by Thomas Day

Bike Week Showdown

Myrtle Beach has a message for the Bike Week regulars: “Stay away from us.” The message has been received, but seems likely to be ignored. After 69 years of “tradition,” the 24,000 people of Myrtle Beach is trying to chase away the 500,000 bikers who annually flock to the massive rally. Local politicians and businesses claim that the week’s-long biker party is driving away the golfers and families who vacation at the beach town. Mark Kruea, a city spokesman said, “There’s not a community in the country that would welcome three straight weeks of these motorcyclists. And if there is, then by gosh, move the bikers there.”

“A rally” is a misnomer for the event. It’s really two main events; one for white Harley bikers and one for black bikers (Black Bike Week). The main shows are accompanied by parties, concerts and motorcycle sideshows that run from early May through Memorial Day. During that period, Myrtle Beach’s felony rate nearly quadrupled, traffic deaths increased (5 related deaths last year), and resident complaints skyrocketed. Last fall, the City Council unanimously voted to ban loud exhaust systems and engine revving, helmet-less riders, roadside food and booze displays, multiple bike parking spaces, and enacted a curfew for minors and alcohol sales for a total of 15 new, bike-related rules.

Bikers responded by saying “May Is On, Myrtle Beach,” but the reality is that most of the bikers ended up in economically hard-hit North Carolina. Myrtle Beach set out road blocks and police checks that all but completely shunted the biker traffic to other locations. Most bikers avoided/boycotted the town altogether.

Dirt Bikes for Kids on Reprieve

April 3, Nancy Nord, the acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, announced that enforcement of the section of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act which bans lead content from products intended for use by children will be suspended until May 1, 2011. The CPSC can not override the act, but it allows Congress time to review the ban and, possibly, revise the legislation. This temporary reprieve does not restrict states from enforcing the law. There are currently two bills in Congress that attempting to rewrite the ban on these specific products.

Announcing the “Rider Eye Tracking Research Program”

Dynamic Research, Inc. and Oregon State University’s Team Oregon Motorcycle Safety Program have launched a study of “motorcyclists’ eye tracking habits.” Paid for by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this study hopes to figure out why “nearly half of all motorcycle fatalities are due to single vehicle crashes” and “motorcyclists’ failure to negotiate curves properly.” So far, it appears that we “do not look far enough ahead through curves.” (Any MSF instructor could have provided that information for free.) The 12-month study will test subject groups “on a closed course and the open road for the initial, spring 2009 testing period; then again following six months and 12 months of riding experience.”

news112Get Your Free “Gear Up” Sticker and Learn Something, Too

The Gear Up Project is offering a free sticker and a boat-load of valuable information about motorcycle protective gear. To get it all, send an email to with your mailing address.

What’s More Important Than Fingernails?

A Chicago bimbo rear-ended and killed a motorcyclist while painting her fingernails. Anita Zaffke, of Lake Zurich, was on her motorcycle waiting for a traffic light when she was hit from behind and suffered fatal chest and abdominal injuries.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Scott Morrison said, “It appears to be a tragic accident and it appears Zaffke did nothing wrong. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and she could not have done anything to avoid it.” Zaffke was wearing a helmet and other protective gear at the time.

Lora Hunt, 48, “a mother of five and a grandmother of six” admitted to police that she was occupied by the all-important driving task of fingernail painting and sailed through the red light without seeing the motorcycle. Sheriff Mark Currin said, “She conceded to us that she was not paying attention. . . she really was oblivious to what was going on around her.” (No, I do not have a micron of sympathy for Hunt. I’d fill those empty Guantanamo cells with drivers like her.) Hunt was charged with “failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.” It is possible she might face additional charges.

Buell and the AmericanAdventure Grant

Buell announced the American Adventure Grant program, which will award some lucky rider/writer with “a new 2009 Buell Ulysses XB12X motorcycle, $2,500 in credit for Buell Parts & Accessories, and a check for $2,500 to complete the trip of his or her dreams.” (The staff of MMM recommends that none of our readers attempt to win this contest because we don’t need the competition.) If you insist on submitting an entry, “participants must complete an online profile and submit a 250-word online essay describing their trip by the deadline of 5 pm EST on June 23, 2009.” (Good luck. Not!)

Motorcycle Accident In DepthStudy (MAIDS) v2.0

For an interesting collection of motorcycle crash statistics, check out “This report describes the results of a multivariate analysis of the in-depth motorcycle accident data collected during the MAIDS project.”

RTWD; Be There or Deserve to be in a Cage

The 18th Annual Ride to Work Day is Monday, June 15th. Because of the world-wide economic crisis, many commuters are turning to motorcycles and scooters to conserve resources. A huge turnout is expected. “According to the United States Census Bureau and the Department of Transportation, over eighty million cars and light trucks are used for daily commuting on American roads, and about 200,000 motorcycles and scooters are a regular part of this mix. On Ride To Work Day, the practical side of riding becomes more visible as a larger number of America’s 8,000,000 cycles are ridden to work.” So, do your part and ride like a real motorcyclist. Motorcycles are not just for posing in front of bars!

World Superbike Win for Ducati

Ducati team riders, Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio, finished first and second in both Kyalami World Superbike races. American Ben Spies finished 3rd in the first race on his Yamaha, but was a DNF in the 2nd round due to mechanical problems, leaving the 3rd podium place to Jonathan Rea on a Honda. The day before Spies set a new Superpole lap record at the track during qualification trials. Spies has won six WSP in a row this year, tying Doug Polen’s old record. At this rate, however, Spies, or anyone else, is unlikely to put a dent in Haga’s “massive points lead” for the series.

50 Years of Honda Racing

In 1959, Honda entered the World Championship Grand Prix racing with five 125cc RC142 2-strokes at the Isle of Man TT (An American, Bill Hunt, was a member of that first Honda racing team.). Honda Racing Teams will be celebrating the anniversary by displaying a special logo. Honda is also issuing six Isle of Man “commemorative stamps” honoring Naomi Taniguchi, Mike Hailwood, Alex George, Joey Dunlop, Steve Hislop, and John McGuinness.

Le Mans Rossi-Unfriendly

Jorge Lorenzo took a MotoGP win at Le Mans on a Yamaha, followed by Marco Melandri on a Kawasaki, and Dani Pedrosa on a Honda. Lorenzo is now 1 point ahead of Ducati’s Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi in the season points race. Stoner finished in fifth place after wrestling with tire and steering damper problems. Rossi crashed his Yamaha, went to the pits 4 times for bike changes and penalties, and finished 15th for the day. The series follows Rossi and the pack to Mugello, “My home GP, where I will perhaps be even more motivated than usual.”

Honda Supplies Moto2 GP Engines

FIM officials decided that Honda will be the sole supplier of the engines for the new 600cc “affordable” MotoGP class, named “Moto2.” The spec motor redlines at 16,000 rpm, produces 160+ hp, and “only costs” 20,000 Euros ($26,988 as of this writing). The motor is based on the CBR600RR power plant. Repeating history, in 2010 the new 600cc 4-stroke will compete against the 250cc 2-strokes just like 2002, the final year for the 500cc MotoGP 2-strokes which were pitted against the new liter 4’s.

RIP: Bruce Ogilvie, 1953-2009

A family notice says, “Bruce Ogilvie passed away on April 13, 2009 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was a multi-time Baja champion who loved off-road riding and racing with his friends and family.” A memorial ride is scheduled for June 20th near Bell Mountain in the Mojave Desert, close to where Bruce spent years developing motorcycles for Honda. More information is available at Bruce was a mentor to practically everyone he ever met and a really good guy.

Sort of Not A Joke

5 drunk Russians on a Ural motorcycle (sans sidecar) were riding around Byisk, South Siberia until they crashed into an apartment building. The 19-year-old driver sailed through a door and died from head injuries. Two of the passengers were also thrown into the apartment. All four survivors were in “serious but stable” condition. The 81-year-old resident of the apartment suffered a heart attack.

NHTSA Recalls

Big Dog 2005 Ridgeback: The rear wheel can crack. Dealers will inspect the wheels and owners are advised to return for a free inspection every 2,500 miles.

BMW R1200 GS Adventure: ABS control unit can turn off in certain conditions with subsequent loss of ABS function.


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