NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
FIRST TWIN PEAKS CASE GOES TO TRIAL IN WACO
Following more than two years of examining trials, hearings, motions to recuse judges and to disqualify prosecutors, appeals court rulings and a host of speedy trial demands, the first case in the Twin Peaks melee has finally gone to trial in Waco, Texas.
Jacob Carrizal, President of the Dallas chapter of the Bandidos, appears before Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court on charges of directing the activities of a criminal street gang and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity.
Carrizal is the first to stand trial of the 154 bikers indicted in the Twin Peaks shootout that left nine bikers dead and dozens injured while attending a Saturday, May 17, 2015 meeting of the Coalition of Clubs and Independents, an affiliation of motorcycle groups.
Many questions will hopefully be answered, at long last, including how much of the bloodshed was due to a biker turf war and how much resulted from law enforcement actions.
Authorities tightened security measures around the McLennan County Courthouse, including a metal fence around the 115-year old building, and black curtains over the windows, while attorneys have whittled down a jury pool from nearly 150 prospective jurists to 11 men and three women, with two serving as alternates.
“LOWEST FIGURES ON RECORD” FOR U.K. MOTORCYCLE FATALITIES
In a promising message for motorcyclists, statistics recently released by England’s Department for Transport (DfT) show that U.K. motorcycle deaths are down by 13%, the lowest figure since records began in 2006, despite an overall increase in motorcycle traffic last year and amidst the highest total of overall road deaths since 2011.
In fact, statistics from the DfT’s “Reported road casualties in Great Britain: 2016 annual report” reveal that motorcyclists were the only road user to see a decrease in fatalities from 2015-16, even though they rode 2% more to cover 2.8 billion miles.
AAA CLAIMS BABY BOOMERS AT HIGHER RISK ON A BIKE
A new report from AAA claims that the baby boomer generation that made motorcycles cool are now more likely to sustain life-threatening or fatal injuries in a crash than younger riders.
The organization, analyzing federal crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), says older riders make up a disproportionate number of motorcycle fatalities. The mortality rate for riders who are 60 or older is more than four times the overall increase in motorcycle deaths for 2015-16, says AAA, with motorcycle fatalities rising 5.1% while deaths among older baby boomers increased 22%.
Important to note, the increase in overall motorcycle fatalities is partially the byproduct of a corresponding rise in the number of motorcycles on the road, increasing to 8.6 million motorcycles in 2015 compared with 8.4 million in 2014, according to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) data cited by the organization.
LIFE SENTENCES PROPOSED FOR KILLER DRIVERS
U.K. drivers or riders convicted of causing death by dangerous driving could face life imprisonment if new Government proposals are adopted to increase maximum penalties.
The move follows a public consultation in which 70% of respondents believed that the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving should be increased to life -- the top penalty that British law offers.
Under the same proposal, the crime of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will also be increased to life. Currently, both offenses carry a maximum term of 14 years imprisonment, while the average sentence imposed is four years.
The Government also proposes the creation of a new offense of causing serious injury by careless driving, with a prison sentence up to five years, a measure supported by 90% of those surveyed.
The punishment for cases that involve mobile phones, street racing or speeding would carry a sentence equivalent to manslaughter.
THE FUTURE OF THE ENGINE IN QUESTION
Some world governments are already acting to curtail or eliminate gasoline-powered engines, and now the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, has announced that he is also considering ways to ban the sale of vehicles with internal combustion engines.
During a recent public meeting on U.S. Climate Alliance in New York, Brown stated; “We're doing something in the face of inaction."
“Eventually, Washington will join with us, because you can't deny science forever, you can't deny reality. And the reality is climate change is occurring."
With a zero-emissions mandate currently in place, California is one of the U.S. states that is fully committed to carrying out the objectives of the Paris Agreement -- which is an ambitious project from the United Nations aiming to tackle the problems caused global climate change.
Gov. Brown’s announcement follows a similar diktat from the British and French Governments, reflecting plans to move to electrically-powered vehicles within the next few decades.
SELF-DRIVING CARS CLOSER TO HOME
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a bipartisan bill called the SELF-DRIVE act, the first of its kind to drive the unmanned market forward by putting federal regulators in charge and barring states from blocking autonomous vehicles or setting performance standards.
This legislation would supersede state-by-state rules, making it possible for autonomous testing to proceed on a level playing field across the U.S.
If it becomes law (which still requires it to pass the Senate), then it would make it possible for companies working on self-driving to field a lot more vehicles per year – as many as 100,000 autonomous test cars annually, in fact.
The proposal would make it possible for car companies such as Ford, GM and others to bypass certain safety standards that currently apply to human piloted cars, including equipment and controls.
The Senate has also been working on its own self-driving bill, which may cover trucking as well.
CALIFORNIA MEASURE WILL ENSURE TRAFFIC LIGHTS DETECT CYCLES
Two-wheelers will be detected by all newly installed and replacement traffic signals throughout California, as recently passed Senate Bill 672 will “ensure that local transportation agencies will replace current traffic-actuated signals during the course of regular maintenance and upgrade cycles to adopt motorcycle-and bicycle-sensitive signals.”
Existing law due to sunset provides that, in due course of maintaining or replacing traffic control devices, local governments ensure that the systems are set at a level to that can detect cyclists and motorcycles, thus this bill indefinitely extends these provisions without a specific mandate from Sacramento.
“Since I authored the original law ten years ago, this common sense measure has proven to be effective at making our roads safer,” said Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield).
Signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 3, 2017, SB 672 specifies that “Upon the first placement of a traffic-actuated signal or replacement of the loop detector of a traffic-actuated signal [responding to the presence of traffic detected by mechanical, visual, electrical, or other means], the traffic-actuated signal shall, to the extent feasible and in conformance with professional traffic engineering practice, be installed and maintained so as to detect lawful bicycle or motorcycle traffic on the roadway.”
Advanced by ABATE of California, the motorcycle rights organization says of the legislation; “Thanks to Governor Brown for signing this permanent extension,” stated Chairman of the Board Glenn Phillips, adding that “With over a Million Motorcyclists in our state, this legislation is imperative to protect riders on California roads.”
NEW YORK MEASURE WOULD BAN CHILDREN FROM RIDING
Assembly Bill 8700 would prohibit children under the age of twelve from riding on a motorcycle. Introduced by Assemblymember Aileen M. Gunther (D-Dist.100), the bill states; “No person shall operate or ride a motorcycle on a public highway, road or street in this state with a child under the age of twelve on such motorcycle.”
A8700 has been referred to the Assembly Transportation Committee.
HELP “LEMON LAW” PASS FOR RIDERS IN PENNSYLVANIA
ABATE of Pennsylvania has issued a Legislative Call To Action regarding House Bill 74, a bill introduced by Representative Pam Snyder that would include motorcycles in the current PA Automobile Lemon Law. HB 74 was introduced and referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee. On June 12 the House Consumer Affairs Committee approved HB 74, and the measure is now facing consideration by the full House.
“Contact House of Representative members and ask them to support HB 74 to include motorcycles in the state’s “Automobile Lemon Law,” urges the state office of ABATE of PA. “You can call them, email them or visit them. But you have to do something if we are to have success in having HB 74 pass the House and be sent to the Senate for their consideration.”
MOTORCYCLE THEFTS ARE ON THE RISE
The annual theft report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows bike thefts rose 2% nationally across the U.S. in 2016, with a total of 46,467 motorcycles were reported stolen, up from 45,555 in 2015.
For the second year in a row, California is the top state for stolen bikes, where 7,506 motorcycles were reported taken -- compared with 4,482 stolen in Florida and 3,692 in Texas, the next most troublesome territories. Vermont had only 24 motorcycle thefts in 2016, the least amount of all the states.
New York was the most-plagued city, followed by San Diego, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, while Los Angeles County was the top county.
The NICB study reveals that the bulk of motorcycle thefts predictably occur during the summer months, when more bikes are on the street. August was the top month, when almost twice as many motorcycles disappeared than in December or January.
Some bikes are more popular targets than others or are simply easier to steal, and a disproportionate number are Japanese models top the theft list: Honda (9052 thefts), Yamaha (7,723), Suzuki (6,229), Kawasaki (5,221), Harley-Davidson (4,963).
The recovery rate for stolen bikes isn’t encouraging, according to the NICB report, with only 17,463 of the 46,467 motorcycles reported stolen in 2016 being returned to their owners, about a 40% nationwide rate of recovery. The recovery rate in Hawaii was highest at 94%, while the New York rate, at 19%, was the lowest in the nation.
By brand, Honda owners had about twice as good a chance of getting their bikes back than owners of Ducatis, which had only a 29% chance of coming home.
On a more positive note, bike thievery is down considerably -- about 30% -- from what it was a decade ago.
PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT SEEKS STRICT HELMET LAW ENFORCEMENT
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in the Philippines is seeking to strengthen enforcement of the Mandatory Helmet Law (RA 10054) nationwide. In a Memorandum issued Sept 6 to all governors, mayors and others, the DILG directs local officials “to implement said (Helmet Law) Act, and ensure that the provisions are strictly complied with.”
Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento directly addressed DILG during the department’s budget hearing in Congress and said he observed that several motorbike riders and drivers forget to use their helmet resulting in road accidents and deaths.
The Subject of the memo calls for the “Observance of the provisions of Republic Act No. 10054; an Act Mandating All Motorcycle Riders to Wear Standard Protective Motorcycle Helmets While Driving and Providing Penalties Therefor (sic).”
QUOTABLE QUOTE: "A man wearing a helmet defending our country is more valuable than a man in a helmet defending a football."
~ Seen on a T-Shirt
Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s
Meeting of the Minds
September 21-24 2017
The meeting this year was held in Williamsburg, VA. and hosted by two Sustaining States Motorcycle Rights Organizations (SSMRO), Virginia Bikers Association (VABA) and Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists. Like most other MMOTMs this one was packed with energy and it refueled the mind with the thoughts and actions for the freedoms of motorcycling. This year Idaho was represented at the conference by Lane Triplett, Chairman of ICMS and Ted Vanlunen, assistant to the Board of ICMS, and me, Dave Cazel Idaho’s MRF State Rep and legislative liaison for ANI.
The four day event started two days early for me as I attended the committee meetings of the MRF. This is where the nuts and bolts of the organization are configured to make the MRF the viable organization that it is today. I sit on the Legislative Committee, The Reps Growth Committee and the Finance Committee. The functions of each committee are accurately described by the title of each committee. In the legislative committee we discussed the successes and the future areas of effort of the MRF along the 2017 legislative agenda. In the Reps Growth committee we strategized ways to grow the MRF on a grassroots level through the state reps program and in the Finance committee we reviewed the financial condition of the MRF along with the picture going forward in 2018. There are sixteen separate committees and I am on only three and I can assure you that is enough. In each committee meeting the issues are prioritized and formulated to be presented to the Board of Directors at the BOD meeting held the following day. As you can imagine, the BOD meeting is pretty intense. The mental acuity of the committee and BOD members is outstanding. These are members of the motorcycling community who volunteer their time and energies besides holding down jobs, raising families and finding time to ride. The effectiveness of this small group of volunteers is amazing to have led the MRF to the legislative successes it has achieved on the national platform.
After a full day of the board meeting on Thursday, the evening was full of “Meet the Board”. After introduction of the board members, there is what is referred to as “speed dating for motorcycle rights” by state. A representative of each of the states in attendance, 27 by my count, was offered 3 minutes for the opportunity to name legislative actions from their states in the last year. (I have attached an addendum to this report for those who want to review what’s going on around the country).
Friday’s general sessions started with the posting of the colors. The American flag was brought into the hall with an honor guard of the fife and drum in full regalia. It was the most inspirational opening of A MOTM that I have experienced. I would have expected nothing less as the conference was held in Williamsburg, Va. We were just down the road from the first colonial settlement in the new world, Jamestown, established in 1604.
The general session was comprised of comments on the general health and ambitions of the MRF with the theme of “how BAD do you want it?” (legislative successes) by MRF’s VP. Jay Jackson.
Jay was followed by Frank Carbone, treasurer, on the soundness of the MRO. It is sound but as usual we need more members. We’re ahead of schedule and under budget. The next BOD member to speak was Megan Ekstrom VP of Government Affairs, our lobbyist, addressing our progress on the legislative front.
Although we have been making headway on five of the six issues we brought before our federal delegations in May in D.C. at the Bikers in the Beltway (BITW) we, the engaged motorcyclists of the SSMROs, totally collapsed on the sixth. The motorcycle riding “rights” representatives on the Motorcycle Advisory Committee (MAC) were limited to just one seat on the committee, not four like we had in the past. NHTSA didn’t budge on the appointment of only one rights representative. Megan also touched upon the new software that we started using this year. “CQ” is what I have been urging our members to use to contact their federal delegation regarding motorcycle legislation. It now can also be used to track state legislation and hopefully in the future to contact representatives in the state house. (It, like most software on the market today, can give feedback statistics on when, on what subject and how often members contacted their delegates. Idaho’s level of activity was considerably lower than I was hoping it would have been.)
The last speaker of the general session on Friday was “Slider” Gilmore of Iowa. Slider is a renowned speaker who will keep you engaged. As a lifelong rider who spent many years in the medical first responder field in what is now known as EMT, he discussed the “first five minutes of the golden hour” following a motorcycle accident. Not medical work applications but rather accident scene management. After checking ABCC (airway, Breathing, consciousness, cervical stability) remain calm and call the EMTs immediately with the location. Solicit help from others around for traffic control and keep the patient calm and talking. Be a good witness. Observe the scene. These were just some of the items he highlighted.
The afternoon was made up of breakout sessions. Three sessions were offered in each of two 1½ hour blocks. Attending the 2018 SMRO Legislative Planning/ Strategy were Lane Triplett representing ICMS and me representing ANI. The attendees, one from each SMRO, were asked to vote on each issue to decide which of three groups to place the issues; high priority, medium priority and monitor. The list of issues was quite lengthy. The items in the high category, as you can imagine, were the 5 items remaining from the lobby day (BITW) last May in D C: profiling, ethanol, autonomous vehicles/intelligent systems, emission regulations (RPM act) and federal definition of a motorcycle vs. autocycle. (I will distribute the 2018 legislative agenda when it is published including the medium priority and monitor categories.)
The second session I attended was the Executive Director’s Town Hall Meeting. The objective was to get questions and answers about how the MRF works to support our SMROs’ needs, the protocol for press release forwarding, state lobby assistance and explanation of the MRF Reps program. The evening was comprised of a fund raiser which was a walking poker run/scavenger hunt.
Saturday’s general session started with the presentation of numerous awards including the Ron Shepard Safety Award. This year it was won by ABATE of Ohio. Following the award was a presentation by Sunshine Beer, the director of The Idaho STAR Program. Sunshine is also the chairman of the Executive Committee for the SMSA (State Motorcycle Safety Administrators). Her presentation was aptly titled, “Why Crashes Happen”. It was fashioned from the Idaho crash statistics of the past five years compiled by Lane Triplett of ICMS, and it was a hit. Many attendees were very complimentary of her presentation. The general session following Sunshine was “Taking a Page from the NRA’s Playbook: How to stand out in today’s politics”. Dr. Todd Atkins is the lead lobbyist for the NRA in Washington D.C. You can imagine how effective he was. He described the ins and outs of how to be an effective lobbyist. 1).Just “Get it done” with showing integrity, reliability, applying the Golden rule, measuring wins and losses and avoiding the crowd (stand out). 2). “Legislative Thinking- Divisions of Influence a). Political: party allegiance, b). Personal priorities: family 3). Logic: make sense. This guy has multiple graduate degrees; PhD and Law and is very cerebral but one hell of an effective speaker. No wonder he is the head lobbyist for the NRA and he rides a motorcycle.
Saturday afternoon’s breakout session I attended was for the State Representatives. Each year we meet to introduce new state reps and assistant reps, discuss recruiting and retaining members, and communications. This year we had a round table discussion on proven techniques that reps used to promote the MRF. As usual it was a good session and one heck of a motivator. We always seem to need some encouragement and get our batteries recharged. A year is a long time. We also reelected one of our two Reps to the Board of Directors. This year we will be represented again by Glenyce Jackson of Washington and we reelected Dave Monroe of Alaska.
The annual fund raiser “Tug of War” was played out again for the joy of the attendees and to the sportsmanship of the competitors. This annual fund raiser places the “bibs” against the “kilts” for a show of competition of the best of three. Regardless of which team bests the other the MRF is always the winner. After some relaxation it was time for the Silent auction and Awards Banquet followed by the live auction. The keynote speaker was the State Senator from Virginia, a rider, who represents the 14th district, the Honorable Senator John Cosgrove. He has a strong history of working with the SSMROs in Virginia as a state member of the house and since 2013 as a state senator. Shortly after the dinner the live auction raised money to support the MRF. All in all it was a very successful conference.
I feel it is imperative that Idaho continue to lead as it has for more than 30 years with a strong voice in motorcyclists’ rights in this great country. I serve at your pleasure and hope to continue to represent motorcyclists in both the state and national arenas. I would like to thank all the members of the Idaho SSMRO’s, both ABATE of North Idaho ( ANI) and the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety (ICMS) for giving me the opportunity to represent each of you before the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.
Special thank you to the ANI members for their financial support to be able to attend this annual conference and to let Idaho’s voice be heard.
Idaho Representative to the MRF