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NCOM News Bytes For March 2019

Fallen Riders, Mongols Patch, Anti-Profiling, Lane Splitting, California Autobahn, Helmet Laws and more

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish
3/19/2019


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NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish 

 

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.

 

NCOM CONVENTION IN ORLANDO INVITES NAMES FOR FALLEN RIDERS TRIBUTE

 

With the 34th Annual NCOM Convention in Orlando, Florida just weeks away, the National Coalition of Motorcyclists is requesting that MROs, motorcycle clubs, and riding associations submit the names of those members and supporters who have died since last year’s Convention, so that we may honor their memories with the traditional “Ringing of the Bell” tribute to fallen riders during the opening ceremonies. Dedications should be e-mailed in advance to Bill Bish at NCOMBish@aol.com, or can be hand-delivered at the Convention to “Doc” Reichenbach, NCOM Chairman of the Board.

 

This year’s NCOM Convention, to be held Mother’s Day weekend, May 10-12, 2019 at the Doubletree by Hilton - Universal Orlando, located at 5780 Major Blvd., in Orlando, Florida will draw hundreds of concerned motorcyclists from across America to "The City Beautiful" to address topics of concern to all riders.

 

The annual gathering of bikers’ rights activists will focus on legislative efforts and litigation techniques to benefit our right to ride and Freedom of the Road, so reserve your room now for the special NCOM rate of $114 by calling (800) 222-8733.

 

Registration fees for the NCOM Convention are $85 including the Silver Spoke Awards Banquet on Saturday night, or $50 for the Convention only. All motorcyclists are welcome and encouraged to attend.

 

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

 

 

JUDGE RULES GOVERNMENT CAN'T SEIZE MONGOLS M/C PATCH

 

The Mongols motorcycle club has won its latest round in a decade long battle with the federal government, when a California judge found that a jury’s recent decision to strip the club of trademarked logo was unconstitutional.

 

On February 28, 2019 U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ruled that denying Mongols members the right to display the logo would overstep the constitutional right to free expression embedded in the 1st Amendment, as well as the 8th Amendment’s ban on excessive penalties.

 

“We are ecstatic that the Mongols motorcycle club has been able to win this 1st Amendment battle for itself and all motorcycle clubs,” said Stephen Stubbs, an attorney for the Mongols. “The government has clearly overreached into a realm that the Constitution does not allow. They tried to ban symbolic speech,” Stubbs told the Los Angeles Times. Stubbs, a.k.a. “Bowtie” as bikers call him, is a member of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists Legislative Task Force (NCOM-LTF) and is legal counsel for the Southern Nevada Confederation of Clubs (COC).

 

In December, after a lengthy trial, a jury convicted the Mongols Nation entity as an organization of racketeering and conspiracy charges stemming from a 2008 investigation, and the ensuing guilty verdict thus allowed prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office to pursue a court order forcing the club to forfeit the trademarked symbol that appears on their patches.

 

Judge Carter affirmed the RICO convictions, which could carry fines at sentencing in April, but his written ruling marks a setback for federal prosecutors after they convinced a jury in January to allow the government to seize the club’s patches and trademarks as criminal instruments.

 

Carter’s ruling, which has drawn national attention in this first-of-its-kind case, is being hailed as a major victory for all motorcycle clubs, but it is expected to be appealed and may eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

“Save the Patch” and Motorcycle Profiling will be among the many issues that will be discussed at the upcoming NCOM Convention in Orlando, Florida, May 10-12, 2019.

 

 

CLUB COLORS BANNED FROM IDAHO STATEHOUSE FOR ANTI-PROFILING VOTE

 

Members of motorcycle clubs in Idaho were recently barred by Capitol Security from wearing their colors into the State Capitol on March 4, 2019 during a Senate floor vote on Senate Bill 1109, a bill prohibiting motorcycle profiling.

 

ABATE of Idaho immediately sent a letter to all state Senators and Representatives calling for a cessation of such unconstitutional acts of discrimination, stating in part that “Any government agent denying an individual access to Senate Chambers because they are wearing motorcycle club colors is a clear violation of speech, association and due process rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.”

 

The bill, sponsored by Senator Lee Heider (R-Twin Falls), a motorcyclist himself, would have outlawed motorcycle profiling by state or local law enforcement for the purposes of traffic stops, detentions or other actions. SB 1109 defines motorcycle profiling as “the arbitrary use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle.”

 

Although a similar anti-profiling measure passed the House unanimously last session, Senators killed the proposal this year by just one vote, 17-18.

 

Motorcycle profiling has been the subject of discussion not only in Idaho, but across the nation. In December 2018, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution to promote awareness of and discourage motorcycle profiling. Anti-motorcycle profiling bills have been considered in several states, and has been enacted into law in both Washington in 2011 and Maryland in 2016.

 

 

MOTORCYCLE MANUFACTURERS JOIN FORCES TO ENHANCE SAFETY

 

Recently, six motorcycle manufacturers have joined forces with the goal of increasing safety for road-going motorcyclists in the United States. The Safer Motorcycling Research Consortium (SMRC), a non-profit entity, is borne of the cooperation between American Honda Motor Company, BMW Motorrad, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Indian Motorcycle Company, Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.

 

To this day, any motorcycle-related legislation only has the Hurt Report done in the late '70s establish concrete information about motorcycle safety. “Technology throughout all of modern transportation has advanced so far, so quickly that a good comprehensive, multifaceted look at the risks and advantages of motorcycles on our modern roads is long overdue,” states RideApart.com in assessing the consortium. “Hopefully along with integrating safety measures into motorcycle design, these companies will release the results of their research for the benefit of everyone on two wheels.”

 

Keep an eye out for more news coming from the SMRC, as it is “committed to working collaboratively with U.S. federal agencies to conduct pre-competitive research in order to substantially enhance the safety of the motorcycle riding ecosystem.”

 

 

LANE SPLITTING BILL PROPOSED IN CONNECTICUT

 

A Democrat state senator in Connecticut has introduced legislation to allow motorcyclists to lane split in that state. State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) proposed Senate Bill 629 "To permit the operator of a motorcycle to operate between lanes of traffic as is permitted in other states and countries and thereby ease traffic congestion."

 

Although California is the only jurisdiction that has legalized the practice in the U.S. and Canada, politicians in Texas, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Utah have proposed such bills, while Hawaii has legalized a similar measure which allows motorcyclists to filter ahead on the shoulder of the road in congested traffic situations.

 

Lane splitting, or “filtering”, is also legal in a number of other countries, notably in Europe and Asia, with many sources indicating that it helps reduce congestion and emissions while increasing safety for the riders who engage in the practice.

 

 

IS AN AUTOBAHN COMING TO CALIFORNIA?

 

California is considering creating speed limit-free lanes on some major highways, similar to the famous Autobahn in Germany. Senator John Moorlach (R-Orange County) introduced Senate Bill 319 which would require the Department of Transportation to create two additional lanes on Interstate 5 and State Route 99 north and southbound with unrestricted speed limits.

 

Replacing the now defunct High-Speed Rail project with dedicated lanes would let Californians speedily and safely traverse the Northern and Southern parts of the state. Like the German Autobahn, the new lanes would be designed for both high-speed and safety, as a World Health Organization study estimates road traffic deaths per 100,000 people is 4.1 in Germany, while 12.4 in the United States.

 

The project is also anticipated to reduce emissions, by decreasing the number of idling vehicles, which would justify paying for the project using the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

 

“Why don’t we provide people with vehicles the opportunity just to drive at 100 miles an hour, get to San Francisco in a shorter period of time than the train would?,” Sen. Moorlach told CBS Sacramento, adding that there are fewer reported incidents on the Autobahn.

 

 

THAILAND COULD REDUCE MOTORCYCLE DEATHS 82% WITH DEDICATED LANES

 

Dedicated motorcycle lanes might be the answer to substantially lowering the death toll around Bangkok’s congested streets, suggests a leading Thai engineer.

 

The Engineering Institute of Thailand’s Dr Thanet Wirasiri says that Thailand has some of the most dangerous driving conditions in South East Asia, and claims that the ever worsening death toll could be reduced by 82% with such lanes.

 

In Bangkok about three quarters of deaths involved motorcycles, according to the Daily News, which notes that there are 3 million motorbikes on the road around Bangkok alone.

 

Dr. Wirasiri’s think-tank is proposing motorcycle lanes on major roads as part of a coordinated approach to improve road design and reduce the risk to riders on the city’s roads.

 

 

PHILLIPINES SEEK TO BAN SHORTS WHILE RIDING; REQUIRE GLOVES AND BOOTS

 

During a press briefing held March 12 by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority in Makati, MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo 'Jojo' Garcia told reporters that the agency is looking to penalize motorcycle riders, including pillions (passengers), who wear shorts when riding their motorcycles. "The motorcycle's engine is hot, including the exhaust pipe, and if the [rider] person did not wear socks or what, their skin might get burned and may cause an accident,” he said.

 

The MMDA GM said that their office met with their government counterparts to recommend the creation of laws and policies concerning the proper attire for motorcycle riders, among them, the requirement of wearing leather boots and gloves. “Protective devices shall include: helmets, goggles, leather boots, and protective clothing such as heavy pants, heavy jacket, leather gloves, and rain suit” stated GM Garcia.

 

Motorcycle groups, particularly the Motorcycle Rights Organization or MRO, oppose the MMDA proposal, saying there are already too many motorcycle laws that exist concerning road safety and only need proper implementation, reported MotoPinas.com.

 

The group went on to point out that requiring only leather materials for riding boots and gloves would be too expensive to acquire for the average motorcyclist, and argue that wearing heavy pants and jackets in a tropical climate would be impractical.

 
 

 

CANADIAN SIKHS IN ALBERTA AND ONTARIO NOW EXEMPTED FROM HELMET LAW

 

Turban-wearing Sikhs in Alberta and Ontario are now allowed to ride motorcycles without a helmet, joining the Provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia in granting exemption from the nationwide helmet law. For three decades, Canadian Sikhs have fought to pass a legal exemption allowing members of the religion to legally ride a motorcycle while wearing a turban, and not a helmet, as it’s not possible to wear a helmet and a turban at the same time.

 

On October 18, 2018 the provincial government in Ontario announced that motorcycle helmets will henceforth be optional for Sikh riders, while the province of Alberta amended their vehicle equipment regulations effective last April 12th that applies to drivers and passengers over the age of 18 who are practicing members of the Sikh religion.

 

The United Kingdom implemented a motorcycle helmet exemption for Sikhs in 1976.

 

Alberta’s Transportation Minister Brian Mason told CBC News that the exemption was granted at the request of the Sikh community as recognition of their civil and religious rights.

 

 

QUOTABLE QUOTE:  "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu."

 

~ Modern political proverb circa 2000 Washington, D.C.

 

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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