Bill Would Add Motorcycle License Requirement in Alabama

1_test_paperLegislators in Alabama, the only State in the Union that doesn’t require adults to take a test to obtain a motorcycle license, are considering a bill to change that distinction.

In Alabama, anyone 16 and older with a regular driver’s license can also drive a motorcycle in the state, said Capt. Guy Rush, chief examiner of the Driver License Division for the Alabama Department of Public Safety.  Rush said an oversight in the 1990s led to the gap in the law and DPS is supporting legislation to remedy that mistake.

The Alabama Senate has already passed a bill requiring a Class M endorsement, however a similar bill in the House of Representatives failed during the first half of this legislative session.

The Senate bill originally required all motorcycle operators to pass a knowledge test for the class M endorsement, however, the bill was amended to limit the testing to only those under 19 years of age.

Rush said he supports a mandatory skills test but observers say that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

As of 2010, 40 states required a skills test for a motorcycle license, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

As for the Class M endorsement on the license, many Alabama drivers already have the designation and might not even know it. Rush said when new driver’s license classes were assigned in 1995 those who already had licenses were “grandfathered” and given the M endorsement.

Those who don’t have the Class M endorsement are only legal driving a motorcycle as long as they are riding in Alabama, Rush said.

When lawmakers return April 2nd, they will have only 15 meeting days to reconcile the two bills and present a measure to the Governor for his signature.

Political insiders say the bill is likely to reach Gov. Bentley’s desk who is expected to sign it into law.

 

Going too fast for the upcoming curve? Future Bikes will let you know

Early version tested by MCN

We’re still waiting on cars that fly above traffic and we might be waiting another decade, but for the motorcyclist who loves high tech gadgetry, the future is just around the corner and it’s coming to the US from across the big pond.

The project, called Saferider, has been funded by the European Commission, which wants to see the systems on road bikes within five years, and backed by the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations.

In the UK, the Motor Industry Research Association is working on systems that will use GPS and digital mapping technology to provide motorcycle operators visual as well as tactile feedback on speed and approaching highway conditions.

MIRA installed sensors that vibrated slightly in the seat and cheek pads in a motorcycle helmet to warn the operator of a vehicle approaching in the riders blind spot.

The report said the cheek pads can be programmed to alert the rider to the danger on the right or the left side.  The system will also alert the rider if the motorcycle’s speed is unsafe for the approaching curve or intersection.

MIRA believes that manufacturers in the UK will begin offering the system to consumers  in as little as 18 months.

If adopted overseas, riders can expect to see the technology available in the US soon thereafter.