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NCOM Biker Newsbytes for December 2021

Industry & Legislative Motorcycle News from USA and the world

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish
12/21/2021


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U.S. EXPERIENCES LARGEST 6-MONTH INCREASE IN TRAFFIC DEATHS EVER
U.S. traffic deaths soared in the first six months of 2021, making for the most deadly 6-month period ever recorded. An estimated 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roads, an 18.4% increase from the same period in 2020, announced the U.S. Department of Transportation’s NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

Traffic deaths surged after Coronavirus lockdowns ended in 2020 as more drivers engaged in unsafe behavior like speeding and lack of seatbelt use, according to NHTSA behavioral research findings. That made for the largest six-month increase ever recorded in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System's history, which has been in use since 1975.

As U.S. roads became less crowded, some motorists perceived police were less likely to issue tickets because of CoViD-19, experts said. Incidents of road rage and driving under the influence were also found to be higher than before the pandemic. Travel on U.S. roads was up 13% in the first half compared to a year earlier.

“This is a crisis,” noted Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, adding that the rising traffic deaths left “countless loved ones behind,” he said. “We cannot and should not accept these fatalities as simply a part of everyday life in America.”

Buttigieg announced the Department’s first-ever National Roadway Safety Strategy to launch in January with a comprehensive set of actions to reverse the current trend.

The initiative will be rooted in the Safe System or approach to roadway design that takes human error into account, first put into effect in Sweden’s Vision Zero in the 1990s, with the goal of eliminating all road deaths and serious injuries.
 
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BBB AND ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLES
It’s not law yet, and many political insiders don’t believe it ever will be in its present form, but the Biden Administration’s “Build Back Better Act” as currently written includes a tax credit toward the purchase of qualifying two- or three-wheeled electric vehicles, of 30% of the purchase price, up to a credit of $7,500.

What kinds of bikes qualify for this credit; you may wonder? For starters, only motorcycles made “for use on public streets, roads, and highways” make the grade. Additionally, qualifying vehicles must be capable of achieving speeds of at least 45 miles per hour, and be powered by a 2.5kWh or greater battery.

Unfortunately, that also means that low-speed electric motorbikes (and scooters), often used for urban transport, do not meet the criteria for this credit. Additionally, while a $7,500 tax credit sounds like a sweet incentive, your electric motorbike purchase must cost at least $25,000 to hit that ceiling.

Various criteria, such as a taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income, can also affect the available tax credit offered. If married, taxpayers paying jointly make over $500,000 in a year, or $250,000 if filing as single taxpayers, the credit goes away completely.

The nearly $2-trillion BBB, H.R. 5376, has passed in the House of Representatives and now awaits further action in the U.S. Senate when Congress returns from Holiday recess.
 

ELECTRIC COALITION PLANS MASSIVE INCREASE IN CHARGING STATIONS
In America, with its wide-open spaces, one of the biggest hurdles to EV adoption is range anxiety, and while cars manufacturers have made great strides in addressing this issue, electric bike OEMs still face an uphill ride due to size and shape limitations. Still, all EVs traversing American roads could stand to gain if the National Electric Highway Coalition has its way.

Simply stated, the NEHC wants to provide DC fast charging infrastructure along “major U.S. travel corridors” by the end of 2023. With current projections estimating that around 22 million EVs will take to U.S. roads by 2030, the Edison Electric Institute estimates the need for around 100,000 EV fast charging ports readily available from coast to coast.

That’s a tall order, considering the U.S. Department of Energy current lists a total of 5,644 DC fast chargers across the entire United States. By the EEI’s own estimates, that’s nowhere near enough.

A total of 53 separate energy companies across the U.S. formed this NEHC power company coalition, with most being investor-owned energy companies from whom many of us receive our electric bills every month.

“EEI and our member companies are leading the clean energy transformation, and electric transportation is key to reducing carbon emissions across our economy,” according to EEI President Tom Kuhn. “With the formation of the National Electric Highway Coalition, we are committed to investing in and providing the charging infrastructure necessary to facilitate electric vehicle growth and to helping alleviate any remaining customer range anxiety.”
 
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EUROPEAN MOTORCYCLE MANUFACTURER ASSOCIATION REVEALS FUTURE GOALS
Despite the growth and development in the electric mobility sector, the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM) wants to go much further by 2030. On November 17, 2021, ACEM held an online conference to introduce its Vision 2030+. The strategic documents lay out a roadmap for the European motorcycle industry to continue development in conjunction with regional decarbonization goals. European Parliament and European Commission policy-makers were in attendance as well as industry leaders.

“The Vision 2030+ that we are presenting today is the result of a long-term reflection at the highest levels of the European motorcycle industry,” said ACEM Vice-President and Head of BMW Motorcycles Dr. Markus Schramm. “Vision 2030+ is about the future of mobility but also about the valuable contribution our industry can make to help Europe achieve its goals in areas such as industrial policy, decarbonization, and road safety.”

The presenters stressed the importance of cooperation among manufacturers such as the Swappable Batteries Consortium, but also noted that alternative fuels play a major role in meeting future goals. New proposals like the Fit for 55 package and alternative fuel deployment initiatives are all aimed at achieving the objectives set forth by the European Green Deal and the European Climate Law. Under the two bills, the E.U. is expected to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030.

“Through this Vision 2030+, the motorcycle industry is gearing up to be a part of tomorrow’s European transport system, with advanced and increasingly sustainable products meeting different societal needs, such as personal mobility, leisure, and last-mile deliveries,” concluded ACEM Secretary General Antonio Perlot. “Recognition and support by policymakers will be key to turn it into reality.”
 

AI BEING DEVELOPED TO PREDICT AND AVOID COLLISIONS
Honda has announced that they will be embarking on an ambitious program to help make our streets safer by incorporating predictive Artificial Intelligence technology into driving and riding Honda automobiles and motorcycles.

“Honda will strive for zero traffic collision fatalities involving Honda motorcycles and automobiles globally by 2050,” said Honda CEO, Toshihiro Mibe. Mibe also added that to eliminate motorcycle collision fatalities especially in emerging countries, Honda will “continue to strengthen research on safety technologies that enable motorcycles and automobiles to safely coexist and lead the way in realizing a collision-free society.”

With Honda’s “Safe and Sound Technology,” information about potential risks in the traffic environment, which are detected based on information obtained from roadside cameras, onboard cameras and smartphones, will be aggregated in the server to reproduce that traffic environment in the virtual space. In that virtual space, in consideration of the conditions and characteristics of each individual road user, the system predicts/simulates the behaviors of road users at high risk of a collision. Then, the system derives the most appropriate support information to help the road users avoid such risks.

Such support information will be communicated intuitively to automobile drivers, motorcycle riders, and pedestrians through “cooperative risk HMI (human-machine interface),” which will make it possible for the system to encourage road users to take action to avoid a collision before it happens.

According to Honda, the company is targeting the testing and effectiveness of the system within the next few years, while standardization with industry-wide private-public collaboration will commence after 5 years. Honda also hopes to deploy the technology for “real world” applications sometime after 2030.
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MOTORCYCLE EVENTS ONCE AGAIN CANCELED DUE TO CHINA VIRUS
Just as we thought the world was beginning to return to some semblance of normalcy, the global pandemic seems to be striking back with a vengeance, especially as majority of the Northern Hemisphere is right in the thick of winter. Several countries have seen massive increases in Coronavirus cases, particularly worrisome mutations, which unfortunately spells disaster for numerous motorcycling events -- be it indoors or outside -- such as The Elephant Rally, iconic IMOT, and high-adrenaline Supercross Dortmund, as biker gatherings across Europe are being postponed or have gotten the axe.

The racing scene, too, is not left without its casualties, as the Dortmund 2022 motocross series has also been canceled.

With worldwide travel bans, health mandates and safety restrictions once again set in place to curb the spread of the virus, hopes remain high that the events we motorcycle riders are so passionate about will return to the calendar soon.
 

OF CONCERN; 4 OUT OF 5 KINDERGARTNERS CAN’T RIDE A BICYCLE
Ryan McFarland, the founder of Strider kids bicycles, told his motorcycle industry audience at the Orange County IMS Outdoors event that today only one in five kindergartners know how to ride a bicycle.

Similarly, most young drivers today have never learned to use a clutch to drive a car with a manual transmission.

Most motorcycles require both balance and use of a clutch, and in the past one could assume that new motorcycle customers would already be familiar with both.

Not-so-much today, but the motorcycle industry is aware of both of these challenges, and are developing new rider programs, power assist bicycles, and new technologies such as clutchless shifting and continuously variable transmissions, as well as more affordable rides.

No, today we can’t count on as many kids riding bicycles or teens learning to drive a stick, but the motorcycle industry is working hard in other ways to attract new riders.
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THEFT ALERT: THIEVES USING APPLE TECH TO TRACK VEHICLES OF INTEREST
Apple created AirTags to help users find commonly misplaced items like keys or luggage. When paired to an Apple device via Bluetooth, each AirTag allows the owner to track the item’s whereabouts. Hidden AirTags have even been used to track down stolen vehicles, including motorcycles.

However, AirTags don’t just let the user track their belongings, they also allow thieves to track other people’s property. Authorities have discovered that crooks are stashing AirTags on luxury vehicles, out of the owner’s sight. Once the thief tracks the automobile (or motorcycle) to the owner’s residence, they can steal it once out of the public’s eye.

"Inspect your vehicle regularly and call police if you notice any suspicious potential tracking devices,” suggested the York Regional Police in Ontario, Canada. “If possible, park your vehicle in a locked garage,” and “consider purchasing a quality video surveillance system.”
 

QUOTABLE QUOTE:
"Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside."
~ John F. Kennedy (1917-63) 35th President of the United States
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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).

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.

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