The AIM/NCOM Motorcycle News Service is brought to you by Aid to Injured Motorcyclists & the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, & 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.ONABIKE.com
Biker Newsbytes: Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish, NCOM
NCOM Convention Honors Fallen Riders; Invites Names for Tribute: With the 30th Annual NCOM Convention in Denver just weeks away, the National Coalition of Motorcyclists is requesting that MROs, Motorcycle Clubs, & riding associations submit the names of those members & supporters who have died since May 2014, so that we may honor their memories during the traditional “Ringing of the Bell” tribute to fallen riders during the opening ceremonies. Dedications can be hand-delivered at the Convention to “Doc” Reichenbach, NCOM Chairman of the Board, or e-mailed in advance to Bill Bish at NCOMBish@aol.com … Attendees are also encouraged to bring an item on behalf of their organization for the Freedom Fund Auction, with proceeds benefiting the motorcyclists’ rights movement nationwide through Getting Our People Elected donations, NCOM Speaker Program, lobbying activities & other pro-motorcycling projects as determined by the NCOM Board of Directors. The 30th annual NCOM Convention will be held Mother’s Day weekend, May 7-10, 2015 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 S. Syracuse St. in Denver, Colorado. This annual gathering will draw bikers’ rights activists from across the country to discuss topics of concern to all riders, so reserve your room now for the special NCOM rate of $99 by calling (303) 779-1100. Registration fees for the NCOM Convention are $80 including the Silver Spoke Awards Banquet on Sat night, or $45 for the Convention only. All motorcyclists are welcome & encouraged to attend. Meetings, seminars & group discussions will focus on legislative efforts & litigation techniques to benefit our right to ride & Freedom of the Road. To pre-register, call the NCOM at (800) 525-5355 or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com …
AIM & NCOM Founder Richard M. Lester Inducted into Hall Of Fame: Aid to Injured Motorcyclists & the National Coalition of Motorcyclists & affiliated & supported groups & organizations, extend Congratulations to founder Richard M. Lester on his recent induction into the Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame. The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame has announced their 2015 inductees into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame & one into the Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame. Lester, a California attorney who founded AIM & NCOM 3 decades ago & numerous subsequent motorcycle outreach groups, is the first national bikers’ rights attorney to be inducted. “The Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame is designed to recognize individuals or groups who have made a long term positive impact on the motorcycle community,” said museum Executive Director Christine Paige Diers. “The Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame recognizes the commitment & sacrifices individuals across the nation, & world, have made to protect the rights of motorcyclists, & who have made a significant impact through their work in grassroots rights efforts.” Richard became an attorney at the ripe age of 45. While in law school he realized that motorcycle riders were an unrepresented group who didn’t have a voice. His love for the sport prompted him to focus on the need of a voice in the motorcycling community. In 1982 after passing the bar, his work for motorcycling began. It took him a couple of years to organize a team of attorneys who rode motorcycles, & who also had an understanding of what was needed in the motorcycle community & how to go about finding the voice that was needed. A,I.M. was founded in 1984, & is a legal protection program that is free for all motorcycle riders, providing free medical info & emergency contact of next-of-kin. To date, over 2 million cards have been distributed nationwide, with A.I.M. attorneys in every state providing legal services for riders & doing pro-bono (free) work within the motorcycle community. The following year, in 1985 Richard Lester founded the NCOM to provide a much-needed voice for the motorcycling community. Today NCOM is a national organization with over 2,400 motorcycle groups & organizations that have joined together as a whole to tackle the legal & legislative aspect of motorcycle riding. Today, more than 30 years later, Richard is still working hard for the motorcycling community. He has attorneys in every state, & has also founded 3 additional organizations so that every motorcycle rider has a voice. One program is the Confederation of Clubs, which is comprised of Motorcycle Clubs, from 1%ers to family clubs. The Christian ministry sector came together in 2005 to form Christian Unity to improve networking with both secular & Christian bike groups. And the newest addition is the National Sports Bike Association, the sport bike division of NCOM to have a clear & unadulterated voice directly from the Sport Bike Community on issues that directly affect them. “Richard has dedicated his life to the lifestyle of motorcycling & has contributed so much of his time & effort, not to mention the financial investment he has donated to the cause,” reads his nomination for the Freedom Fighter Hall of Fame. “He is the only attorney who has always, & continues, to give back to the motorcycling community by creating 5 Free & useful national programs, & by hosting many conventions & seminars to educate & inform all motorcyclists of their right to ride.” Individuals chosen for induction into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame & the Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame will be honored at the annual induction breakfast ceremony on Wed, Aug 5, 2015, at The Lodge at Deadwood during the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This event is open to the public & tickets are available at www.sturgismuseum.com/hall-of-fame/freedom-fighters , or by calling (605) 347-2001.
South Dakota raises Speed Limits in time for Sturgis: South Dakota became the latest state to kick up the speed limit, as an amendment to Senate Bill 1 passed on March 24, 2015 changing the speed limit on the state’s 2 interstate highways. The new law took effect on April 1 (no joke), so you’ll legally be able to travel at 80 mph on the I-90 & I-29, meaning that motorists & bikers going to the 75th Anniversary Sturgis Rally will arrive a little bit faster. States across the country have been raising their speed limits as lawmakers argue that roads & cars are safer. Idaho, Wyoming & Utah have already raised their limits to 80 mph; on one toll road in Texas, it’s 85.
Congressional measure would create “Autocycle” Vehicle Class: With a growing number of 3-wheeled vehicles hitting the marketplace, Congress seeks to create a new classification of vehicles to be designated as “Autocycles”. Previously, these types of vehicles have been classified as motorcycles, so Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has introduced the Autocycle Safety Act, S. 685, to create their own new category & require the new class of 3-wheeled enclosed vehicles to meet both motorcycle safety standards as well as certain passenger vehicle standards. 3-wheelers are currently exempt from many state & Fed rules that dictate safety & emissions standards that apply to cars, but the new category created under S.685 would impose many rules on manufacturers by the Fed Environmental Protection Agency & National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: including automotive standards for seating systems, seat belts, child restraints, air bags, roof crush resistance, & flame-resistant interiors; as well as motorcycle standards covering brakes, lights, rims & tires, controls & displays, & glazing materials.
New Jersey Bans Motorcycle-Only Checkpoints: On March 23, 2015 New Jersey Governor Christie signed into law a piece of legislation (A-2316/S-1614) prohibiting L.E. agencies from conducting roadside checkpoints or systematic inspections that focus only on motorcycles. It will not prevent any other type of road block or checkpoint that is for a valid law enforcement purpose, but it must include vehicles of all types, not just motorcycles-only. This law goes into effect immediately. ABATE of the Garden State, worked with the legislators from District 1 (Cape May) & was successful in getting the bill introduced in Feb of 2014. In Feb 2015 it passed both houses of the legislature with unanimous votes from both chambers. Many N.J. motorcycle riders wrote, called & emailed their legislators to ask for their support on this important legislation. “This new law will prohibit the unlawful practice of profiling a whole class of motorists simply because of their chosen, & legal mode of transportation”, says Jim Parker, Legislative Coordinator for ABATE of the Garden State.
Red Light Law Passed in Kentucky: Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed HB 370 on April 2nd that allows a motorcycle to proceed through a red light if it fails to operate after 2 minutes or 2 cycles of the light with no other oncoming traffic. The Kentucky Motorcycle Association pushed for the legislation, which it says is needed because the lower weight of motorcycles sometimes means that traffic light sensors embedded in roads don’t detect them, meaning lights do not change. House Bill 370, sponsored by Rep. Johnny Bell (D-Glasgow) & Rep. Wilson Stone (D-Scottsville) creates an affirmative defense against a traffic violation for entering or crossing an intersection against a steady red light for a person operating a motorcycle. An affirmative defense is “a defense in which the defendant introduces evidence, which, if found to be credible, will negate criminal or civil liability, even if it is proven that the defendant committed the alleged acts,” which in this case applies if a motorcycle is brought to a complete stop, the traffic control signal shows a steady red light for 2 minutes or if the traffic control signal completes 2 lighting cycles & if the traffic control signal appears to be malfunctioning or doesn’t detect the arrival of a motorcycle. Another condition of the defense is that no person or motor vehicle is approaching the intersection or that any approaching person or motor vehicle is so far from the intersection that it does not constitute an immediate hazard. Jay Huber, president of the Kentucky Motorcycle Association, said the longer motorcyclists remain at a light, the longer they are a target for inattentive drivers. “It becomes an issue of safety,” he said.
Bill would require Motorcycle License in Alabama: Legislators in Alabama, the only State in the Union that doesn’t require a motorcycle license or endorsement, are considering legislation to end that distinction. An oversight in the 1990s led to a gap in the law that allows anyone 16 & older with a regular driver’s license to also operate a motorcycle in the state. If enacted, the new law would require operators to pass a knowledge test to obtain a Class M endorsement, & the bill also authorizes police officers to write a ticket if you are riding a motorcycle without a license. 40 states require a skills test for a motorcycle license, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon in Alabama. Political insiders indicate the bill is likely to reach Governor Bentley’s desk, who is expected to sign it into law.
Texas Bike Bill requires 3-Foot clearance from Drivers: A new bill could mean new rules for Texas drivers. House Bill 2459 states that drivers would have to give pedestrians, bicyclists & motorcyclists 3 feet when passing or turning. HB 2459 was heard in the Texas House Transportation Committee for “unprotected road users,” & if passed a violation would be a Class B Misdemeanor. “At this point, I’m excited with 3 feet, anything is better than zero feet. We’re just waiting to see whether or not Governor Greg Abbott ratifies that bill,” cyclist Les Akins told Newschannel 6, adding that he hopes HB 2459 will raise awareness.
California Hit-And-Run Bill Passes Committee: A “Hit & Run” bill supported by ABATE of California has passed out of the Assembly Transportation Committee. The measure would authorize the use of the existing Emergency Alert System communication equipment to notify & alert law enforcement & the general public when a serious hit & run traffic event has occurred. Prompt public distribution of this important information could help prevent further incidents & accelerate apprehension of involved parties. AB 8 sponsor Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) “Personally thanked US for our support,” said ABATE Lobbyist Jim Lombardo who testified in support of the measure. “Nice Victory, & good for us/ABATE to testify in committee on behalf of a safety measure.”
Quotable Quote: “Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.” – Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969), American pastor