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William B. (Billy) Lane

William D. (Billy) Lane

According to the Florida Inmate Release Information web site, William D. (Billy) Lane was released today from the Orlando Transition Center and is re-opening his shop in Daytona Beach, Florida.

You might recall that Billy Lane (Choppers Inc.) was involved in a drunk-driving crash that killed Sebastian Inlet Park Ranger and fellow biker Gerald Morelock on A-1-A in Melbourne Beach on September 4, 2006. Billy repeatedly took responsibility, didn’t offer any excuses for the crash and told the court he wasn’t seeking pity.

He was sentenced to six years in prison and three years’ probation.  Judge Robert Burger also ordered Lane’s driver license be suspended for life.

Good people make mistakes.  You can’t take the past back and he will have to live everyday with the thought that another person is no longer alive because of his actions.  There were no winners.  He paid a price, served his time and enough said.

My hope is that all goes well in his new shop and that he can be an inspiration to others in not only the creativity of his work.

Photo courtesy of Florida Corrections.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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red-lightI’m talking about Senate Bill 5141 which was signed by Gov. Inslee and took effect on June 14th.

It states that if a motorcyclist approaches an intersection, including a left turn intersection, controlled by a triggered traffic control signal using a vehicle detection device, and that signal is inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle, the motorcyclist must come to a complete stop. If the signal fails to operate after one cycle, the motorcyclist may proceed through the intersection or turn left after exercising due care.

The Washington legislation provided a legal way for motorcyclists to get through a red light and according to the American Motorcyclist Association, 14 other states have passed similar legislation.

In Oregon, motorcycle detection issues remain a problem at traffic lights in both rural and urban areas.  If you’re like me you’ve experienced the frustration and/or jockeyed around so that the auto behind can trigger the light.  And when motorcyclists encounter devices that fail to notice their presence, most riders will proceed through the red light after taking “due caution.”

I’m wondering when the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Governor’s Advisory Committee on Motorcycle Safety will take up the issue?

Many cagers and law makers believe that motorcyclists are at fault in triggering traffic lights so, in the spirit of reporting both sides… the Oregon Motorcycle Manual and the TEAM Oregon Motorcycle Safety Program offer advice on how to position a motorcycle correctly at traffic stops so signaling devices will hopefully register it.

Photo courtesy of the internet.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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What did you say?

What did you say?

I’m fascinated by the fact that everything blows up quickly today and there’s a rush to judgment.

Take the man of “sterling” character.

You know him as the 80-year old billionaire and L.A. Clippers owner.  Born, Donald Tokowitz there are no excuses for his ugly, crass and trashy comments, but after what seemed like  days of 24/7 news commentary (at least CNN moved off the Malaysian airplane search) incessantly playing snippets of the secretly-tape recorded phone conversation while calling for his head on a platter… I learned he was married and has three children.

.

Rip City, Baby!

Huh?  He has a wife?

In the NBA, only a team owner can sit with his “friend” (aka mistress) at games on national TV, give her millions of dollars in gifts, precipitate a lawsuit from the old coot’s wife demanding return of their community property and none of this merits discussion of the scandal stories about him?

Here’s the thing in America.  Gossip.  You may not be rich, but you can sure talk about the rich and everyone is.

In addition, hypocrisy reigns throughout the American landscape.  Racism and sexism are the new tools to destroy careers and people.  Some recent beat down examples are: Paula Dean when it was discovered she made a racial remark several years before it came to light.  Then there is Brenden Eich, CEO of Mozilla who was forced to step down from the company he founded when it was learned he made a $1K contribution in support of California Prop 8, which was against same sex marriage.

So what’s the point here Mac?  How does this relate to the motorcycle community?

Well the last time I checked, in this country, people are allowed to be morons.  In addition, they’re allowed to be stupid and think idiotic thoughts.  It’s a very slippery slope when you say something stupid in the privacy of your own home that is recorded and made public without your knowledge or consent and then you’re force to sell something you own or you’re interest is involuntarily seized.

Let me say it again for the haters.  I don’t share Sterling’s views so save the emails.

It’s clear the verdict for Sterling comes largely at the expense of the right of privacy and the motorcycle community is well aware of privacy/freedom to ride issues like motorcycle-only checkpoints and police targeting of “pack riders” and/or motorcycle clubs.  It’s not about any crime, but how the government judges who you are, who you associate with or by simply what type of vehicle you use.  Yeah, Sterling is in the NBA and it operates with different rules…

Then again, some lawmakers are currently sponsoring a bill to have federal researchers comb through broadcast radio and television, cable and public-access TV, commercial mobile services and other electronic media and the Internet for any communications that may have prompted violent acts and/or “hate crimes.”   Think about how much power this vague bill would give a handful of people over hundreds of millions of people.

The rush to judge and failure of due process or to consider many of Sterling’s rights in the process of this specific incident and how they were suppressed — has a scent all its own.

The “Uncle Sam” photo courtesy of Paul Lachine.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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speeding_102Only fourteen days since the first reckless motorcyclist was arrested in 2014, and now we have Jason James Overhuel of Keizer, OR., exhibiting a new era of motorcycle excellence.

On January 17, 2014, an Oregon State Police (OSP) trooper stopped to assist a motorcyclist whose motorcycle broke down during the evening. During the contact of the motorcyclist, Mr. Overhuel, age 30, told OSP officers he was waiting for gas but denied operating the motorcycle. The OSP officers learned that Mr. Overhuel’s operator license was suspended.  After roadside assistance arrived, Mr. Overhuel was WARNED not to operate the motorcycle because his license was suspended. If he did and OSP spotted him, he would be cited and the motorcycle would also be towed and impounded.

After sleeping on it… and what can only be described as an epic misunderstanding of the OSP troopers words of advice.

At approximately 10:31 a.m., the next day, the same OSP trooper that had stopped to assist the disabled motorcycle saw a motorcyclist riding southbound on Interstate 5 near milepost 257 at a high rate of speed. The trooper overtook the speeding motorcycle and obtained a speed reading of up to 102 mph, using all 3 lanes to pass slower traffic and failing to yield to the trooper’s emergency lights for a brief period until stopping.  After the stop the OSP trooper confirmed that it was Mr. Overhuel.

OSP arrested Mr. Overhuel for reckless driving and he was also cited for violation Driving While Suspended.  And as previously communicated, the motorcycle was towed and impounded.

Mr. Overhuel looks to be stuck in a below-average eddy and it will take a lot of rowing to get out.

Photo courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk

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Automatic License Plate Reader Technology

Automatic License Plate Reader Technology

Earlier today I received a notice from the Portland Police Bureau about their new patrol cars and the Police technology that will be on display for the general public.  It’s a “show-and-tell” exercise for the media.

The demonstration includes the latest in Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) technology.

Yeah, those quiet mass tracking devices that log license plates and perform driver surveillance!  Cruiser-mounted cameras can scan about 700 license plates an hour.  We’re starting to get a clear picture of the technology deployed for mass routine location tracking and surveillance.

Automatic license plate readers are the most widespread location tracking technology available to law enforcement. Mounted on patrol cars or stationary objects like bridges, they snap photos of every passing car, and motorcycle recording their plate numbers, times, and locations.

At first the captured plate data was used just to check against lists of motorcycles or cars law enforcement hoped to locate for various reasons (to act on arrest warrants, find stolen vehicles, etc.). Increasingly, however, all of this data is being fed into massive databases that contain the location information of many millions of innocent Americans stretching back for months or even years.  In addition, private companies are also using license plate readers and sharing the information they collect with police with little or no oversight or privacy protections.

I’m okay with law enforcement’s use of these systems to take pictures of plates to identify people who are driving stolen cars or are subject to an arrest warrant.  The technology makes it possible to check plates against “hot lists” of vehicles that are of interest to law enforcement. This can be done almost instantaneously and if the plates generate a “hit” I can understand the need to store the data for investigative purposes.

But, how long should the plate data be retained?

Automatic license plate readers have the potential to create permanent records of virtually everywhere any of us has driven.  It could radically transform the consequences of leaving home to pursue private life, and opening up many opportunities for abuse.

In Portland, Or., the data retention rules are a minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 4-years.  More information is HERE.  Like many, I don’t like this growing trend where the government is increasingly using new technology to collect information about American citizens, all the time, and is storing it forever — providing a complete record of citizens’ lives for the government to access at will.

Should you care?   Yes.  In New York City, for instance, police officers have reportedly driven unmarked vehicles equipped with license plate readers around local mosques in order to record each attendee.

What if entire motorcycle clubs/communities are targeted based on their associational makeup?

It’s a core principle that in the United States of America, the government does not invade its citizens’ privacy and store information about their innocent activities just in case they do something wrong.

Photo courtesy of firstcoastnews.com

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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2013 Ride to Work Day

2013 Ride to Work Day

Back in the day when a cowboy joined an outfit he threw down his bedroll in a chuck wagon.  When he does that, he gives his loyalty 100% to the outfit.  It’s a cowboy thing.  If you don’t like the way an outfit is run, you grab your bedroll, pony and ride on down the trail.

It was a code established by the rugged pioneers and is just as relevant in today’s world as back then, but I’ve gotten off topic.

I’m talking about riding for the “motorcycle” brand.

Huh?

Yesterday marked the 21st Annual Ride to Work Day—it’s a day when thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts across the U.S. ride their motorcycles to work in a show of mutual support and solidarity. Originally created by Motorcycle Consumer News columnist Bob Carpenter in 1992, the event has served as a way to promote motorcycles and rider safety; combining the ride with numerous activities around the country, including charitable events.

Many riders don’t need another incentive to ride, but the Ride to Work Day is not just something to talk about, but to participate in.  I count myself as one of the thousands of motorcycle riders and enthusiasts across the U.S., so I was up early and headed to the ‘plant’ which in of itself is a rare occurrence since I work remote most days.

Sure, I exposed myself to the situation where someone doesn’t obey the rules of the road… like that beat up Toyota mini-van which made an abrupt 2-lane change as they entered onto Highway 217.  The cars were slamming on brakes which was a little concerning, but not nearly as bad as the dude in the well-worn Ford Escape that cut me off on Highway 26.  His NO SIGNAL lane-change was so close that I thought about asking if he’d check my front tire pressure!  Or how about on the way home the lady in the Red Mazda – yeah you – with heavily tinted windows so preoccupied with her cell phone texting that she nearly rear-ended the car in front of her.

I’ve blogged at length about distracted driving in Oregon and how it’s the norm rather than exception and can honestly say that after being on the road in rush hour traffic I was not inspired, but if nothing else I was there in a “show of force” saying I rode to work today!  It was not only an opportunity to raise awareness about motorcycles, but it also provided me a chance to talk about road safety.

And speaking of transportation, one disappointment from yesterday’s Ride To Work event is the seemingly lack of visible support or promotion of two-wheel transportation by John Kitzhaber, Oregon Governor or the legislators.  You might recall that Governor Kitzhaber met recently with and challenged the Oregon Transportation Commission to create a 21st century transportation system that best serves Oregonians.  And, I’m quoting here… “A transportation system that will attract and grow business, provide mobility, reduce the carbon impacts of transportation and transition into a truly multimodal and efficient transportation system for the state of Oregon.”

I would think that two-wheel transportation is part of that “system” and the absence of visible support is odd given Oregon’s home-grown, Brammo that manufactures electric motorcycles in Ashland, and it’s perplexing given that Senators Ron Wyden and Representative Greg Walden worked to get a tax credit extension for Brammo.

One has to ask if we have the right group of individuals at the transportation table at the beginning of the process to define the problem and solution together?

Photo of author.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Digging Through Saddlebags

Digging Through Saddlebags

Yeah, it may well happen if you come across a motorcycle-only checkpoint.

I’ve written previously about how motorcycle safety outweighs individual liberty as state and local governments have begun to implement motorcycle-only checkpoints that unfairly target motorcyclists for inspection by law enforcement officers.

Specifically it’s called the “Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration Grant” (DTNH22-10-R-00386) and the motorcycle-only checkpoints are funded by grants given out by the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  That’s correct.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is offering federal funds to expand the practice of creating motorcycle-only checkpoints by law enforcement agencies.

Initially started in New York State, the process involves setting-up checkpoints where only motorcycles are pulled over. Law enforcement officers will check for U.S. DOT-compliant helmets, legal exhaust systems, and compliance with licensing, registration and inspection regulations.  And they may decide to dig through your saddlebags!

What can you do?

Petition-PhotoSign this petition which calls for the cessation of the NHTSA’s direct and indirect funding of the motorcycle-only checkpoints through its grants and other measures, and asks that the laws for vehicle conformity and passenger safety be applied equally to motorcycles and automobiles alike.

Why This Petition Site?  The White House’s “We the People” website is the only one that sends a message directly to the president.  Once 25,000 signatures are reach, the petition is put in front of President Barack Obama, where he has to officially respond to the petition, which could include directing the NHTSA from funding motorcycle-only checkpoints.

I Live In A State With-Out Motorcycle-Only Check Points, Why Should I Bother To Sign?  Because there are a large number of motorcyclists in the U.S., yet overall our passion is shared by only a small portion of the population. This makes it relatively easy for laws, and those who enforce those laws, to target motorcyclists unfairly.  The motorcycling community needs to come together, regardless of how this one issue affects you, in order to ensure that the basic rights of motorcyclists everywhere are assured.

This Won’t Change Anything, So I’m Not Going To Waste My Time.  You might be right, but putting the issue in front of The President of the U.S. might do something, and if nothing else, it shows that the motorcycle-riding community is an active participant in what occurs in Washington D.C. and in the local legislatures. Doing nothing truly means that nothing will change.

Crap, I Have To Register To Sign This.  Are You Kidding Me?  The White House’s “We the People” website is the only site that sends a message directly to the president, and if there are enough signatures, the president has to formally respond to the petition.

I Don’t Want The Government To Have My Email Address.  Ahh… right, like they don’t already know where you live…

Please take the time and consider signing the petition.

Photos courtesy of Baggers Magazine and The White House “We The People” website.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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