A California Assemblyman named Ken Cooley (above) introduced a bill last week that would require police officers to be given additional training to convince them they shouldn’t profile motorcycle riders.
Cooley told the Sacramento Bee that the bill is intended “to ensure that anyone entering law enforcement in California knows the ground rules to apply the law fairly without regard for irrelevant factors of, ‘I’m on a bike’ or they’re dressed a certain way….We recognize that this issue is a much bigger issue right now than the motorcycling setting but it is an important issue of people being secure in their persons and the administration of traffic laws.”
It is a bipartisan bill, sponsored by five Republicans and three Democrats. If you want to support or comment on it, it is Assembly Bill 334 titled: “An act to add Section 13519.17 to the Penal Code, relating to the profiling of motorcycle riders.”
“The bill would require all local law enforcement agencies to adopt a written policy designed to condemn and prevent the profiling of motorcycle riders and to review and audit any existing policies to ensure that those policies do not enable or foster the practice of profiling motorcycle riders.” And the state of California would pay for whatever that costs.
The proposed law defines “profiling of motorcycle riders” to mean “using the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle paraphernalia as a factor, without any individualized suspicion of the particular person, in deciding to stop and question,
take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle, with or without legal basis under the California Constitution or the United States Constitution.”
The bill also requires that the California “Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training shall ensure that the profiling of motorcycle riders is addressed in the course of basic law enforcement training and offered to law enforcement officers in conjunction with existing training regarding profiling.”
Excluding its helmet law, California is among the friendlier states to bikers. California was among the first states to prohibit motorcycle only checkpoints in 2012. Since then four more states – Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia – have prohibited the practice. Illinois and New Hampshire have prohibited the use of federal funds for those checkpoints and eleven states prohibit all safety and sobriety checkpoints.
California is also the only state so far that tolerates lane splitting. A Texas Bill, H.B. 813, that would allow lane splitting in the Lonestar State, was recently introduced by state Representative. Sergio Muñoz Jr.