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HiRes.jpgThere is some good news coming out of the twisty fiscal cliff ride we have all been on with Congress these past few weeks. One of our favorite parts of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 is the extension of tax credits for electric motorcycles. Having represented many motorcycle enthusiasts in my Atlanta motorcycle injury law practice, any good news about biking in America is worth repeating. If you weren’t watching closely as we rode closer and closer to the cliff, you might have missed this good news for electric bikes.

Thanks for this goes to Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon who sponsored the extension of the EV tax credit. This legislations allows buyers of these vehicles to receive a credit of 10% of the cost of a qualified electric vehicle with a cap of $2500 for each vehicle. These bikes are required to be a two- or three-wheeled plug-in electric designed mainly to be ridden on public streets, roads, and highways. They also need to be capable of traveling at 45 miles per hour or more. This language prevents electric golf carts and similar vehicles from being eligible for this tax credit.

The tax credit is also very good news for jobs in the expanding electric motorcycle industry reports MotorcycleUSA. Senator Widen’s official statement noted that “the electric motorcycle industry is expected to create nearly 2,000 jobs in just the next 18 months and more than 16,000 jobs over the next 5 years.” Senator Wyden says that over the next decade thousands of jobs will be created due to these vehicles which also supports “the transition to a low-carbon American economy.”

The pacific northwest, and specifically Oregon, has been a greenhouse of electric motorcycle ingenuity. Some of the hottest bikes are coming out of the area including, Brammo and MotoCzysz.

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Thumbnail image for motorcycleriderleg.jpegAfter what was said to be a two-year investigation, last week the FBI raided several local biker clubs for what they allege are drug and fire arms violations. These allegations remain to be prosecuted, so we won’t know the facts until that happens, but the law enforcement operation appears to have been quite extensive. Although my Atlanta motorcycle injury law practice does not include criminal law, these arrests are of interest to the biking community I serve.

Two simultaneous raids were reported to have occurred last week in motorcycle clubs in the southwest Atlanta area as well as in Buford. Several clubs including the Outlaw Motorcycle Club and affiliated clubs the Hoodlums Motorcycle Club, Southern Knights and Black Pistons were charged with a number of crimes in federal court.

The United States Attorneys office for the Northern District of Georgia has issued a press release regarding the raid and the indictments that resulted from this investigation. As reported by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Atlanta’s United States Attorney, Sally Quillian Yates, issued a statement on the charges and arrests, noting that ” ‘The charges unsealed today allege that these motorcycle club members engaged in substantial drug trafficking and weapons offenses. This case is a big step forward in making sure that these groups don’t threaten the safety of our North Georgia communities.”

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hoggy.pngMotorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson Inc. is voluntarily recalling several of its touring motorcycles, trikes and other models from its Custom Vehicle Operations line with model years 2009 through 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The basis for the recall is potentially damaged rear brake-light switches that may have been caused by heat from the bikes’ exhaust systems. The recall encompasses 250,757 models constructed from June 6, 2008 through Sept. 16, 2011. The company reported one crash that could possibly be attributed to the flaw.

Based on reports from the motorcycle manufacturing giant, the excessive heat could cause a switch responsible for activating brake lights to fail, or conversely, activating it when the brake has not been applied. The hitch could also result in brake fluid leakage at the switch possibly keeping the rear brake from functioning correctly. Any of one these defects could result in a crash.

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President Barack Obama signed into law a bill allowing continued sales of kids’ off-highway, according to the American Motorcyclist Association.

The law (H.R. 2715) was introduced by Representatives Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). With its passage, kids’ off-highway vehicles (OHV) are now exempt from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, referred to as the lead law.
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All of Georgia’s Congressional members voted in favor of the act, including Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia’s 11th District, Rep. Jack Kingston of District 1, Rep. John Barrow of District 12 and Rep. John Lewis of District 5.

This act banned the making, importing, distributing or selling of products marketed for children 12 and under containing more than a precise amount of lead accessible for ingestion. To the chagrin of many families and children, kids’ dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) were included in the ban.

Prior to our lawmakers’ summer recess, H.R. 2715 cleared the House by a 421-2 vote on Aug. 1 and earned Senate approval by unanimous consent the same day.

The hard-fought victory results from the exhaustive efforts by the AMA and its associated organization, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), their members and countless advocates for responsible OHV recreation. Their determined efforts totaled roughly three years.

“Federal legislators deserve a lot of thanks for their tireless efforts, especially U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and all the other lawmakers who supported an exemption,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “Hundreds of thousands of parents, kids and motorcycling club members responded to AMA calls for action to contact their elected officials and their efforts, along with all those volunteers who circulated petitions and took other actions, brought this issue to the attention of Congress and turned the tide in our favor.”

Dingman further credited the thousands of letters, emails and telephone calls that were made to Congress, convincing lawmakers to exempt OHVs from the lead law.

“I’m also convinced that the AMA Family Capitol Hill Climb held on May 26 played a major role, since it put a human face on the issue by showing lawmakers the kids and families who are suffering because of the CPSIA,” he said. “I want to extend a very special thanks to Malcolm Smith, a member of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, who brought a lot of attention to the unfairness of the lead law when he hosted a media event at Malcolm Smith Motorsports and sold some youth OHVs as a symbolic gesture to protest the law.”

Dingman also gave credit to the Motorcycle Industry Council and Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, representatives of the motorcycle and ATV industries, the trade media as well as Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, president of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.

Since 2009, the AMA was the vanguard of this challenge, maintaining the exclusion of child-sized motorcycles and ATVs from the CPSIA. The association tirelessly lobbied on Capitol Hill, organizing campaigns to encourage riders and parents to reach out to their federal lawmakers and other decision-makers to exempt kids’ OHVs from the CPSIA. The AMA magnified these efforts through its “Kids Just Want to Ride” campaign.
The North Georgia Parks and Recreation Department maintains OHV trails for children and their families.

Before embarking on an outing, be sure to go over riding tips with your children or even better, enroll them in a safety course in one of the great classes in the Metro Atlanta area designed specifically for kids. Invest in quality safety gear that is appropriate for small children. It is not a good idea to let them go out in ill-fitting adult-sized helmets and gloves.

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bike_charging.jpgFor those looking to green their two-wheeled machine now is your chance. WOW Motorcycles of Marietta is set to become Georgia’s first electric motorcycle dealer. To celebrate the arrival of Zero Motorcycles, the dealership is holding an open house celebration with a stunt show, prizes, live music, giveaways and free food.

The event, taking place this Saturday, October 15, is also a chance to support the riders participating in the Ride for Haiti Poker Run which departs from the locale at 10 a.m.

“WOW Motorcycles was the first dealership in Georgia to carry our state-of-the-art Zero Motorcycles and we’re thrilled to be a part of this exciting event for the public,” said John Lloyd, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Zero Motorcycles. “There are already a lot of exciting activities at the open house, but every time a traditional motorcycle enthusiast sees and rides one of our bikes, they come away excited. This is the perfect opportunity for that.”

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We’ve rounded up more fantastic opportunities to support local charities, meet fellow riders and enjoy some great fall weather. And since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, check back for a listing and description of many of the rides taking place throughout Georgia raising money for cancer research.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Light Up the 9/11 Living Honorarium Motorcycle Ride

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fall.jpgThere are many great rides for charity coming up this fall. Rides are a great way to meet other two-wheeling enthusiasts in your area, brush up on your riding skills and support some great causes. We found three rides taking place this Saturday taking place in Buford, McDonough, and Pooler, Georgia.

The 11th annual Hall County Sheriff’s Office Ride for Kids begins at Frazier’s Harley-Davidson, Buford, Georgia and ends at Rider’s Hill in Dahlonega. The cost is $25 per bike, $10 per passenger with the proceeds benefitting all of the Youth Home programs throughout Georgia. Participants should be ready to roll out by 10:30 a.m.

The Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes strive to give Georgia’s most at-risk children the care, sense of security and structure that will help them become independent and thriving adults. The program was realized in 1960 with the opening of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Boys Ranch in Hahira, Lowndes County, Georgia, a small town just north of Valdosta and the Florida border. The campus today encompasses over four hundred acres and five cottages, affording children plenty of outdoor space for recreation, exercise and fresh air. Cherokee Estate, located in Whitfield County, just a few miles northeast of Dalton is a home for girls situated on lush and verdant pastures. The Herrington Homestead for boys in Emanuel County is another home supported by the Sheriffs’ program. Mountain View is the latest addition to the Youth Homes program. Located in North Georgia near the city of Chatsworth in Murray County, the home boasts spectacular views of Fort Mountain.

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