cosponsor and support H.R. 2141.
 
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RPM ACT NEEDED TO SAVE MOTORSPORTS

If you have made modifications to your car or motorcycle, or have an interest in motorsports and racing, you could be impacted by the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act, which was first drafted up after the EPA's Clean Air Act (CAA) in 2015 sought to make the conversion of production vehicles for “dedicated racing” illegal.  Despite bipartisan support in Congress, the RPM Act has failed to pass, but because of the EPA's renewed push to restrict any vehicle modifications for motorsports purposes, the RPM Act is more important now than ever before.

Concerned about emissions, street vehicles -- cars, trucks, and motorcycles – can no longer be converted into racecars, according to the EPA, which recently announced that enforcement against high performance parts -- including superchargers, tuners, and exhaust systems -- is a top priority.

According to the automotive trade association SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association), the sale, manufacture and installation of performance parts for racing would also be a violation of the EPA’s ruling.

The RPM Act would protect the racing culture in America by reversing the EPA's interpretation that the CAA prohibits the conversion of a motor vehicle into a racecar, and also safeguards the motorsports-parts industry's ability to sell products that enable racers to compete.  The measure would clarify that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to a street vehicle for the purpose of transforming it into a racecar used exclusively in competition, and confirm that it is legal to produce, market and install performance equipment.
 

 

BRITISH GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO SCRAP EU ‘VNUK’ LAW

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced plans to scrap the controversial ‘Vnuk’ motor insurance law, which was introduced across the European Union following a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2014.  The case involved a Slovenian farm worker (Mr. Vnuk) who was injured when he fell from a ladder that was struck by a farm tractor.  As the tractor was used entirely off-road, it was not required to have insurance.  The case was referred to the ECJ, which extended the requirements for vehicular insurance to cover a vehicle's “normal function,” and not just use on a public road.

The far-reaching implications of the legal ruling were huge, according to MotorcycleNews.com; “For a start it meant that all vehicles, even those not registered for road use such as track bikes or motocross bikes (or even forklift trucks and golf buggies), would have to be insured at all times.  It also meant that any collision involving two vehicles, even if the collision didn’t take place on a public road, would have to have been treated as a regular road traffic accident for insurance purposes.  So a bump in BSB between two riders would have gone through insurance.  Calculations by the DfT suggested the insurance industry would have been on the hook for roughly £458 million ($641 million USD) per year, which would likely have been passed straight onto the general public with estimates of £50 ($70) per person per year.”

Although the ruling was already passed into law when England was a member of the EU, since Brexit, now that the U.K. has exited the EU, the government can remove the costly and cumbersome legality from British law.
 

 

UK POLICE CALL FOR MONITORING ALL MOTORCYCLES

It appears that the reckless riding problem in the U.K. has reached a fever pitch, as Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kim McGuinness has proposed the use of mandatory trackers “fitted to all motorbikes so their whereabouts and speed can be monitored.”

The commissioner has proposed this rather drastic mandate in a bid to locate and check the speed of all motorcycles at all times, as law enforcement’s effort to fight the rising number of cases of speeding, and what the commissioner is calling "anti-social behavior."

As has been the case for decades now, trackers are often used as forms of punishment for convicted lawbreakers, and implementing this proposal would effectively tag all motorcyclists as criminals.  Jim Freeman of the British Motorcycling Federation was quick to chime in that, "The mandatory use of a tracker is usually a sentence imposed by the courts after due process has been followed, but this would be tantamount to a collective punishment that sweeps hundreds of thousands of innocents up along with the tiny minority of the guilty without an investigation, trial or verdict."
 
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SPAIN MAKES MOTORCYCLE GLOVE USE MANDATORY

Spain has now made the use of motorcycle gloves while riding mandatory, in a ‘safety’-trend that appears to be trending in Europe.

Some countries already have rulings around gloves, with approved motorcycle mitts being the norm in France since 2017.  There, motorcyclists and their passengers must wear gloves and according to RideApart.com, now Spain’s DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico) is enforcing a similar law.

A DGT working group initially met to discuss the mandatory use of airbag vests for motorcyclists, but the airbag requirement was dropped, and the group moved towards mandatory glove use.  Ultimately, Working Group 52 on Motorcycles and Road Safety devised a new law requiring their use, effective early 2021, which “must have thick leather, imitation leather, Kevlar, or a similar material highly resistant to abrasion and heat to be compliant.”
 

 

SURVEY SHOWS FEW DRIVERS TRUST ‘SMART MOTORWAYS’

A smart motorway, also known as an Intelligent Transport System, is a section of roadway that employs active traffic management (ATM) methods to increase capacity and reduce congestion using traffic cameras and variable speed limits to control the flow of traffic, occasionally utilizing hard-shoulder running and ramp metering at busy times.

IAM RoadSmart conducted an online poll about smart motorways in England, their safety, and whether or not road users really find them any better than traditional motorway systems.  Not surprisingly, out of 4,500 people who answered the web poll, 81% felt less safe travelling on a smart motorway compared to a standard motorway; 84% have little faith in the safety systems spotting them if they break down in a running lane; 40% of drivers found no noticeable improvement in their journey time while only 4% found a very noticeable improvement; and 85% want construction halted until the safety is fully proven.

“Our members include many high mileage, experienced and confident motorway users,” said Neil Greig, a researcher at IAM RoadSmart, “but the results of this survey are clear to see, with the vast majority having very little, or no confidence, in the safety of smart motorways.”
 
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NEW BIOMETRIC MOTORCYCLE PARKING SYSTEM PREVENTS BIKE THEFT

A tech company has developed a motorcycle 'parking solution' that scans your face and license plate before opening the gate and letting you roll in, as biometrics company ’Unioncommunity’ has decided to integrate a biometric identification process into motorcycle parking machines, for now, dubbed Ubio-X MPass.

Biometrics is the use of biological data to authenticate identity, just like using your fingerprint or face to unlock your phone.  The parking management system is being developed primarily for the South Asian market (for now).  It’s noted as a means of preventing motorcycle theft by associating the vehicle with its driver.

 
SKUNKLOCK FIGHTS BACK AGAINST THIEVES

With motorcycle thefts increasing yearly along with ridership going up, motorcycle security technology is constantly developing ways to stay ahead of ever-more ardent bike thieves.  From ear-splitting alarms to high-tech tracking systems, security devices have become more creative -- and now, it seems, even more devious!

Now, the SkunkLock motorcycle lock, a fairly conventional-looking D-lock device, actually fights back against crooks by releasing odious pressurized gas when cut, spraying the thief with “vomit-inducing chemicals” that hopefully stop the would-be thief in their tracks in the process.

“When a thief tries to grind or break a SkunkLock (SkunkLock.com), a very potent, though non-toxic and legally compliant formula escapes from the lock exposing itself to the thief.  Once the compound is airborne, sight may be compromised, breathing becomes difficult, and a lot of time vomiting is induced.”  Crime Fighters = 1; Evil Doers = 0
 

 

QUOTABLE QUOTE:  “He that cannot reason is a fool.  He that will not is a bigot.  He that dare not is a slave.”
~ Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist
 
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The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) is a nationwide motorcyclists rights organization serving over 2,000 NCOM Member Groups throughout the United States, with all services fully-funded through Aid to Injured Motorcyclist (AIM) Attorneys available in each state who donate a portion of their legal fees from motorcycle accidents back into the NCOM Network of Biker Services (www.ON-A-BIKE.com / 800-ON-A-BIKE).

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