Democracy at work

Here a list of motorcycle/scooter/driving-related laws proposed in the 95th (2007) session of the Illinois House and Senate. Note that none of these are approved, and only a few are likely to be. You can track their progress in the links.

  • HB072 and SB0580 would prohibit “community agencies” from organizing a Regional Cycle Rider Training Center, leaving the right with only State universities and community colleges. It would also allow the State Treasurer to appoint a trustee for the Cycle Rider Training Fund, to oversee how ILDOT uses the fund.
  • HB0262, HB1080, and HB0408, respectively, would require drug testing for first-time drivers/riders under 18 (at their expense), bar juvenile gang offenders from driving until age 21, and require new riders/drivers to display a “Learner” sign, again, at their own expense. SB0032 and SB0172 would further restrict new drivers and add more steps to the licensing process for minors.
  • HB0996 and HB1845, appear to be virtually the same: the “Motorcyclist Public Accommodation Act,” which would prohibit “any person from restricting an individual’s access to, admission to, or use of a place of public accommodation solely because the individual operates a motorcycle.”
  • SB1265 would prohibit both tinted and clear licence plate covers, probably not a bad idea in Saltsville, ours are a mess.
  • HB019 would exempt senior citizens from emissions testing. (Sure! They won’t be around to see the ice cap melt!)
  • HB0946 would authorize NASCAR license plates. Hillbillies run this state.
  • HB1499, HB1768, and SB0724 are related to off-road motorcycles, ATVs, and recreational trails if you’re into that.

23 thoughts on “Democracy at work”

  1. Why would the state want to test emissions from seniors? That’s a job I surely wouldn’t want to do! ;-)

  2. Granted, i have an outsider’s POV, and our vehicle laws are lots different to yours…
    but some of these make good sense. like the new driver plate thing…
    It should be on cars as well too imo.

    It would be nice if you had a similar testing system like ours where you take tests to advance to larger power/capacity bikes. It would save a lot of lives by stopping 17 yr old “Mad Stunta” wannabees jumping on litre bikes as soon as they pass their test.

    As for the senior citizen thing… that is more than retarded. Emissions are monitored on the vehicle not on the age of the person.


  3. I sort of agree on the graduated testing for motorcycles, though I don’t see it as an age issue, but rather an experience issue. It seems a little overregulated and complicated in England, but it seems way too easy to get a bike license here, and motorcycle training is a bit hard to come by, other than expensive private schools, the MSF is the only place to go, and they never have enough classes or instructors to accomodate everyone. I would guess most US motorcyclists and scooterists buy their bike (be it a Vespa or a Hyabusa,) ride it illegally for a while until they get the basic hang of it, then (maybe) go take their test, and barely pass. That’s what I did, and I had no idea what I was doing until my wife took the MSF class and I read the Proficient Motorcycling books, which opened my eyes to how irresponsibly I’d been riding.

    The bottom line is, it’ll never happen, the US motorcycle manufacturing and sales industry is built on the idea of selling ridiculously large bikes to newbies. There are hardly even any bikes available here that could be considered “responsible starter bikes.”

    The new driver plate doesn’t bother me too much, though it’d make the process more costly, and it’d be hard to enforce, most people are too proud to display something like that and they’d chuck them the moment they left the DMV.

    I’m guessing the senior citizen argument is that it’s hard for them to get to the testing areas, but that’s bullshit, if they can own a car and drive it, they can go to the testing area, and it’s not like they have anything better to do on weekdays, when the test facilities are not even crowded.

    I’d much prefer the state clarified and enforced their current laws better, if they actually tracked down all the deabeats driving on illegal or expired or counterfeit plates and/or licenses, they’d make the roads twice as safe and collect plenty more money.

  4. I hate that we have so few reasonable midsize and starter bikes in this country. I don’t need more than 600 CCs (in the city more than that is wasted and ridiculous anyway).

    But then again, I’m not really anyone’s big target market anyway.

  5. The fact that Yamaha doesn’t bring in the MT series is the biggest travesty in big 4 motorcycle company marketing strategy today. It’s like they looked at it and said, “nah, we’d sell way to many of those”.

  6. HB0996 and HB1845 sound like decent ideas.

    Brooke, your encyclopedic knowledge of 2 wheelers never ceases to amaze me. I did a Google image search for the Yamaha MT, and nearly wet myself when the MT-01 came up. What a hot looking bike!

    I think you’re onto something. Yamaha must have decided that they simply could not keep up with the demand. Seriously. Naked bike enthusiasts would love it. Standard bike lovers would want one. V-twin lovers who want more than a bloated cruiser would whip out their check books. Well, they would were it built in Milwaukee, Kansas City, or York, PA.

  7. The MT-03 is just the sort of motorcycle I would consider. Up to this point, the only bike I’ve ever given any thought to is the BMW CS650.

    I’m not into liter bikes — I want enough bike to have fun without constantly being on the edge of killing myself.

  8. Ya, that single is the bomb. But as far as liter bikes, you must just not be man enough, or so I’m told by the rest of the American motorcycling public.

  9. When I llooked at the MT-1, i was mildly impressed, but Al’s right, the MT-3 is the sweetness. I love the basic look of 60s and 70s british and japanese bikes, and it bums me out that no modern bikes just have that generic motorcycle look, That MT-3 is something i never imagined possible, a modern take on a classic design. I guess the Triumph Thruxton is along the same lines, but I like the look of the MT-3 more than the Thruxton, the MT-3 somehow looks more modern yet still has an old-fashioned quality to it. The Thrux is too slick.

    And yeah, I’m voting for the RX100 Cargo, too.

  10. Looking at it again, please don’t ask me to explain in what ways the MT-3 looks retro, but I still think it does.

  11. I think it gives a rerto vibe because it’s not a scooter and still looks fun to ride. Japan has put out some cool bikes over the last quarter century but nothing like this for the US market since Honda’s lineup c.1989-90 with a pile of bikes that were just too well thought out for their own good. And it’s still not for the US market. The RX100 just makes me sad that it’s so close and yet so far away, and with a 1400.00 price tag.

  12. This one’s beginning to stray. Last week I was in Springfield delivering ABATE’s agenda to the Chicago-area Assembly and Senators. HB996 is actually a bill that was passed in 2001 overwhelmingly, but then-Governor Ryan amended all of the language stating “motorcycle” and replaced with “sexual-orientation”, then he signed it. Even though it passed both houses, we still can’t park at Navy Pier or the Lincoln Library or use the drive-through at the Rock-n-Roll McDonald’s to name a few. This one will pass with little opposition, we’ll see what Gov. Bla-Bla does with it. Most of the other bills are to prevent Bla-Bla from stealing money from cycle-rider training and OHV programs. Only the OHV bills are questionable from those pressured by enviro-Nazi’s

  13. On to the smaller bikes, consumer demand is what creates dealer orders. If the models are popular, the dealers will ask the manufacturers for more. If they sit around and they have to discount, next order has them missing. The Yamaha 660 powers most of the current US offerings by MuZ, you gotta look hard for a dealer, but they’re there. The last one I went to for brake pads for my 500 rotax, was the Buick dealer in Peotone. Cycle Craft Yamaha and River Oaks Yamaha stopped carrying them after too many leftovers. So much for small-displacement motorcycle demand. Randy’s in Huntley is selling Hyosung, they’ve got small-displacement offerings. But if no one wants to buy, they stop stocking. Supply and Demand 101

  14. Dan, the wording of HB996 seemed to me to be targeted towards motorcyclists, not their bikes. Is that the real intent of it? It sounded so vague and unenforcible to me… if that’s the point of it, it should say that motorcycles should have equal access to cars.

  15. The rationale that MuZ and Hyosung are offering small displacement bikes but no ones buying is not the problem and does not explain away the issue with the large Japanese makers. Those bikes are not the same as what is in production from large manufacturers. It’s not just the engine that people are after. If I just wanted something like the 660 engine I’d get an old XT and carry a step stoll with me and forget about riding on wet pavement. Also, the lack of dealers is a huge drawback. The advantage of buying from the established name is the support and parts availability. The problem isn’t in lack of any choices in the sub liter non sport bike line, it’s lack of any good choices. Honda offers the CB125 but it’s a horribly ugly bike with a front drum brake. They offer a 250 cruiser. But again, it’s a lame cruiser. They offer the 599. Again, horribly ugly and as big as any liter bike. there’s the Kawasaki Ninja 250, not bad at all, but it hasn’t been updated in 20 years. Honda and Yamaha have bikes in production that are better but they are never offered. It’s hard to show that something will sell if it’s never offered for sale. When Honda changes the rules of the 250 motoGP class to 400cc four strokes to TRY to gain an unfair advantage, maybe they japanese manufacturers may make some cool 400 cc bikes like they used to in the CBR and ZX 400 series sports and naked bikes like they did 15 years ago. Straying enough yet!

  16. Aside from the fact that MZ doesn’t have a website any more so I wonder about their US presence, I never cared for the styling of their 660 bikes. I know they’re very well regarded in amateur m/c racing circles, but I’m not a racer. They just looked to 80s for my tastes. Not to mention some of the criticism of those bikes is that they were pretty tall. I don’t like tall.

    OTOH, the Hyosung bikes, while generic-looking, are far from displeasing to my eye. Plus, their engines are V-twins rather than singles, so I would think they should be smoother than an equal displacement “thumper”. The GT 650 is actually kind of intriguing. Especially for only $4999 msrp.

    Still, the Yamaha MT-03 is hotness.

  17. I think you’re both right (brooke and dan). there are many reasons:

    1) In America, the land of the Harley and superhighway, the concept of motorcycle has evolved into a ‘for-rugged-men-only” manly showoff activity. Sales, marketing, inventory, and history have been reinforcing that ‘bigger is better” since at least the 30s (with a brief break in the 60s/70s for “you meet the nicest people”.)

    2) People in America just don’t consider motorcycles for commuting and courier tasks, partially because of the wide variety of weather, partially because car ownership is nearly taken for granted here, and our suburb-and-strip-mall culture is built around the automob ile. Motorcycling in America is very rarely utilitarian, it’s nearly always a diversion, so people are choosing bikes based on image, not on utility.

    3) Licensing and testing doesn’t reward starting small and learning. The traditional US learner path is to ride a dirt bike or moped when you’re a kid, then buy a big bike the first chance you get.

    4) The selection of ‘learner’ bikes in the US has been abysmal for years, with the two main “small” bikes, the Buell Blast and the Honda Rebel, both being marketed as stepping stones to “real” bikes.

    5) Any smaller bikes that are distinctive on their own merit are either buried (or not imported) by big makers, or sold by small companies that lack the resources to make a big marketing push.

    I think scooters are doing a good job of closing this gap, with the wide range of scooter available today, new riders can get a bike they’re comfortable with, and the quality of most scooters now is such that there’s little reason to switch over to bikes (other than peer pressure and marketing). So if scooters really last in America, it’s going to be based on a rise in “regular people” who are uninterested in the harley/sportbike image, but want practical and fun transportation. For that reason, scooters might be the worst thing ever to happen to the “small” motorcycle market in the U.S.

  18. Whoa! A few points to ponder. 1ST, HB996 IS geared toward ending discrimination toward motorcyclists versus if they drove their cars/SUV’s. Many years back, I was denied access to a company picnic at Beck Lake because I rode instead of drove, back then the Hell’s Henchmen used the grove as a venue to tie women to trees, etc. But with my Suzuki and Gym Shoes, I was still on a “motorcycle” The small bikes: basic supply and demand. Larry at Champion, Reed at DesPlaines, to name a few, would gladly take your deposit and pressure their rep/brand mgr. to fill the order. Thousands of people left deposits at the 2004 auto shows before VW actually considered building the New Beetle. Money talks, BS walks. 4 years later, Voila! The “graduated licensing” theory makes sense, but now gives government even more control. That’s the whole premise behind opposing mandatory helmet laws, displacement/horsepower restrictions, etc. They don’t ride, they don’t decide.Period! MZ out of/leaving US? they didn’t sell. My Saxon500 is titled as a 1994, I bought it in 1996 at a substantial savings. The Skorpion 660’s were too extreme, and yes, all their bikes too tall and too skinny. Not much fun in open-road crosswinds. But all repair/maintenance done by myself, no dealer service needed. Another reason for lack of dealers.

  19. The “graduated licensing� theory makes sense, but now gives government even more control. That’s the whole premise behind opposing mandatory helmet laws, displacement/horsepower restrictions, etc. They don’t ride, they don’t decide.Period!

    That, in a nutshell, is why I’m not a big supporter of ABATE. I think graduated licensing makes sense for everyone, drivers and riders alike. Operating any motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right and we (individually and collectively) should be more careful in how we treat it.

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