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Saturday, July 27, 2013



Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has dropped its requirement that Phoenix-area motorcycles undergo annual emissions inspections, the last place in the country to require such testing.  The federal agency has approved a request from state environmental officials in Arizona that motorcycle tests be discontinued, effective immediately.
The request to drop the testing requirement came in response to a 2008 state law requiring the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to do an analysis of pollutants emitted by motorcycles and make a proposal to the federal agency.  “Our analysis has determined that the cost and inconvenience is not providing a significant environmental benefit,” said Trevor Baggiore, deputy director of air quality at ADEQ.
Even though motorcycles account for 3.5% of vehicles on the area’s roads, the department’s analysis determined that they emit “insignificant” amounts of pollution, accounting for less than 1% of total emissions in the Phoenix metro area.
Pima County (Tucson) and Maricopa County (Phoenix) were the only areas in the United States that required motorcycles to pass yearly emissions inspections at a cost of $19 per test, and Pima County halted motorcycle testing in 2007.
Congratulations to ABATE of Arizona, the MMA of Arizona and the Arizona Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (ACMC) for their years of stalwart efforts to relieve Grand Canyon State riders of these unnecessary costs and burdensome time wasted in long lines.
In controversial political maneuvering, the Republican-controlled North Carolina House recently pushed through anti-abortion legislation, using as their vehicle a motorcycle safety bill that lawmakers had stealthily gutted and turned into a measure to further regulate abortion clinics.
Republicans introduced the legislation (S.B. 353) in the House Judiciary Committee the previous morning by attaching the abortion provisions to a motorcycle safety bill -- without first notifying either the public or their Democratic colleagues. “This bill came hurriedly through the Senate, rerouted through the House on a motorcycle," lamented state Rep. Alma Adams (D). "No input from stakeholders, no public scrutiny, no transparency, no fiscal note."
The final vote was 74-41 on July 13; the bill now heads back to the GOP-led state Senate for approval, then on to Governor Pat McCrory (R) who says he will sign the measure into law if it reaches his desk.
Originally, Senator Tommy Morrison’s bill called for universal helmet use for all motorcycle riders in the U.S. protectorate of Guam, but the revised version of his proposed helmet law makes it mandatory only for riders under the age of 18 and for those with less than 3 years riding experience.
After a lengthy public hearing and receiving input from the community, Bill No. 87 “Limited Helmet Law” passed unanimously, and also requires new riders to first complete a defensive driving/motorcycle safety education course prior to being licensed and prohibits licensees from operating a motorcycle or scooter of larger engine size than that which they take the motorcycle exam on.  In order to operate a motorcycle with a larger engine, the operator must apply and test for a new license under that engine size.
Changes last year in Michigan’s mandatory helmet law have had a positive effect on motorcycle riding in Michigan, according to ABATE of Michigan.  There has been an increase in motorcycle travel in Michigan since April of 2012, said ABATE in a recent press release.
"Motorcycle tourism is up. Motorcyclists across the country are coming to Michigan in droves. Very few out-of-state motorcyclists were seen in Michigan before the adult helmet requirement was modified,” according to ABATE.  “Cyclists from across the country are discovering the beauty of the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan. There is an increase of out-of-state participation in Michigan motorcycle events by as much as five times during the summer of 2012."
"Our members have reported an increase in motorcycle tourism since the enactment of the rider choice law," added Scott Ellis, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, which represents more than 1,800 restaurant, bar, party store, hotel and casino establishments across the state. "From Monroe to Muskegon to the Keweenaw Peninsula, more out-of-state motorcyclists are stopping, staying and spending money at our restaurants, hotels and attractions," he told the Midland Daily News.
Motorcycle sales also are up in Michigan, and ABATE says that 2012 was the safest riding season in 10 years for licensed motorcyclists in the state.
More than 80 motorcyclists and their vehicles were checked by specially-trained State Police motorcycle inspectors near Buffalo, NY in mid-June, with two checkpoints resulting in the issuance of 92 traffic tickets for offenses that included helmet and equipment violations.
New York has been the epicenter for the Motorcycle-Only Checkpoint debate, which has resulted in four states; New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and California, passing laws to prohibit law enforcement agencies from establishing motorcycle-only checkpoints.
In addition, on the federal level Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has introduced H.R. 1861 “To stop motorcycle checkpoint funding,” and also contains language “to force the DOT to focus motorcycle safety efforts on crash prevention programs, not national helmet mandates.”
A local motorcycle club said it was just doing things by the book when it filed a permit to hold a BBQ fundraiser at a local park in Rio Vista, California, but the city and the police chief turned that simple request down.  Now, the motorcycle club is filing suit, claiming it was discriminated against.
"No one other than us has ever tried to put in a permit," Saxon Creed MC President Rob Anderson told News 10/KXTV. "We thought we were doing the right thing."
Last July, the club wanted to hold its fundraising pig roast at Blackwelder Park, the same park where dozens of other community events have been held. So, the group filed for a permit with the city.  But, the request was declined by the police chief and the city.
The group held their pig roast this year without problems at a Veteran's Hall, right next door to the park they applied to last year.
Members of Saxon Creed MC say they feel like the request was denied because they are bikers. The group has filed a discrimination lawsuit, claiming its civil rights were violated. They're suing for $250,000 in damages on behalf of their 15 members.  "It makes me very angry," Anderson said. "This is America. We all have rights. I don't like seeing anyone's rights trampled on."
"This will be the most important thing I have ever done." says Tim King, founder and news editor of, in regard to his scheduled 48-state motorcycle ride for Veterans. “I am riding 48 states this summer to educate Vets through talks and media appearances about health issues that are taking lives; we're talking about PTSD/TBI, Agent Orange and the effects of serving aboard toxic military bases.”
A former Marine who has covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Tim and his wife Bonnie received the NCOM Silver Spoke Award for Media in 2011 for advocating on behalf of motorcycle clubs and riders and their civil rights, and they have also been recognized by the Oregon Confederation of Clubs for Excellence in Journalism.
Tim is riding thousands of miles to share the information he has accumulated over his journalism career and nine specific years reporting for and he's doing it by himself, so your help can make Tim's trip safer and more effective.
Tim's covering an ongoing war here at home where Veterans are fighting for their rights, and he'll be checking in with motorcycle riders who are busy defending their civil rights in regard to club membership and other issues, so he’s enlisting the support of the motorcycle community to publicize and help fund his mission.  Along the way he’ll be writing stories and posting photos and videos of the places and people he visits, and you'll be able to track his progress at and also via this dedicated Facebook page at
Legislation allowing the vertical display of registration plates on motorcycles was recently passed by the state House and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 1060 is sponsored by state Rep. Mark Keller (R-86).  “This legislation is specific to motorcycles,” explained Rep. Keller.  “Currently, the state vehicle code does not specify how a vehicle registration plate may be mounted. However, regulations in Title 67 of the Pennsylvania Code require horizontal mounting of vehicle registration plates and do not give the option for vertical mounting.”
HB 1060 would also “authorize the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to produce, upon request, registration plates for motorcycles which display the identifying characters in a vertical alignment.”
“Owners of custom-made or vintage motorcycles are sometimes reluctant to mount the registration plate horizontally on the rear fender because doing so interferes with the custom paint job or other custom work done on the cycle,” according to Keller.  “Many of these owners have approached ABATE of Pennsylvania, the motorcycle advocacy group, about making this legislative change, and ABATE supports my legislation.”
Saskatchewan is considering more requirements for new motorcycle licensees, supervision for new riders and the possibility of mandatory gear.  The ideas are among more than a dozen changes to motorcycle safety, training and insurance rules proposed by Saskatchewan Government Insurance as it looks for ways to reduce claims, save money and quell the roar of angry riders.
One suggestion is for potential riders to pass a basic skills test or complete a motorcycle training program before they're issued a learner's license.  New riders who don't take the training courses could see an additional $500 a year fee or be restricted on the size of the bike they use.
Helmets and eye protection are currently the law in Saskatchewan and similar rules apply across the country, but no other jurisdiction in Canada has mandatory rules for wearing gloves, ankle-covering boots or clothing that cover arms and legs, according to SGI.
The review was launched earlier this year after a proposed rate increase which would have seen insurance costs for motorcycles go up by an average of 73% to cover a $9 million gap between what SGI takes in from motorcyclists in fees versus what is paid out for collisions.
The public has until the end of July to comment on the proposals and SGI is to report to the government in the fall. The goal is to have the new rules in place for next year's riding season.
After five years, Pakistani authorities have lifted ban on motorcycle riding in Bajaur tribal region. The ban on motorcycle riding was imposed in 2008 when the Taliban stepped up their activities in the region, and the ban was aimed at controlling insurgency and preventing targeted killings because motorcycles were being used for attacks against anti-Taliban forces.
The announcement about lifting the ban was made by Brig Ghulam Haidar, a sector army commander, during his speech through the security forces-run FM radio channel (Radio Aman FM 88).  “The lifting of ban on motorcycle riding is a gift for the tribesmen on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan. This good news may enhance happiness of Ramadan,” he said.
Brig Ghulam said that imposing the ban on motorcycle riding was a difficult decision but it was taken only in the larger interest of people of the tribal agency.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “Success is not final, failure not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
~Winston Churchill (1874-1965), British Prime Minister and inspirational WWII leader