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Monday, 30 January 2017 12:36

National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) Biker Newsbytes

ncom logoNCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES -Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish, National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)


RPM ACT REINTRODUCED IN NEW CONGRESS

As the 115th Congress went into session, among the first bills reintroduced was the RPM Act (Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2017), House Resolution 350 sponsored by U.S. Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC). The bipartisan bill, which was submitted for reintroduction on the first day of the new Congress, protects Americans’ right to modify street cars and motorcycles into dedicated race vehicles and industry’s right to sell the parts that enable racers to compete.

The RPM Act ensures that transforming motor vehicles into race vehicles used exclusively in competition does not violate the Clean Air Act. For nearly 50 years, the practice was unquestioned until the EPA published proposed regulations in 2015 that deemed such conversions illegal and subject to severe penalties. While the EPA withdrew the problematic language from the final rule making last year, the agency still maintains the practice is unlawful.

Motorsports competition involves tens of thousands of participants and vehicle owners each year, according to SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) and retail sales of racing products make up a $1.4 billion market annually. There are an estimated 1,300 racetracks operating across the U.S., including oval, road, track and off-road racetracks, the majority of which feature converted race vehicles that the EPA now considers to be illegal.

The RPM Act, H.R. 350 would protect the sport of racing by blocking the EPA from over-regulating the industry and ensuring that it remains legal to convert street legal motor vehicles for racing purposes.

BRITISH MOTORSPORTS THREATENED BY EU RULING

The British government has just issued a document for public consultation that suggests temporarily implementing a European Court decision known as the “Vnuk judgement,” which would make it compulsory for anyone engaging in any and all forms of motor sport to have third party insurance. It would be applicable to all vehicles on any kind of land and even implementing it temporarily would mean an end to motorsports in the UK, because insurance companies will not insure against third party motorsport risks -- the number of vehicle claims alone would be unsustainable for them, meaning that if the Vnuk judgement came into force, motorsport activity in the UK would cease.

A joint statement issued by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), Auto Cycle Union (ACU) and the Amateur Motorcycle Association (AMCA) is calling on the government to exempt motor and motorcycle sport from any changes to insurance law that would arise from the ECJ ruling. “At a stroke, this would wipe out a successful industry and all the jobs that go with it, as well as eliminating a popular leisure pursuit for 1.9 million people, along with the boost that this gives to both local and national economies,” said Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCIA, speaking on behalf of all three parties. “If the government implements the Vnuk judgment un-amended, British motorcycle sport would end in the UK.”

England is home to world leading motorcycle companies, motorsport teams and racing talent, and the industry contributes significantly to the British economy by employing over 50,000 people and generating a total of £11 billion of sales each year ($13.5 billion USD).

The Vnuk ruling stems from a case involving a Slovenian farm worker, Damijan Vnuk, who was hurt falling from a ladder, which was hit by a reversing tractor.

VICTORY MOTORCYCLES WINDS DOWN PRODUCTION
Victory Motorcycles is to be wound down, the firm's parent company Polaris has just announced. The move is to allow the firm to “narrow” its focus onto more profitable areas of the business, including Indian Motorcycle.

A statement just released by Polaris says it will “immediately begin winding down its Victory Motorcycles brand and related operations.” Dealers will be assisted in “liquidating existing inventories” and parts will continue to be supplied for 10 years. Servicing and warranty coverage will also continue.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, my team and the Polaris Board of Directors,” said Polaris Industries Chairman and CEO Scott Wine. “Over the past 18 years, we have invested not only resources, but our hearts and souls, into forging the Victory Motorcycles brand… The experience, knowledge, infrastructure and capability we’ve built in those 18 years gave us the confidence to acquire and develop the Indian Motorcycle brand, so I would like to express my gratitude to everyone associated with Victory Motorcycles and celebrate your many contributions.”

According to the written statement, Victory has “struggled to establish the market share needed to succeed and be profitable.”

It says: “The competitive pressures of a challenging motorcycle market have increased the headwinds for the brand. Given the significant additional investments required for Victory to launch new global platforms that meet changing consumer preferences, and considering the strong performance and growth potential of Indian Motorcycle, the decision to more narrowly focus Polaris’ energy and investments became quite clear.”

Wine added, "This decision will improve the profitability of Polaris and our global motorcycle business, and will materially improve our competitive stance in the industry."

“Our focus is on profitable growth, and in an environment of finite resources, this move allows us to optimize and align our resources behind both our premium, high-performing Indian Motorcycle brand and our innovative Slingshot brand, enhancing our focus on accelerating the success of those brands. Ultimately this decision will propel the industry-leading product innovation that is core to our strategy while fostering long-term growth and increased shareholder value.”

100% TARIFF PROPOSED ON EUROPEAN MOTORCYCLES
Motorcycles are once again caught in the crossfire of an international trade policy standoff between the Office of United States Trade Representative and European Union, stemming from ongoing disagreements over meat products. During the late 1990’s, the World Trade Organization requested the E.U. lift its standing ban on U.S. beef; the E.U. declined, citing the meat’s failure to meet European health and hormone standards. In 2009, the U.S. negotiated a pact allowing some beef market access; but according to the White House, the agreement “has not worked as intended.”

As a result, the U.S.T.R. is now considering a new petition from the U.S. beef lobby, invoked last December under a revised clause in the 1974 Trade Act that would create a “retaliation list” of foreign products which are subject to heavy import tariffs, to balance the export losses. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. beef lobby’s list consists largely of meat and animal parts, but it also includes a scattershot of other items, like chewing gum, electric hair clippers, and motorcycles.

Two vehicular tariffs are proposed on the new retaliation list. One is for European bikes between 51cc and 250cc; the other, European bikes between 251cc to 500cc. Both would be subject to an import tax of 100% (or more). This would directly impact fifteen European manufacturers, including major brands like Aprilla, BMW, Ducati, Husqvarna, KTM, Piaggio and Vespa.

In doubling prices of the most popular European motorcycles, these tariffs could potentially cripple the U.S. dealer network, putting thousands of salespeople and techs out of work.

It’s not the first time the motorcycle industry has been in this position. In 1999, after the E.U. declined the W.T.O. directive, European motorcycles were included in -- and later dropped from -- a similar retaliation list. The same thing happened again in 2008, leading into negotiations for the current deal.

The beef lobby’s new petition is currently in the review phase, and the U.S.T.R has opened the proposal to a public comment period ending January 30.

“DEAD RED” LAW PASSES IN OHIO FOR ALL VEHICLES
During a three-week lame-duck legislative session that ended in mid-December, state lawmakers in Ohio passed more than fifty new laws, including House Bill 154: Under certain conditions, drivers (and riders) can now proceed through a red light if you think your vehicle is not tripping the signal to change, but only if the intersection is clear. If a malfunctioning traffic signal doesn't detect your car, truck or motorcycle; the law states that your vehicle must come to a complete stop first, and after a reasonable amount of time you can proceed through the intersection as long as the coast is clear and you must yield to oncoming traffic with the right of way.

“If a driver does go through a red light, and there is an accident, they have the burden to prove it was malfunctioning,” explains local A.I.M. attorney (Aid to Injured Motorcyclists) Ralph C. Buss. “If a motorist or motorcyclist, or bicyclist, does come across a light that isn’t working, it is recommended that they should call police.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) invites Bike and Motorcycle riders to contact an ODOT advocate to report problems with traffic signals and roadway conditions via Email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (614) 387-0722.

ARIZONA “PAY FOR PLAY” HELMET LAW PROPOSAL
A bill has been introduced to require motorcycle riders in Arizona to wear a helmet, except that “AN OPERATOR OR PASSENGER OF A MOTORCYCLE, ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLE OR MOTOR DRIVEN CYCLE WHO IS AT LEAST EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE IS EXEMPT FROM THE HELMET REQUIREMENT PRESCRIBED BY SUBSECTION A OF THIS SECTION IF THE OWNER PAYS A FEE (amount to be determined) WHEN REGISTERING THE VEHICLE.”

According to HB 2046, introduced by Representative Dr. Randall Friese (D-Tucson), “THE FEE ALLOWS A PERSON TO OPERATE THE MOTORCYCLE, ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLE OR MOTOR DRIVEN CYCLE WITHOUT WEARING A HELMET AND ALLOWS A PASSENGER TO RIDE ON THE CYCLE WITHOUT WEARING A HELMET.”

“Amending this statute would require all 200,000 motorcycle riders in Arizona to wear a helmet or be subjected to a fine of Five Hundred dollars which three hundred would be going towards Rep. Friese and his friends and their spinal cord trauma practices,” explains Michael Infanzon, lobbyist for ABATE of Arizona. “We have seen Rep. Friese try this game year after year and Arizona motorcyclists have succeeded in stopping this infringement on our right to choose to wear a helmet or not.”

This proposed legislation has been referred to two different committees, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Rules Committee, and ABATE of Arizona has issued an IMMEDIATE CALL TO ACTION for riders to contact Rep. Friese and members of the House committees to kill the bill. “This is nothing more than a tax on motorcyclists and an infringement on our rights,” notes Infanzon.

ALLSTATE O.N.E. PROGRAM TEAMS UP LOCALLY TO HELP RIDERS
It’s a case of Bikers Helping Bikers, as longtime rider Jason Large of Jackson, Ohio wanted to help protect riders on the major Ohio state route he lives on. Allstate Insurance was inspired by Jason’s desire to help keep his fellow riders safe and coincidently, have their own campaign with just this goal in mind.

Allstate’s Once is Never Enough (O.N.E.) program is an awareness campaign created to help reduce the number of motorcycle crashes involving other vehicles at intersections by encouraging motorists to “look twice, because once is never enough”.

Through the O.N.E. program, a yellow diamond-shaped "Watch for Motorcycles" warning sign was created in 2009 following two years of development, which has resulted in 179 signs installed at dangerous intersections in 41 different U.S. cities across 21 states.

WEIRD NEWS: WOMEN ARRESTED FOR RIDING A MOTORCYCLE
Iranian police arrested two women for riding a motorcycle in a western city -- an incident that went viral when images appeared online and sparked a social-media backlash against the country's political and religious authorities.

State news agency IRNA said the two women were detained in Dezful, whose law enforcement chief, Ali Elhami, accused them of committing an "ugly" act that breaks the "religious norms" of the conservative Islamic-led nation.

IRNA quoted Elhami as saying he ordered the women's arrest after online images of the two women riding the motorcycle and being surrounded by male onlookers at a local park prompted complaints about the women's dress, appearance and interaction with the men. The two women will be judged for breaking “revolutionary norms and values.”

Women in Iran are barred from obtaining licenses to drive motorcycles in public.

QUOTABLE QUOTE: "I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
~ John Cage (1912-1992), American composer, philosopher & artist

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.

ncom

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 February 2017 05:12

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