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[NY] - Bill would allow higher handlebars on motorcycles

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by dan, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. from http://www.thedailystar.com/news/stories/2005/04/22/bars9.html

    Bill would allow higher handlebars on motorcycles

    ALBANY — Custom motorcycle maven Paul Teutul Sr. has a reason to smile under his Fu Manchu mustache.

    The state Legislature is considering a bill to allow motorcycle handlebars to be as a high as a rider’s shoulders. Now, they can only be 15 inches above the seat.

    Teutul, owner of Orange County Choppers and star of the Discovery Channel’s hit show "American Chopper," said the bill is "great," even though the bill doesn’t go as far as he’d like. He prefers a ride with handlebars over his head.

    "I like ape hangers," Teutul said, referring to the high handlebars. "It’s actually a really comfortable ride and it really doesn’t change the handling."

    Larry Schwartz, president of the American Motorcyclist Association’s eastern New York district, called the current law "stupid."

    The 15-inch restriction was put in place in the 1960s to give police a reason to pull over "outlaw bikers" on choppers, he said.

    "It was just an easy way to stop anybody they wanted, but it has nothing to do with ergonomics or the comfort or safety of motorcycles," Schwartz said.

    Assemblyman Ron Canestrari, an Albany County Democrat and Assembly sponsor of the bill, said a shoulder-high limit makes more sense.

    "It is more popular with the motorcyclists, more consistent with the newer motorcycles, some of which are custom-designed, and there are no safety hazards posed by it, which is the most important thing," Canestrari said. The bill also has majority support in the Senate.

    Mike Burkhouse, a salesman at Orange County Choppers, said most bikes the shop builds have chest-high handlebars, which are easier to control than the over-the-head style Teutul favors.

    Teutul said he was once ticketed in New Hampshire for his high handlebars, but police in New York have never bothered him.

    "They’re pretty cool about it," he said.