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House Passes Highway Bill – Biker Priorities Included

By General Posts

Thursday morning the full House of Representatives passed H.R. 3684 the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act or the INVEST in America Act. This bill is more commonly referred to as the highway bill. The bill is over 1,500 pages, spends $715 billion and includes five beneficial provisions for motorcyclists. The final vote on passage was 221 for and 201 against. Two Republicans voted in favor and no Democrats opposed.

The Senate has begun work on their version of the highway bill and the two chambers will eventually need to work out the differences before an agreed upon bill is sent to the President for his signature. Traditionally, a highway bill has a five-year lifespan before Congress must fund and reauthorize programs again. Typically, highway bills occur in years ending in 0’s and 5’s. The last highway bill expired in 2020 but was given a one-year extension as Congress was unable to reach a compromise. Congress now faces a September 30th deadline to pass a new highway bill and reauthorize crucial transportation and safety related programs.

Below is a brief recap of the five motorcyclist related items that the House of Representatives approved and included in this major piece of legislation:

Profiling: The bill includes an update to current federal law on the issue of motorcycle only check points. The bill passed today includes language that prohibits state and local governments from using funds from the Department of Transportation to “profile and stop motorcycle operators or motorcycle passengers using as a factor the clothing or mode of transportation of such operators or passengers.”

Traffic Stop Data Collection: An amendment to the bill by Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-R) and Congressman Michael Burgess (TX-R) added the term “mode of transportation” to a newly created grant program for racial and ethnic profiling. The program allows states to use federal money to collect data on traffic stops. Originally the only information that states could use the funds for was to record was the driver’s racial and ethnic makeup. With this added language, states will have access to funds to collect the “mode of transportation” of the person being stopped. If states choose to participate in the program, motorcyclists will have access to data on traffic stops and determine if motorcyclists are stopped disproportionally by law enforcement. This amendment was a joint effort by the Co-Chairmen of the House Motorcycle Caucus and was added just hours before the final bill was passed.

Motorcyclist Advisory Council: H.R. 3684 includes a section that reestablishes the Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) and makes needed changes. The MAC has existed for over a decade and allows federal policymakers, state highway officials, and motorcyclists to discuss the unique demands of riding a motorcycle and how roads, bridges, and other infrastructure can be built to better account for motorcyclists’ needs. The bill creates dedicated seats on the council for motorcyclists’ rights groups and manufacturers. It also requires a report every two years be made to the Secretary of Transportation and Congress.

Autonomous Vehicles: The INVEST Act includes specific language requiring that when the Department of Transportation conducts safety studies on autonomous vehicles, motorcycles must be considered as unique roadway users. Additionally, a newly formed working group on autonomous vehicles must include a motorcyclist safety group as part of its membership. As with the MAC, motorcyclists need a seat at the table when our safety and freedoms are being debated.

Motorcyclist Safety Funds: The bill, as passed, would increase the 405 safety funds made available to states for motorcyclist safety by $1,470,000 for the next fiscal year with increases through 2025. This is an increase in the program of roughly 34% over current funding levels. Under this bill, the total amount available to states in the next fiscal year would be $5,760,000.

Visit and join Motorcycle Riders Foundation at https://mrf.org/

The Independence Day Coming Bikernet Weekly News for July 1, 2021

By General Posts

I go from dawn to dusk trying to stay prepared and be pro-active. Then as it reaches about 7:00 I grab a beer and head to a chair under a blooming maple tree to relax with a pile of the Redhead’s most magnificent bowl of guacamole.

We sit and ponder the goals for the next day. Micah is working on our plans for Bonneville. Tonight, after the news I get to have a Jack on the Rocks under the maple tree. And this weekend I want to take the ’69 Panhead out for a test ride.

Let’s hit the news.

Have a terrific holiday and ride free forever!

–Bandit

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MRF on One of the most important numbers for Motorcyclists

By General Posts

Know Your Numbers!
Riding Free from DC – from Inside the Beltway

May was Motorcycle Awareness Month but every month should be a month for motorcycle advocacy! Whether you were in D.C. for Bikers Inside the Beltway or working on issues back home, it’s a great time to advocate for bikers’ rights.

One of the most important numbers any biker rights advocate should know is the number of motorcyclists in their states. When chatting with either state or federally elected officials, you should have the number of motorcyclists in your state on the tip of your tongue and drop it into any conversation about biker rights. Why? Because when you say the word motorcyclist that elected official translates it into voters!

There are different ways to calculate how many bikers are in your state and each state does it differently. Some states release motorcycle endorsement numbers, while others release motorcycle registration statistics. In fact, some states including California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Texas, and Utah provide county by county data on the number of bikers throughout the state.

Spend some time looking around your state’s department of transportation or motor vehicle website and see what you can find. Regardless of how we are counted, we need to know our numbers, and share those numbers.

If you can’t find the number of bikers through your state’s websites, the federal government has a list of all registered motorcycles by state. To see how many motorcycles the federal government claims are in your state click here for their revised 2021 statistics.

European Motorcycles
The European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers recently reported that registrations of new motorcycles in the five largest European markets increased by 10.3% in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2020. The five largest European countries are made up of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Those five have a combined population of 325 million people, which is similar to the 330 million people in the United States.

It comes as no surprise that 2020 was a terrible year for motorcycle sales in Europe. With much stricter lockdowns in place many European dealerships were closed most of 2020. Even now, Europe remains behind the United States in reopening its economy. So, while the growth of motorcycle registrations in 2021 is encouraging, only time will tell how long it takes the European motorcycle industry to fully rebound to pre pandemic numbers.

The Solar Panel Bikernet Weekly News for June 24, 2021

By General Posts

The future is bright. Hang on.

We have more content head your way, and as you know being a biker is never dull. I need the rain to blow over so I can test ride the Panhead. Hang On!

I also need to sign up for the Salt Torpedo’s first run to Bonneville.

In the meantime, ride free forever!

–Bandit

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Motorcycle riding rules including clothing gear for US Army troops abroad

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by Keith Pannell from https://www.army.mil

Clearing up confusion on motorcycle gear

BAUMHOLDER, Germany – The warmer weather means more motorcycle riders are taking advantage of Germany’s scenic roads. Riders should also take time to reacquaint themselves with the garrison and U.S. Army Europe-Africa motorcycle policies.

Some rules may seem obvious: “Motorcycle operators will ride only on the permanently attached seat,” according to the joint U.S. Army Europe-Africa Regulation 190-1/U.S. Air Force Europe-Africa Instruction 31-202, Section 5-6, b, 1, (June 18, 2020). But, there may be some other “guidance” which has been passed down from other riders that may not be exactly accurate.

“Active-duty service members, civilian employees, contractors and family members are required to have a U.S. state-issued motorcycle license or endorsement on a current U.S. state driver’s license to operate a motorcycle in Europe,” said Herbert Nold, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Safety specialist. “Additionally, riders are required to complete a four-hour approved U.S. Army in Europe motorcycle orientation course and pass a 30-question written test to receive a USAREUR-AF motorcycle license.”

The joint regulation also states that motorcycle riders will wear: “a helmet fastened under the chin, which meets all the American National Standards Institute” guidelines and, shatter-proof or shatter-resistant eye protection

Besides a helmet and eye protection, anytime a Soldier, civilian employee, family member or contractor pulls out of a parking spot, they are required to wear full-finger gloves made of leather or other abrasion-resistant material and over-the-ankle footwear “of sturdy leather and have a good, oil-resistant sole.”

Riders must also have on a long-sleeved shirt or jacket and full-length trousers any time they’re riding the motorcycle, according to the regulation. Those requirements apply both on and off a military installation.

“One of the things that’s popped up recently is what riders have to wear when they come onto an installation,” said Larry Strickland, USAG Rheinland-Pfalz Safety chief.

The regulations stipulate all Soldiers will wear “a vest, jacket, upper garments or motorcycle clothing that incorporates fluorescent and highly reflective material when operating or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle, moped, motorbike, ATV or similar vehicle at all times on or off post. Military uniforms, including physical fitness gear designed to be reflective, do not meet the criteria.”

“Army civilians, family members and contractors will wear fluorescent and reflective outer garments at all times when riding on an installation,” according to the same regulation.

“We highly encourage all civilian employees, including our local national employees, to wear fluorescent safety gear when riding on post as well,” Strickland said. “It’s just good motorcycle riding common sense.”

The U.S. military motorcycle regulations differ greatly from the host nation laws, Nold said.

“Unfortunately in Germany, there is only an obligation to wear a helmet,” he said. “But, more and more Insurance companies are beginning to reduce their accident payouts when riders are found not to have protective clothing but obvious injuries, which could have been prevented with protective attire.”

Strickland said the regulation also applies to “other vehicles with motorcycle-type engines” like Spyders and other three-wheeled vehicles.

For those who have questions on proper safety attire and equipment for motorcyclists riding on Army installations, please check with the garrison safety office at DSN 541-2300.

NCOM Biker Newsbytes for June 2021

By General Posts

by Bill Bish from The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

Ban Deadlines, Covid Obstructions, Infrastructure Guidelines, Checkpoint Funding, Motorcycle Advisory Council, Lane Splitting and more

  • SYNTHETIC FUEL COULD SAVE MOTORCYCLES FROM ELECTROCUTION
  • MOTORCYCLE MANUFACTURERS STRUGGLE TO DELIVER NEW BIKES
  • INITIAL HIGHWAY BILL CONTAINS MOTORCYCLE-FRIENDLY PROVISIONS
  • MOTO INDUSTRY REPORTS MOTORCYCLE SAFETY AT AN ALL-TIME LOW
  • SEATBELTS FOR MOTORCYCLES
  • A THIRD OF MOTORCYCLISTS WOULD STOP RIDING IF ELECTRIC REPLACES GAS
  • OREGON GOVERNOR VETOES LANE-SPLITTING BILL
  • FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR NCOM CONVENTION IN DES MOINES

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Florida Drivers claim lack of state oversight led to their fraudulent motorcycle endorsements

By General Posts

by Stephanie Coueignoux from https://www.mynews13.com

ORLANDO, Fla. — About 200 people’s lives are now literally stalled after the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles suspended their driver’s licenses.

Each of these individuals took a motorcycle endorsement training course two years ago so they could ride, but there’s now an issue.

What You Need To Know

  • About 200 Floridians had their driver’s licenses suspended over an illegitimate motorcycle endorsement
  • State officials say the company in question was not a legitimate business
  • Some of the drivers affected say the suspensions are not fair, because the state initially accepted the endorsements

The state sent these people letters suspending their driver’s licenses, after it discovered the course wasn’t legitimate. But many of these drivers are upset, pointing out it was the state that accepted the certifications in the first place.

Francisco Perez Velez is one of the drivers who received one of the letters. As the owners of an electric service company, Velez responds to power outages around the clock. His nephew, Evelio Perez, works with him.

“We need to be there as soon as possible,” explains Perez.

It’s part of the job made more difficult when the state suspended their licenses.

“It’s going to be sad — you’re driving without a license and stopped by a police and you’re heading to your job and heading to the jail? It’s not fair,” said Perez.

Perez and his uncle received separate letters from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which claim they committed fraud.

“We were in a nervous breakdown because we saw the cancellation of the license and assuming the state we did fraud, we were all in shock,” said Velez.

This all started back in 2019, when nearly 200 people — including Perez and Velez — took a motorcycle course with the Pasco Motorcycle Training Institute. They took their certification to the DMV, which updated their driver’s licenses.

“They gave us a certification. This certification on our license, they just do an endorsement that says also motorcycle,” said Velez.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles emailed Spectrum News saying “the individuals … knowingly accepted the endorsements without having gone through the necessary training.”

Both Velez and Perez say they didn’t realize the course wasn’t legitimate, especially since the DMV accepted their credentials. They feel the state should review these training companies regularly instead of punishing clients two years later.

“Why then would I risk everything for just a simple endorsement?” Velez asked when asked if he knew the training course wasn’t legitimate.

“You don’t know how many other companies have been doing this as well,” said state Sen. Victor Torres. “You’ve opened up Pandora’s box and all of a sudden, you’ve found more violations are occurring.”

Torres believes this is a major public safety issue — since people are riding motorcycles without the proper training — and is now looking to craft a bill to create tougher regulations.

“I think for the companies who do issue these licenses — there should be a review every year by the state to make sure they are following the guidelines, they’re following the rules, and they’re not cutting any corners,” said Torres. “I think we will look into legislation for next year and see what can be added, with the work of the department as well.”

We asked the state why it took two years before it discovered the Pasco Motorcycle Training Institute wasn’t legitimate and why the DMV accepted the endorsements in the first place.

A spokesperson responded by email, saying “the department acted as soon as we were made aware of the issue.” The email went on to say “individuals who had their license suspended may appeal.”

In a later email, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Jessica Kelleher expanded on the reason the issue with the Pasco Motorcycle Training Institute wasn’t discovered earlier.

“Once we were made aware that the Pasco Motorcycle Training Institute — a provider entrusted by the state and the public to provide training and evaluate an individual’s ability to safely and lawfully operate a motorcycle on Florida’s roadways — was issuing these fraudulent endorsements, we immediately began investigating; ultimately suspending the nearly 200 individuals’ licenses who fraudulently obtained them as well as PMTI’s certification and program,” Kelleher wrote. “Because PMTI was a trusted state provider, and sent these documents to us claiming them to be accurate and legitimate, we had no reason at the time to believe there was any malfeasance until we received a tip that led to a lengthy and thorough investigation.”​

Velez and Perez are in the process of appealing their license suspensions. In the meantime, they’ve received a hardship license- which allows them to drive for professional, but not personal, reasons.

“(It’s been) very stressful — we’ve been back and forth,” said Velez. “I have to go to the doctor and take some medication because it’s stressful. Family involved. Employees.”

The state has suspended the motorcycle certification program pending their open investigation.

Spectrum News tried to contact the Pasco Motorcycle Training Institute, but never received a response. The company’s website is also now suspended.

The Quirky Bikernet Weekly News for June 17th, 2021

By General Posts

Hey,

I’m catching on, catching up and catching the Rally vibe. If you live in these regions, it’s like living with a mercurial girlfriend. If she’s in a bad mood you can’t get shit done. That’s the weather around here, and I think it’s cool.

During the summer, you plan and hope to get as much shit done as possible. The other driving force for some is the rally. That’s our driving force this year. I decided to keep the Deadwood digs so bros could hang out here during the rally including my grandson and his pals.

We are trying like hell not to burn any daylight.

We have content headed your way from Dmac. I hope to get started on Dan’s feature next week, and I hope you enjoy chapter 94 of the Bandit’s Cantina series. Let me know what you think.

In the meantime, Ride Fast and Free Forever.

– Bandit

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Bandit’s Cantina Episode 94: Melody Searches for Zero-Footprint Nirvana

By General Posts

“I’ve got to get out of here,” Melody said as she woke up the next morning. “I can’t handle the pollution. Did you see all those trucks, the noise, and the smell. I can’t stand it.”

She continued to badger him. “What should I do now? I have a degree. I must get out of LA. You know about Global Warming, right?”

She burst out of the bathroom like a spring flower blooming, beautiful, fresh, and full of energy. “I did some research on my phone,” she said. “The governor of California is testing a Zero emissions community. Would you mind taking me to Nirvana.”

“Have you seriously reviewed this deal? Bandit said.

“Of course, I have,” Melody spat. “This will be the wave of the future. No carbon footprint.”

“Don’t we need CO2 to live?” Bandit asked.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Melody said pulling on her $1000 leather boots. “Carbon dioxide is pollution.”

“Will they allow you to wear those boots into Environmental Nirvana?” Bandit said.

“Uh,” Melody said. “I don’t know. I found an organic breakfast place is Venice.” They walked out to Marko’s stretched FXR in the parking lot. Melody stopped, stunned. “I can’t get to Nirvana on that!”

“Or I can drop you off at the airport,” Bandit suggested.

“No way, the covid, the masks, the crowds and the polluting planes,” Melody rattled. “Did you know they are banning air flights in Spain. Gotta save the planet. Where’s the Ferrari?”

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David Chipman Back in Senate Judiciary Committee This Thursday

By General Posts

This Thursday, June 17th, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on David Chipman’s nomination for ATF Director. If approved, his nomination would then be sent to the full U.S. Senate for a final confirmation vote. During Chipman’s nomination hearing on May 26th, he admitted that he supports not only a ban on commonly owned firearms, but thinks we should have more restrictive gun control than the European Union! We are asking that you please contact your Senators and urge them to oppose David Chipman as ATF Director by clicking the red button below.

CLICK TO CONTACT YOUR SENATORS

As if Chipman’s history as a gun control advocate and his desire to ban the most commonly owned firearms in this country wasn’t bad enough, he also has a strong disregard for the facts surrounding “Assault Weapons”. Since the 1994 “Clinton Assault Weapons Ban”, there have been numerous government-run studies proving these bans to be ineffective, but these facts don’t seem to matter to Chipman, as he has repeatedly demonstrated.

If you have already sent your Senators an email, please take some time to give them a call as well. You can call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224- 3121 and they can connect you with your Senator’s office, or you can look up your Senator’s information on this chart.

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