by Gus Breilandnewslogo

David Hassel…errr…Off!
German pop star David Hasselhoff (yeah, he was in Baywatch too, lay off) and his wife Pamela suffered broken bones when the actor lost control of the motorcycle they were riding and hit a sidewalk curb, police said. Strong gusty winds were blamed for the crash on a busy street on the city’s West Side, police said. The crash threw Hasselhoff against a light pole, while his wife, actress Pamela Bach, fell onto the shoulder of the road. Police said both were wearing helmets. Warren Cowan, his spokesperson, said Hasselhoff has canceled trips and interviews to promote the Fox movie Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding. The actor starred in the 1980s TV show Knight Rider which led to the very funny parody on the Simpsons called Night Boat! In other B celebrity biker crashing news, Dire Straits lead singer Mark Knopfler broke six ribs and a collar bone in a motorcycle accident and will be unable to perform at a London concert later this month, his agent said Tuesday. When asked whether they were disappointed that Mark could not perform, some of his fans said they “don’t give a damn about any trumpet playing band, it ain’t what they call rock and roll.”

U.S. BMW Motorrad BoxerCup Race
Roberto Panichi wins first BMW 883 race of the year…wait…Motorrad Boxercup race of the year in Daytona. In a bizarre twist of European engineered, NASCAR looking, 2 wheeled drafting racing, Mr. Panichi barely nosed out Brian Parriott under gloomy overcast skies and the threat of a potential rain. The weather failed to dampen the spirits of 48 riders and the roar of their BMW R 1100 S motorcycles as they tested their BoxerCup machines on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, March 9, in the U.S. debut of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2003. Despite red-flag conditions, the Daytona matchup offered the most off-the-seat racing excitement ever to grace the popular BoxerCup series as Italian racer Roberto Panichi and American rider Brian Parriott crossed the finish line in a true side-by-side photo finish. After a review by race officials, the victory went to BoxerCup veteran Panichi who commented, “I’m very happy to win and race here in Daytona. It is one of the most important tracks in the world.”

Second-place finisher Parriott, who is racing in the BoxerCup series for the first time this year, observed that the competition was world-class. “This is my first event on the R1100 S, so I knew that the veterans had an advantage. My experience level was a little low. I’ve been at the track and I’ve been in drafts before, but never for the win. I figured I could do the double draft on Roberto. He let me pass him and then I let him pass me, allowing me to pass him back before the line. I thought I pulled it off, but it didn’t happen.”

Markus Barth, of Germany, finished third, commenting, “The last lap was crazy. I’m happy for this third position in Daytona. It’s my first visit here. The race kept me thinking all the time.” As if on cue, when the BoxerCup excitement ended, the skies over Daytona Speedway opened up, releasing rain that approached monsoon proportions. Remaining races at the track were postponed until the following day.

Seattle‘s Finest on Hogs
Seattle Police trade Kawasakis for Harleys to save money. Police officer Jerry Hicklin was tired of catcalls like “get a real bike” as he rode his department-issued Kawasaki. Now he’s in hog heaven since the department’s motorcycle unit switched to Harley-Davidson Road Kings with 1,450-cc engines. Seven of the new Harleys are in service and the rest are expected by this summer. Seated on his new bike, Hicklin, a motorcycle officer since 1981, joked about “pigs on hogs” as a small crowd gathered to admire his new wheels. “They’re gorgeous, aren’t they? Man!” Hicklin said. “I’ve been waiting 21 years for this.” The brass is happy, too. Officials estimate the city will save $40,000 a year by leasing Harley’s rather than buying Kawasaki’s, which typically were used for three years and then sold at auction. Then there’s the morale boost. “It’s kind of like we just gave them a big Christmas present,” Assistant Police Chief Harry Bailey said. Wonder if the cops will wave?

Bill to Fix Insurance Loophole Introduced
Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) have introduced S.423 – “The Health Care Parity for Legal Transportation and Recreational Activities Act.” This bill prohibits the denial of benefits to injured street motorcyclists, as well as those involved in off-road riding and other activities (activities like snowmobiling, horseback riding, running or walking). This legislation addresses a loophole caused by a Department of Health and Human Services’ rule making it possible for health care coverage to be denied to those who are injured while participating in these activities.

“From riding Harley Davidson motorcycles to visiting the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain, these activities are part of Wisconsin’s heritage and economy,” Feingold said. “It simply doesn’t make sense to exclude those participating in these activities from health care benefits.” “The MRF and State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organizations (SMROs) have worked on the issue of nondiscrimination in rider health care for nearly a decade,” said Buck Kittredge of Wisconsin, MRF President. “We were instrumental in getting nondiscrimination language for motorcyclists into the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. We also worked with SMROs nationwide to lobby their Congressmen and Senators to make nondiscrimination against motorcyclists regarding health care coverage a matter of law. And ever since the last Administration denied benefit protection to injured riders in the final wording of HIPAA in 2001, the MRF and SMROs have lobbied Congress and the Administration to right this wrong.”

As background, self-insured employers and unions have been known to deny health benefits to their motorcyclist employees and union members. These unfair measures had been adopted on the questionable advice of third party administrators in an effort to keep the cost of insurance premiums low. On August 21, 1996 an important opportunity arose when President Clinton signed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), prohibiting employers from denying health care coverage based on a worker’s pre-existing medical conditions or participation in legal activities. In 2001, the Health Care Finance Administration released the final rules that would govern the law. The rules recognize that employers cannot refuse health care coverage to an employee on the basis of their participation in a recognized recreational activity. However, the benefits can be denied for injuries sustained in connection with those recreational activities. Essentially, the regulation grants protective status to motorcyclists without any substantive benefits. “Because of this loophole, someone who participates in motorcycling, snowmobiling, running or walking could be denied health care coverage, while someone who is injured while drinking and driving a car would be protected,” Feingold said. “It is time that Congress corrected this so that those who are abiding by the law are not denied coverage.”

The MRF is working with the AMA to identify and encourage US Representatives to step forward as lead sponsors of companion legislation on the House side. When a House bill is introduced, the MRF will work with SMROs to generate House, as well as Senate, co-sponsors in the days and weeks ahead.

The AMA is urging all motorcyclists – and those involved in any other type of recreational activity – to notify their Members of Congress and tell them to support S.423, The Health Care Parity for Legal Transportation and Recreational Activities Act.

Let your US Senators know you would like them to sign on to S.423 as co-sponsors. Call them at 202.224.3121 or find their email addresses at www.senate.gov, and write them. Their names belong on this important bill. S.423 is available on-line at http://thomas.loc.gov. Enter “S.423” in the search engine for bills.

Riders Need to Act to Get a New Motorcycle Crash Study
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is urging motorcyclists to contact their members of Congress to support a critical new national study into the causes of streetbike / roadbike crashes.

U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Wis.) is asking his colleagues to sign a letter addressed to U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, urging him to support a comprehensive, in-depth motorcycle crash study to find ways to prevent crashes. The last such study — “Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures,” commonly called the “Hurt Report” (after lead researcher Harry Hurt) — was done more than 20 years ago. “With motorcyclist fatalities increasing 50 percent in just the last five years, the time to act is now,” Green said in the letter.

“Initiated in 1976 and completed in 1981, the Hurt Report remains the benchmark of motorcycle crash research and, sadly, the only such comprehensive study ever undertaken in the United States,” Green’s letter went on to say. “The 1981 publication of the Hurt Report was a catalyst for the development of motorcycle crash countermeasures such as rider training and motorist awareness programs.”

The AMA Government Relations Department is working to get $3 million for an in-depth motorcycle crash study written into legislation now being considered for reauthorization by Congress: the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). The new crash research would involve detailed at-the-scene study of at least 1,000 crashes to find out what goes wrong for riders.

“The Hurt Report is the study that people turn to when they’re trying to figure out what causes motorcycle crashes, and what can be done to prevent crashes,” said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. “But that information is outdated. For example, motorcyclists now are sharing the road with a new mix of vehicles compared with the late ’70s, and dealing with drivers who face a lot more distractions.”

Motorcyclists can urge their members of Congress to sign the Green letter and to support funding for a comprehensive motorcycle crash study by sending a message through the RapidResponseCenter at the AMA website at www.AMADirectlink.com

M.M.M.

 

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