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NCOM Biker Newsbytes for June 2023

Industry & Legislative Motorcycle News from USA and the world

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish

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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 ( / 800-ON-A-BIKE).
“Nebraska becomes 33rd state to repeal mandatory helmet law!” blasts a headline across the top of the ABATE of Nebraska website (, heralding the passage of Legislative Bill 91; which was amended to transportation measure LB138, overwhelmingly approved 30-5 and then signed into law by Governor Jim Pillen (R) on June 1, 2023.

“Glad to have played a role in allowing the riders of Nebraska to ride free,” Facebooked State Senator Ben Hansen (R-Blair) who carried LB 91 through the unicameral legislature, touting that people should be free to decide if they want to take the risk of riding without a helmet.

Under Sen. Hansen’s bill, any motorcyclist or passenger over age 21 who has completed a basic certification course by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation would be able to ride without a helmet, effective on January 1, 2024.

Riders from out of state could also ride without a helmet if they have taken an equivalent course and carry proof of completion. The bill would also require riders and passengers to wear protective glasses or have a windshield on their bikes.

Sikhs and others whose faith requires them to wear a turban or patka could soon be allowed to ride motorcycles in California without a helmet as mandated by state law, as the State Senate voted 21-8 on June 1st to grant a religious exemption for the headwear.

“Freedom of religion is a core foundation of this country,” said State Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), who sponsored Senate Bill 847. “We, as Americans, have the right to freely express our religion and I believe that right should equally extend to everyone.”

Sikh turbans and patkas are considered articles of faith for believers.

“Although other countries and our own military make accommodations for Sikhs’ deep beliefs, out of the U.S. states that require helmets, none has exemptions for Sikhs or any other group based on religious practice,” according to Sen. Dahle. SB 847 now moves to the Assembly.

House Bill 1112, signed into law on May 16, 2023 by Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) creates a new gross misdemeanor penalty for negligent drivers who kill “vulnerable user victims,” which can include pedestrians, cyclists, and people riding tractors, horses or motorcycles on the roadway.

The traffic infraction of negligent driving in the second degree with a vulnerable user victim is renamed negligent driving with a vulnerable user victim in the second degree, and effective January 1, 2025, following a public awareness campaign, the scope of the infraction will be modified: A person commits the infraction if the person “operates a vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property, and proximately causes great bodily harm or substantial bodily harm of a vulnerable user of a public way.”

Negligent driving with a vulnerable user victim is punishable by up to 365 days in jail, a $5,000 fine which may not be reduced below $1,000, or both. A person convicted of this crime will also lose their driving privileges for 90 days.

The bill was a bipartisan effort by State Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver) and will allow judges, at their discretion, to hold negligent drivers to greater accountability and impose criminal penalties to protect vulnerable victims of accidents.
U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) announced that they would introduce the Electric Motorcycle Parity Act in the Senate which, if enacted, would expand available tax credits to riders who purchase qualifying electric motorcycles in the U.S. with the same qualifications required for four-wheeled electric vehicles that previously passed into law as part of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.

In the United States, electric motorcycle purchases that met certain conditions were previously eligible for tax credits before the 2022 calendar year, but unfortunately for riders those tax credits expired at the end of 2021. Although some individual states have opted to offer tax incentives for electric motorcycles purchased in 2022 and 2023, nothing has existed at the federal level for the past year and a half.

According to Sens. Casey and Baldwin, the Electric Motorcycle Parity Act of 2023 would make vehicles with fewer than four wheels (potentially two- and even three-wheeled vehicles) eligible for the clean vehicle tax credit that is part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which awards up to $7,500 to customers if both the vehicle and the taxpayer meet certain requirements.

Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives are urging Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to re-establish the Motorcyclist Advisory Committee (MAC). The MAC was supposed to be re-established within 90 days of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council Reauthorization Act of 2021 becoming law, expanding membership seats to include manufacturers, motorcyclists rights organizations and safety professionals, yet over a year has passed since its enactment with no action thus far by the DOT.

In the joint letter to the Transportation Secretary, the group of Congressmembers write in part; "Unfortunately, despite the requirement that the MAC be established within 90 days of enactment it appears no such action has been taken. While we understand the many priorities you manage at the Department of Transportation, this critical Council must be instated to ensure the safety of motorcyclists."
A former federal transportation safety advisor warns, “It’s very dangerous for motorcycles to be around Teslas” in a Washington Post article acknowledging the vehicle’s Autopilot driver-assistance program “has been involved in far more crashes than previously reported.”

The June 10 article notes that “The number of deaths and serious injuries associated with Autopilot also has grown significantly… The most recent data includes at least 17 fatal incidents,” with four of those involving a motorcycle.

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened two consecutive special investigations into fatal crashes involving Tesla vehicles and motorcyclists.

Former NHTSA senior safety adviser Missy Cummings, now a professor at George Mason University’s College of Engineering and Computing, called the surge in Tesla crashes “troubling” and said the number of fatalities compared to overall crashes was also a concern.

An uptick in crashes coincides with Tesla’s aggressive rollout of Full Self-Driving, which has expanded from around 12,000 users to nearly 400,000 in a little more than a year. In February, Tesla issued a recall of more than 360,000 vehicles equipped with Full Self-Driving over concerns that the software prompted its vehicles to disobey traffic lights, stop signs and speed limits.

Sales figures for the first quarter of 2023 are in for the European PTW (Powered Two-Wheeler) market, and things seem to be looking up for the international motorcycle industry. In total, there was a 15.5% increase across the top five European markets as compared to the first quarter of 2022.

It goes without saying that the European motorcycle market is considerably more diverse than what we see in the U.S. With a wider selection of motorcycles due to stricter licensing parameters, manufacturers need to expand their model ranges with bikes in the 125cc, 300cc to 500cc, and 650cc+ categories. On top of that, more and more people are hitting the road on electric motorcycles.

Italy leads the pack with an impressive 31.1% growth versus the first quarter of 2022, with runner-up Germany experiencing 13.2% more moto- sales than the same period of last year. In third place, France marked a 7.1% increase over Q1 2022, while fourth and fifth places went to Spain and the U.K., respectively.

The European motorcycle industry appears to be rebounding from a rather lackluster 2022, and should the current trend continue, could result in an excess of one million new motorcycles sold there by year’s end.

Spanish Enduro Champion Iván Cervantes has set a new Guinness World Record for the longest distance ridden by one person on a motorcycle, by riding 4,012km (2,493 miles) in 24 hours on April 30, 2023 aboard his Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Explorer.

The previous record, set at 3,406km (2,116 miles), was achieved by American rider Carl Reese on February 26, 2017, recording an average speed over 24 hours of 141.9kph (88.2mph). Cervantes’ record therefore extends the record by 606km (377 miles), and with an average speed of 167.8kph (104.3mph).

There was a total of 18 pitstops, around every 1.5hours, with 520-litres of fuel used.

When asked if he slept during the event, the five-time Enduro World Champion and Triumph Global Ambassador admitted: “Believe me I tried, but after 10 minutes I couldn’t sleep because of all the adrenaline inside my body.”

A prominent motorcycle journalist has broken a world record for visiting the most amount of countries while riding a motorcycle in one 24-hour period.

Moto-writer Thierry Sarasyn started his ride in southern Poland, strategically chosen because of its close proximity to a significant number of other countries before ending his trip in the Netherlands.

At the end of his record-setting journey, Thierry racked up an impressive 1,367 miles, visiting 15 countries, and completed the feat in just 22 hours, yet breaking no speed limits and no local road traffic laws. That meant he had to basically ride 1,300 miles, through different countries all with varying traffic laws, in less than 24 hours.
Does your favorite motorcycle manufacturer have an official postage stamp from its country of origin? If you’re a Ducatista it does, as the Italian national postal service, Poste Italiane, officially released its special Ducati stamp collection on June 9, 2023 crafted in honor of the 2022 Ducati MotoGP World Championship won by the Ducati team led by Factory rider Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia.

The stamp depicts a stylized drawing of the Ducati GP22 MotoGP machine, roaring around a chicane painted in the tricolor of the Italian flag, along with a laurel wreath and text that reads “2022 Campioni Del Mondo Ducati” in the upper right corner.

The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) has officially announced the beginning of an entirely new racing series for 2024, and this time the circuit will be all about women racers, and will be called the FIM Women’s Motorcycling World Championship.

Women from all over the world will be invited to race in this new Championship, and tentative plans for the opening season will include at least six rounds, with two races held per round, and will “primarily run alongside the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship” starting in March or April of next year.
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"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt, "Citizen in a Republic", April 23, 1910
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