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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Adios Mexico

One can walk into Mexico without showing ID outside ‘business hours’ at San Ysidro, CA and at any time at Otay Mesa, CA (until the Mexicans finish building the admin center there).
A new system requiring $25 tourist cards for visits over 72 hours was recently implemented:
I don’t know for sure, but I think people driving across are not stopped by Mexican officials.

I think this ban only affects air travelers using major airports.

Adios Mexico
Mexico is now denying entry into that country by “known members” of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. Both the United States Department of Justice and Europol maintain databases of known members.
The Aging Rebel does not know if the ban includes known members of other motorcycle clubs. Last February, a member of the Grim Guardians Motorcycle Club named Patrick Jim Harris was suddenly expelled from Mexico while doing charitable work there. Harris had been arrested for Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, after a brawl on May 17, 2015 at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas. He was held on $2 million bond. He has never been indicted but his name is obviously now on an internationally shared list.
The United States has tried to restrict the international travel of motorcycle club members since the Hells Angels held their World Run in Laconia, New Hampshire in July 2011.

Listen And Learn

At a training session for fledgling outlaw motorcycle gang experts held at the Pinehurst Resort and Convention Center in North Carolina in August 2015, Jeremy Sheetz, an Intelligence Operations Specialist with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Forearms and Explosives explained what happened.
“The Attorney General’s Office did this. The Hells Angels World Run which occurs every five years in the United States, was going on in Laconia, New Hampshire. So Customs and Border Patrol and the State Department said ‘We’re gonna come in and we’re gonna say you’re a foreign member, we’re gonna put you on a list. And when you come to the airport, you can’t enter the United States.’”
“… what they were saying is you have a propensity to come into the United States to commit a crime. But there was never a precedent set. But they did it anyway. So at the time, the Hells Angels said this is bullshit. So when we were working the World Run at Laconia, there wasn’t many members from Brazil or England. They would get to the airport and they’d say, ‘Oh! You gotta go back. Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol and the State Department won’t allow you to come in. Some guys even flew into Boston or New York. They turned them around. They turned around their families, wives, kids.”

Civil Suit

A year later, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation sued Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Alejandro Mayorkas, who at the time was Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The soul of the Angels complaint was that the club had been designated “as a ‘criminal organization’ without providing any avenue to challenge said designation, Defendants have deprived Plaintiff’s members of their liberty without due process.”
Sheetz told his listeners that day at Pinehurst that the due process technicality was why the Department of Justice, and particularly the ATF, encouraged states to designate motorcycle clubs as “criminal organizations.” He told his audience that the designation provided states with a legal “precedent.”
And, the due process argument seems to have never come up in state cases. In fact, to cite one example, a prosecutor in Waco, Texas was able to convince Texas Department of Public Safety officials to designate the Cossacks Motorcycle Club as a “criminal organization” after more than 70 members of that club were detained, Then he used the instant designation to charge them with the same charge he used against Patrick Jim Harris – Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity.

Not In America

The Hells Angels lawsuit argued that Napolitano, Clinton and Mayorkas had denied “visas to all aliens based solely on their membership in a Hells Angels charter without further analysis into whether or not that individual seeks to enter the United States to engage solely, principally, or incidentally in unlawful activity. It is not a crime under any State or Federal law of the United States to be a member of Plaintiff’s group.”
The complaint sought injunctive and declaratory relief and the government, which was clearly in the wrong backed down. The Angels moved to dismiss their suit without prejudice on December 17, 2012.

But by then the International War on Terror had already been corrupted into an international war on motorcycle clubs. The Department of Justice, particularly the ATF, took the war to countries without a Bill of Rights – most notably Australia and Germany. And, now Mexico.


The Danger of New Independent Motorcycle Clubs

American Biker X Editorial Columns
The American Biker X Editorial I wrote an article a while back called "Why speak to the Motorcycle Clubs in your area before starting a new MC?" It was about why those wishing to start new Motorcycle Clubs should go and speak to those who have come before them. If you have not read the article look it up on my March 2009 archive page on

Since then, I've begun seeing and hearing some things that worry me. I have seen many groups popping up. Some of these groups have names like Lone Wolf or Independent Riders. While I suppose the names are meant to distance these groups from real Motorcycle Clubs, they still resemble legitimate clubs in the way they dress, and to a certain degree, the way they act.

Now I am sure some of you are saying "hey LJ these guys just want to do their own thing back off a bit, what really is the harm in what these guys are doing?" Well that's the Million dollar Question! Exactly what is the real harm? Let me see if I can explain how I see it.

If you put on a uniform, pinned on a badge and hung out at Dunkin Donuts you may look like and act like a cop but you would not be a real cop. When a real cop saw you, You would probaly be in a lot of trouble!

Now due to High Gas Prices, The Economy, and people waking up to the fact that riding a Motorcycle is one of the Greatest things in the world, the ranks of motorcycle riders have exploded. Many of these new riders see shows like Sons Of Anarchy, Gangland or movies like Hell Ride and think, "This is cool, I'm going to start a Club" even though they know nothing about Motorcycle Clubs or the Biker lifestyle.

Shows like Sons of Anarchy are a fictional dramatization of what a group of television writers think a Motorcycle Club is. Programs like Gangland claim to investigate 1%er Clubs. Their "investigation consists of looking up every little Crime members of a 30 year old Motorcycle Club have ever been accused of and then Squeeze all the Negative info about the MC into about 45 Minutes of air time.

The concern is that you have new and independent riders forming "Clubs" with no real knowledge of what it means to be a member of a Motorcycle Club. Some of these clubs are forming with only shows like SOA and Gangland as the model for what a Motorcycle Club should be.

Being a member of a Motorcycle Club is about Brotherhood, Loyalty, Respect, Freedom, and Honor. It's not about Drugs, Guns, and Biker Wars.

In the Motorcycle Club world you start off as either a prospect for an established Motorcycle Club or your new MC starts off as a Supporter of a established MC and they help to teach you what it truly means to be a Member of a Motorcycle Club.

It's like an artist taking on an apprentice and passing on what he has learned. The knowledge he passes on has been passed on down to him for Hundreds of Generations.

Now where the danger lies is the art being taught can be thousands of years old but, It only takes one generation of not passing the right information down and the art is lost forever!

With the creation of so many pseudo MC's, We risk a danger a lot worse than losing the art of what a Motorcycle Club is all about , We risk watching the Mutation of the World We all Love turned into something as ugly as the negative, hyped up TV Shows and movies we've all seen.

If your thinking about starting a Motorcycle Club or want to join one, start by talking to local Club members you see at events or contact established Clubs directly. Every MC has its own set of rules, etc, but if you're serious about becoming an MC or MC Member, you'll have no problem finding the situation that is right for you. As I said in the beginning, I have no problem with people starting their own Clubs. It's just that starting a Motorcycle Club is something that should be done the right way and not be taken lightly. Let us work together to Preserve the Heritage of the Motorcycle Club world and make it stronger, not destroy it.

I am Your Bro LJ James

Monday, July 23, 2018

Saturday, July 21, 2018

10 Things to Know About Lane Splitting in California (No. 1? Yes, It's Legal)

Yes. Lane-splitting is legal. However, data on lane-splitting and the safety of the practice is limited. The California Highway Patrol is working with us, as well as the California Department of Motor Vehicles Caltrans HQ on educational guidelines for lane-splitting. We are also funding a UC Berkeley SafeTREC research project that examines motorcycle crashes that involved lane-splitting. The idea is that the findings will provide a better sense of how and when lane-splitting can be done safely.…/10-things-you-need-to-know-to-unders…
f you’ve ever driven in California, you’ve probably had a motorcycle drive between you and another car.
This is called lane splitting (also known as lane sharing or filtering), and a 2014 study found that 80 percent of California motorcyclists lane split on the freeway, with more than half saying they do it “often” or “always.”
People have a lot of feelings about it, but they don’t always have all the information. So here are 10 things you need to know to understand lane splitting in California.

1. It’s legal

One of the biggest misconceptions is that when motorcyclists are lane splitting, they are breaking the law. They're not.
"The practice of lane splitting or lane sharing has never been prohibited by California law," said Sgt. Larry Starkey, who runs the California Highway Patrol's California Motorcyclist Safety Program. "So therefore it's always been an acceptable practice."

According to the 2014 study, only 60.7 percent of vehicle drivers knew that lane splitting was legal.
Motorcyclists who are lane splitting still have to obey speed limits and other rules of the road, and can be ticketed if they don't lane split responsibly.

2. A new law changed things ... sort of

In 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 51 into law, which defined lane splitting as "driving a motorcycle ... that has two wheels in contact with the ground, between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane, including on both divided and undivided streets, roads, or highways."

According to the CHP, this didn't actually change state law. What it did was give CHP the power to develop guidelines around lane splitting.This was important because the CHP put up lane splitting guidelines in 2013, but took them down a year later after a complaint was made to the state's Office of Administrative Law. The guidelines could be seen as CHP establishing a new law.
AB 51 officially gave CHP the power to create those guidelines. Starkey said that after the law took effect on Jan. 1, 2017, the CHP worked with Department of Transportation, Department of Motor Vehicles, Office of Traffic Safety and motorcycle safety organizations to create new guidelines, which are currently under review.
"We're doing our very best to make sure that we put a high-quality product out there that's going to have a positive impact on the safety of the motoring public," Starkey said.

3. It's legal only in California

According to the American Motorcyclist Association's website, every state except California bans the practice of lane splitting. Specifically, the states prohibit motorcycles from passing a vehicle in the same lane and riding between lanes of traffic or rows of vehicles.

4. Other states are trying to legalize it

At least nine other states have considered legislation that would allow lane splitting, and some are expected to take up the issue again in the next legislative session, according to Nick Haris, the Western states representative for the American Motorcyclist Association.
"I think as a nation, as we see traffic and attempts to address issues with gridlock, I think this is just going to be one of those things that's identified as a good way to go," Haris said of the increased interest in legalizing lane splitting.

5. It's legal in lots of other countries

Lane splitting is legal and widespread in many European and Asian countries.
"It really is a way of life in Europe," said Emma Booton, who grew up in England and has been riding motorcycles for 41 years.
"I've ridden in New Zealand where everybody just basically waved you around," Haris said. "It was kind of surprising if you weren't lane splitting."

6. People have been lane splitting in California for a long time

News reports of Californians lane splitting go back to at least the 1960s. Starkey said the practice started as a way for motorcyclists to get through the state's notoriously bad traffic.
"As the traffic got slower and slower throughout the decades, [motorcyclists] began the practice of lane splitting or lane sharing by moving in between the stopped rows of traffic on the highways," Starkey said, "which prevented their vehicles from overheating, and also helped reduce congestion and ultimately let them get to their destination a little bit quicker as well."

7. Very little data exists on how safe it is

One of the big problems with lane splitting is the lack of data on it.
A 2015 study from the Safe Transportation Research & Education Center at UC Berkeley
found that 17 percent of about 6,000 motorcyclists who crashed between June 2012 through August 2013 were lane splitting at the time of their collision.
According to the study, "Lane-splitting appears to be a relatively safe motorcycle riding strategy if done in traffic moving at 50 mph or less and if motorcyclists do not exceed the speed of other vehicles by more than 15 mph."
But the authors also say that the study cannot be used to compare the overall safety of lane splitting:
To estimate how the risk of being involved in a collision changes when motorcyclists chose to lane-split, we would require information on both the lane-splitting and non-lane-splitting riding that is done by some identifiable sample of motorcyclists. The collection of these data is fraught with problems, and the current study did not attempt to collect such data.
In other words, researchers would need to collect pre-crash data from motorcyclists who lane split and those who don't, and see if one population is more likely to get into a crash than the other in order to determine the safety of the practice overall.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that even though California is the only state in the country where lane splitting is legal, it's in the middle of the pack when it comes to motorcyclist fatalities per 100,000 registered motorcycles compared to other states. But this doesn't take into account other differences between state laws, including helmet laws and motorcycle riding culture.

At the end of the day, there are no conclusive data on how safe or not safe lane splitting is.

8. Here's what motorcyclists say

Motorcycle riders say they lane split for two big reasons: speed and safety.
Lane splitting allows motorcycles to weave through traffic much more quickly than cars can, and bikers argue it also improves traffic for all commuters.

"You’re taking vehicles out of that line, and it’s less of a clog on the highways," said Liza Miller, who runs a motorcycle repair and community gathering space out of her Santa Cruz home.A 2011 study from Brussels — where lane splitting is legal — found that if you replaced 10 percent of cars on the road with motorcycles, it could cut the time everyone spends in traffic by 40 percent, in part because of lane splitting.
While safety is often used by drivers as a critique of lane splitting, motorcyclists say it actually makes them feel more safe while riding. Getting rear-ended while stationary or in motion is an especially big concern of motorcyclists.

"We don't like to be sitting ducks," Miller said. "When we're going faster than the cars, we’re in control, and we're monitoring and looking at what's happening."

Miller and Starkey also said motorcycles and motorcyclists can overheat if they are stationary for extended periods of time.
Motorcyclists also argue that drivers' perceptions of lane splitting are skewed because they more clearly remember the times when a motorcyclists does it recklessly, at a high speed, as opposed to when a rider lane splits responsibly at low speeds.
"You might have 10 motorcycles go by that you don't even give a second thought," Haris said. "And then all of a sudden, either you're not paying attention or someone goes by at a speed that you consider unsafe. And so that stands out in your mind. 'Oh my gosh. That was dangerous.' "

9. Here's what drivers say

The 2014 study found that 60 percent of drivers disapproved of lane splitting. More than half of those who disapproved said it was because they felt lane splitting was unsafe. Other reasons include fear that it will lead to a crash, it startles drivers, motorcyclists are going too fast, lane splitting is "unfair" or illegal.

"I think it's rather unsafe," said Edwin Martinez, who commutes to work across the Bay Bridge. "It's unsafe for the person riding the motorcycle and also for the drivers of vehicles."

Drivers have also reported motorcyclists intentionally knocking off side mirrors as they lane split.
"I have been clipped by a motorcycle," said Gaurav Kapur, another daily Bay Bridge commuter, "and they didn't stop for me. They didn't stop and look what damage they did to the car."
Kapur — who used to ride a motorcycle himself — said motorcycles can be hard to see when they lane split quickly through slow traffic.
"I love bikes," he said, "but it's just not safe. It's highly unpredictable."

10. Lane splitting misunderstandings can lead to road rage

If you search "lane splitting road rage" on YouTube, you'll find lots of videos of lane splitting triggering angry reactions from drivers.
"For me, it resulted in somebody crossing a double yellow and running me up onto a sidewalk," said Kat Taylor, who has been riding for about four years. "I ended up crashing trying to get away from them, and I broke 15 bones, and I got road rash over 40 percent of my body."
Taylor said she no longer discusses lane splitting because of the disagreements it provokes, but other riders said they often have productive conversations about lane splitting.

"I think half the time they think it's illegal," Haris said. "So that oftentimes will change the discussion."