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 BIKER NEWSBYTES

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,

National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES CONTINUES TO INFORM

Bikers have always had a reputation for watching each other’s backs, and during these trying times the need to band together is even more critical, so know that you can continue to count on the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) to keep you informed and up-to-date on a wide range of issues of importance to motorcycling and its associated lifestyle.

Through the monthly NCOM Biker Newsbytes column, the organization will strive to provide timely and accurate information to the riding community, and we encourage all motorcycle publications, websites and internet forums to reprint and share this news source with your readers and fellow concerned riders.

To receive this free post directly to your IN-Box, simply email NCOMbish@aol.com with your Subscription request.

JUDGE DISMISSES WACO LAWSUITS

A federal judge has dismissed 13 civil rights lawsuits filed by 45 of the bikers arrested after the deadly 2015 shootout involving police who had surrounded motorcycle club members attending a regularly scheduled Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas that left nine bikers dead, 20 seriously injured, and 192 arrested as “gang members” on RICO charges of “engaging in organized criminal activity.” 

Ultimately, all charges were dismissed.  Only one case ever went to trial, and that ended in a hung jury and mistrial.  Three officers who were accused of firing indiscriminately into the crowd were cleared by prosecutors in 2016. 

About 134 of those bikers filed civil rights lawsuits alleging that McLennan County, the city of Waco, local law enforcement, and others violated the plaintiffs’ civil rights by arresting them on a blanket arrest warrant without probable cause.  In a 13-page order issued April 6, 2020, U.S. District Judge Alan Albright ruled the bikers failed to sufficiently allege their unlawful search and seizure claims, due process violations and unlawful arrest. Attorneys for the bikers remain confident the plaintiffs will win on appeal.

IDAHO ENACTS ANTI-PROFILING LAW

Idaho Governor Brad Little (R) signed SB1292 into law on March 26, 2020, making Idaho the fourth state to pass legislation to “provide that law enforcement shall not engage in motorcycle profiling,” and now joins the states of Washington, Maryland and Louisiana.

The bipartisan measure, pushed by Rep. Robert Anderst (R-Nampa) for the past three years to forbid “motorcycle profiling” by police — deciding to pull someone over or arrest or search them solely because they’re riding a motorcycle or wearing motorcycle gear — handily passed the Senate by a vote of 25-9 on February 26, and then 38-29 in the House on March 18.

As they have for the past two years, motorcycling enthusiasts and members of motorcycle groups turned out in big numbers to testify in favor of the bill, saying they’ve been profiled by law enforcement officers when they were abiding by all laws.

“This is not an anti-law enforcement bill,” Rep. Anderst told the legislature.  Instead, he said the process has helped improve the relationship between law enforcement and motorcyclists.

NCOM CONVENTION RESCHEDULED

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Coalition of Motorcyclists 35th annual NCOM Convention has been rescheduled for the middle of October at the Marriott Indianapolis East (7202 East 21st Street), the same location in Indiana as previously planned.

“At this time, the NCOM board urges you and your families to follow the advice of the health departments and keep yourselves safe,” said James “Doc” Reichenbach II, Chairman of the NCOM Board of Directors, adding that “Losing one person is one too many.”

Stay tuned for further details as NCOM continues to monitor this deadly global outbreak and its impact on the motorcycling community.

MOTORCYCLISTS RALLY AGAINST THE PANDEMIC

As the COVID-19 hysteria makes international headlines, the motorcycling world has come to the aid of those in need.  Yamaha Motor Manufacturing has donated hundreds of respirators, Tyvek suits, and thousands of gloves and alcohol wipes to a local hospital in Georgia.  Other manufacturers are donating PPE, such as Honda and Polaris.

In addition, Honda made an initial $1 million pledge to food banks and meal programs across America, Canada and Mexico, and has repurposed its North American 3-D-printing capabilities to create protective face shields for medical providers.

Polaris, through its foundation, has donated nearly a quarter million dollars in technology to meet the needs of local students in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa to transition to distance learning, and employees have volunteered to work at a local ventilator manufacturing plant.

BMW even went as far as switching to face mask production during the global pandemic.

Kawasaki, which temporarily shut down production, is producing face shields for health care providers, and donated four 55-gallon barrels of chemicals needed for hand sanitizer.

In Italy, small motorcycle manufacturer Benelli has stepped up and donated ventilators and Tyvek suits to the Italian Red Cross, while tire manufacturer Pirelli and its partners donated $800,000 as well as 65 ventilators, 5,000 protective suits, and 20,000 protective masks to help local health care providers.

After being forced to close its doors as a “nonessential business,” road gear company Vanson Leathers in Massachusetts revamped its facilities to produce face masks for local hospitals.

Cycle Gear and parent company Comoto are chipping in with donations of supplies and eyewear for frontline health workers.

Companies aren’t the only ones helping out, as countless motorcyclists around the world are helping out with their time and motorcycles.  The owners of a motorcycle riding school in Littleport, England, are offering people in their area to pick up prescriptions and deliver them where needed for free.  Similarly, groups of riders in the Italian region of Umbria are helping seniors who can’t leave their home due to the lockdown by picking up their prescriptions and delivering them to their door.  In Sudbury, Canada, members of the Warriors MC volunteered to help the Meals on Wheels service by delivering meals to local seniors on a daily basis.

In New York City, a group of motorcyclists collaborated with MasksForDocs.com to distribute personal protective equipment to doctors and hospitals.  If you have an old pair of dirt bike/dual-sport, ski/snowboard, or general lab goggles collecting dust somewhere, Goggles for Docs would gladly take them off your hands, and they have over 200 drop-off locations in 35 states as well as Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and Panama.

Alamo Cycle Plex, a dealership in San Antonio, Texas even donated a new Kawasaki Ninja to a local nurse whose bike was stolen while she was busy fighting against COVID-19.

REAL ID POSTPONED AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Travelers have myriad other things to worry about, thanks to the COVID-19 virus, but federally compliant driver’s licenses are not among them for now.

Real ID is the federally compliant driver’s license that was, until recently, supposed to be required for boarding a domestic flight beginning October 1st (if you didn’t use some other form of acceptable identification, such as a passport), but is now postponed until Oct. 1, 2021.

The desire for a more secure form of identification is based on legislation that became law in 2005, on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.

GLOBAL MOTORCYCLE MARKET IMPACTED BY COVID-19

“When the car business sneezes, motorcycles catch a cold,” is an old saying in the motorcycle industry, so it should come as no surprise that as the Coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted automobile sales, it has hurt motorcycle sales even worse.

Worldwide, motorcycle sales have plummeted nearly fifty percent, with hard-hit Italy reporting a 69% reduction.  In India, one of the world’s strongest bike markets, sales were down some forty percent in the first quarter of 2020, and Q2 numbers portend more dismal numbers as lockdowns and factory shutdowns persist.

China, where the virus started, not only has numerous motorcycle manufacturers who are suffering, but is also home to many parts manufacturers that other companies around the globe rely on to continue building their bikes, causing extreme disruptions to the supply chain.

Here in the U.S., financial analysts forecast the hit to Harley-Davidson sales will be about 25%, according to Reuters.  The Milwaukee-based bike maker has suspended production, laid off staff and implemented salary cuts.

Even those motorcycle dealerships that have remained open have reduced hours and staffing and, even worse, are missing out on peak springtime sales.

POWERSPORTS EMPLOYEES INCLUDED AMONG ESSENTIAL WORKERS

According to newly revised federal guidelines, powersports employees, in manufacturing, distribution, sales, rentals, and maintenance, are now considered “essential workers.”  This clarifies that many powersports businesses nationwide can remain open, thanks to the addition of new language added to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.

This guidance, which outlines the federal government’s position on essential workers, is currently in use by 33 of the states with stay-at-home orders, and has always listed “automotive repair” employees as essential workers. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), the CISA 3.0 guidance for the transportation sector now expressly includes: “Workers critical to the manufacturing, distribution, sales, rental, leasing, repair, and maintenance of vehicles and other transportation equipment (including electric vehicle charging stations) and the supply chains that enable these operations to facilitate continuity of travel-related operations for essential workers.”

JOY RIDING DISCOURAGED UNDER “STAY HOME” ORDERS

“Stay at home, shelter in place, self-quarantine, and practice social distancing,” are the current buzzwords in response to the Coronavirus worldwide outbreak, but is it okay to just go for a ride?  It’s not a simple answer, and may vary between states depending on public mandates in place, but for many the answer is “No.”

For example, Michigan State Police First Lt. Mike Shaw told WWJ News that “One of the biggest questions that we get through our social media is: ‘Does the order allow me to just clear my head by driving around in my car or on my motorcycle?’ — and it does not,” referring to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home” executive order in effect since March 24.

Like many other states, Michiganders are instructed to avoid all unnecessary travel until the order is lifted.  “You are supposed to stay at home,” Shaw said.  “The reason for that is if you break down, the police are going to have to come out there, the tow truck driver, and you’re making contact with all those people,” Shaw explained. “If you get in a crash we’re gonna have to come out there and police up that crash (not to mention the hospital).”

People are permitted to drive to their jobs, the grocery store or other places they need to be, and police will not be stopping travelers to ask where they’re going, so if your state limits travel to essential needs, you’re of course allowed to ride your motorcycle.

If you do ride, be sure to plan your trip ahead and avoid contact with other people.  Pay at the pump with a credit card instead of going inside the gas station.  Wear gloves, a full-face helmet or mask.  After your ride, clean and disinfect your bike, helmet, gloves, and phone.

On the bright side, the roads are clear and most police officers won’t be pulling people over for minor traffic infractions, or going a couple of miles over the speed limit.

QUOTABLE QUOTE:  “Life is a four-letter word.”

~ Lenny Bruce (1925-1966), comedian and social critic

ABOUT AIM / NCOM: The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) is a nationwide motorcyclists rights organization serving over 2,000 NCOM Member Groups throughout the United States, with all services fully-funded through Aid to Injured Motorcyclist (AIM) Attorneys available in each state who donate a portion of their legal fees from motorcycle accidents back into the NCOM Network of Biker Services (www.ON-A-BIKE.com / 800-ON-A-BIKE).