Tag Archives: pandemic

MV Agusta donation helps virus testing

MV Agusta has bought a special coronavirus testing machine in the fight against the disease in one of the hardest hit regions in Italy.

The factory (pictured above), on the shores of beautiful Lake Varese near Milan, is in Lombardy which was one of the first regions to be hit by the virus.

MV Agusta Head of Communications Alessia Riboni says they bought a QuantStudio TM 5 Real-Time PCR System to donate to Varese community hospitals.

The sophisticated testing machinery, made by British company Thermo Fisher Scientific, is able to process up to 96 swabs in just 30 minutes and can b e operated remotely so it doesn’t have top be moved from hospital to hospital.

Testing times

Ventilator donate pandemic fight virus coronavirusVentilator machine

Several motorcycle companies around the world have donated ventilators, protective medical suits, respirators, masks, surgical gloves and alcohol wipes to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

They include:

  • Italian motorcycle manufacturer Benelli has donated two ventilators and 4500 Tyvek suits to the Italian Red Cross;
  • Yamaha America has donated 380 respirators, 49,000 gloves, 325 Tyvek suits and 18,000 alcohol wipes to a hospital in Newnan, Georgia. (Respirators are used to protect medical staff.)
  • Tyre manufacturer Pirelli donated $800,000, 65 ventilators, 5000 protectives suits, and 20,000 protective masks Milan health workers; and
  • KTM Asia donated 10,000 N95 protective masks to Philippine public hospitals.

Meanwhile, the MV Agusta factory has temporarily halted production like most other motorcycle factories throughout Europe.

There is not indication yet when the Italian ban on production will be lifted and production can restart.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Coronavirus hits major motorcycle shows

The biennial Intermot and annual EICMA motorcycle shows in October and November appear to be in jeopardy with BMW Motorrad the first to declare they will not attend.

The shows in Cologne and Milan are the biggest in the world and are the showcase for manufacturers around the world to debut their new models.

Despite being more than seven months away, BMW Motorrad has issued a statement saying they won’t attend.

It follows their recent decision to halt manufacturing at its Spandau factory in Berlin and their G 310 production in India for two weeks. They are expected to return to production next week.

Berlin BMW Motorrad factoryBMW Motorrad factory in Spandau, Berlin

BMW’s decision not to attend the motorcycle shows several months from now is significant as BMW uses these major shows to launch all their next-year models.

Their withdrawal could be the first of many companies to do the same.

Here is the official statement:

Due to the hardly foreseeable development of the corona pandemic and its effects, BMW Motorrad will not be participating in the two leading motorcycle shows Intermot in Cologne in October and EICMA in Milan in November in 2020.

This decision was made in order to counteract current planning uncertainty at an early stage, also for all our partners involved in BMW Motorrad motorshow appearances, in the interests of the greatest possible security, predictability and transparency.

BMW Motorrad will present the world premieres and product highlights planned for these motorcycle shows on alternative platforms in autumn 2020. In doing so, the company will increasingly rely on its own formats and digital communication channels.

The move comes just a day before BMW Motorrad was expected to do a “virtual launch” for their much-vaunted R 18 cruiser and tourer tomorrow (3 April 2020).

However, they now tell us it has been postponed and to “stay tuned”.

We have published several photos of the various models configurations as shown below and will update you with the production model when it is released.

BMW to unveil R 18

Virtual shows

It follows recent motorcycle show closures in Japan, forcing companies such as Suzuki and Honda to stage “virtual” exhibits and launches.

Yet, the organisers of the world’s biggest motorcycle rally in the world at Sturgis are still confident it will go ahead as planned in August.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Coronavirus cops dissuade riders

While it appears it is still legal to ride in Australia during the pandemic, Indian coronavirus cops police are donning special helmets in a “humorous” bid to dissuade people from riding.

Click here for the latest rules and recommendations on travel restrictions in Australia.

India has reported 1251 infections and 32 deaths so far, but with a population of 1.4 billion, the potential for rapid spread of the virus is alarming.

So Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly announced on 25 March 2020 the abrupt start of a three-week national lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The surprising announcement left millions stranded in cities where they worked, having to walk up to hundreds of kilometres to get home with no money, food or water. 

Coronavirus cops

Despite the seriousness of the situation, Indian police have responded with the above lighthearted video to encourage people to stay home and not ride.

The Siasat Daily photographed a staged presentation of Bangalore cops stopping a bike.

The coronavirus cops are wearing helmets with red and green versions of the coronavirus with spikes bearing rounded ends.

Apparently they are mainly stopping riders and other motorists not wearing a mask.

Their message is: “If you come out, I will come in.”

We can’t imagine Aussie cops doing the same thing.

Police across several states say they will use their judgement in handling people who appear to be breaching rules and recommendations.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Polaris/Indian boss suspends salary

Polaris, which owns and produces Indian motorcycles, has introduced a range of cost-cutting measures including the boss, Scott Wine (above), suspending his own salary for the rest of the year to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company closed all its five factories in the USA, plus factories in Mexico and Poland on March 23 and expects to reopen this week.

“Polaris continues to carefully calibrate its manufacturing operations with anticipated product demand,” a company statement says.

“Production will restart this week on select manufacturing lines for products with adequate demand and supply chain coverage.

“Polaris continues to ship finished vehicles to dealers, and to produce products that are consistent with governing federal, state and local directives.”

Meanwhile, boss Scott Wine will forgo his salary for the remainder of 2020.

We’re not sure how much he earns, but it was recently revealed that sacked Harley-Davidson CEO and president Matt Levatich was paid a record $11m last year.

Matt Levatich Harley-Davidson CEOP and president boss HogLevatich in Australia last year

Salary cutting

Other cost-cutting includes delaying salary rises for staff, two weeks leave without pay for some staff and pay reductions of 20% for other staff including the executive leadership team.

“This is an unprecedented crisis with a sudden and stark impact on our business, but in difficult times Polaris has always responded with agility and proved our resilience,” Wine says.

“While the immediate future is uncertain, what is crystal clear is that Polaris must act judiciously but decisively to win both during this situation and after it is resolved. The measures we are taking today are necessary responses to a dynamic environment that compels us to bolster our liquidity and rapidly adapt to extraordinary circumstances.”

Polaris is also reviewing all operating expenses, postponing non-essential capital expenditures, and suspending share repurchases.

The company will draw down an incremental $US150 million under its current revolving credit facility. As of March 31, Polaris has more than $420 million in cash-on-hand “to help weather the current COVID-19 crisis”.

“The Company will continue to evaluate its operations and make adjustments based on the safety of its employees, demand signals, the health of its supply chain and distribution network, and government mandates and local orders,” the company statement says.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Rider in his seventies dies in crash

A male rider in his seventies has died at the scene of a motorcycle crash in the NSW Hunter region today (30 March 2020).

NSW Police say that emergency services received a call about 9.30am from a motorist who found the rider and his wrecked motorcycle on Wollombi Road, Broke, about 35km south west of Singleton.

The male rider, believed to be aged 75, sadly died at the scene.

Our sincere condolences to the rider’s family and friends.

Officers from Hunter Valley Police District attended and established a crime scene, which was examined by specialist forensic police.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash has commenced.

Anyone who has any information or who may have seen the man riding his black Suzuki 1000 in the Hunter Valley area is asked to contact Singleton Police on (02) 6578 7499 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Solo ridingRiding solo CFMoto

Riding solo can be enormously fulfilling and therapeutic, but the danger is that in a crash, there is no one to alert authorities.

Under current pandemic restrictions, riders are advised it is still legal to ride so long as they are not in groups of more than two.

If you plan to continue riding, it might be wise to ride with a partner, especially when riding on lonely roads. And aren’t most of the roads fairly lonely at the moment!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Fonzarelli electric delivery service

Restaurateur Joe Pagliaro on a Fonz Arthur Model 2 electric delivery scooter

Australia’s first electric motorcycle company, Fonzarelli, is getting creative during the pandemic and offering “zero emissions” delivery for a Bondi restaurant.

Unlike UberEats or Deliveroo where 35% of the bill goes to Silicon Valley, the Sydney company has teamed with local gnocchi bar, Peppe’s Bondi, to deliver Italian meals straight to your door.

For $60 a Peppe’s daily meal will get you a gnocchi, red beet panzanella salad and bottle of Sicilian wine.

Creative delivery

“With our first partnership, Peppe’s, we are exploring different areas to optimise this unusual time,” says Fonzarelli spokeswoman Cristina.

“This supports our local economy and keeps their hospitality workers in jobs.

“It’s guilt-free dinner when it’s delivered to your door with an electric vehicle.

“All the hygienic procedures and precautions are followed to guarantee a safe delivery for both the rider and the customer.

“We will keep you posted for further partnerships.”

Visit the Peppe’s website to order online 

Fonzarelli HQ is open for business

Fonzarelli NKD is first Aussie mini electric subscribeFonzarelli NKD is first Aussie mini electric

Fonzarelli produce several electric scooters as well as the fun, electric, dual-sport Grom-sized NKD minibike.

Founder Michelle Nazzari says their NKD mini-bike has been available through Fonzarelli retailers and online since October 2019.

The Entry model costs $A9990 with 60km of range and a top speed of 80km/h, while the Special Edition costs $14,990 with 120km range and reaching 100km/h in five seconds.

Or you can subscribe through blinker.com.au to hire the Special Edition in Brisbane and Sydney for $120 a week.

The company designs and engineers the bike in Redfern, Sydney, and manufactures them in Adelaide.

Their Redfern store is still open and is following social distancing guidelines, offering hand sanitiser and wipes for test rides and keeping their service centre and production facility open by managing team shifts for less interaction.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Pandemic: Is it still legal to ride?

The official view is that it is still legal to go for a leisure ride during the pandemic restrictions so long as riders are not in groups of more than two.

This rule comes into force from midnight tonight (30 March 2020). Unfortunately, some of the rules have such big holes you could ride a Goldwing through them!

So we contacted the state health authorities, the national coronavirus hotline and the Prime Minister’s office for an official interpretation.

While there are no rules restricting travel, except between some states, the recommendations are that travel be limited to: Shopping; medical care or compassionate needs; exercise; and for work and education.

So you can legally ride to the shops, doctor, work and education facility without copping a massive on-the-spot fine.

We also asked if leisure riding was exempt because it is good for mental and physical health as per this article.

The official answer is yes, so long as you do not ride in a group of more than two.

It sounds rather like Queensland’s Draconian Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act (VLAD) of 2013.

Riders protest the laws at the January 26 rally in Roma StRiders protesting against the VLAD laws

They say riding is classed as a leisure activity or exercise.

“However, that could change,” warns the hotline operator.

“We haven’t closed everything down at the moment, but there many be more stringent conditions coming.”

Aged riders

The Prime Minister’s office also gave “strong advice” that people aged 70, anybody over 60 with a chronic illness and Indigenous people over 50 should stay home and self-isolate.

That rules out many riders as a growing number are “mature-aged”.

The mature-aged riding club, Ulysses, has not directed members to stop riding.Ulysses Club membership forum

In an open letter to members, Road Safety Committee spokesman Terry McCarthy says riding helps de-stress:

Staying indoors or around our property may drive some of us stir crazy. We also are worrying about family and friends and how they may be coping in these difficult times. A coping mechanism may be going for a ride. Riding a motorcycle/scooter allows us to socially distance ourselves and comply with requirements presently in force. It may be the best way to relive your anxiety and stress in a safe manner.

The Ulysses Club recommends that if you do go riding, you practise good hygiene and social distancing, carry hand cleaner and your own food and drink, avoid public gatherings, and self-isolate if you are sick.

Responsible actions

Just because it’s not yet law doesn’t mean we should be heading out for a ride as often as we would like.

That not only gives a bad public impression of riders, but it’s not in the spirit of the recommendations and suggestions.

We contacted police in several states who are patrolling for non-compliance and have been advised of several on-the-spot fines of thousands of dollars being handed out. 

“We need everyone on the same page to ensure we are not putting more people at risk,” Victoria Police said.

Police in several states say they are particularly patrolling borders and “areas where people congregate” which could include riders gathering at cafes and scenic spots.

As we have seen, restrictions are ramped up every few days in response to a lack of compliance in the population. 

The slower we are to obey directions, the more restrictive are the rules imposed. We may soon even see riding ruled out!

It also prolongs the duration that many riding brothers and sisters are out of work.

Coronavirus pandemicMBW keeps his bike close at hand while working at home to keep you entertained through the Coronavirus pandemic

Thankfully, we are seeing a lot of riders complying with the recommendations, ceasing group rides and staying home to work on or clean their bike.

The good news is that a McCrindle Research online study of 1015 Australians last week found 86% are adhering to government advice to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

Hopefully, 86% of riders are also doing the responsible thing and limiting their riding.

Pandemic info resources

If you need health advice or information on the pandemic restrictions and recommendations, try these resources:

Australian Department of Health; Health Direct or the Coronavirus Hotline: 1800 020 080.

To check out the latest infection and death statistics, click here.

PandemicSource: Our World In Data • China had 80,261 cases at day 45. This chart pulls global data from Our World In Data. Numbers from other countries may have a 24-hour delay

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Motorcycle companies should make ventilators

Several motorcycle companies around the world have donated ventilators, protective medical suits, respirators, masks, surgical gloves and alcohol wipes to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s great, but how about going further?

Many motorcycle factories have temporarily closed for cleaning and to amend their assembly lines to allow workers to stay further apart.

How about also retooling to make ventilators which are in short supply? After all, there is no point returning to full production with demand expected to be low for some time.

Motorcycle companies have the engineers to design ventilators and the facilities to produce them.

They know how to work with plastics, metals, carbon fibre, precision valves and electronics. All the components of a ventilator.

Car manufacturers are already offering to build ventilators and the Australian Government has asked Ford to help.

We also know of one Brisbane automotive engineering company that is designing a ventilator that can be 3D printed.

Instead of laying off workers, they have thrown their skills into fighting the virus the best way they know how.

What are ventilators?

Ventilator donate pandemic fight virus coronavirusVentilator machine

A mechanical ventilator is not a surgical mask or a respirator which help protect surgical staff.

It basically helps a patent breathe. 

Medical staff insert a tube into patient’s windpipe and the machine regulates the supply of oxygen and removes carbon dioxide, basically breathing for the patient.

Apparently Australia only has about 2000 of these machines but needs twice as many quickly, according to the Chief Medical Officer, Prof Brendan Murphy.

We are in a lot better situation than many other countries that need many more thousands.

For example, the USA has about 100,000 ventilators, but medical experts warn they may need 750,000.

Confirmed cases

Ventilators donate pandemic fight virus coronavirusSource: Our World In Data (China had 78,598 cases at day 40.)

Motorcycle donations

Here is an incomplete list of some of the donations by various motorcycle companies to the fight against coronavirus:

  • Italian motorcycle manufacturer Benelli has donated two ventilators and 4500 Tyvek suits to the Italian Red Cross;
  • Yamaha America has donated 380 respirators, 49,000 gloves, 325 Tyvek suits and 18,000 alcohol wipes to a hospital in Newnan, Georgia. (Respirators are used to protect medical staff.)
  • Tyre manufacturer Pirelli donated $800,000, 65 ventilators, 5000 protectives suits, and 20,000 protective masks Milan health workers; and
  • KTM Asia donated 10,000 N95 protective masks to Philippine public hospitals.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Riders doing best to ride responsibly

Those riders still exercising their right to ride before what could be the inevitable lockdown are acting as responsibly as they can during this pandemic crisis.

Many rider Facebook pages are now advising followers that they are no longer organising or sanctioning group rides.

Some are also suggesting riders continue to ride solo and observe social distancing and safe practices such as frequent hand washing.

While rider numbers seem to have dwindled substantially, there are still some heading out in ones and twos and trying their best to act responsibly. 

Ride responsibly

We’ve seen riders using disposable gloves at servos to fuel and pay and some are only fuelling up where they can keep their gloves and helmet on and pay by credit at the bowers.Pandemic ride responsibly

At cafe stops, riders are maintaining their distance from each other — most are even parking their bikes further apart than usual!

Cafe owners report takings have more than halved.

They say authorities have ordered them to remove seating and only offer takeaway service.

They fear they will soon be shut down altogether and are asking riders to support them before the inevitable lockdown.Pandemic ride responsibly

Health advice

Health authorities have pointed out to us that a helmet is not an effective surgical mask and motorcycle gloves are really no barrier as the coronavirus can survive for up to a day on material.

In the meantime, if you touch your face, put your gloved hands anywhere that other people might touch (fuel pump, table, credit card machine) or take your gloves off with a bare hand, then you could transmit a live virus.

Scientists say Covid-19 can survive in the air up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard, 48 hours on stainless steel and up to 72 hours on plastic surfaces.

As the PM says, use your judgement and act responsibly, whatever that means.Virus responsibly

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

MV Agusta joins factory closures during pandemic

The list of motorcycle factory closures due to the coronavirus pandemic is growing daily with MV Agusta finally joining its compatriots.

The factory on the shores of beautiful Lake Varese in Lombardy, an early epicentre of the virus in Italy, had been continuing with a reduced workforce.

Now they have announced that from tomorrow (26 March 2020) will cease all activities until the production ban is lifted, whenever that might be.

They join other Italian motorcycle, car and automotive component factories in shutting down.

Other automotive factories have closed across Europe and Asia and Harley-Davidson in the USA has closed its factories.

Harley-Davidson 115th anniversary 110th 105thHarley’s Pilgrim Road factory where a worker tested positive

What closures mean to riders

Motorcycle factory closures may not have a huge impact on the supply of models as demand will also be down.

However, it could impact the supply of spare parts.

The closure of component factories such as Brembo will also hamper the supply chain and the production of many models such as BMW and Triumph.

Not that we may be able to lawfully ride soon, anyway.

Restrictions seem to be tightening daily as the coronavirus infection rate soars.Virus closures

Surely it’s time to act responsibly and safeguard the health and livelihoods of ourselves and others.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com