NCOM Atlantic City Report
NCOM Atlantic City, NJ May 6th & 7th 2016
It was a good seminar, what I could catch of it. Thanks to Spirit Airlines who left myself and three others high and dry in Chicago. We were forced to rent a car and drive 850 miles from Chicago to Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was a 14 hour roadtrip arriving at Harra’s in AC at 1:00AM Saturday morning. I would suggest never using Spirit Airlines unless they are a last resort and even then beware of potential issues.
Due to the Spirit Airlines issue Friday was missed.
SMRO Effectiveness and defeats – On the Profiling Bill in Pennsylvania rewriting so that the victim can sue for compensatory damages from being profiled. Washington State is looking to add compensatory damages to the language of their profiling bill. Other states will be looking at this going forward. No one else mentioned helmets or other issues. The biker profiling issue is the major concern right now. (Thanks to BikePac Mel Yeager for this information).
General session opened up with prayer and the ringing of the bell for club members/deceased motorcyclists lost in the previous year.
Keynote speaker, Congressman Donald Norcross was absent due to a death in the family.
Regional meetings Region 1, 3, & 9:
Oregon: Mel Yeager with Oregon BikePac did a great job of reporting BikePac’s legislative agenda for 2017. Lane filtering, gear choice, ethanol bill, and driver responsibility bills being looked at for 2017. BikePac of Oregon is looking ahead! Washington State had an issue with their lane splitting bill due to possible loss of their helmet bill. One thing for Oregon to keep in mind regarding Lane Filtering: The Berkley studies are based on helmeted riders. Therefore, the passage of a Lane Filtering bill can jeopardize our ability to pass a helmet law at a future date. Achieving a helmet law at a future time leaves the possibility of losing Lane Filtering. This could be an either/or issue. This scenario may be a moot point for Oregon because a helmet bill has strong opposition in Oregon. Riders are forced to wear helmets by the will of the people. There was quite a bit of discussion of what happened in Oregon in the 2015 legislative session. Much thanks to AIM Attorney Christopher Slater who helped clarify many of the issues.
California was successful in maintaining their lane splitting. Much discussion on this topic. The ChP are in favor of lane splitting so motorcyclists are safe for now. If the CHP ever backs off on their support for lane splitting then California will lose it. For now CHP wants to have the ability to split lanes so they can manage traffic. It was encouraged that everyone talk to their assemblyman (this extends to all states) regarding this issue and any other issue that needs to be reviewed.
Washington had a short session this year. Discussion regarding potential updates to their profiling bill to include the ability to sue for damages when one’s rights are violated. A very good point was made that we normally work with the transportation committees on our bills. This particular bill would be heard by the Judiciary or Rules Committee which is a different animal. Something to be aware of when putting together a bill.
Colorado had a shooting at a convention. Even though there were credible witnesses to the shooting, the district attorney chose not to file murder charges. The shooter claimed self defense. The families of the victim (Mongols MC) may be filing a civil suit agains the venue as well as the shooter. Lane filtering has been discussed may see it in the next session. Motorcycle interlocks had good rules language and that was discarded recently in a “clean up” effort and so work is being done to get all the old language back.
North Dakota – no issues or problems at this time. They recently had a conference where many different clubs were represented. Double D came to speak and now everyone is all fired up. The AIM attorney said that if “Marcey’s Law” came up, it is not a good deal. It is a victim’s bill of rights but it will force more issues into trial which would not be good for the system.
Arizona – the profiling bill passed the senate and has not gone through the house yet. They have prepared a coloring book for kids with bikers as the subject matter (very similar to what ABATE of Oregon but together many years ago).
Nevada – COC has been doing some charity work raising $15,000 at a recent toy run. They are looking at lane sharing but taking a conservative approach on it. Handle height law was amended so that it is legal to have 4” above shoulder height. Southern Nevada reports they had a rally with profiling a big topic of discussion. They are in the process of collecting profiling examples.
New Mexico – Guardians of the Children were not allowed into the courtroom for the kids they are helping out (similar to BACA). They have been getting pushback from the police. The COC Aim attorney wrote a letter to the police. Now colors will be allowed in the courtroom at the judge’s discretion. During the COC meeting recently, the police took pictures of all the bikes and their license plates while everyone was inside. Also discussion how MSF is getting so much money to train riders. The thinking is that if there was competition for motorcycle safety training, the cost would come down and they will have more money to spend on other things. A retired NM legislator spoke for a bit. He made a good point to everyone present in the room. His point was that if we are trying to get to know the legislators during the legislative session that is the wrong time. Election time is the right time to reach out to them and talk to them about our issues. To try to educate them on our issues and make friends in the legislature when they have the business of the people of their state on their mind is the wrong time to do that. Do all the work up front and help them get into office. They will be more apt to listen and remember us during the legislative session.
Utah – Two cities have an anti-gang law and now the entire state is looking to go with those rules. They are working against that. COC got involved and the bill died. They are looking at a dead red law. Lane splitting was squashed because of the risk of losing the helmet bill (the Berkley study is for helmeted motorcyclists only).
Christina Firehock – Safety and first aid.
A lot of good information shared by a master motorcycle trainer. Her main point was that it is best to not have the accident to begin with. That comes with practice and training. The safest part of the motorcycle is “You”. It is very important to ride your own ride. It is a very good idea to have a first aid kit with you. This was a good presentation by Ms. Firehock. See YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf_LMtB5uHA
Slider Gilmore – Accident Scene Management – The golden hour saving a biker’s life. Typical high energy and thoughtfulness from Slide Gilmore. Slider’s seminar is very thorough on what one should do when a motorcycle accident happens. There is a very short time to save one’s life and it will be a friend or one of the riders on the ride that will be saving a rider’s life. Slider Gilmore repeats this seminar several times a year. Slider lives in Iowa and is recently retired meaning we may just see more of him.
The banquet was great. It was good to see so many people recognized for what they do in the motorcycle community:
Media: Jim and Patty Kay were recognized for their efforts with Two Wheel Thunder TV.
Legal: William Swatek, AIM Attorney from Alabama was recognized for his outstanding work.
Entertainment Presentation was awarded to Arlo Gutherie. He could not be there to accept the award but Arlo was recognized for his consistent friendship to the biker community.
Ron Roloff Lifetime Achievment Award was given to Louie Nobs, the Liaison for Christian Unity. And also for his work, along with others, for helping the WACO victoms.
Chaplain Mike BFC M/M