Mark this as a win for those in favor of seeing lane-splitting becoming legal in the United States as the State of Utah has just passed a law that makes it legal to filter lanes in the Beehive State.
Signed into law on March 21st, the law (HB 149) doesn’t provide for full-out lane-splitting in Utah, but it does make it legal for a motorcyclist to filter through traffic when the automobile traffic is stopped and where the speed limit is 45 mph or slower.
This effectively means that lane-splitting won’t be legal for Utah riders on the freeway, and the pragmatic result of the bill is that it will allow motorcyclists to move through stopped urban traffic during rush hour commutes.
Earlier today, the British site Visordown reported that Norton Motorcycles was set to go out of business, as the British Companies House (a sort of business registrar in the United Kingdom) was striking Norton Motors UK Ltd from its list and dissolving the business for inactivity.
It was a shocking development, to say the least, and though Norton is a small company, the news came as a surprise. After all, the last few months have not been kind for the small manufacturers in the motorcycle industry, with the deaths of Alta and Motus still fresh on our minds..
Great efforts are underway in the State of Oregon to legalize lane splitting, and now we see Oregon’s lane-splitting law moving to the next phase of its legislative process.
With testimony already heard in the Joint Committee on Transportation, the time is now for Oregonians to contact their state representatives about House Bill 2314.
Hoping to pressure Harley-Davidson into keeping its production in the United States, President Trump this weekend tweeted words of encouragement to riders who planned to boycott the American motorcycle brand.
This shouldn’t be too surprising, considering that Harley-Davidson has increasingly found itself at odds with the White House, primarily over President Trump’s trade negotiations and agreements.
The tension started with the United States withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, and reached a boiling point when President Trump imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel.
Now with Harley-Davidson signaling its plans to move into new segments and create a new business plan for the 21st century, the Trump Administration is increasing the pressure for Harley-Davidson to maintain the status quo.
The Japanese automotive industry is being rocked by an emissions and fuel efficiency scandal right now, and it involves the Yamaha Motor Company motorcycle division as well.
All told, five of the eight automotive companies in Japan have been found incorrectly testing and reporting the emissions and fuel mileage of their vehicles.
The scandal started in 2016 with Mitsubishi, which lead to findings last year where Nissan and Subaru were found manipulating the results of their emission results. These findings then caused the Japanese government to require other automotive companies in Japan to check their testing operations.
Upon this internal review, Mazda and Suzuki found and reported that their cars had been improperly tested, with Yamaha finding similar results with its motorcycle standards testing.
Elected on a platform to do away with regulatory interference, especially Obama-era fuel economy targets, the Trump Administration is now looking to end California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act.
Ending the waiver effectively means that the United States would finally have a unified set of regulations for vehicles emissions and fuel efficiency standards, as California (through the California Air Resources Board) often sets higher requirements, through its Clean Air Act waiver.
Looking to gut the regulatory force of CARB, this news would also mean that vehicle makers would have lower targets to hit for gas mileage efficiency (37mpg instead of 46.8mpg), which in turn means that brands would have to sell fewer electric vehicles as well.
Lastly, under the proposed changes, vehicle emission standards would freeze at the planned 2020 levels, until the year 2026.
As of yesterday, JEFTA is finally law in Europe and Japan, and the trade agreement is a big deal for both parties involved, as well as motorcyclists.
What? You haven’t heard of the Japan Europe Free Trade Agreement (JEFTA)? For our European readers, it is a critical piece of legislation, as this treaty of trade is set to make Japanese motorcycles a bit cheaper in Europe.
Agreeing to a schedule of tariff reductions, JEFTA achieves two goals that affect the motorcycle industry. First, it reduces the modest taxation of Japanese motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, and parts into the European Union.
Second, JEFTA helps align the European and Japanese emission standards for vehicles, thus unifying both countries under a single emission criteria for vehicles.
We have already reported on the European Union’s 25% tariff increase (6% to 31%) on American-made motorcycles, and how those import taxes are going to affect in particular Harley-Davidson. The short version: not well.
Seeing that writing on the wall, Harley-Davidson has responded to Europe’s retaliatory tariffs, though it is perhaps not the response that the American government was hoping for when it began taxing aluminum and steel from European Union member states.
As such, Harley-Davidson plans to shift its production for motorcycles destined to the European market from its factories in the United States to it facilities abroad.
“Increasing international production to alleviate the EU tariff burden is not the company’s preference, but represents the only sustainable option,” the iconic American brand is reported saying in a regulatory filing.
Today is the day. Today is the day that the European Union begins taxing the importation of motorcycles from the United States into Europe.
A retaliation to the Trump administration’s tariffs on aluminum and steel, the EU will now impose a 25% tariff increase on all motorcycles, 500cc and up, coming from the United States.
This means that the new tariff provisions will affect both Harley-Davidson and Indian, but will not affect Zero Motorcycles, as electric motorcycles are not included in the trade war provisions.
I often berate the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) for not doing enough to promote and protect motorcycle riding in the United States, but we also have to give credit where credit is due, and the MIC is due a little credit for a change.
Working in conjunction with the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus, the MIC hosted a briefing titled “Intelligent Transportation Systems and Automated Vehicle Applications Impacts on Motorcycle Safety,” which focused on vehicle-to-vehicle technologies, and how they apply to motorcycles.
The briefing featured a panel of industry and research experts on the issue: Sam Campbell, BMW Group; Gary Higgins, American Honda Motor Company, Inc.; Shane McLaughlin, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute; and Eric Teoh, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.