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Health officials concerned about Iowa motorcycle rally: ‘We don’t want to be another Florida’

By General Posts

by Chris Gothner from https://www.kcci.com/

ALGONA, Iowa (AP) —

A group still plans to hold a three-day motorcycle rally in northern Iowa that’s expected to attract thousands of bikers despite the concerns of local officials that the event could spread the coronavirus.

Local officials usually welcome the annual Freedom Rally held on a farm northeast of Algona, but this year’s event planned for Thursday to Saturday has officials worried.

“We have a good relationship with them,” Algona Mayor Rick Murphy told the Des Moines Register. “The bikers are friendly. They’re fun to visit with. … But this year, everyone is a little more on edge.”

Algona is in Kossuth County, which has had 32 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and no reported deaths, but officials think that could change because of the motorcycle rally, which typically draws 10,000 bikers.

The rally is organized by ABATE of Iowa as a fundraiser for the nonprofit group, which supports motorcycle safety and training. The annual rally was long held in Humboldt before moving in 2002 just north to Algona, a city of 5,400 about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Mason City.

David Duffy, the ABATE state coordinator, said the group is encouraging social distancing and is calling for riders to limit trips into Algona.

“We’re taking all the precautions necessary to make this safe,” Duffy said.

The group’s website states that participants will have to sign a form that seeks to identify anyone who has been to a coronavirus hot spot and could exclude them from the event.

The website also notes Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations but adds, “social distancing is a suggestion by the CDC, not a law. This rally was created and called the Freedom Rally to promote freedom of choice. Attending is just that, freedom of choice.”

Large gatherings were banned earlier in the year but Gov. Kim Reynolds has allowed them to resume.

Murphy said he and other officials emailed the governor’s office to suggest she reconsider allowing large gatherings but didn’t hear back.

Asked about the message, Reynolds spokesman Pat Garrett said in a text message, “We are not aware of this request.”

David Penton, the Kossuth County Emergency Management coordinator, said local officials are especially worried that after keeping cases low for months, the rally could lead to the disease spreading at a time when cases are rising in other states, such as Florida.

“People are a little discouraged that that could all be thrown into the wind,” Penton said. “We don’t want to be another Florida.”

Large motorcycle rally in N. Iowa worries local officials

from https://www.washingtontimes.com

ALGONA, Iowa (AP) – A group still plans to hold a three-day motorcycle rally in northern Iowa that’s expected to attract thousands of bikers despite the concerns of local officials that the event could spread the coronavirus.

Local officials usually welcome the annual Freedom Rally held on a farm northeast of Algona, but this year’s event planned for Thursday to Saturday has officials worried.

“We have a good relationship with them,” Algona Mayor Rick Murphy told the Des Moines Register. “The bikers are friendly. They’re fun to visit with. … But this year, everyone is a little more on edge.”

Algona is in Kossuth County, which has had 32 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and no reported deaths, but officials think that could change because of the motorcycle rally, which typically draws 10,000 bikers.

The rally is organized by ABATE of Iowa as a fundraiser for the nonprofit group, which supports motorcycle safety and training. The annual rally was long held in Humboldt before moving in 2002 just north to Algona, a city of 5,400 about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Mason City.

David Duffy, the ABATE state coordinator, said the group is encouraging social distancing and is calling for riders to limit trips into Algona.

“We’re taking all the precautions necessary to make this safe,” Duffy said.

The group’s website states that participants will have to sign a form that seeks to identify anyone who has been to a coronavirus hot spot and could exclude them from the event.

The website also notes Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations but adds, “social distancing is a suggestion by the CDC, not a law. This rally was created and called the Freedom Rally to promote freedom of choice. Attending is just that, freedom of choice.”

Large gatherings were banned earlier in the year but Gov. Kim Reynolds has allowed them to resume.

Murphy said he and other officials emailed the governor’s office to suggest she reconsider allowing large gatherings but didn’t hear back.

Asked about the message, Reynolds spokesman Pat Garrett said in a text message, “We are not aware of this request.”

David Penton, the Kossuth County Emergency Management coordinator, said local officials are especially worried that after keeping cases low for months, the rally could lead to the disease spreading at a time when cases are rising in other states, such as Florida.

“People are a little discouraged that that could all be thrown into the wind,” Penton said. “We don’t want to be another Florida.”

NCOM Biker Newsbytes May 2020

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All 50 states are now in various stages of reopening, and along with restrictions being lifted and the COVID-19 curve flattening, hopes for more normalcy are high; and none higher than amongst the motorcycling community.

Most industries have been hit hard by the global pandemic, and motorcycle sales and production have been among the most impacted, with factories shut down, dealerships closed, events cancelled or postponed, and even ridership restricted in many parts of the world.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE NCOM NEWS ON BIKERNET

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The Bright Light Bikernet Weekly News for April 23, 2020

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It’s just life and it’s inspirational the Human Spirit
By Bandit, Rogue Wayfarer, Barry Green, Bob T., Sam Burns, the Redhead, Laura, Andreas, Gearhead and the rest of the crew#

Hey,

I love all the doom and gloom, the blame and the conspiracy theories. As you will see, Joe Smith sent us some damn interesting images from the Spanish Flu era in 1918 that killed 500,000. We survived to have an economic collapse in 1929. There’s never a dull moment in life. The light at the end of the tunnel is bright!

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WEEKLY NEWS ON BIKERNET

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Electric scooters can help cities move beyond cars v pedestrians

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by Alex Hern from https://www.theguardian.com

The government is showing signs of legalising electric scooters on roads, but new laws should be about safety, not horsepower

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that being hit by a scooter hurts less than being hit by a bike. That may sound like a strangely negative place to start, but it’s sort of fundamental to why I’m glad the government is finally showing signs of legalising the use of electronic scooters on public roads across the UK.

The current state of the law is a mess. Its broad strokes are reasonable enough: powered vehicles require an MOT and registration to use on public roads, while unpowered vehicles do not. Pavements are for foot traffic only. Access requirements complicate matters, but only a little: wheelchairs, both manual and powered – legally, “class three invalid carriages” – can go on pavements, while some – class four – can go on roads as well.

Then, in the 1980s, the law was modernised to support the first generation of electric bikes. Fitted with simple motors that aided hill climbs, it felt silly to ban them as electric vehicles, and so a new category – the “electrically assisted pedal cycle” – was invented, and the laws amended further in 2015 to remove weight limits, allow for four wheels and increase the maximum power of the motor.

Which means, as the law stands, you can ride a four-wheeled vehicle of potentially unlimited weight, largely powered by a motor up to 15.5mph, on public roads without training, licensing or registration. But not an electronic scooter. Nor, for that matter, a 5kg, 10mph “hoverboard”, unlikely to hurt anyone save its rider.

Looking at the laws from the ground up, the distinguishing characteristic should be safety, not how a vehicle is powered. It’s hard to argue that an electric motor is inherently more dangerous than pedal power. In fact, given the variability of human strength, it’s almost possible to argue the opposite: electric motors in e-bikes are capped at 250W of power, after all, but no such limit is possible for people, where a fit cyclist can easily exceed 300W or more.

And so a set of regulations which allowed, alongside bikes, skateboards and scooters, electric vehicles of limited weight, power and speed is surely the only justifiable outcome of any consultation.

But more than justifiable, such a set of rules would be good. One of the truisms of the cycling world is that the safest thing for cyclists on the road is more cyclists on the road. It’s not all about public policy and accessible cycle lanes: sheer weight of numbers is important too, in forcing other road users to treat cyclists as a viable third transportation mode, rather than just annoying slowpokes ripe for close passes and aggressive overtakes.

Expanding that constituency, to encompass a wide variety of mid-speed vehicles, would only help push cities towards the tipping point where they can consider transport beyond a simple car/pedestrian binary. And that’s a point every city needs to reach, sooner rather than later, in the face of a climate crisis that much see car usage drastically curtailed.

But. While laws need to be rewritten to support electric scooters, they don’t necessarily need to support the peculiarly American model of dumping a load of scooters on a pavement and hoping enough people will ride them before they get stolen or damaged for the unit economics to work out favourably. That model, unfortunately, has defaulted to its present state: unregulated, unmanaged and cutthroat, with councils left fighting back with nothing but their powers to prevent littering.

Here, the trade-off is more painful. Dockless rideshare – of bikes, e-bikes or e-scooters – can be great for promoting access, but it can also harm those least able to cope, as anyone who has tried to navigate a wheelchair or pram around a pile of Uber bikes knows. Micromobility can succeed with or without the Silicon Valley business models – but it can’t succeed without being given a chance on the roads.

Electric vehicles won’t be mainstream, says Honda CEO

By General Posts

from https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com

Commenting about Honda’s electrification strategy, Honda CEO said the brand will focus on petrol-electric hybrids, not BEVs, through 2030.

Electric vehicles won’t be mainstream, despite the push from the governments and the auto manufacturers across the world towards e-mobility, claims a media report quoting Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo.

The report further quotes Hachigo saying, “The hurdles to battery electric vehicles and complete autonomous driving are still quite high.”

Commenting about Honda’s electrification strategy, he said the brand will focus on petrol-electric hybrids, not BEVs, through 2030. Also, he said Honda will prioritize incremental advances that offer real-world safety at affordable prices, instead of fancy functions and pricy lidar systems, claims the report.

Honda aims to be more realistic instead of competing with rivals brands when it comes to electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology.

Hachigo further said, “I do not believe there will be a dramatic increase in demand for battery vehicles, and I believe this situation is true globally. There are issues with infrastructure and hardware.”

He also added, “There are different regulations in different countries, and we have to abide by them. So, it’s a must to continue R&D. But I don’t believe it will become mainstream anytime soon.”

Wonders of the Bikernet Weekly News

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Motorcycles are Freedom Personified Forever

Hey,

This is a strange and wonderful week. Shit is happening fast. Shit is changing fast, and shit will go to hell quick if we all don’t get involved.

I didn’t intend this to be doom and gloom, but it just spilled out as I wrote. It’s time we all joined a motorcycle rights group or three and got our boots wet.

Here’s my code of the West: We live in the best of times. Our government needs to focus on the people, our freedoms and happiness not on trying to control everything or make everything safe as in Zero. It’s all about control and it won’t work, so let’s be happy and as free as possible.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WEEKLY NEWS – Join the Cantina today

E-scooter manufacturers are rushing into Germany

By General Posts

European scooter companies such as Circ, Tier, Voi are vying with international players such as US-based Lime and Bird in the world’s fourth largest economy.

by Avik Das from TNN

BERLIN: A gamut of electric scooter companies has flooded the streets of Germany, specially Berlin, after the federal government opened up the segment in June in an attempt to reduce congestion and carbon footprint.

European scooter companies such as Circ, Tier, Voi are vying with international players such as US-based Lime and Bird in the world’s fourth largest economy, where the car still remains the preferred mode of commute in spite of a strong public transport system.

Dutch company Dott, which recently raised 30 million euros in its Series A round, is also looking to enter Germany.

Berlin-based Tier, which started operations last year in Vienna, has got a fleet of 20,000 scooters, of which 1,000 are in the German capital. “We are starting in one city every week and have already completed 5 million rides with 1 million in Berlin in just 30 days,” said Tier cofounder Julian Blessin. Tier has till date raised about 33 million euros.

Most major European countries, barring the United Kingdom, have already allowed these 10 kg vehicles to ply and companies and experts say Germany has the potential to be one of the largest markets after France because of the number of cities.

Urban consumers, who are already familiar with cab hailing companies like Uber, are attracted to electric scooters as they are fun, provide a new experience and help them avoid traffic jams. The result: investors are opening up their purse strings. Swedish company Voi has raised 75 million euros and Berlin-based Circ 55 million euros. These companies need more money to compete with those like Lime, which has raised nearly $800 million.

Jashar Seyfi, general manager for Lime in Berlin, says a lot has happened in the city. “The technology companies are pushing the industry in terms of mindset, people understand what shared services are and how it benefits, which makes the city have a huge appetite for these shared services rather than private cars. Germany has the potential to become the most important micro mobility market in the world, due to its large cities,” said.

Electric scooters are also easy to use. One just needs to download the app, scan the QR code at the nearest available vehicle, kick start with a foot, accelerate with the right hand and brake with the left. The scooters can attain a maximum speed of 20 km per hour and are allowed to move on the dedicated bicycle lanes.

But there are concerns too. “The average e-scooter currently has a life-span of just three months. E-scooters were originally designed for private use, not for rental, so the heavy usage, rough handling, and even vandalism that users inflict on them have dramatically cut down on their durability. Yet despite the modest cost of an escooter, it takes almost four months, not counting marketing and overhead expenses, for a rental company to break even on its investment,” Boston Consulting Group (BCG) cautioned in a note in May.

Safety is also a concern. These include drunk driving, driving on the main roads, parking indiscriminately on the pavements, and falling off the vehicles causing injury. Companies say they are making efforts through in-app tutorials to make people adopt the basic precautions before riding.

But traffic researcher Prof Heiner Monheim believes the concern for safety with these scooters is greatly exaggerated. “These do not have the power to produce high impact from collision. On the other hand, these vehicles can be made more relevant if they are integrated with the city public transport system,” he said.

U.S. moving to block California vehicle emissions rules

By General Posts

Two U.S. agencies are preparing to submit for final White House regulatory review a plan to revoke California’s authority to set its own vehicle greenhouse gas standards and declare that states are pre-empted from setting their own vehicle rules, two people briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

WASHINGTON: Two U.S. agencies are preparing to submit for final White House regulatory review a plan to revoke California’s authority to set its own vehicle greenhouse gas standards and declare that states are pre-empted from setting their own vehicle rules, two people briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

The Environmental Protection Agency in August 2018 proposed revoking a waiver granted to California in 2013 under the Clean Air Act as part of the Trump administration’s plan to roll back Obama-era fuel economy standards through 2025.

The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are expected to seek approval to finalize the first portion of the rule dealing with California and other states before completing action on setting yearly fuel efficiency requirements. The plan would not revoke California’s ability to set low-emission vehicle standards that has been in place since 1990, the sources said.

The move comes as President Donald Trump has expressed anger with automakers over the issue. In July, four major automakers, including Ford Motor Co and Volkswagen AG, said they had reached a voluntary agreement with California on fuel efficiency rules.

California and other states had vowed to enforce stricter Obama-era emissions standards, after Trump proposed rolling back the federal rules. Automakers had worried that court battles between state and federal governments could create years of uncertainty for manufacturers.

The plan, also backed by BMW AG and Honda Motor Co Ltd, is more stringent than Trump’s proposal but looser than the Obama-era rule. California, the most populous U.S. state, accounts for about 12% of American vehicle sales, and if the administration recognizes the deal, it would allow automakers to operate under one set of rules.

An administration official said it was close to submitting a rule internally dubbed the “One National Program rule” aimed at ensuring a single national level for fuel economy standards.

But other automakers, including General Motors Co and Toyota Motor Corp, have declined to back the deal. Mary Nichols, who chairs the California Air Resources Board, told Reuters in July that the four automakers had agreed not to legally challenge California’s vehicle regulatory authority.

Under Trump, federal regulators backed freezing emissions requirements for new cars and trucks at 2020 levels through 2026. Administration officials say its final regulation will include a modest boost in annual efficiency requirements but far less than what the Obama administration had set in 2012.

News Source: Reuters

Electric cars: New vehicles to emit noise to aid safety

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New electric vehicles will have to feature a noise-emitting device, under an EU rule coming into force on Monday.

It follows concerns that low-emission cars and vans are too quiet, putting pedestrians at risk because they cannot be heard as they approach.

All new types of four-wheel electric vehicle must be fitted with the device, which sounds like a traditional engine.

A car’s acoustic vehicle alert system (Avas) must sound when reversing or travelling below 12mph (19km/h).

The EU says the cars are most likely to be near pedestrians when they are backing up or driving slowly, although drivers will have the power to deactivate the devices if they think it is necessary.

The charity Guide Dogs – which had complained it was difficult to hear low-emission cars approaching – welcomed the change, but said electric vehicles should make a sound at all speeds.

Roads minister Michael Ellis said the government wanted “the benefits of green transport to be felt by everyone” and understood the concerns of the visually impaired.

“This new requirement will give pedestrians added confidence when crossing the road,” he added.

From 2021 all new electric cars must have an Avas, not just new models.

The government has announced plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars and vans being sold by 2040.

Alternatively-fuelled vehicles made up 6.6% of the new car market in May, compared with 5.6% during the same month in 2018.

Does this throw a major wrench into loud bike laws. Remember “Loud Pipes Saves Lives” and the auto industry proved it.–Bandit