Harley-Davidson caught between games of tit-for-tat between governments
2018 hasn’t started well for our Bar and Shield brand which, at the end of 2017, saw a 6.7% downfall worldwide. In the US alone the numbers were down by 8.5% compared to the previous year. Then the news came of the firm shutting its Kansas City plant, due to the uprise of used Harleys being sold outside.
It received slander from Green activists opposing the waiving of pollution fines by the President Donald Trump administration. Now, it seems to have caught up in a brew of political strategies between the Trump government and the world over. And if you have been paying attention to the current affairs lately, Trump has declared Trade Wars with India and the European Union.
Boston and Massachusetts State Police have finally had it enough of millennial riders recklessly riding around town on their illegal off-road machines like dirt bikes and ATVs’ and causing a nuisance to the general public. These machines neither have license or insurance nor the riders wear any gear.
Last week, the state troopers tried to contain and block off a part of the Massachusetts’ I-93 freeway to apprehend a large group of such idiots, only to assure of a chaotic situation. At least three injured, seven arrested, and 20 seized off-road machines was the outcome of this.
Police nab brazen Bristol brats responsible for torching the vintage Triumph
Last week we spoke about these spoilt Bristol brats who torched a $14,000 worth 1951 Triumph Thunderbird just because the owner of the bike failed to pay a ransom amount. The entire motorcycle community was flabbergastered by this inhumane act and forced authorities to take action on those responsible.
Thankfully, the Avon and Somerset police have made a breakthrough in this case and have arrested more than half a dozen teenagers. Thanks to “Operation Buell”, a special force set up by the police to curtail the rampant motorcycle thefts happening in the UK and to keep an eye on social media activities where such thefts are being posted.
Harley Davidson receives slander from Green activists opposing the waiving of pollution fines
Recently, we were contemplating about Harley’s upcoming new models, ’Bronx’, ’48X’ and ’Pan America’, as part of their new strategy to add 100 new models in the coming decade. But it looks like the Milwaukee Bar & Shield brand is not able to register any success stories today due to its current downward trend in the market.
The first hit to Harley came when it decided to close its factory in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2019 and consolidate its production in York, Pennsylvania taking considerations of customer demands.
Now, there is an uproar against the firm with multiple green peace activists, along with ten states and the District of Columbia, are slandering the President Donald Trump administration for waiving $ 3 million in pollution fines against Harley-Davidson.
A motorcyclists sues General Motors over an autonomous car collision
Back in December last year, a motorcycle rider was blamed involving an autonomous vehicle crash. The self-driving cruise was a Chevrolet Bolt which apparently hit a lane splitting Motorcycle rider and justified its decision stating the rider was wrong and unsafe with the lane rules.
The rider, Oscar Nilsson, filed a lawsuit against General Motors in regards to this collision earlier this week stating that the “Bolt suddenly veered back into his lane and knocked him to the ground”. The lawsuit was in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
This news comes days after GM said it would release a Level 5 autonomous vehicle – without a steering wheel or pedals – in 2019.
The Mayor of London wants manufacturers to make motorcycles harder to steal
Motorcycle theft is a growing criminal activity in certain parts of the world. Things in London, however, is in a different level altogether. There were over 14,000 motorcycle thefts reported in London the last year and 23,430 crimes were committed using motorcycles that were stolen of course.
On an average, 65 bikes are stolen per day and to crack this atrocity, London Mayor Sadiq Khan invited a few manufacturers to a summit on moped crime at the City hall a couple of days ago. He spoke about manufacturers incorporating better anti-theft measures into their products to make it difficult for people to just whisk away bike without authorization.
Zero adds a new entry-level e-bike
With just a decade of experience in the industry, ZERO Motorcycles has been at the epitome of electrically powered machines on two wheels. Showing the world how to do it right all this while, the folks have upped their game for 2018.
Offering higher performances this year, the California firm already has four models for 2018 including the Zero S, SR, FXS (street), DS, DSR, and FX (dual-sport). Now, they have added another e-bike to that lineup to cater to the learner group of customers: the DS ZF14.4.
The ones that made motorcycle headlines in 2017
This is the last working day of 2017. And this is also the last article I will be penning down for the year. So I thought ’why not revisit all that has happened over the past twelve months which has a direct impact on the future of the motorcycle industry?’
Here is a list of every major news and launches that has coursed the path in the industry:
Saudi women can now ride a motorcycle, officially
It’s turning out to be a great year for female riders as numbers continue to grow. In the last decade or so, women riders have doubled, not only in the US but also elsewhere in the world.
Throwing gender inequalities out of the window, female riders in the middle eastern countries have also started a revolution that goes onto breaking religious and social barriers. The most recent country to officially break such taboos is Saudi Arabia.
Justice Department to Drop $3M Fine Against Harley-Davidson
I don’t agree with much of what Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands for — no, I’m not going to be more specific, but you’re certainly welcome to read anything into that you like — but I have to give credit where it is due ’cause I think ol’ Jeff got this one right. You see, last year Harley-Davidson got penalized because approximately 12,600 of its customers got caught being a bit naughty by using closed-circuit racing technology to boost performance. These “defeat devices” caused the actual emission output to diverge significantly from the designed parameters. Rather than punishing the individual offenders, The-Powers-That-Be, in their infinite wisdom, decided to punish Harley instead. The EPA browbeat Harley into an agreement that required the Motor Company to pay a tidy $3M “donation” to the American Lung Association to pay for — wait for it — retrofitting woodburning stoves to offset the extra unregulated emissions these legions of supertuners unleashed upon the environment. So what has happened to change that?
Continue reading for more on the lawsuit and settlement.
Vietnam is now fighting the war on motorcycles. Will ban them by 2030.
Traffic in Vietnam is becoming a tourist highlight of sorts with people photographing it to share their experiences back home. The country’s rising economy has let down the limited infrastructure and the road systems have gone out for a toss. The traffic is causing gridlocks all across the towns and major cities like Hanoi even during non-peak hours. The severity of the problem is still underestimated by the 16000 deaths that occur each year due to the high traffic density and flouting of traffic violations.
To settle the city’s “hidden epidemic”, the country’s capital, Hanoi, is taking a major step towards restricting these legions of motorcycles creating environmental and congestion woes before they could go out of gear. The city council on July 4, 2017, has come to a stern decision to completely ban the usage of two-wheelers on the city streets by the year 2030.
The ever-divisive lane-splitting technique, now formally recognized and legalized in California, hit a stumbling block in its attempt to spread Eastward. Utah HB 410 met a resounding defeat in the House of Representatives with a final tally of 29 in favor versus 45 against. This lemon of a bill was sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer (R-Huntsville), and it sought to bring something similar to the Golden State’s “lane-sharing” law. I say “similar” because the language concerning speed limits was vastly more liberal than California’s. Mr. Froerer proposed to allow the lanes to be split at up to 40 mph; much faster than the other states currently floating the idea such as Montana and Oregon at 20 mph. Washington proposes to allow it at no more than 10 mph speed differential than the surrounding traffic that can be moving as fast as 35 mph, so it’s even faster than Utah. Not that it matters in the moment; the Utah bill is DOA for now.
Continue reading for more on the lane-splitting issue.
Lane splitting has been officially recognized by a handful of states for a while now, and California has even stepped up as the first state to legalize it. While it’s safe to say that nobody was surprised when the Golden State passed it into law, the noises coming from the Lone Star State are a bit unexpected. Texas is looking at passing legislature to make lane splitting legal on its roads, adopting a very similar stance to that of California in regards to the language on speeds and other particulars.
Continue reading for more information on the lane-splitting trend.
The Governors Highway Safety Administration has released its projections on motorcycle fatalities and to everyone’s relief, it appears that cases of motorcycledeaths are set to go down for the second year in a row.
The GHSA’s report projections indicate that 4,584 deaths occurred in the US in 2014. That would represent a 1.8-percent drop from 2013’s numbers when 4,668 deaths were reported. 2014’s drop in motorcycle-related deaths is also just the third time that there has been a decrease in fatalities since 1997.
The GHSA received preliminary motorcycle fatality counts for the first nine months of 2014 from all 50 states in the US and the District of Columbia. When comparing 2014’s numbers to the year before, the data determined that motorcycle fatalities dropped in 27 states while 19 states reported increases in deaths in their jurisdictions. Four states, including the District of Columbia, reported the same total in 2014 as it did the year before.
In the grand scheme of things, the decree in number is good news for everyone involved, but it’s still significantly higher - 26 percent - than the reported deaths a decade ago.
Vehicle-related deaths are also 28 percent lower than their motorcycle counterparts, suggesting that the motorcycle industry still doesn’t come close to providing the same level of safety as the automobile industry.
Some of it can be attributed to the physical construction of cars compared to motorcycles and according to the GHSA report, the motorcycle industry has shown “little evidence that risk factors for motorcyclists have been reduced in recent years, and fluctuations in motorcyclist fatalities are likely to have more to do with economic factors and weather patterns affecting exposure.”
That should put the current total in its proper perspective and, if need be, provide a stark reminder to motorcycle riders that the total, despite the decrease in number, is still too many for anybody’s liking.
Continue reading to read more about the Governors Highway Safety Administration’s report on motorcycle fatalities in 2014.
It’s not the best way to start a week, but we do have some sad and terrible news to report. A former senator from the state of Georgia who pushed to repeal motorcycle helmet regulations in the state was killed when his bike was hit by a vehicle.
Joey Brush Jr., who once served two terms in Georgia’s state House between 1992 and 1996 and the state Senate between 1997 and 2004, died as a result of the accident. It’s still unclear whether he was wearing a helmet when the accident occurred.
Those who live outside Georgia may not be familiar to Brush Jr., but those who do know him will remember him as the man who championed the elimination of a state law that required motorcycle riders to wear helmets. At the time of the accident, WRDW-TV reported that Brush was actually on his way to meet state Governor Nathan Deal about a separate bill that would allow riders to treat red lights like a stop signs if their motorcycles did not trigger pavement sensors.
But things took an unexpected turn when Brush’s Harley-Davidson was struck by a car that did not stop at a stop sign. The driver of the car, 49-year-old Kimberly Crouch, has since been charged with second-degree vehicular homicide after being deemed responsible for the accident that killed the former senator.
Continue reading to read more about the untimely passing of Joey Brush Jr.
It does seem weird that a three-wheeled motorcycle would be classified as a motorcycle. After all, shouldn’t there be a different classification for vehicles that have three wheels compared to their two- and four-wheeled counterparts? Well, one US senator thinks it’s a great idea, which is why he has proposed a bill that would create an entirely new category in the US for three-wheeled enclosed vehicles, or autocycles as they’re more commonly referred to.
Senator David Vitter of Louisiana is the brains behind this legislation, dubbed the Autocycle Safety Act. If you’re wondering what the man’s credentials are, consider that he’s a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works – and its Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure. That gives him cache on these issues and apparently, he wants this bill to create new federal regulations for these types of vehicles, including those set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.
It’s a logical argument given how some of these three-wheelers like Elio Motors’ Elio autocycle are being packaged as urban vehicles in their own right. That opens itself up to adhering to a set of regulations that really doesn’t fit in any existing category at the moment. Granted, 26 states already have laws or are developing them for autocycles.
But Vitter’s bill would ostensibly create that category encompassing the entire US, thus creating rules that apply only to these types of vehicles. What those rules are will be up for debate when legislators discuss the bill, but some, like wearing a helmet on open three-wheelers, seem like academic choices as a required law for these vehicles moving forward.
There will be a lot of debate on this bill moving forward. That much I’m sure of. But overall, Vitter’s proposal makes some sense on multiple levels.
Click "continue reading" to read more about what this proposed legislation could mean moving forward.
Lane-splitting has always been a polarizing topic in motorcycle circles. Some people think it’s an easy way for bikes to cut through traffic, saving riders invaluable time in their daily commutes. Others, though, aren’t as supportive, arguing that it’s a safety hazard that can lead to accidents. Both sides have points, but on my end, I fully support lane-splitting, provided that it’s done in a non reckless manner.
In the US, California is the only state where lane-splitting is legal. Other states have had discussions of legalizing it, including Washington, but for now, it’s the Golden State and nobody else. Well, Oregon could join that list if state lawmakers decide to pass a couple of bills currently on the docket for 2015. The two Senate bills - Bill 124 and Bill 420 - are both championing the legalization of lane-splitting in the state, albeit in two different manners.
The former, which was introduced State Senator Brian Boquist, would legalize lane-splitting if traffic is at a full stop or is moving less than 10 mph. Riders are also only allowed to split lanes if they’re riding at speeds of 20 mph or less. Meanwhile, the latter, which was authored by Boquist’s senate colleague, Jeff Kruse, is pretty much the same thing, except that the requirements of the traffic and the speed of the rider are a little less restrictive.
Either way, the bills are steps in the right direction for the state because of the
immeasurable benefits it provides in decongesting traffic, saving fuel costs, and protecting riders from being unwitting victims of rear-end collisions.
Another argument, which is being used by everybody championing the legalization of lane-splitting is that if it’s allowed, there’s a reasonable chance that an uptick in motorcycle sales will follow, especially from riders who travel great distances to get their respective destinations.
The two bills are still a ways away from being passed, but let’s hope that legislators from Oregon take the time to understand the benefits of legalizing lane-splitting.
Click "continue reading to read more about Oregon’s plan to legalize lane-splitting.
The Washington State Legislature is finally taking the necessary steps to address the legalities of lane-splitting on US roads. As it stands, only California has a law that allows such practices, but if Washington adopts HB 1515, a pro lane-splitting bill, it would become the second state in the US to legalize the traffic maneuvering.
As it stands, the proposed bill carries a number of provisions riders must abide to during lane-splitting, including a 35-mph speed cap and a 10-mph speed differential between the motorcycle and traffic. It’s a moderate approach on the activity, but it’s still better than not having one at all and deeming lane-splitting illegal, right?
Besides, a lot of European and Asian countries have already adopted some form of legislation that allows lane-splitting, or lane-sharing as some other countries describe it.
There’s no reason why America should be left behind when it’s become clear that such an activity, according to the California Highway Patrol, isn’t dangerous when done correctly, as do most other things.
There are a lot of positives that can come out with the legal adoption of lane-splitting. California already allows it and I hope that Washington follows suit. After these two states, maybe it’s finally time for their counterparts to revisit their own laws against it and finally take the steps to make the activity legal.
Click past the jump to read more about Washington’s plan to legalize lane-splitting throughout the state.