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NCOM Biker Newsbytes for July 2023

Industry & Legislative Motorcycle News from USA and the world

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish with images from Wayfarer
7/22/2023


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NCOM CONVENTION CELEBRATES SUCCESSES
Just days prior to the National Coalition of Motorcyclists’ NCOM Convention, Nebraska repealed their mandatory helmet law to become the 33rd state allowing adult freedom of choice, and their hard-won success was a cause of celebration for the nationwide gathering of biker activists in Phoenix over Father’s Day weekend.  To mark the occasion, A.I.M. (Aid to Injured Motorcyclists; ON-A-BIKE.com) rush-ordered the new 2024 version of their wallet-sized Calendar card to hand out, now in its 30th year of printing, showing a “U.S. Helmet Laws” map on the reverse side now indicating Nebraska as Free for 21 and older (eff. 01-01-24, stipulations apply)!

Our hats (helmets) off to ABATE of Nebraska, which was among many victories across the country to be recognized and celebrated.  Hurdles too, both legislative and legal, were also addressed during various meetings and seminars throughout the 38th annual NCOM Convention, with positive commitments to work together on methods and solutions to the benefit of the entire motorcycle rights community.

"Seeing all the motorcycle rights groups, clubs and individual bikers coming together to learn and fight for their lifestyles is inspirational.  But the understanding and commitment by leaders of NCOM and MRF (Motorcycle Riders Foundation; MRF.org) and some members of the NCOC (National Council of Clubs; councilofclubs.org) to communicate and work together is monumental," observed NCOM Executive Director Joseph “Joey” Lester, son of AIM/NCOM Founder attorney Richard M. Lester.  Similar observations were echoed by other representatives of key organizations present.

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"We want to make it perfectly clear that NCOM and MRF will be working hand in hand to show strength and unity in the ongoing fight for motorcyclists rights," pledged NCOM Chairman Charlie Boone (CBA/ABATE of North Carolina), adding that several NCOM board members will be attending the MRF’s upcoming “Meeting of the Minds,” September 20-24 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to further the alliance.

The 2024 NCOM Convention will return to Mother’s Day Weekend, May 10-11, 2024 at a location TBD, so stay tuned to ON-A-BIKE.com.

MIC WARNS OF BILLS THAT “WILL HINDER THE POWERSPORTS INDUSTRY”
The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC; MIC.org) reports that two major bills have been passed in Minnesota and Maine that will create challenges for the powersports industry.  One bill is set to ban products containing PFAS chemicals, and both of them specify strict reporting requirements. 

In Minnesota, HF 2310 bans products for juveniles that contain PFAS beginning Jan. 1, 2025.  It also specifies PFAS registration requirements beginning Jan. 1, 2026, and bans all products containing PFAS on New Year's Day in 2032.

The Maine legislation provides the industry with some relief, as H.P. 138 extends the PFAS reporting deadline to Jan. 1, 2025, and also exempts manufacturers that employ 25 or fewer people from reporting requirements.

However, Minnesota's new PFAS legislation will present significant challenges for powersports companies doing business in the state.  “In powersports, PFAS chemicals can be found in or used to produce products such as riding gear, vehicle components resistant to heat, fuel, and chemicals, as well as semiconductors and chrome plating,” explains the MIC report, also noting that Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a class of synthetic chemicals used for decades in a wide range of consumer products.

"PFAS presents a major powersports industry challenge, and whether you're an OE, aftermarket, or riding gear manufacturer, you must learn about government PFAS proposals and look for ways to replace PFAS in products you sell," forewarns Eric Barnes, MIC technical programs vice president.

Both federal and state governments have examined the health impacts of PFAS in recent years and many bills have been introduced to ban its use.  Some states are also setting up registries to list any vehicles, components, parts, and clothing that contain PFAS.

FIGHT FOR YOUR “RIGHT TO REPAIR”
If you want to continue to be able to work on your own motorcycle, with guaranteed access to the parts, tools and service information needed to modify, service and maintain it yourself, then you need to contact your member of the House of Representatives and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 906; the “Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair” Act, or better known in Congress as the “REPAIR Act”. 

“The REPAIR Act ensures that vehicle owners or repair shops are not denied access to the information, software or tools needed to work on vehicles,” reports the Motorcycle Riders Foundation in an MRF alert.  “The proposed law also establishes rules regarding vehicle data access. This commonsense law will help preserve consumer choice and a fair marketplace.”

The MRF invites motorcycling constituents to communicate with your federal lawmakers via this link: https://igniteadvocacy.com/go/you-gotta-fight-for-your-right-to-repair---support-h-r-906-/589

HELP TO PRESERVE VEHICLE CHOICE
“Congress must act now to pass the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act and avoid forcing consumers to purchase electric vehicles that fail to meet their needs,” claimed Congressman John Joyce, M.D. (R-PA), the lead sponsor of House bill H.R. 1435; “Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act” introduced in March.

Now, several Senators are taking up the cause of Vehicle Choice by introducing a companion bill in the United States Senate; the “Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act” (S. 2090).

NCOM Legislative Task Force chairman Ed Schetter (ABATE of Ohio) forwarded an alert from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation with the note: “I think we need to send this info out in the next NCOM Biker Newsbytes newsletter,” and we agree.

According to the MRF; “The bill would limit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing Clean Air Act waivers for state policies seeking to ban or otherwise limit the sale of internal combustion engines.  This legislation would preserve consumer choice and maintain competition in the automotive markets by ensuring Americans have access to reliable and affordable vehicles.”

Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas, a co-sponsor of the bill, stated, “Our legislation is all about protecting consumer choice and, ultimately, free market competition that drives down costs.”

“The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is pleased to see lawmakers taking the threat to freedom of vehicle choice and the survival of the internal combustion engine seriously,” reported the MRF, adding that “Preservation of the internal combustion engine and ensuring availability of the fuel needed to run our bikes is a key part of the MRF’s legislative agenda.”

U.S. HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSES BILL PROTECTING ‘MULTIPLE-USE’ LAND
According to a report from SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association; SEMA.org), the House Natural Resources Committee has passed legislation that would direct the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to withdraw the agency's proposed "Conservation and Landscape Health" rule (H.R. 3397).

The bill was introduced in response to the agency's proposed rule that could potentially lock-up public lands and reduce recreation. The bill also prevents the BLM from issuing a substantially similar rule in the future.

SEMA says it opposes BLM's current proposed rule, which would allow the agency to lease lands under new and vaguely defined terms.  “BLM's proposed rule undermines the Federal Land Policy and Management Act's multiple-use requirement for BLM lands as it would hinder access to public lands for recreation, forest management, energy and critical mineral development, and grazing.”

NATIONAL FUNDING FOR OUTDOOR RECREATION
The Motorcycle Industry Council has announced that the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior have proposed $2.8 billion in funding for fiscal year 2024, authorized by the “Great American Outdoors Act,” to improve infrastructure, recreation facilities, federal lands access, and land and water conservation.

"For OHV enthusiasts, this would mean that we will see improvements to many of the trails and riding and driving areas we love to enjoy," says Mario Mairena, of the MIC’s Government Relations Office. "There is a lot of overdue maintenance at numerous OHV sites, and with improvements we'd see better access to a lot of them. It would be good news for powersports people across the country."

The budget allocates $900 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund projects and programs managed by Interior and the Forest Service, as well as $430 million for federal land acquisition, and $470 million for state and local grants.

VERMONT CLOSES “BASKET CASE” REGISTRATION LOOPHOLE
Sorry Basket Case lovers, but Vermont has closed a registration loophole allowing vehicles with difficult titles to be legally registered in that state, marking the end of an era for home-build aficionados.

If you meet the above descriptor then you’re probably already acquainted with a thing that was previously and widely referred to as “the Vermont loophole,” making it a popular state for folks with barn finds and/or other difficult vintage vehicle title situations, where they could legally register their new purchases, “until the past couple of weeks” according to RideApart.com

For decades prior it was a tailor-made solution for project bike and car enthusiasts from much of the country -- exact rules vary by state -- but unfortunately the laxity of rules allowed thieves an equally easy route to obtain titles for stolen vehicles or fraudulent ownership documents “which was obviously and unsurprisingly a problem.”

Therefore, effective July 1, 2023, out-of-state residents will now have additional steps to go through to get a vehicle titled in Vermont, and now requires the DMV in your home state to verify that you’re not required to register the vehicle in question there. 

“Will more old bikes end up scrapped because people who would previously have been interested in trying to save them decide that it’s not worth all the hoop-jumping?,” suggests RideApart, “It's truly the end of an era for project bike fans.”

NEW STOP SIGN CAMERAS IN SPAIN
We can all agree that traffic rules are there for a reason, and with today’s technology there’s always someone, or some thing, watching.  For example, the Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) in Spain has installed and begun testing new cameras that can detect whether or not a vehicle has come to a complete stop at a stop sign.

Cameras on the roadway are nothing new, while red light cameras and speed cameras have been around for decades. Stop sign cameras, on the other hand, are a fairly new thing, and in Spain they are now designed to immediately detect whenever a driver (or motorcycle rider) doesn't come to a complete stop and may result in a hefty fine of 200 Euros ($220 USD). 

“By ‘complete stop,’ the DGT means a COMPLETE STOP – and not a rolling stop,” according to RideApart.com, explaining that “for car drivers this means stopping completely before proceeding.  For motorcyclists, it’s suggested to put a foot down to demonstrate for the cameras that you have indeed come to a complete stop.”

In Spain, failing to obey a stop sign has become a common infraction, drastically increasing the risk of accidents.  According to DGT data, approximately 1,100 drivers involved in fatal traffic incidents disregarded the Stop sign.

QUOTABLE QUOTE:  

"Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.” 

~ Mao Tse-Tung (1893-1976) founding chairman of the Chinese Communist Party

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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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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Reader Comments


Those images from Wayfarer look strangely familiar.

Sam
TX
Sunday, August 6, 2023
Editor Response He has an issue with credits...
--Bandit

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