It may have originated in notoriously bike-unfriendly New York, but when Federally funded, motorcycle-only checkpoints became a nationwide trend, something had to give.
The checkpoints single out motorcycles from four-wheeled traffic over license, helmet, and exhaust violation concerns, and are supported by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Striking back in defense of motorcyclists is a bipartisan group of lawmakers, among them Republican Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, who calls the movement "an intrusive governmental overreach," and Rep. Tom Petri (also a Republican from Wisconsin) who says "Motorcycle riders are right to be outraged at being singled out for safety inspections."
Not surprisingly, the American Motorcyclist Association states that they "... believe that strategies to promote motorcycle safety must be rooted in motorcycle crash prevention, and don't include arbitrarily pulling over riders and randomly subjecting them to roadside inspections."
According to the LA Times, of the 27,000 or so riders who passed through checkpoints last year, 2,500 were pulled over for closer inspection. 380 (or 15% of those singled out) were ticketed for an illegal helmet; 49 (or less than 2%) were ticketed for riding without a proper license, and 6 (or .024%) were arrested under suspicion of drunk driving.
With a provision aimed at the House Transportation Committee from the aforementioned group of lawmakers suggesting the Federal funds be spent on educational programs intended at reducing accidents, we riders can only hope that logic prevails when Congress considers new versions of the transportation bill next week.
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