NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
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)
CONGRESS APPROVES FEDERAL HIGHWAY BILL
Following extension after extension, deferring action for more than a year, the so-called infrastructure bill, or highway bill to reauthorize highway funding projects, passed on November 12, 2021 after the U.S. House of Representatives agreed to the Senate’s version and passed a 5-year, $1.2 trillion highway funding bill, dubbed the INVEST ACT.
Unfortunately for bikers who have lobbied Congress extensively on various transportation issues contained in the House measure, after all this time there’s scant little to celebrate. The Senate version does include reestablishment of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) to advise the U.S. Department of Transportation on motorcycle matters, and allocates increased Section 405 grant funds dedicated for motorcycle safety.
But left out of the new law are hard-fought issues such as anti-biker profiling by law enforcement, expanding prohibitions on motorcycle-only checkpoints, and autonomous vehicle operation oversight.
BUILD BACK BATTERY
Now that President Biden’s scaled back $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill is law, Democrats are setting their sights on his Build Back Better Act, furthering the administration’s electric vehicle agenda, including tax incentives of up to $12,500 per vehicle to spur consumer demand for EVs and establishing a network of 500,000 EV chargers nationwide by 2030.
Transportation officials are touting the Build Back Better as a key part of Biden’s plan along with the new infrastructure package to help achieve the president’s EV sales goal of having half of all new vehicles sold by 2030 to be electric.
On November 19, after months of negotiations including hijacking the infrastructure bill until this “human infrastructure” measure could be acted upon, House Democrats passed the Build Back Better with no Republican support.
Included in $495 billion worth of climate initiatives, there’s proposed refundable electric vehicle tax credits, not just for new cars, but up to $4,000 for used electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, and also includes incentives for buying electric motorcycles and three-wheeled vehicles which would be eligible for up to $7,500 or half the vehicle’s price.
The $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill will now go to the Senate, where it faces stiff opposition from Republicans and is likely to be revised in the coming weeks. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he aims to have the chamber pass the bill before Christmas. The House will need to vote on it again if the bill is altered.
MOTORCYCLING IS LESS DANGEROUS THAN HORSE RIDING AND SKIING
It turns out that horse riding and skiing are more likely to land you in the hospital needing medical treatment than getting out on your motorcycle, according to a new study that reveals motorcycling actually isn’t as dangerous as other less regulated pastimes.
A study on a decade’s worth of data from the U.S. National Trauma Data Bank has grouped the reasons as to why Americans have landed in the hospital to be treated for injuries. It found that motorcycling isn’t as dangerous statistically as other activities that don’t require so much training.
Motorcycling injuries accounted for 0.14 out of 1000 hours of riding. By contrast, horse riding has 0.49 injuries during that timeframe, with 37% of those requiring care for trauma to the thoracic region (chest and upper back area) and a fifth suffering a head injury.
A quarter of those would go on to require intensive care, plus one in ten needing surgery.
Perhaps insurers should keep those actuarial numbers in mind before so readily hitting the ‘+’ on those premiums!
NEW HEADS-UP HELMET DISPLAY TECH HAS ALMOST LIMITLESS POTENTIAL
Swiss firm Aegis Rider AG is using augmented reality to create a helmet that seamlessly integrates information into the view ahead. It’s an idea with virtually limitless potential, from providing real-time hazard warnings by highlighting threats as they emerge, to coaching the rider with suggested speeds and cornering lines, or presenting safety instructions superimposed on the road itself.
Already undergoing tests as a third-generation prototype, the system features on-bike cameras and a central computing unit allied to sensors monitoring speed and lean angle as well as GPS data to locate the bike. This gets cross-referenced with detailed maps that include info about speed limits and road characteristics.
Although it would be possible to display such warnings on a traditional dashboard, there’s a risk that this would take the rider’s eye off the road, so the system is integrated with an augmented reality helmet with heads-up display in the visor.
The system also monitors the helmet’s precise position and orientation in relation to the bike, so the warnings can be superimposed at just the right spot. Aegis Rider is supported by ETH Zurich university where company founder Simon Hecker was awarded his PhD for research on autonomous driving systems.
He said: “I ride a motorcycle myself, so I’m aware of the large gap between the safety systems of modern cars and motorcycles.”
Initially, Aegis Rider want to have a version targeting tech-savvy early-adopters in production by next summer, with later developments leading to more affordable, mainstream versions in the future.
“The pace of this industry is so fast that there are many more opportunities down the road, even to the point where computer element could be in the cloud, transmitting directly to the helmet using 5G.”
SMART MOTORWAY U-TURN
After investing £6 billion ($8 billion USD) into the smart motorway project since its inception, British Transport Secretary Grant Schapps is reportedly having second thoughts following a report by a national UK newspaper.
The report, compiled by the Mail, raises questions specifically around All Lane Running (ALR) roads, meaning the removal of the hard shoulder to create an extra lane of travel. After reading it, Sec. Schapps is said to have claimed he is not totally against ceasing further construction of the roads.
It is also reported that a former senior transport official claimed that the roads had not improved journey times and that quite the opposite, they could be hurting the economy.
You’d expect the government’s math and economic foresight to be sound, but DfT scientist David Metz has been quoted as saying that ‘biased’ economic modeling was used and that much of the motorway network will have a negative benefit economically; “If better economic modeling and analysis had been done, we wouldn’t have been investing so much money in these roads… So to a degree, this money has been wasted.”
He went on to say, “Consultants like to please their clients so there’s a bias to provide the kind of outcomes expected.”
Furthermore, it seems that the most pressing matter within the report that is causing Schapps to have a rethink is not road user safety, it is in fact the economic impact of building more roads. This flies in the face of a Commons transport committee report calling for an emergency overhaul of ALR roads.
BIKE MODIFICATIONS THAT EFFECT EMISSIONS ‘LIKELY TO BE OUTLAWED’ IN U.K
The Department for Transport (DfT) in the United Kingdom has clarified its position on the anti-tampering proposals it revealed recently in a meeting with the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC).
The wording of the original document made it seem that any modification from a motorbike’s OEM parts would become illegal, sparking uproar in the biking community. And while the DfT has now made it clear that this is not the case for all parts of your bike, exhaust systems remain firmly in the crosshairs.
The proposals are aimed at ensuring the motorcycles can no longer be legally modified to generate more pollution, which would rule out many performance exhaust systems and power commanders. The proposals have also been designed to stamp out the practice of modifying electric bicycles and e-scooters to make them faster and more powerful.
“Although we are pleased to learn that riders will not be banned from modifying their bikes if this does not reduce environmental performance or increase speeds beyond a particular motorcycle’s design specification, this leaves several areas where legitimate reasons to modify could still be denied,” said Craig Carey-Clinch from the NMC. “There is also a large question mark about how the proposals will affect older motorcycles.
“Engine modifications often improve how a bike runs and the freedom to be able to make these changes must remain. But it does seem clear that in the drive to reduce vehicle emissions and to decarbonize all vehicle types, modifications that lead to increased emissions from petrol motorcycles and cars are likely to be outlawed.”
‘DUTCH REACH’ IS THE LAW IN THE NEW BRITISH HIGHWAY CODE
The new rule in the Highway Code is aimed at protecting cyclists, those on motorcycles and vulnerable road users, when drivers are getting out of cars.
If someone was to say ‘don’t forget to use the Dutch Reach’ what would you immediately think of? AMRoadsmart surveyed 10,000 motorists, and found that 85% of those asked had no idea what a Dutch Reach was, instead perhaps wondering why they were being offered something so lewd.
Under new rules in the updated Highway Code, the Dutch Reach is primarily a method aimed at protecting cyclists by simply using your furthest hand to open the car door as you exit your car, naturally making your body turn towards the door and increase your chances of spotting an approaching person/motorcycle/cycle.
Despite being termed as an aide to cyclists, this newly introduced law will also benefit motorcyclists and scooterists who are filtering past – and now recognized as vulnerable road users in the newly updated rules.
Implemented under Rule 239 of the ‘Waiting and Parking’ chapter, the new rule will read:
“You should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening, e.g. use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side.
“This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder. You are then more likely to avoid causing injury to cyclists or motorcyclists passing you on the road, or to people on the pavement.”
The new “Dutch Reach” rule will be taught to new learners. Plus, it makes a lot of sense and could become a natural, helpful habit.
QUOTABLE QUOTE: “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
~ Hermann Göring (1893-1946), Nazi military leader
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).