Late last month as we went to press we reported that MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden had been seriously injured in Italy. We are saddened to report that shortly after we went to press Nicky died from his injuries. The following are excerpts of the obituary released by his publicist.
“Born into a large extended Catholic family in Owensboro, Kentucky, Nicky was the middle child of Earl and Rose Hayden, with two brothers and two sisters. The entire family loved motorcycles, and shortly after he could walk, Nicky declared that his dream was to be a world champion. Although life on a farm meant that animals—horses, pot-belly pigs, even llamas—were a part of every day, for Nicky they were just novelties, and while he was a natural athlete, childhood sports leagues were little more than a lark. Racing—for the whole family, but especially for Nicky—was everything. Apart from an annual spring-break jaunt to Panama City, Florida, family trips were to racetracks, first around the Midwest, then the Eastern U.S., and eventually the entire country.
For Nicky, a distinguished amateur dirt track and road racing career transitioned into a successful stint in the AMA Grand National Championship and AMA Superbike series, in which he earned the 1999 AMA Supersport and 2002 AMA Superbike crowns with American Honda. He was promoted to the FIM MotoGP series with Repsol Honda, for whom he achieved his dream of earning the World Championship in 2006. Nicky also rode for Ducati and Aspar Racing in MotoGP, and last year he transitioned to the FIM Superbike World Championship with the Ten Kate squad. Along the way, his charisma earned him legions of fans the world over, while his dedication and professionalism earned the respect and admiration of his teams, teammates and competitors.”
Nicky was 35 at the time of his death and is survived by his parents Earl and Rose; his siblings Tommy, Jennifer, Roger, and Kathleen; his fiancée Jacqueline Marin. No further details regarding the circumstances of the incident have been made public at this time.
Interior Department Evaluates National Monuments
The U.S. Interior Department began accepting public comment May 12th on a list of national monuments designated since 1996 by three presidents under the American Antiquities Act of 1906. The public comment period, the first ever for Antiquities Act consideration, is part of a federal review of all monuments of more than 100,000 acres made by presidents during the past 21 years. The full list of the area under review is available on the US Department of Interior’s website (www.doi.gov). The review also will include designations where the current Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, determines that the designation was made without sufficient public outreach and coordination with stakeholders. President Trump ordered the review in April, giving Zinke 45 days to submit interim recommendations and 120 days to submit suggestions for legislation, recommend that the president reduce the size of monuments larger than 100,000 acres, or rescind the designations altogether. The designation of these areas as national monuments closed their use to many users including motorized recreation like trail riding. You can submit your comments online at: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001, or you can mail them to:
Monument Review , MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20240.
Land Review Closer to Home
The state Department of Natural Resources invites you to learn about proposed recreation opportunities in Centennial State Forest, a 3,394-acre state forest in Trelipe Township, Cass County, donated to the DNR in 2013. As part of the overall planning process, the DNR is proposing to classify Centennial State Forest as “limited”, which means it open to motorized use on designated trails and areas. The DNR is also proposing to designate about 11 miles of forest roads to allow OHV and motor vehicle use. Comments received will be used to develop a final recommendation that will be submitted to the DNR commissioner for approval. Written comments may be submitted by email to email@example.com, or by mail to Joe Unger, Parks and Trails Division, Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4039. Comments will be accepted through July 26.
Hope For Autonomous Vehicles and Motorcycles Cohabitating?
Ford Motor Company has recently patented a system for autonomous vehicles that allows them to detect lane-splitting motorcyclists. The system combines input from cameras and microphones to find the bike, and the vehicle’s software considers its options before changing lanes. While apparently designed specifically for lane splitting motorcycles, it seems a safe assumption that the system could detect motorcycles in adjacent lanes or vehicle blind spots. The current trend does point to continued work on the recognition of motorcycles by autonomous vehicles, but skeptisim remains in light of incidents like the accident last year where a Tesla model S with the Autopilot feature engaged failed to see a motorcycle, hitting and seriously injuring a rider.
Harley-Davidson has announced plans to build a plant in Thailand where motorcycles will be assembled from parts manufactured and shipped from the United States. The company said the plant will cater to the Asia-Pacific market, particularly China and Southeast Asia. Harley plans to begin production in Thailand in 2018. “There is no intent to reduce our U.S. manufacturing due to this expansion. Our U.S. manufacturing will continue to supply the U. S. and certain other global markets,” a company spokesperson told the New York Times.
Forcing Riders Into Cars
From the bureau of unintended consequences, the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations says low-emission zones and city bans could force motorcyclists into cars. Some cities are choosing to ban motorcycles built before 2006 and the Euro 3 emission standards or worse banning fossil fuel powered vehicles all together. The group conducted a survey of motorcyclists, finding that a whopping 87 percent aren’t willing to purchase a lower emissions bike that meets Europe’s stricter Euro 4 and 5 emissions standards and 76 percent would change their mode of transportation rather than buy a zero emissions bike. FEMA’s Wim Taal published an article on the FEMA website that warns forcing riders to abandon their “low-cost, pre-2006 motorcycles” in favor of late-model cars “could have serious consequences for urban traffic, congestion and pollution.” The FEMA survey included 5,402 people from 30 countries.