newslogo*Of Helmet Laws and Blue Dots

*Deep Sea Moto



*Harley Keeps Donation at Arm’s Length

Of Helmet Laws and Blue Dots

by Victor Wanchena

For over 25 years riders in Minnesota have had the right to choose whether or not they wear a helmet. But there was a catch. We didn’t have the right to equal insurance coverage with regards to helmet usage and head injuries (MN statute #169.974). So if you were injured in an accident and not wearing a helmet that information could be used against you in court to possibly lower damages in a lawsuit. This changed back in May when Governor Ventura signed a bill that repealed the law. Courts are no longer mandated to consider evidence of helmet use in cases of personal injury in motorcycle accidents.

The passage of this bill was in large part due to the lobbying efforts of ABATE and the Minnesota Motorcycle Riders Association and the sponsorship of Representative Tom Workman–not to mention that Governor Ventura has been a long time rider. In addition to the helmet law the bill also legalizes motorcyclists to use blue dot tail light lens. The law took effect immediately and applies only to the tail light, not to signals or other lights.

Deep Sea Moto
For 1999 a motorcycle freestyle jump contest was included in ESPN’s “X-Games”, but it seems that some things are too extreme even for them.

At the end of the jump competition Travis Pasteurian, a 15 year old contestant from Annapolis, MD, celebrated his win by soaring off the pier and directly into the San Francisco Bay. The jump occurred at the end of the Moto X stunt event in front of thousands of fans on Pier 30 near the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.

According to witnesses Pasteurian was revving his bike hard across the course and up a four foot dirt berm on the edge of the pier. He then flew over twenty feet in the air landing in the bay. Officials from ESPN were not amused by Pastrami’s show of triumph and promptly decided to withhold his prize money of $10,000 and not to televise the footage of the leap into the bay. They said that the money would be used to hire a salvage crew to pull the bike from the bay and that the remainder would go to a local charity.

“It was dangerous,” said Chris Stopcock, an X-Games spokesman. “He was putting people and the bay at risk.” But Pasteurian see it differently, “I was just having a good time and yes, I was really surprised by the reaction when I got out. At the time I was really pumped up. The crowd was going nuts.”

The stunt may have not been as spontaneous as might be thought, since two boats hired by Pastrami’s manger were waiting to pick him and his bike up. Travis was pulled quickly from the water but it took a salvage crew five hours to locate and retrieve his bike.

Drag racing tracks are usually the scene of high horsepower machines that roar down the tracks at break-neck speeds. But now comes the National Electric Drag Race Association (NEDRA) with machines of incredible power and speed and very little roar. Earlier this year the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) adopted the NEDRA rule book allowing electric drag races to take place on NHRA tracks.

This coincided with the announcement last month from Bolder Technologies that an electric motorcycle powered by the company’s Thin Metal Film (TMF) batteries ran the quarter mile in 13.9 seconds, setting a new record for the electric motorcycles. The “Killa-Cycle” was designed and built by engineer Bill Dube and uses 64 pounds of Bolder’s TMF battery cells. This gives the “Killa-Cycle” as much as 350 peak horsepower.

“For this first shakedown run I limited the power to 120 horsepower, less than half of what this machine can produce. While this severely reduced the motor voltage and torque, the “Killa-Cycle” easily set the record while testing it’s stability and safety,” said Dube, “Based on the performance I have seen to date, I believe that when the power potential of the TMF cells is exploited, electric vehicles can have a power-to-weight ratio greater than that found in high performance gasoline engines.”

The following is courtesy of the BSA Owners of Canada newsletter. At a recent computer expo, Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the motorcycle industry saying, “If Honda has kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 bikes that get 1000 mpg.” An unnamed source at Honda addressed Gate’s statement by asking, “Yes, but would you want your bike to crash twice a day?”

So, what if Microsoft built motorcycles? Every time they repainted the lines on the road would you have to buy a new bike? Occasionally your bike would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would simply accept this, restart it and drive on. Or sometimes executing a maneuver would cause your bike to stop and fail and you would have to reinstall the engine to restart it. For some strange reason you would accept this too. You could only have one person on the bike at a time, unless you bought “Bike95” or “BikeNT”, but then you would also have to buy an extra seat. Macintosh would build a motorcycle that was powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to ride, but would only run on 5% of the roads. The Mac bike owners would buy expensive Microsoft upgrades for their bikes which would make them run much slower. The oil, fuel, and temperature warning lights would be replaced by a single “general bike default” warning light. And if you were involved in a crash you would have no idea what happened.

No word on when the Microsoft Motorcycle will hit showrooms.

Harley Keeps Donation at Arm’s Length
With the impending 100th anniversary of Harley-Davidson in the year 2001, the motor company is looking for all sorts of memorabilia for the celebration–antique bikes, old photos, etc. that have been collected by fans of Harley over the years. Among all these pieces of Harley history is a tattoo. It is rather unique in two ways. First it features the signature of Willy G. Davidson and it is still attached.

It seems a certain rider, who Harley officials have not identified, has inquired with the company about changing his will so that upon his death the arm featuring the tattoo would be given to the Harley-Davidson archives. The company’s official historian, Jack Rosenblum, said, “We’re very moved that someone would have this kind of dedication, but we’re not, of course, going to accept it.”

Anyone wishing to donate tattoos to the Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly archives should send their submissions to our Minneapolis office. Include a self addressed stamped envelope if you wish it returned.


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