Support federal legislation to prohibit the funding of discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints


Own a motorcycle? Ride it? Make sure you aren’t being unfairly targeted!

Urge your Representative to support today!

The New York State Police implemented a law enforcement checkpoint targeting motorcyclists during Americade, the world’s largest motorcycle touring rally held in Lake George, NY. The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) finds this program discriminatory and inappropriate.

Furthermore, the AMA understands that the York County sheriff’s office and the Kennebunkport police departments in the state of Maine conducted motorcycle-only checkpoints (MOCs) the weekend of June 10-13.

In a previous alert, the AMA informed the motorcycling community that the Arlington County Police Department of the Commonwealth of Virginia implemented a MOC during Rolling Thunder on May 28. For more information on this, click here.

Beginning with the state of New York in 2009 and then the state of Georgia’s use of MOCs and now Maine and Virginia, the AMA has been out front on this discriminatory issue from the beginning.

Regarding the state of Georgia, it was the only state to receive a grant in the amount of $70,000 from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) program to create MOCs. The grant will be used to conduct one or more roadside motorcycle-only checks in accordance with what was outlined in the Request for Applications. The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) will oversee the day-to-day operation of the program.

The program in question is the Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstrations Grant (DTNH22-10-R-00386). Although the grant has been closed to new applicants as of August 13, 2010, you can view the grant notice here. In addition to the Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstrations Grant, other NHTSA funds are being spent on these MOCs.

On October 26, 2010, the AMA sent a letter to Georgia’s former Governor Sonny Perdue requesting he suspend the implementation of the grant until questions raised by the motorcycling community are addressed. The former governor did not respond to AMA’s letter. Therefore, the AMA sent another letter, dated February 15, 2011, to Georgia’s newly-elected Governor Nathan Deal. To see AMA’s letter, click here.

The AMA cautioned riders traveling through the state of Georgia that the GSP may mobilize the MOC during Daytona Bike Week. On March 9, the GSP did just that on I-95. To view a video of the MOC in operation, click here.

On the federal side, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and some of his colleagues sent a letter, dated September 30, 2010, to the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The congressional letter urged LaHood to suspend the grant program that would expand the highly criticized practice of creating motorcycle-only checkpoints by law enforcement agencies. The AMA strongly supports this important letter.

To see the congressional letter, click here.

On March 3, 2011, Rep. Sensenbrenner introduced H.R. 904. This bill would prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from providing grants or any funds to states or local governments to be used for any program to create MOCs.

On May 25, 2011, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and 12 of his colleagues sent a letter to the leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of including H.R. 904 in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill.

To view the letter, click here.

The AMA has formally questioned the discriminatory practice of this program, administered by the NHTSA. The AMA sent a letter to Administrator Strickland on August 9, 2010, urging him to suspend the grant program until questions have been addressed. To view AMA’s letter, click here. To view Administrator Strickland’s response, click here.

While law enforcement officials may defend the program as a safety measure, there is no substantive proof of its effectiveness. The practice, first modeled in the state of New York, has drawn the ire of thousands of motorcyclists nationally.

The AMA believes that the best way for NHTSA, states and local jurisdictions to reduce motorcycle crashes is to employ proven strategies, such as rider education and motorcycle awareness programs that decrease the likelihood of crashes from occurring in the first place. These strategies must be research-based.

H.R. 904 is critical to ending the discriminatory practice of MOCs. The motorcycling community needs you to contact your U.S. Representative now to ask them to cosponsor H.R. 904 to end funding for MOCs. Just follow the “Take Action” option to send a pre-written e-mail directly to your Representative.

Be sure to forward this to your motorcycling friends! The AMA needs motorcyclists to unite against MOCs.

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