MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Photos of the Mugen Shinden Ni sans Fairings

Given the competitive nature of the electric racing realm, its rare to see the big high-power bikes without their fairings, as teams are reluctant to reveal their secret sauce. Debuting the Mugen Shinden San this past weekend in Tokyo though, Team Mugen did just that, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of the team’s 2013 race bike, the Mugen Shinden Ni. You don’t have to be an electron-head to get excited by these photos, as any race bike with a carbon fiber frame and swingarm is pretty drool-worthy, though the Shinden Ni’s carbon fiber battery enclosure does hide a great deal of the electric superbike’s geek factor. While the sheer size of the battery bike is impressive, it was expected when the Shinden was first announced.

Mugen Shinden San (神電 参) Electric Superbike Revealed

Mugen’s third purpose-built electric superbike for the Isle of Man TT, the Mugen Shinden San, has been revealed in Japan. Campaigning two machines for this year’s TT Zero race, Mugen has John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey at the helm of its “Shinden San” bikes, as the duo looks for a one-two finish in this year’s race. With MotoCzysz not racing at the Isle of Man this year, Mugen is a hot favorite to take the top podium spots, as well as crack the 110 mph barrier for electrics on the historic Snaefell Mountain Course (Mugen is targeting a 115 mph lap). An evolution on the company’s previous designs, the Shinden San fits 134hp — 10hp more than last year, thanks to a new smaller three-phase brushless motor provided by Mission Motors — into its 529lbs bulk.

Trackside Tuesday: The Winning Personality of Jack Miller

Chatting with a couple of NASCAR fans recently, I was reminded that any competition is boring if you don’t care who wins. But if you do care, then even cars driving around in circles can be very compelling entertainment. Those NASCAR fans really cared about how their favorite drivers finished, and not only how they finished in the latest race, but what and how those drivers were doing off the track as well. Those fans had been captured by the personalities of those drivers. One of the things NASCAR does well is sell personalities. All major sports-related businesses do this to some extent, but some organizations do it better than others.

Living the Dream – A Photographer’s Story: Qatar

Imagine if just for once you didn’t have to stick to your usual nine-to-five job. Instead you were able to do the one job you’ve always wanted to do, but any number of things (it’s usually money) have stood in the way. This is exactly the situation I found myself in six months ago when the company I had worked at, for the last 14 years, decided to close, making everyone redundant. This decision did not come as a surprise; in fact, I had been hanging around for the last few years hoping that it would happen, as I had a plan. Fast-forward six months and I have just finished photographing the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar. The plan is starting to unfold.

Fuel or Electronics? Where Are Nicky Hayden & Scott Redding Losing Out on the Honda RCV1000R?

The news that Honda would be building a production racer to compete in MotoGP aroused much excitement among fans. There was much speculation over just how quick it would be, and whether it would be possible for a talented rider to beat the satellite bikes on some tracks. In the hands of active MotoGP riders, the gap was around 2 seconds at the Sepang tests. Nicky Hayden – of whom much had been expected, not least by himself – had made significant improvements, especially on corner entry. The difference in performance and the big gap to the front has been cause for much speculation. Where are the Honda production racers losing out to the Factory Option bikes?

Help Petition the Federal Government To Stop Funding Motorcycle-Only Checkpoints

01/08/2013 @ 5:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler25 COMMENTS

Help Petition the Federal Government To Stop Funding Motorcycle Only Checkpoints we the people constitution 635x422

Want to take a stand for the rights of motorcyclists? Here is your chance to stop the practice of motorcycle-only checkpoints. First implemented by the State of New York, inspection checkpoints that apply only to motorcycles have become a more common practice across the United States, and are an act of discrimination that is primarily due to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) funding of the practice through special grants.

Implemented under the guise of operating for the public’s safety, states like New York have been able to target motorcyclists at checkpoints for vehicle and passenger inspection, even when the motorcyclists have broken no apparent laws, with no similar checkpoints being setup for automobile drivers.

An alarming trend in the unfair application of the law, some states, like California, have been able to preemptively ban the practice through their legislative branches; however, other states like New York have continue using motorcycle-only checkpoints, with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently affirming motorcycle-only checkpoints as lawful in New York.

Over two years ago, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) urged NHTSA Administrator David Strickland to cease the NHTSA’s funding of motorcycle-only checkpoints. After denying the request, the NHTSA has continued to provide federal funds to state and local police programs for the specific use of these checkpoints (the NHTSA’s response is here).

While the issue will be delayed for years in the courts, there is something that we as motorcyclists can do now in order to enact change. You may have already heard of The White House’s “We the People” website, a site where citizens can petition the federal government for specific actions, and if enough people sign a petition, President Obama and his staff have to take the matter under consideration. Click here to sign the petition.

Implementing the petition has two barriers. The first barrier is a 150 signature requirement to have the petition listed on the “We the People” website within 30 days of its creation (today). The second barrier is 25,000 signatures (within 30 days), which once reached means the petition goes before the Obama administration and will elicit a response from the federal government.

A bit more complicated than a Facebook “like” button, you have to setup an account with The White House’s petition site in order to sign a petition, which takes a minute or two and requires you to confirm your email address. All said and done though, the process takes less time than a stop in a motorcycle-only checkpoint. Zinger.

The petition to the Obama Administration reads as follows:

We petition the Obama Administration to cease the funding of motorcycle-only checkpoints through the NHTSA and other federal agencies.

State and local governments have begun to implement motorcycle-only checkpoints that unfairly target motorcyclists for inspection by law enforcement officers.

Many of these motorcycle-only checkpoints are funded by grants given by the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

This petition 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.

Follow this link to support the petition for the federal government to stop funding motorcycle-only checkpoints, and be sure to spread the word with your motorcycle friends and riding groups.


  1. Keith says:

    Must be an east coast problem…then again I don’t stop for check points. EVER, I boycott them as they are infringing on my rights and it’s my duty to defend my rights. 8)

  2. Keith says:

    There many pettitions I would sign…If I didn’t have to regitster with the white house. THAT should not be a requirement to pettion. hmmph land of the free my left lug nut.

  3. Condition ONE says:


  4. David says:


  5. Isaac (Spektre76) says:


  6. Isaac (Spektre76) says:


    That’s what the White House is counting on by throwing that ‘deterrent’ in. They know people hate to register which is why they did that to circumvent our efforts as motorcycle riders.

    Just buck up and sign it!

  7. Xlomotion says:

    I’m on the fence on this one, I’m frequently in NYC and have been hassle and ticketed for bs reason on motorcycle check points by dumb NYPD.
    My bike is registered in NJ and it’s compliant with the current safety inspections that are different from NY. Yet I continued to be ticketed whenever they pull me over.
    Having that said, there’s way too many people riding around with no license, insurance, dot approved helmet, stolen bike etc

  8. RandyS says:

    I fear that this petition will be a huge and embarrassing failure. The requirement to register reminds me of the attempt to keep voters of certain ethnic persuasions from voting by requiring that they show a driver’s license.

    There are lots of petition sites on the Web, such as and ipetition. That might be a better way to go.

  9. 76 says:

    Hey RandyS how bout you spread the word rather than pointing out the worst outcome possible? If receiving a single email and clicking a link to verify you actually exist is such a burden then really save your energy for breathing.

  10. smiler says:

    Would love to sign but non resident.
    People and Police getting tired of bikerboyz morons?

  11. RandyS says:

    Thank you for the troglodyte response, “76″. I’m just expressing my concern. Most Internet users, in my experience, don’t want to give out their contact information for fear of being spammed or tracked. So far the response to the petition has been quite poor, so I may be on to something. I pointed out an alternative, and that is that there are petition sites available that don’t require signers to register. Bikers being unfriendly towards each other does nothing to advance the cause.

  12. Tripps says:

    Randy, the thing is that suggesting another petition site has two problems. First since they don’t require you to register, there is always going to be suspicion that some of the signers are falsified. Second starting one just undercuts the work of the people that got this current one eatablished and would eventually split the signers to two places.

  13. Patron says:


  14. Pinkie says:

    To all those concerned about divulging personal contact info to shady government organizations, check out Make up an email address, for example “”, to use in the registration. Then go to and you can access all email sent to that address. They keep these emails for a couple of hours, then delete them. This way you can confirm you’re an actual person and shield yourself from future spam.

  15. Daniel Croft says:

    Done and shared.

  16. Daniel Croft says:

    Don’t forget that NYS has a pretty long history of targeting motorcyclists, the whole “motorcycles aren’t allowed in the HOV lane” deal that NYS had fought civil suits to maintain.

  17. Andy says:

    Maybe they should have squid only checkpoints?

  18. DareN says:

    Done – I am your #100 guy.

  19. Campisi says:

    Done. Then again, I can’t help but feel like this White House petition website thing is just busywork so that people feel like they’re doing something. Has anything actually come about due to one of these White House petitions?

  20. Good luck with this, you have zero chance of stopping Motorcycle Only checkpoints in municipalities across the US. It has nothing to do with federal money, and everything to do with local complaints about motorcycle riders.

    Case in point – back in the 90s into the 2000′s Fuddruckers on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale used to be the Friday night place where motorcyclists brought their bikes to see and be seen. On any given Friday there were somewhere between 100 to 400 bikes parked on the property over the course of the evening.

    People complained about the extended wheel stands and racing that continually went on in front of the restaurant and the surrounding streets, Fort Lauderdale PD did multiple crackdowns, and stationed officers at the restaurant every weekend to prevent craziness. I hung out there, and admittedly did a few wheel stands myself. The Fuddruckers franchise received so many complaints over the course of many years that they eventually closed that location, and that was the end of a Friday night Ft. Lauderdale tradition.

    One of the things the police tried was to put a checkpoint at the exit of the Henry Kinney Tunnel northbound, and stop every motorcycle that came through. I heard about it while doing some student Press work, and when passing one night on my bike I stopped, coincidentally there was a cop there that I knew, so I asked him about it. And of course he nor any of the other officers would admit that they were only stopping bikes. And that’s all they have to do, just deny that they are only stopping motorcycles, stop a few cars to make it look good, and they’re covered. But he did tell me that they’d had nearly 100 documented complaints about motorcycle riders from drivers and residents in just a few weeks. That’s people calling and giving their names and filling out police reports. Police officers are sworn to uphold the law, so they must respond, and they will keep escalating their response until complaints and incidents are reduced, it’s as simple as that.

    It looks like the problem has become so widespread across the US that cities began asking for federal dollars to cover the cost of putting officers on special details, which requires overtime and/or pulling cops off of other duty. If you think that departments or police officers want to do this kind of thing, then you don’t know anything about their priorities. These checkpoints are a direct response to significant numbers of complaints from the public, homeowners associations and interest groups, much like DUI checkpoints. So ask yourself why are people going out of their way to complain by the tens or even hundreds of thousands across the country about motorcycle riders? If you don’t already know the answer that question, then you should.

    So sign away, and add your name to the list of thousands of frivolous petitions submitted to the federal government every year. Doubtless you’ll come in way behind those recently petitioning to secede from the union, and be about just as successful.

    Want to stop motorcycle checkpoints, then start taking responsibility for your behavior and the behavior of other motorcyclists on the road. When you see somebody pull onto a sidewalk crowded with people and do a 100 yard burnout while kids and mothers with babies dive out of the way, call 911. Have the guts to do that, and point out the person who did it, testify in court, and make sure they go to jail. Get the nut cases off the road and the police will go away on their own. Or maybe they won’t, because once federal money starts getting appropriated for such a thing, it’s very difficult to shut off that tap of funds, because people like getting paid.

  21. Excellent post, Aaron. Well said.

  22. Patron says:

    + 1. Well put, Aaron.

    Unfortunately we (responsible motorcyclists) participate in a lifestyle that seems to attract and hold a larger percentage of nutters than say, fishing. Your last paragraph is good advice, though easier said than done in most cases. I signed the petition because I’ve never been the type of person that doesn’t do something because “That will never work”. Always been more a “why not try” guy. Though I feel your prediction of the petition response is 100% accurate.

  23. Motonut says:

    Yet just 1 more reason not to live in filty NY.

  24. Gritboy says:

    Done and doner. ;)