It has been over a year since we had to report the passing of Nicky Hayden. Struck by a car outside of the Misano circuit, while he was training on his bicycle, Hayden’s death was felt around the world.
Though always in our hearts, the motorcycle industry has begun to move on from the loss of its beloved world champion, but the legal proceedings in Italy have nevertheless been toiling away.
There are two matters before the Italian courts. One, the criminal proceedings for the unnamed driver of the car that struck and killed Hayden; and two, a civil suit by the Hayden family against the car’s driver.
Now, the initial criminal proceedings of the incident have concluded, with the Italian court finding the driver of the car guilty of homicide.
The Moto2 Championship doesn’t often make the headlines in the motorcycle racing sphere, but I bet you are hearing all about this weekend’s Moto2 race at the San Marino GP. For those who are late to the story, much is being said about an incident where Romano Fenati grabbed Stefano Manzi’s front brake lever, as the pair hurled down the Misano circuit at over 200 km/h.
Caught on camera, the incident in just one of several between the two riders during the Moto2 race this weekend, as Fenati and Manzi traded paint and hand gestures at several points of the competition, but the focus of the attention remains on the shocking act that Fenati took down the back straight of the circuit.
For the fans in attendance, and for those watching at home, you were witness to one of the most irresponsible events that can take place on a race track – an act that I would argue is tantamount to attempted murder on a motorcycle.
It therefore boggles the mind that at this point in time, Romano Fenati still has a license to race with the FIM, once his two-race suspension is completed.
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.
Episode 75 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is out, and in it we talk about…nothing. We unfortunately didn’t have time to talk about the Suzuki Katana rumors, nor did we have time for Yamaha’s electric trials bike, which has a mechanical clutch.
We also didn’t have time for the debut of the Mugen Shinden Nana electric superbike, nor John McGuinness’s IOMTT movements. There is no time for Jonathan Rea racing at the Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race on a factory Kawasaki team.
We also glanced past RevZilla’s in-house apparel brand, REAX, which debuted last week. Did we talk about MotoGP?…Nope.
The show finishes with us trying not to talk about a story that has been going viral in the two-wheeled space. You can probably guess it from the title of the show, but rather than stoke the fires directly, we try and approach the subject from a more elevated perspective.
You can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well.
We hope you will join the conversation, and leave us some audio comments at our new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are riding in California anytime soon, you might want to think twice before blaming the state’s fleet of drivers, as The Golden State just made it legal for self-driving cars to operate without a human behind the wheel.
That is right, the dawn of truly autonomous vehicles has just arrived, and it is primed to change the driving landscape as we know it, which by correlation means changes for the motorcycle community as well.
In August 2016, Harley-Davidson got into some deep water with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for roughly 340,000 “super tuners” that were sold, which ran afoul of the emission standards for on-road vehicles.
For its misdeeds, Harley-Davidson was slapped with a $12 million fine, along with an agreement to spend $3 million on efforts to mitigate air pollution. It should be noted, that all of this occurred on the heels of Volkswagen’s “Dieselgate” scandal – and timing is everything.
However in July 2017, news came out that Harley-Davidson wouldn’t have to pay the $3 million in pollution mitigation, as the Bar & Shield brand saw some mercy from the Trump Administration’s new EPA.
That didn’t sit so well with 10 states, and the District of Columbia.
On May 17th, 2017, Nicky Hayden was out training on his bicycle, near the Adriatic Coast, when he was struck by car in an intersection very close to the Misano World Circuit.
The incident would prove to be a fateful one, and send ripples through the motorcycle industry, as Hayden died five days later in a hospital outside of Rimini, Italy.
Since then, the accident has been under investigation by the local prosecutor, and the results of that forensic investigation have now been released to the public.
Reconstructing the incident through statements made by the driver, eyewitnesses, and CCTV video footage, the investigation has found fault on both sides of the crash – assigning 30% of the blame to Nicky Hayden, for running the stop sign, and 70% of the blame to the driver, for excessive speed.
Bloomberg is reporting that California Governor Jerry Brown is considering ways to ban the sale of vehicles that use internal combustion engines – a move that could have massive implications not only for vehicle sales, the environment, but potentially the motorcycle industry as well.
Still in the early days of consideration, the news comes from remarks made by Mary Nichols, who is the Chairman of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and her remarks and relaying of thought from Gov. Brown don’t make it clear if the ban would apply only to passenger vehicles, or if it would include modes of transportation like trucks, commercial vehicles, and motorcycles.
However, the move mimics similar bans that we have already seen in places like China, and follows a trend that is catching on in European countries too, with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and The Netherlands all recently announcing similar efforts and goals to block the sale of internal combustion vehicles in the coming decades.
Say what you will about American politics, but the US House of Representatives has passed the “SELF-DRIVE Act” (H.R. 3388) – a bipartisan bill that would open up autonomous vehicle regulation for manufacturers.
The big advantage of the SELF-DRIVE Act is that it would supersede the varying and ad hoc state rules that manufacturers must currently adhere to while developing their autonomous platforms.
The bill would also do away with some safety standards put in place for vehicles with drivers, such as where the steering wheel and foot pedals must be located.
Lastly, the SELF-DRIVE Act would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to research and develop a way of conveying to consumers the level of automation a vehicle possesses.
A verdict has finally been reach in the German patent law dispute between Alpinestars and Dainese, concerning their respective airbag suit technologies.
In the ruling, the “Landgericht” court in Munich found that Alpinestars violated two Dainese patents concerning its D-Air technology, and thus issued a verdict that sees Alpinestars forbidden from selling its Tech-Air products in Germany.
Alpinestars will also have to pay Dainese restitution for damages incurred from Alpinestars selling Tech-Air products in Germany. The monetary amount of the damages will depend on how much Tech-Air product the Italian firm sold in Germany, which has yet to be determined.
After the verdict, both companies issued press releases touting their side of the patent dispute story, with clearly no love lost between the two parties.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau has released statistics on motorcycle thefts for 2016, and the results show a slight increase in the number of motorcycles that were reported stolen last year.
Accordingly, the NICB says that 46,467 motorcycles were reported stolen last year, up from the 45,555 motorcycles that were reported stolen in 2015 – an increase of 2%. This figure of course does not include motorcycles that were stolen, but not reported to police or insurance companies.
While there was an increase in motorcycle thefts last year, 2016’s figure is still well below the figure set just a decade ago in 2006, which saw 66,774 motorcycles reported as stolen – a 30% decrease.