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The Happy 4th of July Bikernet Weekly News for July 2, 2020

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These Are Still the Best of Times with News from Around the Globe

Hey,

I could go in a lot of bummer directions today, but that misses the major point. We are absolutely living in the best of times, yet I suppose some folks are bored, so they need attack shit.

But I am moved by the brothers and sisters who recognize our flag, our monuments, our heritage and all the greatness flourishing in this country.

I’m hiding out in Deadwood, South Dakota and it’s crowded with folks and bikers who have come to smell the Jack Pine trees, ride through amazing highways, inhale the history of the Badlands and check the action in Sturgis.

We will get through this virus thing and party once more. In the meantime, the best things you can do to stay healthy and safe are to work out and ride motorcycles.

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Memorial Day Bikernet Weekly News for May 21, 2020

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Say a Prayer for the Brothers and Sisters who Fought for Freedom

Hey,

This is one of those strange holidays. It’s at a time of the year when the party lamps are lite. On the other hand, it’s a time of thought and prayer for those who died in battle.

We have a tremendous amount to celebrate this weekend with the country reopening, more businesses reopening and the celebration of life. But take some time out this weekend, to ponder those who have died in any combat including our own motorcycle freedom fighters. And think about life and our good fortunes to be living in the best of times of life on earth.

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Missouri motorcycle helmet law repeal has governor’s support, but it’s a small part of a larger bill

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by Ashley Byrd from https://www.missourinet.com

One of the proposed laws tucked into a massive state transportation bill would allow motorcyclists to drive without helmets, but they must be at least 26 years old and have medical insurance and proof of financial responsibility.

Representative Jared Taylor of Republic in southwest Missouri says the governor promised he’d sign it, but Parson’s spokeswoman says while he has “indicated he is supportive of this issue, but like always, there will be a thorough bill review to see what else is in the bill.’

Democrat from St. Louis, Rep. Gina Mitten opposed this part of the bill on the House floor.

None of my constituents probably care a bit about the myriad of other things in this bill, except for the helmet law,” she told colleagues. “I don’t know about the other folks in this room, but I got a ton of emails over the past few days saying, ‘Do not do this.’”

Mitten says there is a financial cost to citizens for this proposed law.

“You get a traffic ticket, you’re going to pay money to the Brain Injury Fund. That’s basically money for motorcyclists who get brain injuries because they are not wearing helmets or they do stupid things.”

Supporters of helmet repeal want the freedom to ride without a helmet.

These Motorcycle Campers Make Me Want To Live On My Bike

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by Enrico Punsalang from https://www.rideapart.com

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all.

When it comes to the level of freedom motorcycles give you, the sky’s the limit. To some, the prospect of cruising down the open road aboard a cruiser embodies this freedom. While to others, clocking in hot laps on a high performance sportbike on the track gives them a dose of freedom unlike anything else. The thrills of motorcycling undeniably come in many ways, shapes, and forms, but one particular trend that we’ve stumbled across is pretty interesting.

Traveling across the country in a camper isn’t exactly a rare thing. In fact you’re bound to come across a camper or RV parked in a mall parking lot, or cruising the open road almost any day. How would you fancy a motorcycle sidecar camper, though? Yup, you read that right. Some ingenious motorcycle enthusiasts have managed to create mini campers for their bikes. As far as safety is concerned, I’m not too sure any of these things will be meeting any international standards. Nonetheless, they’re pretty cool to look at, make for pretty cool customs, and just go to show the lengths at which people can stretch their imaginations to achieve most anything on motorcycles. Here are a few of the coolest ones we’ve seen.

The Harley-Davidson Ride Home Is How You Properly Celebrate Freedom

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by Elena Gorgan from https://www.autoevolution.com/

Ask anyone about Harley-Davidson and probably the first word you’ll hear out of their mouth is “freedom.” This is what the Ride Home is all about.

Even for those who don’t ride or have little knowledge of the Harley-Davidson brand (or bikes in general), the image of the Harley-Davidson rider is that of a man’s man (or woman’s woman, in the case of female riders). Throughout the years, the brand has cultivated this image of the rugged outlaw, of the rebel who forsakes the urban environment for the open road and the sense of ultimate freedom.

While the “outlaw” image has been turned into a cliché by the Hollywood machine, the rebel label still holds water. And it’s for and by these rebels that the big Ride Home was born into reality. The most recent edition, the 2018 one, solidified the event as the biggest of the kind in the world – and Harley-Davidson’s status as a leader in the biker community.

All motorcycle groups and gangs have that brotherhood / sisterhood approach, but it is only Harley that can boast such a loyal following as to go on a cross-country pilgrimage every 5 years, just to honor the Harley-Davidson spirit.

The Ride Home is a tradition that started in 1988, when the company celebrated its 85th anniversary. To mark the occasion, management rented out the front half of the Milwaukee SummerFest grounds, and the city of Milwaukee welcomed bikers from all over the world. They had no idea what to expect or how this event would snowball into something this impressive.

As you probably know, Harley-Davidson was founded in 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by the Davidson brothers and their friend William Harley (with some help from another friend, Henry Melk). It is one of the two American motorcycle companies to survive the Great Depression (the other being Indian), and a legendary brand that, though it’s taken several financial hits in recent years, remains a leader in the industry.

That first year, bikers from across the U.S. rode to Milwaukee to celebrate the milestone together, and they have been doing so every 5 years since then. As noted above, the 2018 edition was the biggest ever, with Harley-Davidson really pulling out all the stops to turn it into a memorable experience. Not that it wasn’t memorable before then.

However, for 2018, Harley-Davidson got more involved and organized 4 separate rides (from Seattle, San Diego, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Portland, Maine), virtually helping bikers from all 4 corners of the country to get to the Mecca of biking. For those still feeling rebellious but on a smaller scale, organized tours by Harley-Davidson authorized dealers were put together, offering anything from overnight accommodation to guide tours and special events. Imagine going on a cruise, but way more awesome because it’s on a Hog.

Also in 2019, the oldest existing Harley-Davidson club held a separate celebration in their hometown of Prague, the Czech Republic, drawing over 60,000 bikes. It paled in comparison to the 500,000 bikers that descended onto Milwaukee and partied over Labor Day weekend.

Every edition, the Ride Home culminates with special Harley-Davidson events (a visit to the official, local Harley-Davidson museum, rides through biking county, meetings with dealers and custom bikes shows), parties, gatherings, cookouts, vendor demos and other outdoor fun activities, which is why it’s also called Harleyfest. Some also refer to it as HarleyMania because of the Harley chaos it brings into town for the duration of a weekend.

However, the Ride Home is really about the ride. Sure, riders love bonding with like-minded individuals and sharing their passion for Hogs with people who can relate to what they’re saying one hundred percent, but the highlight is the thousand-miles ride.

As one rider explains in the video below, you ride in a group but are alone with your thoughts. You move fast but get to take in everything around you through all senses, with nothing in the way. Whatever hardships may (still) come Harley-Davidson’s way and whatever faults it can be found guilty of, this is one thing it has managed to deliver, short-lived as it might be: that near-impossible feel that you can have it all.

Montreal woman leaves her job, hits the road for solo motorcycle trip across Canada

By | General Posts

Wendy McGean fulfilled her dream — of driving cross-country on a motorcycle — at 55 years old

Suddenly, in her late forties, Wendy McGean started having an unexpected reaction every time she’d spot a motorcycle on the road.

“My head would just pivot and I’d think: ‘I really want to do that!” she told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak.

At the time, she thought it was an odd feeling for a married mother of two teenage daughters with a white collar job.

“It was a very traditional kind of life,” she said.

Before she knew it, McGean was leaving all that behind — her home, her job, even her marriage.

“Some people thought I’d absolutely lost my mind,” McGean said. “I just completely turned my life upside down.”

Just one kick at the can

McGean started to chase her dream of riding a motorcycle at 51 years old, signing herself up for circuit training. She realized that she didn’t feel comfortable on only two wheels and bumped up to a three-wheeled bike.

She said it was “love at first sight,” and suddenly McGean was buying a bike of her own.

“I think it’s the first thing in my life I found that I thought, ‘this is mine,'” she said. “It represents complete and utter freedom.”

Not long after McGean got a taste of that freedom, she suffered a major loss. Her father died.

“[It] made me realize that if there’s something that I want to do in my life, then I better get at it,” she said. “So I made the decision to leave my marriage.”

After 23 years of married life, McGean said she started to feel like a square peg and her life was a round hole. Something just didn’t fit anymore.

“I was lucky enough to have somebody that understood that I needed to explore that,” she said.

After living on her own for a while, McGean saw that her workplace was offering an early retirement package that she qualified for. She took it, moved out of her apartment and put everything she owned in storage, except for a one-person tent.

“I got on my bike and headed north without any reservations or anything,” she said.

Forging connections, old and new

With no plans and no commitments, McGean spent the next five weeks riding west to Tofino, B.C. and back, stopping in different towns and meeting new people.

One man she met at a gas station was intrigued by her motorcycle and struck up a conversation about his own cross-country ride on a bike. Before pulling out of the station, he gave her a hug.

“Stopping and having conversations with people I met along the way was probably the best part of the whole trip,” she said.

McGean also took the opportunity to reconnect with people she hadn’t seen in years — she spent a night with a friend in Ontario she hadn’t seen since high school, and also stopped to visit some cousins in Manitoba.

McGean’s cross-country treks are over, for now, but she said she’s grateful for the experience.

“At some point along the way, I finally realized that I had to live my life for me,” she said. “I had to do things that made me happy.”

She’s not sure what lies ahead for her, but McGean is now looking for a job doing something she loves in the Montreal area because she wants to be near her daughters, who are now in their 20s.

Looking back, she said her adventures really helped her come into her own.

“I’m comfortable in my own skin now. Probably for the first time in my life.”

The Thanksgiving 2019 Bikernet Weekly News

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Hey,

Making progress is a major motivator. I like to climb out of bed thinking the day is going to be exciting. This week I solved some issues, took my 1928 Shovelhead to Larry Settle for a look-over. We organized and shipped Hugh King’s Discovery Channel biker build-off bike to the Sturgis Museum.

We attempted to get two girders from Spitfire Motorcycles. We scored a few Antiques motorcycle parts from Bobby Stark’s lot.

I solved a minor issue with the Salt Torpedo and we are just a couple of weeks away from our first trial runs. I roughed out another Cantina Chapter.

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Whacky Bikernet Weekly News for November 21, 2019

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Hey,

A couple of infrastructure changes. From now on, we will post the news on the Free side of the Bikernet Iron Curtain for one week each week. We will also do the same with selected articles before slipping them into Bandit’s Cantina archives for our esteemed members.

We need members, but I want the largest readership to check the news. We also need to inform the largest possible audience of the issues facing motorcycling and of happenings on Bikernet. So, what the fuck, I’m giving it a shot.

Let’s hit the news. It’s going to be a good one:

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House introduces Motorcycle Advisory Council Reauthorization Act

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressmen Mike Gallagher (R-WI) along with Reps. Chris Pappas (D-NH), Harley Rouda (D-CA), and Troy Balderson (R-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation, Motorcycle Advisory Council Reauthorization Act.  The bill reauthorizes the Motorcycle Advisory Council (MAC) for six years and ensures national motorcycle organizations regain seats on the council.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), along with our partners ABATE of Wisconsin, ABATE of Ohio, Harley-Davidson, and American Motorcyclist Association, have been hard at work over the past month ensuring the future MAC membership is representative of the riding community.  This legislation clarifies the membership of MAC which now will include five highway engineering experts from state or local governments, one state or local traffic safety engineer who is a motorcyclist, one roadway safety data expert on crash testing and analysis, and one representative from each of the following groups: a national association of state transportation officials, a national motorcyclist foundation, a national motorcyclist association, a national motorcycle manufacturing association, and a national safety organization.

“As the feds address the vast roadway infrastructure issues and emerging technologies surrounding vehicles and roads, there isn’t a more appropriate time to re-establish the Motorcycle Advisory Council,” said Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, President of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.  “It was originally and effectively designed to give motorcyclists a voice with regards to the unique challenges we face on two and three wheels when it comes to roadway design.”

The MRF is encouraged that this legislation will ensure that motorcyclists will continue to have an open dialogue with government officials about the unique characteristics and challenges that motorcyclists face when they are not adequately considered or accounted for as infrastructure programs are being discussed and implemented. We want to acknowledge and commend the relationships that our state motorcyclist rights organizations (SMROs), specifically ABATE of Wisconsin and ABATE of Ohio, established with their elected officials through attending events such as our annual lobby day, Bikers Inside the Beltway.  This event, along with active engagement with members of Congress in their home districts,  helps the MRF identify the champions of motorcycle issues and achieve our goals.

“We are pleased that our elected representatives from the state of Wisconsin continue to lead the charge in advocating on behalf of the motorcyclists in the country,” said Steve Panten, Legislative Director for ABATE of Wisconsin, Inc. “I am encouraged that years of building relationships, both in our State and by coming to Washington, D.C., every year, continues to elevate our issues on Capitol Hill. We urge other SMRO’s to take the opportunity to do the same.”

The MAC, initially authorized in the SAFETEA-LU in 2005, allotted four of the ten members to consist of representatives from the motorcycling community from various state and federal motorcycle associations. In the FAST Act of 2015, Congress re-established the Motorcyclist Advisory Council in the Highway Bill to advise the Federal Highway Administration on “issues of concern to motorcyclists.” However, the MRF was disappointed the re-established MAC only included one seat for a representative of a national motorcycle organization.

The Motorcycle Advisory Council provides the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) with expert first-hand knowledge of motorcycle issues. “Motorcycle registration is at an all-time high, but this increasing popularity has brought with it increasing risks, such as fatal accidents,” said Rep. Gallagher. “Motorcycles require specific – and in some cases different – requirements of roads, and we need an open dialogue between the motorcycle community, infrastructure experts, and the federal government to discuss these challenges.”  The MAC serves as the only official forum for the motorcycle community to have an open dialogue with the federal government to discuss concerns with infrastructure design, issues with intelligent transportation systems, and other areas of safety affecting motorcycles on the road.

“With the number of motorcycles currently on the road, it is critical that the road designers and transportation engineers understand the way that motorcycles and motorcyclists interact with the roadways as well as other vehicles using those same roads,” said Ed Schetter, Executive Director for ABATE of Ohio, Inc.  “Motorcyclists need to be present to help recognize those needs and ensure that motorcycles maintain their place on the road and can be safely operated into a future where technology is creating more and more challenges.”

Senate Hearing – Highly Automated Vehicles: Federal Perspectives on the Deployment of Safety Technology

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November 20, 2019 – Senate Hearing – Highly Automated Vehicles: Federal Perspectives on the Deployment of Safety Technology

Today the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a hearing entitled Highly Automated Vehicles: Federal Perspectives on the Deployment of Safety Technology. This hearing comes on the heels of a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) board meeting yesterday regarding the investigation of a March 2018 crash of an Uber Autonomous Vehicle (AV) that resulted in the death of a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

The NTSB released some startling revelations in their investigation of the 2018 deadly crash. Among those that the software did not properly identify the victim as a pedestrian, it did not adequately assess safety risks and the operator of the vehicle was watching a TV show on her phone and was not watching the road. Additionally, the NTSB cited an “inadequate safety culture” at Uber.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) applauds the NTSB and the U.S. Senate for holding public hearings on AV technology and safety concerns. The MRF is committed to fighting for the safety of motorcyclists as this new technology is deployed on our nation’s roadways. While we are hopeful that this technology can reduce accidents on our nation’s roads, we agree with the statement of Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) when he said of AV technology “I think a healthy degree of skepticism is a good thing.”

During today’s Senate hearing, it was especially important that two U.S. Senators specifically addressed the concerns of motorcyclists during the hearing. In a question directed to Joel Szabat, Acting Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation Senator John Thune (R-SD) asked, “In developing a regulatory framework for AVs can you speak to how other roadways users such as motorcycles are considered?” The Assistant Secretary responded by saying “Motorcyclists are well incorporated in the development of policy in the department.”

Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) echoed Senator Thune’s interest in motorcycles when he said, “I am avid motorcyclist. The number one reason for accidents is a car hitting a motorcyclist or a car pulling out in front of a motorcyclist.”

Other Senators include Sen. Cantwell (D-WA) raised concerns about the current deployment of AVs without minimum standards from the federal government, “We need some standards.” In response, Robert Sumwalt, Chairman of the NTSB agreed by saying that “Whatever is working now is not working as well as it should.” We at the MRF agree that minimum standards should be in place as this new technology becomes more and more prevalent on the roads we all share.

Chairman Sumwalt of the NTSB closed the hearing with this statement, “I think that AV technology holds great promise to improve safety, but it has to be done properly.” We at the MRF could not agree more.

MRF President Kirk “Hardtail” Willard stated, “As a motorcyclist it offends me when bureaucrats are discussing various inevitable, emerging vehicle and advanced roadway technologies they default to classifying us as vulnerable and in need some sort of protection. I would rather and especially in the specific case of Autonomous Vehicles we be thoroughly considered and fully recognizable and therefore not needing extra protection. As with anything affecting motorcyclists this is another example where the Motorcycle Riders Foundation will demand we remain a significant part of the strategy for roadway users.”

You can read the opening statements or watch the hearing by clicking the link below:
Highly Automated Vehicles: Federal Perspectives on the Deployment of Safety Technology

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. The MRF is chiefly concerned with issues at the national and international levels that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. The MRF is committed to being a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle and works in conjunction with its partners to help educate elected officials and policymakers in Washington and beyond.