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NCOM Biker Newsbytes July 2020

Great News for Freedom Fighters Everywhere

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish
7/19/2020


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MISSOURI REPEALS HELMET LAW FOR MANY ADULT RIDERS

Missouri has become the 32nd state to repeal their all-rider helmet law when Governor Mike Parson (R) signed House Bill 1963 into law on July 14; a massive transportation bill that includes a provision to allow adults to ride a motorcycle or trike without a helmet, provided they are at least 26 years old and have appropriate health insurance.

The new rules, which will go into effect August 28, also restrict police from pulling over helmetless riders to check f they have the required health insurance.

Sponsored by GOP Representative Travis Fitzwater, H.B. 1963 states in part:

“Currently, every person operating or riding a motorcycle or motortricycle is required to wear protective headgear (Sections 302.020 and 302.026). This bill provides that persons under the age of 26 who are operating or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle or motortricycle shall wear a helmet when the vehicle is in motion. Similarly, a person who is 26 or older, is operating a motorcycle or motortricycle, and who has been issued an instruction permit shall wear a helmet when the vehicle is in motion. No political subdivision of the state shall impose a protective headgear requirement on the operator or passenger of a motorcycle or motortricycle. No person shall be stopped, inspected, or detained solely to determine compliance with these provisions (Section 302.020.2). The bill also provides that qualified operators who are 26 or older may operate a motorcycle or motortricycle without a helmet if he or she is covered by a health insurance policy or other form of insurance which will provide the person with medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a motorcycle or motortricycle accident. Proof of such coverage shall be provided on request of law enforcement by showing a copy of the qualified operator’s insurance card. No person shall be stopped, inspected, or detained solely to determine compliance with these provisions (Section 302.026).”

“We really feel everything in this bill has been well vetted,” Tony Shepherd, who lobbied in support of repealing the helmet law for a motorcycle rights group, ABATE for Missouri, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Other organizations supporting the measure were the Missouri Confederation of Clubs & Independents (CoC), and Freedom of the Road Riders of Missouri (FORR-MO), which has been lobbying to repeal the “Show Me” state’s helmet law for decades, successfully getting a bill on their governor’s desk four times since 1999 only to be vetoed.

Last year, Gov. Parson vetoed a similar measure that would have allowed anyone older than 18 to ride without a helmet, though his veto was centered on a separate provision in that legislation.

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SWEEPING INFRASTRUCTURE BILL PASSED THE HOUSE, GOES TO THE SENATE

On July 1, 2020 the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 233-188 its signature infrastructure legislation, the Moving Forward Act, H.R.2 (previously the INVEST in America Act); providing over $1.5 trillion in federal spending across a wide range of infrastructure areas including surface transportation, water, aviation, broadband, healthcare, and energy. 

Included in the massive 2,213-page plan to rebuild and expand America’s transportation infrastructure like highways, vehicle safety and public transit, the new 5-year federal funding measure also addresses several concerns voiced by motorcyclists.

As originally introduced in June, the INVEST in America Act included a provision to increase Motorcycle Safety Funds to states by 25%, to $5.8 million.  Added by unanimous consent during markup of H.R. 2 by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee were three amendments to: Extend the prohibition against using federal funding for motorcycle-only checkpoints and also prohibits using federal funds to profile and stop motorcyclists based on of their mode of transportation or style of dress; Require the Department of Transportation to consider motorcycles in safety studies on autonomous vehicles and includes a motorcycle safety group in the DOT working group on autonomous vehicle deployment; An extension of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council including a seat on the council for motorcyclists’ rights groups and manufacturers.

An additional motorcyclist-friendly amendment was approved during the final floor vote in the House to provide federal monies to collect state profiling data regarding traffic stops based on “mode of transportation.”

H.R.2 now goes over to the Senate for further action, where Republicans have expressed opposition to the bill as written by the Democrat-controlled House, as well as a veto threat from the Administration, citing the Act’s spending levels, regulatory changes, and climate change-related provisions.

 

 

‘ANTIQUE MOTORCYCLE ENTHUSIAST DAY’

A Congressional Resolution, H.Res.1041 was introduced in the House to recognize July 11, 2020 as “Antique Motorcycle Enthusiast Day” to recognize “the preservation, restoration, and operation of old-time motorcycles in the United States.”

Sponsored by Representative Troy Balderson (R-OH) and co-sponsored by GOP Reps Michael Burgess (TX), and Tim Walberg (MI), House Resolution 1041 states;

Whereas many people in the United States own, restore, preserve, study, or admire motorcycles that fall into the antique category, meaning they are at least 35-years old;

Whereas the collection, restoration, and preservation of motorcycles is an activity shared across generations and across all segments of society;

Whereas thousands of local motorcycle clubs and related businesses have been instrumental in preserving a historic part of the heritage of the United States by encouraging the restoration and exhibition of such historic works of art;

Whereas the restoration of motorcycles provides well-paying, highly skilled jobs for people in all 50 States; and

Whereas, for over a century, motorcycles have been a source of family enjoyment, photographs, songs, movies, and an iconic fashion statement in the United States: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives –

(1) supports the designation of “Antique Motorcycle Enthusiast Day”;

(2) recognizes the effect of the more than 120-year history of the American motorcycle and the economic surge that celebrated over 120 American brands in the United States in the first half of the 20th Century;

(3) recognizes that the collection and restoration of vintage and classic motorcycles is an important part of preserving the technological achievements and cultural heritage of the United States; and

(4) encourages the people of the United States to engage in events and commemorations of “Antique Motorcycle Enthusiast Day” in accordance with public health guidelines that create opportunities for antique motorcycle owners to educate young people about the importance of preserving the cultural heritage of the United States, including through the preservation of antique motorcycles.

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GLOBAL MOTORCYCLE SALES BOUNCE BACK AFTER PANDEMIC SLUMP

After a strong start to 2020, motorcycle sales plummeted in March when the Coronavirus forced most of the world’s population into lockdown, but with life gradually resuming, sales are bouncing back better than expected despite -- or perhaps because of -- the pandemic.

An increasing number of pundits and publications predict that the pandemic will encourage more people to turn to motorcycles and scooters for transportation -- the perfect type of commuter for social distancing.  Although the first quarter of motorcycle sales are down 10.6%, they’re selling better than cars which are down 12%.

In the U.S., according to rideapart.com, Honda, BMW, Suzuki, and Yamaha’s North American branches reported that sales are thriving since the beginning of the year, particularly in the off-road segment.

The European market is showing a similar, positive trend; Italian sales numbers for June 2020 show a 37% increase over June 2019, while sales in the U.K. surpassed June 2019 levels by 14.3%.  The market is also on the mend in hard-hit India where local branches report sales are on the rise after the May slump.  In the Land Down Under, according to the Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, sales for the second quarter were also up year over year.

In spite of a rocky Q1, the global motorcycle industry is faring far better than most expected. 

 

 

STURGIS STILL ON, AS OFFICALS SEND COVID-TESTERS TO HELP OUT

South Dakota health officials are sending 20 COVID-19 testing machines capable of producing tests in minutes to help carry out the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

The 80th edition of the annual rally is expected to attract thousands of people to western South Dakota for the iconic biker rally, running August 7-16.  The Rapid City Journal reports that the city council decided to cautiously proceed with the 10-day rally after realizing motorcycle enthusiasts were going to show up regardless.

Likewise, the Horry County City Council realized that there was no stopping the Myrtle Beach Spring Rally, which has gone on for 81 years, despite being postponed from May to July due to the virus.  The 97th Laconia Motorcycle Week has been similarly rescheduled from June to August 22-30, with their City Council’s consent.

ABATE of Iowa reportedly held an “Amazing Weekend” 36th annual Freedom Rally in Algona over July Fourth, and even county officials were “pleasantly surprised” by the responsible behavior exhibited by thousands of motorcyclists in attendance.

Unfortunately, though, an estimated twenty-two major rallies have been canceled so far this year, including the National H.O.G. Rally on the Gold Coast, Americade, Hog Wild, Mountainfest, Panama Beach Spring Rally, Roar on the Shore, Rolling Thunder, ROT Rally, Smoke Out, Thunder in the Smokies, Thunder in the Valley, Quail Motorcycle Gathering, Wauseon, Wing Ding 42, and INTERMOT, the motorcycle industry’s big show in Germany, was canceled, while America’s AIMExpo was “postponed” to next year.

Many races have also been canceled or postponed; World Superbike and MotoGP races, American Flat Track, Isle of Man TT, Pikes Peak, as well as Motocross and Supercross.  Easyriders has canceled their Bike Shows and Rodeos.

But as of now Arizona Bike Week is still on, October 7-11 in Scottsdale, as is the Four Corners Rally over Labor Day in Durango, CO, Reno’s Street Vibrations’ Spring Rally was postponed but their Fall Rally, Sept 24-27 is still “scheduled to happen,” Daytona’s Biketoberfest Oct 15-18 is currently proceeding, Golden Aspen canceled their May Aspen Cash Rally but reports their Golden Aspen Rally September 16-20 in Ruidoso, N.M. is still on, the Lone Star Rally in Galveston, TX has been “postponed” until November 4-7, 2021, Harley Rendezvous postponed, Mama Tried postponed, and AMA Vintage Days postponed, with new dates TBA.

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NEARLY 200,000 PROTEST MOTORCYCLE BANS

Thousands of motorcyclists joined forces across central Europe to protest against motorcycle bans on certain Alpine roads, as demonstrations took place in a number of German cities and coincided with the launch of an online petition that garnered 199,663 supporters.

Protesters oppose unfair and largely unjust bans on motorcycles from certain roads, citing exhaust noise as the reason for the bans, although loud cars are not prohibited.

  

NCOM CONVENTION TO HONOR FALLEN RIDERS; INVITES NAMES FOR TRIBUTE

With the 35th Annual NCOM Convention in Indianapolis now just weeks away, the National Coalition of Motorcyclists is requesting that MROs, motorcycle clubs, and riding associations submit the names of those members and bikers’ rights activists who have died since last May’s Convention, so that we may honor their memories during the traditional “Ringing of the Bell” tribute to fallen riders. Dedications can be hand-delivered at the Convention to “Doc” Reichenbach, NCOM Chairman of the Board, or e-mailed in advance to Bill Bish, NCOM Public Relations Liaison, at NCOMBish@aol.com.

This year’s NCOM Convention, rescheduled from Mother’s Day weekend to October 16-17, 2020, will be held at the Marriott Indianapolis East (7202 East 21st Street in Indianapolis).

Meetings, seminars and group discussions will focus on legislative efforts and litigation techniques to benefit our right to ride and Freedom of the Road.

Pre-register by calling the National Coalition of Motorcyclists at (800) 525-5355 or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.  For more info, click on http://onabike.com/national-coalition-of-motorcyclists/convention.html

 

 

 

QUOTABLE QUOTE: “Before God we are all equally wise and equally foolish.”

~ Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-born Nobel Prize-winning physicist

 

 
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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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