Oct 5, 2014 Resolution of SBU re Toy Parade 2014

To Bruce Paige, Ray Pagan and Mike Panzo.

In behalf of the Pearl Harbor Parade Committee, we can’t thank you enough for this act of Aloha on behalf of the SBU in support of Dec 7th for the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade.

I believe some members of SBU may have cast their votes base on the SBU leaders support of this resolution, not only for the benefit of the Pearl Harbor Parade but for the overall future position and support of the mission of the SBU.

The significance of this date is not to be taken lightly, a date to honor our veterans past and present, as well as those in active duty in remembering the events that took place at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th.

We are greatly appreciative of your support and recognize the 40th Anniversary of the Toys for Tot Parade as one of the longest running Kamaaina events in Hawaii and the good works they do for the Keiki’s of Hawaii.

We would also like to extend our Mahalo’s to our Honorable Mayor Caldwell and Mike Formby and his staff for their support behind the scenes and to make this switch possible, now that it has been approved by the SBU.

Kind Regards, Pearl Harbor Parade Committee

Earl Hurrey.  MGySgt  USMC (ret), Joel Biggs, Moa Mahe

Fabricating Trends in Fatal Motorcycle Crashes

by Warren Woodward, Chair, State Legislative Committee

Street Bikers United Hawaii

Recent Trends in Fatal Motorcycle Crashes: An Update ( http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/Rpts/2006/810606.pdf ) is 72 pages of charts and analysis from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) based on the 10 years from 1995 to 2004. It should have been called Fabricating Trends in Fatal Motorcycle Crashes. Here’s why:

Cherry Picking – NHTSA is cherry picking data. In the opening summary, motorcycle fatalities are presented as a crisis: “Since 1997 motorcycle rider fatalities have increased 89{019db79bed566fe49107903e76219f41f3222d6e60d921839a9d0c01f42470d5}.” Wow, sounds bad, but go back 15 years, since 1990, and fatalities have only increased 24{019db79bed566fe49107903e76219f41f3222d6e60d921839a9d0c01f42470d5}. If you go back 25 years, from 1980 to 2004, the fatalities actually decrease 22{019db79bed566fe49107903e76219f41f3222d6e60d921839a9d0c01f42470d5}. From the following graph of yearly rider fatalities you can see what I mean:


So instead of starting out the report with a horrifying 89{019db79bed566fe49107903e76219f41f3222d6e60d921839a9d0c01f42470d5} increase in fatalities, NHTSA could have begun by saying that since 1980 motorcycle fatalities have dropped 22{019db79bed566fe49107903e76219f41f3222d6e60d921839a9d0c01f42470d5}. But then there’s no crisis, and we wouldn’t need to be saved, or at least not by them.

Helmets – A chart on page 36 of the report shows that the helmet use rate in fatal crashes was basically unchanged over the 10 years, 1995 to 2004. If helmets “save lives”, shouldn’t more of the dead be helmetless, especially as fatalities rose 89{019db79bed566fe49107903e76219f41f3222d6e60d921839a9d0c01f42470d5}? Yet helmeted riders consistently comprise the dead majority at around 54{019db79bed566fe49107903e76219f41f3222d6e60d921839a9d0c01f42470d5} of fatalities every year. Of course that doesn’t stop NHTSA from calling for mandatory helmet laws.

Ultimately, the helmet numbers are useless because they do not reflect anything except how many were wearing and how many were not at time of death. NHTSA might as well have a chart showing how many riders were or were not wearing wristwatches. How can anyone tell if a helmet would have helped or not? Just because someone died without a helmet does not mean they would have lived with a helmet. And how many of the helmeted dead had snapped necks or basal skull fracture? NHTSA doesn’t say.

A similar trick was played here in Hawaii just recently by the state Department of Transportation. They emphasized that two thirds of the riders who died in Hawaii last year were not wearing helmets. Of course the implication is that had they been wearing helmets they would not be dead. But we don’t know that. The fact is that helmets have not changed the death to accident ratio in any state where they have been mandated ( see Helmet Law Facts at www.sbumaui.org ).

I think fatalities went up over the 10 years for the same reason they went down over the 25 years. And if you find that reason be sure and tell me. My point is there is no one reason. All I know is the more experience and training a rider has the better, but even that won’t save you when you’re time is up.

VMT – Much of the report is simply invalid since it is based on NHTSA’s fictitious Vehicle Miles Traveled. In NHTSA’s National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety they actually admit: “Unfortunately, vehicle miles of travel (VMT) data for motorcycles are not reported directly and must be estimated.” Fabricated would be a more accurate word than estimated ( see addendum 2, Helmet Law Facts, at www.sbumaui.org ). When it comes to VMT, NHTSA is winging it.

Speed & Alcohol – According to NHTSA, over the 10 years, speed related deaths decreased 6{019db79bed566fe49107903e76219f41f3222d6e60d921839a9d0c01f42470d5} and alcohol related deaths decreased 8{019db79bed566fe49107903e76219f41f3222d6e60d921839a9d0c01f42470d5}. That’s great, but I always question the accuracy of those numbers. For example, we had a rider here on Maui cross the double yellow line while going up Haleakala. Cars coming down the other way are usually doing at least 60. The Maui News said the accident may have been speed related. Sorry, from where I sit it was intelligence related (and he was wearing a helmet).

Engine Displacement – One of the more troubling aspects of the report is NHTSA’s fixation on engine displacement. There are 23 different charts, almost 1/3 of the report’s total charts, concerning engine displacement and fatalities–engine displacement and speed, engine displacement and type of crash, engine displacement and type of road, there’s even one that compares engine displacement with the days people died!

We all know that motorcycle engine displacement has increased over the years and that a 750, for example, is no longer a “big bike”. Somehow though, a popular myth is being created, and NHTSA is fueling it, that increased displacement = increased fatality, especially amongst inexperienced riders. Having got into plenty of accidents when I was uneducated and inexperienced on my first bike which displaced 175cc, I have never bought into this myth.

There is so much more to a motorcycle than displacement. Power to weight ratio, seat height, rider position, center of gravity, tires, braking capability, and rider experience all play a role in how well a machine can be handled. Yet NHTSA has not figured out how to quantify those so they are not part of the mix. And NHTSA will never be able to quantify karma.

Looking long term, I see NHTSA’s displacement fixation leading to a push for graduated licensing whereby riders would be prohibited from owning larger displacement bikes until they passed certain exams over a certain number of years. Outrageous? It’s already happening in Europe. NHTSA is laying the groundwork now–creating the problem by cherry picking the displacement data–and the solution will be a graduated license system. I’d bet on it.

Blame the Rider – The undercurrent running throughout NHTSA’s report is blame the rider. We are either too young, too old, too fast, too drunk, or the motor’s too big. Certainly riders do die because of one or a combination of those. However, there are 75 charts in this 72 page report and not one showing rider fatalities caused by the Right Of Way violations of other road users.

NHTSA is as blind as a Right Of Way violator. What’s worse is that, as taxpayers, we pay their undeserved salaries.

[This article was published in the November, 2007 issue of Biker Magazine.]


Street Bikers United Hawaii supports current muffler law.

Noise complaints should be solved by enforcement of existing law, not creation of new law.

Current Muffler Law in Hawaii:

§291-24 Motorcycles and mopeds, noisy mufflers; penalty. (a) Every motorcycle and moped moving under its own power on a public highway shall at all times be equipped with a muffler in constant operation to prevent any excessive or unusual noise and no such muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cutout, bypass, or similar device. No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motorcycle or a moped in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor of such motorcycle or moped above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the motorcycle or moped except a motorcycle or moped that:

(1) Has three wheels;

(2) Is powered by an electric motor;

(3) Has a full body enclosed cab; and

(4) Has a seat belt assembly or a child restraint system for the driver and passenger;

shall not be required to be equipped with a muffler.

(b) As used in this section, “muffler” means a device consisting of a series of chambers or baffle plates, or other mechanical design, for the purpose of receiving exhaust gas from the engine of the motorcycle or moped, and being effective in reducing noise.

(c) Whoever violates this section shall be fined not more than $100. [L 1949, c 21, §1; RL 1955, §311-27; HRS §291-24; am L 1978, c 222, §7; am L 1986, c 189, §1; am L 1994, c 120, §4]

[§29124.5] Motor vehicle muffler. (a) No person shall use on a public highway, sell, alter or install a muffler which will noticeably increase the noise emitted by a motor vehicle above that emitted by the vehicle as equipped from the factory.

(b) Any violation of this section shall constitute a violation and shall be enforceable by police officers. The fine for this violation shall be not less than $25 nor more than $250 for each separate offense. Any person who violates the provisions of this section may be issued a summons or citation for such violation. [L 1977, c 79, §1]

§29122 Regulation of exhaust pipe and muffler. It shall be unlawful for any person to drive upon the public highways any motor scooter, as defined in section 286-2, the exhaust pipe or muffler of which has been so changed from the factory design as to increase the volume or audibility of the explosions within the motor thereof. [L 1941, c 140, §2; RL 1945, §11718; RL 1955, §311-24; HRS §291-22; am L 1979, c 105, §28]

Deficiencies of recently proposed muffler bills:

Bills calling for specific decibel limits fail to consider the unintended consequences. Already overburdened police must be trained and certified in the use of decibel meters. Decibel meters must be maintained and calibrated for use as evidence in court. HPD has testified against bills calling for specific decibel limits for these reasons. Also, decibel limits set specifically for two-wheeled vehicles are discriminatory. Other vehicles and equipment often make as much or more noise.

Bills calling for “criminalization”, felony penalties, and vehicle impoundment are over the top. Vehicle equipment violations should be fix-it tickets. People disturbing the peace may deserve a fine but are not felons. Bills calling for motorcycle impound lots grossly underestimate the costs of same.

Exhaust inspection is already part of the yearly inspection process. Exhaust pipes are checked for sound deadening baffles. Straight (un-baffled) pipes do not pass. The problem with adding more requirements to a yearly inspection is that a yearly inspection only determines compliance on one day of the year. Pipes can be changed after inspection. Also, with so many makes and models, it is impossible for inspectors to know for sure what is original, stock equipment. Original, stock equipment is often no longer available.

Bills calling for EPA labels on pipes would make currently legally registered and inspected motorcycles illegal, constituting a taking of millions of dollars of citizens’ property since custom and hand-built motorcycles with “one-off” custom exhausts cannot get such labels. Additional repercussions would include the closing of custom motorcycle and exhaust shops in Hawaii and the laying off of their employees. Bills requiring EPA labels only for two-wheeled vehicles are discriminatory when not requiring EPA labels for all vehicles.