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Thursday Edition

NCOM Biker Newsbytes for October 2020

Convention Highlights, Bans, ATVs, Discrimination, Law Suits, Compensation, Motorcycles are Bad, Event Cancelled and the Queen

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish

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Although smaller than normal, due to the COVID-19 threat, the rescheduled NCOM Convention held Oct. 16-18 in Indianapolis succeeded in “being here for those dedicated Freedom Fighters who were determined enough to brave a deadly health crisis to be here for each other,” explained a masked NCOM Chairman James “Doc” Reichenbach.

Legal and legislative seminars and roundtables were socially distanced but fairly well attended, considering the dire circumstances, and seats at the dinner tables were mostly filled for the Silver Spoke Awards Banquet to honor bikers’ rights activists such as author and filmmaker John E. (Black Dragon) Bunch II (ENTERTAINMENT); Jad Breiner - Sons of Silence MC, editor of Brothers Behind Bars (BBB) Newsletter (MEDIA); Pete Leehey - AIM Attorney, Iowa (LEGAL); with SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARDS going to Nancy Nemecek and Fred “Sarge” Matthews, and NCOM's RON ROLOFF LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD presented to John Bilotta Jr., Operations Director for ABATE of Virginia.

Dates and location for the 36th annual National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) Convention in 2021 have yet to be finalized, so stay tuned for further details as they are announced.


Governor Gavin Newsom (D) announced that he will “aggressively move California further away from its reliance on climate change-causing fossil fuels” by issuing an executive order on September 23rd mandating that all new passenger vehicles be zero-emission by 2035.

His historic action will require all passenger vehicle manufacturers to shun internal combustion engines and fully electrify their line-up, meaning that manufacturers that wish to continue to sell in the Golden State will only be allowed to sell new electric cars and trucks after the deadline.

Motorcycles are not included in the definition of “passenger vehicles,” but the order does contain a clause to achieve “100 percent zero-emission from off-road vehicles and equipment operations in the State by 2035,” which would presumably include all new ATVs and dirt bikes.

The executive order only applies to the sale of new vehicles and will not prevent Californians from owning gas-burning automobiles or selling them on the used car market.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Gov. Newsom as California has become the first U.S. state to join with 15 countries that have already committed to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles.


Off-road tourism got a boost with news that a city has opened its streets to side-by-side and ATV traffic.  In central Wisconsin, the Tomah Police Department reports on its Facebook that “ATV/UTV routes within the City of Tomah are now legally opened for operation and use.  Now that all City of Tomah signage is erected, streets within the City of Tomah are now legally opened for ATV/UTV traffic.”

Some key points related to ATV/UTV operation within the City of Tomah, WI:

- Unless otherwise posted, the routes within the City of Tomah include all roads with a speed limit of 35mph or less;

- ATVs and UTVs may only be operated on approved routes from 6am - 10pm;

- Operators must be 16 or older and possess a valid license and proof of insurance;

- All other state statutes related to the use and operation of an ATV/UTV are applicable.


The Texas biker may have deserved a speeding ticket, but he didn’t think the traffic stop warranted the questioning, roadside investigation, pat-down search, or enduring an hour of detainment along the roadway waiting for a drug-sniffing dog to arrive on the scene; resulting in inconvenience and embarrassment because a law enforcement officer had guessed wrong.

Statistically, police are terrible at determining which motorists are worthy of being detained and searched, often relying on signs of a driver’s deception such as twitching, fidgeting or lack of eye-contact, all of which research long has debunked as signals of lying.

“There are no nonverbal and verbal cues uniquely related to deceit,” a 2011 review of deception research concluded, while a 2005 study of Texas police found officers performed barely above random chance in being able to discern a person telling the truth from a liar.

Texas police performed just under a million searches during traffic stops last year, according to figures reported to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, and though “hit rates” vary by department, only about 1 in 5 resulted in contraband being found.  Yet Texas law enforcement agencies seized about $50 million in forfeited funds in each of the past five years; with proceeds split between police and prosecutors and used to fund more searches.

Police once needed probable cause that a crime was occurring to investigate motorists during a stop.  But in 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed brief stops based on a lower standard of “reasonable suspicion” of wrongdoing.  A later decision clarified that if the officer can’t specify why he suspects a crime is afoot, a traffic stop may last only long enough to check the driver’s paperwork and write a ticket or warning.

Most recent national analyses of traffic stops have focused on the disproportionate rate of police searches of Black and Hispanic motorists, though a federal measure currently under consideration in Congress could add motorcycle riders to that profiling study group.

And so this biker was relieved to finally be allowed on his way with just a ticket, but knew it wasn’t right and figured his motorcycle club vest must have raised the officer’s suspicions.

Innocent people rarely protest meritless searches, so finding an attorney to take his case was difficult.  The overwhelming number of legal challenges occur in suppression hearings, when an officer’s suspicions were correct; contraband was discovered and the defendant seeks to have the evidence tossed on procedural grounds.

With the help of an Austin attorney who represents motorcyclists, the angry biker filed a lawsuit against the Texas trooper in early 2019.  Soon after reviewing the dashcam video, lawyers for the Texas attorney general’s office said they were ready to settle.

According to the story posted in Insane Throttle (, the two sides agreed on $11,000 to compensate wronged rider Thomas Kost for the unjustified intrusion, and he used the settlement money to buy a new Harley.


The East Bay Dragons, founded in the 1950s as the first all-Black motorcycle club to exist in California’s Bay Area, has filed a federal lawsuit against Solano County alleging they concocted a reason to cancel a planned club event at the fairgrounds after hearing that one of the club’s members had an association with the Black Panthers.

Still in its early stages, the suit claims that the Dragons planned a 60th anniversary event at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo, but the event was canceled at the last minute, after the Dragons had spent thousands in fees and planning.

According to the lawsuit, the trouble for the planned August 2019 event started when a county employee learned that a member of the Dragons owned a bakery in Oakland, proudly located at the site of the Black Panthers’ first headquarters

The suit claims all of this was a problem for the county employee, who allegedly remarked that the Black Panthers were “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country,” and started working to cancel the Dragons’ event.  As a result of this, the suit alleges, fairgrounds staff invented the ruse that there was a credible threat to the safety of the event, “but there was no credible threat at all.”

“This insidious belief of EBD’s threat traveled all the way to Oakland and with the help of the Oakland Police Department, at the conclusion of the 60th anniversary celebration on September 2, 2019, the EBD were surrounded by Oakland Police Department officers due to racist motives,” the civil complaint says.

In East Oakland, the biker club is beloved, says Councilman Larry Reid, who said their clubhouse in his district has distributed food on Thanksgivings and toy drives during Christmas.


A mechanic at a Harley-Davidson dealership in England has received over £60k ($77,665 USD) settlement after being left unable to work due to “motorcycle phobia” sustained in a work-related accident with an at-fault car whose driver admitted liability.

The mechanic was road testing a customer’s bike at the time of the crash, resulting in physical and psychiatric injuries, including a newfound fear of riding the motorcycles he had to work on, rendering him unable to continue doing the job he loved.

Despite receiving support from his employer, the mechanic left the bike business and now has hopes to become a photographer.



A transport consultation released by the Oxford County Council has branded motorcyclists as pollution emitting liabilities to safety.  The paper outlines transport and connectivity plans, which are clearly biased against motorcycle riding, and goes to great lengths to champion bicycles, walking and public transportation.

Rather than just side with pedal power and walking, the public document goes on to set a worrisome precedent by labeling motorcycles and their riders as dangerous polluters; Just two of the anti-motorcycle statements read: “Statistical evidence suggests motorcyclists are a danger to themselves” and “Motorbikes are mostly still using fossil fuels to run, meaning they are environmentally unsound, not sustainable, and contribute to air pollution.”

The British Motorcycle Federation ( has now picked up the case and are chasing the council to have the anti-biker rhetoric dropped from the official paper.  “The Oxfordshire Transport Panel have cynically used the current COVID-19 crisis to attempt to force through the adoption of this outrageous Transport Plan,” charged their Chairman, Jim Freeman, further stating that "The BMF urge all members to be especially vigilant at this time in scrutinizing local authorities and other bodies who may use this crisis to ‘bury news’ concerning similar discriminatory attitudes and moves.”

TT champion Ryan Farquhar, one of the world’s most esteemed and successful motorcycle road racers, was awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The Northern Irishman received the award for his “Services to Motorcycling” over a career that has seen him secure three Isle of Man TT wins, five North West 200 victories and nine Ulster Grand Prix triumphs, clinching an incredible total of 357 road race victories.

Farquhar says he was completely taken aback by the news of his award, saying it is “very special” to have his achievements recognized in such a high-profile manner outside of the sport itself.  "I never ever dreamed I would receive an accolade like this.  Motorcycle racing in general, and particularly road racing, doesn't generally get the recognition of other sports.”


Following a meeting of the MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council) Board of Directors, the difficult decision was made to postpone the 2021 AIMExpo, the industry’s annual trade show, to 2022 due to COVID-19 directives “limiting gathering size, travel restrictions, and a myriad of other obstacles created by the pandemic, there are too many unknown factors limiting our ability to create a safe environment that will also deliver the experience and ROI our exhibitors and attendees expect.”

Likewise, the International Motorcycle Shows (IMS) have announced that its annual November through February winter tour across the U.S. has been cancelled “as a result of COVID-19 and the risks involved with large crowds at indoor venues” and, in its place, has launched Progressive IMS Outdoors; revamping the tour’s nearly 40-year stint to “transition from the traditional convention center setup to a new open outdoor experience” to take place between May and September of 2021.

QUOTABLE QUOTE: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

~ Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th President of the United States
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