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NCOM Biker Newsbytes for March 2021

Industry news from National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish

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As businesses are still recovering from a devastating year of COVID shutdowns and lower capacity restrictions, Daytona Beach is coming off one of their best Bike Weeks ever.  Bob Davis, president of the Lodging and Hospitality Association in Volusia County, said it was one of the best Bike Weeks they’ve ever had for revenue, rating it “among the top 5” in event history.

Billing itself as “The World’s Largest Motorcycle Event,” Daytona Bike Week celebrated 80 years during the first full week in March, the 5th through the 14th, 2021, with crowds coming in a steady stream throughout the ten days of festivities.

Last year, the nationwide lockdown to battle the pandemic began during the last weekend of Daytona Bike Week, and a year later the country is finally beginning to open for business.  There are still health concerns, and signs encouraging social distancing and mask wearing were posted everywhere, but hopefully the successful turnout will signal better times to come as more and more events find their way back onto the ride calendar.



Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), the country’s leading outdoor recreation coalition, is set to outline the $788 billion industry’s objectives and priorities for 2021 and beyond to Congress on March 24, including briefings presented by representatives of the motorcycle, RV, boating, outfitter, ski and other outdoor sectors.

Much of the focus will be on the industry’s 21st century recreation agenda, capitalizing on soaring participation rates for job creation and economic recovery and particularly how recreation can create jobs in rural America.  The group will also discuss implementing the goals of the Great American Outdoors Act and the process of choosing and implementing LWCF (Land and Water Conservation Fund) projects.

SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) is challenging the EPA’s motorsports regulations in court, arguing against the federal agency’s contention that the Clean Air Act (CAA) does not allow any street vehicle - cars, trucks or motorcycles - to be converted into a racing vehicle used solely for competition.

A recent lawsuit between the Environmental Protection Agency and an aftermarket manufacturer, Gear Box Z, is the agency’s latest action against racing.  In the lawsuit, the EPA again maintains that once a vehicle has been certified as a street vehicle, it cannot be converted for racing even if that vehicle is trailered to the track and is never driven on public roads.

The SEMA Action Network (SAN) says the EPA’s position left them with no choice but to strike back, filing an amicus brief in court arguing that the Clean Air Act does not apply to certified vehicles used exclusively on the track.

“As racers and fans know well, members of Congress introduced legislation to confirm what had already been understood for the previous 45 years: that the CAA did not apply to vehicles modified for racing use only,” according to a SAN statement.  Hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts have since contacted Congress urging passage of the “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act” (RPM Act).

“Enactment of this important critical bill into law would remove any doubt that it is legal to modify a motor vehicle for exclusive use on the track,” writes SAN, adding that “It also would confirm that it is legal to produce, market and install racing equipment.”  The SAN continues to work tirelessly to pass this important legislation to counter EPA overreach, and save not only the sport of racing, but performance modifications.



There's deep paranoia in the oil and gas industry regarding the Biden Administration's ambitious plans to address climate change.  President Biden is aiming for a net-zero electricity sector by 2035, which would require massive reductions in the burning of oil, gas and coal at power plants. Net-zero means there could still be some fossil-fuel use, as long as an equivalent amount of carbon is pulled from the air using technologies that aren’t yet fully developed.  Biden aims for a net-zero economy by 2050, which would require the near-elimination of carbon as a transportation fuel.

There are obvious, and worrisome, implications for businesses and workers in the traditional oil and gas industry, which supports roughly 10 million jobs directly and indirectly.  Biden already killed the Keystone XL oil pipeline and halted new drilling permits on federal land, pending a review.  He backs the mass adoption of electric vehicles that won’t burn gasoline or diesel.  A huge Democratic infrastructure bill coming later this year is likely to include massive investments in renewable energy that would displace oil, gas and coal, while also repealing tax breaks for oil and gas drillers.

Clear battle lines are being drawn between the Administration’s climate team and the carbon industries, and more fervent opposition will heat up as Biden fleshes out his ambitious transformation plan and winners and losers become more apparent.


Huge news, as the sale of new off-road combustion engine vehicles (including dirt bikes) will be banned in California by 2035 in an attempt to bring the state down to carbon-neutral, and reduce pollution in the most-populated state in the country.  Golden State off-roaders will be looking at a future of electric power and no combustion engines, after Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to ban the sale of any non-zero-emission passenger vehicle (cars and trucks) by 2035.

On the face of it, this will be affecting 4-wheels only, but it was ruled off-road vehicles of all types will be included in the forthcoming ban - be it off-road motorcycles, ATVs, quads, or side-by-sides.  Bummer, dude.


Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed Senate Bill 9 into law on March 3, which will allow motorcycles to “filter” through stopped and slow-moving vehicles beginning October 1, 2021.

Lane splitting, lane sharing or filtering… whatever it’s called, Montana now joins California and Utah in legally recognizing the practice that allows motorcyclists to maneuver through traffic.

Sponsored by state Senator Russ Tempel (R-SD14) and state Representative Barry Usher (R-HD40), S.B. 9 defines “lane filtering” as “the act of overtaking and passing another vehicle that is stopped or traveling at a speed not in excess of 10 miles an hour in the same direction of travel and in the same lane.”

The entire text of the bill is one page long, and reads; “An operator of a two-wheeled motorcycle may engage in lane filtering when:

A) the operator of a two-wheeled motorcycle is on a road with lanes wide enough to pass safely;

B) the overtaking motorcycle is not operated at a speed in excess of 20 miles an hour when overtaking the stopped or slow-moving vehicle; and

C) conditions permit continued reasonable and prudent operation of the motorcycle while lane filtering.”

While controversial and contentious, even amongst motorcyclists, a UC Berkeley study confirmed that lane-splitting is less dangerous for motorcyclists than being stopped in traffic.


Lane-splitting was never “legal” in France, but some urban roadways in Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille & Lyon trialed the practice over a five-year test period from 2016-2021; and following some “disappointing results” the country has now banned it, much to the chagrin of French riders who are protesting the move.

On February 20, following the end of the filtering experiment, the French motorcyclists’ organization FFMC (Fédération Française des Motards en Colère) put 20,000 angry motorcyclists in the streets to demand the legalization of filtering between lanes of slow moving or stopped traffic, and the government is ready to listen to the bikers.

On 25 February, at the initiative of the Road Safety Delegation (DSR), the FFMC (a member of FEMA - Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations) met the Interministerial Road Safety Delegate and was assured that a ban on this practice in the future was absolutely not envisaged; but for the state to validate this practice and for the Highway Code to be modified, more experiments are necessary.  Since the last experiment did not give convincing results, it is necessary to conduct a second new experiment.

While waiting for the signing of the decree which will give it the starting signal, filtering remains ‘prohibited’ and as of February 1st riders could be fined and potentially even lose their license for weaving through traffic in France now.


The Spanish Directorate-General for Traffic, within measures to reduce the accident and severity of its consequences on the motorcyclist collective, is considering the mandatory use of airbag vests or jackets.

65% of motorcyclists surveyed do not agree with the mandatory use of airbags, and many riders consider that before imposing more obligations, the Spanish government should fulfill its obligation to have the infrastructure in optimal security condition.  Riders also want the government to fulfill old promises such as legalizing intercoms for motorcyclists.

“The problem we have is that, when a European country legislates something in relation to motorcyclists, others follow,” said Juan Manuel Reyes, president of Asociación Mutua Motera, “This is what happened with gloves in France.  When they became mandatory in our neighboring country, the Spanish government wanted to imitate the measure immediately.  That is why I believe that any measure is approved in a European country, must be monitored by all European motorcyclists, because sooner or later, it is possible that it will be extended to others.”

AMM has scheduled a meeting with the Spanish Directorate-General for Traffic to further discuss the matter.  Also on the agenda: the Directorate-General’s wish to make wearing motorcycle gloves mandatory.


These days, face masks are an all too common sight, and although studies have shown that wearing a mask can reduce the risk of Coronavirus contamination, the Philippine government has taken it a step further to mandate that face masks be worn at all times when outside of your residence - including while riding your motorcycle.

According to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Memorandum Circular 2020-2185, the act of driving, or riding a motorcycle, while failing to comply with the minimum health and safety protocols is tantamount to reckless driving.

Specifically, Article IV, Section 7, makes it clear that there are pretty hefty fines involved for those caught disregarding the sanitary protocols in place, with fines between PHP2,000-10,000 (@ $50-250 USD) -- that's pretty hefty penalties for the average Filipino.

“Outlaw bikie gangs could be banned from wearing gang colours in public and subject to greater stop-and-search powers under laws proposed by police to “dismantle and destroy” WA’s criminal networks,” according to a March 17 article in WAtoday in Western Australia.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson announced the reform plan shortly after confirming detectives had made a breakthrough arrest in relation to the “outrageous killing” of a former biker boss in a crowded public place, resulting in 136 search warrants issued and 102 arrests.

Anti-consorting laws are already in place in Queensland and New South Wales, where ‘bikies’ could face prison time for being caught talking to each other on a telephone call.


QUOTABLE QUOTE: "Tyranny is when the population is imprisoned - Freedom is when the politicians are." ~ Michael Malice (b. 1976), American author, columnist & media personality

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 ( / 800-ON-A-BIKE).
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