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)

ARE GAS-POWERED VEHICLES ENDANGERED?

More than three years after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, we’re back in.  On Biden’s first day in office on January 20th, one of his first priorities was to sign an executive order to re-enter the global pact to slow climate change.  Rejoining the accord was simple; the next step gets harder: How can the world’s second-largest polluter shrink emissions 45-50% by the end of this decade to comply with the deal?

One of Joe Biden’s campaign promises was to “Transition away from oil” and create a “carbon pollution-free power sector” by 2035, as part of a $2 trillion investment to build back the economy by investing in green infrastructure.

The Paris Agreement does not prescribe exact methods for eliminating emissions behind global warming, but establishes binding targets for avoiding worrisome temperature thresholds.  Research conducted by the German Aerospace Centre, says that passenger car engines as we know it need to be completely phased out from new sales before the end of the next decade in order for Europe to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the most ambitious part of the Paris pact’s “well below 2 degrees Celsius” overall aim.

More than 14 countries and over 20 cities around the world have proposed banning the sale of fossil fuel vehicles at some time in the near future.

GM SETS 2035 TARGET TO PHASE OUT GAS-, DIESEL-POWERED VEHICLES GLOBALLY

General Motors has set a 2035 target date for phasing out gasoline and diesel powered vehicles from its showrooms globally, among the first major auto makers to put a timeline on transitioning to a fully electric lineup.

One of the world’s largest automakers, GM wants to end sales of combustion engine vehicles by 2035 as part of a broader pledge to become carbon neutral by 2040.  Other car companies committed to the climate pledge include BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Volvo.

DOUBLE-DIGIT MOTORCYCLE SALES INCREASE DURING WORST YEAR THIS CENTURY

In spite of the economic and health uncertainty posed by the Coronavirus pandemic for the bulk of 2020, the powersports sector experienced an 18.4% increase in sales for the year.

The double-digit growth was owed largely to a big bump in off-highway bikes and ATVs, which jumped 46.5% & 33.8% respectively, but new-model motorcycle and scooter sales were also up 11.4% over 2019, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council Retail Sales Report.

“Overall, the industry had a good year under difficult circumstances,” noted Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), stating; “The COVID-19 pandemic forced all of us to be nimble and to make the changes we needed to survive.  In the end, many in the industry saw strong growth, and now our opportunity is to keep all of these new riders riding and to inspire even more people to join us on two, three, and four wheels.”

This positive turn after years of dwindling sales figures, with the industry as a whole reaching in every possible direction to inspire a new generation of dedicated riders, is quite encouraging, and hopefully the trend will continue into the future.

ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE BUYERS GET A U.S. TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2021

If you’re thinking about buying a new electric motorcycle this year, and you live in the USA, here’s some good news: the federal tax credit that went into effect for new electric bike models at the end of 2019 has been extended until January 1, 2022.

Any electric motorcycle that can go at least 45 mph is eligible for a 10% tax credit, up to $2,500.

Electric motorcycle owners new and old should also know that, at the same time that electric motorcycle credit got extended, the 30% EV charger installation credit was re-upped by the federal government as well.  For 2021, you’re eligible for a credit up to $1,000 for home installations and up to $30,000 for business installations on new EV chargers.

“The electric motorcycle industry is rapidly responding to our country’s need for affordable and environmentally responsible transportation,” said Zero Motorcycles’ CEO Sam Paschel, adding that “These tax credits represent an investment in a cleaner energy future, and also effectively create jobs in the ever-growing electric vehicle industry.”

Details are still being hammered out, but other concurrent federal government plans include additional federal tax incentives to get everyday people to switch from gas to EV, though it’s unknown at this time how those will specifically affect the electric motorcycle industry.

VR COULD ALLOW CONSUMERS TO ‘RIDE’ MOTORCYCLE PROTOTYPES

It seems virtually unreal, but Virtual Reality is starting to fulfill futuristic promises, and it’s even forged a place in the real-world development of motorcycles.  VR has long straddled the line between sci-fi and sci-fact, with crazy promises made in movies from ‘Tron’ to ‘The Matrix’, but the tech is coming of age and moving from the living room to Yamaha’s boardroom.

Far from VR computer gaming, Yamaha VR opens new doors to improve product development, and possibly expanding consumer marketing.

Masayuki Miki, a member of the joint research team in the Fundamental Technology Research Division at Yamaha’s Technical R&D Centre, explained to Cycle World, “Yamaha has been using riding simulators built around actual motorcycles for some time.”

“Since VR allows us to ‘ride’ a wide range of products on all kinds of road environments we’ve created, our simulators and VR equipment play an important role in our research into rider–machine dynamics.  It also goes toward achieving our Jin-Ki Kanno development ideal [which is about bikes providing fulfillment as well as transport].”

Miki went on to explain that VR means a far bigger group of people (perhaps even customers) will be able to ‘ride’ prototypes, saying: “If this project leads to a substantive solution, it’ll be possible to have riders with different techniques and perceptions participate in tests.”

FIRE GUTS LACONIA MOTORCYCLE WEEK HEADQUARTERS

A catastrophic Christmas Day fire tore through the offices of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, destroying decades-old memorabilia and rally archives detailing the history of the nearly 100-year-old event, often referred to as the Oldest National Motorcycle Rally with roots dating back to 1916 when a Gypsy Tour gathered for several days at Weirs Beach on the southern shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.

“It was absolutely terrible,” executive director Charlie St. Clair told Ridin’ On.  “We lost almost everything.  We lost all of our memorabilia.  Photos and archives from more than 50 years.”  All Motorcycle Week-related stuff “is pretty much all gone” including their entire inventory of just-arrived 100th anniversary T-Shirts and promotional apparel.

“It was literally a museum in itself,” said St. Clair, much of it irreplaceable, estimating the total loss will be in the “hundreds of thousands” of dollars.

In calling for help from the public, in terms of rebuilding and gathering new Laconia Motorcycle Week artifacts and collectibles, St. Clair said they would welcome donations of such items and reports a GoFundMe page was also launched by Friends of Laconia Motorcycle Week at (www.gofundme.com/f/we-love-laconia-motorcycle-week).

Laconia Motorcycle Week will mark 98 years in 2021, and while “staging the upcoming event is not going to be easy,” the show will go on…. June 12-20, 2021.

DAYTONA BIKE WEEK IS A ‘GO’!

By a 6-1 vote on January 20, the Daytona Beach city commission endorsed plans for the 80th annual bike rally, scheduled for March 5-14.  Daytona Bike Week’s organizers feared they might have to pull the plug on the 2021 rally, due to a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the event is a huge economic driver for the region, and with this year being the 80th anniversary, businesses were especially looking forward to the needed financial boost.

Masks, hand sanitizer stations, temperature checks, signs and social distancing come with the commission’s new rules, and most bars, restaurants and other businesses will be required to limit occupancy to 60%, but otherwise Daytona Bike Week is a “GO!”

AMERICADE POSTPONED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

This year’s Americade Motorcycle Touring Rally, typically held in June in Lake George, N.Y. each year since 1983, has been rescheduled to Sept. 21-25 due to Coronavirus concerns.

Last year’s Americade was first postponed to July before being canceled altogether because of the global pandemic.

BILL COMMEMORATES ROUTE 66 CENTENNIAL

Federal legislation was signed into law on December 23, 2020 to establish a commission to recommend ways to commemorate Route 66’s upcoming 100th anniversary. The first all-paved U.S. highway was completed in 1926 and ran from Chicago to Los Angeles .

The new 15-person commission is to include representatives from the states through which the highway ran: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

FUTURISTIC AUTOMATIC DE-ICING ROAD CONSTRUCTED IN FRANCE

Roads as we know them have been around since 4,000 B.C., but though those first paved tracks may seem a million miles from the blacktop of today, it doesn’t seem like road-building has kept up with the times.

That could be about to change, reports visordown.com, as a French company named Eurovia announces a new type of tech that allows a road to heat itself in winter to clear snow and ice .

The road is built around the fairly basic principle of a heat exchanger and is not dissimilar to the pipes you find in under-floor heating.  A fluid is passed through the pipes and depending on the road’s ambient temperature energy can either be taken from or sent to the road’s surface layer.

Because of the natural propensity for roads to absorb heat — being black and facing directly upwards — the system can also take in heat during the summer, store it and then release it in the winter.  This could either be to help clear obstructions like ice or snow, or the energy could be diverted into heating nearby homes or buildings.

This project has advanced beyond the drawing board, with Eurovia already building an actual working version of the new “Power Road” tech, located along a 120m stretch of road recently opened in Égletons, France.  The region has seasonal hot and cold weather, making it a perfect urban environment to try the road out… and it didn’t disappoint.  With some flurries of snow over the festive season, the automated road managed to clear snow and ice before it reached such a level that vehicles would have been inhibited.

While Eurovia clearly didn’t set out to make it easier for motorcyclists to ride in the winter, that could be a very real bonus to its Power Road installations.

MOTORCYCLE TAXI INDUSTRY CAUSING KIDS IN AFRICA TO QUIT SCHOOL

Difficult times have forced African youngsters to put their studies aside in favor of making a living driving motorcycle taxis.  Many people rely on motorcycle taxis to go about their daily lives, and this unconventional means of public transportation fuels the livelihood of many individuals in developing countries like Asia and Africa, with lots of people making a living solely from ferrying people around aboard their motorcycles.

Now, the unfortunate global disaster caused a massive shutdown of nearly all schools, giving kids a lot of idle time as laborers were left jobless and without a stable income to support their families.  So, students have begun dropping out of school and instead are getting into the motorcycle taxi business.  As it turns out, kids would rather spend their time outside working, and ferrying food deliveries or people from point A to point B, rather than stay at home taking online classes.  Idleness paired with affordable Chinese motorcycles has lured kids as young as fifteen to buy their own bikes as an investment to earn a living.

Naturally, the key to a developing region is education, and an uneducated future population poses a severe challenge to an already struggling economy, but at this point in time it appears there’s simply nothing else the African youth can do to sustain themselves and their families until schools reopen and more employment opportunities pop up in the region.

QUOTABLE QUOTE: “The worst road trips make the best road tales.”

~ Me

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).