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NCOM Biker Newsbytes for April 2023

Industry & Legislative Motorcycle News from USA and the world

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish
4/19/2023


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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.
 
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CIRCLE THE DATE – 38TH NCOM CONVENTION IN ARIZONA
A “must-see” in the biker’s rights community, this year’s NCOM Convention is scheduled for Father’s Day weekend, June 16-18, 2023 at the Hilton Phoenix-Tempe, so don’t miss this opportunity to empathize with hundreds of fellow concerned riders coming together from across America for the “Betterment of Biking”!

Register online at www.ON-A-BIKE.com or by calling the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) at (800) 525-5355, and be sure to reserve your hotel room now by calling (480) 967-1441, and mention NCOM for our Special Room Rate.
 
 
 
 
MSF CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF TRAINING RIDERS
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) will celebrate 50 years of providing rider education and training this year.  To celebrate, the MSF Communications team has been collecting stories from a diverse group of people with a wide variety of motorcycling backgrounds: new riders, longtime riders, RiderCoaches, influencers, members of the media and families will all share their stories on the MIC website.

Throughout this anniversary year, the MSF will launch 50 stories on its www.msf-usa.org website under the NEWS tab.   The goal each week is to inspire, entertain, and share the fun of riding that often results through top-quality rider education and training – the kind delivered by the MSF for half a century.
 
 
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US & EU PUSH IMMINENT DEMISE OF FOSSIL FUEL VEHICLES
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed sweeping emissions cuts for new cars and trucks through 2032, a move it says could mean two out of every three new vehicles automakers sell will be electric within a decade.

The EPA proposal, if finalized, represents the most aggressive U.S. vehicle emissions reduction plan to date, with automakers forecast to produce 60% EVs by 2030 and 67% by 2032 to meet requirements - compared with just 5.8% of U.S. vehicles sold in 2022 that were EVs.

John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation representing General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota and others, told Reuters that "factors outside the vehicle, like charging infrastructure, supply chains, grid resiliency, the availability of low carbon fuels and critical minerals will determine whether EPA standards at these levels are achievable."

EPA Administrator Michael Regan declined to endorse setting a date to end the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles, and emphasized that the current proposal is a "performance-based standard" and not an EV mandate.

Taking an even stricter approach, abroad, the European Parliament has formally approved a law to effectively ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the European Union from 2035, aiming to speed up the switch to electric vehicles and combat climate change.

The landmark rules will require that by 2035 carmakers must achieve a 100% cut in CO2 emissions from new cars sold, which would make it impossible to sell new fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the 27-country bloc.

Meanwhile, back in the states, U.S. Representative John Joyce (R-PA) along with more than sixty cosponsors has introduced House Resolution 1435 “To amend the Clean Air Act to prevent the elimination of the sale of internal combustion engines.”

Titled the “Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act,” H.R. 1435 is designed to protect Americans’ right to choose the technology that powers their motor vehicles.
 
 
 
CALIFORNIA BILL WOULD LIFT BANS ON CRUISING
Assemblyman David Alvarez (D-San Diego) has introduced Assembly Bill 436 to repeal the ban on cruising statewide and prohibit local authorities from stopping drivers from cruising and driving cars that have been modified to be of a certain height.

Cruising became popularized nationally after the release of breakout film “American Graffiti” in 1973, a coming of age comedy-drama set in 1960s Modesto, but cities across California (and elsewhere) began to enact bans on cruising in automobiles [and motorcycles] starting in the 1970s during the oil embargo.  In 1982, the California Legislature authorized cities to pass ordinances prohibiting cruising, declaring “the cruising of vehicles in business areas of cities and communities in this state for the purpose of socializing and assembling interferes with the conduct of business, wasted precious energy, resources, impedes the progress of general traffic and emergency vehicles, and promotes the generation of local concentrations of air pollution and undesirable noise levels.”

AB 436 would remove the authorization for a local authority to adopt rules and regulations regarding cruising.  This current effort follows a resolution unanimously approved by the State Legislature last year (ACR 176) encouraging cities to repeal their bans and recognizes that cruising holds cultural significance for many communities.
 
 
 
LANE SPLITTING BILL FILTERS THROUGH OREGON LEGISLATURE
Beaver State lawmakers are taking another crack at letting motorcyclists travel between lanes in slow or stopped traffic, two years after then-Gov. Kate Brown unexpectedly vetoed a similar bill.  Senate Bill 422 recently passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support by a 27-2 vote.  It now heads to the House, where representatives in both parties have signed on as sponsors.

If passed, motorcyclists would be able to travel between lanes on multi-lane highways with a speed limit of at least 50 mph, but only when traffic has slowed to 10 mph or less.  Motorcyclists riding between cars could travel no more than 10 mph faster than the flow of traffic.

Motorcyclists argue the policy can improve traffic congestion and leaves them less vulnerable to being rear-ended by inattentive drivers.

If the bill makes it through the Senate and receives gubernatorial approval, Oregon would join four other western states in endorsing some form of the practice, which is known as lane splitting, lane sharing or lane filtering, depending on the exact details of the behavior allowed.

California currently allows lane splitting under different circumstances than Oregon’s proposed law, as does Montana.  Utah allows a similar concept called “filtering” when traffic is stopped at an intersection.  A policy in Arizona took effect in September.

Neighboring Washington does not allow the practice, though is currently considering such legislation (HB 1063).  One frequently cited study from the University of California Berkeley concluded that lane splitting can be safe under certain conditions.
 
 
 
HAWAII CONSIDERS ‘RIDE ON RED’ LEGISLATION
A new bill in the Aloha State could allow riders to go on red lights during certain hours, as House Bill 1319 aims to solve the problem of motorcyclists being stranded at red lights that don’t detect their presence.

“If you don’t have enough metal, sometimes you won’t be detected because the loops work on electromagnetic fields which is broken by metal,” according to Hawaii Department of Transportation engineering program manager Bryan Kimura.

HB 1319 “Allows operators of bicycles, motorcycles, and mopeds to proceed through an intersection on a steady red signal during certain hours (11 p.m.-5 a.m.) if the traffic signal is controlled by a vehicle detection device that is inoperative due to the size or composition of the bicycle, motorcycle, or moped.”

Hawaii already allows “shoulder surfing” for motorcyclists, which is considered an alternative to lane splitting on their narrower roads.

Over 20 states have enacted "dead red" or “ride on red” laws that give motorcyclists and bicyclists an affirmative defense to proceed through a red light with caution after stopping when they are not detected by the traffic light controller, though each state is different and has its own unique rules about the time period.
 
 
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PLUG YOUR EARS
Tinnitus UK is urging motorcycle riders to use ear protection in the name of permanent hearing loss – as much as 80 decibels will cause trouble, despite health officials recommending that “anything over 85dB an employer should provide ear protectors.”

According to Motorcycle Cruiser, bikes average around 85 decibels of sound at 35-45mph, with a 30-bike pilot test completed by the University of Florida showing far higher levels at highway speeds, noting; “Measurements of motorcycle riding noise levels vary, but are generally around 85-95 dB at speeds up to 35 mph, climbing to 110-116 dB at 65 mph.”

120 dB is the equivalent of a rock concert, and you shouldn’t be exposed to it for more than 7.5 minutes before possible hearing loss can occur, so plug your ears and hear longer.
 
 
 
FACIAL RECOGNITION COMING TO MOTORCYCLES
With AI in the mainstream news lately, and new technologies integrating into our daily lives, it should come as no surprise that BMW is now the first motorcycle manufacturer in the world to incorporate facial recognition software that makes the traditional ignition key superfluous.

Billed as anti-theft technology, BMW’s iFace system utilizes infrared to map the rider’s facial features, builds a virtual model of the user’s face in three dimensions, and should someone else attempt to steal your BMW, iFace will send a distress message to eCall electronic emergency service and BMW Motorrad Call Centre.

Further, to help identify the thief, the scan data is sent to a central international database of criminals for identification.  We don’t recommend you use this feature if you have any outstanding warrants.

The system is set to be unveiled to the public at an autumn 2023 motorcycle show, and it’ll only be available on BMW’s Boxer-engined bikes.
 
 
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POLICE DRONES ZERO IN ON MOTORCYCLE ROAD SAFETY
New police drones are being trialed in the U.K. to try and reduce road accidents, with a particular focus put on motorcyclists.  The RAC reports that the drones will be able to be used to track a vehicle’s speed, and record any incidents.  Video captured from the drone can then be used against offending road users.  Additionally, the drones are reportedly able to check the insurance, MOT, and road tax status of a car or motorcycle, and even track stolen vehicles.

Recording of a vehicle can be done by a drone up to four miles away, and the project is a part of the Police’s “Vision Zero” initiative, which aims to improve road safety by totally eradicate injuries and deaths from road traffic collisions and crashes.

It seems that there is a particular focus on motorcyclists, as Inspector Colin Harper from the drone team described the use of the drones as “innovative” and added: “At present, our focus is on motorcyclists, who are at highest-risk according to our data, particularly at this time of year when more riders will be venturing out again after the winter.”
 
 
 
SUSTAINABLE SAFETY: BAMBOO HELMETS
Just as pillowcases have gone from cotton to bamboo, the helmet industry is following suit with bamboo helmet shells produced by French motorcycle helmet brand Roof.

Coverage from RideApart.com states that each helmet comes with a clear protective coating over the bamboo fibers, and that “Roof claims that the Bamboo helmet is just as safe as a standard polycarbonate shell,” adding; “The bamboo shell has been engineered to be flexible, resistant, and lightweight. Of course, the helmets have undergone independent testing, and are certified under the latest ECE 22.06 standard.”

Expect it to arrive in a recycled bag, retailing for €349 EUR (that translates to around $382 USD), with the promise to make you the highlight at the next rally.
 
 
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QUOTABLE QUOTE:
"We're surrounded.  That simplifies things."
~ USMC Col. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller during the Chosin Reservoir campaign in Korea, 1950 
 
ABOUT AIM / NCOM: 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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