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Motorcycle safety foundation helps prepare riders for Arizona’s roads

By | General Posts

Kimberly Chapman was known as the “ultimate motorcycle enthusiast,” earning a national reputation for being a motorcycle community advocate.

The 55-year-old was killed in 2011 when she collided with a vehicle that pulled in front of her at a Phoenix intersection.

Months later, some of Chapman’s friends spearheaded the creation of the Arizona Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for safer practices for motorcyclists and eliminating distracted driving in the state.

“She was heavily involved in the motorcycle community,” said Mick Degn, the foundation’s executive director.

“I’ve been a motorcycle rider and been involved in motorcycle organizations and we just felt that there wasn’t anything that was really being done to help be preventive in regard to motorcycle crashes. So myself and seven other folks formed AMSAF.”

“As we spent time looking at what we wanted to accomplish, our biggest thing was to help reduce crashes and fatalities and promote motorcycle safety and awareness,” Degn added.

In Arizona, 150 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2018, a decrease from the 161 killed in 2017.

In Tucson, fatalities doubled from 7 to 15 from 2018 to 2019.

The foundation, which primarily focuses on educating riders of all levels, used a pilot scholarship program to reduce the cost of motorcycle training, an expense reaching upwards of $300, according to Degn.

By 2014, the foundation’s mission expanded to allocating monthly scholarships.

So far, more than 3,500 Arizona riders have been trained.

The foundation’s statewide effort has received support from the Arizona Governors Office of Highway Safety, the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Arizona Trauma Association and various organizations in the medical and law enforcement fields.

“We’ve seen an increase in motorcycle registrations — there’s 400,000 plus people registered, but at the same time we also see that even though they’re registered motorcyclists at the end of the day, they’re not trained,” said Alberto Gutier, director of the highway safety office.

“One of the issues that we have with motorcycles is the lack of what I call mutual respect. Motorcyclists need to respect the vehicles and follow the rules of the road and cars also need to have some respect for the motorcycle community.”

In November, the governor’s office provided a $50,000 grant for the foundation’s efforts.

It’s being used to fuel the foundation’s newest effort of operating the state’s first helmet scholarship program for motorcyclists.

“Arizona is a choice state on wearing a helmet, but if you’re going to wear a helmet we want people to wear a good helmet, a department of transportation helmet that’s going to protect them,” Degn said.

The foundation has helped more than 100 riders get discounted helmets, working with five vendors in the state, including RideNow Powersports and Cycle Gear in Tucson.

After applying for the scholarship and giving a $50 tax-deductible donation, the foundation provides $125 off a helmet. The sellers tack on an additional 25% discount.

“You wouldn’t believe the number of phone calls I get from parents who want to get their kid a motorcycle, but they want them to take a motorcycle course first and they want to get them a good helmet,” Degn said.

“We help them in both ways … we’ve been able to save them money in both areas and now they can help their child.”

The scholarship saves riders hundreds of dollars for a full-coverage helmet, which could cost nearly $600.

While “safety is hard to sell,” according to Degn, the foundation’s future includes finding partners with large Arizona employers and organizations as they continue to promote their mission.

“That’s why we have to continually talk about distracted driving, sharing the road, meaning looking out for each other, looking out for the two-wheeled vehicle and the four-wheeled vehicle down the road,” he said.

Major traffic switch headed to I-10 near Ruthrauff: Construction crews are shifting traffic on Interstate 10 near Ruthrauff by the end of the week.

On Friday, all westbound I-10 lanes will shift to the westbound frontage road and all eastbound lanes will shift to the westbound I-10 lanes by Saturday.

Crews will work from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., reducing I-10 to one lane in each direction.

The Sunset Road exit ramp from westbound I-10 will move to the southeast, ADOT says. This exit will provide direct access to westbound I-10 frontage road businesses.

Electric scooters can help cities move beyond cars v pedestrians

By | General Posts

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.

AI-Driven Electric Motorcycle Shows Self-Driving Tech Is About More Than Autonomous Driving

By | General Posts

by John Koetsier from https://www.forbes.com/

Damon Motorcycles unveiled its new electric motorcycle today at CES in Las Vegas, calling it “the world’s smartest, safest and most powerful electric motorcycle.”

My first thought: it can’t be both the most powerful and the safest.

Then I kept reading.

And I started believing it might be possible.

First off: the power. The Damon Hypersport has “over 200” horsepower, which is a lot for a motorcycle. But even more impressively, it delivers 200nm of torque at zero RPMs … the classic electric vehicle advantage. (Although how RPM means something in an electric motor is a mystery to me.) Thanks to that power, the bike has a top speed of 200 miles/hour.

Which, by the way, doesn’t sound very safe.

But the safety features are impressive.

As you’d expect in a motorcycle, they’re not about crumple zones or air bags.

Instead, they’re about intelligence. Specifically, predictive intelligence: what’s around me, where is it going and what do I need to avoid? The Hypersport will track the speed, direction and acceleration of up to 64 moving objects around the bike, Damon says.

Damon calls it the “CoPilot 360º advanced warning system.” CoPilot 360 uses cameras, radar and “other sensors” to know what’s around and alert riders to threats, the company says.

“We spent the last three years developing an AI-powered, fully connected, e-motorcycle platform that incorporates CoPilot, our proprietary 360º warning system … Damon motorcycles will be the safest, most advanced electric motorcycles on the market.”
– Jay Giraud, co-founder and CEO, Damon Motorcycles

That’s not just about what’s ahead of you. The system “looks around corners,” although I’m sure it’s not bending any laws of physics, and keeps an “eye” on the rear to see what might be coming from behind.

And, it will learn your driving habits and adjust accordingly, using onboard artificial intelligence.

“We prioritized data-driven thinking at the epicenter of the company, employing radical innovations in sensor fusion, robotics and AI,” Dom Kwong, the co-founder and CTO of Damon Motorcycles, said in a statement. “This level of deep learning and connectivity are unprecedented, ensuring each rider a smarter, safer and connected ride; not only for individuals but for entire communities, with the goal to reduce incidents worldwide.”

To connect riders and power the bike’s AI and other advanced features, it includes 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Of course, there are two big questions:

One: will riders actually be safer with warnings about oncoming objects, or will they prioritize what they see on the screen versus watching the road? Will a flood of alerts distract them or make them safer?

And secondly: with software, the devil’s in the details. Few transportation companies that aren’t named Tesla do it well. Will this startup be able to ship these advanced technologies in a usable, friendly and safe way?

Damon says yes, citing the foundation of their software:

“By building it on BlackBerry’s best-in-class technology that is safety certified, Damon motorcycles will be the safest, most advanced electric motorcycles on the market,” says CEO Giraud.

That’s BlackBerry QNX, which is built by the former mobile giant, now re-focused on software solutions.

Ultimately, we’ll know when the bike ships.

The Hypersport is available for pre-order now on the Damon website. Pricing begins at $24,995 before any applicable EV tax credits.

And the range? 200 miles on the highway, 300 miles in the city, according to the company.

Damon’s Electric Motorcycle Will Have 200-Mile Range, 200mph Speed, Safety Suite

By | General Posts

by Bill Roberson from https://www.forbes.com

2019 was a big year for the nascent electric motorcycle niche, and it looks like 2020 is going to start with another shock to the system with Vancouver B.C.-based Damon Motorcycles announcing some eye-opening performance numbers and cutting-edge safety tech for their upcoming machine, called the Hypersport. A prototype Hypersport and specifications were revealed Tuesday morning at the 2020 CES electronics expo in Las Vegas.

Damon claims the Hypersport will be be capable of some fairly hyper numbers, including 200 horsepower, a 200 mile-an-hour top speed, and 200 miles of highway range, as well as 300 miles of range in urban riding. Additionally, the Hypersport will be bristling with technology heretofore unseen on most any motorcycle, including on-the-fly adjustable ergonomics and a car-like rider safety system.

Damon had previously sent out emails ahead of the CES reveal teasing the fact that “200” was their “magic number,” so while it might have been easy to deduce those figures, they still stand out against the specs of competing bikes, which often struggle to achieve half of those performance figures.

A run of 25 premium high-spec bikes with a price of $40,000 will be the focus of an initial Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, while a more mass-market Hypersport will come in at $24,995. The crowdfunding campaign will complement additional financial backing from Round 13 Capital, Techstars, Fontinalis, Extreme Venture Partners and Pallasite Ventures.

Ahead of CES, Damon CEO Jay Jiraud told Forbes.com the Hypersport will feature their exclusive on-the-fly adjustable ergonomics package, called Shift, and an extensive rider awareness/safety system they call CoPilot. The Shift ergo system will be able to change things like seat height, handlebar height and footpeg location, changing the riding position from a tucked-in sport posture to a more standard-style sit-up arrangement for more comfortable city riding. The bike itself has the form of a sleek sports machine. And while a specific torque figure was not released, Jiraud told Forbes.com the Hypersport will make a “s**tload of torque.” Some of the features can be seen in this video from Damon:

Forbes.com was the first publication to take Damon’s two test bikes for rides this past summer, including the shape-shifting Hypersport prototype and another test machine outfitted with an array of cameras, sensors and electronics designed to give riders a digital heads up on what’s happening around them via a sensor package not unlike what many cars now feature.

Jiraud explained that his vision is to give Hypersport riders more comfort, range and utility from the bike, while also introducing pre-collision safety features that, as of now, have been largely missing from motorcycles while they have gotten ever more sophisticated in cars.

However, the CoPilot system will differ from the automotive systems in that it won’t have the ability to take over operation of the motorcycle; it only gives warning cues about possible dangers around the rider. The reason for the non-intervention is that a motorcycle is an inherently unstable platform, unlike a car, and unexpectedly taking control of the bike away from the rider in any way could result in a crash. Instead, the CoPilot system uses video screens, a rear-facing camera, multiple radar units and position sensors, small LED lights and handlebar vibrations to let the rider know what is happening around the motorcycle. Again, CoPilot does not activate the brakes or affect steering, although Jiraud did not rule out those features in some iteration much farther down the line as A.I. systems, vehicle interconnectivity and other technologies improve.

During a test ride of the system several months ago, I found the tech to be innovative and effective. While it does add some input to the rider while in operation, I found that even after a few miles, it became second nature to see, feel and understand the warning system’s cues.

Likewise, riding the sleek electric bike with the adjustable ergos was also interesting. While some modern bikes allow owners to tailor things like seat height, handlebar rise and footpeg placement, those adjustments typically have to be made with tools while the bike is stopped, and once made, riders are essentially stuck with them until they can be changed again with tools.

Damon’s Shift system works more like your car’s interior. Using a bar-mounted controller, the seat can rise and fall, the bars can move up and down and the footpegs will lift or lower. While the test bike had only two positions for the ergos, Jiraud said future versions would be more adjustable for a true custom fit. Best of all, the Shift system is adjustable while riding.

BlackBerry On Board

Damon CEO Jay Giraud has made some key moves to bring his vision of an electric bike with all the elements of the two test bikes rolled into one battery-powered package. A key development in the quest to get the data-hungry CoPilot system up to par performance-wise was a partnership with BlackBerry and implementation of the BlackBerry QNX suite to power and talk to the numerous sensors, radars and other tech involved in CoPilot. There will also be 4G cellular connectivity.

Once famous for their cellphones, BlackBerry has largely transitioned to a company that makes control systems that work behind the curtain in numerous data systems, with a focus on cars and medical equipment. The QNX system has been installed in over 150 million vehicles and is used by almost all top automakers worldwide, so it’s quite a coup for Damon to have them dip into the electric motorcycle world at this early stage.

Alta Influence

Clearly, this is not Jay Jiraud’s first tech rodeo. While the Damon team was spooling up the Hypersport, Jiraud also added a key player in Derek Dorresteyn, from now-defunct but long-time electric motorcycle maker Alta Motors. Dorresteyn signed on as COO at Damon, which will need his expertise to tease out the promised performance figures for the Hypersport models. Even though both are legacy technologies, batteries and electric motors are two parts of a rapidly developing tech frontier that is seeing huge investments by both corporate and even state-sponsored players.

Jiraud told Forbes.com that Dorresteyn was in the midst of working on a “completely new” electric superbike powertrain system at Alta when the company closed up shop, and he brings a wealth of expertise to Damon. Among the bike’s tech features Jiraud talked about with Forbes ahead of CES was a 700-plus volt, liquid-cooled 20kWh battery pack for the Hypersport, which would be quite large for a motorcycle, but Jiraud says the Hypersports’ architecture can handle the battery pack and that the battery will not be the typical rectangular lump found in many current electric bikes. For comparison, the largest battery available on the class-leading Zero SR-F is just over 16kWh (the standard battery is 14.4kWh), with the bike tipping the scales at a tick over 500 pounds. Meanwhile, the Harley-Davidson LiveWire uses a 15.5kWh pack. Jiraud says he is planning on keeping the weight of the Hypersport under 500 pounds through design and weight-saving measures.

A Challenging Future

The transition of the motorcycle industry from gas to electric has lagged (with some exceptions) behind that of cars due to the challenges of design as well as the space and weight-sensitive platform a motorcycle presents, but battery and motor advances in the bike industry can also represent opportunities to the EV industry as a whole. With the addition of Dorresteyn from Alta, Blackberry’s QNX handling the tech and a clutch of investors, Damon may be in position to lead in terms of range, safety and power once the Hypersport arrives. But things can change fast in the EV world, so stay tuned.

The Damon Hypersport prototype bike can be seen at BlackBerry’s booth at CES 2020. Deliveries are slated for 2021.

 

LIVALL Launches and Debuts New Smartphone-Connected Cycling Safety Helmet at 2020 International CES

By | General Posts

With smart lighting, hands-free operation, fall detection, voice navigation, SOS alarm, and more, the breakthrough new LIVALL BH51M Neo helmet is a quantum leap forward in safety and protection for cyclists

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CES (#44513, Hall D, Sands)LIVALL, a pioneer in smart and safe helmets for cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts, today announced the U.S. product launch and debut of the BH51M Neo to their current line of award-winning smart and safe helmets at the 2020 International CES. In booth #44513, Hall D, Sands LIVALL will demo and showcase their entire line of helmets during the duration of CES from January 7–10, 2020.

LIVALL’s helmets combine visibility with connectivity for commuter and leisure cyclists. The company’s newest smartphone-connected helmet specifically addresses the needs of E-Bike, E-scooter and Electric motorcycle riders. LIVALL’s RS1 helmet is a smart helmet specifically designed for skiing, snowboarding, and other outdoor winter activities.

Debuting in the U.S. at CES, the new BH51M Neo, is a robust, waterproof, fashionable smart helmet that is simple-to-use, comfortable, and packed full of genuinely useful smart tech, including all the existing features of its multi-award-winning predecessor, the BH51M.

“We are delighted to debut this game-changing new connected smart helmet at CES 2020; a show that has evolved to become the perfect fusion of technology and mobility in recent years,” said Bryan Zheng, Founder and CEO, of LIVALL. “In all facets of transportation safety is the preeminent concern, and this is especially true for cyclists who are exposed and constantly in harm’s way. LIVALL aims to create a safe cycling ecosystem; for us, safety is the ultimate luxury. The new BH51M Neo represents a quantum leap forward in safety and protection for the everyday cyclist, and all of us at LIVALL are proud to bring this breakthrough new safety innovation to the cycling and urban mobility community.”

New Features – exclusive to the BH51M Neo:

Front and Brake Warning Lights
The front warning lights work together with the 270° taillights, to protect the user’s security in all directions. When the built-in gravity acceleration sensor detects a significant deceleration, the front and taillights will be highlighted for eight seconds to draw front and rear vehicles’ and pedestrians’ attention.

Auto-Off and Anti-Loss Alarm
Auto-off ensures maximum battery longevity, turning off automatically when the helmet is disconnected from the phone and inactive for 15 minutes.  Anti-loss alarm is activated when the helmet is connected to your phone and the distance between helmet and phone exceeds 15m, both the helmet and phone will alarm.

Key Features of the BH51M Neo include:

  • Smart Lighting (Automatic Sensor Lighting / Wireless Turn Signals) – Smart lighting integrates adaptive technology to ensure your visibility in dark conditions. Operate wireless LED turn signals via handlebar remote control to alert traffic of turning direction for enhanced visibility and rider safety.
  • Fall Detection – In the event of an accident, the emergency system will kick in automatically and send your GPS location to your emergency contacts.
  • Press for SOS   – If in distress, press the red button on the remote for five seconds and your emergency contacts will receive an alert message with your GPS location.
  • One-Click Answer   – Answer phone calls using the remote control and enjoy clear sound both ways with the helmet’s built-in Bluetooth speakers and wind-proof microphone.
  • PTT Walkie-Talkie – Easily communicate with your fellow cyclists using the Walkie-Talkie function when riding in a group.
  • Voice Navigation – Listen to GPS voice navigation via the built-in speaker with your connected smartphone.
  • Stereo speakers – Quality music, audiobook and podcast playback is delivered through Bluetooth stereo speakers strategically placed above the ears, allowing you to stay alert to surrounding traffic.
  • Compatible with Strava, iHealth and Siri through the LIVALL Riding app.

The BH51M Neo will retail with an MSRP of $169.00 USD on Amazon.com and is available in graphite black or sandstone grey.

Meetings/Demos At CES:
Members of the media and industry contacts wishing to book a specific date/time for demo and briefing can contact Megan Kathman, Skyya PR at megan@skyya.com and 651-785-3212. Those seeking images, B-Roll, and additional information, can also access the LIVALL press kit.

About LIVALL:
Located in Shenzhen, LIVALL Tech Co., Ltd. is adept at developing, designing and manufacturing fashionable and multifunctional patented helmetphones to maximize riders’ safety. With more than 170 patents and advanced equipment, LIVALL has strict standards and massive production capacity to meet the huge market demand. With a primary focus on product innovation and product experience, this firm has received recognition and trust from the industry and the users. Furthermore, it obtained more than 30 awards and over 10 international certifications including CPSC1203, EN1078, CE, FCC, NCC, ROHS, BQB, etc.

Harley-Davidson ridership course at UWM sees growth after second semester

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by Margaret Naczek from https://www.bizjournals.com/

Last spring, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offered its first Harley-Davidson one-credit ridership class through the College of Health Sciences. Four students enrolled the first semester followed by an additional 16 students in the fall of 2019.

As students begin enrolling in classes for spring 2020, the director of the College of Health Sciences Ron Wiza said there are only four remaining slots available.

As the program grows, so do the amount of motorcycle riders, coinciding with Harley-Davidson’s “More Roads Lead to Harley-Davidson” strategic plan. Part of Harley-Davidson’s plan is the Broader Access goal to “create new pathways to Harley-Davidson, expanding access and appeal to more people around the world.”

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer detailed that it hopes to create high-engagement customer experiences across all retail channels. The company’s “Amplify Brand” goal also encourages “enhancing the Harley-Davidson experience to inspire interest in riding, fostering Moto-culture and build an even bigger, more passionate community of Harley-Davidson riders.”

The program began as a partnership between Harley-Davidson and UW-Milwaukee. The company connected Wiza with Milwaukee Harley-Davidson dealership at 11310 W. Silver Spring Road.

“The other reason that we chose the Milwaukee Harley-Davidson location is because even though UW-Milwaukee is a commuter college where a lot of people don’t live on campus, there are still several thousand students that live in the surrounding community around UWM,” Wiza said, noting that it was important to pick a dealership that was either close to the campus or accessible on the transit line.

“Here at UWM, we’re kind of an urban campus. One of our selling points is we are always encouraging students who attend our university to experience the vast array of things that Milwaukee has to offer,” Wiza said. “With that in mind, we strive to create partnerships and develop opportunities with local well-known businesses and attractions in the Milwaukee area.”

Twenty-year-old Grace Oddis, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering at UWM, took the course in its inaugural semester.

“I knew the class was really expensive. I saw that UWM offered it as a credit. I thought that would be a great opportunity to take it and also get a credit, just for the goal of being able to ride on the road and feel comfortable,” Oddis said.

As a one-credit class, the students are required to commit about 48 hours of learning to that course. For the Harley-Davidson ridership class, students complete a pre-course and post-course assignment along with two evening sessions. The rest of the time is dedicated to a weekend at the dealership doing the physical motorcycle driving lessons.

“We learned a lot about motorcycle safety. That was the biggest thing — how to prevent things from happening, being able to go around different obstacles and keeping the bike straight on the safety course,” Oddis said.

Now the sophomore has her motorcycle license and is looking at buying a bike, something that would have taken longer if she had not participated in the course.

“I thought it was a great experience. You felt comfortable. You felt safe. I think it’s great to get more women involved in motorcycles and teaching them. This was a great way for a college student to be able to do that no matter what you’re going to school for,” she said.

Harley-Davidson did not respond to a Milwaukee Business Journal request for comments on the UWM program.

Motorsports Safety Pioneer Bill Simpson Dies At 79

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by Janaki Jitchotvisut from https://www.rideapart.com/

Racing wouldn’t be the same without him.

Racer and motorsports safety pioneer Bill Simpson has died. The founder of Simpson Racing Products, which makes Simpson Motorcycle Helmets, was 79 years old. He was a racer, an innovator, and a tireless advocate for safety in motorsports.

Like most of the people you want to know (or at least know about) in motorsports, Simpson was reportedly a true character. “Bill was a hippie when I met him and a cranky old guy most of his life, but he went from a nobody to the top of the heap. He worked hard and had a good mind—it didn’t go where the normal mind went,” three-time Indianapolis 500-winning racer Bobby Unser told Racer.

“Now, he was a hard-head and I’d get mad at him, but then he would do something really good, which was often, and we’d like him again. He’d piss people off one day and save a bunch of lives the next. That was Bill Simpson,” Unser neatly summarized. It seems like it would be tough to top that as an accurate eulogy, by all accounts.

Innovations that Simpson pioneered include the use of parachutes in drag racing, and especially Nomex fire suits designed for race car drivers, back in the bad old days when auto racing was far more deadly than it is today. The man even once infamously lit himself on fire to demonstrate how effective his new fire suit was—a stunt he later gleefully reprised for the 2014 Mazda commercial below.

How did he come up with some of his ideas? Undoubtedly, because he started out as a racer himself, and he came at it from a racer’s point of view. It’s unclear exactly how many lives at every level of motorsport interest he’s saved with his life’s work, but the number is obviously quite high.

Simpson wasn’t a motorcyclist, himself, but his company’s motorcycle helmets have undoubtedly saved countless lives, as well. RideApart’s deepest condolences go out to Simpson’s friends and family in this difficult time. The mark he left on the motorsports safety world is truly indelible.

Recall: Rear Brakes On Harley Trikes Could Activate On Their Own

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by Sabrina Giacomini from https://www.rideapart.com/

A software issue poses a safety hazard.

The NHTSA has issued a recall by Harley-Davidson on three models of trikes that could potentially present a software issue that could cause the rear brakes to activate on their own. Here are the details.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company has issued a recall on over 12,500 trikes in the United States for a potential brake problem due to a faulty software. The company estimates that roughly one percent of the 12,624 recalled units are actually affected by the problem. The models targeted by this recall are:

  • 2019-2020 Harley-Davidson FLHTCUTG (Classic Ultra Tri Glide)
  • 2020 Harley-Davidson FLHTCUTGSE (CVO Tri Glide)
  • 2019-2020 Harley-Davidson FLRT (Freewheeler)

The three models of Harley trike are equipped with an electro-hydraulic control unit (EHCU) that manages the Trike Traction Control System. The company found that the EHCU could present an error and cause the traction control to respond incorrectly to a faulty rear-wheel speed signal. This could lead to one of the rear brakes to engage on its own and cause the trike to suddenly change direction. The loss of control that could result from it could ultimately cause a crash.

The Harley-Davidson dealers should already be aware of the issue and letters to the owners affected have been sent at the beginning of December. Owners are invited to make an appointment with their Harley-Davidson dealer to have their trike checked. Should the vehicle present the software issue, the system will be updated which should eliminate the error. The service will be provided free of charge.

Should they have any questions or concerns, owners of one of the models involved in the recall are invited to call the Harley-Davidson customer service line at 1-800-258-2464 to have their VIN verified. The company’s internal number for this recall is 0175. Customers are also welcome to address their inquiries to the NHTSA’s hotline service at 1-888-327-4236.

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.