Funny Caption Contest

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Will Future Cars “See” Motorcycles Better?

Car companies are heralding the day when the industry produces a “zero fatality” automobile.  That’s right, aside from a meteor falling on you while driving down the expressway, the automobile industry believes that in the next 10 to 20 years, computer simulations and virtual engineering will enable manufacturers to construct cars with a near zero fatality rating.

New technology will provide magnesium and carbon-fiber parts in strategic locations and active safety systems that slow the car as it follows curves in the road, and vehicle-to-vehicle communication that warns you about approaching vehicular, motorcycle, even pedestrian traffic.

Volvo has gone so far to announce that “By 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo.”

This is great news for motorcyclists, many of who are killed or injured when auto drivers cross into their lane or turn left in their path.

To reach zero fatalaty rating, auto companies are relying on making vehicles that can avoid other vehicles, and in the event of an unforeseeable and unavoidable impact, a vehicle that can crash safer.

Focusing on safer motorcycle crashes  is something motorcycle rights activists have lobbied against for years believing that better auto driver awareness is the key to saving motorcyclists lives.

However, some motorcycle manufacturers have, in the past few years, made improvements in protecting motorcyclists during a crash.

American Honda Motor Co. (which includes Honda and Acura cars, as well as Honda motorcycles, motors and power equipment) has dedicated a lot of money and time to crash analyses with high powered computer model simulations in many different scenarios.

Honda was the first and currently the only motorcycle manufacturer to install air bags on a motorcycle.  The Goldwing air bag is designed to be deployed in the event of  a frontal impact which will slow the operators rate of ejection and th erotically lessen the force of the impact to the operator.

Safety vests, which use compressed gas to instantly inflate upon a rider being ejected from the motorcycle seat have also been marketed and have been successful in several real world accidents.

Automobiles that sense motorcycles and prevent the operator from crossing into the path of the oncoming bike will undoubtedly save many lives, but will have little impact on reducing single vehicle accidents where rider error is the cause, that where safety advocates say additional training is needed.


Funny Caption Contest for September Issue

Insert Your Best Caption in the comments below!

While there might not be anything inherently humorous in this candid shot, taken during Bike Week in Daytona almost 10 years ago, we’re sure if you try, you can add just the right caption to highlight the funny.

Funny Caption Contest for August

What's your best caption?

Sometimes even the most mundane photos can be spiced up with just the right caption.  We think this is one.  Comment below or on our Facebook page and we’ll send the winner a cool collectible hat from USRiderNews, suitable for framing, but much better wearing on your head.

Zoning Board vs Harley-Davidson Dealer

There must be something in my DNA that enjoys a good fight, or rather hates to see people being bullied.
I’ll fire off a Letter to the Editor in a heartbeat and more often as not, stick my nose in where it probably otherwise doesn’t belong.  As I’ve aged, I’ve tried to tone it down a bit just to get along.
This is one of those times when I’m having trouble keeping my unsolicited opinion to myself.
Rocky Timms is the owner of a Harley-Davidson dealership in Anderson South Carolina.  No, he doesn’t advertise, so I’m not taking his side for any other reason than he’s being unfairly targeted by a few small minded anti-motorcycle “zoning police” that live around his dealership.
Timms hosts a bike night in Anderson every Thursday, and has been since May.  By all accounts, it’s fairly successful and attracts a decent sized crowd from 6-9 or 9:30.
By 9:45 the lot is mostly empty.
But, for Wayne Self, and his neighbors opposed to the bike night, those 3, to 3 and a half hours of “noise” were enough to complain to the zoning board and ask the county to shut the bike nights down.
I don’t know about you, but this sort of whining chaps my ass.  Here you have an honest businessman, doing everything he can in this economy to make a profit and keep jobs for local citizens and a group of penny ninnys complain that their quiet neighborhood is disrupted for a few hours a week?  During daylight hours no less?
I’d bet a dollar to a donut that not the first complainer has ever owned a business where he or she had to make payroll, or had the kind of investment that Timms has and stands to lose if the dealership folds.
The complainers said that the extra cars that come in create a parking problem and a hazard in the neighborhood.  Timms told the cops to tow any vehicle that was creating a parking hazard.  Apparently that wasn’t good enough.
The planning director for Anderson said Timms could apply to have his property rezoned to support outdoor commercial recreation.
That’s all well and good but if a few neighbors, and it’s only a few not a majority, can cause the city to shut down his bike night, even though the property is currently zoned commercial business, what kind of chance do you think he’ll have with a rezoning request.
I see this sort of attitude in the news almost everyday.  Sometimes it’s legitimate and business owners go too far and deliberately break the rules and do not care how it affects their neighbors.
Then there are those people who let their 5th grade hall monitor appointment go to their head and still get a sense of importance by being the “zoning police” or “noise nanny” of the neighborhood.
These are the same people who call the police if they see someone parked in a “no parking zone” even though doesn’t affect them.  They just don’t like to see someone else “breaking the rules” as they understand them.
They’re also the ones who generally dislike motorcyclists because they see us as being too “free spirited” and “rebellious.”
I’ll admit that 80 or 100 motorcycles, especially Harley-Davidson’s, will create a fair amount of noise as they come and go into a dealership.  I won’t argue that it probably does cause somewhat of an inconvenience to some of Timms neighbors during the bike night hours.
But this is America and while you might not agree with it, or fully understand it, capitalism and our free market system is the engine that powers our economy.  I have no doubt that Timms Harley-Davidson writes a  large property tax check to the city and county every year and receives no more government services than do his neighbors.  He shouldn’t be molested when it comes to making a legal profit.  Customer events are an important part of a successful motorcycle dealership.

But that’s probably something his neighbors wouldn’t understand.

-Editor Scott Cochran

Funny Caption Contest

You Should Always Check the mirror before you leave the camper.  You might forget something!  Enter your best caption here or on Facebook and we’ll send the funniest one (as chosen by our editors) a FREE collectible, USRiderNews cap!  Hurry, contest ends soon.

Don't Look Ethel!!!

Legendary two-stroke tuner headed for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce the eighth member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2010: Eyvind Boyesen, one of the most accomplished two-stroke engine tuners in motorsports. Boyesen, whose skills in the garage translated into success in the marketplace, will be among the legends of motorcycling honored at the 2010 induction ceremony at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas on Nov. 19.

“Eyvind developed many of his innovations in an era of great change in performance off-road motorcycling, and in the process joined other AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers in becoming a household name in the sport,” said AMA Director of Operations and Hall of Famer Jack Penton. “Both everyday riders and national champions alike used Boyesen’s products over the years, and many more will in years to come.”

Although Boyesen Engineering has long since branched into other areas of innovation, off-road racers in the 1970s through the 1990s knew Boyesen products through marketing of the company’s aftermarket performance reeds. Boyesen’s reeds set the standard as one of the leading aftermarket replacement parts of the two-stroke era, and often were one of the first modifications racers made to a new machine.

“Growing up on the local scrambles and motocross tracks in eastern Pennsylvania during the early 1970s, racers knew one thing: If you wanted a power advantage over your competitors, you needed a Boyesen Power Reed,” said Douglas Strange, chair of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Ambassadors & Industry committee and an honorary member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. “It was like a magic elixir that would put your bike on the box. Boyesen Engineering’s reputation continued to grow as his business expanded, and every racer’s toolbox had a Boyesen sticker on the lid. Now, nearly 40 years later, I’m still impressed with Eyvind Boyesen’s commitment to the sport and industry, and his insight to solve problems and bring these new products to the marketplace.”

Boyesen founded Boyesen Engineering in 1972 in Lenhartsville, Pa., and built a worldwide reputation as a two-stroke engine expert. In addition to his reed-valve innovations, Boyesen is also known for a special porting technique that has been used in motorcycle, snowmobile and watercraft two-stroke engines. He also has refined methods of water pump design and developed enhanced accelerator pump operation used in four-stroke carburetion. Boyesen holds more than 40 patents for the aftermarket motorcycle industry, and his company continues to thrive today.

“To be honest I was rather surprised at hearing the news of the induction,” Boyesen said. “I immediately thought, ‘Who would have nominated me?’ I will say that my career has been balanced by my ability to do what I truly love. To this day I will always remember the first time I saw a motorcycle. It was magical. As many that have achieved any level of success (big or small), I am very fortunate to be able to contribute to this sport and industry.”

Boyesen joins previously announced members of the AMA Hall of Fame Class of 2010: championship team owner Mitch Payton, AMA 250cc Roadrace Champion David Emde, off-road rights activist Clark Collins, dirt-track racer Don Castro, off-road gear pioneers John and Rita Gregory, and sidecar roadrace champion Larry Coleman. The final 2010 inductee will be announced soon.

The Class of 2010 will officially be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Nov. 19 as part of the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend. In addition to the induction ceremony, the weekend includes the 2010 AMA Concours d’Elegance on Saturday, Nov. 20, featuring some of the country’s most impressive original and restored classic motorcycles. The AMA Racing Championship Banquet closes out the weekend on Sunday, Nov. 21, where AMA Racing amateur champions of all ages will be recognized for their 2010 accomplishments.

The AMA Legends & Champions Weekend also includes the final round of the Geico Powersports AMA Endurocross National Championship Series on Saturday evening, Nov. 20. Ticket packages for the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend will also include access to the race, held at The Orleans Arena.

The AMA Legends & Champions Weekend will be held at the Las Vegas Red Rock Resort, a world-class spa, hotel and casino, featuring a range of entertainment, dining and family-friendly attractions. The facility’s expansive ballrooms will provide a stunning backdrop for the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend, which is certain to be memorable for the 2010 inductees, champions, families, friends and fans. More information is available online at RedRockLasVegas.com.

Lodging reservations can be made now at AmericanMotorcyclist.com/Accommodations. An announcement regarding ticket information will be made soon.

Located on the park-like campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made lasting contributions to protecting and promoting the motorcycle lifestyle. Its members include those who have excelled in racing, road- and off-road riding, pushed the envelope in motorcycle design, engineering and safety, and championed the rights of riders in both the halls of government and the court of public opinion.

The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Committee includes nine members in addition to the chairman. There are eight committees, each representing a different aspect of motorcycling.

More information about the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame can be found at MotorcycleMuseum.org

California lawmakers back EPA compliant requirement for riders of new motorcycles

California Wants All Exhaust to Be EPA Approved

[facebook_ilike] PICKERINGTON, Ohio — A key California State Assembly committee has endorsed a proposal to require motorcyclists to have EPA-compliant exhaust systems on their model year 2011 and newer motorcycles, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

On June 28, the Committee on Transportation voted 8-4 to approve Senate Bill 435, introduced by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Oxnard-Los Angeles), which would make it illegal to ride a motorcycle on the road built on, or after, Jan. 1, 2011, that doesn’t display a federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) label certifying the exhaust system meets sound emissions standards.

Riders caught riding model year 2011 or newer motorcycles without this stamp would be issued “fix it” tickets by law enforcement officers.

The measure now goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

“Many EPA labels are very difficult to locate on motorcycles,” said AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris. “This proposed law could lead to a flurry of tickets for motorcyclists who have legal exhaust systems on their machines with EPA labels that can’t be easily seen. It’s unreasonable to expect a law enforcement officer to easily locate an EPA label, and it’s simply unfair to expect a motorcycle owner to partially dismantle an exhaust system alongside the road to prove the label exists.

“Requiring that a motorcycle display a readily visible EPA label isn’t the correct way to address concerns about excessive motorcycle sound,” he added. “The only objective way to determine whether a motorcycle complies with sound laws is for properly trained personnel to conduct sound level tests using calibrated meters and an agreed-upon testing procedure.”

Haris suggested that concerned California motorcyclists contact their state lawmakers and urge them to reject Senate Bill 435. To do so, go to AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issue & legislation and select “CA” in the drop down menu.

The AMA has long maintained a position of strong opposition to excessive motorcycle sound. In September 2009, the AMA developed model legislation for use by cities and states seeking a simple, consistent and economical way to deal with sound complaints related to on-highway motorcycles within the larger context of excessive sound from all sources. The model legislation offers an objective method to evaluate motorcycle sound based on the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) J2825 standard, “Measurement of Exhaust Sound Pressure Levels of Stationary On-Highway Motorcycles.” For more information, see AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Resources > Model Legislation.

About the American Motorcyclist Association

Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com


American Motorcyclist Association supports EPA decision to delay ruling on increased ethanol in gasoline

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ear of corn

increasing ethanol can have negative effects on air cooled engine

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) concurs with the decision announced by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 17 to delay its ruling on whether to allow the ethanol portion of blended gasoline to be increased from the current 10 percent to 15 percent.

“This is encouraging news because much more research needs to be done to be sure that increased levels of ethanol in gasoline are beneficial, rather than damaging, to motorcycle engines and components,” said Imre Szauter, AMA government affairs manager.

“The AMA supports the use of cleaner-burning fuels but we are concerned that, if the allowable level of ethanol is raised, it could result in premature engine damage or failure while a bike is being ridden on a highway,” Szauter explained. “We are also concerned about any degradation in performance, fuel economy and rideability that may result from the long-term use of blended fuels with greater than 10 percent ethanol.”

Growth Energy, an ethanol lobbying group, asked the EPA in March 2009 to allow gasoline to contain up to 15 percent ethanol. The EPA had planned to issue a decision by December 2009 but then said a decision would come in mid-2010. The EPA recently said a decision won’t be made until at least the fall because more tests need to be completed.

Currently, pump gasoline in the United States can contain up to 10 percent ethanol, which is used to increase octane, reduce carbon monoxide emissions and provide an alternative to petroleum-based fuels. Motorcycle manufacturers currently only certify their engines to run on fuels that have a 10 percent or less blend.

Increasing the percentage of ethanol could have a negative impact on motorcycle engines, since burning ethanol creates more heat than conventional gasoline. That has the potential to damage air-cooled motorcycle engines.

Also, fuel systems on bikes may be susceptible to corrosive effects of higher concentrations of ethanol in gas. And while ethanol helps reduce carbon monoxide levels in engine exhaust, it can also increase the levels of oxides of nitrogen, one of the components of smog.

“Until studies show that a higher ethanol blend won’t damage motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle (ATV) engines, and won’t make motorcycles emit more nitrogen oxides than are allowed by the EPA, the AMA can’t support any proposal to allow a higher blend,” Szauter said.

The AMA is a member of AllSAFE, the Alliance for a Safe Alternative Fuels Environment, a group formed to ensure that fuels containing ethanol are promoted in a thoughtful manner. AllSAFE is made up of associations that represent consumer and commercial users of ethanol blends, manufacturers of boats, vehicles, engines and equipment, and retailers who sell gasoline and ethanol-fuel blends.

About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.


Liberty Is Imperiled When Men Hide Behind Bad Laws

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When taping your own traffic stop becomes illegal

By: Scott Cochran, Editor

Last March Anthony Graber was riding his Ducati in Maryland on I-95 in an illegal and unsafe manner. That is not disputed. In fact, Graber was recording himself with a video camera on his helmet.

Because of that video, Graber might be going to jail. Not for reckless riding, but for illegally taping the police officers who stopped him.

The bruhaha began when Graber posted the video on YouTube. In it, Graber pulls off an exit where he’s stopped by traffic and a plain unmarked car pulls up beside him and a white male jumps out with a handgun and quickly approaches him yelling to turn off the motorcycle. It is approximately 5 seconds before the plainclothes police officer identifies himself, and a few seconds after that a marked unit pulls up behind Graber.

When Graber is allowed to take his gear off, he turns off the video recorder, but when asked by the officer if he was being recorded, he denies it was on. I can only conjecture that he believed the recording would have been confiscated had he admitted the officer was taped.

Once posted online, Maryland State Police sought to prosecute Graber for “illegally wiretapping police activity” and sent a request to the State’s Attorney in Harford County.

Graber was arrested again and charged with a wiretap felony and could spend years in prison if convicted.

Within days of the story breaking online, civil libertarians and bloggers lit up the internet like fireworks on the Fourth of July.

A spokesman for the State Police deny the wiretap charge is retaliation for Graber having exposed the department’s heavy handed Gestapo type actions.

“This is not some capricious retribution,” said Shipley, calling Graber the type of reckless driver troopers “are peeling … off the backs of tractor-trailers and off the curbs.” He said the audio recording of the traffic stop “is a violation of the law. Period. That’s what our job is. We’re not going to apologize for doing our job.”

And there’s where I have a problem with it.

The attitude of “It’s the law and we’re not going to apologize for doing our job.”

What prosecutors in Maryland are using is a law written to prevent “voice” recordings. Had Graber deleted the audio portion, or garbled it before he posted it, then he wouldn’t be in trouble.

As a former plan clothes police officer I can appreciate the situation the Maryland State Police find themselves in, but the public should have the right to record traffic stops, the same as law enforcement. The plain-clothes officer gave up his rights to anonymity when he took himself out of the role of detective/investigator and participated in the traffic pursuit.

There are thousands of hard working, honest and dedicated law enforcement officers who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect and serve the citizens in their jurisdictions. This is by no means a slur on their character and integrity.

However, when men in authority seek to hide behind immoral laws to protect their ambitions, or to justify bad behavior, then it becomes the duty of free men to demand the law be changed.

My problem is with a law that disregards the civil rights of individuals, while providing those in authority with the legal means to prevent oversight by the public. Laws, such as these, foster and even encourage abuse of power, all in the name of “we’re just doing our job.”

This law, written with the intent to protect law enforcement, judges and officers of the court from illegal wiretaps and electronic eavesdropping without their consent was never meant to prevent private citizens from recording the activities of police in a public venue.

To misuse this statute in this manner is ethically and morally wrong. To stand by without protesting its use is also morally wrong.

But, let’s be clear on one thing, Graber was breaking the law. I watched his YouTube video and I think his actions on his motorcycle were irresponsible and criminal. He placed himself and others at great risk. High speed pursuits are dangerous to the public and the police officers who are involved in them.

Charge him with every traffic violation he committed. If combined they reach the level of felony endangerment and he loses his license and his freedom, then so be it. But to jail him for posting a video online he recorded in plain view on a public highway is not only wrong, it is a violation of his civil rights, and one that should outrage every American.

As for the plain-clothes officer who approached Graber with his gun drawn before identifying himself, he should be reprimanded. Nothing more or less. He was overzealous, but that’s it. Maybe next time he’ll let the uniform officers do their job and he’ll stick to his.

The greatest threat to our democracy does not come from without, but from within. We must jealously safeguard our liberties and protest vigorously when they are threatened.

Until next month, Ride Safe, and always take the road less traveled.