By Gus Brieland
AMA ANNOUNCES ‘JUSTICE FOR ALL,’ TARGETS LIGHT SENTENCES
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has announced “Justice for All,” a new nationwide initiative that will focus on inadequate sentencing of drivers who seriously injure or kill motorcyclists.
“Justice for All” will advocate legislation establishing tougher penalties when traffic offenses or criminal actions by other motorists result in a motorcyclist’s death or serious injury, a move that also would benefit other vulnerable road users such as bicyclists and pedestrians. The program will include cooperation with state and local motorcycling organizations, efforts by AMA Community Councils, and a variety of opportunities for individual motorcyclists and other concerned citizens to become involved.
In late January, after former U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow received just 100 days in a South Dakota county jail for second-degree manslaughter related to a traffic crash that claimed a motorcyclist’s life, the AMA expressed its disappointment in the sentence, not only because it represented an inadequate penalty for that crime, but because it’s an example of injustice that occurs in courtrooms all over the country.
“We believe it’s important to take constructive action that reaches far beyond the borders of South Dakota,” said Edward Moreland, Vice President of AMA Government Relations. “Instead of directing our energy toward something that’s already happened, we urge all motorcyclists to work with us to change the way the justice system sentences drivers who kill motorcyclists, and to prevent similar tragedies and injustices in states and communities nationwide.”
More details about “Justice for All” will be announced soon on the AMA’s website, AMADirectlink.com, and in American Motorcyclist magazine. For more information on becoming involved in “Justice for All” and other issues affecting American motorcyclists, contact Sean Maher, AMA Director of State Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Terry Lee Cook, AMA Government Relations Specialist, at email@example.com.
Remember, this is an election year for many of our representatives / leaders. As they are stumping for your vote, remember to write them as a concerned motorcyclist and voter. With one simple personally written letter, you will be able to voice your concern on issues such as inadequate sentencing. If all who ride write that simple personal letter, we will have a special interest group that becomes more difficult to ignore.
Vladimir Yaretz – The News We’ve All Been Waiting For
Here is an update on Vlad, the deaf and mute Byelorussian circumnavigating the globe on a JAWA before his accident last October. It looks as if his road to recovery is continuing and Vlad has a new F-650 to help him continue on, just as soon as he is ready. We have included Mr. Winterer’s web log from Vlad’s fan / recovery site http://www.caringbridge.org/il/vladimir/ and we at MMM wish Mr. Yaretz good health and recovery.
By far the biggest news of the week came Thursday afternoon, March 4, from Vladimir pit crewmember Tom Breedlove who took our favorite Byelorussian in for his final doctor’s checkup. Tom didn’t talk to the doctor directly, but he talked to the nurse, who proclaimed that Dr. Zussman had declared Vladimir to be healed and could start riding his motorcycle.Realistically, of course, it will be some weeks before he’ll swing his leg over a motorcycle and fire it up. While Vladimir can walk, he still relies a lot on his cane. If there’s much distance involved, a wheelchair is still handy if he can find one. He still has some pain, especially in his hips. But, his progress now is both rapid and astounding. Anyone who saw him flat on his back in Peoria last fall would be totally amazed to see Vladimir back on his feet.
Even Vladimir knows he is not ready for anything too vigorous, but it’s just a matter of time. We have “hand-squeezing” contests to check the strength of his clutch (left) hand. This hand was attached to the arm that was broken in a couple of spots, and the muscles simply withered. They are coming back with lots of foam-football squeezing, and he’s close to being able to work the clutch lever on the BMW. We are still guessing mid-April for a departure date, but we’re flexible too. That is key for dealing with all things related to Vladimir … stay flexible.
The good folks at Tag Sport in Geneva, Illinois are still outfitting the F-650 they are giving him and we’ve got some interesting registration red tape to figure out. The goal is to get the paperwork just as clean and rock-solid as possible so there won’t be any hassles as he crosses the umpteen international borders that lie down his road. Rick Martin, Sharm, Vladimir and I took the back roads to show him the Woody’s restaurant parking lot where witnesses saw him tinkering with his Jawa on Oct. 13, shortly before his accident. As we circled through the parking lot, he couldn’t recall being there.
Then we drove out on I-74 and slowed down at the spot where the semi truck hit him. There are still some ugly skid marks in the grass, left by the truck after it jackknifed and rolled over. This was the first time Vladimir saw the accident site. He was kind of quiet, but otherwise seemed fine. We think he appreciated the chance to see where it happened. As you might recall, he had trouble early on comprehending that a truck had hit him, because he still has no memory of the crash.
Anyway, we filled up a good part of my Pathfinder and much of the back of Rick Martin’s Chevy pickup with Vladimir’s belongings. Somehow he managed to pack all that stuff on his Jawa. I did actually see the whole works loaded on his bike last September back in Minnesota, but it’s still hard to comprehend how he did it. He’s going to have his hands full figuring out how to pack everything on the new F-650, and he knows it’s time to leave a few things behind.
Vladimir’s support group seems to be an amazing group of people who are all helping in various ways to get him back on the road just as soon as his body is ready. Jim mentioned that his new host family’s pool table will most likely be used as a map table for the foreseeable future as he and his hosts share tales and swap stories of roads traveled.
Aaron Yates Suspended by AMA Pro Racing
Yoshimura Suzuki rider Aaron Yates has been suspended for one race meet and fined $5,000 by AMA Pro Racing for his actions following an on-track incident with KSW Racing’s Anthony Fania during the Daytona 200 by Arai on Saturday, March 6.
In announcing the penalty, AMA Pro Racing Road Race Manager, Ron Barrick, stated that Yates’ behavior after the two collided was completely unacceptable. “After carefully reviewing the tapes, interviewing the corner workers and both Mr. Yates and Mr. Fania, we have concluded that the contact that resulted in both riders crashing was an unfortunate racing incident with neither rider specifically at fault,” said Barrick. “However, Yates’ actions after the crash are the reason we are issuing the fine and suspension.”TV videotape, interviews with the riders and interviews with corner workers confirmed that Yates kicked and head-butted Fania immediately after the crash. While it was impossible to discern what each rider said during the exchange, it was apparent that Fania was attempting to walk away from the altercation.
Barrick confirmed that Yates’ AMA Pro Racing license is suspended for a period of one AMA Superbike race meet, specifically the California Speedway event scheduled for April 2-4, 2004 in Fontana, California. Yates will not be permitted to compete in any of the races that make up that race meet. Barrick also stated that the $5,000 fine could be reduced by 50% if Yates enters an anger management treatment program, approved by AMA Pro Racing, prior to returning to competition.
“Physically assaulting a fellow competitor can not be tolerated under any circumstance,” said Barrick. “This penalty should indicate how seriously we are taking this matter.” Barrick also noted that AMA Pro Racing continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding the actions of each rider’s crewmembers following the incident. On top of the AMA’s suspension and fine, American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) announced that Mr. Yates will be sanctioned for his actions at Dayton. According to ASMC, Yates acted in an unsportsman-like manner while representing Team Yoshimura Suzuki. His personal conduct has resulted in ASMC levying a $25,000 fine against Yates. “I understand the frustration that Aaron was feeling,” said Mel Harris, vice president of ASMC’s Motorcycle/ATV Operations. “Despite that frustration, cooler heads must prevail in professional racing situations. We at Suzuki feel that the fine is appropriate for the conditions.”
Halls of Fame Announces Intent to Merge
The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum located in Pickerington, Ohio, and the National Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame located in Anamosa, Iowa, have signed a “memo of understanding” to pursue a merger of their respective hall-of-fame inductees and procedures into a unified entity under the banner of the current Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. Both museums would otherwise retain their individual identities and continue their independent operations and management.
The joint announcement was made in Daytona Beach, Florida, by John Parham, President of the National Motorcycle Museum’s Board of Directors, and Mark Mendell, Chairman of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum’s Board of Directors. “It’s our mutual intent to enter into a written agreement which will detail the specifics of the merger,” Parham said in making the announcement. “Among the principles of the agreement are the automatic enshrinement of all past inductees in both museums’ halls of fame into one merged entity; development of a single nomination and selection process for future inductees; and a common set of graphic standards to reinforce the brand identity of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. This also would include a common website linked to both museums, which will feature both museums’ combined list of past inductees.”
“Once fully implemented, this merger will bring a new strength of unity to our motorcycle community,” said Mendell. “It will provide even wider recognition for those we honor in our Hall of Fame, as well as clarity for our national audience who will experience the same hall-of-fame elements in both museums. We think this is a real win-win for everyone and we are very enthusiastic about our potential for the future.”
Harley Davidson and BMW Announce Merger
MMM has learned that HD-BMW will most likely be taking place by the end of the year. With both manufacturers demanding “boutique” style dealerships to sell their cycles and accessories, they felt that it was only logical to merge both manufacturers in their quest for global conquest.
The merger actually started with the BMW dealership opening in Sturgis, South Dakota. “We wanted Harley riders to be comfortable with our logo and bike “said Hans Picklehaub “long before anything was officially announced. We won’t be combining the complete line but there should be some good cross designs that come from this merger”. “I am looking forward to finally using something other than a V-Twin,” said Willie. G. “Basically we didn’t know how to make a touring bike and they didn’t know how to make a cruiser.”
We have already tooled the GS Hard Tail and the K-Rod. “We are working on the badges and ornamentals right now,” said Franz Blix, Senior Designer for HD-BMW. The BMW logo will include orange and black now instead of that boring white and blue, while the HD badge will include a BMW logo to dot the “I” in “Davidson”. “Actually that has been there for the last 4 years.”
HD-BMW Marketing Director Richard “Uber” Johnson stated “What is really cool is that both manufacturers have had an ongoing understanding with their customers that price is not an object as long as they can buy one with as much chrome and accessories slapped on as possible. With BMW’s engineering and HD’s brand marketing, we expect our profit margin to skyrocket and with any luck our hostile take over bid for JCWhitney will cause the bike market to crumble under our HD-BMW boots and our monopoly will be complete.”
Part of the merger will include Milwaukee, Wisconsin adopting Munich, Germany as a sister city. Both will be known as the Axis of Bikers. Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Moto Morini have announced plans to surrender.