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NCOM Biker Newsbytes for January 2022

Industry & Legislative Motorcycle News from USA and the world

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish with photos from the Bob T. Collection
1/22/2022


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NEW YEAR = NEW LEGISLATION
With 2021 in the rearview, New Year 2022 has hit the ground running in several states considering pro- and anti-biker laws, including some helmet legislation, profiling, noise, motorcycle safety, lane splitting, bike parking and lighting issues.

Freedom of Choice on helmet use is on the docket in some of the 18 states that still mandate riders to wear them, such as Massachusetts (H3524 & S2328: helmet standards), Nebraska (LB581) and West Virginia (HB2711 / SB127), while New York seeks to study the efficacy of helmets (A1107) and Alabama’s legislature will consider requiring reflective headgear (SB65).

Lane splitting has been a hot topic lately, and Massachusetts (H3513 & S2315), Virginia (HB838) and Washington (HB1106 / SB5622 & HB1254) hope to join California, Montana, Utah & Hawaii in allowing motorcycles to bypass slow moving vehicles in heavy traffic situations.

Likewise, anti-biker profiling by law enforcement has been on many states’ agendas since being enacted in Washington, Maryland, Louisiana and most recently Idaho, and now New York is the first this year among many more to introduce legislation (A1747 / S3869) in hopes of preventing police from discriminating against motorcyclists in their application of the law.

By sheer numbers, Massachusetts takes the prize for the most pro-motorcycle bills introduced already this session, with 11 pieces of legislation including H3487 / S2329 to advance motorcycle safety, H3417 / S2331 relative to a motorcycle safety fund, and H3438 to clarify testing and enforcement of motorcycle sound emissions.

On the “anti-“ side of the dockets, New York is once again considering a prohibition on children under the age of 12 from riding on a motorcycle (A148), and Virginia will debate “excessive noise” (HB367 and HB632 / SB180).

The year is young, with many more issues of interest on the horizon, pro and con, that concerned riders need to track and stay on top of, and one of the best ways to do so is to join your state motorcyclists’ rights organization (SMRO) and subscribe to the monthly NCOM Biker Newsbytes by e-mailing “Subscribe” to NCOMBish@aol.com.

 
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BIKER ANTI-PROFILING RESOLUTION NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT
Since the federal Highway Bill passed Congress and was signed into law by President Biden without most of the pro-motorcycle provisions that bikers across America lobbied to include, it is now imperative that riders turn their attention toward garnering support for the stand-alone measure in the House that would help prevent anti-biker profiling.

Nearly three years ago, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution condemning the discriminatory profiling of motorcyclists by law enforcement (S. Res. 154), and now the U.S. House of Representatives is again considering a similar bipartisan measure in the 117th Congress, H. Res. 366; “Promoting awareness of motorcyclist profiling and encouraging collaboration and communication with the motorcycle community and law enforcement officials to prevent instances of profiling.”

Sponsored once again by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) along with original co-sponsors Congressman Michael Burgess (R-TX), Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI), the anti-profiling resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 30, 2021 to thwart “the illegal use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle related apparel as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle with or without legal basis under the Constitution of the United States,” as profiling is defined in the resolution.

H.R. 366 acknowledges that “complaints surrounding motorcyclist profiling have been cited in all 50 States,” and the bipartisan resolution denotes three actionable items;

(1) promotes increased public awareness on the issue of motorcyclist profiling;

(2) encourages collaboration and communication with the motorcyclist community and law enforcement to engage in efforts to end motorcyclist profiling; and

(3) urges State law enforcement officials to include statements condemning motorcyclist profiling in written policies and training materials.

All concerned motorcyclists are encouraged to contact their Congressional Representatives at (202) 224-3121 to ask that they join with 59 other colleagues as current cosponsors of H.Res.366 and help put a stop to law enforcement unfairly targeting motorcycle riders for traffic stops, questioning and citations.

 
  
 
NOISE-DETECTING CAMERAS TO FINE LOUD MOTORCYCLES IN FRANCE
Traffic cameras that can identify excessively noisy motorcycles and vehicles are being deployed across France, with riders and drivers who flout the rules facing fines of €135 ($153USD).

The debate over the devices, which have been trialed in various countries across Europe, has run rife for some time, but the French are the first nation to initiate a wider roll-out of cameras that will flash and fine motorcycles and vehicles that exceed noise levels.

The Bruitparif-designed Meduse cameras feature microphones attached to a camera that can pick up and identify the direction of noise from the road below. Should the sound rise above a certain decibel, the camera is activated and a fine is subsequently issued.

Though noise cameras are -- officially speaking -- aimed at all vehicles, many feel motorcycles are unfairly targeted compared to cars with many routes popular with bikers used during trials.
 
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MOTO-GP WILL NOT RACE IN COUNTRIES REQUIRING COVID QUARANTINES
When MotoGP resurfaced in October 2021, it looked like Grand Prix motorcycle racing might return to normal, packing the schedule with 21 rounds including eight outside Europe, but the Delta and Omicron variant waves caused many countries to reinstate travel restrictions -- including quarantines upon arrival -- forcing organizers to play musical chairs with the calendar throughout the year.

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta sent a clear message at a recent racing forum that MotoGP will not visit countries in 2022 that require CoViD-19 quarantines; "If they tell us that we have to be quarantined for fourteen days, the answer is clear, no, I'm not going! That's the limit," Ezpeleta claimed. "As for the rest, they can ask us to have vaccination certificates or the documentation that we already did last year and that is why it was important to go to the United States as a test of what can be said to the rest of the countries.”

Last year, MotoGP successfully ran events in Qatar and the United States, unfortunately the only races held outside Europe, while Japan and Australia are still requiring such measures, and Thailand is trending that direction.

With the Japanese and Australian Grands Prix set for September and October, 2022, the situation could hopefully change, while MotoGP’s pre-season runs will also be a testing ground for Malaysia and Indonesia’s ability to accommodate the international race series.
 
 
 

 
JAPANESE MOTORCYCLE SALES HIT 23-YEAR HIGH
Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, motorcycle enthusiasts and OEMs alike lamented the elusive Millennial buyers and declining sales, but throughout the global health crisis, motorcycles have surprisingly surged in popularity. As a result, manufacturers experienced record sales growth, with Ducati, BMW, and Energica reporting large gains in 2020 and 2021, and Japanese OEMs have similarly benefited from the increased interest and the “Big Four” (Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha) are reporting that domestic shipments hit a 23-year high in 2021 (235.755 units in-country, up 20.6%).

In addition to the sales uptick, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha all report increased sales among younger riders.

Before the pandemic, Japan’s more restrictive emissions laws thwarted ridership growth, but 2021 marks the Island Empire's most successful year since 1998, when customers purchased 318,080 new motorcycles.
 
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FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: MOTORCYCLE RACERS BLINK LESS
A recent study has found that MotoGP riders blink far less than non-racers, with one test subject going 9 minutes without blinking!

During the first round of the 2021 MotoGP season, Pramac Ducati rider Johann Zarco set a new series top-speed record of 225 mph. At that speed, riders cover 330 feet in one second. The average blink takes 0.15 seconds, so riders traveling at that top velocity are effectively blind for nearly 50 feet of track.

That sounds like a terrifying prospect to us mere mortals, but a study between LCR Honda and Italian pharmaceutical company Sifi helps explain how MotoGP riders’ eyes function in such extreme conditions. Conducted over six MotoGP seasons (2015-2021), Grand Prix riders would undergo tests prior to the race and 30 minutes following the checkered flag. The dual-test method revealed that rider reaction times and pupil performance remain in “Race Mode” for an extended period.

All racers easily exceeded the normal 4-6-second blink interval, and despite the stressful conditions, none of the subjects exhibited red, dry eyes or inflammation.

The results may be fascinating, but Sifi co-owner Carlos Chines believes this is just the beginning of a broader, long-term study.

“We basically want to continue researching the differences between ‘normal’ eyes and those of MotoGP riders,” revealed Dr. Chines. “We also want to investigate the relationship between concentration and blink rate. From these results, we expect to understand whether one can work with little tricks, exercises, or eye drops to counteract fatigue, dry or sore eyes, and deterioration in vision.”
 
 

 

DROPPED BIKE BLUES
Well, it’s too late to write to Santa for a saddlebag stuffer, but you can contact Airbiker to acquire their portable assistive device to pick up downed motorcycles.

No matter how your bike got to the ground, you have to pick it up somehow, and while plenty of riding instructors teach methods to help you pick up a downed bike, the moment of truth may seem much different when you eventually face it.

Plus, the bigger the bike, the more intimidating the task, and what if you have a bad back or other injury that makes it a less smart idea to manhandle your scoot?

That’s the problem that French startup Airsink wants to solve with their new product called Airbiker; a small pouch with an inflatable balloon and a few CO2 cartridges inside that gives enough boost for you to grab the handlebars and guide it back upright from a completely prone position on the ground.

It all packs up in a little zippered pouch, much like countless mini air-compressor units that riders may already carry in the event of flat tires, and is available directly from Airsink (www.airsink.fr/boutique) at prices ranging from €130 (roughly $147) to €195 ($221).
 
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NCOM CONVENTION ~ SAVE THE DATE!
Some of the finest Freedom Fighters in the motorcyclists’ rights movement will be among the hundreds of biker activists from across the country to gather for the 37th annual NCOM Convention in Nashville, Tennessee over the weekend of June 23-25, 2022 to teach, learn and share information relevant to our ongoing fight for Freedom of the Road.

This year’s NCOM Convention will address legal and legislative topics of interest to all motorcycle riders, including informative seminars, regional meetings, special interest gatherings and group discussions, capped off with the Silver Spoke Awards Banquet.

NCOM Board Chairman James “Doc” Reichenbach reminds concerned bikers to “Mark your calendars now” and check back at www.ON-A-BIKE.com for further details as they develop.
 
 

 
QUOTABLE QUOTE:
"We, too, born to freedom, and believing in freedom, are willing to fight to maintain freedom. We, and all others who believe as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.”
~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd 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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