California Motorcycle Checkpoints

July 15, 2012

All Posts, News

Last Friday California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law California Bill AB 1047 that outlaws motorcycle only checkpoints. The law states in part:

(a) Other states have established motorcycle only checkpoints to address the growing problem of increased motorcycle fatalities.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to prohibit the establishment of motorcycle only checkpoints in California and that this prohibition is in no way intended to affect the establishment or conduct of other enforcement programs conducted by state or local law enforcement agencies.

The bill amends the current section of the state vehicle code (Section 2814.1) that allows “safety checkpoints.” Road blocks are still allowed in California if all vehicles are stopped.

New York Decision

The amendment to the California vehicle code is a response to a federal case in New York last year that found that motorcycle only checkpoints do not violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The case was titled was Michael Wagner, Levi Ingersoll, Ken Fenwick and Sidney Alpaugh versus David J. Swarts et al.

The four plaintiffs were all involved in one of 17 “motorcycle safety checkpoints” conducted in the state of New York in 2008. All of the checkpoints were constructed on roads leading to or from large motorcycle rallies. A total of 1,064 tickets were issued. Nine hundred and sixty-five of the tickets were either for non-safety offenses or for wearing the wrong kind of helmet. Bikers were detained between 30 and 45 minutes each.

The rationale behind the dragnets was called the “Statewide Motorcycle Enforcement and Education Initiative.” Its stated goal was to address the “alarming increase in motorcycle crashes . . . over the past decade,” and the escalating “number of motorcycles traveling New York’s roadways.” This safety effort was largely implemented by cops dressed in riot gear.

The checkpoints in the New York case ignored “speed” and “alcohol;” and were conducted by officers of the New York State Police Special Investigation Unit and gang task force for the purposes of “criminal interdiction.” The checkpoints were paid for by a grant that was intended to fund “overtime for intelligence gathering and subsequent criminal and traffic enforcement resulting from this effort.”

The Constitution

The Fourth Amendment, states “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Over the centuries, an “unreasonable search” has generally become understood to mean a search or seizure conducted without the “individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.” A giant exception to this definition of “unreasonable” is something called the “special needs” doctrine. This doctrine allows, for example, “sobriety checkpoints.” Judge Sharpe extended the doctrine to include mass stops of bikes to search for “safety violations” like loud exhausts.

In his decision, Judge Sharpe wrote, “The court concludes the checkpoints were enacted to promote motorcycle safety, a manifest public interest; they were effective in addressing this interest; and that any interference with individual liberties was not only minimal, but also grossly outweighed by the interest advanced,”

The California Bill will prevent that kind of fatuous, judicial sophistry in California.



, ,

22 Responses to “California Motorcycle Checkpoints”

  1. Ruby( Miles )Weber Says:

    Big V..wth did you hear the “Mother Miles” ol’lady/ barstool apehanger story……that stupid %$# never happened…

  2. CASPER Says:

    PUT THE WORD OUT PINHEAD JRKOFF JERRY BROWN AT IT AGAIN, WAKEUP CALIF. , its just another way for the fuCking pigs to fuCk with bikers


  3. Screwdriver Says:

    CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marine Corps creates law enforcement battalions,
    W.T.F. Think NDAA. Shouldn’t be long now.
    Associated Press
    The Marine Corps has created its first law enforcement battalions – a lean, specialized force of military police officers that it hopes can quickly deploy worldwide to help investigate crimes from terrorism to drug trafficking and train fledgling security forces in allied nations.
    The Corps activated three such battalions last month. Each is made up of roughly 500 military police officers and dozens of dogs. The Marine Corps has had police battalions off and on since World War II but they were primarily focused on providing security, such as accompanying fuel convoys or guarding generals on visits to dangerous areas, said Maj. Jan Durham, commander of the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion at Camp Pendleton.
    The idea behind the law enforcement battalions is to consolidate the military police and capitalize on their investigative skills and police training, he said. The new additions come as every branch in the military is trying to show its flexibility and resourcefulness amid defense cuts.
    Marines have been increasingly taking on the role of a street cop along with their combat duties over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they have been in charge of training both countries’ security forces. Those skills now can be used as a permanent part of the Marine Corps, Durham said.
    The war on terror has also taught troops the importance of learning how to gather intelligence, secure evidence and assist local authorities in building cases to take down criminal networks. Troops have gotten better at combing raid sites for clues to help them track insurgents.
    They also have changed their approach, realizing that marching into towns to show force alienates communities. Instead, they are being taught to fan out with interpreters to strike up conversations with truck drivers, money exchangers, cellphone sellers and others. The rapport building can net valuable information that could even alert troops about potential attacks.
    But no group of Marines is better at that kind of work than the Corps’ military police, who graduate from academies just like civilian cops, Durham said. He said the image of military police patrolling base to ticket Marines for speeding or drinking has limited their use in the Corps. He hopes the creation of the battalions will change that, although analysts say only the future will tell whether the move is more than just a rebranding of what already existed within the Corps.
    The battalions will be capable of helping control civil disturbances, handling detainees, carrying out forensic work, and using biometrics to identify suspects. Durham said they could assist local authorities in allied countries in securing crime scenes and building cases so criminals end up behind bars and not back out on the streets because of mistakes.
    “Over the past 11 years of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, some lessons learned painfully, there has been a growing appreciation and a demand for, on the part of the warfighter, the unique skills and capabilities that MPs bring to the fight,” Durham said. “We do enforce traffic laws and we do write reports and tickets, and that’s good, but we do so much more than that.”
    Durham said the Marine Corps plans to show off its new battalions in Miami later this month at a conference put on by the Southern Command and that is expected to be attended by government officials from Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize.
    Defense analyst Loren Thompson said the battalions make sense given the nature of today’s global threats, which include powerful drug cartels and other criminal gangs that often mix with religious and political extremists, who use the profits to buy their weaponry.
    “This is a smart idea because the biggest single problem the Marines have in dealing with low-intensity types of threats is that they basically are trained to kill people,” he said. “It’s good for the Marines to have skills that allow them to contain threats without creating casualties.”
    Gary Solis, a former Marine Corps prosecutor and judge who teaches law of war at Georgetown University, said Marines have already been doing this kind of work for years but now that it has been made more formal by the creation of the battalions, it could raise a host of questions, especially on the use of force. The law of war allows for fighters to use deadly force as a first resort, while police officers use it as a last resort.
    If Marines are sent in to do law enforcement but are attacked, will they go back to being warfighters? And if so, what are the implications? Solis asked.
    “Am I a Marine or a cop? Can I be both?” he said. “Cops apply human rights law and Marines apply the law of war. Now that it’s blended, it makes it tougher for the young men and women who have to make the decision as to when deadly force is not appropriate.”
    Durham said that military police understand that better than any Marine since they are trained in both.
    “They are very comfortable with the escalation of force,” he said. “MPs get that. It’s fundamental to what we do.”

    Read more here:

  4. Tooj Says:

    One of the sites that you folks have posted gave me this gem. They suggest you write it out on a 3×5 card or print it so you can read it if necessary. As follows:

    “To the Law Enforcement Offricer who has stopped this vehicle, please read if you like, I will read this aloud for your dash camera.

    I am assuming you are stopping my vehicle for an alleged traffic violation. I will be providing a current driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance upon your request. I will answer no questions regarding the alleged traffic violation that may violate my Fifth Amendment rights. (example: “Do you know how fast you were going?”) state your allegation and I will sign the citation agreeing to appear in court at the designated time and place.

    Please do not ask my passengers for identification. They have no reason to identify themselves.

    To protect my Fifth Amendment rights, I will not answer questions about the origin or destination of my trip.

    To protect my Fifth Amendment rights, I will not answer questions regarding my passengers or the contents of my vehicle.

    To protect my Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, I give no express or implied consent to search any part of my vehicle.

    Please do not take this personally, I am simply insuring that my rights are protected. Thank you for your cooperation.”

  5. Junior Says:

  6. Junior Says:

    Good links with some good information. I got pulled over around 2003-2004 and the cop asks for my license and registration. I scrambled around inside the car for a brief moment then turned toward him and asked: “If I provide you with those documents will you use them against me?” His facial expression completely changed and he looked very confused. He called someone or something on his radio, walked back to his car and stayed in his car for about 5 minutes, talking with his superior i assumed. When he came back to my car all he said was “your free to go”. :/ -Junior

  7. Junior Says:

    At some point in my studies of law i came across a supreme court case years ago that stated that checkpoints for license and DUI were not a Constitutional violation but stated that a written directive from an elected official stating exactly where, what,when & how the checkpoint was to be performed is what made the checkpoint Constitutional. Without the written directive from an elected official it is an unconstitutional/illegal checkpoint. The case shouldn’t be too hard to find, I can dig for the exact cite if someone needs it & cant find it. -Junior

  8. Phuquehed Says:

    Another poster gave a website that helps one understand the laws better about this kind of thing. I read the site and even I can remember a good deal of it and you can bet your ass I’m gonna use it all the next time I get pulled over for bullshit.

    I also have a site I found that helps one understand what you can do to tell the pigs they can fuck off and not get a damned thing from you but the time they’re allowed to have you pulled over.

    Here’s both of them. Read them, know them and it’s a beginning of the way for us to fight back, at least individually and to let the law fucktards know we’re not going to roll over for them any more. They can shove their strong-arm tactics right up their asses…sideways with fish hooks!


  9. stroker Says:

    You finally did the right thing, by asking for badge numbers….possibly
    you could have been released sooner, if you’d kept asking the officers
    if you were “free to go.” If you aren’t under arrest, they are not
    supposed to hold you over a reasonable time, say 15 to 20 minutes.
    Now, we all know out there, a cop is judge, jury and executioner. he
    (or she) will fuck with you if they think they can. BUT, there are
    things we can do, such as asking over and over again if we “are free to go?”
    To all who read this fine site, the one good thing here is, the MROs
    in California DID get together, and with a strong lobbying effort, got
    this bill passed. That’s the point here. We, the motorcyclists of
    Califas got together, rode in January to the capitol, supported our
    MROs (MMA, ABATE, BOLT et al) and this bill got passed.
    I promise you this isn’t the last item on our agenda. It’s a beginning.
    We have stronger language in the works. Don’t give up and roll over.
    We CAN protect ourselves if we all get together. Support your local
    and national MROs (Motorcycle Rights Organizations), and support
    your local and national clubs. We are in the fight for all motorcylists
    not just ourselves.
    A US Defender

  10. a22in1503 Says:

    I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I have been pulled over under the guise of a routine traffic stop for everything from riding too slow to my front running lights appear to be red. Then detained for over an hour with questioning and a search of my person.

    The last time, about a month ago I asked these two very dedicated Anaheim motor officers if every traffic stop they made resulted in this type of treatment to the citizen. I then demanded their badge #’s and names….I was told I could leave.

  11. Ol'LadyRider Says:

    The amendment doesn’t prevent profiling, it only prevents that specific mode of achieving it. The grant/funding provided to states for “education and awareness,” which was supposed to be directed mostly toward cagers, was being used to conduct targeted checkpoints, supplement “gang task forces,” and provide a bunch of overtime to officers. In that sense, the passing of the assembly bill should be seen as a marvel without compare, as God forbid agencies be held accountable for the use of directed funding! Sure, some of that money was used to make billboards ( just another thing to distract cagers from the road) and television commercials (generally ignored by changing channels), and promoting motorcycle safety courses (valuable resources for bikers NOT already taking their chances on our highways and byways). Basically, the state is saying, “Sure, you can profile bikers, you just have to be more creative so the Feds will get off our backs about the cash.”.

  12. RK Says:

    “Remember, everything that happened in Nazi Germany was legal.” ~MLK

    Just cause they’re trying to make it legal doesn’t make it right. JIM666 pointed out a very good statistic. This isn’t about keeping motorcyclists & motorcycles safe, that’s what state safety inspections are for… This is 100% about them creating a legal way to profile us and conduct unlawful search & seizure in clear violation of the 4th amendment.

    I don’t like checkpoints, but I can see where the standard DUI checkpoint works, because everyone is stopped in that case. There are no other non commercial vehicle checkpoints which single out other types of transportation, therefore unless we see the creation of pickup truck checkpoints, hybrid checkpoints, or the like them this is bullshit.

    Targeting is just a different term for profiling.


  13. JIM666 Says:

    I agree w/ Glenn S . on this Im not sure what the stitistics are in the differnt states involving bikes and cars but Im sure it,d be safe to say that it would be close to 70% of bike injurys and fatalities involve cars or some kinda cage, other than unsafe bikes, it,s just a cover for profiling bikers

  14. Glenn S. Says:

    And they should make the cagers wear helmets, to put a barrier between their heads and cell phones. And take out the vanity mirrors so they won’t be applying makeup while driving. Maybe make them install loud alarm horns that go off every time they change lanes without signalling.

    We’re probably the safest people on the roads, because our undivided attention is dedicated to riding our motorcycles and watching out for dumbasses in cages. Safety checkpoints my ass, its just another way for the fucking pigs to fuck with bikers.

  15. TimMNY Says:

    New York state cares about one thing and one thing only..making money, law makers pass laws that are petty so the state can attempt to get out of debt, but they still spend 3x the money they raise.

  16. PigPen Says:

    goddammit, that is an excellent point Glenn, why aren’t they having a cage checkpoint, for their education on sharing the road with us?

  17. JMacK Says:

    Up here in Alberta we typically see 2 kinds of motorcycle related fatalities. The 1st type typically involves someone who wipes themselves out because they ride their bike beyond either speed or control limitations and/or road conditions. Sad but it happens. Just had a guy nailed doing 185 mph on a highway that is not in great shape and has a 65 mph limit. The other is distracted cagers. That propaganda bullshit in that video is what makes the general public believe that it’s the bikers’ fault that dumb shits driving around distracted keep running into us. Don’t get me started on government efforts to reduce “noise pollution”…idiots…and if they’re gonna make a propaganda video, why would they find the dumbest and most misinformed cop they can? Amazes me how they get most of the sheep to buy in with this shit…

    Moe-rons is right…

  18. Glenn S. Says:

    Seems to me that any increase in motorcycle fatalities can and should be laid at the doorstep of cagers on cell phones while driving. The increase largely follows the increased popularity of cell phones. These days, the upper middle class stay-at-home-mom and her offspring can’t function without a cell phone growing out the side of their heads. The documented cause of the majority of motorcycle accidents is “driver of enclosed vehicle failing to yield the right of way”.

    Of course, concern for motorcycle accidents is only a pretext, and any judge ruling otherwise is being transparently disingenous. Its more than absurd to try to say that loud pipes are a bona fide safety violation when they merely annoy certain people.

  19. PigPen Says:

    I do appreciate how the government is so dedicated to keeping us dull eyed cattle safe. I appreciate that everything they do, they do for our best interests. Simply because we are all just so simple minded that we need them to make sure our rides are safe. Of course the mere fact that the people making these laws do not own or ride 2 wheels, but they have watched a video on how to keep your ride safe. They have also watch a SOA episode, so they know what those gang members do.
    They want us safe and sound for as long as possible, cause we all know, you can’t tax or write citations to dead bodies (at least not yet), can’t let their income get smeared across the highways because of LED lights.

  20. BigV Says:


    Let’s look at the propaganda:

    LED’s aren’t as bright as conventional lights: is he fucking blind or just corrupt ?

    Loud Pipes save lives but the motorcyclist was wearing earplugs: Moron, we don’t need to hear the pipes it’s for the idiots in cages with a cellphone to one ear and Britney Spears cranked up on their stereos.

    Those “dangerous” ape hangers: Apes may have been dangerous when Mother Miles’ ol’ lady had a set made out bar stools that come apart on her. Apes aren’t made like that anymore. And if your height is all torso(I have fairly short legs for a person my height) a set of apes that don’t make your arms as tired as drag bars or small rams horns is safer than not having them.


  21. Ol'LadyRider Says:

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear (after reading the bill in entirety) that the code amendment will prevent THIS sort of operation, which was conducted about a year ago by one of our local jurisdictions:

    “Additional officers will be stationed in areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur. Officers will look for traffic law violations that often lead to motorcycle accidents, as well as for drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, police said.

    Motorcycle fatalities in California rose for several years before a decline started in 2009. California is one of three states that led the nation in motorcyclist deaths.

    Collision statistics show that primary causes of motorcycle-involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turns and drug- or alcohol-impairment, police said.”

    As I’m sure you would expect, “additional officers” included the Gang Task Force. The state eliminated the checkpoints, but not the ability of police to fabricate reasons to target only motorcyclists.

  22. swampy Says:

    Chain looks a little dry on that Sportster, I think that cop could use some tips. Wonder where they SEIZED that “training” bike from?

Leave a Reply