How to tell the age of your tires

It is fairly well accepted that tires should be replaced after they are 6 or 7 years old.  The rubber compound in tires which are older than 6 or 7 years can begin to deteriorate, causing the tire to become stiff or brittle.  However, it is important to note that the “shelf-life” clock for tires begins ticking as soon as the tire is manufactured, not when the tire is purchased.  In order tell the age of a tire, date codes are stamped into all new tires.  The date code typically consists of four digits: the first 2 digits indicate the week in which the tire was made and the last 2 digits represent the year.  As an example: if the date code reads 3710 then the tire was manufactured in the 37th week of 2010.  If your tire has only 3 digits in the date code that indicates that it was made prior to 2000, probably time to replace it.

ATV Safety Institute to offer free training

The ATV Safety Institute will launch ATV Safety Week June 6-14 and will be working with partners across the country that have volunteered to provide free ATV RiderCourse training and other ATV safety education opportunities.   ATV Safety Week is a great time to learn about the proper operation of your machine, find out about helmets and other proper protective gear, and learn ways to dramatically reduce risk for riders.  ASI is working with partners all across the country that have volunteered to provide free ATV RiderCourse training during ATV Safety Week. Free training will be available at the following locations:
  • Anza, Calif. – Coach 2 Ride
  • Rancho Cordova, Calif. – Prairie City
  • Campo, Calif. – Golden Acorn Casino
  • El Centro, Calif. – Superstition
  • Lakewood, Colo. – Thunder Valley MX Park
  • Daytona Beach, Fla. – Volusa OHV Training Center
  • Columbia, Ga. – Riley
  • Maquoketa, Iowa – Jackson County Fairgrounds
  • Grand Rivers, Ky. – Grand Rivers
  • Fordland, Mo. – Rogersville
  • Laurel, Mont. – Butler Property
  • Laurel, Mont. – Laurel High School parking lot / Safety Day
  • Hamilton, Mont. – Al’s Cycle Yamaha
  • Great Falls, Mont. – Rainbow Motorsports
  • Lowville, N.Y. – Flat Rock
  • Warsaw, N.Y. – Hume Arena
  • Lowville, N.Y. – Flat Rock
  • Garber, Okla. – Garber
  • Prineville, Ore – Prineville Christian Church
  • Coal Township, Pa. – Anthracite Outdoor Adventure
  • York, Pa. – Don’s Kawasaki Yamaha Polaris
  • Elizabethtown, Pa. – Hernley’s Polaris Victory
  • Big Spring, Texas – Outback Adventure Track
  • San Angelo, Texas – Porter Henderson Yamaha
  • Winchester, Va. – Valley Cycle Center
  • 9 Miles Falls, Wash. – 7 Mile Park
  • Harpers Ferry, W.Va. – Riverfront Motorsport Park
  The ATV RiderCourse is free for anyone who signs up during ATV Safety Week.  To sign up for a class, call (800) 887-2887. The ATV RiderCourse is also free year-round for anyone who buys a new, qualifying ATV from an ATV Safety Institute member company.

Early Projections Indicate Motorcycle Fatalities Declined in 2014

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is projecting that motorcycle fatalities decreased for the second straight year in 2014, based on preliminary state data. GHSA motorcyclist fatality trend reports, produced annually since 2010, offer an early look at current data and developing issues. GHSA projects the final motorcyclist fatality total for 2014 will be 4,584, or about 1.8 percent less than the 4,668 recorded in 2013. This will be the second straight year in which this number has decreased and only the third decrease since 1997. While the projected decline in motorcyclist fatalities is good news, the report also points out that motorcycle safety progress lags behind that of other motor vehicles. For example, in 2013, the rate of motorcyclist fatalities per registered vehicle was about the same as in 1997, whereas during that time period the rate of fatalities per passenger vehicle dropped 66 percent. Safety improvements to passenger vehicles, such as structural improvements to vehicle design, increases in seat belt use, electronic stability controls and policies such as graduated driver licensing, account for a large portion of the decline in passenger vehicles but do not impact motorcyclists.  There is little evidence that risk factors for motorcyclists have been reduced in recent years, and fluctuations in motorcyclist fatalities are likely to have more to do with economic factors and weather patterns affecting exposure. “We are glad to see a continued decrease in motorcyclist fatalities, but the number of motorcyclist deaths on our roadways is still unacceptable,” said Kendell Poole, GHSA chairman and director of the Tennessee Office of Highway Safety. “While we support technology advances such as antilock brake systems and traction control, state laws and behavioral changes are critical to saving more motorcyclist lives.”  Poole also encouraged all states to adopt universal helmet laws and said, “By far, helmets are the single most effective way to prevent serious injury and death in the event of a motorcycle crash.” In addition to increasing helmet use, the report also recommends that states focus on motorcycle safety programs that:
  • Reduce alcohol impairment.In 2013, 28 percent of fatally injured riders had a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of .08.
  • Reduce speeding.According to the most recent data, 34 percent of riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared with 21 percent for passenger vehicle drivers.
  • Ensure motorcyclists are properly licensed.In 2013, 25 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes did not have a valid motorcycle license, compared to 13 percent of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes.
  • Encourage all drivers to share the road with motorcyclists.According to NHTSA, when motorcycles crash with other vehicles, the other driver is often at fault. Many states conduct “share the road” campaigns to increase awareness of motorcyclists.

BMW recalls 40,000 motorcycles to replace rear wheel flange

A problem with the rear wheels on a wide variety of BMW motorcycles has prompted them to issue a recall for 43,426 vehicles.  In conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),recall campaign number 15V141000 has been issued.   The recall notice states that  on affected motorcycles, the rear wheel flange threaded holes can crack if the wheel bolts are tightened beyond the specified torque limit when reinstalled after a service procedure.  BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the existing aluminum rear wheel flange with a steel one, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin April 21, 2015. Please follow the links below view the official documents associated with the recall: Recall acknowledgement letter: RCAK-15V141-4032.pdf  Defect Notice Report 573: RCLRPT-15V141-9082.PDF

Utah Senate Approves ATV On-Road Access

The Utah state Senate voted to let street-legal ATVs on more roadways and at higher speeds. The bill, SB 258, passed by a 21-4 vote and was sent to the House.  The bill would allow “street-legal” ATVs on any state roads or highways outside of Salt Lake County other than interstate freeways. It would also increase the maximum speed limit for the vehicles from 45 to 50 miles per hour.  The House will have to vote on the bill before Utah’s legislative session ends March 12 or the bill dies until the next session. If the state bill passes, there is still the issue of all major manufacturers strongly recommending that ATV’s and UTV’s should not be operated on roadways.  It will be interesting to see how courts address the discrepancy.

Honda Fined $70 Million for Failing to Comply with Laws That Safeguard the Public

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that as a result of a NHTSA investigation, Honda will pay two $35 million civil penalties, for a total of $70 million, for failing to report deaths, injuries, and certain warranty claims to the federal government in violation of the TREAD Act. In the Consent Order, Honda also agreed to increased NHTSA oversight and third party audits to ensure that all required reporting is completed now and into the future. In 2014 alone, NHTSA issued more than $126 million in civil penalties, exceeding the total amount collected by the agency during its forty-three year history.  These fines reflect the tough stance we will take against those who violate the law and fail to do their part in the mission to keep Americans safe on the road. NHTSA’s investigation into Honda’s safety reporting found that the automaker failed to submit early warning reports (EWR reports) identifying potential or actual safety issues. The first civil penalty is a result of Honda’s failure to report 1,729 death and injury claims to NHTSA between 2003 and 2014. The second civil penalty is due to the manufacturer’s failure to report certain warranty claims and claims under customer satisfaction campaigns throughout the same time period. Additional details are available in the audit report prepared for Honda by Bowman and Brooke and in Honda’s Response to NHTSA’s Special Order addressing the violations. Federal law requires manufacturers to submit comprehensive EWR reports of potential safety concerns to the Department. These quarterly reports include production information; incidents involving a death or injury; aggregate data on property damage claims, consumer complaints, warranty claims, and field reports; and, copies of field reports involving specified vehicle components, a fire, or a rollover. The data are then used to investigate whether safety defects or defect trends exist and warrant further action, including possible recalls. In addition to civil penalties, Honda has been ordered to comply with NHTSA oversight requirements under a Consent Order. It requires that Honda develop written procedures for compliance with EWR requirements, train appropriate personnel on at least an annual basis, and complete two third-party audits of the automaker’s compliance with its reporting obligations. The Consent Order also requires Honda to provide NHTSA’s Early Warning Division with information regarding the 1,729 unreported death and injury incidents and the warranty claims, so that the agency can analyze these incidents for potential safety concerns and take appropriate action to protect America’s driving public. While 2014 was a record year for civil penalties, the fines are limited by a Congressionally-established $35 million dollar cap, the amount Honda will pay for each of the two series of violations. The Administration’s four-year reauthorization bill – the GROW AMERICA Act – proposes to increase the limit to $300 million. The Administration’s proposal also seeks additional authority to aid NHTSA in its efforts to force recalls. NHTSA issued the following civil penalties in 2014:
  • Honda, $70,000,000, for failing to both submit early warning reports and warranty claims.
  • Gwinnett Place Nissan, $110,000, for failing to perform recall remedy in new motor vehicles prior to sale and delivery.
  • Ferrari S.p.A. and Ferrari North America, Inc, $3,500,000, for failing to submit early warning reports.
  • Chapman Chevrolet LLC, $50,000, for failing to perform recall remedy in new motor vehicles prior to sale and delivery.
  • Hyundai Motor America, $17,350,000, for the failure to issue a recall in a timely manner.
  • General Motors Company, $35,000,000, for the failure to issue a recall in a timely manner.
  • General Motors Company, $441,000, for failing to fully respond to Special Order by due date.
  • Prevost, a division of Volvo Group Canada, Inc; Volvo Industrial de Mexico S.A. de C.V.; and Prevost Car (US) Inc., $250,000, the second of six annual installments of a total of $1.5 million in civil penalties, for untimely recalls and untimely submission of early warning reports, and technical service bulletins (TSBs).
  • Southern Honda Powersports (a/k/a Big Red Powersports LLC), $25,000, the second of five annual installments of a total of $125, 000 in civil penalties, for the sale of unrepaired, recalled vehicles.

Bosch announces the release of CDR Ver. 15.0

Bosch is pleased to announce the release of the new CDR 500 Adapter and version 15.0 software.  The release of Ver. 15.0 allows for the following vehicles to now be included in the CDR coverage list: Alfa Romeo (MY2015, US/Canada markets) – 4C Fiat (MY2015, US/Canada markets) – 500L Nissan (MY2015/2016, US/Canada markets) – 2015 NV Cargo & Passenger Van – 2016 GT-R – 2016 MICRA (Canada only) RAM (MY2015, US/Canada markets) – ProMaster® City   New Hardware CDR 500 Adapter Kit (P/N: 1699200114)  This new kit includes the new CDR 500 adapter and cables.  It is needed when imaging EDR data directly from ECUs with FlexRay communications.  Initially, applications such as the 2014+ Hardtop MINI and 2015 BMW i3 & i8 require this adapter.  In the future, other manufactures including Audi will also require the ICDR 500 for imaging EDR data directly from their ECUs. BMW ACM Cable (P/N: F00K108788)  Use this new cable to connect the BMW / MINI FlexRay ECUs to the CDR 500 adapter for direct-to-module EDR imaging.   The Bosch CDR system supports select airbag modules for vehicle as far back as 1996. To see if the pre-crash data from your vehicle’s airbag module can be downloaded please see the BOSCH CDR Coverage List. Veritech engineers utilize the Bosch CDR system as an important tool to aid in performing vehicle accident reconstructions. Airbag modules are capable of recording valuable pre-crash information, such as vehicle speed, brake application and seatbelt usage, but are not capable of telling the entire story. Accident reconstruction engineers must still consider all of the available physical evidence, along with the ACM data, in to order to properly reconstruct an accident. Veritech Consulting Engineering employs Professional Engineers who are specifically trained and certified in the use of the Bosch CDR system and have performed numerous accident reconstructions utilizing airbag module information. Click on the following link for more information on “black box” technology.

Zero Motorcycles: 2014 a ‘record’ year for sales

Zero Motorcycles announced that it finished 2014 with “record sales and is poised for dramatic growth in 2015.” The company did not reveal financial numbers, but summarized that it added seven new distributors in 2014 and plans to add others in the next 12 months. In the fleet sales area, more than 50 U.S. police departments are now using Zero motorcycles, including those in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, the company said. “Our police and authority partners consistently praise Zero patrol motorcycles for their stealth, maneuverability and low maintenance, while the local communities they serve also appreciate the quietness and move to a more sustainable mode of transportation,” said CEO Richard Walker. “We see huge opportunities for continued growth in this area.”  “Our business is headed in the right direction and the market is starting to come to us,” said Zero Vice President of Global Marketing Scot Harden. “Recent announcements by some of the larger motorcycle manufacturers, and our own experience, confirms the movement toward electric power is building momentum.” Zero’s 2015 lineup includes four consumer models, three police/authority bikes and one military spec version. All received major upgrades for the 2015 season.  Zero also licenses its powertrain technology for outside commercial applications.