Where real journalism meets italicized, smart-assed comments.

by Gus Breiland
Sometimes Leather Ain’t So Bad
Pittsburg, Calif.—A group of Harley-Davidson motorcycle riders found themselves on the receiving end of a car driver’s rage on state Highway 4 in Pittsburg, the California Highway Patrol reported. CHP Officer Scott Yox said investigators have no reason to believe the riders did anything to provoke 50-year-old Richard Brooks of Concord before he started pursuing them.

The group of five was heading east on Highway 4 around 9:15 a.m. when Brooks allegedly started swerving toward them with his car, an older Plymouth Sundance or similar model, Yox said. Brooks was waving a pool cue at the group, which broke into two packs to try and escape him, according to the CHP.

Brooks zeroed in on two riders who pulled over just beyond the Railroad Avenue onramp to the highway, thinking they might be able to maneuver safely down the onramp against the flow of traffic and away from Brooks, Yox said. Brooks stopped in front of the riders and got out of his car, pool cue in hand, but he was knocked down before he could reach them.

Brooks had left his own car in reverse, Yox explained, and it bumped him into the highway before moving across all lanes and crashing into the center median. “The motorcyclists at that point grab him, get him out of the traffic lanes and detain him until officers arrive,” Yox said.

Brooks ended up hospitalized with cuts and bruises and was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, Yox said. He added that CHP officers are grateful no one else was hurt in the incident. Brooks told investigators and the motorcycle riders that he wanted to “teach them a lesson,” Yox said.

“He thought they were trying to act tough in their motorcycle garb,” but instead of living up to his expectations, Yox said of the riders, “they kept their cool on this one.” The motorcyclists have declined to pursue any assault charges.

Getting accosted by a guy in a Plymouth Sundance. We think “was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving” sums it up pretty well.

Buell Announces Support Of New Moto-ST Endurance Series
Buell Motorcycle Company recently announced support for the new MOTO-ST endurance racing series, which will begin with the 8-Hours at Daytona on October 21, 2006. Buell will be the presenting sponsor of the MOTO-ST SuperSport Twins (SST) class and will offer $10,000 of contingency support to privateer Buell racers aboard XB and XBRR model motorcycles at the inaugural Daytona event. The Buell contingency bolsters the $100,000 total event purse recently announced by MOTO-ST.

“We’re really excited about the MOTO-ST endurance series and we’re proud to support the privateer Buell racers who will step up to the challenge,” said Erik Buell, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer of Buell Motorcycle Company. “Endurance racing is a true test of man and machine and the sights and sounds of all those V-Twins thundering around the high banks of Daytona for eight hours is going to be awesome.”

Buell will award Buell racers in the SuperSport Twins class with $2,000 to win; $1,000 for second; $750 for third; $500 for fourth; and $350 for fifth. Buell racers in the GrandSport Twins and Sport Twins class will receive $1,000 to win; $750 for second; $500 for third; $300 for fourth and $200 for fifth. Complete details of the $700,000-plus 2006 Buell contingency program, including the racer registration form, are available at www.buell.com in the Racing Support Section.

MOTO-ST is organized by Professional Motorsports Productions of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) of Pickerington, Ohio. The Grand American Road Racing Association, based in Daytona Beach, Fla., provides the series with administrative and commercial support. The MOTO-ST advisory board features some of the most respected individuals in the world of motorsports, including AMA Hall of Fame members, respected motorcycle racing journalists and renowned officials from various forms of road racing. Learn more about MOTO-ST at www.moto-st.com.

To Helmet Or Not To Helmet
A Santa Cruz County, California Superior Court judge ruled in August that at least a dozen citations, leveled against self-taught helmet law activist, Richard Quigley, for not wearing a motorcycle helmet, are unconstitutional because the California Highway Patrol has failed to properly define what constitutes a safe motorcycle helmet.

In his seven-page ruling, Judge Michael Barton sided with Quigley, 61, of Aptos, whose argument in numerous court appearances over the years is that his soft leather baseball cap is just as much a helmet as the so-called standard hard-shelled helmets worn by most motorcycle riders.

The California Highway Patrol must define what a helmet is or any citations written by officers are unconstitutional, Barton ruled. The interpretation of what constitutes a helmet, the judge wrote, is unfairly left up to the CHP officer’s “subjective opinion,” and the set of guidelines and safety standards are “vague.”

Quigley, who’s been fighting the helmet law for years, was elated at the judge’s detailed clarification of a ruling last month.

In July, Barton sided with Quigley and dismissed nine helmet citations against him, on the premise that the law was too vague. Recently, he dismissed the final two citations against Quigley, ruling that “The CHP is the only state agency authorized by the statutes to adopt reasonable regulations establishing specifications and standards for motorcycle safety helmets. The CHP’s failure to adopt such regulations, and make them available to the public, has rendered the helmet law statutes void for vagueness as applied.”

The judge’s order and its implications caught the California Highway Patrol off guard, and the agency’s general counsel was seeking legal advice. Since the motorcycle helmet law went into effect, Quigley said he has never paid any fines as a result of a citation. Instead, he said, he has served hours of community work at the Santa Cruz Law Library where he researched the case he has finally won.

Just goes to show you that even a blind squirrel can get a nut. I’m not a fan of government telling me what to do in every aspect of my life and so I am in a pickle over helmet laws. On one hand, I think this guy is a moron for not doing a simple thing like wearing a helmet, while on the other he has ironically made the CHP aware of their loophole. I am certain the CHP will go above and beyond in their the definition of a helmet. Now instead of a soup bowl riders might be forced to wear DOT/SNELL rated full face lids. Ironically forcing riders like Quigley to cover their entire melon!

You Bad, Bad Bad Motorcyclists And Your Super Motards…
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently became aware of the fact that some off-highway motorcycles may have been inappropriately converted to street legal registration by the Department of Motor Vehicles since new policies banning that practice were adopted in 2004. In mid 2003, new policies were issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles that blocked owner or dealer conversions of off-highway motorcycles. This was in response to CARB requirements that all street legal motorcycles must be certified by CARB that they meet street legal motorcycle emission standards. DMV policies had historically allowed conversions after appropriate lighting and safety equipment was installed, but those policies had not been updated to reflect newer CARB regulations adopted subsequent to the DMV policy development.

After discussions among the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), DMV and CARB, a delayed implementation of the new policy until 1-31-04 was adopted, allowing owners who had already purchased or ordered motorcycles in good faith, with the intent to utilize the existing DMV policy to complete the conversion to street legal status. After 1-31-04, no off-highway motorcycles were supposed to be converted and registered by DMV.

Currently, DMV and CARB are auditing DMV records to determine if off-highway motorcycles have been converted to street legal status inappropriately since the 1-31-04 cut-off date. Preliminary indications are that some motorcycles may have been inappropriately converted, and a more detailed audit is underway to determine if that is the case and if so, how many of them were done, and to whom they belong. Owners of any off-highway motorcycles that are determined to be inappropriately converted will be contacted by DMV by mail, informed their street legal license plates are no longer valid, and offered the opportunity to register the bikes as off-highway motorcycles.

The only motorcycles that are allowed to be street registered are models that are certified by CARB as meeting highway emission standards, those converted previous to the 1-31-04 deadline and motorcycles of model year 1977 and older. Anyone who converted their off-highway motorcycles to street legal status prior to the 1-31-04 date will not be affected, and their current status will not change.

DMV registration procedures pertaining to off-highway motorcycle conversions can be viewed at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/homepage.htm

Ah, government. Worried about the little things; i.e. the smallest voting populations that typically don’t raise a stink when laws are changed around their lively hood or pastime. Yet again, California is on the forefront of putting the boot of government excess across the neck of fun and entertainment. We all long for a Motard or street tracker. Make sure your representatives know who you are and understand your position on this wonderful sport we call riding.

3M Introduces Lead-FreeWheel Weight System
3M Automotive introduces a wheel weight system that is designed to have less impact on the environment than the industry standard lead wheel weights.

“The new 3M Wheel Weight System is made of a highly flexible and conformable composite material that can be cut to length to meet exact weight requirements,” said Scott Taylor, automotive technology manager for 3M Automotive. “The material’s flexibility allows one profile to fit all wheel diameters.”

3M’s wheel weight material is flexible enough to be cut with a scissor, yet tough enough to withstand rigorous durability, weathering, salt spray and salt fog testing to exceed current OEM standards.

The new wheel weights are attached using 3M Acrylic Foam Tape, a known and trusted technology that 3M has been providing to the industry for decades.

For more information about the 3M Wheel Weight System, visit www.3M.com/wheelweights

Harley-Davidson Enters Into Agreement With Lehman Trikes
Harley-Davidson Motor Company announced that it has entered into an agreement with Lehman Trikes U.S.A., Inc. of Spearfish, S.D., for the development of three-wheeled vehicles, commonly referred to as “trikes.”

Plans call for trikes to be developed around a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle product platform and sold as original equipment branded Harley-Davidson vehicles through authorized Harley-Davidson dealers. The Company has not announced the timing or other details of the product introduction.

“Trikes are another way we can inspire the dream of owning a Harley-Davidson,” said Harley-Davidson Vice President Ron Hutchinson. “Harley-Davidson continues to aggressively develop new products. We expect trikes to expand the appeal of our products to those who prefer either the styling or experience of three-wheeled riding,” Hutchinson said.

Lehman Trikes U.S.A. is a subsidiary of Lehman Trikes, Inc. of Canada, a recognized leader in the trike business for more than 20 years.

Inside sources say that Editor Pearman and friend E. James were at the front of the line, ordering a matched pair.

M.M.M.

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