Motorcycle News: Fatalities Up; Piaggio Gets Aprilia; Janklow Wants Reversal; Tom Cruise Wants Biker Chick.

Recent news stories of interest to motorcyclists.

Lots of big headlines: Motorcycle fatalities up bigtime in 2003. Piaggio buys Aprilia. No Sturgis boycott, so Janklow wants his record cleared. And Tom Cruise wants a biker girlfriend. Click the links below.

U.S. Motorcyclist Fatalities Up 12 Percent in 2003
While other types of fatal vehicle accidents dropped to historic lows, motorcycle deaths climb to historic highs, from 3,270 in 2002 to 3,661 last year. Motorcyclists now make up 8.5 percent of highway fatalities, but we certainly travel a much smaller percentage of the mielage. So far no serious study of the current causes of U.S. motorcycle accidents has been commissioned.
NHTSA News Release

Piaggio Buys Aprilia
Piaggio, the big Italian maker of scooters, mopeds and motorcycles—it already owns Vespa, Derbi and Gilera brands—has signed and agreement to buy all the shares of Aprilia, which owns that brand and Moto Guzzi. Ducati had been interested but its proposal was rebuffed. Though Piaggio has previously been involved in other industries, including aircraft, its current business are centered on the motorcycle market. The combined company—which merges Italy's largest and second-largest motorcycle makers— is expected to create a company that nets $1.83 billion in sales, employs 6000 people, and operates eight plants that build 600,000 scooters and motorcycles per year. The deal is slated to be finalized at the end of September.
Parts Magazine, CA UK
Motorcyclist Online
AGI Online, Italy
AGI Online, Italy
Times of India
Roadracing World, CA
Orlando Sentinel, FL

Sturgis Boycott Doesn't Materialize...
Attendence is reported as up and problems are down, though merchants are reporting slow sales. There have been too many crash-related deaths—with deer and a certain turn causing much of the mayhem. There have been enough problems that the local blood bank is running dry and caling for donations. The stories below also look at some unique aspects of the rally, such as the annual migration of prisoners in the local jail.
Aberdeen News, SD
Rapid City Journal, SD
AMA DirectLink
Rapid City Journal, SD
Rapid City Journal, SD
Rapid City Journal, SD
Rapid City Journal, SD
Rapid City Journal, SD
Rapid City Journal, SD

...So South Dakota's Motorcyclist-Killing Ex-Governor Seeks to Have Conviction Reversed
Bill Janklow, the former South Dakota Governor and Congressman whose action and trivial sentence prompted the call for a boycott, is back in court, asking for a new trial and a reversal of his conviction for killing Harley rider Randy Scott. He claims that he is only guilty of running a stop sign.
Rapid City Journal, SD
AMA DirectLink
Rapid City Journal, SD
Minot Daily News, ND

A Trip to Sturgis Inspired an Iowa Restaurant
Last year's ride to the rally inspired this pair to open a restaurant called Spokes near Davenport, IA just in time for Sturis-goers to visit this year.
The Journal Times, IA

World's Largest Simultaneous Motorcycle Burnout Taped in Sturgis for Pay-Per-View Next Friday
Watching 58 bikes smoke their rear tires promises to have all the excitement of watching paint dry and even more pollution.
Yahoo Finance

**While Pakistan Deals with its Own Wave of Biker Hooliganism **
Eight dies celebrating Independence day with motorcycle stunts.
Daily Times, Pakistan
Daily Times, Pakistan

**Motorcycle Accident Fuels Olympic Drug Flap **
Two Greek Olympians involved in a motorcycle accident failed to show up for a drug test.
San Jose Mercury News, CA
San Francisco Chronicle, CA
New York Times
RTE Interactive, Ireland

**Louisiana Riders Protest New Helmet Law **
The new law does not specify which helmets are legal.
News Channel 6, LA
The Advertiser, LA

**While Deaths Rise in Post-Repeal Philly **
A record number of deaths are seen following Pennsylvania'es helmet repeal. "This year promises to be the bloodiest for motorcycle riders in decades," says this article., PA

New York State Cops to Target Aggressive Riders
Be careful out there.
Newsday, NY

**...And Those NY Police Might Steal Your Bike **
These two riders had the Harleys they have owned for many years imponded because the VINs had been altered. But state officials haven't returned their calls as they try to recover them. The ultimate irony? The state can alter the VINs and sell the bikes itself.
The Daily Star, NY

**Indian's New Owners Shop for a Factory Site **
Shopping for incentives to locate a factory.
Gilroy Dispatch, CA

...While Suzuki Plans a Different Sort of Indian Motorcycle Factory...
It will build bikes in India.
Japan Corporate News Network

And a New Malaysian Brand May Be Built in the Philippines
Demark Motors Corporation, based in Sarawak, Malaysia, is planning to establish an assembly plant for motorcycles in Zamboanga.
Sun Star, Philippines

**Alabama Motorcycle Exhibit Proves Popular **
"Designs Through Time" motorcycle exhibit at the Museum of Mobile is getting attention.
Mobile Register, AL

**Fundraising Ride with a Different Beneficiary—a Battleship A POW-MIA group raises funds for another veteran, the USS New Jersey. Courier-Post, NJ

**Bikejacker Shoots Victim **
It was 8:30 in the motrning. Two guys told him to get off his bike. He didn't.
The Examiner, MO

**Tom Cruise Wants a Biker Woman **
Check your schedules, ladies, you might get something rolling.
New York Daily News
The Scotsman, Scotland

**National Bikers Roundup Not Wounded by One Bad Moment. **
The annual black bikers' event got slightly out of hand for a short while, but everyone still had a good time.
GM Today, WI
Duluth News Tribune, MN

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More motorcyclists are dying on American roads every year, but no one has any information on what to do about it.