by Gus Breiland

Tranportation Secretary Calls For Free Helmets or Training
Saying “the time has come to make the helmet standard safety equipment,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Mary E. Peters, today called on manufacturers to provide free or heavily discounted DOT certified helmets or rider safety training with the purchase of every new motorcycle sold in the United States.

“Helmets and proper training are just as important as brakes or headlights when it comes to the well-being of motorcyclists,” Secretary Peters said. “We shouldn’t be letting any customer take a bike out of the store without a helmet as part of the package. Safety shouldn’t have to be an option when purchasing a motorcycle.”

Secretary Peters said only 58 percent of riders wear helmets today, which is down 13 percent from just four years ago. She added that manufacturers could help reverse the trend by getting helmets into riders’ hands and training them how to ride safely, noting that 700 motorcyclists would survive crashes every year if they wore helmets.

During remarks to the Motorcycle Industry Council in Indianapolis, the Secretary praised those manufacturers already providing free training for riders. However, she said she was asking for help from manufacturers because while motorcycles account for only two percent of the vehicles on the road, they are involved in over 10 percent of all crashes. She added that motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled in 10 years and now account for over 4,500 highway deaths and 78,000 injuries each year. Even worse, the crash rate among motorcyclists in the 50 plus age group has increased by over 400 percent, she said.

The Secretary noted that the helmet she was wearing during her 2005 motorcycle crash likely prevented severe head injury. “I know from first-hand experience how effective helmets can be,” she said.

Secretary Peters also said the Department of Transportation was “attacking” the challenge of motorcycle safety on several fronts. Last September, the Department awarded over $6 million in safety grants to states to support motorcycle safety. In addition, the Federal Highway Administration has established a Motorcycle Advisory Council to focus on making roads safer for motorcyclists and will continue work begun by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on a Motorcycle Crash Causation Study to identify why motorcycle crashes occur and find ways to reduce the fatality and injury rates.

I, Gus Breiland, am opposed to mandatory helmet laws as it impedes natural selection. Put a lid on folks! Your loved ones want to have a choice between an open or closed casket.

HIPAA For Me, HIPAA For You
Some members of congress are working to do something right for recreation. There is a loophole in our laws that allow insurance companies to deny claims based upon the source of the injury. Injuries sustained in legal recreation activities, such as Horseback Riding, Motorcycling, ATVing, Skiing, or Snowmobiling could be denied since these activities are listed as ‘risky’. Senators; Collins and Feingold, introduced bill S616 into the Senate and Representatives, Burgess and Stupak, introduced bill HR1076 into the House, to correct this loophole. These bills are a technical correction to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It basically says that if an insurance company pays for an injury, such as a broken arm, they must pay for that injury regardless of the source of the injury. It does not mandate what injuries an insurance company must pay for.

These Legislators need your help. Let your Senators and Representatives know that the passage of these bills is important to you as a person who enjoys outdoor recreation. Let them know that these bills are an important part of the health of the people in America. Ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor of this legislation. If you do not know who represents you, go to http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/olm110.html to find your Representative or http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm to find your Senator. Help get this important Legislation passed.

The definition of our inalienable rights ebb and flow with every passing election. A government for the people, by the people, is driven by just that, the people. If you want to continue riding, become active, voice your opinion. Your opponents are.

Buell To Build Off-Road Competition Motorcycles
Buell Motorcycle Company recently announced its intent to bring an off-road motorcycle to market, specifically designed for closed-course competition.

“We’ve told our dealers about our plans to bring an off-road, closed-course competition motorcycle to market within the next two years,” said Chairman and Chief Technical Officer Erik Buell. “This will allow Buell dealers the time needed to make plans to meet the needs of this new market and customer.”

“Harley-Davidson and Buell are highly committed to broadening the range of products we offer and reaching out to new groups of customers,” said Buell President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Flickinger. “We’re always looking at new market opportunities, but this one is particularly exciting.”

No details about the new Buell motorcycle have been released.

Whoo Hooo! HD…We want a sport-touring bike. We want a sport-touring bike. We want a sport-touring bike. Get that V-Rod motor out of that frame and make something of it. A VR1000 platform touring bike would be nice. We can’t wait for Buell’s new off road bike. Take a risk, let it sell.

Triumph America Tops 10,000 Units In 2006
Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd. announced today that its dealers retailed 10,726 units in the US during 2006. This is the first time Triumph’s retail sales have exceed 10,000 units in a single calendar year since Triumph’s return to the US in 1995. This is a significant milestone for the Hinckley, UK based motorcycle manufacturer.

Triumph is one of the oldest and most famous names in motorcycling. The name dates back to 1885 when Siegfried Bettmann settled in Coventry and started selling bicycles. Triumph began building motorcycles in 1901, which makes it the oldest name in motorcycles.

“All of us at Triumph are proud of achieving this important milestone”, said Mark Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer, Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd. “I’d like especially like to thank all of our dealers who pulled out all the stops to hit our numbers this year. Now we’re all going to focus on breaking Triumph’s all-time US sales record of 28,500 units, which was set in 1967, within the next 5 years.”

Triumph expects its strong growth to continue with the introduction of exciting new models like the Tiger 1050. This completely redesigned update of Triumph’s venerable Tiger is the ideal bike for riders who need a single motorcycle that can do virtually anything, including carving corners, urban commuting or 2-up touring. Looking forward, Triumph has plans to introduce 2 new, or redesigned models in each of the next several years.

Congratulations Triumph! Now bring some bikes to sit on during the next Motorcycle show so that Minnesota and surrounding states consumers have something to sit on and admire. Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly has been a big fan of the Scrambler, and not the new Tiger…Grooooowwwlll.

AMA Pledges $100,000 To Fund Crash Study
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has announced that it has committed $100,000 to help fund a comprehensive nationwide study of motorcycle crashes, and encourages individual motorcyclists, organizations, and businesses in the motorcycle industry to contribute to the effort through the AMA’s new “Fuel the Fund” campaign.

In 2005, Congress approved federal funding to study the causes of motorcycle crashes; the first such research in the U.S. in more than 25 years. The $2.8 million pledged by the government calls for another $2.8 million in matching funds from the American motorcycling community before the entire federal grant will be released.

The AMA, in addition to spearheading the effort to secure federal funding and committing the first matching funds, has launched “Fuel the Fund,” a national campaign allowing individuals and businesses to contribute matching funds necessary to take full advantage of the federal funding.

Contributions to “Fuel the Fund” can be made online at www.fuelthefund.com; or by calling Cathy Brown at 800-AMA-JOIN ext. 1224; or by mail addressed to Fuel the Fund, c/o AMA, 13515 Yarmouth Drive, Pickerington, OH 43147.

Legislation authorizing the funding of the crash study specifies that research grants be provided to the Oklahoma Transportation Center, located at Oklahoma State University. The last comprehensive study of motorcycle crashes, commonly called the “Hurt Report” after University of Southern California researcher, Dr. Harry Hurt, was published in the 1970s.

Isle of Man TT Turns 100
The TT is 100 years old this June and with its 265 corners in 37.73 miles, the Isle of Man Mountain circuit is the most physically punishing and mechanically exacting in the world. The route passes through three sleepy villages and one seaside town, climbs over 1,000 ft in less than a mile, and reaches 1384 ft over Snaefell Mountain.

In spite of traveling at speeds of up to 180 mph there is no point at which the rider can see as far as one mile ahead. And the straight parts are far from smooth, testing a bike’s suspension to the limit. Pretty, white-walled cottages and winding country roads bordered by stonewalls, picturesque pubs and leafy glades are all part of the TT. On what other racetrack do riders cross roundabouts, go through traffic lights, power down suburban streets at full throttle with the front doors of terraced houses just inches away? Where else do racers count tramlines, telegraph poles and farm animals as normal hazards?

The first TT took place on May 28th, 1907 with 13 single cylinder machines competing for a silver statue of the Greek god, Mercury, complete with winged helmet. A separate class for multi-cylinder machines attracted six entries. Riders set off in pairs to race against the clock, a feature of future TTs.

If you have the means, get off your duff and go celebrate on the Isle. For the rest of us, we can follow one of the greatest road racing events in internal combustion motor history at http://www.iomtt.com/.

KYMCO USA Sponsors NASCAR Busch Series Entry
KYMCO USA is joining the ranks of NASCAR sponsorship this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Virginia. In Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series Sharpie MINI 300 race, the company will be the primary sponsor for the #56 KYMCO USA Chevrolet, driven by last year’s Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year, Danny O’Quinn. The car’s hood will be splashed with KYMCO’s colors and logo, and under that hood will be over 700 horsepower.

O’Quinn won the Busch rookie award last year driving for the perennial NASCAR heavyweights at Roush Fenway Racing. This season Roush is permitting O’Quinn to drive a limited schedule for Mac Hill Motorsports, owner of the #56 Chevrolet, as well as two entries in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup series. The Mac Hill Motorsports team is owned by Jack McNelly, who says he’s very pleased to have KYMCO USA on board for the Bristol Race.

As the #56 KYMCO USA Chevrolet’s owner, Jack McNelly, puts it, “If you come home from Bristol and you’re not marked up a bit, then you didn’t run very good.”

Scooters, Hooters, NASCAR and beer. MMM Editor Victor Wanchena was hoping this was an April fools joke, but unfortunately it is true. His beloved Kymco People 250 will be adorned with mandatory sponsorship decals during his next service. Just remember Victor, turn left, you’re almost home.

M.M.M.

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