Another Motorcycle Checkpoint Bill

January 9, 2015

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A bill with bi-partisan sponsorship has been introduced in the United States Senate to prohibit the use of federal funds for motorcycle-only checkpoints. The bill is sponsored by Democrats Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Joe Manchin of West Virginia and by Republicans Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Shaheen, Manchin, Ayotte and Manchin introduced a similar bill last March. Republican Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin introduced a companion bill in the House in May, 2013.

The “Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act” would forbid the Secretary of Transportation from issuing “funds to any government entity for a program to check helmet use or to create checkpoints for an operator of a motorcycle or a passenger on a motorcycle.”

AMA And MRF

The American Motorcyclist Association and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation have lobbied on behalf of the Senate bill.

In a press release, AMA vice president for government relations Wayne Allard said, “Motorcycle-only checkpoints are discriminatory, forcing riders and their passengers to do something not asked of other citizens, simply because we choose to travel on two wheels, or three, instead of four. The AMA believes the money used for these operations could be better spent supporting programs that conduct rider education, reduce distracted driving and encourage motorist awareness of motorcycles.”

Jeff Hennie, vice president of government relations and public affairs for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation said, “”We are excited to work on this most important issue. It is imperative that we end the discriminatory act of motorcycle only checkpoints.”

Checkpoints

Motorcycle only checkpoints, often described as “safety checkpoints,” have skirted around the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution for years. That Amendment forbids unreasonable searches but it is gutted by a legal theory supported by case law called the “special needs doctrine.” The doctrine is used to justify “sobriety checkpoints,” for example.

Georgia has set up motorcycle only checkpoints to detain, question and search bikers on their way to Bike Week in Daytona Beach. In 2011, police set up a checkpoint in Northern Virginia to harass bikers on their way to the Rolling Thunder patriotic rally in Washington.

California, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia have outlawed motorcycle only checkpoints. Illinois and New Hampshire allow the checkpoints but forbid the use of federal funds to pay for them. Eleven more states, Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming forbid all checkpoints.

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17 Responses to “Another Motorcycle Checkpoint Bill”

  1. JohnnyD Says:

    Arizona doesn’t have those checkpoints. We do have gang task force vehicles cutting into our packs and forcing bikers to swerve in order to miss them. Then the tickets for unsafe lane change, wide turns, and failure to use turn signals give them reasonable cause to stop and harass us. Canada does not have a bill of rights and should really try to create one. From people I know there it is a lousy place to be a biker, and not just because of the weather. I would expect to see a law similar to the one in Australia. The Canadian Constitution does not seem to guarantee personal freedom.

  2. PJ Says:

    Jim666,

    If you’re an OIF/OEF vet, and you don’t already have it, I can get you the POC for the coordinator in your area. I do wish you the best of luck.

  3. CN Says:

    What I’ve seen (& been a victim of) is where they have a generic “sobriety” or some such pretense check point but where the cages get waved through and the scoots get the treatment. My thinking is that even if it were outlawed they’d find a way around it and keep doing whatever the fuck they feel like.

    ICYMI: Atlantic Beach Bike Week AKA Black Biker Week was reapproved for 2015 despite the objections of the Governor. So, avoid Myrtle Beach on Labor Day unless you’re into that sort of thing and, more than 20,000 “bikers” are scheduled to show up in Darlington, SC for the National Biker Roundup. The Roundup is the largest minority owned and operated camping rally in the country. It is scheduled to kick off in the 1st week in August. The National Bikers Roundup was first “organized” in 1977 by a group of African American motorcycle clubs. It was held in Tulsa, OK last year. The reason I mention these two events is that, for some reason known best by the good citizens of Ferguson, MO, these ethnically diverse events do not seem subject to motorcycle check points. Bottom line, the Cops are afraid of these folks and not at all of us. No brag, just fact.

  4. oldshove Says:

    A Hells Angels veteran says police overstepped their legal boundaries by stopping 150 members in North Cowichan on Saturday in an effort to conduct document and safety checks — a move that halted traffic for 20 minutes.

    Rick Ciarniello, who was riding up front and refused to comply with police requests to pull over, said the same thing happened outside Calgary in 1997, and the group launched a constitutional challenge. “[After] two years in court, we got a decision saying arbitrary road stops like that are not legal.”

    Sgt. Lindsey Houghton, spokesman for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C., said it was unusual for police to stop so many Hells Angels motorcyclists, one of the largest rides in recent memory, but it was necessary for public safety.

    When police stopped the bikers on the Trans-Canada Highway near Duncan about 2 p.m., Ciarniello saw no reason to obey.

    “I didn’t consider that any order that they wanted was a legal order and I refused to do it,” he said.

    “They tried to get me to say I refused the lawful order of a police officer and I said, ‘No — what I’m refusing is for you to violate my charter rights.’ ”

    Police are allowed to stop motorists to check licence and registration, but they are not allowed to single out a group of motorists arbitrarily, Ciarniello said.

    Before the Hells Angels won their court case, police used mass traffic stops to gather intelligence on the bikers, he said.

    “I spent a lot of money on that and we won, and I’m not going to fight it every week,” said Ciarniello, who disputes police allegations that the bikers were speeding or going through red lights. “Our instructions to everybody was to stop at all red lights.”

    After a brief discussion, the police allowed the bikers to continue on to Victoria.

    The Hells Angels are connected to a long list of criminal activities, including murder, Houghton said.

    “There is potentially a very real risk to public safety when these people are out on the road … and we monitor them very closely — very, very closely in the case of Saturday.”

    The entire procession was both photographed and videotaped, Houghton said, adding every licence plate was recorded and tickets for violations will be issued to registered owners.

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    © Copyright Times Colonist

    Related to this story

    Trans-Canada Highway blocked as Island convoy of Hells Angels refuses to pull off for police check

  5. Va.Bob Says:

    sounds like some silly-assed bullshit.

  6. Big Jim, Whittier Says:

    @ Jim666, Why only Blue and Gray. HWY 81 Hmmm wrong HWY. Fear no one And Fuck the Iron Order

  7. Jim666 Says:

    WE HAD THE SAME THING HAPPEN TO ABOUT 18 OF US ON I 81 HERE IN VA BY VIRGINIA’S FINEST TROOPERS AND WERE TOLD THE ONLY COLORS THAT WILL BE WORN ON VA. HIGHWAYS ARE BLUE AND GREY, AFTER ABOUT AN HOUR AND A HALF OF CHECKING PIPES HANDLE BAR HEIGHT RUNNING NUMBERS AND THAT SORT OF PIG BABY SITTING WE WERE LET GO, EXCEPT ME MY BIKE WAS TOWED AND i SPEND THE NEXT 6 HOURS IN THE POKER FOR A SUSPENDED LIC. OTHER THAT THAT A GREAT TIME WAS HAD BY ALL. 2 rebel, is it just my puter or is everyone experiencing popups and loud commercials on the site also I cannot get into the original saloon ?

    BTW wish me luck I have an appt at the Va. today to try and get a partial disability claim would like to get a 100 % but I know men that deserve that way more than I do, I just want the right head meds, for the ptsd shit, Id say Ill get turned down though, but Im going to give them hell anyway, yall stay safe out there, and ride it like ya stole it,
    SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL 1% M/C
    rESPECTS VA JIM 1% RETIRED AKA JIM666

  8. Wingman Says:

    They still have motorcycle checkpoints in California – they just call them “motorcycle safety enforcement’. Like here:

    http://www.oc-breeze.com/2015/01/08/65057_long-beach-police-to-keep-a-sharp-eye-on-motorcyclists-on-jan-10/

    This senate bill, like most everything that comes out of congress is a publicity stunt.

    Local cops, where the rubber hits the road, apparently having done away with all crime, have to find something to fill the long, empty hours until they turn forty and retire on their taxpayer funded $100,000 annual income for life. So, feel safe bikers! The cops are enforcing motorcycle safety! I expect it will be as about as successful as everything else they try to enforce.

  9. Big Jim, Whittier Says:

    I was stopped in a M/C only check point in July By CHP it was to make sure we had safe bikes. When did Ca. outlaw them?? Fear No One and Fuck the Iron Order.
    http://www.cocsocal.com/Run_Flyers.html hope some can make it

  10. charles barber Says:

    Two thoughts, 18 wheeler ck points been around awhile , and go around check points

  11. tommy Says:

    The govt must think we are stupid. These checkpoints arent for our safety, they are to screw us with all kinds of tickets.

  12. Nags Says:

    If all the B.S. done under the cover of peoples safety was really about keeping people safe everybody would be wearing a fucking helmet in their cage. Its not about safety its about $. The same driving force behind everything politicians do these days.

  13. Road Whore Says:

    “Safety issues and concerns.”

    I honestly do not believe that hardly anyone in congress, law enforcement, etc., whether at state, federal, or local level, truly gives a rats ass about the safety of my noggin if it hits the road.

    People come up with all sorts of invented and misinterpreted statistics to justify adding expense to our lives, and then task various LEOs with enforcing those laws, which adds even more unnecessary expense to our lives.

    And how many cops who stop you to ticket you really give a shit one way or another if you live or die? All they care about is that they’ve enforced the law, and therefore, in their eyes, they’ve done a good job that day.

    Ride Free

  14. Mercyful Fate Says:

    Hopefully, this bill gains enough traction and finally passes this time around. I’d also like to see states that haven’t banned this practice yet do so. It’s utterly ridiculous how unconstitutional Motorcycle Only Checkpoints are.

  15. Freedom Now Says:

    In the video, “We aren’t targeting an specific group. We are targeting motorcycles in general.”

    That is a specific group. Dumbass.

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