Georgia Motorcyclists Ride on The Capitol To Protest Checkpoints

Over 300 motorcyclists roared into downtown Atlanta and surrounded the State Capitol Wednesday March 23, 2011 to protest the recent Georgia State Patrol motorcycle only checkpoints.

Using a $70,000 grant from the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration NHTSA, the State and local officers set up motorcycle only checkpoints on the two main interstates leading into Florida during Daytona’s spring Bike Week.

The checkpoints were located on I-95 and I-75 in the southbound truck weigh stations on Wednesday March 9th.

Newly elected ABATE State Director, Dan Forrest said he was pleased at the turnout and the diversity of the riders who joined the protest.

“(turnout)  was beyond expectations and I hope a sign of  unity in the biker community.”  Forest said.  ”We had several patch club members from urban riding groups and this was far from the normal group we have attracted in the past.”

Forrest said the speakers called on the State Patrol and the Governor’s office to focus on programs that will save lives and not just profile motorcyclists.  ”The central point of every speakers message was that money needs to be spent on EDUCATION of the driving public to make them aware of motorcycles. Use the media for public service announcements, bill boards, class room training for new drivers.” Forrest said.

Other speakers pointed out how the interstate checkpoints resembled police actions of  totalitarian regimes and not a free republic.

“The roadblocks are a violation of our rights and are a pure attempt at profiling. The Savannah stop had 17 GSP cars, 2 Sheriff’s cars, 1 DOT car, a van filming and photographing every biker and a helicopter. This sounds like a Border Crossing in a communist country and has nothing to do with safety.”

The State Patrol nor the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety did not respond to a request for a statement.  However, Patrol officers have indicated they will hold five more one day checkpoints throughout the year.

Forrest said ABATE of Georgia will continue to lobby against the checkpoints and added that under his leadership he hopes ABATE can become a voice for all motorcyclists and expand its mission to fight any and all legislation that unfairly targets motorcycle owners and riders.     “ABATE of Georgia has suffered through some very poor leadership over the past few years and has spent too much time and effort on the ‘Freedom of Choice ‘ bill or rather lack of it. We have been known as the helmet law people and  have been shunned by many riding groups because of that fact.”   He continued, “We have taken the first step in unity and we must continue to grow as one voice.”

 

 

2011 Star Stryker- Affordable Attitude

Sitting in the press meeting at the historic Driskol Hotel in Austin, Texas, preceding the first ride of the new Stryker 1300, there are familiar faces wearing Star shirts. Long-term employees and lifelong motorcyclists, I’m among designers, product planners, accessory specialists, road testers, media staff and more. A closely-knit team of highly qualified and dedicated people, all directly responsible for the way the new Stryker’s styling, character and how you can customize it to your own personal preference.

This is a machine built for the American riding public, designed, refined and styled after much time and effort spent interviewing current riders, cruiser and non-cruiser. Then long periods of time riding and evaluating and improving, until the motorcycle you see here is ready for sale. And just in case you think Yamaha slipped a bottle of Scotch in a goody bag before the introduction, take a quick look at Star’s sales figures. As the motorcycle company that sits second in number of units sold, and the company that is nipping away at Harley’s heels, it’s clearly this cohesive mix of home-based knowledge and talent, blended with Yamaha’s pursuit of excellence that is making the Star brand excel.

Just looking at the Stryker outside the Driskol on the morning of our ride confirmed all these feel good thoughts from the previous evening’s launch. The bike sits low, with a lean, muscular stance and has plenty of chrome and deep luster custom-look paint work. It has the chopper style with the wide bars, raked out front end and big rear tire, but swinging it up off the side stand, it thankfully doesn’t have the chopper feel. Bikes with extended front ends have the heaviest and least precise steering of any motorcycle produced, but not so the Stryker. The somewhat lazy rake and trail of 34 degrees and 109mm extend the wheelbase more than two inches longer than the V Star 1300 at 68.9 inches. Like its bigger brother, the Star Raider, it deals with it extremely well. Sure it’s not quite as sharp at speed on very twisty roads, but for the majority of riding situations it’s barely noticeable. The 21-inch front wheel allows the front end to become skittish on very rough pavement, and the somewhat basic suspension will send big bumps directly through to your vertebrae, but when ridden on smoother roads and at sensible speeds, the Stryker performs just fine.

Built on the V Star 1300 platform, a bike that’s been with us since it replaced the venerable V Star 1100 in 2007, there are a few changes to the over square 1304cc, 60 degree, V-twin engine for 2011. The Stryker engine gets a slightly higher lift camshaft and roller rocker arms for a little more power, and the ignition and fuel injection have been changed to work with a larger three-liter air box to complement these changes.

The 100mm pistons use a conservative 9.5:1 compression ratio and run in 83mm ceramic composite cylinder sleeves. The engineers have worked hard to give the engine character, but not at the expense of unnecessary vibration. A bike we think of as mid size, the Stryker has plenty of power from idle up to the 6600 rpm red line. It’s not going to rip your arms out of your sockets when you crank the throttle and put the 40mm Mikuni throttle bodies to work, but it certainly has some good, healthy grunt. I liked not having to down shift to overtake on the highway, and the bike’s ability to rumble along at low rpm and accelerate without any fuss if needed, can be credited to the excellent fuel injection.

With a weight wet of 646 pounds, the Stryker is no lightweight on paper, but it’s cleverly disguised the by the low 26.4 inch seat height and wide bars. Yamaha fully expects a third of it’s Stryker sales to come from female riders, so this is a good thing, as it will certainly be a confidence booster. The ability to put your feet flat on the floor, not needing to wrestle the bars to turn the wheel like a conventional chopper, will make life a lot more pleasant not only for the ladies, but for newer riders stepping up to their first full sized bike.

The chopper theme is certainly evident with the wide 210/40R 18-inch rear tire and 120/70 21-inch front, but the Yamaha team has done their homework with their tire choice. Where conventional choppers use a very skinny front tire, the wider one used on the Stryker calms things down and makes the bike steer a lot better while improving stability. While this set up is not my cup of tea, overall the combination does a much better job in all areas of road holding than I would have thought initially reading the press literature.

The Stryker comes with regular forward positioned foot pegs. The six-speed gearbox makes light work of shifting gears, and power is taken to the back wheel by a clean, quiet maintenance free belt drive system. A single disc brake is used up front, and this is a generic looking two-piston caliper lightly massaging a 320mm single disc. There is a one-piston caliper in the rear with a 310mm disc, and to stop in a hurry, you will need both of them in tandem, as they are somewhat modest in their performance.With a bike of this nature though, I would hope you wouldn’t be doing too much sport riding as the Stryker is about good looks, great feel and the custom cruiser lifestyle. The paint quality on the four-gallon gas tank is first class and is carried over on the fenders and side panels. Fenders are deliberately made of steel so they can easily be modified or repainted to your own choice once you start accessorizing. The stock pipes have a very custom look as delivered and certainly compliment the bike’s looks.  Star is always quick on the draw with their tag line, “We build it, you make it your own,” but this really is the perfect way to describe the accessory options available for the Stryker. Chatting with the man in charge of these accessories, Dave Pooler, I learned there are a plethora of items already available, sixty to be precise. You can choose from billet covers, performance air filter kits, custom seats and back rests. There are mounts for saddlebags and a choice of windshields for traveling, so whatever your taste, Yamaha dealers have you covered.

Riding the stock bike, there’s no windshield, so the view over the chrome handlebars is very clean. There is however a small, centrally mounted console with a conventional analogue speedometer that sits in the center of the bars. All the usual warning lights, neutral light, trip counter fuel gage etc are located in the panel, and all work as intended. Switchgear is plain and functional, and a pair of conventional chrome mirrors let you get a fairly good view of what’s behind. The relationship of the bars to the seat and the foot pegs make the riding position relaxed, and during our day in the Texas hill country it was certainly very comfortable.

At the time of purchase, you can choose from a chrome trim or a more mean looking blacked out package, and the base price of the new Stryker is $10,990 for the Raven and $11,240 for the Impact Blue or Reddish Copper version. It comes with Yamaha’s normal one-year factory warranty. Parking back at the Driskol at the end of the day, I had a chance to spend some time with the Yamaha guys and see their passion and enthusiasm for the tight, competent,  and fun middleweight custom Star Stryker. They have done it again.

 

Wacky Brain Buckets

Brain Bucket:  (slang) A type of motorcycle helmet that enables motorcycle riders to be in compliance with the law where helmets are required, but offers inadequate protection, about that of a bicycle helmet – Urban Dictionary

University of Southern California (USC) Professor C.F. “Red” Lombard is credited with being the first to designed a motorcycle helmet to absorb the shock of an impact.  IN 1953 Professor Lombard applied for a patent for his new invention which had two layers of padding.  One layer inside which fit next to the wearers head and provided comfort, and the outer layer which absorbed and diffused the energy from an impact over the entire surface of the helmet.   In 1967 South Carolina enacted legislation requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets and thirteen years later 200 members of  ABATE of South Carolina was successful in getting this law amended to apply to only those under 21.

Here’s a bit of trivia.  Half a decade before South Carolina implemented its motorcycle

helmet law, Australia became the world’s first government to implement a mandatory motorcycle helmet law on January 1, 1961.

In 1974, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) introduced their Federal MotorVehicleSafety Standard No. 218 (FMVSS 218) for Motorcycle Helmets.  Since that date, helmets which meet the standard have been required  to carry a DOT-approved sticker.

We doubt these helmets carry DOT-approved stickers but we like the creativity shown in their creation.

Motorcycle Checkpoints May End Up in Supreme Court

Disputing the Constitutionality of Motorcycle Only Checkpoints

NEW YORK, Feb. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Motorcyclists across the nation are awaiting a decision from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York which they hope will declare New York’s “motorcycle only” roadway checkpoints to be unconstitutional. The case Wagner et al. v. The County of Schenectady, et al. could end up in the United States Supreme Court. The checkpoints, which target well-known motorcycle events, force motorcyclists traveling to and from those events to leave the roadway, regardless of any wrongdoing, and have their vehicles and equipment inspected for safety and non-safety equipment violations and stolen VIN numbers. Motorcyclists have been detained as long as 45 minutes in makeshift stockades while undergoing the inspections. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recently began Federal funding for motorcycle checkpoints nationwide in order to assess their effectiveness despite objections raised by members of Congress.

The New York lawsuit is the first to challenge the constitutionality of motorcycle checkpoints. The plaintiffs are being represented by Proner & Proner, a plaintiffs personal injury law firm with a long history of doing “pro bono” legal work on behalf of motorcyclists. The Proner firm commenced the lawsuit on behalf of four motorcyclists who were detained at two separate checkpoints.

The checkpoints are funded by a grant from the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the troopers who work them are paid overtime. Although the stated purpose of the checkpoints is to promote safety, the majority of the more than a thousand tickets which were issued during the first year of the checkpoints had nothing to do with safety and instead focused on non-safety violations such as loud pipes. The written guidelines for the checkpoints specifically state that one of the purposes of the checkpoints is to look for stolen and forged VINs and the police readily admit that they often have undercover members of their gang and auto theft units working the checkpoints looking for signs of criminal activity.

The Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly made it clear that any roadway checkpoint whose primary purpose is general crime control constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment and is presumptively unconstitutional. Notwithstanding that fact, the progress reports which the police prepared on the checkpoints specifically state that the grant funds are used “for overtime for intelligence gathering and the subsequent criminal and traffic enforcement.” The police admit that the checkpoints, which focus only on equipment violations and forged and stolen VINs, do not address any of the major causes of motorcycle accidents such as reckless driving, driver inattentiveness and alcohol impairment.

Lawyers for the Plaintiff Riders and Defendant State Police are both seeking summary judgment on the Fourth Amendment claims. The future of motorcyclists’ rights hangs in the balance.

Paul Sr Is Said to Be On Steroid Buyer List

Father and Son Teutel in the early years

In the world of motorcycle reality television there’s no bigger name than the Teutuls.  Over the past half decade or so the New York family has been providing on screen and off screen entertainment for motorcyclists and non-motorcyclist public alike.

The Teutuls have rubbed elbows with some of Hollywood’s elite, built “themed” bikes forFortune 500 companies and circulated in the hallowed halls of our nation’s Capitol.

Along the way they’ve had their own personal ups and downs, all shared with their audience.

Now, according to a story in the Times Union, Paul Sr has been linked with a South Florida dentist who pled guilty last week to illegal distribution of steroids and human growth hormone by writing prescriptions for performance-enhancing drugs to athlets and the motorcycle celebrity.

According to the report, Business records show Teutul received over $50,000 worth of steroid prescriptions authorized by D’Amico through the now-closed Palm Beach Rejuvenation, whose owners pleaded guilty three years ago in Albany to drug distribution charges.

Paul Sr. was contacted by a reporter on his cell phone but he refused to comment, directing all inquires to his business manager, Steve Moreau,

Giffords to Remain on Motorcycle Caucus

U.S. Reps. Michael Burgess and Gabrielle Giffords to remain as co-chairs

photo from Hell for Leather.com

Despite her injuries, Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) will remain as a co-chair of the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus for the 112th Congress, along with Texas Republican Michael Burgess.

The bi-partisan caucus, which has existed for many years, was formally recognized by the U.S. House for the new Congress. Official caucuses must register and be recognized at the start of every two-year Congress.

The caucus is made up of members of Congress who are passionate about motorcycling and who work to promote the interests of motorcyclists.

“It’s great to have Reps. Burgess and Giffords back as leaders of the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus,” said Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. “The Congressional Motorcycle Caucus is made up of dedicated members of Congress who ensure that motorcyclists aren’t forgotten on Capitol Hill. Reps. Burgess and Giffords have proven that they are true friends of motorcycling.

“We look forward to working with our old friends in the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus, as well as new members who join, to help protect and promote the motorcycling lifestyle,” Moreland said.

DUI Charges Re-filed against Indianapolis PD Officer

The attorney for Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer David Bisard is asking a judge to dismiss new DUI charges that have been filed against his client in relation to the August 6th crash in which Bisard allegedly drove his squad car into three motorcyclists, killing one and injuring two others.

The former prosecutor dropped those same charges a week or so after they were filed saying the tests were improperly administered and could not be used in court.

The blood test revealed Officer’s Bisard’s BAC content was 0.19 two hours after the crash,  which is more than twice the level at which an Indiana driver is considered drunk.

Before the case can go to trial, Marion Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins will have to rule whether he agrees with the former prosecutor that the initial blood alcohol test was improperly administered.

Hawkins also said he expects the one side other the other will appeal his ruling.

If the blood alcohol evidence is allowed to stand and if Bisard is found guilty, he could face decades in jail.

See Us; Save Us Ride Planned

Nine homemade crosses will stand in a vacant field in South Lubbock all day Saturday — one for each of the motorcyclists killed in Lubbock this year.

Deanna Jandrew and her friends painted white the 7-foot wooden crosses her husband made in the memory of their friend Christy Ann Winters and the other motorcyclists killed.

Nine homemade crosses will stand in a vacant field in South Lubbock all day Saturday — one for each of the motorcyclists killed in Lubbock this year.

Deanna Jandrew and her friends painted white the 7-foot wooden crosses her husband made in the memory of their friend Christy Ann Winters and the other motorcyclists killed.

But the field near 87th Street and University Avenue where Winters died last month won’t be vacant early Saturday afternoon, when hundreds of motorcyclists are expected to gather following a citywide motorcycle awareness ride.

Motorcyclists from all over the region will hit the streets at 11 a.m. Saturday, taking different routes throughout the city without a police escort to let Lubbock know they exist in traffic. They’re scheduled to ride on just about every single major street in Lubbock between 11 a.m. and noon.

“I want everyone in Lubbock to see the bikes so they can see how many are out there,” Jandrew said.

Devastated by the loss of her friend and outraged at the number of mounting motorcycle deaths this year, Jandrew set out on a mission to raise awareness for motorcycles in hopes of preventing future deaths.

“I started this because of Chris (Winters),” she said, but she added it has grown into a cause that she has come to realize is really important to many people and needs to be continued past Saturday’s awareness ride.

But the field near 87th Street and University Avenue where Winters died last month won’t be vacant early Saturday afternoon, when hundreds of motorcyclists are expected to gather following a citywide motorcycle awareness ride.

Motorcyclists from all over the region will hit the streets at 11 a.m. Saturday, taking different routes throughout the city without a police escort to let Lubbock know they exist in traffic. They’re scheduled to ride on just about every single major street in Lubbock between 11 a.m. and noon.

“I want everyone in Lubbock to see the bikes so they can see how many are out there,” Jandrew said.

Devastated by the loss of her friend and outraged at the number of mounting motorcycle deaths this year, Jandrew set out on a mission to raise awareness for motorcycles in hopes of preventing future deaths.

“I started this because of Chris (Winters),” she said, but she added it has grown into a cause that she has come to realize is really important to many people and needs to be continued past Saturday’s awareness ride.

Read the entire story at Lubbock Online


The Piano Man Opens Cycle Showroom

photo from bark bark woof woof

Bill Joel is a living legend on Long Island and he has further endeared himself to the motorcyclists with the opening of his own motorcycle showroom in Oyster Bay.

According to published reports Joel doesn’t expect to make a lot of sales, but he hopes to inspire a revitalized motorcycle enthusiasts scene in Long Island, and serve as a showcase for customized and modified bikes. “It reflects the economy right now. People can’t afford to buy expensive stuff. They have to do their own custom work at home in the garage and they have to start with an inexpensive bike. A lot of these bikes are like that,” he told Newsday.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Thumbs Nose at Congress and Discriminates Against Motorcycles

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has learned from a source at the US Department of Transportation

Troopers in Georgia to set up "motorcycle only checkpoints"

that they have funded the motorcycle only roadside checkpoints.

NHTSA decided to fund the program despite being asked by Congress not to fund the program until the merits were explained. In a letter sent by James Sensenbrenner, along with ten other Members of the House of Representatives last month, Sensenbrenner and his colleagues specifically asked NHTSA to respond to the letter before funding the program, they did not. Read the letter here.

The recipient of the money for the demo project was the Georgia Department of Public Safety, which oversees the day-to-day operation of the Georgia State Patrol.  The Georgia State Patrol will conduct a series of roadside motorcycle safety checks in accordance with what was outlined in the Request for Applications.  The amount of NHTSA funding is $70,000.00.

“Not only is this an injustice to the motorcyclists of America its a complete waste of taxpayer money.” said Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the MRF.

The MRF will keep you informed on this issue and any actions you can take to defend your freedoms, at stake in Washington.