by Thomas Day
Hall of Famous Motorcycle Owners
The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum brought 50 famous motorcycle owners’ motorcycles to Pickerington, OH. “MotoStars: Celebrities + Motorcycles” brings the bikes owned by characters like General Motors vice-chairman Robert A. Lutz, car driver Dan Gurney, actors Steve McQueen and Tom Arnold, rocker Neil Peart, and boxer, Tommy Hearns. The exhibit also has a photo wall of fame with Malcolm S. Forbes, E. Paul duPont, George C. Scott, Kirk Douglas, Hunter S. Thompson, Ann Richards, Mel Tormé, and band members from ZZ Top. David Morris, author of the book “Motostars” and curator of the show said, “We have chosen people who are leaders in their fields who also happen to be members of the motorcycle family. Like the rest of us, getting on a motorcycle allows them to escape. In their case, to escape notoriety, handlers, paparazzi and telephones.”
Pennsylvania Collects Helmet Law Data for the Rest of Us
In 2003, Pennsylvania repealed a helmet law. Here’s what we know from that experiment: “The researchers compared accident statistics from the two years before repeal with numbers from the two years after. After repeal, helmet use among riders in crashes decreased to 58 percent from 82 percent. At the same time, head injury deaths increased 66 percent and head injury hospitalizations increased 78 percent . . . acute-care hospital charges for motorcycle-related head injuries increased 132 percent in the latter period, compared with a 69 percent increase in other injury costs.”
H-D Reports Second Quarter Drop in Sales
On July 17, Harley Davidson reported a 15.6% decrease from the previous year’s production and a 23.3% reduction in net income. For many industry experts, this was expected as part of the softening economy. Harley is doing several things to remedy the downturn in cruiser sales, including acquiring the MV Agusta Group. 2008 is expected to be a 15 to 20% reduction in earnings per share from the previous year.
In other news from H-D, the Harley-Davidson Museum is now open to the public. Harley torched the chain ribbon (with acetylene) to the new Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Museum on July 12, 2008. CEO Jim Ziemer received his first tattoo as part of the ceremony and other events marked the day. Ziemer said “Harley-Davidson has dreamed about building this Museum for a long time. It adds a whole new dimension to the Harley-Davidson experience.”
The AMA Selects the2008 Motocross ofNations AMA Team USA
James Steward, the 2007 AMA Supercross Champion and current AMA Motocross Championship points leader, will lead the 2008 Motocross of Nations team at England’s Donington Park Circuit on September 27-28. Stewart is coming back from a knee injury that caused him to miss the 2007 event, and is the 2008 points leader. “I’m excited to be a part of Team USA,” said Stewart. “My main goal this season was to win the motocross championship, and I knew if I could do that I would have a good chance of representing the USA at the Motocross of Nations.” Stewart’s team includes Ryan Villopoto and Tim Ferry. Villopoto is making his third visit to the MoA and was the overall MX2 champion in both years in which he competed. Tim Ferry is the USA Open Class rider and is also making his third trip to the event. In 2003, Ferry was the Open Class runner-up and in 2007 he won the event.
Motorcycles = Cancer?
Canadian inventor and author Randall Dale Chipkar claims that motorcyclists are at extreme risk of prostate and colon cancer because of our vehicle’s ignition system and the proximity to our private parts. According to Chipkar, we are exposing ourselves to high levels of “low frequency electromagnetic field (ELF EMF) radiation” and that is a known contributor to cancer risk. His solution is a special ELF EMF shielded seat, which he sells, to provide shielding from this radiation. Read much more about this at his website, www.motorcyclecancer.com.
La Journée Nationale de la Moto et du Scooter
France will dedicate a day to “the sustainable use of motorcycles and motorscooters” on September 9th, 2008, at the Circuit Carole, in Paris. If you want to participate in the “La Journée Nationale de la Moto et du Scooter,” you’ll need an invitation.
Make a Harley Movie
Women have become a substantial portion of Harley-Davidson’s customer base, tripling their ownership percentage over the last 20 years. “To help inspire women to get into the sport of motorcycling, Harley-Davidson announced a special contest challenging female film makers to capture the passion, spirit, independence and empowerment that embodies the spirit of female riders.” If you are a “female film maker,” Harley is going to give you $5,000, an HD video camera, a wardrobe of MotorClothes®, and the opportunity to show your 2 minute film about women riders at a Los Angeles premiere party.
New York Woman Kills Biker with Beer Can
According to the AP, 57-year-old Georgeanna Crisalli was charged with felony reckless endangerment for tossing a beer can at a motorcycle. 50-year-old David Rivera was pulling into traffic when he was “distracted” by the flying beer can and ran into a car. Rivera died from hitting his head on the car’s bumper and what police investigators termed “excessive speed.”
Scary Motorcycle Faces
The AMA Rights, News & Notes quotes Honda Motor Company scientists that “if a motorcycle resembles a human face, especially an angry one, the motorcycle will be more visible to other motorists. This design can be seen on Honda’s ASV-3 motorcycle, as well as new sportbike models such as the 2008 CBR 1000RR. The look is achieved by slanted headlights and the shape of the nose.”
Isle of Man Events
Last year’s centennial event appears to be the peak for the Isle of Man TT. Attendance was back to 2006 levels, and 70 fewer bikes arrived on the island for the festival this year. Local vendors and tourist monitors claimed that the fans spent less time and money on the island than last year, too.
On the increase were visitor fatalities. Four bikers were killed in crashes. Island police said the crashes were mostly due to bikers “riding beyond their abilities.” Two deaths were the result of bike-car collisions, and two were due to crashes between two bikes. No TT participants were killed; either in the races or in practice. 74-year-old Sammy Miller, the trials celebrity and ex-road racer, crashed during the Ducati parade.
Sidecar racer, Dave Molyneux, after losing the 2nd race to Nicky Crowe, took his defeat out on his wife, Gaynor. Molyneux was convicted of “assault causing actual bodily harm.” His wife is recovering from the beating and, supposedly, hasn’t filed for divorce.
Reverend Crashes in Church
Pastor Jeff Harlow was trying to make a point about “unity” in his sermon, and brought his dirt bike to the church service. Instead, he demonstrated the concepts of “poor planning and lack of control.” Harlow broke his wrist riding off of a 5’ platform and landing in the unoccupied seats at Crossroads Community Church. “Jeff has already laughed a lot, so he’s OK. I think his pride was bruised,” said his wife, Becky. “He had this idea that he would bring his bike out onstage and show people how the rider would become one with the bike. He was going to just sit on it and drive it out. He was just walking the dirt bike out onstage and somehow it got away from him. It was not intended.”