Call it the ever-increasing nanny state, or maybe just blame the liberals in Sacramento who just can’t help themselves, but starting with all 2015 model year bike, motorcycles OEMs will have to affix tobacco-style warning labels to any motorcycle they wish to sell in the great State of California.
Passed this morning, SB 0401 cites the overwhelming statistical evidence that motorcycles are likely to lead to serious injury or death, which has prompted California State Surgeon General Avril Trompez, working with a consortium of Democrat California Senators, to write and pass a bill that would treat motorcycles more like cigarettes when it comes to warning of these “potential” dangers.
The move shouldn’t come as a surprise to those following the political landscape around motorcycles the past couple of years, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have already made it clear that the federal government finds riding motorcycles without a helmet a risky, and financially costly, undertaking.
Take into account the recent push in Congress to defund NHTSA-sponsored motorcycle-only checkpoints, and the American Motorcyclist Association’s efforts to reduce or repeal universal motorcycle helmet laws in various states across the nation, and one can see the volatile state of the industry.
California’s reaction seems to be going the opposite way of the current trend however, with the Golden State opting to implement more restrictive measures for motorcyclists and OEMs, rather than loosening restrictions, as has been seen in other states.
The sentiment of increased protection for motorcyclists mirrors the efforts made by the CDC though, which unsurprisingly had its hand in the crackdown on big tobacco as well. “Frankly, I don’t think the law goes far enough, but it’s a good start,” said the California State Surgeon General. “California has always been a trend-setter, and ten years from now we expect these kind of warning labels to be standard on variety of products, across the United States.”
Speaking about motorcycles specifically State Surgeon General Trompez added that “no one can deny the increase in motorcycle fatalities, even as a percentage of total accidents.”
Outlining plans for a tiered licensing system, mandatory ABS and traction control systems, and a cap of 400cc on all future models, Trompez’s plans are sweeping and controversial — to say the least. For now, the warning labels affixed to 2015 models will be generic messages about motorcycles being hazardous to your health.
By far the most populous state for motorcycling in the United States, today is a sad day for motorcyclists in California.
Source: California Senate Bill 0401