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Posts Tagged ‘Statesman Journal’

Reminiscent of the sly wizard in Frank Baum’s classic The Wizard of Oz, chances are most people have probably never heard of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) program manager of motorcycle safety and safety standards, Michele O’Leary.

Who is Michele O’Leary?   A person who wants you to wear a helmet and protective clothing.  The person who manages the motorcycle endorsement funds and determines how it gets allocated.  But wait there’s even more…

The Statesman Journal has an interesting interview with O’Leary and it provides insight on the person behind the curtain.

First off, O’Leary came to the job with a motorcycle endorsement and owns a motorcycle!  It’s good to be able to relate to rider issues and in my book this was a step ahead of the Harley-Davidson CEO (Keith Wandell) when he was hired last year with neither.   As a member of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on motorcycle safety, O’Leary has the inside track and has been successful in getting legislation changed to increase fines/penalties on certain types of infractions deemed safety oriented.  Is that good?

I became acquainted with O’Leary as part of my safety rants back in April to do anything and everything to encourage the use of the States variable message signs (VMS) for motorcycle awareness. Those neon signs are peppered across the metro area roadways and provide information about traffic congestion and accident reports and in my little world I thought they would make an excellent public safety reminder for drivers to watch out for motorcycles.  My request was promptly denied and I got “schooled” on the ‘correct’ usage of variable message signs by the ODOT traffic engineers. Previous posts related to this subject matter at: Motorcycle Safety TacticsSpotlight On ODOTWanna Be Policy Makers.

Many might debate that we need to ‘just say no’ to the ever increasing attempts by the government to manage every aspect of our lives through increased regulation.  Others will say it’s a noble cause to help make Oregon motorcycle riders safer.  Read the interview, learn who is looking out for you and judge for yourself…

And finally, if the above wasn’t enough to digest… from the edges of the internet come information about a tornado strikes festival celebrating The Wizard of Oz.

Photo courtesy of Picasa.

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Lynn Ashcroft - Ashcroft Motorcycles

Ashcroft Motorcycles opened its doors in Salem, Oregon back in 1995.

The shop is owned by Lynn Ashcroft who builds full custom “hot rod” oriented motorcycles and custom automobiles.  Joe Miller manages the shop on a day to day basis with a staff that varies between 4 and 6 individuals.

Mr. Ashcroft is also known as the honorable  Judge Lynn E. Ashcroft. However, he resigned his position this week on the Marion County bench in a one-sentence letter to the governor and Supreme Court chief justice under allegations of official misconduct.

Mr. Ashcroft has a colorful background and a lot more information is available on the Oregon State Bar web site.  According to the Statesman Journal, Ashcroft left the bench for personal reasons and to avoid a public battle to defend himself.  All of this surrounds a 2008 case, where Ashcroft made an unsympathetic remark to a defendant, Heather Parks, after he denied her court-appointed counsel.

Besides being a ‘hot rodder’ and custom motorcycle builder, Mr. Ashcroft is a former Brigadier General and served both on active duty in the United States Army and in the National Guard as an Armor Cavalry Officer, Infantry unit commander and a Judge Advocate General officer.  He was the senior partner in a law firm (Ashcroft & Wiles LLP) with offices in Salem and Portland, Oregon.  The bikes mix traditional motorcycle and “rodding” designs and components incorporating modern technology and ideas. Ashcroft began customizing motorcycles after purchasing his first Harley-Davidson in 1992 and modifying it to fit his own style. He began coming up with his own designs and taught himself how to weld, machine, and build them.  The custom-designed motorcycles have drawn national attention — having been featured in magazines such as The Robb Report, MotorCycling, Stuff and Easy Rider.

A Pendleton native, Ashcroft has an affinity for designing cool motorcycles and is well respected for his customization work.  The motorcycle community is better served with him working full-time on bike building.  If he needs another thrill ride, maybe he’ll decide to become an activist and help take on some of the motorcycle legal battles such as biker profiling?

Photo courtesy of Ashcroft Motorcycles and Statesman Journal

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