Congress Bans Motorcycle Only Checkpoints

December 4, 2015

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Congress Bans Motorcycle Only Checkpoints

After eight years, Congress finally banned the use of federal funds for motorcycle only checkpoints yesterday

The ban was part of a $305 billion highway bill called the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (or FAST) Act. The bill was approved by a vote of 359 to 65 in the House of Representatives and 83 to 16 in the Senate. It will become law when it is signed by President Barack Obama. The FAST Act is the first new transportation bill approved by Congress during the Obama Administration and is an example of bipartisanship on behalf of the general welfare.

Provisions of the bill will be funded by gasoline tax revenue and $70 billion in offsets from other federal programs. It provides for $205 billion in improvements to American highways and $48 billion on transit projects over the next five years. At the last moment, Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, tried to include a provision that would provide $3 billion for crop insurance in the bill. The Senate rejected the provision.

The Fast Act incorporated proposed House and Senate legislation including the Senate’s “Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act” which was introduced last March.

Motorcycle Checkpoints

Motorcycle-only checkpoints are a strategy used by police to harass and conduct searches of motorcyclists under the pretense of checking for the bikers compliance with licensing, helmet laws, exhaust emissions and exhaust noise. The stops only apply to motorcyclists. They are often carried out by so-called gang task forces and they are often staged near motorcycle rallies and events.

The checkpoints were inspired by the 2006 death of a New York State Trooper named Craig J. Todeschini.  Todeschini died when he lost control of his Chevy Tahoe Sport Utility Vehicle while trying to chase down a sport bike. The following year, in a blatant attempt to exact revenge on all motorcyclists for Todeschini’s death, state police carried out “Operation 5060,” named for Todeschini’s badge number, on Interstate 84 in East Fishkill, New York. The operation featured a helicopter to pursue any motorcyclist who might try to avoid the checkpoint.

No one tried to get away.

Operation 5060 stopped 280 motorcyclists and issued 104 tickets. Because it was publicized as a motorcycle safety imitative, it qualified for federal funding and had virtually no impact on police budgets. New York State Police sent out a press release calling the checkpoint a “success” and troopers began touring the country to show other police how they could harass motorcyclists using federal funds, too. It became a popular idea. The legislation passed yesterday puts a stop to it.

The FAST Act also provides for the reestablishment of a  Motorcyclist Advisory Council to coordinate with and counsel the U.S. Department of Transportation administrator on specific infrastructure concerns to motorcyclists.


25 Responses to “Congress Bans Motorcycle Only Checkpoints”

  1. Wiscokid Says:

    Finally something Obama can take credit for.

  2. Robdude Says:

    I’ll take any good news for bikers I can get. Thanks for putting it up Rebel

  3. Cindy Hodges Says:

    Todd is right. It is the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and their members who lobbied Congress for quite some time to ensure that there are no more of these discriminatory check points. And to create the Motorcycle Advisory Council. They could use help with this sort of thing.

  4. Todd Riba Says:

    The law does not prohibit checkpoints, only federal funding for the checkpoints. So if they conduct these checkpoints in your state then you have to fight them at the state level. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation got this law passed, they only work on federal legislation. Thank you MRF for fighting for the rights of street riders.

  5. Dasein Says:

    Kanye can’t even spell his own name.

  6. Mercyful Fate Says:

    @Kane – Because cops used these checkpoints to harass other cops, right? /facepalm

  7. Rebel Says:

    Dear Kane,

    I know it is really important to you to argue with me. What is your point? Are you just stoopit?


  8. kane Says:


  9. marko polo Says:

    this is why 37mm morters are illegal . first checkpoint i see. boom mother hubbard

  10. mr nobody Says:

    Disregard my last post. Asked and answered. I should have read the comments thread completely. My bad.

  11. mr nobody Says:

    This bill stops the Federal funding of this sort of motorcyclist harassment. But is the loss of federal funding enough of a discouragement for L.E. to cease the use of these checkpoints?

  12. Rebel Says:

    Dear Jim Jones,

    The title isn’t misleading. Motorcycle checkpoints are always law enforcement operations masquerading as safety or “courtesy” operations. Because of the fiction that they are safety operations they have been funded with federal money. The new law closes that loophole. It is a very significant victory for bikers’ rights.


  13. Rebel Says:

    Dear James Daphin,

    Yes the police in states which have not already banned such checkpoints outright may still use the checkpoints if they are willing to pay for them. That is a giant “if.” The attraction of the chekpoints for local police until now had been that that they were virtually free and had no impact on local or state budgets. They created free, new ways to pay cops time and a half.

    But, since these checkpoints have all been funded by the federal government in the past the recently passed legislation is a de facto, if not de jure, ban. California, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Illinois, New Hampshire,Virginia and Texas already ban the checkpoints by law.

    It is possible that police in, say, Terre Haute or Peekskill will take $50,000 out of their department’s CSI budget to spend a day harrassing motorcyclists. Then again, maybe the Terre Haute police will start their own space program. Personally, I think the possibility that Terre Haute or Peekskill will fund their own checkpoints or space programs is farfetched.

    In reality as most people know it, as opposed to hypotehtical or science fiction reality, the check points are banned when the new law takes effect and they will continue to be banned for at least the next five years.



  14. James Daphin Says:

    Does this only stop the federal funds?? Can they still do the checkpoints with local funding?

  15. Jim Jones Says:

    The Title is a bit misleading, they did not ban motorcycle only check points, they just stopped federal funding of them.

  16. ElleElle Says:

    …and as much as this is a good step in the right direction-aren’t any check points for any reason that are not a direct threat to the overall safety of everyone-nothing more than that of entrapment to begin with? Enforcement when there was no need for such? And those are not done well to begin with if at all random in their nature. Seems like just another way to usurp and control…not to mention inducing fear in people who don’t understand why they are being mistreated when they are not doing anything wrong. It’s great news for all motorcycle enthusiasts if it was only about $.

  17. Tooj Says:

    The Advisory Council may end up being a good thing; depends on if they have their ears on regarding real motorcyclists. We’ve got a stretch between Lawrence, KS and Olathe that has the same cable to prevent vehicles from running through the median. There have been several of these sorts of accidents, but another solution would be to eliminate those flat median spaces that make that easy to happen. We also get a lot of places where they fill ditches with large rock to help with drainage with zero consideration of what happens to a biker that bails there. It will be nice if someone actually starts listening.

  18. Docb Says:

    They’re not good guys who have seen the error in their ways or repentant about egregious violations of your civil rights. They didn’t fund the check points because they simply ran out of money.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if the ATF simply ran out of money !!


  19. Bone Head Says:

    “…approved by a vote of 359 to 65 in the House of Representatives and 83 to 16 in the Senate…”

    I am speechless. But not excited. As pointed out (Thank you T Hell), they will find another way to fuck with us. And they may not have to if the Dildo-in-charge fails to sign the bill. No welfare provision in it…


  20. TX_Biker Says:

    The Scorpion and the Frog
    A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
    scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
    frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
    says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”
    The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
    the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
    paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
    but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
    Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”
    They will find another way to harass us….Its in their nature……

  21. T Hell Says:

    @ Rebel
    Your headline “Congress Bans Motorcycle Only Checkpoints” is a bit deceiving as they didn’t ban the checkpoints only the federal funding, it does nothing to prevent the dicksucking parasites from switching federal funds to some program that was getting state funds and then using the state funds for checkpoints, oh but they would never do that……

  22. cookie Says:

    Phuquehed, that cable system is to stop cars, trucks and semi’s from crossing the medium and going into oncoming traffic. It is all over the place here in Illinois. I have seen it stop everything that hits it. I have yet to see a rider hit it, but I would bet it wouldn’t be good. The deer are bad enough around here.

  23. NOS4A2 Says:

    Fuck New York State Trooper Craig J. Todeschini

  24. Phuquehed Says:

    Finally, something good happening for bikers.

    Now, if I can only figure out who to sue to rid I-40, several miles on both sides of and through Jackson TN, of the heavy steel 3 foot tall I-beams that are holding up two strands of what looks like 1/2 or 3/4 inch cable through them, I’ll be happy as a clam.

    I have absolutely no idea why this shit was put up, as all it would do to a car or truck or big rig is a little paint and body damage if hit at speed. If a motorcycle and the rider happen to get pushed over toward it and lose control, there’s gonna be nothing but a lot of blood and guts and motorcycle parts everywhere. It’s a motorcyclists nightmare waiting to happen.

    I guess some state fucktard who never thought about pulling his/her head out of their ass before thinking this shit up, figured this heavy-duty shit was needed to stop the 1 in a million people who turn around in the center median. I’ve personally, in 25 years ever seen anyone turn around on it, but I have seen vehicles wrecked or pulled over on it for one reason or another.

  25. Lou Sassel Says:

    Now it is time to get rid of the helmet laws.

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